Archive for July 23rd, 2009

Immigration Law to undergo another review

| 23/07/2009 | 15 Comments

(CNS): One again the country’s Immigration Law and Department are to come under scrutiny by a new Immigration Review Team headed by Sherri Bodden Cowan. This latest examination of one of Cayman’s most important government areas will, according to government review policies, provide solutions to streamline the work permit system and address the anomalies and technical deficiencies that have come to light since the law was changed. It will also look at changing back some of the things put in place by the previous administration.

Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush told the media at Thursday morning’s government press briefing that, given the economic issues now facing the Cayman Islands as a consequence of the global financial crisis, there needed to be changes made to the Immigration Department and the law.

Bush indicated that he would not throw out all the ideas that came out of the most recent review by the former CIO Franz Manderson, but Bush said there were myriad ideas in the community on how to improve things and he wanted to see a fairer, more efficient system for processing work permits.

He said the team would examine and highlight any additional issues related to the application and enforcement of the Immigration Law, 2008 (Revision) which warrant attention, as well as address a number of anomalies and technical deficiencies that have come to light since the coming into effect of that law. He also noted that some of the changes introduced in the last four years may well be changed back.

“The IRT will identify areas of omission and the removal of certain previously existing provisions in the law by the previous government, such as the right to appeal a refusal of key employee status and the removal of the Residency Provisions for Entrepreneurs and Investors, and consider their reintroduction into the law in an amended form,” Bush announced.

He added that the team would also re-examine the implementation of the Business Staffing Plan provisions to ensure that employers were receiving an adequate degree of certainty in relation to their future staffing needs, whilst at the same time safeguarding the employment, training and upward mobility of Caymanians within the work force.

He said IRT would consult with stakeholders, produce a report with findings and recommendations for Cabinet within a reasonable timeframe, and assist with the preparation of draft amending legislation if necessary.

Bush noted that the review would also be looking at the situation regarding permanent residency as he was aware there were a number of complaints in the community about how that had been handled in the last few years.

He noted that although reducing work permits may result in a reduction of fees to government, that would not play a part in guiding the policy as he said work permit fees were not an incentive for the current government.

The IRT will be chaired by Sherri Bodden-Cowan, and Independent MLA for North Side Ezzard Miller would be the Deputy. Members will include Betty Baraud, Paulette Anglin Lewis, Erma Arch, and the two official members of government. The team will also include a representative from Legal Drafting and Bruce Smith (Deputy Chief Immigration Officer), and Christopher Eakin (Policy Advisor to the Immigration Board) will be asked to assist.

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Nasal swabs prove positive for flu

| 23/07/2009 | 4 Comments

(CNS): Five residents of the Caribbean Haven residential facility had nasal swabs collected by Public Health Department officials to test for influenza, and two tested positive for both influenza A and B in the local laboratory. All five samples have been sent to the CAREC lab in Trinidad for final confirmation, and the results are expected in the next few days, a GIS release states. Results for the young male resident who died on Monday, 20 July, tested negative locally, but final results are still pending from CAREC.

A second resident whose illness also required hospitalisation tested negative locally, and the person has since been discharged.

Medical Officer of Health Dr Kiran Kumar and Medical Director Dr Greg Hoeksema met several times this week with residents and staff of Caribbean Haven to provide information and address their concerns. The release stated that residential-care facilities represent a unique population that has specific World Health Organisation (WHO) and Centres for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for the use of Tamiflu for both treatment and prophylaxis (preventive treatment) for influenza infections.

The two residents who tested positive both experienced mild symptoms and are recovering in isolation at the facility.

The overwhelming majority of people in the Cayman Islands who have contracted H1N1 experience mild symptoms and make a rapid and full recovery, often without any medical treatment, Dr Kumar noted. Everyone should continue taking preventive actions to stop the spread of germs, including frequent hand washing. Persons who are sick should stay home and avoid contact with others.

Certain groups of people are at higher risk of complications from the flu. These groups include children under the age of five, adults over the age of 65, pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems, and people with chronic conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease.

If these people develop a fever with a cough, sore throat, or runny nose, they should consult their health care providers immediately. In addition, those in high-risk categories who have had household contact with known flu cases should contact their physician to receive Tamiflu, in order to prevent illness even if they still feel well.

