Archive for June 22nd, 2009

Teachers get golden apples

| 22/06/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Marjorie Ebanks (pictured left) who recently received the Cayman Badge of honour for her service to local education also received the Chamber of Commerce Golden Apple Lifetime Achievement Award on Saturday for her 37 years spent in education in the Cayman Islands. Ebanks was joined by seven other recipients who were honoured for their contribution to education during the annual award ceremony.

Catherine Eugene of Cayman Academy won Primary School Teacher in a Private School; Margaret Juman of Creek & Spot Bay Junior School for Primary School Teacher in a Public School; Bernice Scott of Grace Christian Academy for Middle School Teacher in a Private School; Janet Harris of New Horizons High School for Middle School Teacher in a Public School; Anthony Kaburu of St. Ignatius Catholic High School for High School Teacher in a Private School; David Toney of the Alternative Education Centre for High School Teacher in a Public School and Leonora Mendoza-Hydes of Grace Christian Academy for Principal in a Public or Private School all won a Golden Apple at the third annual ceremony designed to honour members of Cayman’s teaching profession.

During his opening remarks, Chamber CEO Wil Pineau described teachers as the everyday heroes who make the crucial difference to children’s lives.

The new Minister of Education, Training, and Employment, Rolston Anglin said he was delighted with the support for the teaching profession which he said demonstrated how much the community truly values education and the role it plays in the development children. “The Golden Apple Awards affords our students, parents and others from the teaching fraternity, the opportunity to publicly express their admiration, for the educators who have touched their lives and enriched the lives of others.”

The ceremony took place at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman and the hosts for the event were past Golden Apple Recipients, June South Robinson and Elroy Bryan.


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Jet-ski thieves arrested

| 22/06/2009 | 12 Comments

(CNS):  Police have arrested five people including a juvenile in connection with a spate of jet-ski thefts. Officers and the Department of Environment have recovered a total of 8machines recently some of which were discovered hidden in mangroves in West Bay. “We are pleased to have located 8 of the Jet Skis which have recently been stolen,” said Inspector Brad Ebanks from the Marine Unit. “We have also made a number of arrests and hope this will send a clear message to those involved in the thefts that they will be caught.”

Police said that seven of the machines will be returned to their rightful owners while one still requires the owner to be identified. Five of the personal water crafts were discovered in the Myles Road area of George Town after a member of the public reported suspicious activity in the area. The others along with 2 stolen boat engines, were located by the Marine Unit and DoE during their enquiries.  Meanwhile four other reports of thefts of Jet Skis are currently under investigation.

Four men aged between 17 and 21 were arrested on suspicion of theft on Friday (June 19) in connection with three of the thefts. Another juvenile was arrested on Saturday (June 20) on suspicion of theft and handling stolen goods in connection with the theft of one wave runner.

“Jet Skis and their parts are sought after items and owners should take all precautions possible to protect them from theft,” said Inspector Ebanks. “Secure your machine with a heavy duty chain and padlock that cannot be easily cut through and take all removable items with you into the house or shed. It would be beneficial if owners could disable their water crafts as best they can and if possible remove the machine from the water. These offenders have gone to great lengths to steal these machines. Lock your trailer so it can’t be towed away easily. You can also add alarms to Jet Skis which, if advertised clearly, can deter a thief.”

Police also encourage owners to record all serial numbers and take photographs of their machines so they can be easily identified if recovered by the police.

Anyone with information about marine offences, including the theft of Jet Ski’s should contact the Marine Unit on 949-7710 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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Cops seize gun and ammo

| 22/06/2009 | 13 Comments

(CNS): Police said this morning that they have arrested four men on suspicion of being in possession of an unlicensed firearm on Saturday evening (June 20) after officers stopped and searched a car in George Town on Saturday night and found a hand gun and a loaded magazine. The new commissioner said that this kind of operation is extremely dangerous for officers but he was pleased by the way it was handled.


Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) said that George Town police officers were alerted to a suspicious vehicle at around 9.50pm on Saturday which led to an operation led by the Uniformed Support Group. Shortly afterwards the vehicle was stopped in the vicinity of Kings Sports Centre and the four occupants and the car were searched. A silver handgun and the loaded magazine were then recovered from the car while the four men were arrested. Police said that they all remain in custody at this time.

“This is a classic example of where officers put themselves in harms way to keep the communities of the Cayman Islands safe,” said Commissioner of Police, David Baines. “Stopping vehicles which contain firearms can be extremely dangerous for the officers involved and every time we make arrests in this way the officers place themselves in danger. I am extremely pleased with the way this operation was conducted and the result, which speaks for itself.”

The RCIPS  said it works hard to identify those involved in the illegal possession of firearms and welcomes any information about their whereabouts or use. Anyone who can assist the police can speak with an officer at their local station or call 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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Report spells out new regulations for Hedge Funds

| 22/06/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Mandatory registration and scrutiny of fund managers and the financial institutions that provide the money, as well as international information sharing on the industry are just some of the recommendations the International Organization of Securities Commissions’ (IOSCO) Technical Committee has made in a report published today (22 June). With 9000 funds registered in the Cayman Islands local experts say Cayman may need to make some changes to adapt to the new international regulations that will emerge but is already adhering to many of the recommendaitons and this is good news for the sector in general.

