Archive for November 27th, 2009

Speedy arrests for robbery

| 27/11/2009 | 21 Comments

(CNS): Police have arrested four men in connection to an armed robbery at the Texaco Station on Walkers Road in the early hours this morning (Friday 27 November). According to the RCIPS, four men, one of whom had a gun, entered the gas station at 2:15am and demanded money from the cashier. Sources say that one of the men held a gun to the head of the gas station employee before all four men made off with an undisclosed sum of cash. Police said that 45 minutes later three men were arrested in the Appleby parking lot, and later Friday morning a fourth man was arrested on Mary Street.

Police said all four suspects are in their 20s and are in currently in police custody. The owners of the gas station are no strangers to crime and say the same worker that was threatened this morning was also injured during a robbery a few years ago.

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Scientists take first step towards biodegradable plastic

| 27/11/2009 | 0 Comments

(ScienceDaily): A team of pioneering South Korean scientists have succeeded in producing the polymers used for everyday plastics through bioengineering, rather than through the use of fossil fuel based chemicals. This groundbreaking research, which may now allow for the production of environmentally conscious plastics, is published in two papers in the journal Biotechnology and Bioengineering. "The idea of producing polymers from renewable biomass has attracted much attention due to the increasing concerns of environmental problems and the limited nature of fossil resources, " said Professor Sang Yup Lee.

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CLICO customers urged to find alternative insurance

| 27/11/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Health Insurance Commission says individuals and employers who have been insured at CLICO (Cayman) Ltd must get health insurance from other approved insurers in order to stay compliant with the Health Insurance Law, since, as of next Tuesday 1 December, the insurance company will no longer provide health insurance in the Cayman Islands. This follows a “cease and desist order” issued in March to Colonial Life Insurance Company (Trinidad) Limited, trading as Clico (Cayman) Ltd, by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA.

Under the order, CIMA has directed the company to stop issuing new policies with investment features until the asset level in its trust fund has been increased to the required level and approval is granted by the Authority for the Company to resume such activity; and prevented the company from receiving any new premiums on existing policies with investment features until approval is granted by the Authority to resume such activity.

CIMA has also required CLICO to “take certain actions within a prescribed time frame and imposed additional reporting requirements on the Company to better monitor its business activities and financial condition.

For more information, call the Health Insurance Commission at the Department of Health Regulatory Services. The number is 946-2084 or the visit Department’s website at


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US shares plunge on fears of Dubai crisis

| 27/11/2009 | 0 Comments

(Times Online): US shares plunged by over 200 points today as investors took fright at the unfolding debt crisis in Dubai. It is the first time American investors have been able to react to Dubai’s mounting financial problems after markets were closed yesterday for Thanksgiving. The Dow Jones industrial average plunged by 2 per cent, down 217.58 points to 10,246.82 within seconds of opening. In London, shares remained in positive territory, despite a sharp 80 point fall at the beginning of the day, and rose 29.38 points to 5,223.5. There are fears that companies, banks in particular, are exposed to the Emirate after the Dubai government announced earlier this week it would ask creditors of Dubai World, the state-owned conglomerate, for a six-month standstill on its debt repayments.

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Local lawyers offer cut price real estate service

| 27/11/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A new boutique law firm specialising in real estate law has opened its doors in Cayman offering, the firm says, more competitive fees for clients. The first and only legal firm to focus entirely on property, Cayman Law Associates will be advising on all real estate issues and transactions including residential and commercial property purchases and sales, leasing, development, construction, strata titles and landlord and tenant matters. “As the firm does not follow the usual corporate law firm model we are therefore able to operate with a lower cost base,” partner and head of real estate, Richard Sykes, said.

“This ultimately leads to far more competitive fees for clients however it does not mean a sacrifice in quality. The main objectives are always efficiency and availability,” he added

Sykes, formerly with Walkers is originally from New Zealand, where he is a qualified barrister and solicitor. He relocated to Grand Cayman after spending the majority of his working life in London dealing with a wide variety of real estate matters. “I am very happy to have the opportunity of offering high quality legal services to the Cayman community at competitive prices and I’m confident about the current and future state of the real estate market,” he said.

