Archive for December 2nd, 2008

Work permit fees to change

| 02/12/2008 | 8 Comments

(CNS): Government has said the changes to work permit fee structures are not a revenue generating measure, but one related to clarity, and employers should find themselves paying less fees for their staff rather than more with the introduction of a new schedule of fees designed to address problem areas. In particular, directors below the rank of Managing Director or CEO will now pay a lower rate that the current top fee.

One of a number of changes taking place to the Immigration Law, the department will now offer a lower fee for directors who fall below the top level of management, such as HR directors, sales directors or IT directors. These posts under the old system were charged at the top rate of CI$17,000 but now they will be rated at CI$12,500.

Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts said the introduction of a more detailed schedule of fees was as a result of calls from the private sector for greater clarity and consistency in application with respect to fees for particular occupations. In producing this new fee table the Department of Immigration worked closely with the Department of Employment Relations and representatives from the private sector to ensure that all occupations within each industry represented here have been specified,” he said.

Explaining the new senior staff fee, he said that ,at present, the most senior executives — chief executive officers and managing directors, who must possess a professional qualification for their position — pay an annual work permit fee of $17,500. This is the most expensive fee that is charged for any immigration category. The next fee below this paid by professional managers, such as accountants, doctors, and bankers, is $7,500.

It was considered that the disparity between these two fees is excessive. A new fee has therefore been created in the amount of $12,500 which will apply to persons employed in the level below the most senior executives,” Tibbetts added. He said the fee of $7,500 would continue to apply to those professionals to whom it applies now, namely accountants, bankers and lawyers. “We believe that this is a more equitable approach and it was not objected to when the revised Schedule of Fees was circulated to private sector organizations for comment.

The fee structure is also changing with regards to the grant of permanent residency.  The LoGB said that, previously, the fee payable depended on whether the person was employed in an unskilled, skilled or professional occupation. With only three possible outcomes, this was considered unfair to those who were either considered skilled or professional but whose incomes were not as high as other occupations within those designations,” he added, explaining that a teacher or nurse and a managing director would be required to pay the same fee of $5,000. It was therefore decided to introduce a system where the fee payable is based on the person’s annual income, and there would be six income ranges with fees set incrementally as the income bands increased.”

From now on, a teacher under the new system earning between $43,000 and $59,000 per annum would pay a fee of $2,000 whereas a managing director earning in excess of $100,000 per annum would pay $6,000. We consider that this is a much fairer basis upon which to assess permanent residence fees,” Tibbetts noted.

Chief Immigration Officer Franz Manderson confirmed that he did not expect any of the new fee schedules to necessarily generate income but that they were designed to be fairer and more clear and concise.



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New rules for US travel

| 02/12/2008 | 1 Comment

(CNS): With the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) due to take effect next month (12 January), the United States authorities arewarning travellers to be careful of rogue websites offering assistance with ESTA that are charging a fee for what is at present a free service. The new online travel permit applies to nationals of European Countries including the UK, as well as Australians, Japanese and New Zealanders.

Anyone from a country that does not require a visa to enter the United States will now be required to register their trip on line before they leave  at which is free. However, websites such as and with official sounding names are charging unwitting travellers as much as to $250 for their application. “These websites are not endorsed by or affiliated in any way with the US government,” a spokesperson from the US Homeland Security said.

According to the US Department of Homeland Security, all nationals and citizens of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries will be required by law to obtain a travel authorization prior to initiating travel to the United States under the VWP. This authorization may be obtained online through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA™), a free Internet application administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through a US government Web site. The DHS does not charge VWP travellers a fee for completion of an ESTA application

Only Caymanians travelling with a UK passport will need to register their visit on-line, but nationals from any of the twenty-seven countries affected, including European Union states as well as Australia Japan and New Zealand, living in Cayman will also have to register at least 3 days before they are due to enter the US.

Gail Duquesnay of Adventure Travel and the former consular agent for the US in the Cayman Islands told CNS that travellers need to remember that the information they put on-line needs to match the green form they fill in on entry and that the on-line details will need to be edited each time people travel if they are going to a different destination.

“The registration is valid for two years but while your personal information is not necessarily going to change in that period, unless you are taking identical trips every time you go to the US you will need to go on-line and edit the details about where you are staying,” she said, adding that any changes in passport details will also have to be recorded.

