Archive for March 3rd, 2009

Local vets offer free shots against Parvo virus

| 03/03/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Island Veterinary Service in partnership with the Humane Society will be hosting three free vaccine clinics to protect local dogs from the parvo virus. Highly contagious and mainly affecting dogs there has the vets say been another recent outbreak in Grand Cayman. The disease is infectious and can be easily spread from dog to dog and can be especially severe in puppies. The common signs of infection include severe vomiting and diarrhoea.


The virus can also cause respiratory failure in young dogs but the vets says it vaccines can prevent pets from contracting this infection. The first free Island Veterinary Service clinic e on Walker’s Road will be this Sunday, 8 March from 11amuntil 4pm and then on 22 March and 5 April from 11am until 4pm.  Owners must take their animal for three separate injections to be fully protected.  Vaccinations are being provided by the Cayman Islands Humane Society and the inoculations are being completed by the Island Veterinary Service. For further information, please contact the Island Veterinary Service on 949 0787    or the Cayman Islands Humane Society on 949 1461.


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Local lawyers donate books to library

| 03/03/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS): George Town Public Library Assistant, Katrina Smith, recently accepted a welcome book donation from Maples and Calder partner, Paul Lumsden. The library, Smith said was very grateful to receive the donated books and encouraged individuals and companies to keep the library in mind whenever they have books to donate. Maples and Calder is also a major sponsor of the new George Town Library extension which is currently being constructed.


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Lessons in government corruption

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(CNS): A number of Cayman’s senior civil servants and those from other overseas territories attended a seminar last month funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office dealing with good governance. Prof. Anthony Clayton (left) the main speaker said that recent financial scandals have revealed the presence of fraud in some governance systems from which lessons can be learned.


Prof. Clayton, who is from the University of West Indies’ Institute for Sustainable Development and a member of the strategic advisory group for the Commonwealth Heads of Government 2009, said the aim of the seminar was to make people who run public agencies in British Overseas Territories more aware about public sector governance principles, and give them tools for strengthening the structures of governance.

“We can learn from recent financial scandals that fraud was present in some governance systems, which enabled organisations to continue their operations for so long. Evidently there is a global need to rebuild these systems,” he added.

The seminar was held at the Cayman Islands Civil Service College (CSC) and the agenda included public service governance elements, principles and challenges, board meeting practices, forms of corruption or bad practice, and oversight of the state accountability frameworks.

Chief Secretary and Head of the Civil Service, George McCarthy, said the presentation was useful, especially in the today’s difficult economic environment. “Anyone in the position of director or board member should know what is expected from his performance, in order to effectively discharge their activities,” he said. 

Portfolio of the Civil Service’s Chief Officer Mary Rodrigues said the seminar was part of the CSC’s growing range of programmes in the areas of leadership and governance, and an opportunity to begin establishing the CSC as a regional resource.

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Ogier’s Global Funds Team earns industry award

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(CNS): Ogier, a provider of offshore legal and fiduciary services, with a presence in eleven jurisdictions around the world including the Cayman Islands, was named “Overall Private Funds Law Firm of the Year” by ACQ Finance Magazine in its announcement of their Global Award winners for 2009. The magazine canvassed its readership to nominate and vote for those firms they felt had stood out in the various awards categories.

Guided by the poll’s results, the editors selected those firms that they felt had the greatest impact on the industry in 2008 as the award winners.

James Bergstrom (above), Head of Ogier’s Global Investment Funds Team, commented “It is very pleasing to receive another commendation for our professional services. Our strength across continents and our sustained and steady growth has continued to gain us these awards from industry commentators and our clients and it is a tribute to the quality and standing of our global investment funds team to receive it.”

This is the fourth year that ACQ Finance Magazine has held it’s ACQ Global Awards which attracted a record number of responses from its industry readership this year, equating to 12%.

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Female heroes honoured

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(CNS): According to the United Nations, no enduring solution to society’s most threatening problems can be found without the full participation and the full empowerment of the world’s women, and with this in mind the Empowerment and Community Development Agency (ECDA), formerly the Women’s Resource Centre, has organised Cayman’s 11th observance of Honouring Women Month under the theme "Heroes Among Us".

“The theme recognises that there are ordinary women all around us, doing extraordinary things,” said ECDA Programme Officer Miriam Foster. ”The same women are often recognised in the local media, but there are so many other women whose lives have been a heroic journey. During this month we hope to honour all of those women, and thank them for leading lives that are an example to all.”

The month includes the celebration of the UN’s International Women’s Day on 8 March, and  Minister for Health and Human Services Anthony Eden, along with ECDA officials, will host a ceremony on Monday, 9 March, in front of the Government Administration Building.

