Archive for August 22nd, 2013

New medical robot will help stroke victims

| 22/08/2013 | 9 Comments

(CNS): The In-Touch Health RP-Lite Robot, nick-named ‘Sally’, which has been donated to the local hospital by the Seafarers Association, is expected to be of particular help in cases of stroke. The robot allows for one-on-one interaction with medical specialists overseas, and with stroke patients it is imperative to work fast, as the longer it takes for the patient to get treatment, the higher risk of long term disabilities.  This machine will allow a patient to see a specialist within an hour instead of having to be transported off island. The robot will also save the public purse a considerable amount.

Health Minister Osbourne Bodden said,  “The introduction of telemedicine in Cayman Islands will significantly help reduce government’s costs for healthcare and give our residents access to specialists they otherwise could only see by flying off island.”

Thanking the Seafarers Association for all of the hard work and fundraising that went into making this machine a reality, he said it would make a huge difference to health care in the country.

The Cayman Islands Seafarers Association donated the state-of-the-art equipment last week and president of the association, Delano Bush, explained it was the first of its kind in the English speaking Caribbean. “We are proud to be part of it,” he said.

Having to travel for medical consultation can be inconvenient as well as costly, but most importantly, the faster results from a specialist could also save lives.

“I cannot thank the Cayman Islands Seafarers Association enough for this generous donation to the Cayman Islands Hospital,” HSA CEO Lizzette Yearwood stated. “This robot will help improve our patients’ experience and will give many the opportunity to stay on island when they would have otherwise needed to travel overseas.”

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Further cholera outbreak suspected in Cuba

| 22/08/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Although officials say that they are not concerned that another suspected cholera outbreak in neighbouring Cuba will have any direct consequences in Cayman, they issued a warning Wednesday to people travelling to the country to take precautions. “Although there is no official word on the situation in Cuba, it is our responsibility to empower the public by informing them of the situation,” said Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr Samuel Williams. “At this time, there are no travel restrictions. However, if you have to go, take vital precautions, such as ensuring hygienic food preparation, boiling or purifying all water, and washing hands often with soap and clean water.”

He also advised that travellers should carry an ample supply of oral rehydration salts.

“Cholera is not present in the Cayman Islands, and the chances of importation of cholera are limited. Even if it occurs, our excellent sanitation and safe water will prevent its spread. In addition, we have adequate facilities and drugs to manage any case should importation occur.”  

Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by ingesting food or water contaminated with cholera bacterium. It can take anywhere from five hours to five days for symptoms to appear after infection, although symptoms usually occur within 24-48 hours. Cholera infection is often mild or without symptoms, but can sometimes be severe.

Travellers to Cuba are advised to contact their doctor immediately should they develop watery diarrhoea and vomiting within five days of leaving Cuba. It is also very important to state their travel history to their doctor. This advice is also applicable to travellers to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the two other countries in the region currently affected by cholera.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Osbourne Bodden said public health and the ministry would monitor the situation closely and keep the public informed of any development.

Tips for Prevention: Travellers to Cuba or any endemic countries can greatly reduce the risk of contracting the disease by following these practices:

  • Drink only bottled, boiled or chemically-treated water and/or bottled or canned beverages.
  • Ensure that seals are unbroken when using bottled drinks.
  • Disinfect your own water: boil for one minute or filter the water and add two drops of household bleach or half an iodine tablet per litre of water.
  • Use bottled, boiled or chemically-treated water to wash dishes and brush teeth.
  • Use ice in your drink only if you know it was made from boiled or treated water.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and clean water.
  • Clean your hands beforeyou eat or prepare foods, and after using the bathroom.
  • Eat foods that have been thoroughly cooked and are still hot, or fruit that you have peeled yourself.
  • Cook all vegetables. Do not eat salads or other raw vegetables.
  • Do not buy food or beverages from street vendors.

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Young Cayman riders top equestrian contest

| 22/08/2013 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Three young Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation (CIEF) riders recently represented the country at the 2013 Children of the Americas Dressage invitational (CADI) in Concord Massachusetts. Thea Millward 14, Anja Van Genderen 13 and Phoebe Serpell 13 participated in the weeklong event and all made the podium. In an impressive result for the riders Phoebe Serpell was the 1st placed overall Champion with a combined score of 149.054 and  Anja Van Genderen was the 2nd place overall Reserve Champion with a combined score of 145.88.

The competition is held at The Bear Spot Farm and Foundation in Massachusetts and is the brain child of Jane Karol who is the Director of CADI. The riders competed with young contestants from Canada, Ecuador, Jamaica, Bermuda, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and the USA.  All three riders had to obtain qualifying scores at the World FEI Dressage Challenge that was held in February 2013 in Cayman.

