Archive for January 15th, 2009

Police say not enough evidence for charges in AHI

| 15/01/2009 | 5 Comments

(CNS): Police have said that following a long and in-depth investigation by the Financial Crime Unit of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) into the Affordable Housing Initiative, no charges will be brought. According to a ruling by an Independent United Kingdom Senior Queens Counsel, there is insufficient evidence to lay any charges against any of the people involved. The announcement was made by the RCIPS on Thursday afternoon when they explained that a legal ruling was given by the leading QC after the examination of the case file, exhibits, papers, statements and interviews.

Although the RCIPS was unable to give the name of the counsel at this time, it said the ruling recommends that the investigation, which began over three years ago, now be closed.

“This has been a protracted investigation which has had oversight from legal experts both in the Cayman Islands and London,” said Superintendent Mike Needham, head of the Financial Crimes Unit. “My thanks are sent to the officers involved who worked extremely hard on this case and demonstrated a very high level of professionalism throughout these enquiries.”

The FCU investigation into the AHI began following information supplied by Auditor General Dan Duguay, who was requested by Cabinet to examine the issues surrounding the initiative. The AHI had been launched by the Untied Democratic Party when it was in government and was managed by the National Housing and Community Development Trust (NHCDT) in what was at the time Dr Frank McField’s Ministry.

Duguay produced three damning reports on the financing and management of the project and also passed over information to the FCU that he believed indicated a crime could have taken place.

Duguay told CNS yesterday that his office had worked closely with the FCU and that he believed it had conducted a thorough investigation. “I am glad that the police have made a determination and I am confident that it was fully investigated,” he said. “Now the legal department and the police have made a decision and we abide by that.”

In his reports (available here) Duguay concluded clearly that there was at the very least serious mismanagement of public money and possible misappropriation of funds within this initiative. Duguay also stated his concerns over Staunch Limited, one of the contractors.  He said in 2005 that in his opinion the management by the former Minister of Community Services had resulted in the undue disbursement of public funds and that four construction contracts had been awarded in the absence of fair and equitable process. “As part of this review, I have reviewed the activities of Staunch Limited,” he stated. ”I have numerous areas of concern and have turned over my files to the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Financial Crime Unit for additional investigation.”

The Minister of Community Services with responsibility for the project at the time was Dr Frank McField who also spoke with CNS yesterday and said he felt very good about theoutcome.  “It is clear that trying to build affordable homes that people need is a controversial thing,” he said. “During the process of trying to do that I clearly made some friends but also some enemies of people who have accused me of things unbecoming. However more learned people here and in the UK have decided I did nothing wrong.”

With his name cleared McField is free to enter the political fray for the forthcoming General Election in May. However, the former minister said he was contemplating whether or not he would run for office again.

The investigation into the AHI last more than three years, and Needham said a large number of statements were taken, together with tape recorded interviews of key witnesses and the examination of paper documents and other exhibits.

The enquiry had the oversight of the Cayman Islands Legal Department, together with the overview of the whole enquiry by an eminent Independent Queens Counsel who is based in legal chambers in London.

A number of case conferences were held with the legal oversight team during the course of these enquiries and further detailed additional work was carried out as a result of these conferences. The Independent Queens Counsel made reference in his ruling to the excellent and detailed work on this case by the investigating officers and the unparalleled assistance given to him by them.

Continue Reading

Eco-Weekends with CCMI

| 15/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): This weekend, a group of high school students from Grand Cayman will be benefiting from the first of a series of Eco-Weekends at the Little Cayman Research Centre (LCRC), sponsored by the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, where they will study a wide range of topics covering marine ecology and conservation. Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI), which is hosting the weekend, say that educating and empowering are at the forefront of the Eco-Weekend programme.

For three days, the students will stay at the LCRC with a well-developed curriculum of ecology-based topics and activities to highlight what they can do to make a difference. They will learn new field sampling techniques with the aim of improving their analytical and critical thinking skills, collect samples and work together in analyzing data from several coastal environments including the rocky shoreline and sea grass habitats, observe and study first hand the importance of mangroves to our shores and juvenile fish populations as well as how Cayman reef structure was formed, and identify the common reef fish, and understanding sustainable fishing practices.

The launch of the Eco-Weekends progtramme was originally scheduled in November 2008; however, Paloma damage to CCMI’s Little Cayman Research Centre (LCRC), including loss of electricity, delayed the start of the programme until January.