She also said that most local agents will help people do the registration if they don’t have access to the internet but that the website was free and there was no need to go to other websites and pay for assistance.  She said that anyone who has a visa for the United States does not need to do this or those travelling with Caymanian passports.

The US Department of Homeland Security said that by the end of last week some 300,000 people from eligible countries have already used the system during its testing phase which started in August. The introduction of ESTA allows travellers to enter the US without a visa and stay for up to 90 days, eventually replacing the written form that has traditionally been used. Authorizations under ESTA will be generally valid for as long as two years or until the applicant’s passport expires.

Travellers using the system must provide biographical data, including their name, birth date, and passport information, along with their destination address in the US, and answer questions regarding communicable diseases, arrests and convictions for certain crimes, as well as any past history of visa revocation or deportation, among others.

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Police use radio announcements to fight crime

| 02/12/2008 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Warnings about the penalties for getting involved with gun crimes, encouraging people to report their suspicions and offering help to those suffering domestic abuse are just some of the messages that the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) is hoping to deliver through Public Service Announcements (PSA) on Radio Cayman to help them fight crime in the community.


The RCIPS says that it has joined forces with the local radio station to deliver key crime awareness messages to the community . The series of five PSA’s tackle a variety of issues including road safety, burglary prevention, domestic violence, gun crime and reporting suspicious activity or crime.

“We want to ensure the community is as informed as possible when it comes to these key areas,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police, Anthony Ennis.

The PSAs tackle each issue in a slightly different way. The road safety PSA warns those who put themselves at risk by breaking the traffic law that they not only risk being caught by the police but also risk serious injury. The burglary PSA urges people to be careful with their homes and possessions at all times. The domestic violence PSA stresses that help is available for those in abusive relationships. The gun crime PSA demonstrates how being involved in illegal weapons can result in a loss of freedom through a ten-year prison sentence, while the crime reporting PSA encourages members of the public to report suspicious activity, even if they are not sure that criminal activity is taking place.

“Radio Cayman 89.9fm and Breeze 105.3fm have always enjoyed a good relationship with the RCIPS. We are pleased to have provided voice-over talent and production services from our staff for the RCIPS in their campaign promoting safe driving, as well as encouraging preventative measures in personal safety," said Kathy Miller, Radio Cayman’s sales and promotions representative.

Anyone with information about crime taking place in the Cayman Islands should contact their local police station or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS). All persons calling crime stoppers remain anonymous, and are eligible for a reward of up to $1000, should their information lead to an arrest or recovery of property/drugs.

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Mentors meet protégés

| 02/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): One of the oldest and best methods of teaching young people about the real world the Mentoring Cayman Programme saw 58 mentors paired with their protégés last month for the 2008-2009 programme. Immediate Past Chamber President James Tibbetts said that mentoring, “can be one of the most rewarding, enjoyable and life altering experiences of a lifetime.”

Speaking at the reception held at the Marriott Beach Resort where Mentors, students and families met for the first time, Tibbetts said the mentor-protégé relationship is perhaps the ultimate teaching experience: a one-on-one transfer of accumulated knowledge and wisdom which can benefit both the Mentor and the student. “By simply offering friendship, guidance and encouragement, to a young person growing up today is one of the main beauties of being a successful mentor,” Tibbetts added.

He told the students to take full advantage of the opportunity, to ask questions, share concerns, have a positive attitude and be committed to their own development. “Having a mentor is like having a compass. It can ultimately depend on the direction you take,” Tibbetts explained.

The central goals of Mentoring Cayman are to motivate students to achieve higher results in school; introduce them to potential new career paths; encourage them to go on to postsecondary education; help them to understand their own strengths and capabilities and to develop a positive work ethic. Each Mentor and student meet one “school day” per month for seven months at the Mentor’s place of work. The first official workplace visit is scheduled for Tuesday 9 December.

Mentoring Cayman is a joint youth initiative of the Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of Education, Training, Employment, Youth, Sports & Culture. For more information about Mentoring Cayman or any other Chamber of Commerce programme contact Joanne Diaz- Berry, Programmes & Events Manager on 949 8090 (ext. 123) or email


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Local business aims to keep staff healthy

| 02/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): In partnership with the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority (HSA) local business conglomerate, dms Organization Ltd. (dms), has offered free flu shots to all of its employees on Last Wednesday morning staff from all of dms’ subsidiary and affiliate companies gathered to receive their free flu shots in the main boardroom at dms House.   