Thea, Phoebe and Anja received the top three qualifying scores and were therefore selected by the CIEF to represent that Cayman Islands at this competition. 

CADI provides young riders with an amazing opportunity to ride very talented and experienced horses that owners lend and trainwith some of the best trainers in the world. Pam Maloof, Sue Williams and Gerrit-Claes Bierenbroodspot were Thea, Anja and Phoebe's trainers respectively.

The horse draw took place on the first day of the event, this involves all rider and horse names being placed in a hat and being pulled out to establish who would ride which horse. 

Thea drew Bentley and a nice chestnut gelding trained to Prix St George level, Anja drew Walina a beautiful black mare trained to Grand Prix level and Phoebe drew Ben a massive 18 hand holsteiner also trained to Prix St George.

The local equestrian society explained that over the next two days the riders were given full responsibility of the horse they had been loaned, arriving early at the barn each day to muck out, groom and feed the horses. Each day riders had an intensive hour's lesson with their trainer which allowed them to start to understand and work well with the horse.

The last two days of the event were when the competition took place. On Friday 2nd August all riders rode the CADI FEI Preliminary Dressage test and it was an amazing day for Cayman with all three riders placing in the top three.

Thea Millard's top score of day of 73.261% put her in first place, closely behind was Phoebe Serpell with a 2nd place score of 72.935% and in third place was Anja Van Genderen with another great score of 72.174%.

The second day of the event was the Freestyle, which allows the young riders chance  to choreograph their own dressage routine and select a pieces of music that suit the different paces and gaits of the horse. The scoring of this event is slightly different and allows marks to be given for musical interpretation and creativity, technical style, difficulty and risk as well as the use of the arena.   

CIES said the results were excellent and hard to beat when Phoebe Serpell secured second place with a score of 76.119% and Anja Van Genderen 3rd place with 73.706%.  Thea Millward also managed 69.777% for 5th place. 

The 1st placed rider was Vanessa Altamirano from Ecuador with a score of 77.411%.

The scores for the two events combined to establish the overall winners and the Cayman Riders were back on the podium; Phoebe Serpell was the 1st placed overall Champion with a combined score of 149.054, Anja Van Genderen was the 2nd place overall Reserve Champion with a combined score of 145.88 and Thea Millward placed fourth with an overall score of 143.038.

 

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West Bay

| 22/08/2013 | 67 Comments

West Bay at one time was the most popular district in the Island. We had a movie theatre, we had skating a rink, we had ice cream parlors, we had nightclubs yet we had little or no crime to speak of. There was no religious hypocrisy as there seems to be today. People respected the Sabbath, whether one observed it on Saturday or on Sunday. We listened to the teachings of God's Word, and not the word of our political leaders.

Today we have let some of them lead us down the path of destruction! Seldom questioning anything they tell us, seeming never to listen to the good advice given by those who try to warn us of  the dangers ahead on this path we're following.

We see the social upheaval  that has  come about  causing these things that are now manifesting themselves in our  society. They are happening throughout the Island, but to a greater extent in West Bay. We  scream and yell about the things that we see happening, but no one seems to listen when others  express their concerns. We see the decadence that has gradually crept into our  homes, our neighborhood, our district and our Island.   

And we call it prosperity!

At this point, we must pause and ask ourselves why and how could these awful things creep into that peaceful and caring community that we knew up until a few decades ago. Why did we not  see the dangers of a rapidly growing population and the importation of foreign customs and habits that caused us to lose that very special something that caused us to be known as the friendliest island in the Caribbean, and that special moniker, 'The Island that time forgot'?

It all happened quite suddenly. And it happened because we became so occupied with the pursuit  of material wealth that we could find no time for anything else. We adapted the mores and habits of those whom we so graciously welcomed and accepted in our Island. We forgot to spend time with our family, especially our kids. We let them have anything they asked for because we could afford it, thinking this is what our kids needed. Thinking this was love. How sad!

Caymanians! {meaning "ALL" of us} We must  adopt a new way of thinking, a way which will lead us back to those social mores and habits that caused us to love and care for each other, those wonderful qualities that made us seem like one big family — a family that lived in that little village which helped us raise our children.

Please, Please, Please! Take the time to hug your kids and tell them: "I love you". 

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Manderson one of only a few multiple jail breakers

| 22/08/2013 | 42 Comments

(CNS): Steve Manderson’s multiple escapes appear to put the local con into a record breaking category as one of only a handful of people in the world that have escaped multiple times from jail. Although the Guinness Book of Records has confirmed that they have no category for the highest number of jail breaks, research on the web reveals that Manderson, with six successful escapes from Cayman's jail, may only have one rival for the title of the most breaks from the same prison. A prisoner in Belize named Dennis Quilter has escaped from jail eight times but it is not clear if this was all from the same facility.

