Archive for August 5th, 2009

Minister tackles labour skills

| 05/08/2009 | 54 Comments

(CNS): The education system is producing kids that are unemployable, according to the new education minister. “That is not a slight to the children – 95% are just fine,” Minister Rolston Anglin told CNS, claiming the system does a disservice to the very best students and loses those who are struggling. Aiming to reach out to those who have graduated as well as tackling issues within the schools, he said, “Our mission has to be the biggest investment in human capital of any four-year term to uplift the skills of our people.” Anglin said he was shocked by the deficiency in literacy in the schools. “I knew it was bad but didn’t dream as bad as it is – it explains why grades not up to standard,” he said.

The minister responsible for both education and labour said that much of his time so far had been taken up by “the disaster surrounding the (new)schools”, but he is also beginning to tackle education, not just for those still in the system but for those who have already left. He has asked a task force, led by the director of employment relations, for a draft report on young people under 19 years outlining what are the major problems they have and possible solutions.

Anglin listed five essential skills that young people need to find a job: resume writing, dressing for success, Microsoft Office Suite products, behavior in the workplace, and interviewing. “We know we must give young people basic commercial skills – particularly written – to ensure that they can find employment,” he said.

While tackling the problem will involve the University College of the Cayman Islands, he said UCCI probably does not have the capacity to solve everything and they would need the help of the private sector. There are a range of options, he said, and some of the ideas that have emerged include two days of work and three days of schools, or a stipend for students returning to education.

The under 19s is the first target group, and the process will be reproduced with slight appropriate changes for other age groups, he explained, and said the government had to make the biggest investment in human capital of any four-year term. Asked if the country could afford this, he said, “How can we not afford it? We cannot continue to have social services inundated with people.” he added, “If we don’t have a strong labour policy, the education policy is for naught.”

Turning to college graduates, he said young people were dumped into the economy out of university to sink or swim, and pointed out that HR managers are doing their planning in June, which doesn’t help graduates who start looking in July. He wants to form a stronger relationship with the private sector so college students can be matched with employers before they graduate, even working as interns during vacations. Because our system is small this programme is possible, he said, noting that the same principle is used in US by big firms.

He also said the ministry planned to enhance the scholarship programme, such as listing the top 10 institutions by programme for various professions, such as accounting, medical studies, etc, and wants to devise a system to steer students to these schools so that they are better prepared and their resume is stronger.

The minister believes that more could be done at high school campuses in the way of presenting career choices using a similar process and asking professionals to talk to students. He said if you show the young people what they could achieve, they would be more inclined to take up a career in that profession, even those that graduates have been reluctant to take up before.

“The reality is a softer economy has hit people between the eyes and attitudes are shifting,” the minister said.

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Lawyers help Meals on Wheels

| 05/08/2009 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Grand Cayman’s Meals on Wheels programme has received a donation of US$5,000 from international offshore law firm, Mourant du Feu & Jeune. Meals On Wheels provides food, conversation and regular safety checks to hungry seniors and those with disabilities. Relying heavily on public donations, a team of dedicated volunteers prepare and deliver meals to almost 170 people, five days a week throughout Grand Cayman ensuring the recipients receive at least one balanced meal a day and providing them with additional social interaction, which is often one of the highlights of their day.

Beulah McField, organizer of the Meals on Wheels programme, is pleased that her organisation has been selected as one of the charitable organizations that Mourant du Feu & Jeune has chosen to donate to. She said, “We understand that in these uncertain and turbulent economical times it is not easy to give. This, however, makes the gift from Mourant du Feu & Jeune all the more remarkable. The Meals on Wheels Board of Directors thanks you, as do all the 168 recipients.”

Neal Lomax (above), head of Mourant du Feu & Jeune’s Cayman office, is delighted to provide financial assistance to Meals on Wheels: “Cayman is a caring community and Meals on Wheels epitomises the spirit of giving to others and helping those who need it most. We are extremely pleased to support such a worthwhile cause.”

Meals on Wheels is one of a number of charitable and sporting organisations that Mourant du Feu & Jeune has donated money to recently through staff pledges and charitable trust monies, including a Summer Camp programme for local children in need, the Cayman Brac Relief Fund and youth sides of the Cayman Cricket Association and Cayman Rugby Union.

