January Pedro Castle drowning

2012 began with the loss of another young life, when a 21 year old man, later identified as Adam Rankine, died jumping from the cliffs near Pedro Castle on 1 January. His death came less than a week after another teenage boy, Justin Henry, died after jumping into the sea from almost the same spot.

The Pedro cliffs had recently become a popular hangout for young people, police said.

Following the drownings, government said it intended to review safety measures and warnings around the Pedro bluff, although whether it was actually possible to prevent people from jumping from the cliffs was not certain.

Nonetheless, two days later, police received two reports of people congregating in the Pedro bluff area. They were unable to confirm however, that anyone actually jumped off the cliffs that day.

Customs shake up

On 9 January it was reported that a major personnel shake up was underway at Her Majesty’s Customs Service after two customs officers were fired and a third resigned in December. In addition, customs collector Carlon Powery confirmed that another four officers remained on required leave in relation to unspecified investigations.

Paraquat poisoning

A number of dogs died from paraquat poisoning during the festive season. Paraquat, a herbicide, has intentionally been used in the past in Cayman to poison animals. The damage it does to the respiratory system causes death by suffocation. There is no antidote for paraquat.

There were eight reported cases of poisoning between the start of the festive season and 13 January. The Cayman Islands Humane Society was warning dog owners to prevent their dogs from roaming following a number of such poisonings.

$40 million in environment fund

While the Cayman Islands struggles to find the money to protect its indigenous parrots and iguanas, nearly $40 million sits in a specially established Environmental Protection Fund. The fund was set up in 1997 to acquire land for conservation purposes and other environmental projects. But in the intervening 15 years, it has mostly been used to shore up the government’s reserve of cash coffers, as well as for some infrastructure projects and post-Hurricane Ivan clean up.

Director of the Department of Environment Gina Ebanks-Petrie said the fund had not been meant to be used by government, but rather to buy land and support conservation efforts.

Funds are gathered through departure taxes charged to travellers leaving the Cayman Islands but rather than being used for environmental projects the funds are mostly used to bolster the reserve funds the government is legally required to have under the Public Management and Finance Law to run Cayman for 90 days.

Government owes millions to CINICO

As of December 2011, the Cayman Islands government owed more than $11.7 million to the Cayman Islands National Insurance Company.

According to an FOI request, the Ministry of Health owed the bulk of the outstanding balance to CINICO to cover health insurance and administrative costs for care of seafarers, veterans and indigents. More than half of this outstanding balance was for the 2008/9 year.

CINICO provides health insurance coverage to more than 13,000 people in Cayman – mostly civil servants and those groups that have difficulty securing health insurance from private insurers.

Devon Anglin guilty

Devon Jermaine Anglin was sentenced on 20 January to imprisonment for life after Chief Justice Anthony Smellie found him guilty of murdering Carlo Webster, 35, at the Next Level Night club in the early hours of 10 September, 2009.

Savannah location for Cayman Enterprise City campus

The developers of the Cayman Enterprise City special economic zone acquired 45 acres in the Bodden Town district and said they were aiming to break ground in the first quarter of 2012.

Cindy O’Hara, Cayman Enterprise City’s director of design and development said developers were not revealing the exact location of the business campus just yet but would do so once they had notified neighbours adjacent to the property and had explained to them what the plans for the zone were.

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