Sykes noted that his clients say pre-sales have increased and they are looking at bringing back online some projects that were previously put on hold. "We are obviously still a small market and effected by what happens overseas, but prices have been pretty stable over the last few months although the volume of transactions has been down," he said.

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Rotary fund raiser set to rock the beach

| 27/11/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A permanent fixture on the Cayman Islands entertainment calendar Rotary Central’s 14th annual Music Extravaganza takes places this Saturday at Royal Palms. Organisers say fans will rocked, rolled, shaken and stirred at the event which starts at 7:30 pm ad offers up an eclectic mix of the Islands’ top performers. Opening the show will be Cayman’s famous country band “Gone Country” followed by Sea ‘n’ B with some tropical rhythms before Suite Elite take to the stage with some rock.

Rotary Central member and on of the event organiser Fiona Moseley said the Music Extravaganza is a great night of fun and dancing with Cayman’s most talented local musicians. “The event also provides important contributions to our Islands, as all proceeds from the Music Extravaganza are distributed to the club’s community service programme.  Rotary Central has a long history of serving Cayman’s communities and this event has helped to raise a great deal of money over the years for important local projects,” she added.

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New faces join Grand Court financial bench

| 27/11/2009 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Andrew Jones QC and Acting Justice Angus Foster have been sworn in by Governor Stuart Jack to serve in the new Financial Services Division (FSD) of the Cayman Islands Grand Court, which commenced operations this month. The appointments to the FSD had to be made before the Judicial and Legal Services Commission could be established under the new Constitution but the government said that, in the spirit of the new commission, a panel was establish to advise Jack onwho should be appointed.

Justice Foster, who has been serving in the Grand Court as an acting judge over the past two years, and Jones, formerly of Maples and Calder, join Chief Justice Anthony Smellie, Justice Alexander Henderson and Justice Charles Quin as judges available for dealing with cases which come up in the FSD.            

“There are increasing numbers of financial cases, and their continued speedy disposal is important to the Islands’ sustained competitiveness in international financial services,” the governor said. “I am therefore pleased that the court has now formalised its work in the financial services area with the new division and the appointment of additional judges who have considerable expertise in this area.”

The sitting fees of the new judges, who may also serve in other divisions of the courts’ work as required, will be less than the hearing fee paid by litigants. They have been recruited on the basis that neither salaries nor pensions will be offered. Complementing the current corps of Grand Court judges, who will continue to preside over international financial matters as well as domestic matters, the new judges will be remunerated on a per diem basis. 

“The new judges obviously see this as a chance to serve the Cayman Islands and its people. I welcome and thank them for joining our other judges in carrying out this important service,” Jack added.     

The panel which advised on their appointment was chaired by Brian Bothwell, prominent retired professional from the local financial industry. The other members were retired Chief Magistrate of the Cayman Islands and former Chief Justice of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Justice Kipling Douglas, and Andrew Moon, retired partner of Maples and Calder. The committee’s selection followed local and overseas advertisements and consultation with the CJ.

The Financial Services Division of the court began operations on 2 November, following the implementation of the relevant Grand Court Rules on 1 November. 

The division’s introduction follows years of planning and infrastructural development by the Judicial Administration. This includes redeployment of personnel to facilitate dedicated administrative and registry staffing, and the development of courtrooms wired for technology to assure speedy resolution of trials, an outcome critically important to the financial industry’s success. Another important outcome will be the consequent reduction in costs to litigants and to the Government.

The court’s financial service’s case load has an intake of about 200 per year, with an average disposal rate of within twelve months. The standard period of resolution for complex stages of these cases is six months. “This is a highly competitive rate of disposal and it is with the objective in mind of ensuring, or even improving on, this rate of disposal, while maintaining the high calibre of decisions for which our courts are known, that we have established the Financial Services Division,” said Smellie.

The dedication of other divisions will also, of course, enable us to ensure that the domestic business of the court continues to be dealt with in the timely and efficient manner that it also deserves.”

