Archive for May 27th, 2009

Complaints Commissioner re-joins private sector

| 27/05/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Complaints Commissioner Dr John Epp, who announced in September 2008 that he would not accept reappointment as the Cayman Islands’ ombudsman when his five-year term expired in mid-July, will be re-joining the private sector as a litigation lawyer with local law firm Conyers Dill & Pearman. The complaints commissioner is appointed by the governor and answers only to the Legislative Assembly as a whole through the Speaker. There has been no word yet from the Governor’s Office on Epp’s replacement.

As the first person to hold the position of an ombudsman in the Cayman Islands, Epp established the Office of Complaints Commissioner (OCC), as well as interpreting and applying the Complaints Commissioner Law and relevant laws of the Cayman Islands. He also assisted in writing Regulations made to clarify certain matters under the Complaints Commissioner Law (2006 Revision).

Over the past four years, the OCC team has completed ten Own Motion Investigations (which are instigated by the Commissioner in the public interest), eight Special Reports and more than 150 investigations arising from suitable written complaints from residents of the Cayman Islands. His notable investigations and reports included: Sunrise Adult Training Centre: Does the government provide adequate day-care facilities and education for adults who are mentally and physically disabled?; Allegations against Cayman Airways in the wake of hurricane Dean; and Cayman Turtle Farm and Waste Discharge into the Marine Environment. Moreover, the auditor general cited the OCC as one of the few government departments that produces financial statements on time.

“Our goal of establishing a fully functioning office with appropriate systems was met, but this office constantly strives for improvement. In order to better equip our team, we participated in several training programmes, such as the one provided by the Canada’s leading Ombudsman, the Ombudsman of Ontario,” said Epp said when announcing his departure from the office.

Commenting on his move back into the private sector, Epp said, “I am impressed with the high standard of expertise that Conyers provides and by the firm’s track record of providing expert advice on Cayman Islands Law. I look forward to bringing my experience to bear on Conyers’ Cayman litigation practice and delivering the high standards that our clients expect.”

Richard Finlay, Managing Partner of the Conyers Cayman Islands office, said, “We continue to grow our Cayman Islands practice and have trebled the number of lawyers in our litigation department since its inception two years ago. John has established advocacy experience and has demonstrated his independence and tenacity during his tenure as Complaints Commissioner. He brings a wealth of valuable experience to the litigation team which will add significant value to clients and we are proud to welcome him to our team.”

Nigel Meeson QC, Head Litigation and Restructuring in the Cayman Islands Litigation commented, “The current economic climate has driven an increased demand for litigation services, a trend which is likely to continue. As clients look to firms with superior strength and depth of expertise, our reputation for delivering timely, responsive and thorough advice has seen our litigation practice gain continued momentum. The addition of John to the team will enable us to further expand our reach in the Cayman Islands.”

Prior to his appointment as complaints commissioner, Epp was Senior Tutor and Deputy Director at the Cayman Islands Law School. He started his legal career in Saskatchewan, Canada where he practised as a civil litigation specialist, a position which left him with considerable trial and appellate advocacy experience.

Epp holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Saskatchewan, a Master of Comparative Jurisprudence from the University of Texas, a PhD in Law from the University of Liverpool and a National Institute of Trial Advocates Teaching Certification. He was admitted to the Law Society of Saskatchewan in 1983 and as an attorney at law in the Cayman Islands in 2004.

Epp taught Trial Skills at Hofstra University, New York, Nova South Eastern Law School, Florida and Advanced Tort Law at the University of Western Ontario in Canada. He authored numerous articles and commentaries published in leading journals such as the Law Quarterly Review,Modern Law Review, Journal of Business Law and the Canadian Bar Review. He is the author of the book titled Building on the Decade of Disclosure in Criminal Procedure (2001). He served as Chairman of the Access to Justice Committee of the Organization of Commonwealth Caribbean Bar Associations and he is also is a Charter member of Habitat for Humanity in the Cayman Islands and a Charter member of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman – Sunrise.

 

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CNS apologises

| 27/05/2009 | 0 Comments

CNS has been contacted by Consuelo Ebanks who said she objected to a Viewpoint written by Merle McGann about her. She said that, contrary to the Viewpoint, though she did not have a voter ID card on Election Day, she did vote. CNS apologises to Ms Ebanks and assures her that no offence was intended.

