Archive for December 11th, 2008

Drivers escape injury in two more road smashes

Drivers escape injury in two more road smashes

| 11/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) has reported another two separate car crashes today, (Thursday 11 December) where the drivers were lucky to escape uninjured. This morning a woman driver smashed into a light pole on West Bay and later a man overturned his car when he skidded off the East-West arterial road in the Prospect area.


Police said drivers need to maintain safe driving practices and ensure that their Holiday Season is not marred by carelessness on the roads and are warned not to drink and drive as offenders will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Meanwhile, police are now looking for witnesses to both this mornings incidents as investigations are underway.

In the first incident the 911 Emergency Communications Centre received a call at 8:10 am informing them that a Suzuki Grand Vitara had crashed into a pole on West Bay Road. The accident occurred in the vicinity of Texaco Gas station as the driver was exiting Lawrence Boulevard on to West Bay Road. The female driver was not injured. Anyone who witnessed that crash or believes they saw the vehicle prior to the accident should contact Police Constable Richard Scott of the Traffic Management Department on 946 6254. The second accident, reported at 11:00am, involved a white Chevrolet Trail Blazer driven by a man traveling west along the East-West Arterial road. The vehicle skidded off the road, near the roundabout at the junction of the old Prospect Road and Shamrock Road, and turned over on to its left side. The driver was not injured.

Police are appealing to any motorists who may have been traveling in the area at the time of the crash to contact Police Constable Eunell Gilzeane at the Traffic Management Department.

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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Fashion for feature movie

Fashion for feature movie

| 11/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The reigning Miss Cayman has agreed to model at a 3P Entertainment Fashion Show on Thursday, 18 December, at the Harquail Theatre. The event will benefit the production of When No One’s Looking, the first feature length movie by Adonza Harrison and company, which will primarily feature local talent but tell a global story of strained family relationships, teenage pregnancy; HIV/AIDS and the power of faith and love to overcome challenging and distressing obstacles.

According to a release from organizers, Miss Cayman 2008 Nicosia Lawson has agreed to wear fashions made especially for her by local designers Luigi Moxam and Letitia Davis-Eden. Presently Lawson is in Johannesburg, South Africa to represent the Cayman Islands in the Miss World Pageant.

“Miss Cayman was the first to accept the modeling invitation for the fashion show,” announced Harrison, the shows lead organizer. “When I spoke with her, just before she left for the competition, she was very excited and looked forward to wearing the incredible designs and to support our efforts to bring awareness to HIV/AIDS and the desire to apply positive peer power in the lives of young people.”

“All proceeds will go towards the making of the movie, which we hope to finish by the end of summer 2009,” continued Harrison, who is also the Producer of the movie. Yentel McGaw, the former Miss Cayman Teen, and Felix Manzanares will be the MCs for the evening with Pauze Entertainment bringing music and so much more to the Harquail stage.

Doors are open at 7:00 pm and the show begins promptly at 7:30. As this is a fundraising event, corporate sponsorship is encouraged which will entitle ticket holders to reserved seating in the theatre. Tickets are $10 for students and $20 for adults. A student ID is required for tertiary education students. Volunteers and sponsors are asked to call Adonza Harrison at 325-6658.

Main organizers are Adonza Harrison, Nathania Welds, Elizabeth Charles, Luigi Moxam, Letitia Davis-Eden, Antoinette Hewitt, Dalmond Bodden, Felix Manzanares, Instructor Cindy Moore, Tricia Bodden, Lorna Reid, and Nerissa Golden. Special thanks to the movie’s major sponsors, Home Gas Ltd., Digicel, Maples & Calder, Apex Video Solutions, Colin Wilson. Rob Patraulea, CPA of Dominion Accounting is the Production’s Independent Accountant.

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Man missing at sea

Man missing at sea

| 11/12/2008 | 7 Comments

(CNS): A search and rescue operation is underway after 36-year-old Ian Hugh Cummings was reported missing at sea on Wednesday, 10 December. At 10:10 pm the 911 Emergency Communications Centre received a call from a man reporting that Cummings, his fishing partner, was missing. According to police, the men had been fishing in Bodden Town in the Moon Bay area where Cummings lived.

Police and medics attended the scene and were told by the man that Cummings started swimming to shore after their boat was capsized by a wave. The other man stayed with the boat for a short while. He was forced to abandon the boat, made his way to shore, but Cummings could not be found.

