Archive for March 6th, 2009

CIMA pulls the plug on Clico Cayman

| 06/03/2009 | 3 Comments

(CNS): UPDATED 7 March 11:00 am – The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) has issued a “cease and desist order” to insurance company CLICO. CIMA said on Friday that it had “issued a Public Notice outlining actions taken with regard to Colonial Life Insurance Company (Trinidad) Limited, trading as Clico (Cayman) Ltd.” The Authority said it issued the order on Tuesday, 3 March, in accordance with to section 12 of the Insurance Law (2008 Revision).  In response CLICO stated that the directive  relates only to its investment policies.

Under the Order, CIMA has directed the company to, “immediately (i) cease or refrain from issuing new policies with investment features until the asset level in its trust fund has been increased to the required level and approval is granted by the Authority for the Company to resume such activity; and (ii) cease or refrain from receiving any new premiums on existing policies with investment features until approval is granted by the Authority to resume such activity.”

CIMA has also required Clico to “take certain actions within a prescribed time frame and imposed additional reporting requirements on the Company to better monitor its business activities and financial condition.

In its own statement CLICO [Cayman] said that in discussion with CIMA in late February, the company advised the Authority that no new investment policies were being underwritten since the end of January.

"CLICO continues to communicate with CIMA and assures policyholders that it is fully available for client support," the company said. It also stated that it wished to assure policyholders and the public that the company continues to service all its existing policies.

On January 30, 2009, the government of Trinidad and Tobago and the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago announced that the T&T government had reached an agreement with the CL  Financial group (the parent company of CLICO) for the provision of a package of financial support for the group’s financial services companies. As a result of the above action CLICO is now under the control of the Central Bank and  Andrew C. Musaib-Ali has been appointed as managing director. Musaib-Ali reports directly to the Central Bank of T&T.

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The world’s oldest mother

| 06/03/2009 | 1 Comment

(The Guardian): Until two months ago, few outsiders bothered to visit Alewa, a dusty village in north India, surrounded for miles by little more than fields of wheat and potholed roads. But since late last year there has been a swelling stream of visitors – a pilgrimage to the site of a biological wonder of the world or, depending on your point of view, a fusion ofsocial taboo and science. For the visitors have been coming to see Alewa’s newest resident, a baby girl named Naveen Lohan. From beneath the folds of an oversized yellow and red striped woollen jumpsuit, she appears unmoved by the world around her – but then she is absorbed in other things, suckling noiselessly from her mother’s breast. And while Naveen sucks, her nursing parent is the star of the show. Rajo Devi Lohan was 70 when she gave birth last November, making her the world’s oldest known first-time mother.

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No political advertising on Election Day

| 06/03/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS): The Elections Office is reminding potential candidates in the upcoming General Election and their committees that on Election Day, Wednesday, 20 May, no political advertising is allowed. No campaign posters or signs may be displayed that day and must, therefore, be taken down by midnight on Tuesday, 19 May. Supervisor of Elections Kearney Gomez sug-gested that, if a contract is made for the placement of campaign material, provision should be included for its timely removal. Newspaper, radio and television adver-tising is also prohibited on Election Day, as is any other print or electronic form.

In a release from the Elections Office, Gomez says that people intending to stand for election may already be in the process of planning publicity and signing contracts, and they should be aware of what is and is not permitted by law.

For example, no bumper sticker may be placed on traffic signs. The Traffic Law forbids anything that alters, obscures or interferes with any lawfully placed traffic sign. Anyone guilty of such an offence is liable on conviction to a fine of $1,000 and to imprisonment for six months.

Section 92 of the Elections Law lists prohibited items, which include loudspeakers. It provides that whoever contravenes the section is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of $500 or to imprisonment for six months.

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Sudan shuts down aid groups

| 06/03/2009 | 1 Comment

(New York Times): With concern mounting over the impact of Sudan’s decision to close down some 13 relief agencies in its dispute with the International Criminal Court, a United Nations panel registered new concerns on Friday that the move against aid groups represented a “grievous dereliction” of Sudan’s duty to protect its own people. The government of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan ordered the closures after the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued a warrant for his arrest on war crimes charges stemming from the conflict in Darfur.

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Reef Reports on “Kin”

| 06/03/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) is hosting a lecture on “Kin”, also known as one’s relatives or family, on 12 March, at the Cracked Conch. The lecture, which starts at 7:30 pm, will be deliverd by Dr David Ross Peart, Professor of Biological Sciences for Dartmouth College and guests will also be updated on the 2009/2010 educational initiatives that have been undertaken by CCMI, including Ocean Literacy, a program to increase our (children’s) understanding of the important links between our lives and the ocean.

A summary of the lecture, supplied by CCMI, is: “We and our children live at an exciting time in the history of life on Earth. Modern biology is rapidly exposing the deep and close relationship among all life forms, including us. At the same time, we have another challenge: to learn how to maintain some of the diversity of life that shares the planet with us. Coral reefs are feeling the crunch first.”

