Minister visits MRCU a year after taking office

| 25/06/2018 | 26 Comments
Cayman News Service

Psorophora ciliata, aka “gallinipper”, the largest mosquito in the Cayman Islands, prone to biting cows, horses and humans

(CNS): More than twelve months after taking office, Health Minister Dwayne Seymour, accompanied by senior officials, made his first visit to the Mosquito Research and Control Unit headquarters last week, despite the controversies surrounding the contract with Oxitec, the bio-engineering firm that is producing sterile genetically modified mosquitoes. It is not clear why Seymour has taken a year to visit the department, given its critical role and the recent decision by his ministry to put a hold on the nationwide role out of the GM insects. 

The ministry is currently dealing with a number of controversies: the hospital is at the heart of yet another Anti-Corruption Commission investigation, this one regarding overtime payments to security; the Department of Environmental Health is bogged down in a series of problems relating to equipment and staff shortages which have led to ongoing delays in garbage collections since the end of last year; and medical waste was dumped openly on the landfill in the Brac as a result of maintenance failures.

In addition, the DEH director remains on mysterious and unexplained enforced leave, and the ministry’s chief officer, Jennifer Ahearn, is facing potential contempt charges over evidence she gave to the Public Accounts Committee.

Against this backdrop of issues, Seymour and his team attended the MRCU’s North Sound Road HQ, where the minister appeared unaware, according to a release from GIS, about the extent of the work the unit performs. He said it undertakes a much wider range of operations than most people know, and promised to do more to raise awareness of their contributions. The minister was shown around the department by Director Jim McNelly.

In addition to heath and environmental health, Seymour has a number of other departments in his portfolio, including the Department of Environment, but he has yet to visit that agency. However, on the morning before his visit to the MRCU the minister paid a visit to the Cayman National Cultural Foundation at the Harquail Theatre, as he also has arts and culture under his ministry, where he was given a guided tour by Managing Director Marcia Muttoo and Artistic Director Henry Muttoo.

Seymour was said to have discussed potential future revenue-generation measures, including renting the venue for community events, and public-private partnerships in the tourism industry. They also spoke about the resources needed by the CNCF and the potential for expansion of the theatre, which is more than 30 years old and currently has a seating capacity of 300.   

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Category: Art & Entertainment, environmental health, Health, Local News

Comments (26)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I’d like to know why they identified 8 roads in February 2016 as zika roads, months before the “zika cases” and at the time of discussions on releasing them here; the statistics of the zika infections are so tightly guarded I am left to wonder if they really did happen.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Speaking of MRCU… anyone else see the brand new Hilux truck they have? Do you think we should be spending all that money on a Hilux or spend it on a new employee who just goes around properties to check for standing water and then does something about it? Seems easy enough to train a Caymanian to do.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Serves no purpose but getting a BIG PAY CHECK.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Help us oh lord! I guess like they say… better late than never! At least he trying visit some of the departments in his ministry…..some of the other ministers not visited none of the departments in their ministry…. including the premier! #noleadership #wegottagetitrightin2021

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  5. Anonymous says:

    3:48pm do not worry about it because if he do the country may get in a bigger mess.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    He never answers his constituency, he doesn’t call back. WTH? “I’m very busy”, Doing what?

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  7. anonymous says:

    Why does MRCU get all the luck?

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  8. annonymous says:

    what a mess our poor country is in……..

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  9. Anonymous says:

    That’s not bad I don’t think the Premier has ever visited the offices of Immigration before.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    When was the last time Cayman had any case of any mosquito borne disease??? The tried and true methods, that have been deployed for decades, continues to be effective today. So what do we do??!!! We BUY more mosquitoes.

    And poor John John, he is so far out in left field, there is no hope. Over his head, is an understatement.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Zika, 2016/2017.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Incorrect 4:30!!! Those cases were actually of individuals traveling BACK to Cayman from other countries that had an outbreak…..the result of uncontrollable mosquito population.

        So please try get your facts straight!!!

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        • Anonymous says:

          Not all cases. Know your facts.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Yes, viral outbreaks (dengue, chikungunya, zika, yellow fever, encephalitis) begin with an infected traveller. The domesticated aedes aegypti mosquitos then take it from there, passing it along to new non-traveling human hosts on the female’s second and third blood meals. Needle sharing, effectively. In the Cayman Islands in 2016, concurrent with Jamaica’s epidemics, there were 24 confirmed and suspected cases of Zika, 150 probable cases of Dengue Fever (including two confirmed by labs), and 48 suspected Chikungunya cases. I think you’ll find that most of those patients hadn’t been traveling aggressively off-island.

          https://www.paho.org/hq/dmdocuments/2017/2017-phe-zika-situation-report-cai.pdf

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      • Anonymous says:

        Lie, about ya zika. That never happened. Just as fake as the mosquitoes they are fixing in a lab.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    When are the voters planning to initiate the process of changing the criteria for MLA eligibility? Who are they expecting to do that for them? It’s not high on any current MLAs list, that’s for sure!

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Waste of space, money and voters time.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    The Minister for Education virtually never visits the Ministry of Education and certainly never consults with its staff.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Poor john-john. Way out of his league!!

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