Archive for May 23rd, 2009

Canadians attacked inJam

| 23/05/2009 | 0 Comments

(thestar.com): A gunman shot up a minivan full of Canadians driving into Jamaica’s gang-ridden capital, Jamaican police have said. One of the tourists suffered minor injuries from flying glass. Prime Minister Bruce Golding met with the six visitors from Quebec to apologize personally, and a military helicopter flew them back to the beach resort of Montego Bay, deputy police commissioner Mark Shields said."I think their motivation was to drive into downtown Kingston to look at another side of Jamaica," Shields said.

 

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Tibbetts calls on governor & AG to uphold constitution

| 23/05/2009 | 106 Comments

(CNS): Leader of the People’s Progressive Movement and outgoing Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts has said it is the responsibility of the attorney general and the governor to deal with the apparent disqualification of Mark Scotland and Dwayne Seymour in Bodden Town. He said that before the governor swears in any candidate to the Legislative Assembly it is his responsibility to check they are qualified.

Although Tibbetts did not state that the PPM would not be challenging the result, in a speech to the country on television on Friday evening he indicated that he expected the AG and the governor to deal with the issue and not necessarily the two candidates from his own party — Osbourne Bodden and Charles Clifford — who both came in directly behind Seymour. However, a number of local experts in the field have indicated that the question of qualification must come as a legal challenge from either a candidate or from the district’s electorate. If no challenge is forthcoming, the governor may be obligated to swear in both candidates, despite the fact that the Constitution states they are disqualified.

Tibbetts said that before the elections the attorney general had announced that he would not take any action until it was over.  “So we await a public statement from him now that the elections have been held. Furthermore, it is the duty of the governor to ensure that all persons he swears in as members of the Legislative Assembly have been duly elected and have not been disqualified under the provisions of the law or the Constitution. So we await his public statement on this subject.  I do not wish to make any further comment at this time except to stress that the governor and the attorney general have no higher responsibility than upholding the law and Constitution.”

However, the only comment that the attorney general made before the elections was that the issue was a matter for the courts to decide. The governor had said that he expects all candidates in the forthcoming general election to operate within the terms of the Constitution and the applicable laws of the Cayman Islands, but also said cases of possible non-compliance with the legal requirements would be a matter for the courts.

Tibbetts also raised the issue of the investigations currently being undertaken by the Elections Office and the police over the accusation of irregularities that took place in George Town, where the United Democratic Party was accused of handing out voting instructions in contravention of the Elections Law.

“There havebeen serious allegations that UDP agents, supporters and some candidates attempted to unduly influence voters at some George Town polling stations on Election Day.  These matters have been reported to the Supervisor of Elections and the police.  We understand they are being investigated and that in due course a statement will be made regarding the outcome of those investigations,” he said. 

Tibbetts said, however, that the voters had spoken and the PPM respected their decision as that is the democratic process. He told the country that he and the party were disappointed but he said the five candidates who have been returned would proudly carry out their duties as representatives and as the parliamentary opposition. 

“As the opposition, our duty will be to question and criticize measures taken by government so that the public can better understand what is going on, and the government can be held to account.  But we will do our best to perform our duty in a constructive way,” Tibbetts added.

He also said that the PPM had brought a new culture of governance to Cayman offering open, honest and transparent government and making huge strides in key areas like education and infrastructural development. “We have much of which we can be proud,” he said, adding there were lessons to learn and that members of the PPM would continue the mission to offer the Cayman Islands the right kind of government.

Speaking of the Constitution, Tibbetts said he was delighted that it had received the blessing of voters in the country’s first referendum.

“Cayman will now have a new, modern constitutional framework in which to negotiate the growing number of complex issues with which we are faced in these increasingly difficult times,” Tibbetts added. “The constitutional modernization exercise has been a protracted and difficult process, but together we have stayed the course, and I believe future generations will thank us all.”

Thanking all those involved in the constitution process, the referendum and the election itself, he also offered his thanks to the civil service for the work they had done during his government’s time in office. Noting that it was not necessarily customary to thank them, he said it was important to acknowledge all the work that civil servants do. “Nothing can be achieved by a government without the civil servants.  LA, Cabinet and the governor are the head of the government, but the civil service is the body.  I hope the civil servants are proud of what we have achieved together in the last four years,” he concluded.

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Travers gets traction in DC

| 23/05/2009 | 39 Comments

(CNS): The international PR onslaught initiated by the Cayman Islands Financial Services Association under the new chairmanship of Anthony Travers seems to be gaining traction after Travers appears to have got some key US officials to see Cayman in a new light. Pushing the message on Capitol Hill and to members of the Washington media that Cayman is committed to transparency, Travers has drawn some positive attention to the jurisdiction and says he intends to brief the new Cayman government on what needs to be done to keep up the pace.

On his trip to the United States capital, Travers shared details of CIFSA’s support for proactive reporting — and CIFSA’s concern about any approach that would use “lists” as tools to further tax policy — with legislative staff and Washington reporters for international news outlets. He conveyed important facts about the Cayman financial sector, including its strong and stable financial platform.

Travers said that many on Capitol Hill and in the Washington media had mistaken impressions of Cayman’s role in global markets. “I spent a great deal of time correcting the misperception of Cayman as a ‘tax haven’ and explaining in detail the nature of what actually occurs and how transactions are structured,” he explained. “In the United States, Cayman is clearly conflated with Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the other countries that have little or no transparency and have not signed tax information treaties with the US or the EU. This is quite extraordinary given the comparative fact pattern.”

Travers said that he and a number of key US officials responsible for tax policy agreed to work cooperatively to develop a plan that would encourage transparency and further bi-lateral dealings between the two jurisdictions. Optimistic about the discussions in Washington, he added that he believed Congress would reject the idea of identifying any list of countries and territories whose tax and disclosure systems are inadequate to US needs and would instead focus on promoting reporting and transparency.

Travers said he plans to develop a more detailed initiative that would continue to provide accurate and up-to-date information to Washington decision makers and opinion formers.

“As the legislative process gains traction in Washington, I anticipate that the new government in Cayman will now adopt a far more engaged and proactive approach. I will be briefing the new minister fully as to what CIFSA regards now as the appropriate and immediate course of action. Preliminary understandings have been established in Washington, and in that respect I am pleased with what has been achieved in a short space of time.”

He said that legislators would be kept fully informed about the suggested transparency developments in Cayman on a timely basis. “Provided the government adopts certain specific measures, I believe that the prospective US legislation will not target Cayman,” the CIFSA chair said.

“It is simply a question of improving the understanding and then introducing legislative enactments that corroborate the story. But we need to get ahead of the curve on this issue and stop playing catch up.”

Travers also held a number of meetings with renowned tax academics and hopes to promote the publication of opinion pieces that will be fully supportive of the Cayman position and help deal with what he said were misperceptions.

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