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Gay penguins split up

| 23/07/2009 | 0 Comments

(Sky News): A much-feted six-year gay relationship between two male penguins at a zoo is over – after one dumped the other for a widowed female called Linda. Harry has left Pepper for another "more attractive" bird at San Francisco Zoo – sparking outrage across the blogosphere. The story has been picked up by many of the leading American newspapers including the Los Angeles Times. Bloggers have been quick to accuse Linda of being a "home wrecker" who "lives for her own happiness, no matter who gets hurt." The LA Times reported that Harry and Pepper had lived happily side-by-side, protecting eggs abandoned by other penguins, for many years.

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Deficit reaches $75.9M

| 23/07/2009 | 32 Comments

(CNS): With the preliminary year end figures for 2008/09 now in, Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush revealed that the government deficit is even worse than predicted at almost $76 million. Speaking at the Chamber’s Legislative Lunch on Thursday (23 July) he said central government had finished the year with a shortfall of $64.5 million, which when combined with the losses of around $11.5 million from statutory authorities, expenditure versus revenue was out by $75.9million.

The LoGB also confirmed that total government debt including statutory authority borrowing was at an all time high of $590.4 million. However, Bush promised the lunch guests from the business sector that his government would put things right. “We stand by our pledge to rebuild our economy until it is again on a sound footing. We were elected to act and we are taking action,” he said adding that while there were no quick fixes his government aimed to reduce the deficit within the next two years and return it to a surplus as well as addressing the record borrowing.

Giving an overview of a number of initiatives as well as plans that his government was embarking on he asked the business community to come up with ideas to raise revenue as he said he intended to keep the election promise not to create new taxes or increase any fees. He said he wanted to work with the Chamber as there was a need for everyone to work together to come out of what he called the economic “mess”.

He lamented the growth of divisions and disharmony in the community over the last few years, which he said had been to the detriment of Cayman and he could not stress enough the need for harmony at this time. He also noted that the country’s dependence on the finance and tourism industries as they were could not continue and that there was a desperate need for diversification. He revealed plans to attract inward investment and the expansion of the financial sector into new areas. He also warned that things needed to change, including the immigration policy.

“We have toprotect our own but we must attract people who will spend money.” Bush stated. “In the last few years we have driven people away and that is why we are suffering.”

He said he was well aware that some people would not like it but he said the need to bring in investment was crucial as once poverty took hold it was impossible to stop it. He warned of further increases in crime and that the country would self destruct if we could not attract new money. “We went from poverty to wealth because people came to Cayman andspent their money here, and we stand to lose it if we don’t change,” he added.

Speaking about tourism, Bush said the industry lacked a cohesive vision, stating that some in the industry say we should go after dive tourism, others high end, yet others family holidays, and everyone had their own opinion. But there was a need to create one shared vision, which his ministry was now working hard to achieve in order to push up visitors by 20,000 in the next year.

On the issue of cruise tourism, he promised a berthing facility as soon as possible and said the country was in discussion with the FCCA. He also noted that to get cruise ships to stay longer they would want to keep open what he termed their “services”, a reference to the on-board gambling which currently closes down when ships dock in Cayman. He also spoke about a cargo operation and said Cayman could develop a real commercial port that could become a third leg to the economy, but he said that it would have to be developed in the eastern districts. “This will be a real ‘Go East’ initiative,” he said.

He also acknowledged the issue of crime, which he said was something he would be working with the commissioner of police on, but that no matter how much money you throw at the police the community needed to speak out against the criminals in order to address the problem. He did say, however, that he was particularly concerned over the number of guns coming into the islands and that there was a need for some form of official coast guard and marine protection agency.

The leader of government business also talked about unemployment, training, the UCCI, cuts in government spending, refining the civil service and the work of the newly formed Immigration Review Team. He also spoke about the latest developments for the revived Cayman Islands Investment Bureau (See Cayman eyes Gulf wealth) as well as the government’s efforts to remove Cayman from the OECD grey list. He confirmed that the 12th bi-lateral Tax Information Exchange Agreement was set to be signed in Washington with the New Zealand government next month.

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Cayman eyes Gulf wealth

| 23/07/2009 | 20 Comments

(CNS):The Cayman Islands Investment Bureau will be opening an office in Dubai by the end of the year, the leader of government business revealed on Thursday. Promising to revive the bureau as a source of inward foreign investment, McKeeva Bush said that offices in Hong Kong and in London would soon be re-opened as well. He also revealed that John Papesh, who has more than 15 years international marketing experience, would head up the new Middle East office.

Bush said that during his previous administration, the CIIB had established an office in Hong Kong as part of a long term view to attract investment to Cayman from the Far East, and he had made plans to open the next office in Dubai. He said the previous administration had been negligent in not pursuing the opportunities through investment offices and had failed to place Cayman in a position to benefit from the investment changes that were taking place in the Gulf States.