The new schedule includes: January 16-18, January 23-25, April 3-5, May 1-3, June 5-7

“A full launch of the Eco-Weekends will have a great impact on the community as these youth apply their new knowledge”, comments Jim O’Neill, CEO of CCMI. “The Rotary Club of Grand Cayman recognised the value of this programme and embraced it with a commitment, which will establish the Eco-Weekends as a winning formula for youth, education and environment. This is a tremendous benefit to the Cayman Islands for years to come.”

The Eco-Weekend instructors will use the Marine Park laws to help the students understand why conch, lobster and Nassau grouper populations are currently protected. At the end of the weekend, the students summarise the experience with presentations at the end of their stay.

“These students be mentally equipped with the information to make good decisions and share their new knowledge with their families and peers. We see a bright future ahead”, comments Jim O’Neill. “The Rotary Club of Grand Cayman has demonstrated their solid commitment to our local youth, the importance of education and Cayman’s environment.”

Rotary’s theme for this year is to “Make Dreams Real.” In addition, Rotary is targeting child mortality and literacy, two items that are very much linked. “I consider that in supporting CCMI, we are actually hitting all three of the above – making dreams real for the participating students and providing environmental literacy that will equip our youth with the knowledge to better care of our islands,” said President of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, Derek Haines. “In years to come, educated youth will become fully employed and empowered youth, avoiding poverty and ensuring that child mortality does not become an issue in the Cayman Islands.”

For more information on CCMI’s Eco-Weekends, please contact Sally at


Continue Reading

Evidence Of Ancient Chemical Warfare

| 15/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(ScienceDaily): A researcher from the University of Leicester has identified what looks to be the oldest archaeological evidence for chemical warfare — from Roman times. At the meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America, University of Leicester archaeologist Simon James presented CSI-style arguments that about twenty Roman soldiers, found in a siege-mine at the city of Dura-Europos, Syria, met their deaths not as a result of sword or spear, but through asphyxiation. Go to article

Continue Reading

Tax trouble for Geithner

| 15/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(Wall Street Journal): Timothy Geithner, whose nomination as Treasury secretary has been delayed by his past failure to pay taxes, was repeatedly advised in writing by the International Monetary Fund that he would be responsible for any Social Security and Medicare taxes he owed on income he earned at the IMF between 2001 and 2004. This means President-elect Barack Obama will take office without a Treasury secretary amid the biggest financial crisis in decades. Go to article.

Continue Reading

Consultant enters Cayman hedge fund market

| 15/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Despite the uncertain times in the hedge fund sector the Cayman Islands has welcomed a new independent consulting firm catering to the traditional fund and wealth management industries to George Town. Carne Global Financial Services has recently been granted a licence by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority to provide directorships, fund establishment assistance and other corporate and oversight services.

The opening of the new office follows that of the firm’s Geneva office in June last year, and the launch of London-based alternative and wealth management divisions earlier in 2008. Peter Heaps, who has more than 23 years of offshore fund experience, has been appointed managing director for the Cayman Islands. Heaps joins Carne from RBC Dexia Investor Services Ireland, where as managing director he had responsibility for RBC Dexia’s fund administration and custody activities. He previously worked for HSBC in Dublin as European head of client relationship management for alternative fund services and executive director of the fund administration company.

Earlier he was managing director of HSBC’s fund administration business in Guernsey, and he has also held senior positions with Gartmore in Jersey and London.

“’Last year was a year of growth for Carne, and our latest expansion establishes us as a truly global advisor to mutual fund, hedge fund and wealth managers,’ said chief executive John Donohoe. “’With Peter at the helm in the Cayman Islands, we are better able to meet the needs of our global clients who have offshore funds. Our hedge fund clients will be able to demonstrate the highest standards of governance which the market is demanding.”


Continue Reading

Eyes Wide/Shut competition

| 15/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): An underwater photographer’s dream trip aboard the Cayman Aggressor (left) is one of the prizes up for grabs in a new component of the annual Underwater Film Festival on 30 January. The Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) is inviting amateur photographers to submit underwater images that best depict Cayman for its “Eyes Wide / Shut” Photo Competition. 

The Aggressor Fleet donated two trips aboard the Cayman Aggressor for first prizes in both categories – “Images with Strong Eye Contact”, and “Images with No Eye Contact”. A maximum of five images may be submitted and winners will be chosen for First Place, Second Place, and Honorable Mention for each category.

All photos entered in the competition will be displayed at the Underwater Film Festival on Friday, 30 January, where celebrity judges Cathy Church and Geri Murphy will announce the winners.

