Archive for May 22nd, 2009

Local patient H1N1flu free

| 22/05/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Following the dispatch of a flu sample to CAREC the Public Health Department confirmed today that the patient does not have H1N1 flu or what was commonly called swine flu. The patient had tested positive for Influenza A last Sunday and CAREC is now conducting further tests to establish which strain and subtype of flu it is.

Last Tuesday the Health Services Authority (HSA) said it had up to that time investigated a total of 17 patients with respiratory infections or flu-like symptoms in the Cayman Islands, eight of which had a travel history with potential exposure to the new H1N1 virus. All 17 have now tested negative. Medical Officer of Health Dr Kiran Kumar said then that this latest patient had probably contracted a local strain of seasonal flu from members of her own family before travelling to the US.

According to the World Health as of 06:00 GMT, 22 May 42 countries have officially reported 11 168 cases of influenza A -H1N1 infection and there have been 86 deaths 75 of which have been in Mexico

 

 

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Constitution gets less than half electorate’s support

| 22/05/2009 | 40 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Constitution was passed on the say of less than 50% of the full electorate, though it did receive 62.2% approval from those who took part on Wednesday, 20 May, or 7,045 ‘yes’ votes. Although the new Constitution itself stipulates that a people-led referendum must receive an approval rating of more than 50% of the entire electorate (which is currently 15,361), this vote did not reach that figure. In order to achieve the new standard of referendum it would have required 7,681 votes to pass.

However, the Referendum Law which was passed in the Legislative Assembly earlier this year only required a 50+% of the actual turnout, which was in the end 11,244 people, or around 69% of the entire electorate. Susan Bothwell from the Constitutional Secretariat told CNS that she felt that given this was Cayman’s first ever referendum it was an impressive result.

“I believe it was a tremendous turnout considering this was the country’s first ever referendum. The numbers are quite impressive and the truth of the matter is most people who voted in the General Election also took part in the referendum,” she said. “The country’s mandate has been ‘yes’ for acceptance of the Constitution. Now the work will begin to prepare for the implementation of the new Constitution."

Although the result was bitter-sweet for Alden McLaughlin, the former minister who, along with Kurt Tibbetts the outgoing leader of government business, has been associated most with the drive for constitutional modernisation, he told CNS he was delighted that the people had voted ‘yes’ in the referendum despite the election result. “We are very please that the new Constitution has been approved and this document will be around a lot longer than any political administration,” he said.

Governor Stuart Jack expressed his pleasure at the outcome and said it wasas a result of three rounds of negotiations between the government of the United Kingdom, the Cayman Islands government, the opposition, and non-governmental organisations, representing the churches, the local business community and the Human Rights Committee.

“An Order in Council will now be submitted to Her Majesty in the Privy Council for consideration at its next meeting on 10 June,” he said. “The new Constitution Order will be brought into force by me by proclamation soon after it has been made in the Privy Council. At that time, I will issue a further press release explaining the phased introduction of the new Constitution. There is much work to be done, and my office will be working closely with the Constitutional Review Secretariat and others to ensure a smooth transition.”

Bothwell too felt that it was important for the secretariat to continue its work following the result to help educate people about what it means to them and to assist with its implementation.

“I definitely see a future roll and function for the secretariat in terms of education,” Bothwell said, adding that she herself had been seconded and so the unit may well be headed up by someone else in the future, but either way she hoped  it would continue on with its work of informing and educating.

This morning, the UK’s Foreign Office Minister Gillian Merron welcomed the acceptance of the draft Cayman Islands Constitution Order at the referendum on 20 May and congratulated the United Democratic Party on its election into Government.

 “I am delighted too that the draft new Constitution has been accepted by the people of the Cayman Islands.  As I said in February at the conclusion of the final round of talks, which I was honoured to chair, the new Constitution will be an important step forward for the people of the Cayman Islands,” she said, adding the she recognised the debate surrounding the Bill of Rights.