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Young sailors do well in Texas

| 05/08/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Members of the Cayman Islands Youth Sailing Team produced good results at this year’s Texas Youth Race Week (TYRW). The regatta, held at three local Houston yacht clubs from July 11-16 2009, is one of the biggest youth regattas in the United States, attracting over 200 sailors under the age of 18. Jamie Williams dominated the 43 boat beginner fleet with three first place finishes to take the overall victory. Top Cayman Optimist sailor, Matthew Courtis, finished an excellent 3rd place out of 20 in his age division.

Ben Williams and Niklas Wolfe each finished in strong mid-fleet positions with a 16 out of 36 and 10 out of 25 in their respective age divisions.

Sailing Director, Michael Weber, noted the success. "Our sailors have worked hard over the last year and their effort is starting to show. To be able to have three top ten finishes, including a first and a third, at such a competitive regatta is very promising. There is no doubt that our team continues to improve at the international level".

All four sailors have been sailing the Optimist, a one person youth boat, for three years. The Optimist is the most popular youth sailing boat in the world and boasts having produced more Olympic sailors than any other class.

It is a busy summer for Cayman sailors. Matthew Courtis will follow TYRW by sailing at the US National Optimist Championship in Long Beach, California and then the World Championship in Brazil.

Other members of the team will be competing at the 29er, Byte, and Laser World Championships.

For more information on the Cayman Islands Sailing Team, please see the CISC website

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Greenlight profits on ‘go’

| 05/08/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Locally based reinsurer Greenlight Re has reported a net income of $92.2 million for the second quarter of 2009, compared with net income of $33.5 million for the same period in 2008. The net income per share on a fully diluted basis was $2.51 for the second quarter of 2009 compared to net income per share of $0.91 for the same period in 2008. Financial and operating highlights for the second quarter and six months ended June 30, 2009 include gross written premiums in the second quarter of $70 million compared to $25.4 million in 2008, while net earned premiums were $49.3 million compared to $24.7 million, respectively.


David Einhorn, Chairman of the Board of Directors explained that the firm’s underwriting portfolio continued its profitable growth in the second quarter of 2009 while the investment portfolio posted a good return in light of our conservative portfolio positioning. “While the insurance market has not hardened as quickly as we had hoped, our team continues to identify and select attractive underwriting opportunities while retaining our existing portfolio. We expect continued uncertainty in the economy, and believe we are uniquely positioned to take advantage of opportunities and dislocations in the market,” he added.

The net investment income in the second quarter was $88.3 million, a return of 13.9% on that portfolio compared to $31.0 million in the second quarter of 2008. For the first six months of 2009, net investment income was $116.0 million compared to $25.3 million during the comparable period in 2008.

Len Goldberg, Chief Executive Officer of Greenlight Re said that the firm had successfully turned things around since the beginning of the year.  “We continued to successfully build our underwriting portfolio and leverage our strategic partnerships while also benefiting from the reversal of the catastrophe loss we booked in the first quarter of 2009. Our growing team of reinsurance professionals continue to find new and differentiated ways to penetrate the market to find what we believe will be profitable opportunities,” he said Len Goldberg, Chief Executive Officer of Greenlight Re.

“While our investment portfolio has been conservatively positioned given the potential volatility in the markets, we were able to demonstrate significant outperformance in the second quarter of 2009. Our second quarter results underline our strategy to earn strong risk-adjusted returns on both sides of the balance sheet in order to drive long-term growth in book value per share,” Goldberg added.



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British couple in vicious machete attack in Tobago

| 05/08/2009 | 0 Comments

(Daily Mail): A retired British businessman almost hacked to death on the Caribbean island of Tobago could be left permanently paralysed. Peter Green, who with wife Murium suffered horrific facial injuries, is paralysed on the left side of his body. The 65-year-old is still in a medically induced coma after being slashed across the face and head with a machete during the horror attack at their holiday home in Tobago. Tobago authorities revealed his injuries were so severe a neurosurgeon who was off duty had to be rushed to the hospital in Mount Hope to carry out an emergency operation.

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Finance woes won’t delay Constitution says Governor

| 05/08/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): As Caymanians wait on the announcement of the "Appointed Day”, the official date when the new Cayman Islands Constitution will take effect, Governor Stuart Jack has said that, while he was aware of the current financial situation, it would not delay the Constitution’s implementation. He said that the date would be later this year but there was considerable legislative work to be done before then. Along with amending laws, he explained that a number of bodies would also need to be established as well as preparations for a minister of finance.