During the ceremony, a Heroes Display will be unveiled and the poetry and photo contest winners will be announced. Theguest speaker for International Women’s Day will be Yentel McGaw, former Miss Teen Cayman 2007 and current Miss Teen Worldwide Caribbean.

International Women’s Day dates back to the early 1900s and is rooted in the centuries-old struggle of women to participate in society on an equal footing with men. Cayman’s celebration of Honouring Women Month also includes the Sunrise/Sunset 5K walk/run; Heroes Art Exhibit and Auction; educational sessions in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac; and sporting and business-focused activities.

On Monday evening (9 March) Books & Books, in conjunction with ECDA  is hosting a special event with guest speakers Marilyn Conolly, Susan Barnes, and Yentel McGraw and a large selection of books chosen by the Empowerment & Community Development Agency will be available for purchase at a 5 percent discount.

During the month, women will have access to discounts at various local stores and businesses and there will be a number of cultural and sporting events geared towards the theme. The month long celebration of women will end with a reception at Government House on the 31 March.

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Roving reporters get upgrade

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(CNS): Radio Cayman recently received the keys to a new remote-broadcast van, which is worth more than CI$60,000. A considerable upgrade on the station’s old van, it comes with top-of-the-line broadcast equipment. “Listeners will hear the difference,” Radio Cayman Director Norma McField explained. “The sound quality will definitely be better. It offers a more comfortable workspace for our remote broadcast crew and also improves efficiency.” (Left: Radio Cayman’s Sales Associate Katherine Miller inside the remote van)

Ordered through the Department of Vehicle and Equipment Services (DVES), the vehicle is equipped to do both live and recorded broadcasts islandwide and can broadcast for about 18 hours on generator power. It has already been used for live broadcasts of the National Heroes Day ceremony, the Cayman Islands Keswick Convention, and the 2009 Fidelity Forum. (Right: Minister McLean takes a look at vehicle’s generator)

“Without a doubt, this van is an asset,” said Minister of Communications, Works and Infrastructure, Arden McLean, who handed over keys to McField. “All the outside broadcast equipment is built in, and if the studio is not operational due to a national disaster, with a few adjustments, we can use the van to continue broadcasting.”

McField thanked Minister McLean and the ministry’s Chief Officer Carson Ebanks for approving the funding to acquire the van. She also thanked DVES Director Dale Dacres and the department’s deputy, Steven Ashford, for their assistance with the van’s importation. (Left: Minister McLean presents keys)

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Culture Meets Tourism

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(CNS): International travel wholesalers, members of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) and both international and local media will attend the 8th Annual Cayman Islands Tourism Exchange (CITE) from 30 April to 2 May. CITE 2009 will take place at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, where local and overseas travel partners will be treated to Cayman Culture, Caymanian hospitality, networking functions, presentations and of course the important business forum. (Left: Shomari Scott, Acting Director of Tourism, with 2008 CITE delegates)

Given the present state of the economy, CITE 2009 is the perfect opportunity for the Cayman Islands to stand out from other destinations and showcase its tourism product, CITA said in a release, saying it was crucial that the travel trade is given the opportunity to experience first-hand what they will promote and sell to our potential guests.

More than 25 travel wholesalers, mainly from the US, UK, Europe and Canada, identified and recommended by local tourism operators, CITA and the CI Department of Tourism, are invited to attend. Wholesalers include both traditional and web-based operations which have supported the Cayman Islands in the past or have the ability and interest to do so in the future. The format of the event includes a businesssession with presentations and updates on tourism developments, property tours, pre-scheduled appointments, networking functions and activities for all delegates.

The wholesalers will be met by over 20 local tourism operators who will provide information on their products and services directly to the wholesalers during the three day event. The local operators’ key objectives at CITE are to reaffirm existing business relationships and to form new ones where possible with this important group in the travel distribution chain. Although the event is geared toward properties, there is still room for other businesses to showcase their products. Our local suppliers include many of the local hotels, condos, transportation providers, watersports representatives, and attractions.

CITE will commence Thursday, 30 April with a welcome reception from 6:30–8pm hosted by Camana Bay. The opening ceremony will be on Friday morning at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman from 8:30–10am with opening remarks and presentations by various tourism officials. Prearranged, one-on-one business appointments between the international wholesalers and local operators will make up remainder of the day. Friday night the delegates are in for a real Caymanian treat when local culture will meet tourism at “Culture @ Callalloo hosted by the Cayman National Cultural Foundation and Martin & Vivian Bould. Team Building activities are scheduled for Saturday, 2 May and afterward the delegates are off on one of many excursions including a day trip to Little Cayman, Islands Tours, Site Inspections and Watersports activities. The Farewell Party will be hosted by DOT. Delegates will also have the opportunity to take part in the Batabano Festivities.

