Archive for February 20th, 2009

Cayman signs deal with Saudi aviation authority

| 20/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands (CAACI) has signed an agreement with the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) of Saudi Arabia allowing aircraft registered in the Cayman Islands to be operated for commercial purposes by a Saudi Arabian airline. Signalling a new level of cooperation between the two aviation regulatory authorities, the Director-General of Civil Aviation Richard Smith said it was quite an accomplishment for the Cayman Islands.

This agreement, known as an Article 83 bis Agreement in accordance with the International Convention on Civil Aviation (ICAO), provides for the sharing of aircraft regulatory oversight responsibilities between the State of Registry (Cayman Islands) and the State of Operator (Saudi Arabia).

“This agreement has been well thought out, it follows established international standards for safety oversight and we have created a partnership that is beneficial to all parties involved.  I am quite pleased with this accomplishment and the high level of aviation safety oversight that the CAACI is able to provide globally, said Smith.

TheCAACI says that Cayman’s Aircraft Registry is one of choice and is attractive to prominent global corporations, affluent individuals and aircraft leasing companies due to the highly regulated and stable jurisdiction Cayman offers.  As a movable asset, it is important for aircraft leasing companies and financiers to have their assets registered in a jurisdiction such as the Cayman Islands. 

In entering into such agreement, the UK, as signatory to international treaties, must be satisfied and give its approval.  The CAACI was provided with an entrustment by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office to sign this international agreement, which is in keeping with the standards and recommended practices of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

This level of commitment and partnership is indicative of the credible reputation and quality of safety oversight the two authorities will provide to aircraft affected by this Agreement, the CAACI said. The Agreement was signed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia by the Director-General of Civil Aviation for the Cayman Islands Richard Smith and Capt Mohammad Ali Jamjoom, Vice President of Safety & Economic Regulation for the General Authority of Civil Aviation, Saudi Arabia.

 “This agreement has been well thought out, it follows established international standards for safety oversight and we have created a partnership that is beneficial to all parties involved.  I am quite pleased with this accomplishment and the high level of aviation safety oversight that the CAACI is able to provide globally, said Smith.

 

 

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Farmers stock arrives in good shape

| 20/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Department of Agriculture has announced that 97 cattle and 21 goats arrived from the United States at the beginning of February as part of the livestock replenishment initiative. This is the largest single livestock shipment undertaken in the Cayman Islands, and Director of Agriculture Adrian Estwick said he was very pleased with the condition of the animals.

“This has been a challenging undertaking but we are very satisfied that the Department has been able to facilitate this shipment and assist local farmers to both replenish and expand herd numbers and more importantly, upgrade and enhance the quality of livestock in the Cayman Islands,” Estwick added.

Under the programme, which started last year, local farmers were able to select and purchase new breeding stock of both cattle and goats in the US independently or as part of a buying trip organized by the DoA in October last year. Once the purchases were completed, the DoA then assumed responsibility for all of the costs of quarantining the animals, including housing, feeding and veterinary testing, as well as all shipping and insurance costs.

“The way the programme was designed allowed farmers to select and purchase exactly what animals they wanted and still benefit from a cost-effective and affordable mechanism for upgrading their herds,” explained Estwick. “Essentially our farmers were able to buy top-quality breeding stock at the same price paid by ranchers in Florida.” 

On arrival all of the animals, in their six specially outfitted forty foot containers, were taken directly to the Department of Agriculture’s Lower Valley facility where they were held to undergo various inspections and health checks.  Once completed, release of the animals to their new owners began on Wednesday 4 February. Animals for Cayman Brac were delayed due to weather conditions butthey left on Tuesday, 10 February.

Prior to receipt of their animals the farmers signed a contract which specified that the animals are to be used for breeding purposes and are not to be slaughtered fiveyears for cattle and three for goats, except for medical reasons and with the express written authorization of the DoA. Failure to adhere to the contract will make the farmer liable to repay the government for the cost incurred in importing the livestock.

“This contractual obligation was first proposed by the Cayman Islands Agricultural Society (CIAS) and endorsed by both the Ministry and the Department, when the programme was first initiated,” Estwick said. “The purpose of the contract is to protect government’s investment, which has been substantial, and to ensure that the animals are used for the purpose intended, that is to expand and upgrade local livestock operations and ultimately local meat production.”   

 

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DoA takes aim at fruit flies

| 20/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): They may be very small in the grand scheme of things but fruit flies can present a significant threat to crops — one of the reasons why staff from the Department of Agriculture were putting them under the microscope last month during a week-long workshop. Partnering with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the DoA’s aim was to improve its capability to identify fruit flies of economic importance.

