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Enjoy some Christmas cheer


Cory Scruggs, from Atlanta, Georgia, has certainly made a name for himself on the local cocktail scene.

He emerged victorious from Cayman’s World Class cocktail competition earlier this year and won the Bartender of the Year award, which was presented at the Out of the Kitchen event held at The Ritz-Carlton in October.

Although Scruggs has had a lot of competition experience, the jitters can still get the better of him. “I tend to get pretty bad nervous shakes,” he says, laughing. “Even if I feel confident, sometimes my hands just don’t want to cooperate. I find it best to laugh it off or make a joke about it while I’m competing. ‘Shake it till you make it’ usually gets a laugh or three.”

He is presently mixing magic at Agua restaurant in Camana Bay, including holiday cocktails to keep you merry in the festive season. Stop by and see why Scruggs is considered to be a master mixologist.

Rum Port & Crumble
50ml Ron Zacapa 23
2 dash Angostura bitters
7.5ml Ruby Port
7.5ml sugar syrup
Garnish with crumbled dark chocolate

Baileys Fairy Nutcracker
25ml Baileys
25ml Smirnoff vodka
25ml Frangelico
12.5ml Amaretto
12.5ml Dark Crème de Cacao
Garnish with Chocolate powder/ crushed Amaretto cookies

The Black Apple
45ml Johnnie Walker Black Label
5ml Calvados
5ml simple syrup
2 dash Angostura bitters
Lemon zest
Garnish with slice of apple


Johnson’s Conservative party wins UK election

LONDON (AP) — Boris Johnson’s gamble on early elections paid off as voters gave the UK prime minister a commanding majority to take the country out of the European Union by the end of January, a decisive result after more than three years of stalemate over Brexit.

Johnson’s promise to “get Brexit done” and widespread unease with opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership style and socialist policies combined to give the ruling Conservative Party 365 seats in the House of Commons, its best performance since party icon Margaret Thatcher’s last victory in 1987. Corbyn’s Labour Party slumped to 203 seats, 59 fewer than it won two years ago, vote totals showed Friday.

The results offer Johnson a new mandate to push his EU withdrawal agreement through Parliament. Since taking office in July, he had led a minority government and, after the House of Commons stalled his Brexit deal at the end of October, he called the election two years ahead of schedule in hopes of winning a clear majority.

“I will put an end to all that nonsense, and we will get Brexit done on time by the January 31 – no ifs, no buts, no maybes,” he said as supporters cheered. “Leaving the European Union as one United Kingdom, taking back control of our laws, borders, money, our trade, immigration system, delivering on the democratic mandate of the people.”

Johnson also offered an olive branch to Britons who want to remain in the EU, saying he will respect their “warm feelings” and build a “new partnership” with the bloc as “friends and sovereign equals.”

Speaking Friday outside 10 Downing Street, he pledged to end acrimony over Brexit and urged the country to “let the healing begin.” He said he would work to repay voters’ trust.
The scale of Johnson’s success also marked a stinging defeat for Corbyn, who had promised to lead Labour to victory with the “biggest people-powered campaign our country has ever seen.”

Instead, voters rejected his attempt to bridge divisions over Brexit by promising a second referendum on any deal with the EU. The vote also turned away the rest of the party’s agenda, which included promises to raise taxes on the rich, increase social spending and nationalize industries such as water delivery, railroads and the Royal Mail.

Corbyn, who spent his entire career as a backbench gadfly until unexpectedly winning a party leadership election in 2015, was criticized for silencing critics within the party and failing to root out anti-Semitism among his supporters. Centrist Labour politicians were quick to call for Corbyn to step down, though he has said he will stay on during a period of “reflection” and that an internal election to choose a new leader would take place early next year.

“Obviously, it is a very disappointing night for the party,” he said after retaining his own seat in Parliament. “But I want to say this, in the election campaign we put forward a manifesto of hope. However, Brexit has so polarized debate it has overridden so much of normal political debate.”

Phil Wilson, the former Labour lawmaker from Sedgefield who lost his seat to the Conservatives, said blaming the party’s wipeout on Brexit was “mendacious nonsense.”

Corbyn’s leadership “was a bigger problem,” he tweeted. “To say otherwise is delusional.

The party’s leadership went down like a lead balloon on the doorstep. Labour’s leadership needs to take responsibility.”

In an election where differences over Brexit cut across traditional party lines, several big names lost their seats the House of Commons.

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson pledged to cancel Brexit if she were elected prime minister, but she was defeated by the Scottish National Party in her constituency north of Glasgow and resigned as party leader. Chuka Umunna was a one-time Labour Party leadership candidate, who left the party in February because of differences with Corbyn.

Running as a Liberal Democrat, he lost out to the Conservatives in the cities of London and Westminster. Nigel Dodds led the Democratic Unionist Party in the House of Commons as the party supported the government in hopes of winning concessions on Brexit for Northern Ireland. He lost his Belfast North seat to Sinn Fein.

But those individual defeats may be a sign of longer-lasting shifts in the U.K.’s electoral landscape.

Johnson owes his success, in part, to traditionally Labour-voting working class constituencies in northern England that backed the Conservatives because of the party’s promise to deliver Brexit. During the 2016 referendum, many of the communities voted to leave the EU because of concerns that immigrants were taking their jobs.

Early in the campaign, pundits said the election would turn on these voters, who were dubbed the “Workington man” after the onetime steel-making community in northwestern England.

The Conservatives won Workington on Thursday by more than 4,000 votes. The constituency had supported Labour candidates since 1918, with only one short interruption in the 1970s.

Mathew Goodwin, a professor of politics at the University of Kent, said Johnson matched a bit of leaning to the left on the economy with a similar lean to the right on Brexit, migration and crime.

“Johnson, for his part, appears to have grasped one of the new unwritten laws in politics: It is easier for the right to move left on economics than it is for the left to move right on identity and culture,” he wrote on his blog.

