Archive for October 14th, 2008

Major collision halts traffic

| 14/10/2008 | 17 Comments

(CNS): The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) is asking drivers to avoid the Esterley Tibbetts Highway in George Town due to a serious and reportedly fatal collision involving two vehicles which is still being addressed. The road is currently closed in both directions. Drivers should take alternative routes. CNS will post more details as they are received. (Photo by Timothy Dailey).

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Lions spread awareness

| 14/10/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Eastenders were the first women to take advantage of this year’s Cancer Awareness Meeting and District Clinics when women attended both on Thursday, 2 October. Lion Judith Witter, Breast Cancer Awareness Chairperson stated that she was very pleased with the attendance and the informative presentation that was given at the first awareness meeting.

" I encourage the public to attend future Clinics and Awareness Sessions in the other districts in order to become better informed,” she said.

The first meeting started with an informative session covering various aspects of Breast Cancer by Dr. Shaun Forrester of the Chrissie Tomlinson Hospital, followed by a presentation by Samantha Conolly, Pharmacist, from the George Town Hospital which looked at the various treatment options.

Part of the annual activities organized by the Lions Club of Tropical Gardens to raise awareness about breast cancer the clinics and meetings continue throughout October. The next meeting is on Thursday, 16 October in West Bay at West Bay Primary School – 7:30 p.m.  All are invited to come out and listen to International Speaker, Becky Olson.  Eligible persons will receive a voucher for a free mammogram another meeting follows on Thursday, 23 October at Savannah Primary School. The Brenda Tibbetts-Lund 5K Memorial 5K Run/Walk starts at 6 a.m. at the West Bay Public Beach on Saturday, 25 October.






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Volunteer takes accounting into classroom

| 14/10/2008 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Students at Cayman Prep and High School will soon be managing their pocket money a lot better thanks to Kevin Phillip, (left) a Manager at dms Management, who has volunteered to teach an accounting course to the Advanced Subsidiary Year 12 class.  Phillip is teaching ‘The Principles of Accounting’ during the first term of the academic year which will develop students’ accounting abilities and teach students about the roles and functions of accounting as an information system.

“Working with the youth is investing in our future. The dms conglomerate as a whole is keen to hire locally, which makes this opportunity ideal, as we reach out and educate local students about the financial industry and the employment opportunities therein,” said Phillip. “dms is committed to giving back to our community and it is my privilege to contribute towards the education of our future business leaders. This contribution is a progression of our ongoing commitment, and we hope to continue our relationship with Cayman’s youth.” 

Servicing a variety of hedge funds and other related entities Phillip provides management oversight to members of the corporate administrative staff. Previously, he worked as an Audit Senior at Ernst & Young in the Cayman Islands where he was responsible for coordinating and supervising the audit of both onshore and offshore hedge funds worth over $12 billion. Prior to that, he worked in the asset management practice at Ernst & Young’s New York financial services office. He holds a Master of Science in Accountancy from the University of Notre Dame and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and Finance from North Carolina Central University.

The dms Organization said it has a long-standing commitment to supporting the youth of Cayman through its active involvement in the Junior Achievement Programme and participation in offering work experience to students from schools island wide. In 2007, dms Organization launched its cornerstone education initiative, the Joanna Clarke Excellence in Education Award.  A celebration of exemplary service in education, it awards a total of CI$12,000 to worthy education projects.

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Prison talks to police says Commissioner

| 14/10/2008 | 6 Comments

(CNS): The Prison Service and the Police are communicating, insists Dr William Rattray (left), Commissioner of Prisons, who said that the two government bodies talk through the Joint Intelligence Unit. Questions over the level of communication between the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) and Her Majesty’s Prison Service arose on Sunday at a special police press briefing regarding the murder of Estella Scott-Roberts.

(CNS): The Prison Service and the Police are communicating, insists Dr William Rattray (left), Commissioner of Prisons, who said that the two government bodies talk through the Joint Intelligence Unit. Questions over the level of communication between the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) and Her Majesty’s Prison Service arose on Sunday at a special police press briefing regarding the murder of Estella Scott-Roberts.