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CNS apologises

| 27/05/2009 | 0 Comments

CNS has been contacted by Consuelo Ebanks who said she objected to a Viewpoint written by Merle McGann about her, which has now been removed from this site. Ms Ebanks said that, contrary to the Viewpoint, though she did not have a voter ID card on Election Day she did vote. CNS apologises to Ms Ebanks and assures her that no offence was intended.

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Lottery scam uses Mandela name

| 27/05/2009 | 2 Comments

(CNS): A new email scam is using the good name of former President of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Nelson Mandela, to persuade the gullible to part with their money. Police say the email informs the recipient that their email address has been selected as a winner in the Nelson Mandela Foundation/Fifa 2010 World Cup Lottery Draw and the recipient could be entitled to at least 850 thousand dollars.

Attached to the email is a word document detailing the win stating the following:

“This is to inform you that the NELSON MANDELA FOUNDATION and the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, here in South Africa, has held an Internet Raffle Draw, and your Email Address was among the 2010 Email Addresses that was picked through the computer ballot system. We therefore with great pleasure, notify you that your Email Address happened to come out top number (1) out of the 2010 Email Addresses, on the FINAL BALLOT DRAW, and this had made you the JACKPOT WINNER OF THE SUM OF US$ 850,000.00(EIGHT HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS).”

The document also contains an area for the potential victim to fill out some personal details including name, occupation, date of birth and contact details. The genuine Nelson Mandela Foundation has confirmed that there is no such lottery and in a statement, the Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) warned members of the public against the scam confirming that no such competition is being run. Anyone who receives such an email is encouraged to delete it and not respond.

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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Delaney two-time winner

| 27/05/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): For the second year in a row the Conyers Byte Nationals, held at the Cayman Islands Sailing Club (CISC) on 3 May, was won by eighteen year-old Chris Delaney, who will now focus on the Byte World Championship in Canada this August before he makes the transition to the Olympic Laser class. Second place went to Oliver Fogerty and Marina Mafessanti came third. According to a release from the CISC, the Byte is a popular youth sailing boat designed for be sailed single-handed and for sailors weighing between 110lbs and 160 lbs.

Pleased with his performance, Delaney said, “I have been working hard for the past three months and I was very happy with my boat speed and boat handling. I felt that I have made many improvements over the last few months and winning the Conyers Byte Nationals makes the hard work worthwhile.”

CISC Sailing Director, Mike Weber, recognized his progress. “Chris works harder than any of our sailors. Even off the water he’s busy thinking about sailing. He deserved to win the regatta.”

Weber also noted the support from Conyers. “This is the third year that Conyers has sponsored the regatta and we are grateful for its support. By sponsoring our fleet of boats and regattas like this one Conyers is really making a difference in terms of helping us produce good sailboat racers.“

Rick Findlay, the managing partner of the Conyers’ Cayman office, commented, “We are proud and pleased to be part of this successful and worthwhile youth sailing programme and in particular the yearly Byte Nationals event.”

For more information on youth racing in the Cayman Islands, please contact Mike Weber at sailing@sailing.ky

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Healthy Eating, Active Living

| 27/05/2009 | 0 Comments

On 1 June 2009 we will celebrate the fifth annual Caribbean Nutrition Day – an initiative of the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute, a specialized centre of the Pan American Health Organization.

The main goal is to highlight the importance of good nutrition and regular physical activity in the attainment of healthier lifestyles. This year’s theme Healthy Eating, Active Living: A Family Approach specifically emphasises that much more is achievable, if family members work together.

Adverse lifestyle-related conditions such as obesity, including childhood obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol have now become prevalent in Cayman and across the region, making it imperative for health policies to emphasize the protective effects of a healthy diet and regular physical activity. Prevention of these ‘lifestyle’ based health problems are the ultimate goal, with the minimum objective being to control and minimize their negative consequences.

Research has shown that the majority of children carrying excess body fat, being overweight or obese, will grow into obese adults. The longer excess body fat is carried, the higher the risk for chronic lifestyle related conditions and their consequences, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney problems, certain cancers, sleep apnea, and musculo-skeletal disorders. In addition, poor self esteem and negative social stigma are very emotionally damaging results of early obesity.

Research has also shown that health outcomes later in life begin from the womb, with the nutritional quality of the mother’s diet, the practice of breastfeeding, appropriate weaning practices, and early childhood eating patterns and habits. Therefore the supportive environment of family, from the earliest stages of life, cannot be emphasized enough. Parents serve as role-models for children to imitate behaviours, and this also includes health choices.