How to Enter: Submit a total of five images. The images must have been shot in the Cayman Islands and must be submitted in a jpeg digital format. Images must be emailed to One image per email. Your initial and last name along with the category code and photo number (1 through 5) must appear in the file name of the jpeg and the subject line of the email. See the example below for more information:

Images with Eye Contact – code IEC
Images with NO EYE Contact – code NEC

Entry Example:

My name if Joe Diver and I want to enter 3 images in the Eye Contact category and 2 images in the No Eye Contact category.

My subject line and file name will read as follows: jdiveriec1.jpeg
J (my initial) diver (last name) iec (Image with Eye Contact) 1 (number of entry, max. 5 per person) .jpeg (file type)

For more information about the Underwater Photo Contest contact or call 949-8522.

Continue Reading

Chartered engineer joins MACI

| 15/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A chartered engineer with 31 years experience in the marine industry, Duncan Currie, has joined the Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands (MACI), parent organisation of the Cayman Islands Shipping Registry, the world’s preeminent domicile of mega-yachts. He joins MACI as Senior Surveyor. “We’re pleased to have Mr Currie on board,” said MACI’s CEO, Joel Walton.

In a MACI release Walton added, “The Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands is a dynamic organisation that has been undergoing significant international expansion over the past several years and our Register of worldwide vessels has also been growing. It’s our high level of expertise and dedicated client services that have made us the global leader in the registration of the finest yachts, and Mr Currie is a welcome and valued addition to our pool of maritime talent.”


“I am very pleased to be joining MACI at this time,” said Mr. Currie, “having known the management team for a number of years and being aware of the high caliber of the Cayman flag. I look forward to the challenges that the shipping world always manages to set.”


Currie, who is from Scotland, was previously the Director/Chief Surveyor with the Bermuda Dept. of Maritime Administration for six years, and prior to that, Senior Engineer & Ship Surveyor with the Bermuda Government, Registry of Shipping for five years.


Early on in his career Currie served on a fleet of modern reefer (refrigerator) and container vessels, rising to the rank of Chief Engineer Officer. Subsequently he was Engineer & Ship Surveyor with the UK Marine Safety Agency (1992-94), now known as the Maritime & Coastguard Agency. He has a wide background as a marine surveyor with extensive experience as a flag state and engineer surveyor dealing with and undertaking statutory surveys, audits and new-build supervision on all ship types including large cruise ships, mega-yachts, bulk carriers, container ships, ferries, MODU (Mobile Offshore Drilling Units), oil, gas and chemical tankers.


Currie will spend his time between George Town working on a number of projects and being in the field, undertaking ship surveys overseas.


Moving here from Bermuda, he is accompanied by his wife, Fiona, and their teenage son and daughter.

Continue Reading

Many UK civil servants ‘deserve axe’

| 15/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(BBC): Ex-trade minister Lord Digby Jones says he was "amazed" to discover how many civil servants "deserved the sack". He told a committee of MPs he thought the civil service could "frankly… be done with half as many" people. The ex-CBI chief described being a junior minister as "one of the most dehumanising and depersonalising experiences" anyone could have. Go to article

Continue Reading

McLean seeks running mates

| 15/01/2009 | 11 Comments

(CNS): Political veteran Gilbert McLean has confirmed that he is taking to the hustings again in a bid for political office in the forthcoming May General Election. However, the former Health Minister will not be running with his previous political team, the United Democratic Party (UDP). He says he will be standing as an independent but is looking to form alliances with other like-minded candidates.

With just days to go before the official launch of the 2009 General Elections when the writs ceremony takes place on Monday 19 January, McLean said he has begun his campaign in Bodden Town without any formal allegiances yet but he seriously hopes he can team up with other individuals with common goals to run with. Speaking with CNS this week, McLean said that he had decided to return to the political battleground, not least because of what he described as the mismanagement of the country under the current administration, and he believes all three current MLAs in the district could lose their seats.

“I am disturbed by the reckless spending and the unaccounted for public finances,” he said, referring to the Auditor General’s revelations that some $1.5 billion of government spending remains unaudited preventing the people from having a true understanding of the government’s accounts.

He also said crime was of serious concern and it required the political will to ensure the police were enforcing the law, and that he would like to see more accountability between the police and elected officials despite the constitutional restrains. He said the elected government is still in a position to put pressure on the police to answer to the public, and he wanted to see the creation of a commission to oversee police operations. “The people expected their elected representatives to answer to them and that includes in areas of law enforcement,” he added.