At the time a police spokesperson said that the RCIPS was not routinely informed of prisoner releases and so there was some uncertainty as to who was released on the day of Scott-Roberts murder. By Monday however, police confirmed that one of the lines of enquiry into the murder included an assessment of former prisoners that may be connected to the activist work of Scott Roberts, but neither the police nor the prison would be drawn on the details of prisoners released on Friday or anytime last week.

Rattray explained that to talk at all about specific releases at present could incriminate an innocent person. However, he said that the prison service does routinely communicate with the RCIPS and he said informs them when a prisoner is being released if there may be some concern.

“On a routine basis the prison service will inform the Joint Intelligence Unit if a prisoner with whom we have particular concerns or intelligence suggesting he may reoffend is being released. If we had any intelligence at all that a prisoner was a threat to any individual or the community at large we would categorically tell the police,” he said.

He explained that all prisoners undergo risk assessments and that phone calls made from the prison are monitored. If the prison picks up any hint of issues regarding potential criminal activity, he said the police would be informed of that.

He explained, however, that once a prisoner arrives at their release date, even if the prison has suspicions about the potential future offending of that prisoner, it is unlawful to keep him in the prison.

“We have no choice about liberation,” he said. “We must release prisoners who have served a full two thirds of their sentence who have behaved during their imprisonment, otherwise it is false imprisonment.”

Rattray said that all convicted prisoners are by law are only required to serve two thirds of their sentence. The final third is used as a deterrent or behavioural mechanism to ensure that prisoners behave during their time in prison. If the prisoner does misbehave during his sentence then part or all of that final third will be added on to the time he will be required to serve. However, if a given prisoner remains on good behaviour, even if the prison feels he may still reoffend they cannot keep him incarcerated past the two thirds. Explaining the difference between those prisoners and ones paroled, he said those prisoners who are released early go into the community under supervision and would not routinely be released unless the prison system was confident they were unlikely to commit another crime.

Rattray said that under all circumstances the police would be aware of anyone coming into the community that posed a threat of any kind.

“If we have the intelligence, I can guarantee the police would be aware of that,” he said, adding that the prison spends a good deal of time monitoring and assessing the risks that prisoners could pose in the community.

The police confirmed that the JIU does communicate with the prison and they are informed when a high risk prisoner or someone of interest is released but they still have concerns regarding the regularity of the information, which is given based on decisions made by the prison service.

 “We do receive information. However, this is not on a weekly basis,” a police spokesperson said.

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Stormy weather over Cayman

| 14/10/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): After a quiet few weeks in the Atlantic region a number of storms and areas of low pressure are now swirling around the area. thenational hurricane centre in Miami was issuing advisories this morning on tropical depression fifteen located about 360 miles southwest of San Juan Puerto Rico and on Tropical Storm Nana about 1175 miles east of the Northern Leeward islands.

With a well-defined area of low pressure centred over the western Caribbean sea about 60 miles northeast of the Nicaragua-Honduras border moving slowly toward the west-northwest shower and thunderstorm activity was increasing it said. The centre predicted a tropical depression could form later today if the system remains over water. The centre noted too that regardless of whether or not this system becomes a tropical cyclone it is likely to produce locally heavy rains over portions of Nicaragua, Honduras and Belize over the next couple of days. The edge of this system is also passing over Cayman bringing plenty of stormy weather over the next few days.

A weak area of low pressure located south-southeast of dissipated Tropical Depression Nana and approximately 1125 mileswest of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands also continues to produce some thunderstorm activity mainly to the east of the centre, however, it will encounter unfavourable upper-level winds as it moves slowly north-north-eastward over the next day or two and significant development is not anticipated.

Cayman is also looking at plenty of stormy weather over the next few days.

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Regulators to assess turmoil

| 14/10/2008 | 1 Comment

(CNS): As world financial markets rebound from the last week’s unprecedented lows how it happened will be one of the issues that experts will look at during tomorrow’sregulatory seminar at the Ritz Carlton. “The world financial turmoil will certainly be a backdrop of some of the key regulatory issues to be discussed and will help to illustrate some of the issues”, said Tim Ridley former Chairman of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority.

Ridley is one of a number of expert presenters which includes Ross Delston, former US Federal Regulator and Co-Chair of the American Bar Association’s International Anti-Money Laundering Committee and consultant and organiser Paul Byles.

