Archive for September 9th, 2009

Donations for the disabled

| 09/09/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Continuing their support for people with special needs in the Cayman Islands, Rotaract Blue Club recentlymade several donations totaling CI$2000 to various after care and learning facilities for disabled persons, including Maples House, Lighthouse School and Sunrise Adult Learning Centre. The donations came from proceeds raised at the 2nd Annual Open Arms Award Ceremony in May, and will be used to purchase, at the discretion of the facilities previously mentioned, various household items, learning equipment and other necessary tools, as they have identified, to enhance the development of the disabled persons.

The recipients expressed much appreciation for the donation and applauded Rotaract Blue for their continued efforts in creating community awareness of different disabilities and to integrate individuals with disabilities into the community.

Director of Community Service, Tricia Bell, said, “Rotaract Blue is happy to experience the positive results of our 2nd Annual Open Arms Award Ceremony. The program has been successful thus far and I am honoured that the club is able to assist such facilities. With our continued work, I am confident that the program will reach further heights so that we are able to extend support where needed”.

In an effort to enhance awareness about persons living with disabilities and promoting non-discrimination, the club is currently airing radio messages over various stations. As people with disabilities are often looked down upon as minorities, we hope that these messages will allow for equal treatment so that everyone can enjoy life’s great gifts. Messages will soon be aired via the local channels on television as well.

Look out for more Rotaract Blue initiatives during their Open Arms Program and other community service projects.

Rotaract Blue is one of the newest Rotaract initiatives in the Caribbean. The club is proudly sponsored by Rotary Club of Grand Cayman Central and under their guidance we have become the second established Rotaract Club in the Cayman Islands. Rotaract Blue meets every Wednesday at Fusion Bistro located in the Mirco Centre at 6pm.

Photo: Rotaract Blue Director Tricia Bell (right) with Lighthouse Deputy Principal, Olga Gourzong (middle) and Lighthouse School students

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Speeding can kill, says RCIPS

| 09/09/2009 | 8 Comments

(CNS): Police West Bay are emphasising the life threatening dangers of speeding and warning people to slow down on the roads after 23 drivers were caught travelling above the speed limit over a two day period. “Drivers need to slow down on our roads,” said Area Commander Chief Inspector Angelique Howell. “Driving above the speed limit puts lives at risk. Imagine that you turn a bend and there is a child in the road. Would you be able to stop? If you are driving too fast you probably wouldn’t.”

One person was also caught driving under the influence of alcohol and 9 traffic tickets were issued between 6 and 8 September, police said.

An RCIPS release said officers would continue to target drivers who put themselves and others at risk and warned that it is only a matter of time before reckless drivers get caught. “It has been pleasing to see that back to school road safety operations have so far gone well and we want to keep it that way,” said Chief Inspector Howell.

Howell also sent a warning to bus drivers who have been seen racing each other to pick up passengers. “This is extremely dangerous and must stop,” she said. “I encourage bus drivers to remember that they have been issued with a license and that they are entrusted with people’s lives. If we catch bus drivers doing this they will be dealt with to the full extent of the law.”

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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Wildlife in Cayman

| 09/09/2009 | 21 Comments

I was in Savannah Primary School recently and saw a very young boy wearing a shirt with “Man o’ War” (Frigate Bird) printed on the back of his shirt. I also saw other children with “Swallow” and “Nightingale” on theirs.

I asked the boy what ‘Man o’ War’ meant. He told me that it is a bird, but when I asked him what it looked like he had no idea at all and nor did any other child I asked.

Before you have critical thoughts of him or the school, please consider this: I have lived in my house by the sea in Prospect since 2005. When we first came here I used to sit in a reclining chair and gaze up into the sky and watch between five and ten Frigate Birds gliding around, never flapping their wings and creating a wonderful spectacle.

Also, four years ago a beautiful bird – I think it was an Osprey – would fly east along the shoreline at around 11 am every morning and come back flying west at about 4 pm. I have not seen an Osprey for more than 2 years.

