Archive for May 8th, 2014

Cayman rugby squad soars up world rankings

| 08/05/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands became the biggest climbers of the latest IRB World Rankings with a five-place elevation to 58th after beating the Bahamas 35-7 in a warm-up to the NACRA (North American Caribbean Rugby Association) Championships recently. The win lifted the national rugby squad to within one place of its highest ever position since the rankings were introduced in October 2003, while also condemning the Bahamas to a three-place fall to 92nd. Richard Grizz Adams from the CRFU said the weekend trip to the Bahamas was a massive success all round as every Cayman team remained unbeaten.

The Cayman Mens XV in Freeport, Bahamas on 3 May was the first international match of the 2014 season and the team came away with a 35-7 victory moving them up from 63rd to 58th in the rankings. A win at the next fixture against Bermuda will elevate them to their highest ever world ranking.

The game started in the best possible way with Robbie Cribb getting over to score a try in the opening minute of the game as well as converting the attempt to add the extra 2 points. Bahamas then retaliated with a fantastic piece of individual skill by their No 10 Connor Albury who expertly chipped through for a score under the posts as well as adding the extras to bring the score to 7-7 with 6 minutes of the game underway.

Cayman then went on to pressure the Bahamas for an extended period and made the breakthrough with captain Chris Kennedy getting the 2nd try for Cayman. Robbie Cribb added the extras once again and the scores where now14-7 with 22 minutes gone. At the 30 minute mark Eddie Westin skipped his way through 3 defenders to score Caymans 3rd try with Robbie Cribb adding the extras again to make it 21-7. From the restart, a rash tackle by the Bahamian no 7 on Cayman’s Yohann Regnard resulted in a yellow card and Bahamas where now down a man for the next 10 minutes.

Play was temporarily suspended at half time due to lightning in the vicinity and play got underway again after a 45 minute break. On the 69 minute mark, Eddie Westin raced in for Caymans 4th try and Marco Du Plessis added the extras to take Cayman to a commanding 28-7 lead with 10 mins of regular play left. 3 minutes later Eddie Westin went in for his 3rd try of the game and Marco Du Plessis successfully converted to make it 35-7 which was the final score of the match.

Eddie Westin was awarded the man of the match for his fantastic performance on the day and Cayman retained the Becks Cup which is awarded to the winning team between Cayman and Bahamas.

Tries: Eddie Westin (3), Robbie Cribb , Chris Kennedy
Conversions: Robbie Cribb (3), Marco Du Plessis (2)

Cayman Team: Phil Fourie, Jason Scarff, Pete De Vere, Yohann Regnard, Paul Smith, Chris Kennedy (Captain), Eddie Westin, Ben Blair, Robbie Cribb, Marco Du Plessis, Alex Pineau, Josh Brown, Keswick Wright, Cueme Parker, Chris Palmer, Richard Adams, Paul Westin, Jacob MacAdam, Dan Bond, Venasio Tokatokavanua, Michael Sumares, Adam Keenan, Garrett Connolly

“The Cayman U10, U12, U14 and U16 all put together dominant performances in every match against Bahamas and Key Biscayne teams,” said Adams, adding that the U10 drew their first game but went on to win all others.

“Each team played either three or four matches over the weekend and all the hard work of the coaching staff was very evident as the Cayman players tackled with venom against much bigger opposition,” Adams said

This is the fourth year in a row that the Cayman teams have travelled to Freeport for the tournament chartering a flight and taking a party of one hundred and twenty people for the weekend. “The addition of the U16 team was a massive boost and the National Senior Men’s team retaining the Becks CupV Bahamas was also a great addition to the weekend,” the local Rugby leader said.

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Witness reveals Bise’s risky behaviour

| 08/05/2014 | 1 Comment

(CNS): A local man who was supposed to meet with the murdered Swiss banker, Fredrick Bise, on the night he was killed but who never saw his friend alive again told the court Thursday that Bise was engaging in risky behaviour with people of questionable character. The witness, who had been a sexual partner of Bise, said he had indulged in a sexual threesome with Bise and another local man who was a known criminal and who had been to prison. He also said that Bise had engaged in sexual activity on beaches and other outdoor places and had asked the witness to go to Barkers to have sex with him, but he had refused as he said it was too dangerous. 