The workshop was also designed to help staff create a network of trapping sites to aid in the early detection of the potential entry of fruit flies into the Cayman Islands as well as confirm the absence or presence of fruit flies in the Cayman Islands. Other goals were to learn identification techniques, which will enhance the capabilities of the front line Inspection Services staff to detect, identify and prevent the entry of the fruit flies and enable the DoA to fully participate in and contribute data to the regional programmes related to the identification, monitoring and management of fruit flies within the Caribbean.

The department was also seeking to train and enable the DoA staff to respond to the needs of the agricultural sector in the event of the confirmation of the presence of these pests or their entry intothe country.

Minister for Agriculture Kurt Tibbetts, who is also a fruit grower, said he was comforted by the fact that the  DoA is taking steps to improve local crop outputs, and undertaking training to protect the existing fruit production

Lionel Wayne De Chi, Agricultural Scientist with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS), highlighted the USDA’s commitment to assist the Caribbean region in combating exotic pests of which fruit flies have been identified as a priority area.

“The region is aware of the fact that when there is an invasion of a pest to any country in the Caribbean area this eventually spreads to the other islands, and as such, this group has decided that transparency and the sharing of information between each other must be a cornerstone in the success to the forum,” said De Chi.

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Cops meet youth workers on drug and alcohol issues

| 20/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): People who are working with Cayman’s youngsters were given the chance to discuss the issues regarding the use of drugs and alcohol among them with officers from West Bay Police Station recently, when the Youth Services Department organized a collaborative meeting. “This was a highly constructive session which centred on identifying creative ways in which to reach young people within the community,” said Area Commander Chief Inspector Angelique Howell.

 

Using statistics from the National Drug Council the police and youth workers looked at ways to effectively educate young people on the dangers of getting involved with illegal drugs or alcohols. “We need to work together with other agencies and community leaders who have the expertise and knowledge to captivate young people to make a real difference,” added CI Howell.

She explained that the session was just one of the ways the police plan to target young people and assist them where necessary. “We’re planning a series of meetings to take place in March between the police and young people so we can hear directly from them what concerns they have. Our young people are our future and we want to assist them with their personal and professional development in any way we can,” she said. Held at the John Grey Memorial Church, 11 people attended the session including MLA, Rolston Anglin.

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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Tax havens not to blame

| 20/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(Reuters):  Gibraltar’s leader Peter Caruana has said that tax havens are not to blame for the global financial crisis and should not be made scapegoats for the banking sector’s woes. “Everybody knows where the cause is and it’s not in Jersey, it’s not in Guernsey, it’s not in the Isle of Man, it’s not in Switzerland, it’s not in Gibraltar," he said. The global financial crisis stemmed from events in the major finance centres of the world — New York, London and Frankfurt and one or two centres in Asia, Caruana added. Go to article.

 

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Secret child transfer ‘inhumane’, says professor

| 20/02/2009 | 7 Comments

(CNS): Professor Barry Chevannes has called a government decision to prevent a mother from saying goodbye to her child being transferred to Tranquility Bay as “inhumane". However, the UWI consultant and author of a report surrounding the details of a Cayman Islands teenager that was sent to the reform school in Jamaica (left) states that the decision to send the girl to the controversial school was justified.

Despite the significant amount of evidence that the methods used at this particular school, which is now closed, were questionable, neither Chevannes or the Minister of Health and Human Services Anthony Eden believed sending young at-risk Caymanians to the facility was inappropriate — it was considered a viable last resort option for troubled youngsters despite it being offshore and having a very controversial reputation.

The minister told the press yesterday (Thursday 19 February) at a specially convened briefing that the reason his ministry had commissioned the report was because the child’s mother had complained about the decision to send her daughter to Tranquility Bay and to keep that decision from both her and her daughter.

Although this young girl is not the first troubled youngster sent from Cayman to the school, it was the first time a parent had complained publicly about the decision and, as a result, the ministry had promised to investigate. In his report summary, Prof Chevannes said that, in light of the child’s behaviour and its deterioration, the decision to send her to Tranquility Bay was justified, but the decision not to tell her mother was unwarranted and violated the mother’s right to know.

Chevannes added that the decision to deny permission for the child to spend Christmas with her Grandmother was “…most insensitive, even taking into consideration the child’s history of absconding.” He said the failure to advise the child’s mother of the departure date and time of her daughter’s removal from the island and further denying her the chance to say farewell were inhumane.

In his report, Chevannes says he supports the government decision  to establish its own facility and recommendsthat in future the right of parents to know shoudl be enforced and for the Department of Children and Family Services to be restructured to minimise divergence by staff.