 Ridley’s presentation is expected to offer insight into what institutions can expect and should not expect in their dealings with the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority. “There are definitely a few things that industry should avoid doing in its interaction with CIMA and we hope to highlight some of these common mistakes”, added Ridley.

Ross Delston, former US banking examiner will also be using the current financial markets turmoil in his hands-on presentation on how local financial institutions should prepare for an onsite inspection from CIMA.  Delston, who is a recognised anti-money laundering expert, has carried reviews for several offshore financial centres will take participants through each stage of an inspection and also deal with post inspection issues.

 “I think that Mr Ridley’s experience will bring very valuable insights for the seminar participants in terms of an organisation’s can best maximise its relationship with CIMA. From what I have seen of his presentation, it will certainly be hard hitting and candid in some areas and I believe this will be refreshing for the participants and will help them to better understand what makes CIMA tick”, said Byles.

 The event will not only be valuable to compliance professionals and internal auditors, but also has direct relevance to senior management. The seminar is being held on Wednesday 15 October at the Ritz Carlton. Participants are encouraged to register at 623 6712 or .



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HRC questions omissions

| 14/10/2008 | 5 Comments

(CNS): The absence of aspirational rights such as the right to education, housing or healthcare as well as a more exhaustive list of the proposed grounds of non-discrimination in the government’s recently circulated draft Bill of Rights has raised concerns from the local Human Rights Committee. The body also noted that its members had not been sent a copy of the draft bill nor had it been asked to comment on it before it was placed in the public domain.

“The HRC notes the public release on 6 October 2008 of a CIG Working Draft Bill of Rights which purports to have broad consensus of the NGOs including the HRC, although the HRC was not sent a copy of same or invited to provide any comment of this CIG draft document,” the committee said in a statement released to the press to summarizing its position in wake of the first round of constitutional talks.

The HRC also stated that it understood, following the first round of FCO talks, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office would provide a working draft of both the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in due course.

“While the HRC are in broad agreement with the Government working draft, the HRC remains concerned that a number of critical issues, such as aspirational rights and an exhaustive list of the proposed grounds of non-discrimination, are absent from the Government draft document,” it said. “Apparently due to the fact that those and other important issues were not fully discussed at the first round of talks and still do not have broad consensus.”

The HRC also said its hopes that the Government’s decision to release its Working Draft does not negatively impact the further discussions withthe FCO, which is reportedly preparing another draft Bill of Rights document for consideration by the Cayman Island’s delegation, or cause any confusion to the people. The committee also said that since the first round of talks with the FCO on constitutional reform, there have been a number of reported inaccuracies in the press regarding its position on the horizontal application of rights and on drafting of the bill of rights.

It said it believes the horizontal application of rights “should be considered at a later stage for Cayman, in order to develop a full human rights culture.”  The HRC does not, it said, contrary to recent press statements, presently advocate horizontal application of rights for the Cayman Islands.

“Before the Cayman Islands can beready for horizontal application of rights, there are a number of practical implications, which would first need to be addressed.” However the HRC pointed out that the Cayman Islands will need to consider, at a future date, whether it is ready to take the further step from vertical application of rights only, to the inclusion of horizontal application of rights

“It is also important to bear in mind that many citizens of the Cayman Islands could benefit greatly from the development of a human rights culture in a private sphere, for example, in relation to the workplace, schools and other organisations. However, as previously noted, there is significant practical implication which would first need to be addressed before such further step is taken for the Cayman Islands.”

The HRC also confirmed its desire to see the Bill of Rights drafted in plain English and gender-friendly rather than “gender-neutral” language, which properly acknowledges the entire population, both male and female. By “gender-friendly” language, the HRC means the Constitution uses language which recognises the equal place of both the men and women in our society. Thus, the Constitution ought to refer to “man or woman”, “he or she” or “his or her” wherever possible.

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Cayman predicted to weather financial storm

| 14/10/2008 | 2 Comments

(CNS): On the day where unprecedented bail-out plans were set in motion across Britain, Europe and North America bringing markets back from the brink, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) said the islands’ retail banks were on a solid financial footing and Philip Paschalides (left) of Walkers said the credit crisis had not undermined the fiscal advantage for banks registered in Cayman.

CIMA said that that local retail banks are subject to robust regulatory oversight and have always been required to report to the authority on an ongoing basis.