“As a member of the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) countries, Dubai, also part of the United Arab Emirates, presents tremendous investment potential for our Islands,” Bush stated. He said the countries — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — had all benefited tremendously from high oil prices and in recent years had experienced a broad-based economic boom.

According to recent studies, even with low oil prices these states were still very wealthy with 39% of the world‘s oil exports. He noted that the countries were politically stable and the economic boom had created surplus for investment. Bush said that in recent years, high net worth individuals from these countries had changed their investment habits from the 1970s and today there was a switch from public sector to private sector being the engine of growth. Increasingly they were investing in things like tourism, infrastructure, manufacturing, energy, agriculture and real estate and Cayman should have been benefitting from this. he said.

The LoGB said, however, with Papesh heading up the new bureau he was confident Cayman could begin to attract some of the region’s surplus investment tour shores. Aside from his extensive experience in finance and international marketing, he had many contacts in the Arab Emirates.

“Currently managing director of Pharos Financial Group – an American hedge fund and financial advisory group – Mr Papesh has also been a strategic marketing consultant for international real estate developers and investment trusts, including the Ritz Carlton, and Kerzner and Capella Hotels & Resorts,” Bush added. He noted too that Papesh spent ten years with Dart Management Ltd. and Dart Realty (Cayman) Ltd., his final position being vice-president of marketing and public affairs as well as running the charitable arm of the Dart Foundation in the Cayman Islands. Bush noted that his government would also be exploring the possibility of offices in China and Japan.

Asked about the cost of the offices, he said the one in Dubai would cost around US$9-11,000 per month and where possible the CI government would aim to share office space. He said salaries would not be a problem as staff would be working on commission so it would be self sustaining. Comparing it to initiatives by the previous administration, he said it should give more of a return than what was brought with the boxing. “It’s about making money,” he said. “While Nero fiddled and Rome burned, other countries became successful,” he said alluding to the previous governments decision to close down the Hong Kong office and not pursue the initiative anywhere else overseas.

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Youth sailing team named

| 23/07/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS):  A group of young sailors with an age range of 9 to 18 have become the 2009 National Youth Sailing Team, according to the Cayman Islands Sailing Club (CISC). The team is comprised of Cayman-based sailors who will be racing at overseas regattas in July and August 2009 with the first regatta due to be held in Houston Texas. Among the list of major events that the sailors will attend are the Optimist, Byte, and 29er World Championships. (Left: 9-year-old Jamie Williams)

Team members are :

Name: Chris Delaney
Boat: Byte
Age: 18
School: St. Ignatius
Years sailing: 4
2009 regattas: Byte World Championship, Canada
Sailing goal: To represent Cayman at the 2016 or 2020 Olympic Games

Name: Marina Maffessanti
Boat: Byte
Age: 16
School: St. Ignatius
Years sailing: 4
2009 regattas: Byte World Championship, Canada
Sailing goal: To represent Jamaica at the 2016 or 2020 Olympic Games

Name: Lizzy Wauchope
Boat: Byte
School: The King’s School Canterbury
Years sailing: 5
2009 regattas: Byte World Championship, Canada
Sailing goal: To represent Cayman at the 2020 Olympic Games

Name: Stuart Jennings
Boat: 29er
Age: 17
School: St. Ignatius
Years sailing: 8
2009 regattas: 29er World Championship, Italy; 29er North American Championship, Canada
Sailing goal: Top third at 2010 29er World Championship

Name: Matthew Courtis
Boat: Optimist, Byte
Age: 13
School: Cayman International School
Years sailing: 4 1/2
2009 regattas: Texas Race Week; United States National Optimist Championship, California; Optimist World Championship, Brazil
Sailing goal: To be selected for the Youth Olympic Trials in February 2010 and gain a place at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, 2010.

Name: Ben Williams
Boat: Optimist
Age: 11
School: Cayman Prep and High School
Years sailing: 3 1/2
2009 regattas: Texas Youth Race Week
Sailing goals: To be competitive in major regattas

Name: Jamie Williams
Boat: Optimist
Age: 9
School: Cayman Prep and High School
Years sailing: 3 1/2
2009 regattas: Texas Youth Race Week
Sailing Goals: To do well in international regattas

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Queen’s private income rises

| 23/07/2009 | 0 Comments

(Telegraph): The Queen’s income from her private Duchy of Lancaster estate rose by three times the rate of inflation last year to £13.3 million. The money, up 5.4 per cent from £12.2 million last year, is used to pay for the Queen’s private and public activities. However, the value of the Queen’s estate, 46,000 acres across England and Wales, fell by a fifth or £75 million £322 million last year. Lord Shuttleworth, chairman of the Duchy’s council, said in the report released yesterday: "We have suffered a substantial fall in the capital value of our assets during the year, principally in the commercial property and financial investment portfolios. Against that, we have achieved an increase in the net surplus."