“We are certainly conscious of the financial implications and are looking at economical ways of implementing the new Constitution, for example how we organise administrative support for the new bodies. But we should not have to delay for this reason the implementation of something so fundamental as the Constitution,” Governor Jack stated in an email correspondence to CNS on Tuesday. 

He said he hoped to be able to inform the people of the "Appointed Day" in a couple of months time. But before then, many new features to the new Constitution will need to be addressed — new bodies will have to be appointed, along with new ways of working. The governor noted that the Advisory District Councils would take considerable work and the priorities at present were the necessary amendments to laws that must be in place on day one of the new Constitution.

He said the Electoral Boundary Commission, the Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy, and the National Security Council must also be ready on the first day of implementation and preparations must be made to establish the new minister of finance.

“There is a transitional provision in the Order in Council establishing the Constitution that allows current arrangements to continue until the Judicial and Legal Services Commission is set up (e.g. the appointment of judges),” he added. “Our aim is to set up this body and others within a short period after the Appointed Day. That includes the Human Rights Commission, which will have an important educational role in the run up to the later implementation of the Bill of Rights.”  

The new Constitution was passed with around 62% of the vote in a referendum which took place on General Election Day 20 May. The draftConstitution was then considered and approved by the Privy Council in the UK on 10 June and set before the UK parliament a week later, but it will not come in to effect until the governor sets the “Appointed Day”, when the existing 1972 Constitution will then be repealed in its entirety. However, even when the “Appointed Day" arrives not all of the stipulations will be implemented immediately. During the negotiations, for example, it was agreed that the Bill of Rights would be phased in over a three year period.

“None of us should underestimate the magnitude of the task before us, particularly in the lead-up to the start date.  The completion of all this work will require the full cooperation and coordination of government agencies, the Cabinet and the Legislative Assembly,” the governor said in the wake of the Constitution’s approval in the UK.

The governor stated recently that he had appointed a small team of civil servants under the Deputy Chief Secretary to identify the tasks that are absolutely essential before the new Constitution can be brought into effect.

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Disaster kits up for grabs

| 05/08/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): As part of Hazard Management Cayman Islands’ (HMCI) bid to keep people on their toes about disaster preparation the unit is raffling kits as part of the ‘disaster kit giveaway’ which is now in its second year. HCMI said that disaster preparedness kits are an important component of preparedness, especially in hurricane season. Worth $200 each staff from HMCI are offering the chance to win one at AL Thompson’s, Cox Lumber Company, Kirk Home Centre and Uncle Bill’s on Saturdays. 

Some of the items included in the kits are flashlights, radios, batteries, a small portable propane stove, an ice chest, gasoline containers, can openers and a first aid kit. As Saturdays are typically the busiest day of the week for the hardware stores, HCMI representatives are handing out hurricane information booklets to residents who can then enter the raffle. At the same time HMCI staff ask residents about their contingency plans in the event of a major hurricane.  Residents who indicate that their dwelling is unlikely to withstand a major hurricane, or who live in vulnerable coastal zones are asked about their plans for sheltering.

Deputy Director of Preparedness, Omar Afflick thanked the hardware stores for their continued involvement. “It is a great opportunity for HMCI to remind people that they have to take personal responsibility for their preparedness,” he said. For those who do not yet have a copy of the hurricane information booklet it can be found on the Cayman Prepared website, or for a hard copy head down to the HMCI office on the second floor of the Corporate Centre.


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Five break-ins during overnight crime spree

| 05/08/2009 | 16 Comments

(CNS): Police said today that there were five break-ins in the George Town area between midnight and 7 am on Tuesday morning (4 August). According to the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) officers responded to five different incidents with the first occurring at Don Fosters Dive Centre, South Church Street at 12.30am. The alarm was activated and officers found the premises had been entered and ransacked. Shortly after at 12.40am, officers responded to a call from a woman in Summit Crescent who reported she had heard noises in her house and found her back door open and her purse upside down.

The third break in was reported at 1.35am, when a woman reported the rear window of Howell ShoeShop on Shedden Road missing. Police said it was unclear however if entry had actually been gained into the building. Then at 2am officers were alerted to a break-in at Barnett Music Store and the Wendy’s offices on Huldah Avenue. Entry had been gained through the upstairs front door and both the offices and music store had been searched.