The question now is whether the Conservatives can address the economic and social concerns of these voters and hold on to their support in future elections.

Conversely, some traditionally Conservative-supporting communities in southeastern England flipped to Labour as the pro-EU sentiments of middle class voters outweighed other issues.

One of these was the London district of Putney, home to many professionals and the starting point of the annual Oxford-Cambridge boat race. Labour won the seat by 4,774 votes on Thursday, overturning a Conservative majority of 1,554.

But the next flashpoint for U.K. politics may be Scotland, where the Scottish National Party won 48 of the 59 seats up for grabs on Thursday.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon delivered the landslide victory with a campaign focused on demands for a second referendum on Scottish independence. Johnson has flatly rebuffed the idea of another vote, saying Scotland already rejected independence in 2014.

But Sturgeon argues that the U.K.’s decision to leave the EU against the wishes of the Scottish people has materially changed the landscape. Some 62 percent of Scottish voters backed remaining in the EU during the 2016 referendum on membership.

She said she plans to publish a detailed democratic case next week for a transfer of power that would clear the way for a second independence vote.

“It is the right of the people of Scotland. And you, as the leader of a defeated party in

Scotland, have no right to stand in the way,” she said.

Johnson’s sweeping victory in the UK will give him room to maneuver on such issues, particularly involving the fraught details of Brexit. Jim O’Neill, chairman of the Chatham House think tank, said the size of the Conservative Party victory gives it a clear mandate to execute the first stage of departing the EU by passing the withdrawal bill as desired.

“But it also gives a majority where the government can explore its future trade relationship with the EU with more time” and extends the transition period, he said “Even more importantly, in principle, this majority gives the prime minister the leeway to be bold and reveal his true desires for both domestic and global Britain.”

Department of Children and Family Services evicts tenant from government housing

Eviction proceedings have begun at a government-owned housing property. The dilapidated multi-unit development is home to an undisclosed number of persons.

At approximately 10am on Friday, 12 Dec., armed with an eviction warrant issued by the court, a team of officers from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and the Department of Agriculture, along with social workers, arrived on the property at the intersection of Agnes Way and Crewe Road.

Cayman Compass reporters observed as officers made multiple attempts to contact the occupant of one of the homes for about 30 minutes. When no contact could be made, the Fire Services Department was called in, and the door broken open.

No one was home at the time of the eviction. However, one resident who lives in the complex, told the Compass that an elderly woman resided in the unit, and had left on Thursday night.

The operation was headed up by the Department of Children and Family Services.

The Compass reached out to the DCFS seeking a comment on the reason behind the eviction, as well as where the current tenants would be relocated. No reply was received by deadline.

Premier welcomes Conservatives’ victory

Premier Alden McLaughlin has said the Conservatives’ victory in the United Kingdom elections is a “good result” for the Cayman Islands and the other British Overseas Territories.

He sent his congratulations to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his party on their general election victory Friday.

“It is not without relief that we have learned that the Conservatives won the majority of the national vote in yesterday’s (Thursday’s) United Kingdom general election and that Boris Johnson has returned to Number 10 Downing Street,” said McLaughlin in a statement.

The ruling Conservative Party captured 365 seats in the House of Commons, its best performance since the party’s icon Margaret Thatcher clenched victory in 1987.

Vote totals showed Friday that Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and his team had won 203 seats, 59 fewer than it won two years ago.

McLaughlin, in his statement, congratulated Johnson on what he called a well-fought campaign.

He said he looks forward to working with Conservative government in the coming year.

“We believe that a win by the Conservatives is a good result for the Cayman Islands and other British Overseas Territories,” the Premier said. “The Cayman Islands has had a positive and productive working relationship with several Conservative governments over the years and I look forward to meeting with the Prime Minister early next year and working with him and the new Government on issues important to the UK and the Cayman Islands, including completing the important reforms to our constitution.”

It was under the leadership on the Conservative party that Cayman was able to secure changes to the constitution which included a mandatory requirement for the UK to consult with the premier on any legislation or Orders in Council that may directly impact on the Cayman Islands and that Cabinet signify its view on the legislation or Order.

The changes also include provisions removing the governor’s power to write legislation and standing orders, as well as the right to disallow any legislation. It will also see the Legislative Assembly renames as Parliament of the Cayman Islands.

Those changes were recently passed in the Legislative Assembly and are expected to be confirmed by the Privy Council next February.

Curated with love

For interior designer Lydia Uzzell, creating a space that reflected she and her husband Justin’s personal taste and lifestyle was paramount in designing their new home.

The trouble was deciding on a style for the three-bedroom George Town residence, as both are drawn to a variety of aesthetics.

“In the end we nixed the idea of one particular style and instead chose to make the home feel as comfortable and inviting as possible, with an eclectic mix of furniture and accessories,” says Lydia.

To read more visit our sister publication Inside Out.

New general manager at Meals on Wheels

The board of directors of Cayman Islands Meals On Wheels on Thursday announced the appointment of Jennifer Lenora West as the charity’s new general manager.

West will provide day-to-day oversight of programme operations, which include a small staff, 100 volunteers and four kitchens that are contracted to provide free hot and nutritious meals to seniors and physically challenged members of the community, according to a press release. Meals on Wheels serves 245 meals daily to seniors.

“I am excited to work closely with the board of directors and stakeholders in order to build community awareness and raise funds to ensure that no senior goes hungry,” said West in the press release. ‘When we think of Cayman, we don’t often consider poverty or need, but many of our seniors would not have access to a hot nutritious meal if it weren’t for the work of Meals on Wheels and the community that provide funds and time to make it all possible.”

The press release noted that West holds a bachelor of science from Toccoa Falls College School of Christian Ministries in youth ministries, with a minor in outdoor leadership, and she is pursuing a master of science in human services from Post University.