 “CIMA and the retail banks are meeting regularly and the banks are providing reports on their financial position to CIMA on an even more frequent basis,” said the Authority.  “The regulatory environment in which Cayman’s retail banks operate is very strong and there is reason for confidence in the banking system. The banks’ capital position is in excess of the minimum requirements. Over the years they have had relatively conservative lending practices and sub-prime loans have not been a feature of the Cayman Islands’ domestic banking system.”

CIMA said its current data showed loan losses to date have been very low and the banks remain liquid and well capitalised.

Meanwhile HSBC Cayman’s latest retail bank has along with four other UK banking giants rejected offers of capital assistance. Along with Abbey and Alliance & Leicester, Barclays, Standard Chartered and Nationwide Building Society, HSBC do not intend to use the UK government’s recapitalisation initiative. Last week HSBC unveiled its own plan to inject £750m – about 1 per cent of total shareholder equity – into its UK subsidiary HSBC Bank.

Share prices rebounded around the world and frozen interbank lending markets showed some signs of thawing on Monday. The FTSE 100 recovered almost half of last week’s losses to close 8.3% higher, up 325 points at 4,256.9. It was its second-biggest one-day percentage rise ever. The Dow Jones in New York closed up 7% following the largest one-day points gain in its history, as dealers on both sides of the Atlantic said the financial world had stepped back from the brink of disaster – for now at least.

The resurgence in the markets followed the release in London and Europe of details of the multinational attempt to refloat the crippled banking system.

Here in Cayman the offshore banking world was not expected to suffer adversely with Cayman’s experts predicted the sector would weather the storm. The vast majority of the near 300 banks licensed in the Cayman Islands are branches or subsidiaries of banks with headquarters in the major onshore financial centres but very few of them conduct actual "investment banking" activities on the island.

“By being established in Cayman, these institutions are able more efficiently to conduct international business for their groups within Cayman’s regulatory framework, as well as take advantage of the tax neutrality offered by being based in Cayman. From our perspective, the credit crisis has not made any difference to these fiscal advantages and we expect that to continue to be the case,” said Philip Paschalides, Partner in the Finance Department of Walkers.  However he did say that Cayman was by no means immune and the credit crisis has had an inevitable impact on the financial services industry “Cayman is too deeply embedded in the markets not to have been affected and the global paralysis of the capital markets has resulted in fewer capital markets and structured finance transactions coming through Cayman in this period,” he added.

However Paschalides said many analysts and commentators believe there will always be a place for investment banking, given how the capital markets, structured finance and securitisation transactions they arrange are so integral to the functioning of our modern economies.

“Indeed, some of these commentators attribute the severity of the credit crisis to the wholesale closure of the securitisation markets; Cayman Islands vehicles, of course, have always played an important role in these financial markets,” he explained.

Jeremy Walton a Partner with Appleby noted that Cayman stood to gain certain advantages as a service provider in the financial world in specialist areas especially in the hedge fund sector and he said their work could also help bring clarity in the wake of the crisis.  “Litigation should at least provide some clarity on issues which have surrounded fund structures for years but have never been the subject of judicial decisions.  This will enable lawyers to advise more definitively and draft with greater certainty, and will in turn assist all industry players in knowing where they stand at the outset of establishing a hedge fund in the Cayman Islands,” he said.

With the whys and wherefores of how the world’s financial markets almost collapsed being endlessly debated Paul Byles of Focus Management said the upcoming regulatory seminar being held at the Ritz Carlton this Wednesday will look at the financial turmoil and the key regulatory issues.

Byles said he felt the crisis was a result of poor regulation in and bad decisions in onshore jurisdictions.

“The real question is whether US regulators will take a balanced approach in terms of how much additional oversight is required when reacting to the crisis or whether they will try to use a sledgehammer approach which will not work for the financial markets,” he cautioned. “Given the political implications in the US (as we saw from the failure of congress to approve the bailout, at first, partially due to their constituents concerns), it is more likely that there will be an over reaction by legislators and we may therefore see excessive additional regulations.”

Julian Black, Partner in the Finance Department at Walkers said that the problems certainly stemmed from careless lending decisions in the context of US residential mortgages.  “US regulators and legislators will no doubt be looking at the shortcomings of all the participants in these markets and we can expect to see a significant reassessment of what is required in regulatory terms to make this sector operate more efficiently,” he said.


