Archive for May 18th, 2009

The opaque & hypocritical Club OECD

| 18/05/2009 | 2 Comments

“Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t”, said Alice. And the OECD (the rich man’s club that does not want anyone else to be rich) likes it just that way.

Resigned cynicism is the immediate reaction to the latest shifting of the goalposts by the OECD in its decision to kick the review of Cayman’s “unilateral measures” (for exchange of tax information) forward and up from the Harmful Tax Practices Sub-Committee (which reportedly approved the measures) to the Committee on Fiscal Affairs.

The immediate result is that Cayman stays on the grey list (which should please our competitors in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man). The Fiscal Affairs Committee is to meet next month. It will be interesting to see if the Committee feels empowered to approve the measures in a way that puts the matter to rest and enables Cayman to move to the white list. Or if they feel that the OECD membership as a whole or the G20 high priests in November 2009 must make the decision.

If the decision goes against Cayman, there is no appeal process. The OECD website gives no easy information as to the processes, how the various committees are actually selected/comprised or how decisions are made. Indeed, a country has to be invited to join the OECD. Were this a club established in the USA or Europe (other than as an international organization), it would without doubt find itself called to account before a court of law.

Even if the unilateral measures are ultimately found to measure up, a new (cannon) ball has been just fired into the game. This is the “suggestion” that Cayman also consider negotiating multilateral agreements, as well as the bilateral ones already well under way. The astute observer will immediately sniff another delaying or diversionary tactic by the OECD and others, as multilateral agreements take longer than bilateral ones, certainly at the outset. And more and expensive resources will be needed for the task. This is not likely to trouble the OECD bureaucrats in Paris; their website trumpets “we offer excellent tax-free salary”.

Cayman has no option but to continue to play this deadly serious game in earnest and to increase its efforts at all levels, however tempting it may be to walk off the field. But we should not hesitate to point out the inequities. Does the world really want to be run by faceless, unaccountable and shameless bureaucrats who make up the rules as they go along? Everyone deserves better.

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Voters must check where to vote

| 18/05/2009 | 2 Comments

(CNS): The Elections Office has released a list of the polling divisions and polling dis-tricts that voters should attend on Wednesday, 20 May, to cast their ballots in the General Elections and Referendum. The list tells each voter where to go to cast their vote and Supervisor of Elections Kearney Gomez points out that the polling place might not be the same as in the 2005 elections. Copies of the official List of Registered Electors have been placed in district post offices, major supermarkets and gas stations. Gomez stressed that voters are not permitted to cast their ballot at any other station – only the one assigned.

Ballot counting: The three electoral districts of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, East End and North Side have only one counting station, referred to as the Main Counting Station.

For Bodden Town, George Town and West Bay, there will be a sub-count of election ballots at each polling division, but the Main Count Counting Stations are where the postal ballots and mobile ballots will be tabulated along with the sub-count totals. Therefore, each district’s Main Count Counting Station is where the final election results will be announced.

Voters are reminded that the referendum ballots will be counted at one venue on Thursday, 21 May.

Voting locations are as follows:

BODDEN TOWN POLLING DIVISIONS
SAVNEW = Savannah Primary School, 1659 Shamrock Rd
Station 1- surnames A-E; Station 2- surnames F-O; Station 3- surnames P-Z

BTE = Bodden Town Primary School, 6 Condor Rd
Station 1- surnames A-L; Station 2- surnames M-Z

BTW = The Grounds, 199 Agricola Drive
Station 1- surnames A-G; Station 2- surnames H-P; Station 3- surnames Q-Z
The main count is at the James M. Bodden Civic Centre, 445C Bodden Town Road.

CAYMAN BRAC & LITTLE CAYMAN POLLING DIVISIONS
CBE1 = Creek Primary School, 28C Student Drive
Station 1- surnames A-Z

CBE2 = Spot Bay Primary School, 107B Spot Bay Road
Station 2- surnames A-Z

CBW&LC = West End Primary School, 10A West End Road East
Station 1- surnames A-L; Station 2- surnames M-Z
The main count is at the District Administration Building, 19 Kirkconnell Street.

GEORGE TOWN POLLING DIVISIONS
GTN = Victory Tabernacle, 325 Eastern Avenue
Station 1-surnames A-L; Station 2- surnames M-Z

GTW = Prep Kindergarten School, 242 Smith Road
Station 1- surnames A-L; Station 2- surnames M-Z

GTE = Red Bay Primary School, 271 Shamrock Road
Station 1- surnames A-E; Station 2- surnames F-P; Station 3- surnames Q-Z

GTC = George Town Primary School, 42 Gresscott Lane
Station 1- surnames A-G; Station 2- surnames H-P; Station 3- surnames Q-Z

GTS = George Hicks High School Hall, 73 Academy Way
Station 1- surnames A-I; Station 2- surnames J-Z

PROSP = Prospect Primary School, 169 Poindexter Road
Station 1- surnames A-G; Station 2- surnames H-Q; Station 3- surnames R-Z
The main count is at Mary Miller Hall, 223A Shamrock Road.