Kathleen Casey, Chair of the committee that authored the report, said that while the hedge fund industry did not cause the financial crisis but it presented an opportunity to assess the potential regulatory risk they pose. “Securities regulators recognise that the current crisis in financial markets is not a hedge fund driven event. Hedge funds contribute to market liquidity, price efficiency, risk distribution and global market integration. Nevertheless the crisis has given regulators the opportunity to consider the systemic role hedge funds may play and the way in which we deal with the regulatory risks they may pose to the oversight of markets and protection of investors,” she added.

The Cayman Islands plays a significant role in the Hedge Fund industry and the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority told CNS that as the current leader it does not foresee any problems arising from the IOSCO report.  "We are currently doing our own review and where change is necessary, will develop a plan to bring CIMA into compliance with IOSCO standards. CIMA already has in place a number of the measures suggested in the report,  which reaffirms that the Cayman Islands are a leader in transparency and regulatory best practices," said Managing Director Cindy Scotland. "IOSCO is recognized as the international standard setters for the securities market and our recent membership demonstrates our commitment to meet these standards as well as provide input to the future of the hedge fund market."

Former Chair of CIMA Tim Ridley noted that there will need to be careful consideration of the recommendations but agreed the jurisdiction is already following the spirit of most of them.

“The IOSCO Report requires careful study by CIMA and the industry as the devil is always in the details. But on first review, the Report seems to pose no significant issues for the industry in Cayman. Indeed, Cayman already substantially implements the spirit of the principles described in the Report,” Ridley explained. “There are nevertheless some technical issues that the Government, CIMA and the industry need to address to complete the implementation. I would not anticipate these being overly difficult to achieve, and some of these are already underway, but timeliness in so doing is essential".

Mark Lewis of Walkers (Cayman’s leading hedge fund law firm) said that the introduction of global regulations will be good news for the Cayman Islands and the industry as a whole as it will help to restore confidence in the business. “This is good news as it recognises that Hedge Funds are an important tool in global finance and that they have a legitimate part to play,” he said noting that most of the recommendations affect the onshore part of the business.

“Cayman already has many of the recommendations in place, fundsare already registered here and to the extent that this touches Cayman, CIMA can feel vindicated for the regulation they have already implemented.”  Lewis added that this is another example of where Cayman leads the way when it comes to setting standards and improving regulation.

The report Hedge Funds Oversight contains six high level principles that aim to assist regulators to address the regulatory and systemic risks posed by hedge funds in their own jurisdictions while supporting a globally consistent approach.

They include the recommendation that hedge funds and/or hedge fund managers/advisers should be subject to mandatory registration; that hedge fund managers/advisers which are required to register should also be subject to appropriate ongoing regulatory requirements relating to standards, conflicts of interest, disclosure to investors; the banks which provide funding to hedge funds should be subject to mandatory registration/regulation and supervision; hedge fund managers and prime brokers should provide information for systemic risk purposes; regulators should encourage and take account of the development, implementation and convergence of industry good practices and share information, where appropriate to help identify systemic risks, market integrity and other risks.

“The application of these principles, in a collective, cooperative and efficient way, can provide regulators with the tools to obtain sufficient, relevant information in order to address the regulatory and systemic risks posed by hedge funds,” said Casey.  


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Conyers send Cayman expert to Dubai

| 22/06/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): As a result of what the firm described as a growing demand in the Middle East for advice regarding the Cayman Islands, law firm Conyers Dill & Pearman has relocated its corporate attorney Dennis Ryan to the firm’s Dubai office from Cayman. Kerri Lefebvre, partner in Conyers’ Dubai office said Ryan had a wealth of experience in Cayman law.

“Dennis’s arrival in Dubai augments our existing Cayman Islands expertise and will bring added benefits to our local and regional clients,” Lefebvre said. “Dennis is an excellent lawyer with a well established client base in the Middle East, and a wealth of significant experience in Cayman Islands law. His addition to our Dubai office reflects our commitment to providing the highest quality legal advice in a responsive, timely and thorough manner to clients in the Middle East. We are delighted to welcome Dennis to our team of experienced corporate attorneys,”

Speaking about his move Ryan explained that Cayman is a key jurisdiction for Business from that part of the world.“It is an exciting time to join the Dubai office, as Conyers continues to develop its Cayman Islands and broader corporate practice in the region, and enhance Dubai’s strength as a leading financial centre. The Cayman Islands is a key market for Middle Eastern business, and I look forward to continuing to serve our global client base from Dubai,” he added.

Conyers established its Dubai office in 2006 and the firm said it has a focus on investment funds, private equity, joint ventures, project financings, Islamic finance, and shari’ah compliant transactions and securitisations. As well as Cayman Islands law, the Dubai office also advises on British Virgin Islands, Bermuda and Mauritius law, servicing clients across the MENA region in conjunction with its global network, which spans 11 locations worldwide.