During the second day of evidence in the trial of West Bay man Chad Anglin for the murder of Bise in 2008, the witness told the court that Bise had texted him the night before he was killed, asking to meet up. Although the witness had initially agreed, he was tired and had instead fallen asleep, he told the court. During the course of the evening Bise had both called and texted his friend several more times but because he was sleeping he did not see most of the texts and missed calls until the next morning, he said.

The court heard that the last call made to the witness from Bise was a little before 2am on the morning of 8 February, just a few hours before his badly beaten body was found in the back of his own burned out car in front of the house where he was living. When the witness played back the voice messages the next day, before he knew his friend was dead, he said it was just the sound of the wind, which was very strange. The witness also revealed that he had deleted the messages and calls from his phone just in case it was lost as he did not want anyone to see the messages he exchanged about sex or with his sexual partners.

The witness said he did not know why, after Bise had arranged to meet him that night for sex, he had also texted a third man that the witness said he didn't know, implying an invitation for sex with that man as well.

Other witnesses called during Thursday’s proceedings included two men who were in Kelly’s bar on the night before Bise was killed. Both said they had seen Anglin and Bise leave Kelly’s bar together around closing time in Bise’s silver SUV. A statement from a third witness, which was read to the jury, also revealed that before he left with Anglin, Bise had been chatting to another local customer who was known to beg people for drinks in the bar and who the regulars also believed was homosexual.

Bise’s body was found in the trunk of his burned out SUV in front of the house where he was living in West Bay on the morning of 8 February 2008. The crown's case is that Bise, who was gay, was the victim of a hate crime at the hands of Anglin and at least one other man, who is to be tried later this year. Although Anglin was arrested shortly after Bise’s body was found, as he was the last person known to have been seen with Bise before he died, he was never charged. It was not until detectives from the RCIPS’s new Cold Case Unit established in 2010 reviewed the case that any charges were brought.

The trial continues in Court Two Friday when the crown will be calling expert witnesses relating to pathology, DNA and scenes of crime via video links.

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Harris returns as McLean departs talkshow

| 08/05/2014 | 76 Comments

(CNS): Hurley’s Entertainment has announced more changes to its weekday call-in radio show, Crosstalk. Austin Harris was arrested in March for assault following an incident at a house party, where he was alleged to have hit a female friend. Asa result he was suspended from his job but he is returning to the airwaves on Monday. The police have confirmed that Harris remains on police bail but Randy Merren, the owner of the station, said his host deserved a second chance. Meanwhile, Gilbert McLean, the other half of the breakfast show duo, has announced his intention to leave this Friday. Harris will therefore be returning to the studio with a new sidekick, two time UDP political candidate Jonathan Piercy.

“I’m confident that all the right steps are being taken to resolve the matter that sidelined Austin in March. Everyone deserves a second chance and I’m sure he will grow and learn from this experience,” said Merren, as he thanked Ellio Solomon for stepping in.

Solomon, who was a full time host on the show before he was elected to the LA in the 2009 General Election, kept Harris’ seat warm for him for a while. However, the former back-bench UDP member is not returning to his radio career but is going back to to his desk job at WestarTV as its government liaison person.

Harris will return Monday morning with Piercy, as his old partner has decided to quit but after four and a half years on the show, McLean was relatively cagey about his sudden decision to depart.

“My work here on Crosstalk has been special and satisfying. I will no doubt miss the daily banter and comments on current affairs. However, time moves on and now, so will I,” he said cryptically. 

Merren said McLean would be truly missed but he was pleased to welcome Piercy. “His combination of private sector and government experience will be a valuable asset,” he said.

Ahead of his return to the show, Harris said he was working to put the unfortunate incident behind him and was looking forward to getting back to the job, as he thanked McLean and Solomon for filling the void while he was away and keeping the show on air.