This year’s CITE events are hosted by CITA and sponsored and supported by Camana Bay, Department of Tourism, Martin & Vivian Bould and the Cayman National Cultural Association, and The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.

For more information about the Cayman Islands Tourism Exchange 2009, contact the Cayman Islands Tourism Association on phone: 345 949 8522, fax: 345 946 8522, or email

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Minister says G20 could be watershed for Cayman

| 03/03/2009 | 3 Comments

(CNS): Facing what he described as very challenging times for offshore financial service centres, Minister Alden McLaughlin told CNS that the forthcoming G20 summit in April could present a watershed for the Cayman Islands. A government delegation is heading to Washington this week, and as the Minister with responsibility for International Financial Services Policy, McLaughlin said government would be doing all it could to persuade members of congress that Cayman does not hide information from the onshore world and that there are many ways for the US to get any information it needs.

“With all that is transpiring there is a need among the major nations to find scapegoats for the global financial crisis,” McLaughlin said. “We need to weigh in as heavily as we can to ensure that they understand the problems do not stem from the Cayman Islands. We must make them understand what we are. It is all about re-enforcing the message and differentiating our jurisdiction.”

The minister explained that, given the global rhetoric surrounding what onshore countries refer to as tax havens, there are very real concerns that during the G20 meeting in April the European Union states and the US will be pushing for blacklists akin to those created in the 1990s, and Cayman must avoid being on any such list, he said. “The G20 could be something of a watershed for us and it will be a major part of this trip,” he added.

Despite the criticisms hailed at government, McLaughlin noted that the recent passage of the Tax Information Exchange Treaty, which now allows Cayman to communicate with any country when necessary, has made the jurisdictions more flexible when it comes to information exchange. Coupled with existing regulations and exchange treaties, this helps to establish Cayman as a reputable financial centre and not a tax haven swathed in secrecy, he said.

However, the minister said he was fully aware of the current climate and the existing perceptions about Cayman. In the end it was impossible to tell how world leaders will react, regardless of how transparent and well regulated the jurisdiction is or how much Cayman does to mitigate the situation.

Although the visit to Washington comes at the same time that the UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown is visiting the US capital to meet with President Barack Obama, McLaughlin said the CI government delegation would not be able to gain access to either leader, although Cayman was busy working on meeting Gordon Brown in London later this month.

“We have opened very important political channels of communication with the UK Financial Services Secretary Lord Myners and we are hopeful that we will secure a meeting with the UK prime minister shortly,” he said.

On this particular visit the Portfolio of Finance announced yesterday (2 March) that the delegation would meet with Congressional representatives who are also members of committees with jurisdiction over legislation in taxation, financial services, trade and international cooperation. The ministers, including Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts and the Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson, will be hoping to engage with the US on key global topics, including the G20 Summit, regulatory reforms, transparency and financial services innovation, and talk to stakeholders and interest groups outside of the US government who, the portfolio said, share a mutual concern in ensuring US access to offshorein a responsible way.

“Despite the current economic crisis and associated political positioning by various governments in areas of taxation and offshore, intelligence from external sources suggests that changes to US domestic tax and financial services policies on offshore are still fluid,” Tibbetts said in a statement. “Our commitment to upholding international standards in financial services and our track record of international cooperation – particularly with the US – necessitate us to be engaged and proactive as stakeholders in any decisions made in these areas.”

The last official ministerial visit to Washington, DC, was in March 2007, following the mid-term Congressional elections in 2006. This visit, the portfolio said, is part of ongoing efforts managed by the Public Relations Unit and it was identified as a matter of priority that the new US government administration gains a first-hand understanding of the Islands’ financial services sector.

As well as the LoG, McLaughlin and Jefferson, the delegation going to Washington on the three-day visit, from 4-6 March, will include Attorney General Samuel Bulgin and Cayman Islands Monetary Authority Chairman Carlyle McLaughlin. The delegation will also be supported and advised by Portfolio of Finance Public Relations Director, Ted Bravakis and the Washington, DC team from Fleishman-Hillard, the government’s global external public affairs counsellors in the financial services area.

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Irish Jog on St Patrick’s Day

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(CNS): The 17th annual St. Patrick’s Day 5K Irish Jog will take place on Tuesday, 17 March at 5:30 pm at Grand Cayman Beach Suites, sponsored by Butterfield Bank (Cayman) Limited. The 3.1 mile course follows the cart path around the Britannia golf course and villas. Participants will receive a T-shirt and are eligible to win one of several fabulous spot prizes, including Waterford crystal, sunset sails, dinners for two and spa services. There will be free hats, face stickers, wigs and other fun wear for everyone.

Complimentary food and refreshments will be available after the event. For the safety of all participants, roller blades, roller skates and pets are not allowed on the course.