Small choices can collectively accumulate into lifestyle changes. Practically speaking, this may include grocery shopping with your kids, reading labels on products, and otherwise involving them in making healthier food choices. It may also include preparing and eating at least one meal per day with your kids at home. This will encourage regular mealtimes, improved food preparation and cooking skills, and family bonding; and may also discourage dependence on so-called ‘convenience’ foods, other highly processed foods, and/or ‘fast’ foods.

Another step toward positive change for many may be to increase consumption of fruit and vegetables, which contain essential vitamins, minerals, water and fibre for proper functioning of the body. These foods also contain natural substances called antioxidants, which protect body cells from damage leading to cancer or heart disease.

Many kinds of fruits and vegetables are also good sources of potassium, which is known to help reduce high blood pressure. In addition, many fruits are especially good sources of soluble fibre, which assists in reducing high blood cholesterol levels. The fibre found in fruits and vegetables also promotes feelings of fullness after eating, thereby assisting with weight control. Fibre also encourages regular bowel action, keeping the large intestine healthy.

Families should strive to include at least one vegetable serving at lunch and dinner, and include a serving of fruit at breakfast. Portable fruits such as apples, bananas, oranges, pears, and small boxes of raisins should be kept on hand for snacks on the go,. However, it is best to limit juice to one serving daily and eat more fresh, frozen, or dried fruit.

Regular physical activity is equally important for healthy living. Physical activity helps to reduce body fat, strengthen the heart and lungs, improve blood circulation, strengthen/maintain muscle mass, build bone mass (through weight bearing exercise), reduce stress, and improve mood. It is recommended to engage in moderate physical activity (for example brisk walking, recreational swimming, cycling and tennis) for at least 30 minutes at least five times per week.

Families can increase physical activity together by taking walks, riding bikes, playing recreational sports, swimming, or doing house-cleaning and yard work for only half an hour each day. Spending less time in front of the TV or computer will allow more time for exercise.

Practicing a healthy lifestyle is far easier once families are supportive of each other in doing so, and actively participate in healthy habits together. Children especially need positive role models in all areas of life, including their health choices. This may be a good time to take stock of your families lifestyle and make constructive changes where needed.

To consult with a dietitian for more guidance, please make appointments at your district health centers, GT General Practice (Tel: 244-2663) or the Specialist Clinic (Tel: 244-2530) at the Cayman Islands Hospital.
 

Bethany Smith is the Community Dietitian for the Health Services Authority

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US firm switching tax-havens

| 27/05/2009 | 0 Comments

(WSJ):  Accenture Ltd. is seeking to become the latest company to switch tax-haven locales. On Tuesday, the consulting and outsourcing firm said its board of directors had unanimously approved switching the company’s place of incorporation from Bermuda to Ireland. The move comes amid a crackdown on tax havens by the Obama administration and congressional Democrats, who are targeting companies with substantial U.S. operations that are incorporated in tax havens like Bermuda to lower their overall tax burden.

 

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Man stabbed in the head

| 27/05/2009 | 40 Comments

(CNS): UPDATE 4:40pm Wednesday —The brother of a 31-year-old man, who was attacked and stabbed a number of times in the head yesterday, told CNS that the victim fought back, wrestled the knife away from his attacker and chased him as he fled the scene. Police say the victim is recovering in hospital from what is being described as non-life threatening injuries following the assault at the Treasure Island complex on West Bay Road on Tuesday afternoon, 26 May.

The victim has told police that the attacker was wearing blue overalls. His brother said that he saw the man in the parking lot but did not pay attention to him, walked into the elevator and closed the doors, but they opened again. Telling the story to CNS, the brother said the attacker was standing in the doorway and would not let the victim out but pushed him back into the elevator and “immobilized his arm” behind his back.

The victim managed to turn around and fight back, and during the struggle, he punched the attacker several times in the eyes and nose and managed to get the knife away from him, the brother said. At that point he said the attacker ran away and the victim tried to run after him but he was bleeding too much and couldn’t catch him.

The man, who lives in the area, called 911 at around 5:25pm and told operators he had been attacked and required medical attention. Police and medics responded to the scene and found that the victim had been assaulted on the ground floor of the building.

The victim has told officers that he defended himself against the attacker and the offender ran around the front of the building. It is thought that the suspect may have fled the scene in a blue vehicle. The circumstances around the motive for the assault are currently being investigated.

Detectives would like to hear from anyone who witnessed what happened or has information about the assault. Anyone who can help should contact Detective Constable Dave Morrison on 949-4222 or Crime Stoppers on 800 8477. 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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