Most recently Dr Peart was at CCMI’s Little Cayman Research Centre, where he has been leading a ten week course on Terrestrial Ecology and Coral Reef Ecology for undergraduate students of Dartmouth College. When he is not teaching, Dr Peart volunteers his time for organizations such as The Sustainability Institute and Hanover Conservation Council.

“The Cracked Conch is a great venue for CCMI’s Reef Reports. They have a comfortable seating area for guests to enjoy abeverage before moving into the event room for the presentation”. Comments Kellie Shoemaker, Sales and Events Co-ordinator for CCMI. “We thank the management and staff of the Cracked Conch for generously providing beverages and the presentation room so that our visiting scientists can educate our community.”

Anyone interested in attending the lecture should contact Kellie at 949-1938 or Space is very limited.

For more information on the Central Caribbean Marine Institute, please see

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CTO tourism scholarships

| 06/03/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Caymanians wishing to study tourism or hospitality and language training are eligible to apply for scholarships from the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO). Open to Caribbean nationals from CTO-member countries through the region’s tourism developmentagency’s scholarship programme, the CTO Foundation, the scholarships provide funding to individuals wanting to study tourism or hospitality at the Master’s (post graduate) level, and language training for persons already working in the tourism sector.

In addition, the CTO Foundation is offering study grants of up to US$2,500 to individuals pursing tourism/hospitality studies at the certificate, diploma, associate degree or first degree level. Studies can be pursued both within and outside the Caribbean region. The foundation is already accepting applications for the scholarships and study grants and interested persons have until April 15, 2009 to send in their application forms, a CTO release says.

“The Foundation selects individuals who demonstrate high levels of achievement and leadership both within and outside the classroom and who express a strong interest in making a positive contribution to Caribbean tourism,” said Bonita Morgan, CTO’s director of human resource.

Last year, over a dozen Caribbean nationals received funding from the CTO to further their knowledge and skills in tourism/hospitality to the tune of US$55,000. The CTO Foundation granted six scholarships totalling US$31,000, and seven study grants of US$2000 each. Three Caribbean nationals also received a total of US$10,000 in funding to participate in Management of Coastal Recreational Tourism at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies.

The CTO Foundation, set up in 1997, is registered in New York State as a Not-for-Profit Corporation, formed exclusively for charitable and educational purposes. Its main aim is to provide scholarships and study grants to students and industry personnel who are Caribbean nationals, from
CTO-member countries, who wish to pursue studies in the areas of tourism/hospitality and language training. The Foundation supports individuals who demonstrate high levels of academic achievement and leadership potential and who express a strong interest in making a contribution to Caribbean tourism.

Since its inception, the CTO Foundation has provided nearly 50 major scholarships and over 90 study grants. Major CTO Foundation sponsors include American Express, American Airlines, Interval International, Universal Media, the CTO chapters worldwide and numerous CTO allied members.

Information on how to apply for the CTO Foundation scholarship, as well as a list of scholarship and grant recipients, can be found at

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Estella Foundation marks International Women’s Day

| 06/03/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Books and Books, in conjunction with the Empowerment and Community Development Agency, will be hosting a public event for International Women’s Day on Monday, 9 March, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm recognising the ‘Heroes Among Us’. One of the guest speakers at the event will be Marilyn Conolly, who has been invited to speak about the life and legacy of well-known advocate for women’s issues, the late Estella Scott-Roberts. This year’s global theme for International Women’s Day 2009 is, “Women and men united to end violence against women and girls”.

Conolly, who is vice-chairperson of the Estella Scott-Roberts Foundation said, “The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is so pertinent to the foundation whose vision statement is ‘Gender equality and a life free of violence for all’.”

Each year around the world, International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on 8 March to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. A release from the foundation notes that at the beginning of the year, the Cayman Islands dedicated its National Heroes Day 2009 to celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of its Caymanian women. Following on this theme, the 2009 theme for Honouring Women Month (HWM), a local observance held every year in March, is ‘Heroes Among Us’.

This year’s IWD and HWM themes are especially poignant to the foundation, which was founded as a non-profit organisation in honour and loving memory of women and children’s rights activist, the late Estella Scott-Roberts. The foundation was established to continue Estella’s life’s work by advocating for a life free of violence and for the empowerment of women and girls in all areas of life.

Estella worked extensively towards eradicating domestic abuse in the Cayman Islands and educating the population on domestic abuse and sexual assault, and she was instrumental in establishing the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, a safe shelter for victims of domestic abuse and their children.

Individuals or organisations that would like to assist the Estella Scott-Roberts Foundation with its objectives can make monetary donations to Cayman National Bank Account Number 012-32856 (CI chequing) or volunteer their time or services. For more information on the Estella Scott-Roberts Foundation please call 345-938-6300, email, visit or mail correspondence to P.O. Box 84 Grand Cayman KY1-1501 CAYMAN ISLANDS.