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Pirates called democrats

| 22/06/2009 | 0 Comments

(AFP): Pirates have been long maligned and cursed as thieves and sea dogs, but according to one economist they formed vanguard capitalist democracies, with constitutions, elections and healthcare plans.With images of gun-toting Somali pirates recently aired on television screens across the world, Peter Leeson, has set himself the unenviable task of salvaging the reputations.The economics professor at George Mason University outside the US capital, says he has found evidence that some 18th century pirates wrote down rules and principles which foreshadowed the US Constitution by decades.

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Legal aid QC not guaranteed for murder trial

| 22/06/2009 | 9 Comments

(CNS): In a statement regarding the situation surrounding the legal representation of the men accused of murdering Estella Scott-Roberts, Chief Justice Anthony Smellie said that, while the applications for Queens Counsel (QC) are being reconsidered, it is not mandatory that anyone accused of murder would be provided with legal representation at that level. The local Criminal Defence Bar Association has, however, noted that given the seriousness of the crime it should be, and it has noted the danger of injustice if any defendant is not represented equally with the crown.

The chief justice said that, “….in line with the practice in other Commonwealth territories, the Legal Aid Department rejects the notion that a QC should be automatic in cases in which murder has been alleged.”

He did, however, express gratitude to what he described as the small corps of lawyers, some 10 in all, from a local legal fraternity of around 500 that generally take on the legal aid work here in Cayman, without whom it would be very difficult for many defendants to get proper representation.

According to the CDBA, it is customary for those facing serious charges such as murder to be able to engage a QC from either Jamaica or the UK through legal aid for their defence, especially given the fact that they are prosecuted by the solicitor general.

"Murder is the most serious crime on the statute books. As such, it carries the most serious penalty available on conviction: a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment,” the CDBA told CNS. “It is not for us to state the court’s policy in relation to the grant of QCs but we would suggest that if it is not automatic in cases of murder then it ought to be."

The CDBA noted recently in connection with the cases of Kirkland Henry and Larry Ricketts, who are charged with murder and being prosecuted by the solicitor general without lead counsel of their own (i.e. a Queens Counsel — someone with seniority in the legal profession), that there would be inequality of arms between the Crown and the defence.

Henry and Ricketts are due to be tried at the beginning of August for the murder of Scott-Roberts and have been without proper legal representation for several weeks. So far, Henry has had his application for the legal aid for a QC from Jamaica denied, while Ricketts is still awaiting a decision on his application.

Having returned to the jurisdiction last week, Smellie said that Ben Tonner, who has been temporarily acting for Henry, had been asked to confirm that he has identified a Queens Counsel (QC) who will take the case.  “He must also at the same time specify that the QC has agreed to lead the case at the standard rate paid at legal aid, that is at $135 per hour, and at the standard economy rate of airfare and hotel accommodation,” Smellie said, adding that this had not been done during the application process, but he said it was the means by which the Court manages to control expenditure on QCs in legal aid cases. 

“Once the application is re-submitted in compliance with these terms, it will be re-considered,” the CJ added.

The Legal Aid Department had approved an extension of the existing legal aid certificate, a second senior lawyer to assist with the case, and the CJ noted that as the rate for overseas lawyers, regardless of their position, is the same $135 per hour as for local lawyers, the only issue would have turned on specifying in the application process the conditions for employing a QC.

The fundamental problem, however, for both Henry and Ricketts, as well as a number of others currently facing serious charges, is that there is little or no funds left in the legal aid coffers with little prospect on the horizon of seeing the budget increased.  Even though a report published last year by the Law Reform Commission stated that Cayman’s legal aid bill is not by comparison to other jurisdictions particularly high, the problem of funding legal aid representation has been compounded by the continuous reduction of its budget in Finance Committee, as it has been persistently politically unpopular among the electorate.

Despite the significant number of lawyers in Cayman, there are few that are prepared to work for the legal aid fee and few law firms that even offer a criminal defence arm. Walkers is due to close its criminal defence department, reducing still further the pool of lawyers likely to take legal aid work. Although the firm has for the last ten years traditionally brought a junior barrister to the jurisdiction to conduct legal aid defence work, it told CNS recently that, given the current economic climate, it will be diverting funds previously used to keep that department afloat elsewhere.

The Law Reform Commission has suggested introducing a merits and means testing for applicants, and while it shied away from making pro-bono work mandatory for local lawyers, it said encouraging and promoting voluntary legal assistance from the private sector would be an obvious way of reducing the government’s legal aid overheads. Attorney General Samuel Bulgin has said that access to legal aid is an integral aspect of the administration of justice and that a modern, transparent system of legal aid enables access to justice to persons in need and enhances the Islands’ image as a sophisticated, democratic and stable jurisdiction.

“Though it may not necessarily resulting in reduced costs, the Commission’s view is that a more transparent and efficient administration of legal aid could serve to more readily demonstrate that funds are being appropriately spent, thereby satisfying the objective of accountability inherent in the Legislators’ concerns,” Bulgin said when the report was circulated for public comment last year.

The report is available on the Legislative Assembly’s website,, under House Business and Presentation of Papers and of Reports.

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