A search of the area by Marine and Air Support Units and foot patrols was conducted but had to be called off at 2:45 am on Thursday, 11 December, due to worsening weather conditions.

Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) Detective Chief Inspector Peter Kennett, who is coordinating the search, said, “The helicopter and jet skis were out for hours last night in an effort to try and find Ian. The search resumed at first light by sea, in the air and on land, but there’s no sight of him. We have recovered the boat.” Kennett added, “I think there is little doubt that Ian has tragically drowned. I can’t see any other logical explanation. The currents are very strong and treacherous in this area. The search will be continuing throughout the day.”

The RCIPS extends condolences to Ian’s family and friends.

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Rotarians save Christmas Tree Lighting on Brac

Rotarians save Christmas Tree Lighting on Brac

| 11/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Rotary Club of Grand Cayman has saved Cayman Brac’s traditional Christmas tree lighting ceremony by donating a 20-foot artificial tree that will stand in for the natural tree felled by Hurricane Paloma. The live tree at the Government Administration Building that the Cayman Brac Rotary Club had always used for its annual holiday lighting ceremony was demolished during last month’s storm

Because of this, the club felt it had no choice but to cancel the much anticipated opportunity for lights, caroling, and celebration, according to a Rotary release. However, news of the cancellation was met by widespread requests from Brac residents: "We’ve lost so much, please don’t take Christmas away from us, too."

In response, the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman donated a 20-foot tree that its club had replaced this year with a newer model. Thompson Shipping generously transported the tree to the Brac in time for assembly on Tuesday morning, 9 December . Joseph Hew and David Kirkaldy from the Grand Cayman club flew over for the day to help the Brac Rotarians raise the tree.

Rotary International is an association of Rotary clubs worldwide. It’s made up of more than 32,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. The members of these autonomous clubs are called Rotarians, and they form a global network of 1.2 million business and professional leaders, all volunteering their time and talents to serve their communities and the world.

The Rotary Clubs of Grand Cayman include the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman Central, the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman Sunrise, the Rotaract Club of Grand Cayman, and Rotaract Blue Cayman Islands. These clubs are working in concert with the Rotary Club of Cayman Brac to efficiently and effectively aid in the rebuilding of hurricane ravaged Cayman Brac.

For more information about the post-hurricane service activities of these local Rotary clubs, please refer to the information site at:

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Earthquakes can happen here

Earthquakes can happen here

| 11/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): This Sunday, 14 December, marks the fourth anniversary of the 6.8 magnitude earthquake that occurred 20 miles South of George Town, Grand Cayman. The entire island shook and many people had no idea how to react. Up until that event, some people were not even aware that the Cayman Islands were vulnerable to the hazard of an earthquake, according to the Hazard Management Office. (Left: Students at North Side Primary ‘brace themselves’ in a door way during an earthquake drill)

The Cayman Islands’ geographical location places it on the tectonic plate boundary of the North America tectonic plate and the Caribbean plate. At this junction the Caribbean plate slides past to the east at a rate of a few inches a year. This may sound like a small distance, but tremendous forces and friction can build up when these plates grind along each other. It is the sudden release of this built-up friction and energy that causes ground shaking – in other words, earthquakes. These occur with no warning. As recently as a month ago an earthquake occurred less than one hundred miles away. However it was a small event and only measured as a magnitude four on the Richter scale.

Since 1990 there have been four earthquakes that were magnitude six ormore in the general area of the Cayman Islands, though there has never been an historically recorded earthquake of category 7 or above near Cayman. It is generally believed that weare at low risk of a serious event – but a risk exists nevertheless. (Right: Students at North Side Primary ‘duck, cover and hold’ during an earthquake drill)

A seismic monitoring network is being set up with seismographs in Frank Sound and West Bay on Grand Cayman, and on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. The Frank Sound station has already started recording earthquake activity.

Hazard Management Cayman Islands has been working to raise awareness about the potential threat of earthquakes and have been conducting earthquake sensitization sessions and earthquakes drills in schools across the Cayman Islands. A poster competition is also underway with judging of the entries set for February next year.

So what can you do to make yourself safer from this threat? Earthquakes are not like hurricanes where you can see them on satellite images and you can receive warnings, but there are things you can do to protect yourself. During the sensitization sessions in the schools, Deputy Director of Hazard Management Cayman Islands, Omar Afflick, demonstrates the response currently recommended by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which advocates the ‘duck, cover and hold’ procedure.