I rarely dozed off in my recliner as I was prevented from doing so by the incessant chatter of Ching Chings, and if they were quiet I was kept awake by the raucous noise of parrots squabbling in the surrounding palms. On the grass or on the eaves of surrounding houses were Mocking Birds and occasionally I would see a snake slither past. When I stood up I had to be careful not to step on a lizard.

In the last two years they have all gone. No Frigate Birds, no Osprey, no Ching Chings or Mocking Birds and never a parrot to be seen or heard. I never see a snake nowadays either. There are still lizards but nothing like as many as there were. I think the reason for that is my neighbours’ cats.
There is not a word of exaggeration in the above. I can’t prove what the wildlife here was like four years ago but anyone sitting on my verandah today would see the almost total absence of wildlife.

On the plus side there are green iguanas now where there never were any before (I would rather there were none but that is a different issue) and many frogs but I never see them until after sunset. During the day it is a wildlife desert.

All this in just two or three years which, in geological time, is a period so short to be immeasurable.

Try to imagine this:

It is September 2069. Grandfather and grandson are sitting in an apartment on the top floor of a building that was built by a British merchant bank in 2001. The bank left years ago when it became obvious that the Cayman boom years were over. They are looking out over a view of run down, dilapidated buildings, a bit like Havana is today.

Grandson: Grandpa. Why is that area of North Sound called Stingray City?

Grandpa: Sighs and gives a weary shrug. Well, when I was a boy, there used to be a sandbar there and you could stand in the water and it was so shallow that the water only came up to your waist. Stingrays, which are a kind of fish, would swim around you and bump into your legs and all the American girls would squeal and scream. Some of the boat captains would sometimes lift the stingrays out of the water, even though they were told not to, and the tourists – that’s what we called the people who came here on holiday – would take photos.

Grandson: Stood in the water? Don’t be silly. It’s five metres deep there.

Grandfather: It was only a metre deep then and you know that rocky reef further out to sea? That’s not really rock. It’s actually the remains of an animal called coral. When it all died their hard, outer casings remained and became a rock. That will all wear away eventually and then the whole of North Sound will be attacked by the waves and disappear.

Grandson: Why did the coral die Grandpa?

Grandfather: No one knows. They did tests before they dredged the channel to allow the 120 foot yachts in and the results said that there would be little environmental impact but the coral started to die straight after it was dug.

Grandson: Was that all before Mum and Dad moved to the Brac?

Grandfather: Yes, of course. The tourists stopped coming. The hotels were empty. Your Dad’s business was about to collapse and they got out just in time. I stayed and lots of others did too because they couldn’t afford to move out. All the Americans, Canadians, British, Filipinos, Cubans and ‘Honduranians’ just went home. There used to be sixty thousand people on island. Now there are only five thousand of us but there are thirty thousand on the sister islands.

Grandson: Could it happen there too one day?

Grandfather: It could. The environment is a very fragile thing. Let’s just hope that the politicians give it a much higher priority than they used to.

***********

Far fetched? We will see.

 

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Diversification of Cayman Islands Reserves

| 09/09/2009 | 23 Comments

Gold was trading at $865.00 and US$1.29 = 1 Euro on April 19,2009. On 29 May 2009, I sent this Gold study I had prepared in 2007, to all the newly elected UDP officials and to the director of CIMA, urging them to diversify the US$99.8 million in the Cayman Islands reserves.

Today, Gold has gone over $1007.00 and the Dollar is down to US$1.45 = 1 Euro.

We are on the verge of another sharp drop in the value of the US Dollar, as the US is facing multi-trillion deficits for the foreseeable future that are now substantially financed through printing more dollars at the bargain cost of 2.4 cents for every $100 Dollar bill. It should soon plunge through previous strong support at $1.65 = 1 Euro with an intermediate target of around $1.90 = 1 Euro. However, none of the main fiat currencies, including the Euro are in good shape, nor do the best of them last much longer than a couple hundred years before disappearing into oblivion.

Gold on the other hand has been a proven store of value for millennia with some 95% of all Gold produced still in existence today: in 1971, Gold was worth $35.00 an ounce when its peg with the Dollar was ended by Nixon: in 38 years, it has risen 2,857% to $1000.00 in relation to the Dollar, which has lost 96.5% of its value in the same time frame.