McLean also said that he will be campaigning about the need to engage and empower both old and young in our community. “I want to see more programmes in place to encourage older people to retrain in skills that are required in the modern workplace,” he said, adding that this would see more Caymanians filling the vacancies and playing a valuable part in society. He said that broadly education was not about building schools but was about molding young people into strong characters. He said money should be spent in the area of pre-school programmes and a national education strategy that started in the early years to guide young people the right the way through to tertiary level.

“I also want to see moreattention paid to everyone’s educational needs despite their learning abilities. Where we encourage everyone to meet their ability,” McLean said nothing that there was a need to remove the current stigma from manual and vocational work. “In order to make a meaningful contribution people do not need to wear a tie to work,” he said.

The area that holds considerable interest for McLean is Health. Having served as the Minister for what was then Health and Agriculture Ministry, he said he was proud of his record in office. Although he said he did not get to do everything he wanted he was pleased with his accomplishments but wanted to go much further.

“I would like to see a type of national health service for Cayman where everyone contributes into the same pool and where coverage is for everyone from womb to tomb,” McLean said. He explained that in a small community like Cayman, the idea of a one stop health insurance pool was feasible and while people could still take out private policies over and above the national insurance scheme, with everyone paying in to oneplace, the health service would have greater access to the necessary finances.

Looking at some of the major issues grabbing the headlines, McLean said he had very grave concerns about the port project, which he said was a massive undertaking and would, if allowed to go ahead, fundamentally alter George Town. “While there is a need to upgrade the port facilities, this proposals is certainly not one to be considered lightly as it is a massive scale development and one that is not yet showing any real benefit to Cayman and may in fact cause damage.” He said there was evident opposition and that other options needed to be more carefully considered to see how the cargo port could meet growing demand.

With constitutional talks running this week, he said he was watching developments closely as he was a strong advocate of modernizing the constitution. He said the issue had for too long been hindered by personal agendas. Behind the posturing, the only thing the current political parties were concerned about was who would become the first chief minister rather than the important issues.

“We must assume more responsibility for our own destiny,” he said. “No other country, the UK or otherwise, is ever going to have as our interest at heart as much as we ourselves do.”

As far as Operation Tempura was concerned, McLean said it was apparent that the investigation had gone awry and all parties involved need to be held accountable for what has happened. “This really needs to reach its end, not least because of the negative reflection that it has had on the community as a whole.”

Working at the grass roots in Bodden Town, McLean said that he was already beginning to look at his campaign strategy and hoped, with a number of interesting and intelligent individuals indicating they could run, that it would not be too long before he could join forces with others and start forming some clear common strategies that could see them all returned to office.

Continue Reading

Tainted Weight Loss Pills

| 15/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Following an advisory issued by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last month, the Medical Officer of Health, Dr Kiran Kumar is alerting consumers not to purchase or consume over 25 different products marketed for weight loss because they contain undeclared, active pharmaceutical ingredients that may put consumers’ health at risk.

According to USA Today, the FDA is adding an additional 41 products to their previous alert about tainted diet pills, bringing the total to 69.

According to the FDA these tainted weight loss products pose a great risk to public health because they contain undeclared ingredients and, in some cases, contain either unapproved drugs or prescription drugs in amounts that greatly exceed their maximum recommended dosages.

The health risks posed by these products can be serious; for example, sibutramine, which was found in many of the products, can cause high blood pressure, seizures, tachycardia, palpitations, heart attack or stroke. This drug can also interact with other medications that patients may be taking and increase their risk of adverse drug events. The safety of sibutramine has also not been established in pregnant and lactating women, or in children younger than 16 years of age.

Dr Kumar advises consumers who have used any of these products to stop taking them and consult their healthcare professional immediately and encourages consumers to seek guidance from a healthcare professional before purchasing weight loss products.

The tainted weight loss products listed by the HSA are:

Fatloss Slimming
2 Day Diet     
3x Slimming Power
Japan Lingzhi  24 Hours Diet
5x Imelda Perfect Slimming
3 Day Diet
7 Day Herbal Slim
8 Factor Diet
7 Diet Day/Night Formula
999 Fitness Essence
Extrim Plus
Imelda Perfect Slim
Lida DaiDaihua
Miaozi Slim Capsules
Perfect Slim
Perfect Slim 5x
Phyto Shape
ProSlim Plus
Royal Slimming Formula
Slim 3 in 1
Slim Express 360
Zhen de Shou

Continue Reading