She has more than 15 years’ experience working within the non-profit field locally and in Latin America, North America and Europe. A native of George Town, West attended Cayman Prep and High School, Cayman Islands Middle School and is a graduate of John Gray High School.

West said that one of her top priorities is developing awareness through education about the needs of seniors in the community, as “they were once the pillars of our country and it is important to me as a Caymanian to give back to them as they have given so much to us”.

For information on how to get involved in Meals on Wheels, visit ​www.mealsonwheels.ky​.

Cayman students join Madrid climate protest


Caymanian students were part of a youth protest Wednesday at the international climate change summit in Spain.

Steff Mcdermot was among a group of activists who stormed and occupied the main stage at the United Nations COP 25 climate conference.

Youngsters from across the globe linked hands and chanted, “We are unstoppable, another world is possible,” and “What do we want? Climate justice. When do we want it? Now.”

Around 50 young people joined climate activist and youth icon Greta Thunberg on stage for the demonstration.

Mcdermot, part of Cayman’s Protect our Future group, is in Madrid for the conference along with two other students, Connor Childs and Olivia Zimmer.

She said she had managed to evade security guards to join the protest.

“As soon as Greta finished speaking, we all just ran on stage,” she said. “She joined in. She was standing on stage with us.”

Steff Mcdermot, left, part of Cayman’s Protect our Future group, was in Madrid for the conference along with two other students, Connor Childs, right, and Olivia Zimmer.

Mcdermot said young people in Cayman were part of a growing international movement, inspired by the Swedish teenager who this week was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year for her climate activism. Mcdermot said the aim was to force politicians to act with more urgency on the issue.

“We understand the science but we see that nothing is being done. We are losing our future and there is nothing happening,” she said. “Cayman is going to feel the impact. We have to understand that this is real.”

She said Cayman had a climate change policy and a national energy policy which were not being properly implemented.

Mcdermot added that she was not concerned about repercussions for joining the protest, because it involved so many young people from different nationalities and backgrounds.

“If one person stands up, you are going to get shot down, but when we all stand collectively, we can’t get shot down,” she said.

“What I am afraid of is the science. It is so hurtful that governments, including Cayman’s government, do not see the urgency of this climate crisis.”

Childs and Zimmer were also in the audience when the protest took place but were blocked by security guards from joining the other students on stage.

Childs said the whole week in Madrid had been inspirational.

He said it had been enlightening to talk to young people from other countries where climate change was already having an impact and to hear from speakers like Thunberg and environment writer John Carey.

Childs said youth activism and interest was helping to drive the conversation on climate change in new directions.

“I think it will be effective. The impacts of climate change are going to hurt us – not the ones that are out there making the problem worse. We will face the consequences,” he said.

Zimmer said the trip had been “life changing”.

“The interesting part is meeting people from around the world and hearing how climate change is affecting them now. It is not just a future problem.”

She believes Cayman has to act to protect the islands and its people.

“Cayman has an amazing opportunity to become a world leader in implementing policies and regulations that treat the effects of climate change. We need to put pressure on our politicians to make sure it happens,” she said.

The 2019 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is taking place in Madrid from 2 Dec. through 13 Dec.

The three Cayman students are part of an International National Trust Organization delegation.

Where is the queen’s portrait?


My wife and I visit Grand Cayman every year or two and have done so since 1999. We used to visit a number of islands in the Caribbean but after our first trip to Grand Cayman we just don’t care to go anywhere else.

There are many aspects that keep bringing us back but perhaps the most attractive one is the people. The multi-cultural society which exists seems to us to be a beautiful example of how all of God’s children should live and care for each other. If you have problems, we have never seen them. Everyone we have come in contact with down through the years have been gracious, open, friendly, and caring.

Our last trip was in June of this year and we noticed that the picture of Queen Elizabeth was no longer in its former prominent location after the new construction in the airport. I looked about but was unable to find one. Her Majesty has given her life in service to the people and we think very highly of her. Our suggestion is that hopefully her photograph will be restored to its proper place for incoming travellers at the airport.

George and Dolores Fredericks
Johnson City, Tennessee

UFC 245 title fights predictions


The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, will host Ultimate Fighting Championship 245 Saturday night, which will be headlined by three title fights on the main card. The last time the UFC booked three title fights on the same card was back in 2017. Saturday’s bouts will close out 2019 for UFC’s pay-per-view. The Cayman Compass enlisted the help of Cayman boxing head coach Floyd Trumpet and 3-1 Pro MMA fighter Floyd Moxam to break down the three history-making title fights, with Compass sports journalist Seaford Russell Jr., a two-time silver medallist for Copa Jiu Jitsu, also weighing in.

The first title fight on the card features a rematch between two-division women’s champion and future hall of famer Amanda Nunes (18-4) defending her bantamweight belt against former women’s featherweight champ Germaine de Randamie (9-3) who is on a five-fight win streak.


Winner: Amanda Nunes

How: Round 2 TKO

Reason: “On paper, it would seem that de Randamie is the better striker. She boasts an undefeated record as a pro kickboxer and is on a five-fight winning streak, with a 16-second destruction of her last opponent. Nunes is now in the discussion of being the greatest female fighter of all time. I believe Amanda Nunes will use her boxing to close the distance on de Randamie and use her superior grappling to take the fight to the ground and score another TKO win by way of ground and pound.”


Winner: Amanda Nunes

How: KO in round 2 or 3

Reason: “Nunes is the more complete fighter and is well-rounded compared to the challenger.”


Winner: Amanda Nunes

How: Round 1 KO

Reason: “I must agree with Moxam on the fact that Nunes will close the distance. However, I don’t think she will try to grapple de Randamie. I believe Nunes will counter de Randamie during an exchange of blows and de Randamie will get caught.”