This information was originally posted on a financial forum back in late 2007 when Gold was trading around $650.00, so it’s a bit dated. However, fundamentals have continued to get worse for the US Dollar and much better for Gold.

Gold hit $850.00 in 1980 and just recently again, as up-trending precious metals have a habit of revisiting previous high. If we agree that Gold will make new highs in this climate of financial uncertainty, blatant expansion of money/credit out of thin air by most countries and soon to come rampant inflation, what would be the equivalent of last Gold’s high in today’s currency?

The money supply in Fiat currencies is exploding worldwide: in 1971 there were 776 billion US dollars in circulation. Today there are over 12 trillion. Around the world the supply of paper money is growing at a stunning pace. In the last seven years alone, the supply of British pounds grew by 99%; Euros grew by 78%; Indian Rupees grew by 234%, Chinese Yuan grew by 227% and Russian Rubles grew by 1,508%. Because central banks create money at virtually no cost, its supply tends to grow without constraint.

Once the relative difference of Growth/Expansion between both the Dollar and Gold supply is established, one only need apply the corrections to the $850.00 high to obtain the target for Gold in today’s currency…

The Expansion of the total US Dollar money supply has exceeded 500% between 1980 and 2006, while the total supply of Gold has only increased by 70%, from 2.6 billion ounces to a total of 4.4 billion ounces. In fact, worldwide production of Gold has been in decline since 2001.

Adjusted Gold price Target: $850 x 500% = $4,250 x 70% = $2,975.00…

Since these calculations were made, the supply of Dollars has greatly accelerated, while Gold production continues to decline steadily, so it would not be surprising if Gold actually reached $5000.00 at its peak.

Just as Peak Oil occurred in the US in 1970, with its production in steady decline ever since, Peak Gold production is also taking place: South Africa, which used to mine 68% of worldwide Gold production in the 70’s is now down to 11%. Today, China is the top producer, but hoards most of its production to increase its reserves that have recently doubled to 1,054 tons. Chinese citizens now have access to the precious metals market and are encouraged to purchase by the government.

To support the Dollar, the US government has made every effort to suppress the price of Gold and this time around won’t be any different. So, substantial price fluctuations and retracement of recent gains should be expected: the advice of an experienced financial adviser is essential when deciding to invest.

Even though Gold prices have increased nearly four fold from $255.00 an ounce, the overall production has continued to decline steadily. With the Dollar being debased at the rate of 18% a year, the Yuan 19%, the Euro 14%, etc… and all the sovereign countries competing against each other to print more worthless bills, it’s just a matter of time before confidence in the fiat currency system falters. Gold then, the only real money that has proven itself over several millennia will regain its full status.

I firmly believe that CIMA’s reserves, instead of being all denominated in US Dollars, should be promptly diversified and include a physical Gold holding of at least one third of their total value.

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Maples partner hits back at Guardian

| 09/09/2009 | 25 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands is not a secretive tax haven, says Charles Jennings, the senior partner with Maples and Calder who has waded into the international debate with a post on the Guardian comments page in relation to the negative articles and editorials published in the paper last week. Jennings says that the paper’s assumption that Cayman is a "secretivetax haven" as a result of a lack of transparency is incorrect. "It has a transparent and properly regulated financial services industry,” Jennings writes.

The Maples partner and ‘tenant’ of Ugland House points to international reports published over the over the last 20 years indicating that Cayman has established itself as a leading financial centre for institutional and sophisticated international investors by encouraging the creation of a well-run and appropriately regulated financial services industry.

“Many banks here are branches of banks regulated in onshore jurisdictions under Basel II principles. Many Cayman hedge and private equity fund managers are regulated by the UK Financial Services Authority and many funds are listed on recognized stock exchanges. Multinational companies routinely disclose their overseas subsidiaries in their public annual reports. The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, which regulates financial services businesses, often co-operates with overseas regulators,” Jennings writes.

Noting the Guardian’s suggestion that British ministers should prevent Cayman from borrowing to build schools until it agrees automatic exchange of tax information with all countries, rich and poor, Jennings says that no G20 or OECD countries, including the UK, automatically exchange information with all countries.

