Editorial for December 02: Don’t be an easy victim

It used to be, not all that long ago, that residents of Grand Cayman
didn’t lock their house or car doors. There was so little crime here, there was
scarcely the need to take such precautionary measures.

Sadly, those days are gone.

Crimes of all types are much more prevalent these days, thefts

The Christmas season, when people are doing a lot gift shopping, is an
attractive time for would-be thieves to take advantage of unsuspecting

That is why it is important for everyone to raise their awareness of how
to make themselves less vulnerable to thefts during the holidays.

Thieves often commit crimes of opportunity that present the least amount
of resistance.  For instance, if you’ve just gone Christmas gift shopping,
have left bags of future presents in the back seat of your car for all to see,
and have also left your doors unlocked or your windows down, a would-be thief
might move to steal your precious packages even if he or she wouldn’t have been
inclined to do so otherwise.

It is important that when Christmas gift shoppers must leave their cars
unattended that they put valuables where they can’t be seen in a vehicle, lock
all doors and roll up all windows.

But holiday crimes aren’t confined to vehicles. Thieves know that there
is potential booty placed right below Christmas trees all over the
island.  Gifts, like jewellery, which might otherwise be kept in a safer
location, are sometimes kept right out in the middle of the room, or possibly
right next to a window.  It is therefore also important that residents
take extra steps to secure their homes during the holiday season, doing what
they can to make it more difficult for thieves to gain entrance into their

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service recognises the added theft
threat during the holiday season and because of that, officers will be outside
major supermarkets on Friday afternoon to help advise residents about
protecting their property.

We recommend residents take a few minutes to speak with the
officers so they can reduce their chances of becoming a victim of crime. 



  1. Alternative Energy for Cayman

    A few weeks ago, The Caymanian Compass ran an online survey that asked respondents to choose from a list of alternative solutions for producing electric power. Participants were asked to choose wind, solar, nuclear, water, or no change. Each of the choices has its own advantages and problems. Of the 529 total respondents, 354, 66.9%, thought that solar was best. Wind garnered 14.5%; Nuclear 8.7%; Water 7.6%; None of above 2.2%.

    Solar power in our bright, sunny environment makes a lot of sense to most of us. The initial investment, for home or commercial use, is currently very expensive. Photo Voltaic (PV) modules – Solar Panels – can cost as much as US$4000 per kilowatt (KW). The cost of installation will, of course, add to this cost. PV modules convert energy from the sun into electricity with a 10% to 15% efficiency. At current electric power costs it takes 30 years to recoup the investment in equipment that normally has a 25 year useful life. This seems to negate the economic feasibility of solar power at this time. New technology could change this.

    The use of our ever present winds also seems to fit the need as a renewable power source for Cayman. However, a recent government ruling stopped the work that CUC had begun of assessing the feasibility of installing wind driven generators that could have added power to the electric grid. The rotating blades create turbulence that could affect a new Doppler weather radar system that is being installed. The radar system will be used for early warning of weather systems in the Caribbean that could affect Cayman.

    Nuclear power plants are very expensive and take years to plan and construct. Our small island offers no means of locating such an installation away from the general population. Nuclear power generation is pollution free until the time comes to dispose of spent fuel rods. Who would accept our radioactive waste and at what price?

    The next to last category in the survey was water. There are several processes that use the movement of water to drive hydro-electric turbines. Unfortunately, Cayman has no flowing rivers and our tide range is less than the 16 feet required for tidal basin generators.

    The tropical location of Cayman offers possibilities for a different means of producing electricity. Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) uses the tropical ocean’s warm surface to make electricity. Interested parties can check out information on the Internet. One method, called open-cycle produces salt and potable water. Electricity and drinking water in one process sounds intriguing for an island that needs both. I have not researched the costs involved in this process so, I am not sure it would be economically feasible.

    The last category in the survey was ‘none of the above.’ Remaining at status quo may not be the desirable alternative but, economics drive these changes as much or more than public sentiment. Demanding that a private company spend millions of dollars to change to a cleaner burning fuel only assures that consumers bear those costs in higher electric utility bills.

    When I voted in the survey, I suggested that Cayman consider using Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) as fuel for power generation. LNG is now transported worldwide in ships designed for the purpose. Trinidad, Mexico, and the USA are possible suppliers of LNG.

    A location for an LNG storage and re-gasification facility would be needed. The liquefaction of the gas is achieved by supercooling the product until it liquifies. Storage is at 0 psi pressure and the liquid is not flammable. The re-gasification process, a reheating of the liquid, can be accomplished with sea water. Delivery could be achieved with a pipeline to the CUC Plant.

    Any change in fuel ideology should include a demand for the availability of ultra-low sulphur diesel fuel. This change would allow the importation of high efficiency/high performance diesel automobiles and trucks. These vehicles offer great fuel mileage and low exhaust emissions.

    As I began writing this, I had not really considered stating an opinion on the sort of change that I feel should occur. Now I find that I cannot complete the dissertation without it. If we continue using fossil fuel, I feel that the use of LNG should be a priority. Its availability and possible cost savings, over time, make it a viable resource. Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion has great possibilities as well. A process that desalinates sea water as it produces electricity offers value for money spent.

    Very little if any economic investigation has been done or reported on any of the so called ‘green utilities.’ There is very little information on the possible lifetime costs, social, or environmental impacts of attempting a wholesale change to renewable energy sources. Very large initial costs make these systems difficult to justify unless long term financing is available.

    We must remember that sun and wind associated processes are intermittent at best. When the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow, no energy conversion can occur. Power storage facilities are necessary for those periods when power production is not possible. There are currently no viable storage methods that work for long periods of time. Therefore, it would be necessary to have a 100% backup system. As it turns out, power utilities prefer to have the reliable system as the lead facility and the intermittent system as the ‘add-on’. All of these ‘alternative’ systems have very high initial price tags. Electric power production, using renewable sources, costs are 30% to 50% more expensive than methods using fossil fuels. Until some means of producing electricity is devised that offers competitive costs, these fuels will continue to be the dominant source of energy.

    Most of the renewable systems, throughout the world, have been heavily subsidized by governments attempting political correctness. The current economic condition of Cayman’s government would not allow its involvement in any project.

    My previous statement, about being in favor of a change to LNG to fuel our current power generators, is a personal sentiment regarding what I feel would be a change to an environmentally cleaner production system. However, I know that such a change would be very expensive and would drive utility costs out of reason for most of us. I know that any move toward renewable energy sources would bring the same consequences. We must consider the economic, social, environmental impact on our island nation as we decide our course of action. Change for the sake of change may carry too large a price tag.



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