Archive for November 2nd, 2009

Firework planners warned about aircraft threat

| 02/11/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): With the ‘Appointed Day’ almost upon us, Pirates Week just around the corner and the Christmas Season almost due to start, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands (CAACI) is asking organizers planning firework and light displays to obtain approval from the authority to prevent potential threats to aircraft operations. The associated risk posed by displays is increased when the activities take place in the vicinity of aerodromes, particularly during critical phases of flight including approach, landing and take-off.

Firework displays can vary from small domestic events to major commercial or ceremonial displays with light shows including outdoor laser and searchlight displays. The CAACI explained that the hazard is more likely to be from the unexpected dazzle rather than ocular or physical damage, although the risk of actual injury cannot be ruled out.

“Approval from the CCACI is required to mitigate such risks for all firework activity that takes place within 3 nautical miles of an airport or under the approach and departure flight paths.  Firework displays outside this area but where the display height is expected to exceed 200ft above ground level must also be approved by the CAACI,” the Aviation safety body said. “ Proposed laser and searchlight events within the same areas are similarly subject to coordination with and approval.”

A diagram showing the dimensions of the areas in question is available from the authority and all organizers planning events in what is considered to be a risk area should discuss their requirements with the CAACI well in advance of the intended date.  All such enquiries should be addressed to:

Director of Air Navigation Services, Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands, Unit 2 Grand harbor, PO Box 10277, Grand Cayman KY1-1003, Cayman Islands.  Tel:  (345) 949-7811, Fax: (345) 949-0761, E-mail:

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands is the regulator for the aviation industry throughout the Cayman Islands and for aircraft registered in the Cayman Islands.

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TJN report biased, says CIG

| 02/11/2009 | 4 Comments

(CNS): Although the Cayman Islands government said it has engaged in dozens of third party reviews regarding the country’s financial services industry, it has admitted that it chose not to participate in the Tax Justice Network (TJN) secrecy index review as the organisation has a stated bias against offshore financial service centres. The report, which slams the Cayman Islands for its secrecy, says that the jurisdiction achieved a positive result on only one of the 12 criteria that it used to measure secrecy and it has given the jurisdiction a score of only 8% when it comes to transparency.

Ted Bravakis said that the CIG has supported many reviews of its financial sector and continues to do so, especially in the context of the global financial situation and when conducted by objective experts and academics. However, the TJN has made no secret that it is fundamentally opposed to offshore financial centres and therefore, Bravakis explained, the CIG made a policy decision not to engage with this particular review as it was clear it would not be objective.

“We have been involved recently in reviews by the IMF, FATF, CFATF, the US GOA and most recently the UK Treasury review by Michael Foot, all of which were conducted with certain expertise and relative objectivity and which have offered far more positive results. We must therefore consider the criticisms of this latest review in that context,” he added.

The report, which was published today and looks at levels of secrecy in 60 jurisdictions, ranked Cayman as the 4th most secretive financial centre in the world, behind Delaware, Switzerland and Luxemburg. The TJN said the index helps bring into focus jurisdictions such as the Cayman Islands that “specialize in subterfuge”. 

The organisation also explained why it focused on transparency and opacity in its review of what are more commonly known as tax havens. “We know from our extensive research that the core selling point of what are popularly known as ‘tax havens’ is not tax, but secrecy. Tax considerations, and others, are always secondary to the provision of secrecy,” TJN said.

The report states that it has made its assessment of Cayman based on 12 indicators reflecting legal and financial arrangements in the jurisdiction, and the only one for which it received a positive score was its participation in the European Union Savings Tax Directive. It stated that the information on Cayman came from regulatory reports, legislation and regulation in force at the end of 2008.

However, of the 12 questions asked about secrecy, the report answers negatively without being entirely reflective of the real circumstances in the jurisdiction. For example, in its third question the TJN report says Cayman does not comply sufficiently with international regulatory requirements, which, it states, is based on FAFT standards but does not explain that Cayman has received largely compliant ratings from that international financial regulator.