Quilter was recaptured in 2010 after his eighth time on the run, that time for four months. He pleaded guilty in court to escaping custody, claiming he had to run because of the inhumane treatment at the prison

In the 1990's Steven Jay Russell, the consummate con man and subject of a 2009 comedy film, 'I love you Phillip Morris', escaped four timesfrom different prisons in the US using particularly ingenious methods.

In modern times multiple escapes are increasingly rare as a result of the high security now adopted, but even back in the mid-1800's Joseph Bolitho Johns (1826–1900), better known as Moondyne Joe, only managed to escape five times from Australian jails.

Meanwhile, Argentina's prison chief quit his week after 13 dangerous inmates tunnelled their way out of a maximum-security prison in a Buenos Aires suburb. The inmates dug through solid concrete and then cut through four rows of fencing, officials said. Most ofthe escaped inmates were serving time for murder, armed robbery, kidnapping or bank robbery. Prison system director Victor Hortel announced his resignation Tuesday and 19 other prison guards and supervisors were put on leave pending an investigation.

Here in Cayman, Manderson, who is serving a life sentence for murder, has managed to break out of Northward six times. This time he escaped with his son, Marcus, and they have now been on the run for more than a week. A third inmate, Chadwick Dale, who busted out of the prison with the Mandersons, was captures on Tuesday afternoon. According to officials, he appeared to have been living rough since the escape.

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Campaigners seek protection for sparkling bay

| 22/08/2013 | 51 Comments

(CNS): A number of residents and tourism stakeholders in the Rum Point area have begun a campaign and launched a petition to protect a bay in the North Side district which enjoys a rare natural phenomenon. The Bioluminescent Bay of Rum Point is a growing tourist attraction for its natural sparkling ocean light at night due to tiny microorganisms in the water. However, it could be under threat if an application for a coastal works licence for a dock and dredging in the area is passed. So far, over 440 people have signed the petition and campaigners say the goal is not to just stop the current application but to have full protection in place for the bay in general.

Eleven letters of complaint have been submitted to planning with just one in support of the development. Tom and Lisha Watling, owners and operators of Cayman Kayaks, have also written to Cabinet setting out the reasons why they oppose the construction and dredging inside the Bay. The couple explained that they only conduct kayak (non-motorized) tours into the bay.

“Combustion engines kill the microscopic organisms,” the two explain in a letter to Cabinet. “We offer and encourage our guests to use DEET free bug spray as the chemicals in the regular bug repellants kill the organisms. We also ask our guests to try their best to refrain from any other skin lotions and chemicals on their bodies.  We frown on swimming in the bay and ensure our guests only interaction with the bioluminescent water is by using their hands and feet.”

On land bioluminescence is not common but in the Ocean over 90% of every living organism uses living light. Worldwide there are a few special cases where creatures using living light can be found in extreme concentration (750, 000 and up to 1 million per gallon) on a regular basis year round.  Bio Bay here in Cayman is one of these rare places, along with only twelve recorded places in the whole world.

“Not only are we worried as a company that thrives on this organism to deliver a fascinating tour to our guests, but we are deeply concerned that building this large dock will require dredging. Dredging the bay is going to harm this amazing natural phenomenon. Our tours alone bring in on average 500 guests a month, even though our tours run only 15-17 nights of the month,” the couple stated.

Ironically, the bay was originally created through dredging but it has emerged now as a contributor to the wider marine eco-system. There are already a number of docks around the bay but the campaigners believe that the bay is already at risk from existing development and and over use and can dolonger sustain any further development.

From an environmental perspective, the dinoflagellates which produce the light are primary producers of food and the first link in the aquatic food chain and contribute to providing organic carbon for reef-building corals, sponges, clams, jellyfish, anemones and squid.

“There used to be more bioluminescent bays. New Providence Island in the Bahamas had a bioluminescent bay. Its opening to the sea was widened and the dinoflagellates population declined. A bioluminescent bay in Hawaii suffered a similar fate. Others in the Caribbean have been lost due to industrial or boat pollution, the cutting of mangroves for charcoal, the overgrazing by cattle of nearby fields, which produces water-clouding runoff, and the increase in artificial lights,” the Watlings told Cabinet.

On behalf of the campaign, the couple asked Cabinet to consider classifying the bio bay as of exceptional ecological or recreational value that cannot be altered except by natural causes as is the case in Puerto Rico where a similar bay has been formally protected.

“Dredging, pollution, destruction of mangrove trees, land development, and overuse of the bay’s water can kill the fragile dinoflagellates. Our first step to saving the bay is to NOT allow this dock to be built, however our main concern is ensuring no dredging takes place in the bay,” the campaigners say as they also ask for legislation prohibiting combustion engine vessels from entering the bay.

Go to the petition to save Bio Bay

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