The second title match, which is positioned as the co-main event, will see featherweight champion Max Holloway (21-4) defending his title for the fourth time against Australian contender Alexander Volkanovski (20-1) who has been on a rampage lately, defeating the likes of former champion Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes and Darren Elkins.


Winner: Max Holloway

How: Unanimous decision

Reason: “Volkanovski has the type of pressure game that would seem to cause Holloway trouble. Volkanovski has never been past the third round so it will be interesting to see if he is able to maintain his frenetic pace in rounds 4 and 5, where Holloway’s striking output tends to increase. Holloway’s boxing is some of the best in MMA; he strings together smooth punching combinations and uses his footwork to create various angles when he is counter striking. Unless Max Holloway gets clipped early, I see his high-volume striking being the difference in the fight, especially in the later rounds.”


Winner: Alexander Volkanovski

How: Decision

Reason: “Volkanovski’s pressure will be too much for Holloway.”


Winner: Max Holloway

How: Unanimous decision

Reason: “Holloway is much taller than Volkanovski and will surely use his reach to out-strike the Australian throughout the fight. However, Volkanovski carries the power coming into this fight so if Max isn’t careful, it could be lights out, but I don’t think Max will allow that to be an option.”

The headline title fight will see welterweight champion Kamaru Usman (15-1) defending his title against archrival and former interim champ Colby Covington (15-1). These two have had several altercations outside the octagon over the last four years and on Saturday the two will have a chance to settle the beef. It’s a fight destined to blow the roof off the arena.


Winner: Kamaru Usman

How: Split decision

Reason: “In my opinion, this is the hardest pick of the three championship fights on the card. Both fighters have a great wrestling base and tend to outwork their opponents. Usman should have the power advantage, but Colby has a higher striking output. Both fighters have decisions in each of their last fights, but I think Kamaru will edge out the victory after five rounds.”


Winner: Kamaru Usman

How: Submission

Reason: “If the fight goes to the ground, Usman will dominate as he is a very good transitional fighter.”


Winner: Colby Covington

How: Submission via rear naked choke in round 4

Reason: “This is a tough one. Both guys are fairly equal. I think Covington has the conditioning advantage heading into this fight and will win the scrambles on the ground, to which Usman will make a mistake by giving his back and Covington will capitalise for the upset.”

If you’re looking to watch UFC 245, be sure to check out some of the local bars and restaurants on Island. The main card kicks off at 10pm.

Calico’s owner: ‘We should have built piers years ago’

Handel Whittaker is one of the most recognisable faces on Seven Mile Beach. After nearly two decades as the proprietor of Calico Jack’s and even longer in the tourism industry, he has a lot to say about how the island is changing and what the future might hold.

Though he supports cruise tourism and a new dock, he has broader concerns about development and over tourism. Whittaker sat down with Issues reporter Kayla Young to share his views on a variety of topics.
Here’s what he had to say:

On tourism in Cayman:

Needless to say, I support tourism 100%. It has been my life. I’ve been in the hospitality business all of my life.

I think over the years, our tourism product has improved dramatically with the addition of the Ritz hotel, the Kimpton, the Westin. They’ve all done a fantastic job of attracting high-end tourists.

Having said that, I think that we have to be very careful and cautious that we don’t overbuild the tourism product.

I know there is talk about adding more hotels and I think we need to improve our infrastructure before we start building more condos and more hotels. People come here for relaxation and they come here for the beautiful, crystal-clear waters and Seven Mile Beach.

If we overbuild, then we’ll be just like any overbuilt destination and people won’t come here.

In my experience over the years, talking to hundreds of people, they love the tranquility of the Cayman Islands. It is safe. People are friendly. It’s a diverse society. People like that. But we have to be very, very careful that we don’t ruin what we have.

On building along Seven Mile Beach:

You can walk up and down Seven Mile Beach and you have the sense of feeling that ‘this is my beach’.

It’s not overcrowded. People enjoy that. People walk up and down Seven Mile Beach with absolute freedom.

There’s no fear or worry because it’s safe, but if we add another three, four, five hotels that means we’re going to have twice as many people walking the beach. We’re going to have twice as many cars on the road.

And we’ll have twice as many restaurants. That increases the population. The warmness of the island will be gone. We have to be very careful that we preserve what we have.

I don’t think we should rush to build another entity [on Seven Mile Beach]. I think people need to have some breathing room and I say that as a local and looking after the tourist perspective.

People come here to my place every day and they comment, ‘Wow, I was here last year and I can’t believe how the island is changing.’ If you put that in context of people who have been coming here 20, 25 years, they’re having a culture shock.

On growth:

I can remember when our population was under 10,000 people. If something happened in West Bay, [then] North Side, East End, Bodden Town was up in arms.

We shared a common goal. Now, it’s like you went to bed and you woke up and there’s been an absolute transformation.

It’s somewhat of a culture shock. In all honesty, I knew that this island would develop but I didn’t envision the pace that it’s being developed at.

I think a lot of the older Caymanians, they’re having some reservations about it. As well they should be.

We all strive to have a better life. But development should be done on a timely basis so that everyone can enjoy what we have and not just a chosen group.

On infrastructure:

We need to come up with more roads and, personally, I think the powers that be should entertain the idea of putting a moratorium on cars.

Coming from North Side, 20 years ago, I could get up at 6 o’clock in the morning, take a shave and a shower, and I would be in town by 7. Now, in 2019, I get up at 4:30 in the morning to try to get here by 6:30, 7 o’clock in the morning.

We definitely need to do something about the roads, specifically for the eastern districts. Because everyone works in town. Most of the schools are in town.

On the cruise port:

Needless to say, I support the cruise ship facility. There is real concern about the impact on Seven Mile Beach.

I put my trust in the powers that be that they’ve done the adequate research, that putting a cruise ship pier in George Town won’t affect Seven Mile Beach. I don’t think it will.