“When you feel shaking, stay calm, move away from glass windows and duck under a heavy piece of furniture such as a desk or table and hold on. If there is nothing available for you to duck under you should crouch close to the ground and cover your head with your arms. Do not run for the door and head outside, but if you are outdoors already you should move to an area which is open, where there are no trees, buildings or light poles that can potentially fall on you. If you are in a car pull over to the side of the road.”

Afflick added, “Once the tremors stop, you should head outside to an open area, and if the earthquake was a strong event it is highly recommended that you have an expert check the structural integrity of your building before going back inside. Sometimes earthquakes can be associated with broken gas lines and fires have been known to occur, so clearly you want to be aware of your surrounding, stay away from downed power lines and if you smell gas move away from the area.” (Above: Hazard Management Cayman Islands Deputy Director Omar Afflick presents the earthquake awareness message to students at North Side Primary School)

Certain parts of buildings are considered better able to withstand the shaking effects associated with an earthquake. These include the corners of the structure and the door jams in concrete walls. “It is important to remember to brace yourself in the doorway or if you are under a desk hold on because the shaking can shift the piece of furniture away and expose your head.”

Afflick highly recommends that people reduce the hazards in their own homes by ensuring that heavy objects like bookcases that can fall are anchored to the wall with screws. “Check that your television sets are secure as well. We have information on our website that will help you identify potential hazards so you can reduce the risks.”

The Building Code contains a section that deals with earthquake resistant construction and companies like Apec Consulting Engineers Ltd have experts on hand that can help advise you if you are considering a new development or retrofitting an existing structure.

If you are interested in learning more earthquakes there is information available on the website; there are also ‘hazard hunts’ that are fun activities for children and there are earthquake brochuresthat are available and can be picked up from the Hazard Management Office in the Corporate Centre on Hospital Road.

Photo captions:
NS Primary # 7 Hazard Management Cayman Islands Deputy Director Omar Afflick presents the earthquake awareness message to students at North Side Primary School.
NS Primary # 16 Students at North Side Primary ‘brace themselves’ in a door way during an earthquake drill.
NS Primary # 17 Students at North Side Primary ‘duck, cover and hold’ during an earthquake drill

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Swim team beats the frost

Swim team beats the frost

| 11/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The 26th Annual Youth Cup Swim Meet took place last weekend in Toronto, Canada, bringing together over 1000 of Canada’s best young swimmers. A 15 member team left Grand Cayman on Wednesday, 3 December, to take them on and gained some valuable experience in the build up to CARIFTA 2009, while at the same time putting in some stellar performances and each setting at least one personal best time.

According to a release from Coach Dominic Ross, the group, comprised of Joshua Bain, Danielle Boothe, Lara Butler, Geoffrey Butler, Christopher Courtis, Matthew Courtis, Abi Drummond, Summer Flowers, Tori Flowers, Seiji Groome, Alex McCallum, Jackson Messer, Amber Myrie, Coral Tomascik and Elliot Vernon, battled the sub zero temperatures and stiff competition to finish amongst the top 5 in the small team category, which featured teams with under 20 swimmers.

Danielle Boothe led the way, collecting medals in the 11-12 age group, including gold in the 50-metre butterfly race and two silvers (200 IM and 200 Breast), while Jackson Messer and Geoffrey Butler also collected team points in that age group on the boys side with numerous top
sixteen placings. Coral and Elliot also competed well producing personal best times in most of their events.

In the 13-14 age group, Lara Butler picked up some points for the team with a strong 800 free on the first day of the competition, as did Chris and Matthew Courtis in the equivalent boys event. They would all go on to improve upon their best times for a vast majority of their events as the meet continued on. The other 13-14 swimmers, Abi, Josh, Tori, Alex and Amber, also had strong meets as they continued with their CARIFTA preparations.

Seiji Groome, swimming at the young end of his 15-17 age group advanced to the final of the 200 Breast, eventually finishing up 7th overall in a strong field. His other events, while not placing as
high, were equally successful as he continued to improve upon his best times. Summer Flowers was the lone 15-17 girl on the team and had a much improved 1500 free on day one of the competition, which she followed up with a number of other strong swims through the following
three days.