Harris’ new sidekick, who is no stranger to the political arena having run for office twice in George Town on the UDP ticket, has 15 years’ experience in the financial services sector and public office experience from his time as director of the Department of Commerce and Investment.

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World Cup travellers urged to get measles shots

| 08/05/2014 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Cayman Islands residents who are planning to travel to Brazil next month for the World Cup are being urged by the Public Health Department to get the necessary vaccinations against measles and rubella if they are not already protected. The international football tournament begins on 12 June and lasts for a month until the final on 13 July, and concerns regarding the possible re-emergence in the region of the disease and a recent outbreak in Canada has led to heightened concerns in Cayman, which has been measles free for some 23 years, aboutits possible return through travel.

“The Pan American Health Organization  (PAHO) and the  World Health Organization (WHO ) recommend that all residents of the Americas travelling to the 2014 FIFA World Cup are  fully vaccinated against measles and rubella, to maintain the elimination of both diseases in the region,” Cayman’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr Kiran Kumar said.  “All vaccinations must be completed at least two weeks before travel.”

There have been no reported cases of measles in the Cayman Islands since 1991 and immunization coverage here is over 90% among infants and over 95% for most of the diseases among four year olds at the time of school entry. 

At the same time measles remains common in many developing countries, particularly in Africa and Asia, and people visiting these regions should pay attention to possible symptoms. In March 2014, an outbreak was also reported in Canada within an unvaccinated population. The easy access and frequency of air travel puts all non-immune persons atrisk for infectious diseases such as measles until they are eliminated globally.

Accordingly all travellers to the World Cup over the age of 6 months are to be vaccinated against measles and rubella, preferably with the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine.  In the Cayman Islands, two doses of MMR are customarily given at 15months and again at 4-6 years. Travellers who are not up to date with their vaccines are at greater risk of contracting these diseases when in close contact with infected persons in countries and locations where the viruses still circulate.

“Anyone returning from these regions who experiences a sudden high fever accompanied by a rash, is encouraged to seek medical attention immediately and to give a travel history to facilitate investigation,” said Dr Kumar.
“The first sign of measles is usually a high fever which begins about 10 to 12 days after exposure to the virus. A runny nose, cough along with red and watery eyes and small white spots inside the cheeks can develop in the initial stage followed by a  rash on the face and upper neck, eventually reaching the hands and feet,” he explained.

Measles is caused by a virus which grows in the cells that line the back of the throat and lungs. Measles is a human disease and is not known to occur in animals.

Travellers to Brazil are advised to contact the Public Health Clinic on 244-2648 or Faith Hospital on 948-2243 for an appointment, or to consult their physician to seek necessary vaccination and travel advisory.

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CI quarries can supply marl

| 08/05/2014 | 37 Comments

(CNS): The Iron Wood Development project currently being considered by the Cayman Islands Government depends heavily on roughly ten miles of road extension, referred to as the East-West Arterial Extension, being approved by the FCO. But in addition to the $40 million dollar price tag, the matter of whether there is enough non-processed aggregate on island to complete the project has also been raised as a concern during public discourse. Experts in the aggregate industry, however, unanimously concurred that that there was absolutely no reason why the amount of rock needed for the extension, which could be in excess of 750,000 cubic yards, can't be sourced on island.

Speaking to CNS, National Roads Authority Managing Director (Acting) Paul Parchment said, “If you look at what transpired … with the Esterley Tibbetts Highway the other day, there was no problem at all. No aggregate was imported there and in my 27 years in the business I have not known there to be a shortage of supply for any road project.”

He added that the main focus would be bringing everyone together and having all quarries participate in such projects.

“It’s about diversity of materials and accessing the volume. The NRA tries to treat everyone fairly and it also gives everyone the opportunity to be transparent about pricing with no underbidding. It’s a great way to give everyone work.”

Parchment said he couldn’t comment on whether the 2016 deadline could be met, as he thought it was better for the ministry to comment on such matters. Additionally, he noted that the Esterley Tibbetts Highway had set many precedents in how roads would be built in the Cayman Islands going forward.