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March for victims

| 14/10/2008 | 4 Comments

(CNS): As the community mourns the passing of one of the Cayman Islands’ strongest voices against domestic violence, the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Grand Cayman will be holding its annual Silent Witness March on Saturday, 18 October. Each year the BPW holds this event to pay tribute to those who have been victims of violence.

The march starts promptly at 12:30 at the Government Administration Building (Glass House) passing by the Immigration building, the Central Police Station, and the Courts Office and ending on the steps of the Legislative Assemble at 1:30 for a brief ceremony.

The Silent Witness March originated in the United States in 1990 as a reaction by women artists and writers to the growing number of victims of domestic violence they noticed in their small town in Minnesota. The solution was to speak out by creating 26 free-standing life-sized red wooden figures bearing the name of a woman who once lived among them whose life had been violently ended at the hands of an ex-husband, partner, or acquaintance.

A 27th figure was added to represent those countless women whose murders went unsolved or were erroneously ruled accidental. The organizers called the figures the Silent Witnesses, which were escorted along with 500 other women who showed up for that first silent procession.

The organisation aims to promote peace, healing and responsibility in adult relationships inorder to eliminate domestic murders by the year 2010 and to promote successful community-based domestic violence reduction efforts in order to reach zero domestic murders by 2010.

According to the United Nations the gender violence causes more ill health and deaths around the world than traffic accidents and malaria combined. It even rivals cancer as a cause of death and incapacity among women aged 16 to 44. The World Health Organization says that almost ¾ of women who are murdered were in situations where their intimate partners abused them before death.

The Business & Professional Women’s Club of the Cayman Islands ("BPW") is a non-partisan charter group of the International Federation of Business & Professional women founded in 1930. Its major goals include working for high standards of service in business, encourage the education of women and girls to acquire education, occupational training and advance education and to work for equal opportunities and status for women in economic, civil and political life in all countries.

For further information contact


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New OT Minister appointed

| 14/10/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): In Gordon Brown’s latest Cabinet reshuffle The British Prime Minister has ousted the Overseas Territories Minister Meg Munn who has returned to the back benches and replaced her with Gillian Merron. The Labour MP for Lincoln was previously Minister for International Development, where she had particular responsibility for Africa. Merron was elected as a Member of Parliament for Lincoln in 1997 having been selected from a women-only list.

As the Cayman Islands faces its second round of constitutional talks with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office it may also see a shift in priorities under the new minister. As yet Merron has made no comment with regards to her responsibilities towards the Overseas Territories or Cayman’s constitutional negotiations.

The territory currently making headlines and which appears to be occupying the new ministers agenda is Pitcairn Island where woman have finally been offered compensation from the UK government after years of systematic abuse of young girls in the community which reportedly began in the 1950s. "What happened to these women was terrible and no amount of money will take that pain away,” she said last week. “But I hope this will give them some recognition of their suffering. This is a significant step and it is the right thing to do."

 It is understood that Merron’s interests range from vocational training to transport and sport. David Milliband the UK Foreign Secretary said he was very pleased to welcome Merron to the fold last week.

Merron won the weathervane seat of Lincoln comfortably at her first attempt, after boundary changes made it once again winnable for Labour. In her first term in Parliament she served as a PPS to two Ministers at the Ministry of Defence, when she visited the Falkland Islands. She returned again in 2001 with only a fractional swing to the Conservatives and spent a year as PPS to John Reid as Northern Ireland Secretary. In 2002 she became an assistant Government Whip, and a full Government Whip from 2004 until her promotion to Cabinet Office Minister and Minister for the East Midlands at the Cabinet Office (June 2007 – January 2008) to the Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department of Transport (2006 – 2007). 

After four years as a Parliamentary aide and four more as a Whip, she finally ‘took off’ as junior Aviation Minister at the Department for Transport in 2006. A year later she moved sideways to the Cabinet Office, where Gordon Brown made her Parliamentary Secretary for Social Exclusion and the Civil Service. She also became Minister for the East Midlands. In January 2008 she moved sideways again was the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State to the Department for International Development (DFID) (January 2008 – October 2008) in the reshuffle following Peter Hain’s resignation. 

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