Danielle re-wrote the Stingray Swim Club Record book, breaking 7 records over the course of the weekend in the 11-12 age group. (50f ree, 50 back, 100 back, 50 breast, 200 breast, 50 fly, 200 IM)

Geoffrey smashed his own 11-12 800 free record by 22 seconds in his last meet as a 12 year old.

This Friday, the Department of Sports will host the annual and ever popular Primary Schools Championships at the Lions Pool, scheduled start time is 9am and all are welcome to come along and support.

Next up on the swimming calendar after that is a fun event for all ages and abilities of swimmers, the KPMG Back to the Water meet scheduled for Saturday, 17 January, starting at 9:00 am.

Also, keep your eyes out for and lend your support to some exciting fundraisers planned for the New Year!


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Inside Offshore: The morality attack on the offshore world

Inside Offshore: The morality attack on the offshore world

| 11/12/2008 | 3 Comments

In the anti offshore debate, a new approach by OECD based advocates requires an effective response by offshore financial centres sooner rather than later.

Arguments against offshore financialcentres (OFCs) have been around for about 2 decades but they have evolved with increasing effect recently. Historically, the attacks against OFCs began largely as a straight forward accusation that these financial services centres were encouraging or harbouring tax evaders. OFCs pretty much ignored this argument until about the early to mid 1990s when they responded in a number of ways. In addition to denying the tax evasion charge, they raised the issue of their right of tax sovereignty, the benefits of tax competition and finally that there was no level playing field between OFCs and the main OECD members countries.

In the mid to late 1990s the accusation that such centres were a key channel through which the world’s illegal funds were laundered entered the fray, and was further fueled by the FATF’s blacklisting of many OFCs after a round of reviews. OFCs, including the Cayman Islands, responded by making major changes to their anti money laundering frameworks. In all of the main OFCs these changes were so extreme that they stand today as being light years ahead of every OECD based financial centre in terms of the due diligence requirements in place.

The pressures continued from the OECD side around 2002 when a new and substantial argument was put forward; namely that such centres had very poor systems of financial regulation and were therefore a threat to global financial stability. This resulted in a round of reviews by the IMF and again many OFCs made enhancements to their regulatory frameworks.

All along the basic tax evasion accusation has remained at the forefront as this is not an issue that can be easily resolved due to the sovereignty of tax systems. Up until recently, the OFCs’ standard response to the tax evasion charge is that there is a distinction between “tax evasion” (illegal activity) which they do not condone, and “tax avoidance” (use of legal structures and law abiding activity to minimise one’s tax burden) which is a part of the services they have on offer. For the most part, this approach seemed to be working; at least until a series of “morality arguments” surfaced in recent years.

First there was the “scrutiny” of social corporate responsibility by OECD based firms, whereby companies which utilised OFCs were labeled “unpatriotic” by American politicians.

This “morality movement” continued without much impact until it was tweaked to have a more conscientious effect very recently. In a report earlier this year the group Christian Aid essentially lays the blame for poverty (and death) in developing countries at the feet of offshore financial centres. The Christian Aid argument is not only a ludicrous attempt to link OFCs to the demise of developing countries, but it also fails to apportion any blame on the policies of the World Bank, IMF or widespread corruption by international charities and local governments for the plight of these developing countries. Not surprisingly, in its 33 page report, Christian Aid manages to avoid highlighting a single example of how OFCs have actually helped the poor, for example by facilitating the financing of major infrastructure projects such as roads or water facilities via securitisations.

The Vatican offered its own assistance recently to the morality movement against OFCs, when the Pope argued that OFCs are to blame, not only for the world’s global financial crisis but for the abject poverty witnessed around the world. More important than the inaccuracy of the Pope’s arguments is the possibility that advocates of this new morality approach have been able to influence the Vatican’s public statements through his advisors. It shows that this new strategy should be taken seriously by jurisdiction like the Cayman Islands.

To the advocates of this new morality criticism of OFCs, it does not matter whether funds are missing from the coffers of OECD governments due to “tax evasion” or tax avoidance” as the core of this argument is simply the loss of such revenues. Therefore any future OFC strategy which relies on this distinction is likely to fail.

Policymakers and industry alike in OFCs need to understand that what they are up againstwith this new strategy cannot be dealt with by technocrats or new financial regulations, but that the commercial survival of offshore centres requires advocating the true economic benefits of the offshore world like never before.

