Cayman Net News was founded by veteran publisher and editor, Desmond Seales and began publishing in 1999 as a pioneering online news provider. Its phenomenal growth and early recognition as a leading authority on news from the Cayman Islands community, soon led to the establishment of a weekly print edition in tabloid format in March 2000. Six months later, it became a twice-weekly publication.
In 2001, Cayman Net News began publishing three times per week and went daily in 2003, publishing a wide variety of special features and supplements, including the weekly TV Guide, Lifestyle section and a weekly section on Cayman Brac.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan, which devastated the Cayman Islands with its Category 4 winds and massive storm surge on September 12, 2004, Cayman Net News’ website really came into its own. For a while, it was the sole, uninterrupted source for authoritative and reliable news from the Cayman Islands. This was accomplished only by the dedication of Mr. Seales and his staff in getting the news out for as long as communications lasted, without regard for personal safety and comfort. The importance of this is reflected in the over half-million page views the site received in a single day.
In addition, during the turbulent days and weeks after the hurricane, Mr. Seales provided hourly live reports to Sky TV in the United Kingdom by telephone until communications failed.
Cayman Net News’ online edition became one of the top five most frequently accessed web sites for the Cayman Islands. Its online sister publication, Caribbean Net News, drew over one million visitors per month to its website.
In December 2005, the newspaper converted to broadsheet format and by 2007, with the acquisition of a local printing outfit, Cayman Net News began printing some sections of the paper at home in the Cayman Islands, rather than in Miami, Florida.
In 2008, Cayman Net News returned to a tabloid format, as the company began accelerating plans to print all its publications at home. The death of Mr. Seales, the newspaper’s founder and publisher, dealt a severe blow to the newspaper’s operations and with retrenchment at its operations, Cayman Net News continued publication, but as a weekly tabloid.
Today, the company is re-establishing itself and reclaiming its proud heritage as a hard-hitting, quality publication that provides readers in the Cayman Islands and beyond with comprehensive local and international coverage, insightful and analytical commentary and a wide range of sports, entertainment and lifestyle features.
Desmond Seales, MBE (November 3, 1938 – July 3, 2010
Founder and late editor and publisher of Cayman Net News
Desmond Seales was born in Trinidad and took up permanent residence in the Cayman Islands in 1968, following six years of residence in the Bahamas and five in Miami, Florida. He acquired Caymanian Status (citizenship) as of right in 1975.
He was the CEO, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Cayman Net News and also Chairman of MCM Consultants, a media communications management firm specialising in advising clients in public relations, marketing and advertising strategies. Mr. Seales operated other business enterprises including MCM Real Estate Consultants and The Printing Centre.
Alongside his business activities, he became involved in community outreach and was a founding member of the Jaycees and Lions Clubs of Grand Cayman. As Public Relations Officer for the Jaycees, Mr. Seales was instrumental in changing the then annual Farm Queen contest to the internationally accepted Miss Cayman Islands event.
Perhaps his most important contribution for the Jaycees was his work, along with other members, in advocating that the people of the Cayman Islands should have a Public Beach on the Seven Mile stretch along West Bay Road. This resulted in the Governor granting this magnificent asset to the people of the Cayman Islands.
Through his untiring efforts and determination as a publisher, Mr. Seales was responsible for putting the Cayman Islands on the map and in the libraries of the world, through his publishing efforts, particularly the venerable Nor’wester magazine, the first publication which chronicled the modern development of the Cayman Islands’ society, infrastructure and its people. For his efforts, he was awarded the MBE by Her Majesty the Queen, in 1982.
Mr. Seales was a pioneer in developing and launching several other publications, including The Cayman Islands Handbook and Businessman’s Guide; The Cayman Shopper and Pictorial; Cayman’s first Holiday Guide; The Bracker and Little Caymanian magazine; Looking? – a tourism guide; Buccaneer, the national flag carrier’s first in-flight magazine; The Pilot, a weekly tabloid newspaper; and a tribute to the Queen’s 1983 visit to the Cayman Islands with a coffee table book entitled “Portraits of Majesty”.
For many years, he also designed and produced the Government’s Cayman Islands Gazette. Among other publications produced lately was the Quincentennial Celebrations of the Cayman Islands coffee table book, a number of cookbooks and other specially commissioned hardcover books.
From 1979 to 1981, Mr. Seales also published a magazine for the Caribbean region entitled, Caribbean Life and Times. The Caribbean was also served through his powerful daily on-line newspaper, Caribbean Net News.
A man of extraordinary publishing, public relations, marketing and communications skills, Mr. Seales was associated with many “firsts” in the Cayman Islands, including the introduction of broadcast television, CITV.
Through his vision and inimitable creativity, Mr. Seales was a tireless promoter and historian for “all things Caymanian”.