The minister said there would be no direct consequence to anyone in the department as a result of the report but the recommendations were already being addressed with the DCFS being divided into two units. He also said that government was seeking to establish a secure facility somewhere in the eastern side of the island. He explained that the problem of what to do with young people who were at risk or in trouble was problematic and more so now Tranquility Bay was closed.

“We do recognise that our best option is an on-island facility and work is underway to confirm the most suitable site, complete drawings and other detailed discussions,” the minister stated, but he said the most important thing was to build a robust therapeutic rehabilitation programme that is appropriate for young persons and run by qualified experienced staff.

“The needs of young persons in this area are indeed pressing and I trust the goodwill of the entire community can be summoned to give priority to the necessary funding in the present economic realities; and to appreciate that someone will have to be the neighbour to this facility,” the minister added, saying his ministry was committed to addressing the needs of children. 

However, the Children (Amendment) Bill, which was originally drafted in 2003, has still not been brought to the house during his four year tenure, as was indicated by government. Eden said that he hoped to table it and debate the bill before the dissolution of the House, which will be in approximately four weeks time.

He also confirmed that, despite contravening international laws regarding the rights of the child, there were still children inside both of Cayman’s adult prison facilities – HMP Fairbanks, the women’s facility and HMP Northward, the men’s facility. Moreover, Eden acknowledged that adult prisoners are now also being accommodated in Eagle House, which is a secure unit for young offenders up to the age of 21.

The problem of how Cayman deals with its young offenders or troubled youth has long been at issue, but over the years the courts have sent more than twenty young people to the controversial Tranquility Bay facility, whose owners have admitted to using pepper spray on their wards and to making them lay on the floor for days. The use of painful restraint techniques that do not leave bruising have also been reported at the facility by parents and former attendees.

A number of international organisations have raised concerns about the school, including the Coalition Against Institutionalized Child Abuse. However, the Department of Child and Family Services said they had visited the facility along with officers from the Family Service Unit of the RCIPS and interviewed the children who were kept there, and said they believed they were doing well at the facility and there was no indication that they were being abused.

Justice Priya Levers was the first of Cayman’s judges to question the tradition of sending very troubled youth to the facility, and last year said the policy should be reconsidered until a report of the facility was completed.

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It beggars belief

| 20/02/2009 | 0 Comments

It appears that (yet another) UK Government appointed team is due to arrive shortly with a mandate to probe Britain’s contingent liabilities and the likelihood of the damage to London’s international reputation resulting from financial activities here.

The suggestion that Britain has any contingent financial liability for what happens in Cayman is a shibboleth invented by Tony Baldry (a Conservative Government junior minister more than a decade ago as a justification for the UK waving the big regulatory stick at Cayman). Anyone who believes this shibboleth should read Acts chapter 9, verse 18 in light of the predictable refusal by the UK to foot the bill for any of the recent investigations and enquiries instigated by those who are irritatingly not accountable to the elected Government or to the voters here.

The related suggestion later in the article that the Cayman Government might be required to bail out financial institutions based here raises the perilous issue of moral hazard. The indirect assistance to Cayman General after Ivan (by Government taking a haircut on its damage claim) was as near to a bail out as Cayman should ever come, and will hopefully never be repeated.  Our Government cannot afford to and should not bail out or even contemplate committing to bailing out anyone. And we should fiercely resist any call from UK for that commitment.

The suggestion that London’s international reputation as a financial centre has been  or could be tarnished by events in Cayman rings even more hollow. For starters, our local banking institutions could teach the likes of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds and Barclays a few things about responsible and prudent mortgage lending. Followed smartly by reminding the British Government of the recent damning OECD report on Britain’s lack of commitment to fighting international corruption.

We should treat the latest initiatives from the UK with as much cynicism as the invective coming out of the USA. They have little to do with good regulation and good governance. They have everything to do with anti competitive behaviour. We must indeed take them very seriously and take steps to improve our defences, but we should be under no illusions as to what they are all about. 

 

 

 

      

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MoneyGram scuppers scam

| 20/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A woman who fell for a scam was prevented from sending $850 to a bogus company in Africa by vigilant MoneyGram staff. Officers from the RCIPS Financial Crime Unit were called to the money transfer company after a woman informed staff she wanted to send the cash to Nigeria. The company has instigated a system where transfers to countries which regularly feature on scam warning lists throw up a red flag.

Detectives attended and found that the woman was sending the cash in order to receive a $40,000 loan from a bogus company. The woman was assured that once she had sent her cash the loan would never be forthcoming and she would not hear from the company again. The woman was extremely grateful to the staff at the store and the detectives who collectively saved her 850 dollars.