We have developed a strong cruise ship business in the Cayman Islands. Quite frankly, we should have had a cruise ship pier 35 years ago. It’s like the can you keep kicking down the road. I feel if we fail, I don’t think we’ll ever see a cruise ship facility.

There is much talk that we need a cruise ship facility but that George Town is not the place.

We have built a town around cruise ships. It is the most accessible.

I think the cruise ship companies have an arguable point. The ships are getting bigger.

A couple of years ago, you would have five ships servicing one area. So if a company can take two ships and do the same work as five, needless to say, they’re saving money and making money at the same time.

I think it’s important that we go ahead with the cruise pier. Bringing in larger ships will be highly beneficial to us.

On accommodating large passenger arrivals:

We will have to do something about the downtown area.

We will have to do some reevaluating of the road system. Some of those roads will have to be closed off. I know people love to have that drive in the morning so they can look out to the ocean. And I do as well.

It becomes quite obvious that when you have that many people in the downtown area, you have to get rid of the vehicle traffic. It can’t work.
We need to come up with a plan that can make George Town more cruise-ship friendly.

On tourist access:

The Cayman Islands, as I see it, our tourism product was sold to the world as the beautiful Seven Mile Beach.

People really don’t come to the Cayman Islands for shopping. They come here for the beautiful waters, for the gorgeous beaches and just having a great time.

One of the things that I’ve seen that has happened over the years is – and I blame this on government, free enterprise – we have allowed all of the choice pieces of beach on Seven Mile Beach to be sold and developed for hotels and condos.

And, having said that, we have left no space for cruise ship passengers to come to the beach.

If you come to Seven Mile Beach on a busy cruise ship day and you want to go on the Public Beach, it is a problem. It is a huge problem for you to get from your car to the ocean.

The powers that be need to address [it]. This is a serious problem that we face.

On the future of Calico Jack’s:

We started as a little shack [17 years ago]. I remember when we first opened, we (had) no liquor licence. I opened at 9 o’clock, closed at 6, selling hamburgers, chicken sandwiches and sodas.

Today it’s probably one of the best-known beach bars in the entire Caribbean and all over the world.

Calico Jack’s is the spot. I’m very proud that I’ve been able to develop something that people can enjoy. That’s my forte. I love to make people happy. In all honesty, I hate to see it go. But that’s life. You have to move on.

We’re still in talks with the powers that be. I’m hoping that sometime in the near future we can come to some kind of an agreement.

On growing the tourism product:

I think government and the private sector need to work in tandem. We have a great product. There’s no question about it.

We have to be extremely cautious that we don’t, as they say, kill the goose that laid the golden egg.

Being in this business as long as I have and being a local Caymanian, I’ve seen so many drastic changes.

I’ve heard so many different comments from new arrivals and older arrivals. We need to slow it down a little bit. There’s no question about it. I think if we develop our product cautiously, we will be in great shape. If we continue to rush and build, build, build, I think people will find elsewhere to go. No one wants that to happen.

Police appeal for witnesses in manslaughter case


Police are looking for people they believe may have witnessed a violent assault that resulted in the death of a 36-year-old Sri Lankan man last month.

“We know, without a doubt, there were about 75 to 100 people present in Bananas that night,” said RCIPS Detective Superintendent Pete Lansdown. “We probably estimate from the CCTV and inquiries that we have made that there are 20 to 25 people who probably saw what happened. We’ve had to put in as much effort to find witnesses as we’ve had to find and identify the suspects in this case.”

Of the potential 25 witnesses, RCIPS officers have reduced the list to seven key people they would like to come forward.

“We would appeal to anyone who knows these people. If you recognise yourself, come forward, make yourself known,” said Lansdown. “We need witnesses in this case. One or two extra witnesses could make the difference between a successful conviction or an acquittal.”

Dinesh Asanka Fernando Wannukawatta-Waduge died 30 Nov. following an altercation at Bananas nightclub on Eastern Avenue, George Town.

Three men have been charged in the incident. According to court documents, CCTV video shows the victim talking to a woman who was at the bar with one of the defendants. While speaking to the woman, he leaned towards her and rested his hand on the middle of her back. The documents revealed that he was “struck almost immediately” by one of the defendants. As he staggered away, he was pushed by several people, one of whom was identified as one of the other defendants.

After being escorted outside, another incident is said to have transpired. However, the camera’s view was obstructed and so the incident was not recorded.

Jeremy Ralph Parchman, 20, of West Bay, and Shimar Kelly, 22, of George Town, have since been jointly charged with one count of manslaughter. Kevin Parchman, 24, the brother of Jeremy Parchman, was charged with a single count of assault causing actual bodily harm.

Wannukawatta-Waduge’s death has left his wife, who is battling cancer, to raise their 4-year-old daughter.

“I’ve had contact with her [the victim’s wife] daily,” said RCIPS Detective Sergeant Lexine Welcome. “She would Whatsapp me, text me, and send me tons of photos daily, and ask me to get justice for her family.”

Urging witnesses to come forward, Welcome said, “I just want people to put themselves in the shoes of the family. Come forward, tell us what you know. It might be insignificant to you, but to the investigation it is just a piece of the puzzle that we are waiting for and it will make a big difference in the investigation.”

From domestic assaults to murder cases, a lack of witnesses has resulted in numerous acquittals in Cayman’s courts.

In June this year, William Isaac Ebanks-Romero walked free from a murder trial after the prosecution cited a lack of evidence to support the charges against him. In that incident, Dorrington Ebanks, 29, was gunned down on 25 Dec. 2018 at a West Bay party. Although multiple people were present, no one came forward as a witness.

“We do have established systems, methods, processes to protect witnesses if they need that level of protection,” said Lansdown. “I don’t think this case needs that, but if you have justifiable fears and worries, we can take steps to allay those fears.”