NORTH SIDE POLLING DIVISION
NS = North Side Primary School, 907 North Side Road
Station 1- surnames A-L; Station 2- surnames M-Z
The main count is at the Craddock Ebanks Civic Centre, 923 North Side Road.

EAST END POLLING DIVISION
EE = William Allen McLaughlin Civic Centre, 80 John McLean Drive.
Station 1- surnames A-L; Station 2- surnames M-Z
The main count is also atthis civic centre.

WEST BAY POLLING DIVISIONS
WBNW = New Testament Church of God, 28A Boatswain Bay Road
Station 1- surnames A-F; Station 2- surnames G-Z

WBE = Church of Christ, 24 Batabano Road
Station 1- surnames A-G; Station 2- surnames H-Z

WBC = John A. Cumber Primary School, 44 Fountain Road
Station 1- surnames A-F; Station 2- surnames G-Z

WBS = John Gray UnitedChurch Hall, 26 West Church Street
Station 1-surnames A-H; Station 2-surnames I-Z
The main count will be at the John A. Cumber Primary School Hall, 44 Fountain Road.
 

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Cop’s new beat in paradise

| 18/05/2009 | 2 Comments

(Manchester Evening News): A top cop who once said Salford was over-run by `feral youths’ is quitting Britain – to take over policing in a Caribbean idyll. David Baines has left his job as assistant chief constable of Cheshire police to become commissioner at the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service. The officer came top of a list of senior police officers from Britain and America – among them North Wales Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom – who coveted the £112,000-a-year, tax-free job. He will be able to indulge his hobby of scuba diving – the crystal clear waters around the islands boast some of the best diving anywhere in the world.

 

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CAL to fly direct to Honduras

| 18/05/2009 | 17 Comments

(CNS): On 6 June, Cayman Airways Limited (CAL) will be launching a once-weekly non-stop Boeing 737 jet service to La Ceiba, Honduras. Flight 824 will operate on Saturdays, departing George Town, Grand Cayman at 9:00am arriving in La Ceiba, Honduras at 9:15am. The return flight 825 departs La Ceiba at 10:15am, arriving on Grand Cayman at 12:30pm. There is a one-hour time difference between the two gateways.

“Opening this new gateway is in response to overwhelming feedback from our customers, and we are excited about adding this new destination to our schedule,” said CAL Acting Chairman of the Board Johnny Brown.

Bookings can be made now through Cayman Airways reservations, 345-949-2311, and through travel agents in Cayman and Honduras.
 

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Students’ prose commended

| 18/05/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Royal Commonwealth Society’s 2008 Essay Competition award winners were lauded at a ceremony hosted by the Governor Stuart Jack at Government House last week. With improvements in both the numbers and quality of the local essays, the Cayman Islands accounted for entries from 42 children, representing 16 schools. Of those, seven were ‘highly commended’ and seven more were awarded under the RCS Commendation Scheme. (Left: Nicole Crance receives her award)

Numerous additional entries were commended through Cayman’s Department of Education Services Commendation Scheme.

At the occasion, which was attended by the students, educators and parents, the governor said “It is remarkable that a small group can produce such good work. I read some of the essays and was struck by the enormous variety of ideas and styles, presented in words which the rest of us could admire and relate to.”

He further encouraged local youths to improve their skills in English, and thanked the parents and educators for their roles in the students’ success. Noting that “there are many issues impacting our youth, from socialization to self-esteem,” Jack added “My heart is with you and I encourage this programme.”

RCS Honourary Representative, Cayman Islands Branch, Justice Charles Quin also expressed pleasure at the standards. “We clearly have some very good writers who have worked hard and have considerable talent,” he said.” He also thanked Butterfield Bank, which again sponsored the young writers’ cash prizes.

The students had a range of topics from which to choose, and they wrote on issues ranging from hurricane experiences to the local youth culture. The 2008 awards were slated to be presented last November, but that was postponed because of Hurricane Paloma, and the inability of Brac students to travel.

The Royal Commonwealth Society’s Essay Competition was established in 1883 following the society’s formation in 1868. It is a global educational project which aims to enable young people of different backgrounds to compete on equal terms with their peers around the world. It encourages young people to aspire to high standards of academic scholarship and creative writing. The competition involves over 50,000 students from 53 Commonwealth countries and jurisdictions. The RCS competition also seeks to inspire young writers while encouraging literacy, creativity and reflective thought.

Details of this year’s competition will be made public this summer.

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Child ‘witches’ abused

| 18/05/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNN): Christian Eshiett was a rambunctious pre-teen who spent a lot of time cavorting with his friends in southern Nigeria. He would skip school and run away from home for days, frustrating his grandfather, who oversaw the boy’s care. "I beat him severely with canes until they broke, yet he never shed a tear," saidEshiett Nelson Eshiett, 76. "One day, I took a broom to hit him and he started crying. Then I knew he was possessed by demons. … Nigerian witches are terrified of brooms." From that day two years ago, Christian, now 14, was branded a witch. The abuse intensified.