If they fail to do so, the new morality propaganda will not only strengthen the existing perception of OFCs as the bad guys, but through OECD protectionist policies backed by a “new moral conscience”, it could eventually result in the type of isolation in the global financial markets that no amount of marketing, lobbying or legislation will be able to correct. And in 10 to 15 years, the basis of economic development in many OFC economies around the globe may all but disappear. Ironically, this would also be a loss to both the wealthy and the poor in the world economy.

About the Author:
Inside Offshore is an internationally syndicated column on topics relating to international financial services. Paul Byles is Managing Director of Focus Corporate Services & Consulting. He is a former regulator who has worked in the offshore sector for over 18 years and an economist and international consultant on offshore services and its regulation. He is author of the book ‘Inside Offshore’

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Unemployment up to 3.8%

Unemployment up to 3.8%

| 11/12/2008 | 13 Comments

CNS: One of the many statistics regarding Cayman’s economy revealed by Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson yesterday has already caused controversy. The news that the labour force in the third quarter of 2007 was was up to 36,476, but in contrast the unemployment rate also went up to 3.8% in 2007 from 2.6% in 2006, raised questions from the Opposition.

One of numerous statistics in his presentation in support of the Government’s Strategic Policy Statement, Jefferson said that the total labour force as of fall 2007 was estimated at 36,476, reflecting a marginal growth of 1.4% over 2006. “The unemployment rate went up to 3.8% in 2007 from 2.6% in 2006 as total employment increased modestly by 0.2% to reach 35,081,” he said.

The obvious conclusion, which was not missed by the United Democratic Party (UDP), is that while work permits are being issued to foreign workers to fill the still growing number of jobs, more Caymanians are out of work. Cline Glidden the UDP’s third elected member for West Bay, speaking on Radio Cayman’s Talk Today programme after the SPS was delivered, noted that this indicated there was a serious disconnect.

“With so many Caymanians unemployed there is a disconnect with labour requirements somewhere and the Caymanian  human capital,” he said, pointing out that if the labour force is growing but so were unemployment figures work permits were obviously being issued when there are Caymanians available.

“With the work permit requirements we are supposed to be satisfied that no Caymanians are able to do the work before any permit is issued. When we have significant numbers of Caymanians coming forward saying they can’t get work then we have a problem that needs to be addressed. We can’t have increasing work permits and increasing numbers of unemployed Caymanians. People are reporting to us that work permit holders are taking their jobs,” Glidden added.

While he acknowledged that Cayman was always going to need to import labour, the current problem of Caymanians being sacrificed for low paid workers from overseas had to stop. Captain Eugene Ebanks agreed with his party colleague and said while there was no easy fix the biggest problem was the wage scale.

“Employers pay foreign worker so much less than what Caymanians need they can’t survive with mortgages and school fees, for example, on the rates that some foreign workers are prepared to work for. I’ve heard stories where people are taking turn to sleep in the same apartment when they have day and night shift work so they can reduce overheads and send back everything they make to their home,” he said.

Glidden also raised the concern that the changes in the work permit system and the Immigration law would make it even easier for employers to hire foreign workers instead of Caymanians.

“There is a lot of chest beating about the changes to the immigration law and about making work permits easier to get, allowing business access to competitive labour which is not going to help Caymanians get the jobs,” he said. “We need more administrative scrutiny so that before any permit is granted to any overseas worker we are sure that it there was not a Caymanian available to take the position.”

In his speech the Leader of Government Business had emphasised the need to ensure employers were able to get the best talent they needed in order to stay competitive. “The charge that Government is not standing up for Caymanians is without foundation. Government always acts whenever hard evidence is presented to support charges of job discrimination against Caymanians. We cannot act unless hard evidence is presented. If I must be very clear, Government supports a Caymanians first policy when it comes to employment, as long as the applicants satisfy the requirements for the job.”

 He said however, if suitably qualified or skilled Caymanians are not available or are not interested then employers can turn to foreign labour.

“Admittedly, this policy has not always worked as government would like. Regardless of our best efforts, some employers will occasionally seek to get around this ‘Caymanians First’ policy to recruit who they wish. This is not unique to the Cayman Islands. It happens in just about every country.”

He said with the new immigration regulations, government was aiming to strike a balance between the needs of employers and the aspirations of Caymanians who want to use their skills to participate in the economic development of our country.