“I am convinced that it is an important first step in the enhancement of human rights protection in the Cayman Islands, and that it will raise awareness of and strengthen respect for human rights in the Islands. The new Constitution will also help to ensure the increasingly high standards of good governance to which the UK government attaches considerable importance.

“We look forward to working with the new government of the Cayman Islands towards timely implementation of the new Constitution Order.  I know that it will entail a great deal of work, and I am grateful for the efforts that have already been made to help ensure a smooth transition," Merron added.

Although some elements of the Constitution will be implemented immediately, the Bill of Rights will be phased in over a period of three years. Also, certain domestic laws may have to amended and new ones passed in order to ensure the national legal framework is compatible with the requirements under the Cayman Islands Constitution 2009.

 

 

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Robber leads cops to him

| 22/05/2009 | 9 Comments

(CNS): Police said this morning that a 28-year-old man is currently in police custody having been arrested on suspicion of theft, obtaining property by deception and handling stolen goods after he called the victim who he had stolen the goods from and tried to sell them back to him. Police said the  man was arrested in West Bay last night (Thursday,21  May). Officers were informed  that  a man had been contacted by someone claiming to be in possession of his stolen laptop.

The victim was informed that if he paid $600 the item would be returned to him. Officers attended the location where the transaction was taking place on Batabano Road, arrested the suspect and recovered the stolen laptop. Police said the laptop had been taken from the victim’s car earlier this month. The suspect remains in police custody at this time while investigations continue.

“This is a great example of the community and the police working in partnership to tackle crime,” said Area Commander, Chief Inspector Angelique Howell. “We encourage anyone with information about criminal activity to come forward to an officer, or call Crime Stoppers anonymously.”

Residents are also reminded to bear security in mind at all times and follow crime prevention tips such as locking all windows and doors on homes and vehicles, not leaving items on display and reporting any suspicious activity to police. More information on crime prevention can be found on the police website at; http://www.rcips.ky/crime_reduction_advice.htm.

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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More UK cops review RCIPS

| 22/05/2009 | 9 Comments

(CNS): In an attempt to address the problem of the community’s low confidence in how the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service’s (RCIPS) handles information and intelligence given to it by the public, the departing Acting Police Commissioner has initiated a thematic review of its intelligence systems, practices, policies and procedures by former officers from the United Kingdom. James Smith said the review is designed to identify areas of best practice as well as highlight any processes which could be improved upon.

Smith acknowledged that there have been concerns expressed by members of the public and from officers within the service relating to how intelligence is handled and that a review of the systems in place is the most effective way to address those concerns.

“It is imperative that the way we access, gather, store and use intelligence is the most efficient, effective and modern way possible,” Smith added. “We also need to ensure that the public have the utmost confidence in us when they give us information. This review will help us to assess our procedures and make improvements where necessary.”

He said the inspection will be led by two ex-UK police officers who have vast experience in reviewing intelligence systems and will be supported by two RCIPS Chief Inspectors. He confirmed that the former officers are not members of the Special Police Investigation Team (SPIT) brought here by the Governor, and re indpendent from those officers who are reportedly still working on police corruption issues.

With former SPIT Senior Investigating Officer Martin Bridger gone, Operation Tempura has reportedly wound down and been replaced by phase two of the investigation named Operation Cealt by Smith. SPIT is now being led by SIO Anne Lawrence from Scotland Yard.

Smith added that the duration of this separate review will be dictated by the outcome of actions completed but it is expected to take around three weeks to complete, after which a detailed report will be compiled. Smith explained that once the review is complete recommendations will be made on how things can be improved for the good of the service and the Cayman Islands as whole.

Smith noted that the review should not reflect badly on any police officers or departments.

“Acknowledging concerns and taking steps to address them should not be seen as negative reflection of the officers within the RCIPS,” he said. “The service recognises that there could be areas for improvement and is keen to ensure that these are identified and addressed.”

This review is one of many which have been carried out over the last few years. The most recent of which focussed on the Professional Standards Unit (formally the Complaints and Discipline Department). In 2008 the unit was audited by a UK police officer who examined how complaints against police were handled and the procedures in place for disciplining officers.