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Swiss may alter secrecy law

| 06/03/2009 | 1 Comment

( Switzerland’s governing council is discussing potential changes to the country’s banking secrecy laws today, and may disclose plans to crack down on tax cheats. The recent handover of confidential client data from Swiss bank UBS AG (UBS) to U.S. justice authorities has unleashed widespread political debate over banking secrecy and has also increased international pressure on the alpine country as a tax haven.

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Levin bill could slash Cayman business, says Bush

| 06/03/2009 | 21 Comments

(CNS): The publication of US Senator Carl Levin’s proposed Stop Tax Haven Abuse bill could spell a severe contraction of the offshore business in the Cayman Islands, Leader of the Opposition McKeeva Bush has warned. The UDP leader said that it could be reduced by more than 30%, which would be a serious blow to the local economy. “Given the global economic crisis and the fact that our local economic growth has been in decline over the past four 4 years, the potential impact of the bill is catastrophic,” Bush stated.

With the crisis mounting and a government delegation in Washington attempting to plead the case, the opposition leader took to the radio waves yesterday to warn Cayman that this could have a potentially devastating affect. Speaking on Radio Cayman’s Talk Today programme, the opposition leader said that, while the Cayman Islands does not encourage tax evasion, the bill’s intention is to discourage the legitimate use of the types of offshore company structures that are offered in the Cayman Islands.

While no official studies have been carried out on the potential impact, which he said was one of areas where the government has failed, he said, “We could easily lose as much as 30 percent of our existing business and possibly a lot more.”

Bush said that the PPM government had taken their eye off the ball on this issue and they should have noted the signs back in 2006 when the bill was first drafted. “The government’s failure to adequately monitor international developments pertaining to the financial services industry is part of the reason we are on the back foot on this issue today,” he added. “If the government had a properly functioning secretariat, it could have carried out a considered analysis in conjunction with the local financial services industry.”

He said with more information the government would have been in a position to create a strategy to deal with the issue and assess the potential impact on our local economy. Their failure to monitor and assess international developments means that the government is now ill prepared. Bush also accused government of not listening to the industry even though concerns were being expressed by a number of professionals from the sector over the last eighteen months. “Unfortunately, lack of consultation and involvement of the industry has been a hallmark of this administration,” he added.

With Cayman facing a very real and present danger, the leader of the opposition said there were certain things that could be done to address the situation and he said it was time to consider repealing the Confidential Relationships (Preservation) Law. He said Cayman needed to enter into Tax Information Exchange Agreements with the G20 countries, improve its lobbying in Washington, and above all it was time to seek new opportunities and develop new business areas within the industry.

“This is no time to be sleeping at the wheel and gambling with the lives of our citizens,” Bush added. “This country needs a better way forward for the protection and development of our financial services industry.”

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Calls mount to reveal secrets

| 06/03/2009 | 9 Comments

(CNS): The Leader of the Opposition yesterday added his voice to mounting calls for the Confidential Relationships (Preservation) Law to be repealed as a way of mitigating the possible damage to the financial services industry in the Cayman Islands as a result of the on-shore world’s campaign to close down tax havens.

“We should give serious consideration as to whether the Confidential Relationships (Preservation) Law is still necessary in this country,” McKeeva Bush said. “This law is potentially a misnomer in any event because although it criminalizes the disclosure of unauthorized confidential information, it nonetheless allows access to foreign authorities using proper internal procedures to obtain information when investigating or prosecuting serious crimes.”

Nor is Bush alone a number of professionals working in the sector have suggested the same thing as many say it is both costly and damaging to the islands’ reputation without necessarily serving a beneficial purpose.

The issue of secrecy has played a significant part in the criticisms from the world’s leading nations about off shore centres and what they describe as tax havens. There is a broad perception that corporations and wealthy individuals are using this type of secrecy law common to offshore jurisdictions to hide their assets from the US and Euro tax collectors.

However, those who question the law’s repeal note that the while the CRPL criminalizes the unauthorized disclosure of confidential information of the kind which professionals would be obliged to protect, it does provide mechanisms through which information may be obtained if e information is needed regarding a serious crime.

According to government sources requests through these channels are fairly frequently and the CRPL also provides a way for anyone who is required to give evidence information which is defined under the Law to apply to the Court. In the case where a Cayman professional were to be subpoenaed by the Court of a foreign country to give evidence there in criminal proceedings, the professional may apply for directions.

Former chair of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority Tim Ridley says that the authorities need to think carefully before they remove the law altogether as he said clients do have a right to privacy. He said there were grounds for broaden the gateways for disclosure and that the law maybe better described as the Data Privacy Law which gives a truer reflection of what it actually is. But, he said, over the years the law has demonstrated very well tested gateways for disclosure that have been helpful and stood Cayman in good stead.

“If you simply repeal the CRPL you may make the position worse by eliminating those gateways .And we do need to have a Law that protects legitimate privacy and other like rights,” Ridley added. “What we should do is also improve transparency outside the CRPL by making more information held by the Registrar of Companies, CIMA and at the statutory offices public.”

He said the recent introduction of the Freedom of Information Law sends a good message and something that could extend further into the private sector.

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