Wannukawatta-Waduge lived and worked in Cayman for five years at Guy Harvey’s Restaurant and Bar as a line cook.

The men charged with his death made their initial Summary Court appearance on Friday, 6 Dec. They were all remanded in custody and the matter was transferred to the Grand Court, where they are expected to make their next appearance on Friday, 13 Dec.

Click here to view images of the seven witnesses police are trying to trace.

Anyone with information can call the RCIPS at 649-2930.


Langevin: ‘Do we want quality or quantity?’


As the manager of the Cayman Islands’ most luxurious resort, Marc Langevin has a vested interest in the future of the island’s tourism product.

Amid an ongoing debate about tourism growth, the general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman is keen to see the island retain its reputation as a safe, high-quality destination.

While he sees the advantages of cruise tourism, he has concerns about the potential impact of uncontrolled growth. Langevin spoke to Issues reporter Kayla Young about the debate over stayover versus cruise tourism, overcrowding and why Seven Mile Beach will always be Cayman’s main selling point.

Here is what he had to say:

On cruise versus  stayover tourism:

It’s interesting when we talk about cruise ships. It’s complicated. It’s complementary. You cannot say, ‘choose one or the other’.

Because, a lot of our customers, I ask them, is this your first visit to Grand Cayman? Their response quite often is, ‘Oh no, we came here on a cruise ship. We visited the island and we loved it, so we came back.’

I believe cruise ship is a complementary industry by allowing customers to visit. I mean, the Caribbean is very complicated to understand. Every island is so particular and has so many different offerings, that when they go around [the region], people will see what they like and some people will prefer a destination for whatever reason.

Travel agents quite often are using cruise ships to go visit different destinations. And when they go visit different destinations, we have requests to go and visit the resort. They come because they will be sending us customers and they want to meet us, build a relationship with the resort, making sure the product fits the needs of their customers.

The big equation is: How do we coexist and cohabitate? The balance is critical.

On maturing as a destination:

When I came on island 15 years ago, when I was trying to promote the destination, it was hard at the time to explain exactly what was so special about the destination.

We were the first luxury resort. [Cayman] was not as known except for what we heard on TV or from the movie ‘The Firm’. Fifteen years later, I think it is a very different conversation we are having now.

Because the island has established a reputation for sense of well-being, a quality product, quality food, a sense of Caymankind that we always promote. There is no more confusion that we are just a beach.

There is a clear image and style that is attached to the name Cayman Islands.

I think we are in a very different situation. The question is, as we move into the future, how to preserve that. I think that is, for me, the biggest question in that whole referendum issue.

I know there are many people with many different motivations talking about that whole issue. For me, the question is, what is really the overall intent and vision for the island, and can we preserve what has been already established?

On quality versus quantity:

I am hearing different things from different people at different times. Sometimes I’ve heard in the conversation that they were looking at improving the quality of the people coming.

Then I’m hearing this other conversation that they wanted to increase [numbers]. The question is, are we looking for quantity or quality? Then, my logic as a kind of business person, I’m thinking, OK, what is the interest of the cruise ship?

No one gives you money for free. There is a return on your investment. The way I understand it is it’s going to be recovered by cost per passenger.

So if I am looking at a logical point of view, that I made an investment, I would want more passengers and to what extent? Is there a control? Is there a limit?

For me, that is the part that is worrying me the most. What is the control process to limit the growth to something that can be acceptable for the island?

On stayover versus cruise tourism:

The difference in behaviour in a customer on stayover and from a cruise ship is quite different. A stayover customer will use the beach maybe three or four times.

They are not going to the beach every day, to Stingray [City] every day or drive on the road every day. So there is a distribution of the activity, which makes it so there is less pressure on the environment itself.

I know some people are worried about the environmental aspect of the coral. I am talking about the environment of the island – the experience and environment that we are offering to the customers.

I have experienced recently going to Stingray City and I was shocked already, by the way it was mistreated, mismanaged by operators.

There was probably, I believe, disregard for the law because there was loud music. There were people drinking. That, already, was not a good experience. So what happens now if you start to increase that number? How do we control that before our No. 1 attraction disappears?

You can create all the attractions you want on the island and I’m glad there are people who are thinking about that. But the fact is that customers will still want to come first to the beach and then to Stingray. It is the number one attraction. It doesn’t matter what you do.

I see it in my own resort. I also tried to create an attraction with the waterpark, with the golf and the tennis but people still go on the beach.

On mass tourism:

Other islands are known for all-inclusive and they are doing mass tourism because they have room.

You’re talking about Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico. They can do mass volume and they almost do it by default.

Honestly, they almost don’t have a choice. Here, we have created an environment where it’s an amazing platform for luxury business.

Why would we change it? If you’re on 5th Avenue in New York, why would you want to become Times Square? That’s two different types of businesses. They don’t necessarily coexist all the time. It’s a different business.

A customer said, ‘You know, I noticed you don’t have any lock on the outside of your resort.’ And I said, because we don’t need to. At other destinations, you have a fence around the resort, some guards with machine guns, or whatever it is.

Here we don’t. I’m not suggesting we don’t have any issues with security but it is not a necessity.

I think the best thing we can do right now is preserve that way of life. When you start to bring volume, it brings other kinds of issues.

Referendum delay offers chance for Christmas truce

On the eve of the first Christmas of World War I, so the story goes, German and British soldiers laid down their weapons and for a few brief hours came together to celebrate, share food, sing carols and play football.

While we are not about to suggest a CPR vs. CIG soccer match-up, we offer our full support for a Christmas truce on the increasingly rancorous port debate.

The delay to the referendum, which stems from a court decision last week, has been met with mixed reaction.

Some celebrated a chance for changes to a referendum they perceive to be unfair. Some were disappointed to lose the chance to vote sooner rather than later. Some simply want it all to be over.