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Lawyer threatens to run marathon in mankini

| 27/11/2009 | 5 Comments

(CNS): Alistair Walters, managing partner of Cayman based international law firm Campbells, has already raised several thousand dollars in sponsorship for his run on 6 December in the Cayman Islands Marathon. If the sponsorship reaches CI$10,000, he says he will run it in a Borat mankini. Walters is raising the money for the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman’s Scholarship Fund, a charity fund set up to help provide continued education opportunities for local children. If he can’t make the $10,000 Walters says he’s still prepared to do the race in a tutu for the price of $5000.  Derek Haines is also planning on covering the 26 miles and is looking for sponosrs for meals on wheels but he says he’s sticking to the normal running gear.

“I have already had some great support from friends but I am hoping for more,” says Walters. “I wanted to bring some attention to the Rotary scholarship fund and raise as much money as possible for it. I think my choice of fancy dress will attract a few laughs and a fair degree of attention for the cause, which is something I am quite comfortable with if it helps us provide the best possible education to youth in need.”

Walters has also encouraged larger donors to throw down a time challenge to him.  Based on his best times running half a marathon, he estimates that a goal of under 4 hours is possible.

“I have never run a full marathon before,” said Walters, “but I think the added motivation in running for a good cause and the challenge of beating a time to raise even more funds will help me to push through.”

Meanwhile, Rotarian Derek Haines has also been honing his long distance running skills over the past several months, completing over 1500 miles so far this year and he hopes to raise money for both Meals on Wheels and the Youth Rugby Club.

Twenty five years ago, Haines completed the London marathon with an impressive time of 2.59 hours and then repeated the feat in his home town of Leicester.  His most recent performance is 3.53 hours in the Robin Hood marathon (Nottingham) in 2005, a race that he ran with his daughter Lizzy in her first marathon race.  Anyone interested in pledging Rotary’s senior participant can also make a guess on his finishing time and 6 bottles of Veuve Cliquot and 250 rugby club dollars goes to the winner. 

"Now Iam in my 60s I realise how important it is to stay fit,” said Derek. “Running is a great way to do this and keep the weight down. It gives me the opportunity to think problems through without cell phone distractions. Running a marathon generally gets people’s attention and I find that most are willingto pledge a few dollars for a worthy cause if one is daft enough to run one. Even though the years are taking their toll on my finishing time I am confident of finishing on my own feet and not in the back of an ambulance" 

To sponsor Walters Contact Rachel Elmes at Campbells and for Haines call 323 0803 or email

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Lawyers on debt offering confirm popularity of bond

| 27/11/2009 | 4 Comments

CNS): Local legal firm Walkers have confirmed that the Cayman Islands government’s first ever sovereign bond issue on the international bond markets was “massively over-subscribed”. The lawyers said it attracted considerable investor interest and was reportedly sold out within hours. The subscriptions received totalled in excess of US$1.25 billion. The 5.950% coupon came in a fraction lower than the expected range of 6.000%-6.125%, which Walkers said indicates the level of investor confidence in the Cayman Islands.

“Walkers were proud to act as Cayman Islands counsel to HSBC, underwriter and sole book-runner in the government of the Cayman Islands’ ground breaking US$312 million Rule 144A/Reg S offering of 5.95% Notes due 2019. The notes are to be listed on both the London Stock Exchange and the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange. The deal closed on 24 November 2009,” Walkers explained.

Walkers also said that the firm had advised HSBC as to Cayman Islands’ law on the bridge financing facilities provided to the government in October 2009 prior to the issuance.  The Walkers team on the note issuance was Philip Paschalides (partner) and Nicola Bashforth (associate) and on the bridge financing Wayne Panton (partner) and Richard Munden (associate).

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Prison farm was drugs-drop

| 27/11/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): HMP Northward’s Wilderness Farm has been revealed as a drop for drugs and mobile phones, as well as a place where inmates would meet people outside the prisons official visiting system. During the trial of Randy Martin, a serving Northward prisoner who is charged with the murder of 21-year old Sabrina Schirn, two inmates, both currently serving time at Northward and Eagle House, said that drugs were smuggled into the prison via the East End farm facility, which has since been closed. The prisoners inferred that friends, family and girlfriends would also routinely meet with inmates there and bring them contraband.