It also said at criteria 9 that Cayman had“too few tax information agreements”. Even though the Cayman Islands has now signed 14 bilateral agreements and one unilateral agreement that offers some 20 countries access to tax information and has been moved to the OECD white list, the index does not take that into consideration. The reason being that the index sets a minimum of 60 bilateral treaties with other countries as a basis — a considerable difference from the OECD’s own standard of 12 and a further indication of the opposition the TJN takes to offshore centres.

The index bases its assessment of Cayman on several other factors as well, which it believes make the jurisdiction particularly opaque, including banking secrecy, not revealing details of trusts on public record, not requiring that company accounts be available on public record, not requiring that beneficial ownership of companies is recorded on public record, that it does not maintain company ownership details in official records, inadequate access to banking information, that it permits company redomiciliation, that it allows protected cell companies, and finally that Cayman did not respond to Tax Justice Network requests for information.

“The Cayman Islands are a long way from offering financial transparency,” the report states. “If it is to play a full part in the modern financial community and wishes to impede and deter illicit financial flows, including flows originating from tax evasion, aggressive tax avoidance practices, corrupt practices and criminal activities it should take action on the points noted where it falls short of acceptable international standards.”

Cayman’s scores on the TJN

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You tube tax warning

| 02/11/2009 | 0 Comments

(BBC): The taxman has taken to social networking for the first time to warn people to come clean about offshore bank accounts. Dave Hartnett, permanent secretary for tax at HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), has posted a video warning about tax dodging on YouTube. HMRC is running its second disclosure initiative calling on people to settle their tax bill. It is not illegal to have offshore accounts, but anyone who receives savings and investment income from abroad needs to declare it on their tax return the video reveals.

Go to BBC article

Go to You tube video

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Real police arrest fake cop and men with fake guns

| 02/11/2009 | 9 Comments

(CNS): A man who was pretending to be a police officer in East End on Friday night has been arrested by the real thing. On Saturday, 31 October, the RCIPS say that they arrested a man on suspicion of impersonating a police officer, theft, possession of an offensive weapon and threatening violence. The fake cop was apprehended after two men stopped a real police officer in the vicinity of the East End Public Beach on at around 2:30 am to make a report that they had been approached by a man claiming to be a cop. Meanwhile, in a separate incident two men were arrested on suspicion of possessing fake firearms.

The men in East end reported that they had been stopped by a vehicle that had pulled in front of them and were then approached by a man who identified himself as police officer. After investigations carried out by Bodden Town Police officers, a 44-year-old man was arrested.

Police also reported that in a different incident two men were arrested on suspicion of possession of imitation firearms and possession of cocaine with intent to supply.

Anyone with information of crime taking place can pass it on to police in a number of ways; people can speak with an officer they know and trust, they can reach George Town detectives on 949-4222, they can leave information on an anonymous voicemail service by calling 949-7777 or they can 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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Cayman government presses on with tax deals

| 02/11/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): While the Cayman Islands remains under fire from various directions over the mismanagement of the economy or is opacity, it is forging on with Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEA) and is now far exceeding the OECD’s minimum standard. Cayman signed its 14th deal with the Netherlands Antilles on Thursday 29 October 2009 whilst attending the CFATF Plenary, held in Curacao. Negotiations have also been completed with a number of other countries which are expected to be in place before the end of 2009. Cayman is close to concluding agreements with Aruba, Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy and Mexico.

Negotiations are also currently ongoing with a further 10 jurisdictions —  Argentina, Belgium, China, Czech Republic, India, Japan, Korea, Portugal, Spain and South Africa.

This latest agreement, was signed on behalf of the Cayman Islands by Attorney General Samuel Bulgin, who was Cabinet’s authorised signatory. “This signing represents the Cayman Islands’ continued commitment to OECD standards for transparency and exchange of information on tax matters,” Bulgin said. “ It will commemorate the beginning of what I am sure will be a mutually-rewarding relationship between the Cayman Islands and the Netherlands Antilles.”

The full details of the agreement and if it has been conducted with any mutual commercial benefits for the two territories. Leader of Government Business & Minister for Financial Services McKeeva Bush said Cayman was committed to effective implementation of the agreements and has in place all the necessary internal processes required for their legal implementation.

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