October Stingrays released into wild after fisherman bait swap

Four stingrays that were tagged by the Department of Environment at the North Sound Sandbar area in January and ended up in a tank at the Dolphin Discovery tourist attraction were set free and taken back to the Sandbar on 2 October. Dolphin Discovery said a local fisherman had swapped the live stingrays for bait in March and April.

No pre-election agreement

Leader of the Opposition Alden McLaughlin put a quick end to speculation on 3 October, saying his People’s Progressive Movement would not entertain a pre-election agreement to form a coalition government with any independent candidates who might get elected in next May’s general election. He said the PPM would run between 12 and 15 candidates in the 2013 elections.

Stamp duty change

Government announced 10 October that it intended to change the stamp duty on real estate property transfers, which had fluctuated greatly since the 1990s, back to what it was for decades before that – a flat 7.5 per cent on all transfers. However, first-time Caymanian real estate buyers were to receive either complete or partial duty waivers depending on the cost of the property. The government also announced that it would charge a 2-per cent stamp duty on the cost of new or renewed property insurance premiums.

Turtle Farm chastised

The UK-based World Society for the Protection of Animals released a scathing report on the Cayman Turtle Farm on 15 October, saying that it was keeping turtles in such a way that it was dangerous for both the health of both the turtles and humans. The Turtle Farm, which had agreed to the review, called the findings “unfounded, erroneous and sensationalised”.

Deadly crash

A horrific head-on crash on the section of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway known as the Harquail Bypass, killed the mother of a Royal Cayman Islands Police officer on 17 October.

The fatality was the fifth on that stretch of road in the past five years, leading again to calls for the road to be widened or divided.

Dengue info criticism

Various government entities on 22 October came under criticism for delaying for at least 48 hours confirmation of seven cases of locally contracted dengue fever, the mosquito-borne disease that can potential be fatal, despite direct questioning about the situation from the Caymanian Compass.

Health Services Authority Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kiran Kumar said the delay was caused by the protocol that need to be followed before information could be released to the public.

Superstorm Sandy

The Cayman Islands dodged a bullet 24 October when Tropical Storm/Hurricane Sandy – which later became known as Superstorm Sandy – turned north and crossed Jamaica instead of travelling further west. The storm still caused very rough seas around all three Cayman Islands for several days, disrupting shipping and other marine activities. The following week, when Sandy was heading toward its landfall in New Jersey, it affected Cayman’s tourism through the disruption of air travel and the cancellation of nearly 10,000 flights in North America.