“To support the continued growth of our economy and to ensure that our key industries remain globally competitive and on the cutting edge technologically, especially in these challenging times, it is also necessary to bring in workers with specialist skills which are not available here,” he stated.

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No surprises in SPS

No surprises in SPS

| 11/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Confirming the already widely anticipated deferment of a number of capital projects, the Leader of Government Business gave few if any surprises in the Strategic Policy Statement delivered to the Legislative Assembly yesterday. Predicting a difficult year because of the global economy, he said government would keep alive what public projects it could to boost the local economy, but given the limitations on government borrowing, some would have to be postponed.

When he delivered his presentation on Wednesday morning (10 December), Kurt Tibbetts said that the government would continue with a number of capital projects, despite the criticisms.

“We have chosen to press ahead with as many as the country can afford, not only because the country desperately needs them but also because we realize that in trying times like these, government has a moral duty and responsibility to stimulate economic activity,” he said. Tibbetts explained the government would like to do more but that it is bound by the borrowing restrictions within the Public Finance Management Law which states that no more than 10% of government’s revenue in any given year can go towards repaying debt.

Consequently he confirmed the deferment of several projects which include the Beulah Smith High and George Town Primary Schools, the Bodden Town Emergency Response Centre, the seawall at Savannah, and the double lane extension to the Esterley Tibbetts Highway. Projects which are underway and will be completed include the new Government Administration Building, the Clifton Hunter High School at Frank Sound, the new John Gray High School, the annex to the George Town Public Library, and the boxing gym. A range of necessary road works will also be undertaken during the coming year.

He said these projects represent a strategic investment in building capacity which will benefit the country in the future. “We do not believe development is achieved through piece-meal solutions that address issues only in the short-term. Rather, we take a medium to long range view of development because we are cognizant that as an economy grows, a country must build the necessary capacity, in terms of both human and material resources, to keep progressing for the benefit of its people,” he added.

Tibbetts stated that the government’s goal was improving the quality of life for people in Cayman and all of the initiatives implemented by government were meant to serve that purpose. He cited the CUC agreement and the regulation of fuel and now propane pricing as some examples of how the government was addressing the cost of living, and he said that initiatives like new gateways to the US by Cayman Airways and new immigration rules were helping the tourism and financial sectors. He also noted that the government was doing everything it could to be pro-active in dealing with this global crisis.

Outlining the priorities in the coming fiscal year he said government would seek to protect the economy from the full impact of the current global downturn;  stimulate business activity in order to keep people working; continue much needed capital development projects; maintain a sound fiscal position by ensuring the usual balance is achieved between spending and revenue; rebuild a stronger Cayman Brac and Little Cayman; do everything that is required to promote and protect the tourism and financial services industries, with particular attention to the various international challenges, and the need to enhance Cayman’s attractiveness and make it more business friendly and to continue providing support to vulnerable social groups, including our elderly, so that they enjoy a reasonable standard of living.

Although the country faced uncertain times, it wasn’t unusual for Cayman,Tibbetts said. “Grappling with challenging times is nothing new to the Caymanian experience. Just four years ago, this nation was put to the test by the devastation caused by Hurricane Ivan. We did not run away. We held hands and faced up to the challenge,” he added, noting that he did not think there was anything unusual either about an economic recession. “Economics 101 tells you there will be times of boom followed by times of bust. The world recently went through a period of boom and has now entered a period of bust,” the LoGB declared.

Although he announced no new revenue generating measures, or any new spending projects, the LoGB did say that a decision had been made to grant an additional $550 to retired seamen, veterans, the elderly and those who receive government financial assistance. He also said that the government would continue on with the Affordable Housing Programme and the government’s subsidized mortgage initiative, the GGHAM, to get more Caymanians into their own homes

Tibbetts suggested that the election of Barack Obama brought a glimmer of hope on the gloomy global economic horizon. “His victory is seen as an opportunity for the world to change for the better. If Obama can match promise with performance and provide effective leadership on the world stage, he may succeed in rekindling the confidence which is needed to jumpstart the global economy.”

The LoGB concluded his two hour presentation when he said the challenges presented an opportunity for stocktaking, to look at the economy critically, to determine what was right and what was wrong, and to plan and reposition for future growth and prosperity. “If we do so, we will emerge stronger and better and will reap greater benefits when the global economy recovers,” he said.

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