Friday, July 22, 2011

Brac Bash Underwater Photo Competition

September 2011 marks the 15 year anniversary of the sinking of the M.V. Capt. K.P. Tibbetts off the shores of Cayman Brac. In celebration of this event, the Sister Islands Tourism Association (SITA) has initiated an underwater photo competition. The competition is open to all non-professional photographers who are not residents of the Cayman Islands. Submission of an underwater photo of the sunken frigate runs to August 30.

The grand prize for the photo contest is free airfare on Cayman Airways, a 7-night stay at the Brac Reef Beach Resort with daily breakfast, lunch and dinner; 6 days of 2-tank diving at Reef Divers and airport ground transfers. The grand prize winner will also receive free admission to the Brac Bash Cook-off and will become an official judge for this fun event. The Brac Bash is an annual event held in honor of the sinking of the M.V. Capt. K.P. Tibbets and is spearheaded by SITA. 

The M.V. Capt. K.P. Tibbets was build in the Soviet Union in 1984 for the Cuban Navy. It was purchased and sunk by the Cayman Islands Government and christened the M.V. Capt. K.P. Tibbets after a Cayman Brac politician. The ship has become a major dive attraction on the Brac. 

There is no format specified for the photos submitted. Entries for the competition should be sent to

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Marine Species Discovered off Little Cayman

Dr. Rick Hochberg and his team of biologists from the University of Massachusetts have recently discovered 15 new species of tiny gastrotrich worms in the well-oxygenated sands off the shores of Little Cayman. The scientists elected to complete a portion of their research at the Little Cayman Research Center (LCRC) because of its pristine environment, while utilizing the facilities at the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI). Dr. Hochberg has found enough of these complex species to warrant further studies and will host a workshop at the LCRC, placing Little Cayman firmly on the map of serious scientific research.

Global warming threatens habitat degradation which may wipe out species before they are even discovered. The CCMI has said this type of research is vital for understanding the biodiversity of our earth. The methods Dr. Hochberg is using to determine which species are new and how they are related will assist in how speciation and evolution happens.

The Central Caribbean Marine Institute was incorporated in 1998 as a non-profit 501c3 organization.  CCMI was established as an international charitable organization. Since its first years, CCMI has proven a valuable asset to the effort of understanding changing coral reef and tropical marine environments. Its research and education programs have established a solid foundation for future reef education and awareness in the Caribbean and for students and researchers from around the world.

A key component of the organization's strategy was realized in May 2006 with the opening of the Little Cayman Research Center.  Equipped with wet and dry laboratories, a classroom, library, dormitory-style and private rooms and a sustainable off-the-grid bathhouse as well as easy access to the reefs, the Center is an important new research and education center for all of the Cayman Islands.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Duty Concessions Extended on Building Materials

In an effort to further stimulate economic activity the government has extended import duty concessions on building materials. The Cabinet extended concessions on imports of building materials for a further six months until 31 December 2011.

In announcing the extension, the Premier and Minister of Finance, Tourism and Development the Hon. McKeeva Bush said, “The extension of these concessions is consistent with the Government’s ongoing efforts to stimulate growth in the economy, and I encourage all developers and other stakeholders to accelerate their construction activity during this further concessionary period.”

Imports of building materials to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman will be on a 100% duty free basis for the period 1 July to 31 December 2011. Under the extended concessions, imports of building materials to Grand Cayman will be charged a flat rate of 15% for the period 1 July to 31 December 2011. The normal rate of duty is 22%.

For the purpose of these concessions, building materials have been defined as: “All physical components and substances, whether solid or liquid, used in the construction, renovation or restoration and forming a permanent part of any building or related structure.”    Items such as furniture, accessories, electronics and appliances are specifically excluded.