“You give no credit to the fact that, since the adoption of the EU savings directive in 2005, banks have been required by Cayman law to automatically exchange information on EU residents’ accounts with the tax authorities of all 27 EU states,” Jennings comments.

He laments the paper’s failure to acknowledge that the Cayman Islands has had a tax information exchange agreement with the US since 2001, is now on the OECD "white list" for entering into the required number of tax information exchange agreements, is negotiating further tax information exchange agreements with other member states, and has introduced a unilateral mechanism for sharing tax-related information with other nations.

“To our knowledge, the Cayman Islands received no financial support from the UK to help with rebuilding after the devastating Hurricane Ivan in 2004, and has received no financial support to help develop its economy or build important infrastructure projects such as schools, roads, etc,” Jennings states. “Since the beginning of the global financial crisis, Cayman has not needed to bail out any banks nor to ask for financial assistance from Britain.”

He explained that the recent request is for consent to borrow funds already committed by commercial banks until government adjusts budgetary needs as a result of the unprecedented global crisis.

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Martin won’t take stand

| 09/09/2009 | 10 Comments

(CNS):  The Crown closed its case against Lyndon Martin on Tuesday afternoon with a list of admissions from both parties, which included, among others, that officers from the UK special police investigation team had misrepresented the facts in the wider Operation Tempura investigation. On the heels of the list of admissions from both sides, came the news from Martin’s counsel, Trevor Bourke QC, that the defence would not be calling any witnesses. The jury will return on Wednesday morning to hear the closing summaries from both sides in a trial which has once again placed Operation Tempura under public scrutiny.

Before the list of admissions was read to the jury, the court heard the details of the interviews that Martin gave to the SPIT officers during the days following his arrest. Richard Coy, who was a member of SPIT and one of the officers involved in the unlawful arrest of Justice Alex Henderson, was only sworn in as a special constable in the RCIPS the day before Martin’s arrest but more than a month after he had arrived and began working as a police officer in Cayman.

Coy read from summaries compiled by the Crown from some nineteen interviews that Martin gave over a three day period. The court also heard that following his arrest Martin had been deprived of food, had serious concerns about the welfare of his children that the police did not address, and his family had been denied information of his whereabouts. The court also heard that while the chief justice had ruled that no such burglary had taken place, Martin was arrested for burglary, denied bail and kept in jail for fifteen days.  

Coy, a member of the Special Police Investigation Team and the last Crown witness, revealed that during his interrogation of Martin, he had told Coy that he (Martin) had felt under pressure from senior RCIPS officers after he had made what heconsidered merely a warning to Deputy Commissioner Rudolph Dixon that there was a leak. He admitted how the situation had escalated but he insisted that he genuinely believed that Ennis was the leak at the time, based on the information he received from Desmond Seales, the publisher of Cayman Net News.

While he told the officers during the interrogation that he had exaggerated some of the information he had given to the first two officers from SPIT (Martin Bridger and Simon Ashwin), he had at the time still believed the accusations and as a result he had made some assumptions based on things said by, and the behaviour of, Seales.  Martin told Coy, “You have to understand the character of Desmond Seales,” Martin told the officers. “He thinks he can orchestrate who is where and has power over them.”

He went on to say that there was immense pressure from the commissioner, Stuart Kernohan, for tangible evidence and Martin said that CS John Jones had told him he needed to supply the “knock out punch".” Martin said that when he gave his original warning to Dixon he expected that the RCIPS would investigate themselves as he did not want to make an official complaint and had never intended to fan the flames.

However, Martin insisted that while he had lied about how many hard copy documents he had seen, he said there were still indications coming from Seales that Ennis was his contact in the police. He also said that John Evans had also believed Ennis was Seales’ source on the helicopter, and when Coy had suggested that it was the other way round Martin said it was not.

During the cross examination of Coy by Burke, it was revealed that during the interrogation of Martin, Coy and the other SPIT officers knew that Evans had also said that Seales was telling him Ennis was his source, but the officers had concealed that from Martin, making him believe he was the only person saying this about Seales.  