Detectives from George Town CID said they are investigating all the apparent offences and call for anyone with information to come forward. “Officers will be targeting patrols based on crime-pattern analysis, road blocks will continue as part of efforts to disrupt criminal’s movements around the Island and known burglars will be targeted by officers,” the police stated.

The RCIPS is urging residents and business owners to assist in the fight against burglary by taking extra care and security and to note of the advice and guidance on the RCIPS website at

Polcie adviced residents to ensure doors and windows are kept locked and secure – even if you are just popping out for a few minutes; to use window stoppers from hardware stores so even if the lock is breached, the window or sliding door cannot be slid back; don’t leave a spare key hidden under a mat or plant pot and to make sure keys are kept out of reach of windows and doors.

Police asked the public to look out for neighbours and it you notice something suspicious to call the police: to keep valuable items out of view and draw curtains or close blinds; make sure gardening equipment is secure and not left lying around and let criminals know you have taken precautions – if you have an alarm put the box or sticker on show and if you have a dog put up a warning sign.

Police also advised people to mark goods with a PO Box so that if they are stolen and recovered they can be easily identified and to record all serial numbers of items in case they are stolen as well as take photographs of items of high or sentimental value.

When it come tobusiness security police advise owners to fit alarms and consider installing CCTV; to review security and cash handling procedures; train staff in security measures and look for security weak points.

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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Caymanians asked to discuss future of Commonwealth

| 05/08/2009 | 10 Comments

(CNS): Everyone in the Cayman Islands is being asked to participate in the largest global dialogue ever undertaken about the Commonwealth’s future role in the lives of people who live in member nations. A release from Government Information Services said that all are invited to take part, even the opinion of those who work in government and civil organisations as well as the public at large are being canvassed. Called the “Commonwealth Conversation”, this international discussion will be held online and through a series of events organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS).

GIS said that comments would be received from now until the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Trinidad in November 2009, where a set of recommendations based on the feedback and comments will be presented.

Governor Stuart Jack and  Justice Charles Quin, Cayman’s honorary RCS representative, said the conversation aims to provide an open and inclusive platform to discuss the role, structure and responsibilities of the Commonwealth in 2010 and beyond.

The governor noted that the Commonwealth’s 60th anniversary, commemorated this year, offers the perfect opportunity to reflect upon the past and to consider what the future may hold for the association.

“The association is only as relevant as it is to its citizens,” he said. “This is why we are encouraging everyone to take part in the discussions.”

Quin said that Cayman is involved in a number of Commonwealth activities, including the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Day; and associations for parliamentarians, magistrates, judges, and lawyers. 

“One noble example of this involvement is the prestigious annual RCS Essay Competition in which most, if not all, of the schools in the Cayman Islands participate, with many students receiving high commendations,” he added.

“With more than 100 nationalities represented here – many from Commonwealth countries – the Cayman Islands are a living example of the sort of democracy and diversity for which the Commonwealth stands.”

Her Majesty the Queen is Head of the Commonwealth – an association of 53 sovereign nations that support each other and work together towards international goals.

With a population of 2 billion, the Commonwealth represents more than 30% of the world’s population. It sees itself as a family of peoples, with a common heritage in language, culture, law, education and democratic traditions.  To find out more and how to feed in your views into the global conversation visit the website at:

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Rotary ‘kids’ around for Haiti

| 05/08/2009 | 5 Comments

(CNS): Rotary Central is looking to help those in need in Haiti and has joined the ‘Big Kid project’, which is run through the Rotary Club of Pignon to provide all underprivileged families in the beleaguered country with a goat in order to assist them economically. Dubbed "the goatee club", President Paul Byles said every Rotarian in the club has sponsored a goat for a Haitian family. “The families will benefit greatly economically in terms of breading possibilities, milk, meat, and resale value,” he said.

“I am very proud of the enthusiasm and support given by the members of Rotary Central for this international services project. We have secured sponsorship of 65 goats, which will be a huge benefit to poor families in Haiti. This is what Rotary international is all about,” Byles added.

Errol Alberga, District Governor said that it was humbling to see the support from Rotary Central, Cayman Islands. “I hope that we continue to have their support on all upcoming Haiti projects.  I would like to thank all club members and Rotary Central President Paul Byles for this generous donation to help communities in Haiti,” he added.

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