The new Police Commissioner David Baines is expected to arrive on Island some time next week to take up his post. Chief Superintendent John Jones who was recently cleared from any criminal allegations regarding the infamous Netnewsgate is also expected to return to duty in the next few weeks following a 14 month long suspension in the wake of that.

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Cayman men to attend conference on domestic abuse

| 22/05/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Three men the Cayman Islands will be attending a conference in New York aimed at ending domestic violence, sexual violence and all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls. The Estella Scott-Roberts Foundation (ESRF), along with assistance from an anonymous private donor, sponsored its Chairperson Rayle Roberts and successful applicants Victor Crumbley and Clifton Gayle to attend this Stand Up, Speak Out conference on 21 and 22 May.

The conference organisers have invited a group of male and female presenters who are amongst the leaders in the United States in pioneering efforts to engage men in addressing the issue of ending violence against women. Men and women are attending this conference to "Stand Up and Speak Out".

The conference aims to challenge men to reconsider their long held beliefs about women, in an effort to create a more just society. Organisers believe this is achieved by encouraging change in the behaviours of men through a re-education and training process that challenges sexism. The goal of the ESRF is that the local attendees will lead the re-education process in our society upon their return.

This is the 4th annual conference organised by A Call to Men, The National Association of Men and Women Committed To Ending Violence Against Women in the United States. A Call to Men (www.acalltomen.com) believes that ending violence against women is primarily the responsibility of men. They state that historically it has been almost entirely women who have been at the forefront addressing this issue, and they think it is essential that men play a primary role in the solution to end it.

"We realise that the majority of men are well-meaning and do not engage in acts of violence against women; however it is precisely these men that don’t see themselves as a part of the problem who are a critical part of the solution," stated Roberts. With one of its objectives as a life free of violence for all, the ESRF aims to be an active change agent to engage men in addressing the issue of ending violence against women in the Cayman Islands.

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New law assists offshore business

| 22/05/2009 | 0 Comments

The Companies (Amendment) Law, 2009 came into force on 11 May 2009.  It introduces a new, simpler and more cost-effective mechanism for mergers and consolidations between Cayman Islands companies and between Cayman companies and foreign companies.

Previously, the onlymechanism available under the Companies Law for a merger or consolidation between companies was the somewhat cumbersome provisions contained in sections 86 or 87 of the Companies Law (2007 Revision) (as amended) for schemes of arrangement to facilitate amalgamations and reconstructions which require court approval in order to be effective. These court approved schemes will continue to be available for more complex mergers.

Under the new provisions, “merger” means the merging of two or more constituent companies and the vesting of their undertaking, property and liabilities in one of them as the surviving company. “Consolidation” is defined as the combination of two or more constituent companies into a consolidated company and the vesting of the undertaking, property and liabilities of such companies in the consolidated company. The essential difference is that a consolidation produces a new company different from either of its constituent companies, while in a merger one of the constituent companies will continue to exist as the other is merged into it. The procedure does not apply to segregated portfolio companies. 

The procedure to effect a merger or consolidation is as follows:

The directors of each constituent company must approve a written plan of merger or consolidation (the “Plan”), which will include certain specified information including the name of each constituent company and the name of the surviving or consolidated company; the date on which the merger or consolidation is intended to take effect; the terms and conditions of the proposed merger or consolidation, including the manner and basis of converting shares in each constituent company into shares in the consolidated or surviving company; and the rights and restrictions attaching to the shares in the consolidated company.

The Plan must be authorized by each constituent company by (a) a shareholder resolution by majority in number representing 75% in value of the shareholders voting together as one class; and (b) if the shares to be issued to each shareholder in the consolidated or surviving company are to have the same rights and economic value as the shares held in the constituent company, a special resolution of the shareholders voting together as one class. A proposed merger between a Cayman parent company and its Cayman subsidiary or subsidiaries will not require authorization by shareholder resolution.