There are two models the government could use to do the road. The first is having the NRA do the road completely, or secondly having a private firm do the road and the NRA providing quality control and project oversight, a model Parchment said worked well on the Esterley Tibbets Highway. The decision may come down to cost, he added.

At a recent Chamber of Commerce 'Be Informed' meeting, David Moffitt, one of the principals involved in the Ironwood development in Frank Sound, who is proposing to undertake the road project via a loan to government, indicated that the developers had approached GLF Construction about building the road. GLF was one of the developers that the Cayman government had been in talks with as a possible partner for the George Town cruise berthing project.

The issue of design and how deep the area for the road is excavated will also play a large part in determining how much aggregate is needed and the choice to dig through to rock or to use geo-textiles as a means of stabilizing the road over a 25-year period will also play a role on the local business of aggregate.

In the Cayman Islands, the Aggregate Advisory Committee is the government agency tasked with assessing the amounts of aggregate available in the Cayman Islands and then approving quarries based on that information.

CNS called Scott Slaybaugh of the AAC but so far we have been unable to reach him.

There are currently five major pits on island that could participate in the project, according to industry insider and quarry owner, Stanley Scott.

The Aggregate Advisory Committee has said that unprocessed rock has to be sourced on island because of the dangers that can be posed by cross-contamination of species and other risks posed by importing. However, processed or refined aggregate has to be sourced from overseas in some instances, with outside suppliers having to comply with inspection by the Cayman Islands Department of Environmental Health. The DEH then issues certificates to those suppliers.

When asked about his quarries potential to muster enough aggregate to assist in the East-West Arterial Extension, Stanley Scott of Scott’s Equipment Ltd, said, “I don’t see any problem at all with enough material for that road on Island. We have a couple million dollars in our pit but I imagine everyone will have a chance to participate. I really don’t think there will be any hold up material wise. They have an idea of what the area is like and how much material is needed. It’s not guess work. All that needs to happen is to get a set price for all parties involved.”

Denise Gower of Fountainhead, the Public Relations Company representing the Ironwood developers, said that in all of her discussions with aggregate providers on island, there has always been overwhelming assurance that there is more than enough material on Island to
complete the project within the time frame.

“The quarries owners are aware of what will be required for the project well in advance and so they are able to prepare and will also be given enough notice before the actual project,” she added.

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Rundown promises to run over sacred cows

| 08/05/2014 | 11 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman National Cultural Foundation’s annual review of the comical side of life in the Cayman Islands will open on 23 May. The much anticipated annual Rundown show which has been running since 1991 has developed a reputation for the funniest and most entertaining show in Cayman where nothing is sacred. With a mix of old and new faces and characters, Henry Mutoo the director and CNCF chair is promising a bag of laughs for the price of the ticket. The dump and the national flag carrier as well as local politicians and characters are all fair game in the review which runs over any sacred cows that get in the way of gags.

Mutoo said audiences can expect the same high quality, hilarious show, touching on some of the 'issues' in the Cayman atmosphere. “Rundown is a comedy. What we try to do is find the funny angles to our lives and take them to an almost farcical level,” he said promising a few surprises.
“Many people who have seen Rundown over the years often ask, "Is so and so going to be in it this year?" Mutto said as he pointed to this year’s cast of regulars as well as some new faces.

“The usual "Rundown clowns" – Leroy Holness, Rita Estevanovich, Priscilla Pouchie and the relatively new "Rundown jokers" – Matt Brown and Kevin Creary. All of these actors are very talented and many of them are quite experienced so, we are looking forward to giving our audiences aterrific and funny show.”

Muttoo said audiences should also look out for Dexter Bodden, 'The Calypso Cowboy', who will make his Rundown debut this year along with Jevaughnie Ebanks, Leslieanne Bernard, Fiona Pimentel, Evana Medina, Patrick Lopez, Maia Muttoo, Carla Court and Ned Miller III.
“As a matter of fact, all kinds of actors are coming out of the woodwork or the bushes this year,” Mutoo added.

The show opens on 23 May with performances every Thursdays to Saturday starting at 8pm and Sundays at 6pm until 1 June Tickets are $25 or $15 for kids and seniors.