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Glaxo to have swine flu vaccine by September

| 23/07/2009 | 1 Comment

(Telegraph): In a raft of announcements relating to swine flu, the UK’s largest drug company said it would be able to produce 190m doses per year of Relenza within months. It also said it had received approval for a new disposable antiviral face mask which worked against all previous strains of bird and swine flu. The mask has yet to be tested against the current strain of swine flu although chief executive Andrew Witty said he was confident it would be effective. Although GSK did not expect to start delivery of its vaccine until later this year, it has already received orders for 195m doses and is in discussions with over 50 governments about further orders.

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The legacy of Flipper

| 23/07/2009 | 0 Comments

(New York Magazine): The idea that “each man kills the thing he loves” has been interpreted by many—from Oscar Wilde to Paulo Coelho—but it’s always had a particular resonance in the environmental movement, where every hiking trail and ecofriendly resort inevitably destroys or alters nature in the name of love. For 69-year-old activist Ric O’Barry, the paradox is an apt expression for his cause: the preservation of dolphins. “Everybody loves them, right?” he asks. “But be careful with the word love.” To O’Barry, even activities as seemingly benign as paying to see dolphins perform at SeaWorld or swimming with them in captivity constitutes abuse.

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Maples pays students not to study law

| 23/07/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Three young Caymanians will be taking up a diverse range of studies thanks to a local law firm but none of them will be doing law as Maples and Calder is one of only two legal firms that offer annual scholarships to students who wish to take other subjects outside the legal field. On Wednesday the firm announced that Leslie-Ann Daley, (right) Duét Berry (left) and Andrea Campbell (centre) are the recipients of its 2009 non-legal scholarship awards. The scholarship programme, which has been in place for over 10 years, provides students with up to US$10,000 per year for school expenses until the completion of their course.

Maples partner, Henry Smith, (far left) said the firm’s partners are, "happy to provide the needed support" to students struggling to find funding for their studies outside the legal profession. The recipients were chosen by the Maples and Calder Scholarship Committee based on their achievements and their commitment to the Cayman Islands community. 

Leslie-Ann graduated in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise and Sports Science from the University of Memphis. Having returned to Cayman and worked for the past two years as an occupational therapy assistant, the Maples scholarship will assist her in furthering her education and obtaining the qualifications needed to become a rehabilitation therapist. Leslie-Ann credits her experiences working with children and adults with disabilities for inspiring her to pursue a profession that would enable her to help others. Leslie-Ann will attend the University of Southampton in the U.K. where she will pursue a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Occupational Therapy.

A graduate of John Gray High School, Leslie-Ann is also an accomplished athlete, having been a member of the Cayman Islands national track and field team from 1997 to 1999. Her athletic abilities earned her an athletic scholarship at the University of Memphis.

Duét will use his scholarship to support his effort to complete a Masters of Science in Finance and Investments at Cass Business School in the U.K. Duét has a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI). A UCCI magna cum laude graduate, he earned a GPA of 3.80, the highest for his major in the 2008 graduating class.  Duét also earned the UCCI Board of Governors Award for his academic achievement.

Andrea will be attending Columbia Union College in Maryland this Fall where she will be studying for a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. Ultimately she hopes to become a cardiologist.  Andrea graduated from John Gray High School in 2008 at which time she was honoured with the Student of the Year and Top Academic Female Achiever awards. Some of Andrea’s many academic and leadership accomplishments include winning the SAGICOR Inter-School Knowledge Bowl Competition and representing Cayman at both the 2008 Global Young Leaders Conference in Europe and the 2007 World Affairs Seminar in Wisconsin. Andrea is also a skilled musician. She plays as first clarinettist in the Cayman Islands National Wind Ensemble.

The Maples and Calder non-legal scholarship is offered on an annual basis and is available to Caymanians who wish to purse an undergraduate or post-graduate degree in any field.  For more information on the firm’s scholarship programme please call 949-8066 or e-mail Michelle Daykin at



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