Whatever camp you are in, the delay offers an opportunity for the temporary laying down of arms.

Over the past months as the debate has heated up, so have the levels of animosity.

The port vote risks becoming Cayman’s Brexit or its Donald Trump moment – a poll that divides families and ends friendships.

The question of whether or not to build a cruise port in George Town is an important one which involves significant value judgements and it is right that people are exercised over it.

But reasonable minds can differ and it is possible to disagree passionately without the level of hostility we have seen in some of the discourse on this issue.

Over the past six weeks, we have dedicated the Compass Issues section to covering every aspect of the debate in the build-up to the poll. With the referendum now delayed to a date yet to be determined, we are putting our coverage on hold.

The postponement of the referendum may not be what everyone wanted, but it offers the chance for the community to pause for breath and, at least for the Christmas season, to remember that there is more that unites us than divides us.

Athletics SC forces early start to CIFA President Cup

Sunset FC after their 3-1 win over Roma SC Tuesday night.

A late addition to the Cayman Islands Football Association Men’s President’s Cup moved up the start date of the competition from Saturday, 14 Dec., to Tuesday night this week, with Sunset FC kicking things off by knocking Roma USC out of the tournament with a 3-1 victory at the Annex. The early start to the competition came when, at the last minute, Cayman Athletics SC joined the other 12 teams competing, leading to a schedule change to ensure the tournament still ends 26 Feb. 2020, according to CIFA president Alfredo Whittaker. Athletics SC is not currently part of the CIFA premier league as the team lost players to other squads before the start of the season. However, Athletics head coach Ernie ‘Gillie’ Seymour said this was a blessing in disguise. “We didn’t lose anything; their disloyalty shows they were never a part of the Athletics family in the first place.

We are actually rebuilding our squad with some of our youth players for the next season,” he said, adding, “Entering this competition will give us some momentum going into the next season.”The tournament will resume this weekend with Athletics SC facing off against East End UFC on Sunday at the Annex.

No charges in fatal Bodden Town accidents

Police say no charges have been filed in two separate accidents that claimed the lives of two men in November.

On 24 Nov., sometime after 7pm along Anton Bodden Drive, Bodden Town, Henry Schucair Robinson, 65, was killed after he was struck by more than one vehicle. Police say no one has been arrested in the matter and the investigation continues.

Investigations are also under way in the death of Shaun Ryan Newell, 35, of Jamaica. Newell died on 25 Nov. following a collision involving his motorcycle and a school bus. A 68-year-old North Side man was arrested in that case on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving. He has since been released on bail.

Police say anyone with information about either of the incidents should contact the Traffic and Roads Policing Unit at 649-6254 or 924-1071.

Kimpton Seafire gets LEED Silver certification

Dart’s Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa and The Residences at Seafire have achieved LEED Silver certification.

LEED – ‘Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’ – focusses on encouraging a more sustainable approach to the way buildings are designed, constructed and operated, according to the US Green Building Council, which maintains the initiative.

The Seafire resort opened its doors on 15 Nov. 2016 and The Residences at Seafire opened a year later.

Cameron Graham, Dart’s president of development delivery, said in a press release that the property is the first hospitality project in the Cayman Islands to achieve LEED certification and one of fewer than 200 resort-residential properties worldwide to earn this level of green-building rating.

“LEED certification provides a thorough framework to create environmentally responsible, resource-efficient and cost-saving green buildings,” he said.

According to the release, Seafire conserves natural resources through the use of geothermal air conditioning, sustainable LED lighting, a 170 kilowatt solar array, rainwater harvesting and extensive native landscaping.

Graham said the Seafire project features several examples of recycled materials. “Concrete from the demolition of the former Courtyard Marriott hotel was recycled into fill material for the new site, and the community bike and walking trail uses pavers made with recycled glass produced at Dart’s glass-crushing facility,” he said in the release.

Graham added that the more than 32,000 plants featured in the landscaping at Seafire were sourced from Dart’s nursery and include a number of indigenous and native species.

Police issue traffic advisories for Christmas activities

Police are advising the public to take note of road closures and traffic advisories this Saturday in George Town and East End.

Road closures are planned for 14 Dec. in George Town to facilitate Kirk Freeport’s annual Christmas on Cardinall Avenue event. The street will be closed between Harbour Drive and Albert Panton Street from 4pm to 8pm.

Police are also urging the motoring public to drive cautiously as the East End Community Association is hosting a Children’s Christmas Party on Saturday from 3:30pm.

As part of the event, police said, there will be a procession which begins at Cottage Public Beach on Sea View Road, travels along Sea View Road to Austin Conolly Drive and along the Queens Highway to Morritt’s Tortuga. The procession will then turn around and travel to the East End Community Beach.

The event is expected to finish by 6:30pm.

Motorists are advised to exercise caution if travelling in these areas of East End on Saturday afternoon.

Also on Saturday, the Cayman Islands Fire Service will hold its annual Kids Christmas Party, in collaboration with the Cayman Islands Motorcycle Riders Association. The event takes place on Saturday from 1pm to 5pm at Airport Park.

The public is invited the event, at which music, food and drink will be provided. Santa and his helpers will also be on hand to give out presents to the children.

HSA: Community support matters for those living with HIV/AIDS

For people who are HIV positive, the condition of their lives often comes down to one very important factor – the support of the community, or lack thereof.

The support provided by family members, friends, healthcare providers and the wider community is so important that the World Health Organization has dubbed this year’s theme as ‘Communities make the difference’. Here in Cayman, it is no different.

Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV Programme Coordinator of the Health Services Authority Laura Elniski said when it comes to the well-being of those living with HIV/AIDS in Cayman, the role of the community cannot be understated.