On a day when the court heard from eight prosecution witnesses that included close friends of Schirn, her brother, her employer, a worker on a farm close to the Wilderness property, and two Northward inmates, it was also revealed that security at the prison farm, when it was operational, did not appear to be very tight. Inmates said prisoners used the farm as a meeting place and a drugs drop. It was also revealed that, while mobile phones are strictly prohibited at prison, a number of inmates have them and use them to keep in touch withfriends and family.

Derek Bush (20), who is a serving  a sentence for armed robbery in the young offenders unit, Eagle House, reluctantly told the court that many prisoners had mobile phones and that the farm was known as a place where weed would be smuggled to inmates.

Testifying that he had been in a relationship with Sabrina Schirn before he was sent to prison, he admitted that he had passed her number to the defendant Martin when he asked for it, as Martin had said he wanted her to do something for him. Bush also confirmed that he had smoked weed (ganja) that Martin had given him that he said Schirn had brought to the prison farm.

When pressed for more details about the weed and who had mobile phones in the prison, where they and the drugs were kept, as well as other serving prisoners, by defence counsel David Evans QC, Bush became increasingly reluctant to talk. He eventually told the court he had nothing more to say as he said all he had come to say and refused to answer any more questions. Pressed by the Judge, Charles Quin, who explained to Bush that if he didn’t help the court with the truth he could be held in contempt and serve further time, the inmate resumed his answers.

He confirmed that he knew Lance Myles, who is currently serving 20 year sentence for attempted murder, and that he had also had a relationship with Schirn and that he was related to the defendant.

During the day’s testimony it was revealed that Sabrina Schirn had been in a relationship with a number of young men who had been in and out of prison, including Lance Myles, who friends and family said was not serving time in March of 2009, when Sabrina was murdered.  

Three of Sabrina’s best friends gave emotional testimony and described her as an outgoing girl who was fun to be with, hard working and very likeable. The friends all told how worried they were when Sabrina went missing and how they had searched for her. They indicated that Sabrina had a number of boyfriends, some of whom she was dating around the time of her murder, and said they had heard her mention someone called Randy who was serving time in Northward. One of the friends also said that she had overheard a voice message from someone called Randy asking Schirn to pick him up from the prison farm and take him to East End.

Schirn’s friends also all confirmed that she had been in a relationship with Lance Myles in the past but that she was not associating with him around the time she was killed. They did, however, state that they were aware of threats she had received from him and his girlfriend at that time.

Schirn’s employer at Blockbuster also testified that Sabrina’s car had been vandalized twice while she was at work and that she had heard of an occasion where a man had come to the store wielding a tyre iron and had threatened Sabrina in front of customers.

The three friends of Schirn all testified how they had spoken to her on the morning of Wednesday 11 March, the day she was last seen alive, and when she told them she was going to go do something in East End. The friends all said they were expecting to meet with her later that day. But when she did not answer her phone, which they said she was never without, they began to get very worried and began a search that evening of places she liked to go.

Schirn’s brother also testified how he had co-ordinated a search with friends and family all over the island in the days following her disappearance. Kevin Jennings told the court that he had also visited Lance Myles, who he said had deniedseeing her at all for weeks before and who had stammered and behaved differently once he knew that Jennings was Sabrina’s brother.

Jennings told the court that, after the car she was driving was found in East End in High Rock Road, they had begun combing that area. He told the court that he had a friend in the search group that knew East End well and was helping direct them up secluded roads in the vicinity of where the car was found. Jennings then described how he had come across Sabrina’s body along one of the dirt tracks, he saw that she had suffered multiple chop wounds and then called the police recognising he was standing in a crime scene.

During the day’s hearing a second inmate from Northward prison, who dealt with maintenance at the Wilderness Farm, had testified how he had seen a white car go past the prison facility at around 10:35 or so the morning of 11 March, which he said was definitely driven by a woman.  He also confirmed that there had been trouble at the farm with inmates meeting people and getting drugs at the farm and bringing them back to the jail.

A maintenance worker from the Lookloy farm, located next to the prison farm, also testified that he had seen a white car parked on the High Rock Road that day as he was watering the plants. He said he had then seen a prisoner come across the Lookloy property without a shirt and then get in the car which reversed out of its spot and then drove away.

The murder trial which is being heard by judge alone continues before Justice Quin on Friday morning when the prosecution will call more its extensive witness list.

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