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Cops seek owners for treasure trove of stolen goods

| 08/05/2014 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Police have released pictures of a significant amount of jewellery and other items that were discarded inside a pillow case found by police officers in West Bay. An RCIPS spokesperson said that the authorities believe the goods had been stolen in a number of burglaries and are asking anyone who may recognize anything from the recovered stash of loot to contact West Bay CID on 3241970. See more pictures below





















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Beyond the classroom

| 08/05/2014 | 41 Comments

Last week, MinisterTara Rivers was featured on Cayman 27’s The Panel in which she indicated the failure of schools to adequately deal with students’ behavioural issues was a result of poor communication, lack of specialist resources, and accountability. Unsurprisingly, members of the public lashed out at her for her perceived passing of blame upon the education system, yet many failed to find fault in their own blame.

Some even ventured as far to claim it was the fault of a faulty immigration policy that they claimed had imported a culture of delinquency. Everyone, it seems, is willing to pass blame on the perceived cultural changes Cayman has undergone, yet we are reluctant to look closer to home.

For all our pride in our seafaring traditions, we fail to acknowledge that for generations, there has often been a lack of a constant father figure within the home. Prior to the success of the tourism and financial industries of the seventies, most Caymanian men had little choice but to venture to sea to make a living for their families. Whilst admirable, it would be naïve to ignore the number of children born overseas and out of wedlock whilst these men were away.

Even more ironically, for a country with a rather long history and high rate of miscegenation the slander of immigrant ethnic groups is unusually tolerated. However inappropriate to discuss, given our stringent Christian heritage, few can argue that divorced and multiethnic families are hardly a new phenomenon. Despite this fact, many Caymanian adults point to the lack of a father figure and these foreign elements as a significant contribution to the behaviour problems of some modern Caymanian youth.

Statistically, there is a correlation between delinquency, trauma and the lack of a strong family unit . However, further examination of the numbers show that there is an even higher correlation between such behaviour, physical and mental health and socio-economic status. Children who are reared in long-term destitution are far more likely to engage in delinquency.

Thus, it can be ascertained, that ‘bad behaviour’ is not a result of only the lack of traditional two parent home, but can also result from the limited opportunities available to them due to their socio-economic status. Despite this,  a combination of personal resilience and the availability of positive alternatives to their current situation have been proven to prevent anti-social behavior and a destructive lifestyle.

What seems to be missing, is the acknowledgement of how we often treat children and the proven negative consequences it has on their development. Recently, a Compass poll found that the vast majority of respondents believed corporal punishment and exclusion were appropriate penalties for misbehavior. Many reason that they were treated as such when they were children, without having any serious repercussions on their development. Never mind the fact that they are the generation that has produced the current ‘troublemakers’ of society, they fail to see that such practices often have counterproductive results.

The use of corporal punishment, quite fittingly to the topic of education, often results in damage to a child’s brain development and a lower IQ. Rather than instilling moral behaviour, children who are physically reprimanded have been found to be more creative in their deception. It can also, more worryingly, make a child prone to aggression. Interestingly, despite the ease in which the proponents of the broken home argument turn to statistics to prove their point, they are far less likely to accept the numbers pointing to their own parenting habits. Rather, they brush it off by saying there is a differentiation between abuse and discipline even though both produce strikingly similar results.

Rivers also touched upon the poor care available for children with mental health issues and disabilities- a problem which Cayman has long grappled with, albeit unwillingly. With the introduction of the draft National Disability Policy, there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel, yet it still doesn’t begin to address the attitude towards psychological and physical disabilities. Despite being the minority, Caymanians are more than 5 times more likely than non-Caymanians to suffer from a disability. Unsurprisingly, with limited care and treatment, this places a sizeable segment of the population at a great disadvantage and whilst the policy is welcome step, we will be playing catch up for a very long time until attitudes change.

Likewise, public perception of juvenile drug use and its effect of behavior and scholastic achievement is completely out of sync with reality. According to the National Drug Council statistics, more than half of all students surveyed reported no drug use at all. More interestingly, despite the vehement opposition towards cannabis use and its odd juxtaposition to delinquency, use is only 12.8%. Instead, it is alcohol, which is most popularly used (54%), followed by tobacco use (14.4%).