The consent of each holder of a fixed or floating security interest of a constituent company in a proposed merger or consolidation is required unless the court (upon theapplication of the constituent company that has issued the security) waives the requirement for consent.

The Plan must be signed by a director on behalf of each constituent company and filed with the Registrar of Companies together with the required supporting documents including various director’s declarations such as a declaration of solvency of the constituent company and the consolidated or surviving company, that the merger or consolidation is bona fide and not intended to defraud unsecured creditors of the constituent companies, an undertaking that a copy of the certificate of merger or consolidation will be given to members and creditors of the constituent company and published in the Gazette, and the applicable fees.   

A certificate of merger or consolidation is issued by the Registrar which is prima facie evidence of compliance with all statutory requirements in respect of the merger or consolidation. All rights and property of each of the constituent companies will then vest in the surviving or consolidated company which will also be liable for all debts, contracts, obligations and liabilities of each constituent company. Similarly, any existing claims, proceedings or rulings of each constituent company will automatically be continued against the surviving or consolidated company.

Provision is also made for a merger or consolidation between a Cayman company and one or more foreign companies where the surviving or consolidated company is or is to be a Cayman company.

Further, provision is made for a dissenting shareholder of a Cayman constituent company to be entitled to payment of the fair value of his shares upon dissenting to the merger or consolidation. Where the parties cannot agree on the price to be paid to the dissenting shareholder, either party may file a petition to the court to determine fair value of the shares.  These rights are not available where an open market exists on a recognized stock exchange for the shares of the class held by the dissenting shareholder.

These amendments,increase the flexibility and agility of Cayman Islands companies whilst reducing the costs of a simple restructuring.

Submitted by Olivaire Watler, Conyers Dill & Pearman

 

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Bikers against crime

| 22/05/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Cayman’s bikers turned out in force to show their support for the fight against crime in an islandwide cruise from Boatswain’s Beach to Kaibo. Dozens of avid bikers took part in the first ‘Ride Against Crime’ on Sunday, 17 May, organized by Cayman Crime Stoppers’ in partnership with the Cayman Islands Motorcycle Riders Association. The riders were accompanied by police escort from West Bay through Sound Sound to Savannah, where they took an oragnised stop to talk with members of the public.

The ride then made it’s way via East End to Kaibo at Cayman Kai, where the public was afforded another opportunity to view the bikes and learn about the Crime Stoppers programme.

Stuart Bostock, Chairman of Cayman Crime Stoppers, was delighted with the turn out. He said, “I want to thank everyone who took part in the ride for their support. I would also like to thank Keith Keller of the Cayman Islands Motorcycle Riders Association for partnering with us to promote Crime Stoppers. The day was a huge success and all the riders and spectators had a great time. Most importantly we attracted a lot in interest in Crime Stoppers and even gained a few new members.” Mr. Bostock added, “I’d also like to thank members of the public and road users for their patience – the day went off without a hitch.”

Mr. Bostock said, “As the ride was such a success we will be doing it again next year when we hope to get even more riders and supporters for the day.”

Crime Stoppers is a non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of crime. It exists to promote the Crime Stoppers telephone tips line, 800 TIPS (no ‘1’ before the 800), which anybody can call to report a crime in complete anonymity. Calls are answered by a call center in Miami so callers will never be recognised and nor will they ever be asked to reveal their identity or give personal details. Callers can receive a reward of up to $1,000 should the information they give lead to the successful resolution of a case.

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Grey skies in the Caribbean

| 22/05/2009 | 0 Comments

(The Economist): The seas round the Cayman Islands may be blue, the sands white and the coral reefs a rainbow, but to the OECD, an economic group of rich countries, the Cayman Islands are grey. On May 14th the OECD ruled to keep the British colony on its list of unco-operative tax havens. That has miffed the Cayman Islanders. In April the OECD gave a clean “white” grade to rivals such as Jersey, Guernsey and Barbados. These lists rank a financial centre’s willingness to share information about offshore bank accountswith tax authorities around the world.

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