“It can be difficult to stay healthy this time of year with the increase in cases of the flu virus,” said dms Organization’s Human Resources’ Sarah Lacey.  “We want our employees to be able to enjoy their holiday season free of illness and also be able to work in a healthy environment.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), anywhere between 5 to 15 percent of the world’s population is affected by Influenza, also known as the flu virus.  Influenza has also resulted in severe cases that have caused over 200,000 deaths annually.  Over the past few years, the Cayman Islands has prepared for a possible flu pandemic by providing health services such as the flu vaccination.

 “We are pleased to be able to provide this service for our employees, and we wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday season,” added Lacey.

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Chance for local stars to shine with superstars

| 02/12/2008 | 3 Comments

(CNS): The annual Cayman jazz fest opens at Pedro Castle this Thursday and 3 night musical extravaganza is featuring a line up of local artists who will have the chance to shine alongside superstars Michael Bolton and Anita Baker. On Friday night the music will be playing at Pageant Beach and the line-up features local artists Stuart Wilson & Love Culture, Jonathan Ebanks and Impulz.

Although Cayman jazz fest features a number of internationally-acclaimed artists festival organizers said they take great pride in having Cayman’s jazz, pop and soul artists share the stage with the globally recognized stars. Stuart Wilson & Love Culture will be entertaining crowds with his mixed style of reggae that appeals to people of all cultures and walks of life and incorporates overtones of many of his influences – Bob Marley, Steel Pulse, Maxi Priest, Third World, Aswad, Big Mountain and manyother popular artists from all genres of music. He is best known for his many performances in both the Cayman Islands and Great Britain with his band, Love Culture. Wilson is a gifted guitarist, singer and song writer whose lyrical depth and thought are evident in the work he produces. Stuart Wilson & Love Culture has opened for acts such as Damian Marley, Richie Spice, Beres Hammond and a host of others.

Jonathan Ebanks no stranger to the music began playing the guitar at age seven and has recorded over 20 albums throughout the years. Ebanks has performed at Reggae Sunsplash in Montego Bay, Jamaica, opened for Chaka Khan in Jamaica and then again for Chaka Khan and Musiq Soulchild at Cayman jazz fest. He has also opened for top reggae acts such as Third World, Ziggy Marley, Lucky Dube, Steel Pulse, Maxi Priest and many others. Ebanks’ latest album "Tales of the G-string" is set to be released in December.

Impulz band performs regularly at The Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman and other five star venues. Band members include Rex Watler, Edward Frederick, Mark Hydes, Stephen McDermott, Stephanie Webster, Darrell Carter and Doug Whitfield. Lead singer and guitarist, Rex Watler started a band called “Power Surge” in 1979 where the group played mostly Caribbean and Soca music. But in 1998 the band decided to go in a new direction and renamed the group “Impulz”, bringing an international flair to the group with the addition of new members.

The Department of Tourism said the local artists are all excited about this year’s festival, as it allows them to reach audiences on a larger scale. Rex Watler, founder of Impulz, said that he and his band mates are looking forward to putting on an amazing show and can’t wait to showcase how they have grown since performing at last year’s jazz fest. “I feel that this year’s show in particular is going to be even more spectacular and Impulz is grateful to be a part of it,” he said.

 Acting Director of Tourism, Shomari Scott said that the Friday night concert promises to be a dynamic show. “The Department of Tourism has always supported Cayman’s artists and we are glad that there are so many talented performers who can add a truly unique dimension to Cayman jazz fest,” he added.

On Saturday 5 December alongside Anita Baker, Robin Thicke, Norman Brown, Esperanza Spalding will be Cayman’s own KK Alese. Like many artists, KK Alese began performing in church when she was a young child. Over the years she has developed into one of Cayman’s most respected singers through her membership in well loved groups. In 1999, she joined contemporary jazz group MoDanJaz as a vocalist. That same year the group released a collection of Christmas favourites titled, "It’s Christmas", which sold quickly throughout Cayman. In 2002, KK Alese became one of the founding members and the lead vocalist for After Dark, a contemporary jazz ensemble that rocketed in popularity across Cayman. The group went on to open for several internationally acclaimed artists including Freddie Jackson, Keith Sweat, Floetry, and Faith Evans, among others. KK Alese made her solo debut at the 2005 Cayman jazz fest. She is currently completing work on her first solo album of original music which has led to collaborations with Grammy award winners from the Caribbean and the United States, including Bounty Killa and Beenie Man. KK Alese sasy she is looking forward to returning to the jazz fest stage. 