“Scam artists are continually coming up with new ways to target consumers,” said Detective Constable Sherry Francella of the FCU. “It’s really good to see companies being aware of these issues and doing what they can to protect their customers.”

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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DoT looks to gimmicks to shore up tourism business

| 20/02/2009 | 3 Comments

(CNS): With a challenging year ahead, the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism is turning to skateboard camps, free holidays for kids and romanceto try and hold on to the islands’ share of the dwindling tourism market as the industry faces serious decline. Following a number of strategic meetings in Miami, the Minister of Tourism said that the department was doing all it could to mitigate the impact of the economic downturn.

Minster of Tourism Charles Clifford said he was cautiously optimistic that Cayman could weather the tough economic time, but it was important to develop strategies that were creative and keep monitoring the situation to ensure the Department of Tourism was doing everything it could to get a share of the existing market.

“One thing that came across loud and clear during the US meetings is that 2009 is ‘business not as usual’ and the events of the past few months have fundamentally changed our world. We are going to have to work harder than ever and be incredibly smart in our marketing decisions in order to maintain our position in these challenging times,” said Minister Clifford.

He explained that visitors from our primary market, the US, were still expected to take vacations but stay closer to home, which would be good for the Cayman Islands.

Acting Director of Tourism Shomari Scott explained that their would be a focus on family vacations, as marketing experts say that parents still want to try and spend on their children even if they spend less on themselves in a recession. As a destination that has always been family friendly, he said the department would be taking that further with a programme in which kids will get everything from flights to food free during their stay.

“This year the Cayman Summer Splash offer will match anything that any other destination can come up with, “ he said. “All kids coming to the Cayman Islands will get everything free – food, drinks, activities and even their flights."

He also said that the Black Pearl Skateboard Park was going to play a key role in the promotion of the islands this year. Cayman has the second largest skate park in the world and is attracting a lot of attention in the world of skateboarding, now one of the most popular past-times in the US, and Scott said the department intended to take advantage of that with Skate Cayman.

 “We are speaking to a number of professional boarders who can come down to Cayman and offer camps to coincide with the summer programmes, “ he said, adding that young Caymanian skaters would get a chance to get involved too but it was a potentially exciting diversification of the tourism product. “Statistics show that 20 million young people skate and it has eclipsed baseball amongst young Americans.” He said that camps were already being booked for the summer, with a church group coming very soon for a skate camp at the park in the next few weeks.

A wedding conference, ‘Something Blue’, is also planned for June to help boost Cayman’s already successful romance product. Scott said bringing a number of key professional planners designers and coordinators here for a conference to show them what we have could see them in turn promoting the destination to their clients.

“We don’t think brides will cancel their weddings regardless of the economy,” said Scott, who acknowledged that this particular specialist market is already cluttered, with and more and more Caribbean destinations fighting for a share of the romance dollar, but he said the conference could go a long way to elevate Cayman as a honeymoon and wedding destination of choice.

Clifford also emphasised the need for partnership with the private sector and said the move towards turning the Department of Tourism into an Authority was back in consideration, and the ministry and the private sector industry body, the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, were working together to make it happen. 

 

 

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The Security Centre Youth Football League kicks off

| 20/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Security Centre Youth Football League, which is run by the Cayman Islands Flag Football Association, starts next Saturday, 28 February, on the playing field at Cayman International School at Camana Bay. Registration is at 11:00 am, although parents are encouraged to register online beforehand at www.flagfootball.ky to secure their children’s places. Games will take place on Saturday afternoons and the league will run for nine weeks. It will focus on teaching flag football in a fun and relaxed environment and is open to boys and girls ages 8 through 14.

The League’s sponsor, The Security Centre Limited, will provide uniforms, refreshments and all the trappings of a fun event, as well as enable local children free admission to the league.

President and CEO Stuart Bostock said, “American Football has not traditionally been well represented on Cayman’s youth sports scene so this new youth league is a welcome addition to the range of sporting activities available to our local children. The new league will help to stimulate interest in Football among young people, which we hope will lead to many more participants in the sport locally and maybe even scholarship or professional opportunities for some. With children of my own, I believe strongly that young people should be able to take part in the sports they want to, so The Security Centre is very proud to put its name to this youth football league.”

Spearheading the inception of the league is local barrister, Kyle Broadhurst, whose goal was to give local children the opportunity to play and learn about a sport that so many of them are interested in. “We are looking to establish The Security Centre Youth Football League as a regular fixture in the Cayman Islands. The league gives children a great opportunity to engage in physical activity and learn a popular sport. We wholeheartedly encourage parents to bring their children along to take part.”

For more information, email ciflagfootball@gmail.com.
 

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