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Cayman on display at Chelsea Flower Show

| 18/05/2009 | 2 Comments

(Daily Telegraph): The Caribbean includes some of the most diverse, spectacular plant species on earth, many of which are among the annual highlights of Chelsea Flower Show’s Great Pavilion… Most arresting of all is an ambitious undersea installation from the Cayman Islands, which has as its backdrop a spectacular mural of the Little Cayman’s celebrated Bloody Bay Wall marine park. Exhibiting for only the second time – they made their Chelsea Flower Show debut last year with the award-winning Heritage Garden, which included a traditional Caymanian cottage and fishing boat – the Cayman team was keen to highlight a different aspect of the stunning islands.

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Se also The Times Online

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Business sectors join forces

| 18/05/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A number of local businesses and associations have joined together to form another organisation to promote the Cayman Islands. The primary purpose of the self-funded Cayman Islands Investment Council is, organisers say, to market and promote Cayman in what they describe as difficult economic times. CIIC includes representation from most of Cayman’s commercial sectors, and according to Tony Catalanotto of the CI Real Estate Brokers Association (CIREBA), one of the primary goals is to attract new business to the islands.

“What makes the newly formed Cayman Islands Investment Council (CIIC) unique among the various Cayman associations is that it includes representation from virtually every industry in the Cayman Islands and its goals transcend individual industry goals,” said Catalanotto. “The tiered membership structure encourages participation from all businesses and sectors. Some of our objectives include encouraging inward investment to the Cayman Islands, the development of local business, increased investment across all industries and increased tourist arrivals.”

The CIIC has been in the planning stages for many months, he said, and includes the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA), the Financial Services Association (CIFSA), the Chamber of Commerce (CoC), CIREBA and private organisations such as the Dart group of companies.

The Investment Council will act as a national marketing agency, organisers said, that promotes the country, manages its reputation and conveys a message to the world that the Cayman Islands is an attractive jurisdiction for business investment. To that end the CIIC will be taking substantive action over the coming months to support the creation and implementation of a strategic marketing and public relations campaign.

“By increasing investment in the Cayman Islands, the Investment Council seeks to drive growth for local businesses,” said Eduardo D’ Angelo P. Silva of CIFSA. The CIIC said in a release that it is committed to working alongside other organisations and committees, both in the private and public sectors, to achieve their goals and avoid any duplication of efforts.

Steve Broadbent, President of CITA said, “The Cayman Islands Tourism Association supports inward investment to the Cayman Islands, providing that such initiatives promote sustainable development and in a manner consistent with the needs of the Tourism Industry and Values of our Association and Members.

While Mark VanDevelde, CEO of Dart Enterprises said Dart was honoured to be invited to join prominent industry leaders in the new venture. “This type of private sector collaboration is essential, both in the short term and as a sustained effort over the long term, to demonstrate our continued confidence in our Caymanian economy” he added.

Organisations or businesses that wish to receive further information on the Investment Council or enquire about membership should contact Tony Catalanotto at 926-7368 or by email at tony@caymanresales.com

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Governor starts cyber space journal

| 18/05/2009 | 5 Comments

(CNS): Sevens months before he is due to leave the islands, Governor Stuart Jack has announced that he has started a blog, which he says is an attempt to communicate more and an opportunity for people to tell him what they think. “From time to time there are things I want to say to the people of the Cayman Islands which do not always justify a formal press statement,” Jack said in his blog. “I cannot be on the talk shows all the time. Sometimes I have had complaints that the Governor was not communicating with the community frequently enough.”

He also suggested that people both here and further afield would like to have a better idea what a governor gets up to and thinks, and as a result he would be updating his blog once or twice a week.

The governor’s blog is located on the governor’s office website and has a comment box for readers to submit their thoughts. In his first entry he talks about the trip he and his wife, Mariko, took to South America, the newly appointed governor, Duncan Taylor, and the forthcoming elections and referendum on Wednesday.

During his trip to South America he said he saw that each of the countries had its own strengths and its own problems, many of them around economic difficulties, poverty and crime. He said that while the Cayman Islands has problems we must keep things in perspective. “Compared with most other countries in the Western Hemisphere we remain blessed,” he wrote. “This is still one of the safest places to live in or visit that this seasoned traveller has known,” he said.

He said Cayman was lucky to get Duncan Taylor as he has an extensive knowledge of the Caribbean. “His style will not be exactly the same as mine, but I do not expect any radical changes in the policies he pursues or the FCO wants him to pursue, for example on good governance,” Jack wrote.

“Anyway Cayman has still got me – and Mariko — for the next seven months. A journalist recently asked me if, now that my successor had been named, I was winding down. While it is perfectly fair for someone to ask that question, the very suggestion that I am winding down is more likely to wind me up!”

He said he was determined to push ahead with the work, including the problems in the police force, improving parole arrangements, efforts to modernise government and to start implementing a new Constitution. He then asked everyone entitled to vote to use the last few days to study the text and take part in the referendum, and told voters to look for candidates in the general election who think seriously about the whole country and all its people not just their constituency and supporters.

He said Cayman needed to think hard about the future as a result of the current economic uncertainty and climate change, which he said was a major challenge for small, low lying islands.

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