Festival ticket prices if purchased by December 3 are as follows: Thursday December 4 at Pedro St. James, CI$75; Friday December 5 and Saturday December 6 at Pageant Beach, CI$50/night. An entire festival package can be purchased for all three nights for CI$160. Valet parking service will be available on Thursday night; and on Friday and Saturday nights, parking is available at the Almond Tree. The Pageant Beach concerts will be open seating and offer free admission to children under 12-years old. Friday and Saturday night attendees are encouraged to bring their own chairs or blankets. Please note that coolers, cameras or videography equipment will not be allowed on site. Tickets can be purchased at the Department of Tourism, Funky Tangs and Atlantic Department Store. For more information, visit

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CFATF boss to offer advice

| 02/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS):  Although the Cayman Islands has achieved a high compliance rating on Global Standards for combating money laundering and terrorist financing within the CFATF assessment there are a number of issues that Cayman still needs to address. Calvin Wilson, Executive Director of the CFATF, will be paying a visit to Grand Cayman next week to take part in the Advanced Financial Training Week, scheduled for 8 to 12 December.

Wilson, will offer some ‘outside-looking-in’ perspectives on the issues facing the Islands’ financial sector and he plans to use the opening day symposium to offer guidance and insight from the regional organization.  Wilson will not be the only foreign regulator taking the opportunity at this IFCCT event in conjunction with Cayman Islands Financial Services Association (CIFSA) to speak to those working in the sector but the US SEC will be joining, via satellite, to address the global state of affairs and clarify some of the steps and proposals that are presently being considered.

 There are also matching efforts by local regulators to guide the Islands and reaffirm their commitment to enhancing the effectiveness of their relationship with the Islands’ private sector. Interactive, discussion-based formats will be used, including a panel session with the Auditor General, Dan Duguay, and a discussion group with the Solicitor General, Cheryl Richards.

For more details


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Planning awards DoE chief

| 02/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Director of the Department of the Environment Gina Ebanks-Petrie received an award from the Department of Planning recently for her Outstanding Contribution to Preservation. Petrie was one of only two local people still alive who were lauded by the department for their work in shaping Cayman’s environment.


When or if the long awaited National Conservation Law is ever passed the Planning Department and the Department of the Environment will be required to work very closely with regards future planning applications. Presently there is no legal requirement within the Planning Law to consider ecological or natural environmental issues during a planning application. However, despite the lack of legal obligaiton Petrie has persistently submitted environmental assessments to the CPA and advised the Department with regards ecological issues in relation to potential developments.

The awards were made during the 2nd Annual Central Planning Authority (CPA) Awards Ceremony at the Cayman Seafarers Hall. CPA Chairman Dalkeith Bothwell said, the celebration was to recognize individuals and their families who have played vital roles and who have made outstanding contributions to critical aspects of our Islands’ growth.

Recipients in five categories received awards during the ceremony:  Outstanding Past CPA Member –Attlee Bodden; Outstanding Contribution to Planning – the late George Haig Bodden, MBE; Outstanding Contribution to Development – the late Capt Rayal Bodden, Sr; MBE, JP; Outstanding Contribution to Preservation –Gina Ebanks-Petrie; Lifetime Achievement Award – the Dr Marco Giglioli, OBE;The CPA Awards ceremony was an initiative of CPA Chairman Dalkeith Bothwell and was part of Cayman’s celebration of World Town Planning Day (WTPD).

Present at the ceremony were Ministry of District Administration, Planning, Agriculture and Housing (DAPAH) Deputy Chief Officer Jennifer Ahearn; CPA Chairman Dalkeith Bothwell; Director of Planning Kenneth Ebanks and his staff; awards nominees and their friends and family members. Altee Thompson Jr was Master of Ceremonies.



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