“If they [those living with HIV] are fully supported, they can live a long and happy life,” said Elniski. “If they aren’t, they can end up living very sheltered. Here in Cayman we are taking the World Aids Day theme even further. For us it’s ‘Communities make the difference. Take action, be the difference.’”

Elniski’s sentiments are echoed by the Cayman AIDS foundation. In a statement published on its website, CAF says, “Working together as a community means empowering and enabling all people, everywhere, to access the services they need.”

Each year, World AIDS Day is held on 1 Dec. To mark the occasion in Cayman, the HSA offered free HIV testing across all the districts on all three islands during the last week of November.

“This year, 30 people took up the free tests,” said Elniski. “While it’s a drop in the numbers we normally see each year, we suspect it might be because more people are making use of the free weekly HIV testing that occurs on each Tuesday.”

The World Health Organization estimated that 37.9 million people were living with HIV in 2018, with 1.7 million new HIV infections occurring globally each year.

In the Caribbean, between 350,000 and 500,000 people are believed to be living with HIV/AIDS. During 2018, Cayman recorded eight new cases of HIV and three new cases of AIDS. As of the end of September 2019, six people were newly diagnosed with HIV this year and there were two new cases of AIDS.

Although there was a drop in the number of new cases between 2018 and 2019, Elniski says there is an overall increase in the numbers.

A breakdown of the latest HIV/AIDS statistics by age group reveals there are two females between the ages of 15-19, one male between 25-29, six males and one female between 30-34, five males and one female between the ages of 35-39, three males and three females between 40-44, eight males and two females between 45-49, four males and three females between the ages of 50-54, 13 males and four females between the ages of 55‑59 and five males and 12 females 60 and older.

When added up, there is a total of 73 people living with HIV in Cayman, and 23 of those have been diagnosed with AIDS.

The first recorded case of HIV/AIDS in Cayman was identified in 1985. Since then, the HSA has recorded 169 cases of HIV and 81 cases of AIDS.

There are four primary vectors by which HIV can be transmitted: blood, semen, vaginal secretion and breast milk.

Elniski said Cayman has made great strides to help improve the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS, especially mothers.

“Here in Cayman we have eliminated the transmission of HIV from mother [to infant] via breast milk,” she said. “Another area of progress is the availably of antiretrovirals. People who [live] with HIV can take their pills once a day.”

She said a great deal of ignorance and common misperceptions surrounding HIV/AIDS have been cleared up in recent years, and now efforts focus on helping to strengthen community support.

“We have come a long way with raising awareness about how HIV is spread,” she said. “But what we want is for people to understand how they can support their family members who are living with HIV.”

Although a feasible cure might still be a long way off, CAF remains hopeful that the “AIDS epidemic” can be brought to an end by 2030.

In its statement, CAF said, “Cayman World AIDS Day 2019 is an opportunity to harness the power of social change, to put people first and close the gap.”

The statement continued, “Ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 is possible, by working together as a community and allowing people access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.”

The fight to find a cure

In March this year, British doctors announced that a London man had been cured of HIV via stem cell treatment.

The research, published in Nature, a British multidisciplinary scientific journal, say doctors claim to have successfully treated an unidentified man who was previously diagnosed with HIV.

According to the journal, this is the second such cure to have occurred. Ten years earlier, a German man had been treated successfully, using the same method.
While medications are available that can help to lower the number of HIV cells in a person’s body to the point where they is virtually undetectable, there is no known cure that has been mass produced.

HRC celebrates youth involvement in key social issues

Newly appointed Human Right Commission chairman Dale Crowley has congratulated Cayman’s young people for getting involved in issues not only impacting local shores, but the world at large.

“Here in Cayman our youth have demonstrated their awareness of, passion for and dedication to important issues by adding their voices to causes such as the environment, bullying and mental health. Drawing attention to these matters mirrors the same demand for positive change seen in youth grassroots campaigns around the world,” Crowley said in a statement to mark International Human Rights Day, on 10 Dec.

Over the past few months, Cayman’s youth have been making their voices heard through various initiatives, most recently in a series of public demonstrations urging government officials to stop the cruise berthing and cargo project.

Last month, students from Cayman’s Protect Our Future engaged in a campaign where they posted signs stating ‘Greed destroys our future’ at various locations around the island, including the George Town landfill and on reefs by the George Town Harbour.

HRC Chair Dale Crowley presents a cheque to Ilse Dacker of Hurley’s Media at the Stood Up Anti-Bullying Fair.

The commission, in its statement, congratulated local youth involvement in initiatives like Protect Our Future, from which a group of young students representing the National Trust for the Cayman Islands attended the United Nations climate change conference in Madrid, Spain, this week. Additionally, the commission has supported youth mental health/anti-bullying initiatives promoted by the Alex Panton Foundation, and the annual Stood Up Anti-Bullying Fair, both of which recently received $500 donations from the HRC.

This year’s International Human Rights Day observance, according to an HRC statement, focussed on young people, with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights selecting the theme ‘Youth Standing Up for Human Rights.’

The UN group has called for the empowerment of young people to better know and claim their rights in order to generate global benefits in matters such as education, climate change, civil and political participation, protection of LGBTI rights, fighting racism, gender equality, and bullying, the HRC statement said.

Young people aged 15-24 account for one in every six people on the planet, or 1.2 billion people.

“In the Cayman Islands, our rights, freedoms and responsibilities are enshrined in Part One of the Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009 – the Bill of Rights,” the HRC statement said. “Cayman’s Bill of Rights outlines a duty for protection of children along with other basic human rights including the right to life, a fair trial, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and marriage; as well as basic freedoms from torture, inhumane treatment and slavery.”

The commission has also urged everyone to support ‘Youth Standing Up for Human Rights’ by using the hashtag #StandUp4HumanRights.

It said a range of official promotional items can be found on the Stand Up For Human Rights website, www.standup4humanrights.org/, from logos to social media visuals, to quizzes and other educational materials.

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