When asked by defence counsel why Coy had kept this information from Martin, the SPIT officer said he didn’t know why but he admitted that Martin was never once told that during the three days of interrogation. Coy also admitted that when Bridger had gone to a magistrate to get a warrant for Martin’s arrest he had not revealed that Evans, who was a prosecution witness, had said Seales was saying Ennis was his source.

SPIT officers were also revealed to have withheld information when they sought warrants against Henderson from a justice of the peace.

Coy was asked what he had known about Dixon (who is facing charges related to removing files on cases at the time), as one of the things that Martin had said Seales was feeding him was that Dixon was covering up arrests, but Coy said he couldn’t remember if he knew that at the time. He also again said he did not know if he knew at the time of Martin’s arrest that Dixon did father an illegitimate child with a Honduran woman, which was also true and had come to Martin via Seales.

The fact that Evans, who was a Crown witness and therefore considered a true witness by the prosecution, had told SPIT that Seales had told him Ennis was his informant was heavily emphasised by Burke before he ended his own questioning of Coy, who agreed that it was the case that Evans had made those allegations as well.

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Miss Cayman becomes casualty of economy

| 09/09/2009 | 39 Comments

(CNS): Among the many ideas to tighten the country’s collective belt, the Miss Cayman Islands Pageant Committee has come up with a way to shave around CI$100,000 — by cancelling the beauty contest this year. As News 27 reports, this means the reigning the queen, Nicosia Lawson (left), will retain the crown for another year and no one will represent the islands at next year’s Miss World and Universe pageants. The local TV crew found a mixed reaction in the community to the pageant being cancelled. While some are disappointed, others think that it was the right decision given the current economic climate.

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Vet says deliberate pet poisonings on increase

| 09/09/2009 | 13 Comments

(CNS): A local vet says she has treated about ten dogs in the last few months for what she suspects are deliberate acts of poisoning. According to a report on News 27, the pets have been intentionally killed by one of two common pesticides. The animal expert says that it seems rat poisons or weed killers which are widely sold on the island are being put in food deliberately to tempt the pets. Police have said that poisoning animals is a cruelty offence and anyone found guilty could go to prison.

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Former minister turns talkshow host

| 09/09/2009 | 23 Comments

(CNS): One time health minister, Gilbert Mclean, will be taking to the live radio waves this week when he starts his new role as co-host on Rooster 101.9 FM and its morning talk show Cayman Crosstalk. A former member of the United Democratic Party government, McLean left the party in 2005 and stood as an independent in the 2009 May general election. A straight speaking politician, McLean says he hopes to help educate the Cayman public and offer a real insight into domestic politics. The former politician said he intends to hold our current leaders accountable on behalf of the Cayman people.

McLean told CNS that, with his political career probably behind him now, joining Crosstalk will give him the opportunity to share and comment on what he knows about the political scene and take on some of the issues with the current political leadership. “I am neither for the PPM or the UDP,” McLean said. “I am for the people and I hope to make sure our current MLA’s don’t doge the issues and are accountable.”

Joining Austin Harris from Thursday 9 September, McLean replaces the former PPM hopeful at the last election, Joey Ebanks, who has returned to the private sector with CUC. Speaking about his new co-host, Harris said that Mclean would bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the show.

“Being a former Cabinet minister, he has an inside track on how government actually works not just in theory, but by practice,” Harris said. “Gilbert is also an eloquent public speaker and has honed those skills over a lifetime of committed public service.”

McLean is widely known in the community, having enjoyed a long and varied professional career before he joined the politicalfray. He served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly for twelve years, four of which as a Cabinet minister with responsibility for Health, Agriculture, Aviation, District Administration and Works. Although a founding member of the UDP, he resigned party politics after the 2005 election when he lost his Bodden Town seat. He then stood as an independent candidate in the district in the May 2009 poll.

Rooster 101.9 FM Managing Director Randy Merren said that, as Crosstalk regularly hosts politically-focused discussions ranging from issues of good governance to analyzing current proposed legislation, McLean’s background and past experience combined with what he described as “Austin’s dynamic presentation skills" could only serve to benefit the wide and growing listening base that Cayman Crosstalk regularly attracts.

Merren said everyone at the station was happy with the decision and welcomed McLean as the newest member of the Crosstalk family.

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