More notably, albeit a marginal difference, females were more likely to report illicit drug use than their male counterparts despite males being more frequently penalized. This in itself could be for a number of reasons due to the fact that, although drug use can be associated with delinquency, such behavior is often the cause of a number of social, cultural and economic factors.

What the above shows is that there is a huge disconnect between what we’re willing to acknowledge is true as opposed to what we believe to be true. The poet Khalil Gibran once said: “Of life’s two chief prizes, beauty and truth, I found the first in a loving heart and the second in a labourer’s hand”.

As a young Caymanian who has struggled with my mental health and substance abuse, I can testify to the validity of this statement. I grew to not fear physical, verbal and psychological attacks from the outside. Instead, I internalized them which, as shown above, can be quite harmful. Whilst my stubbornness has kept me resilient, it was my fortune to have met a number of special people along the way.

Teachers who went above and beyond what people typically expect of them and instead were the parents and friends many of their students didn’t have. Rather than instructing those like myself what they thought to be right, they taught us how to seek out the lives we desired. With patience and care, they taught us how to question the world around us and question ourselves. Such lessons cannot be purchased, nor are they simply born into. I was fortunate to meet such persons – many children never do.

To me, that is the greatest fault in the system. If we are to address the problem of poor academic performance, anti-social behavior and poor mental health, we must sincerely endeavour to seek out the true underlying problems behind the matter. Nor can we continue to expect positive change from our youth when we are keen to label those who make mistakes as undesirables. As opposed to imparting blame, as we are oft prone to do, we would be best to understand that things are not as black and white as they may seem. It may even be harder to accept that for all our efforts, not every child will turn out the way we intend them to.

As we may see from the above, there are a number of factors that may impact the behavior and well-being of a child. Often times, the greatest trauma is hardest to treat, as it requires not only a mere change in policy and funding, but a high level of diligence and care. Each child is unique in their character and circumstance and thus must be nurtured in a holistic sense that caters to their individual needs. Thus, it is not just the system that must change, but rather our entire manner of child rearing.

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Rum, ganja and phone gear nabbed by prison guards

| 08/05/2014 | 13 Comments

(CNS): Four pounds of ganja and six bottles of rum along with a cell-phone and a USB charger were seized by officers at HMP Northward recently as the prison continues its ongoing battle against contraband. The loot was found inside the prison perimeter near the prison greenhouse, the supervisor of security & intelligence, Maxine Spalding, said. Despite the two parallel 15-foot security fences topped with razor wire that secure the prison compound, packages are still thrown over the barrier into the grounds. The Prison Service is in the process of upgrading the perimeter camera system, which, she said, would help to identify those guilty of these criminal acts.

Members of the public who are caught committing such offences are subject to criminal prosecution, and inmates who intercept these packages lose remission time from their sentences. But the smuggling of drugs and ganja in particular is a common problem for the prison.

Prison Director Neil Lavis commended his officers for their continued diligence, which he said was demonstrated by the increase in the number of drug and contraband discoveries in recent months.

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Mental health patient has melt down in GT

| 08/05/2014 | 14 Comments

(CNS): A woman suffering for mental health problems caused havoc in downtown George Town early Wednesday morning when she went looking for breakfast, topless and armed with two machetes. The woman first threatened staff and scared customers in Café del Sol when she demanded and received a free piece of carrot cake and smashed up the counter. She then went to Burger King, where she was fully clothed but still carrying the machetes, and demanded a cheese burger with lettuce as she threatened the staff. The woman was apprehended by police officers at the fast food restaurant around 7:30am. The officers were armed with Tasers but were able to arrest thewoman without using them and before anyone was hurt.

The woman was taken into custody and arrested for damage to property, causing fear or provocation of violence and indecent exposure, and police say they are now investigating the incidents, in which no one was hurt.

The woman is well known to the police and local community and is suffering from serious mental health problems, highlighting the pressing need once again for government to address the issue and improve care in the community for those needing assistance and a safe environment.

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