“We are very excited to partner again this year with Grand Cayman Beach Suites,” said Butterfield’s Rhonda Serrano. “The Irish Jog has become Cayman’s most anticipated fun run/walk for charity, attracting hundreds of local and overseas participants from the serious runners to the walkers pushing baby strollers, and we are especially pleased to be able to donate 100 percent of the proceeds to a local charity each year.”

The entry fee is just CI $10 per person (US $12.50) and all proceeds will be donated to the Women’s Resource Centre. Registration starts Monday, 9 March through Friday, 13 March at Butterfield House on Fort Street from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and will continue at Grand Cayman Beach Suites on Saturday, 14 March. On the day of the jog, Tuesday, 17 March, registration will commence at 12 noon at Grand Cayman Beach Suites by the golf course.

For further information or to receive an entry form, please email or call Rhonda Serrano at 815-7549.


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Commissioner faces Eastenders

| 03/03/2009 | 5 Comments

(CNS): The Acting Police Commissioner James Smith made his first visit to East End last night, 2 March, where he was met with a significant turn out of residents and faced what are becoming familiar complaints to Smith, who has now visited four of Cayman’s six local districts. Drug misuse, not enough Caymanian officers, police presence in general and his position regarding legal firearms were all questions put to the APC and his senior officers.

Residents said they were concerned about how the RCIPS was policing the district and many said they believed that driving through East End in patrol cars with the windows up and never stopping to “smell the marijuana” was not really policing. Although local neighbourhood community officer Trevor Mackintosh received wide praise from those who attended, the rest of the local service was criticised for ignoring the drug problem in specific areas, where one resident said the smoke was so thick most evenings she felt it was helping her sleep. Others suggested that because East End was not Seven Mile Beach maybe that was why there were no operations or raids in their trouble spots

Recognising District Commander Richard Barrow’s extensive knowledge of the local community, Smith allowed the Chief Inspector to answer many of the criticisms about local policing, but the commissioner said he did not have the impression that work was not being done in the area to tackle the drug problem. Barrow also roundly denied not paying attention to the situation.

“We have identified that area and we have undertaken operations there and we have made arrests. We have even conducted raids involving other agencies,” he said, indicating that Immigration had been involved.

The issue of the commissioner’s own concerns over the number of licensed firearms held in the island in general was raised again, but Smith stuck to his position and declared once again that, while he was well aware of the cultural particularisms surrounding the traditions of using shotguns to kill local agouti rabbits and livestock, as the commissioner of police it was his role to ensure that all guns were held for by owners for good reason, were stored correctly and used correctly.

Answering criticisms that those who hold guns legally should not be made to feel like criminals, especially when no legal guns had been used in crime, he noted that the RCIPS was unable to say with any certainty if legally held guns had or had not been usedin a crime because it is rare to recover a fire arm from a scene. However, he cited reasons why the police had cause for concern even over legal weapons.

“We have found legally held guns to be missing, we have had legally held guns stolen and we have even found a shotgun stored with a bullet in the spout,” he said, highlighting some of the problems surrounding firearms which are supposedly licensed. Undeterred by the claims that the commissioner needed to understand the culture surrounding the use of legal weapons in Cayman, he again expressed his position that people do not need a semi-automatic weapon to shoot a rabbit.

Minister Arden McLean, the district representative who was present at the meeting, said that the people did not need to fear a police inspection of firearms. He said he was a licensed gun holder as he owned an antique rifle that had belonged to his father. He said the inspection was nothing to worry about if owners were storing their firearms properly and he offered his support to the commissioner in his desire to review firearms ownership.

The minister’s concerns were about the stability of the RCIPS. As he welcomed the new commissioner to the distric,t he noted that the island had seen al least six commissioners in the past few years. He also noted that government had recently purchased land to create a community park in one of the areas in East End that had residents concerned about drug use, and that once the area was cleared hopefully the misuse of drugs there would be resolved.

He also told the audience and the officers that government had just signed an agreement to build a new licensing and traffic department in George Town by the Lions Centre, which might address some of their other administrative problems. He also noted that the arrival of the four new boats for the marine fleet had been paid for by the public purse and the RCIPS should ensure they use them wisely.

Smith offered his thanks to the wider community for the new fleet and said it was already demonstrating its worth and that all of the boats would continue to be well utilized. 

The consistent complaint of “too many foreign officers” and not enough Caymanians in the force was also raised by a number of residents. When asked directly what percentage of officers in the RCIPS were from Cayman, Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis, who was also present, said it was now fewer than fifty percent.

Smith said there was little he could say to one resident who insisted all the problems in the community boiled down to too many foreign officers, but he did note that where police officers were born was not the most important factor; it was their commitment and passion for the community they worked in that mattered, he said. He also confirmed that the RCIPS is short of around thirty officers at present.

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