Archive for December 7th, 2009

Alicia Keys wows Jazz Fest

| 07/12/2009 | 101 Comments

Cayman islands news island weather classifieds business financial services(CNS): With a long list of opening acts at the sixth annual Cayman Islands Jazz Fest and a wide array of local artistic and cultural displays to explore, it was close to 11:30pm when Alicia Keys finally took to the stage at the smart and sexy Camana Bay site – a late start for most who expected the show to be over at midnight. She enthusiastically announced her pleasure to be in the Cayman Islands before jumping right into her performance. Wearing tight black pants and a silver sparkled top, Keys moved effortlessly between her piano and the front of stage. (Photos by Judy Canseco)

Keys glided seamlessly from her latest singles, “Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart” and “Empire State of Mind”, and other songs from her fourth studio album “The Element of Freedom” (set for US release 15 December) and old classics such as “Fallin’” and “Woman’s Worth” from her debut album in 2001. Fan favourites from her second album, “The Diary of Alicia Keys”, included “You Don’t Know My Name”, “If I Ain’t Got You” and an explosive duet with former back-up singer and evening co-performer, Jermaine Paul of “Diary”. “As I am”, “Like You’ll Never See Me Again” and “Teenage Love Affair” were welcome submissions from her third album “As I Am.” Keys surreptitiously exited the stage after about 45 minutes while her band and backup singers continued to woo the audience. She soon returned to take her anticipated encore with mega hits “New York” and “No One”, the former being a duet with superstar rapper Jay-Z in its original form, but Keys gracefully adapted the rap lyrics to piano friendly cadences, once again surprising everyone with her immense musical talents.

Cayman islands news island weather classifieds business financial servicesJazz Fest is arguably one of the most dynamic events in Cayman, garnering attention from both local and international audiences as well as performers. This year’s jazz fest, which ran 3 through 5 December, experienced something of a facelift, with both a change of main venue as well as the announcement of perhaps the most famous international musician to perform on our shores. With 9 Grammy Awards under her belt, Alicia Keys has an international fan base that transcends age and genre. The announcement of her inclusion in the Jazz Fest this year undoubtedly attracted a whole new range of audience that may otherwise never have attended the event, and quite likely never had before.

Having entered into a five-year contract with the Department of Tourism to host the event, Camana Bay spent months grooming the proposed 8-acresite with landscaping and irrigation to accommodate an anticipated turnout of about five thousand. Rumours circulating over the past week claimed seven thousand tickets were printed and being sold, despite the venue only being able to accommodate a crowd of five thousand. The turning away of ticket-holders and even rioting were speculated by some, but as anyone who attended the show on Saturday night saw, there clearly was plenty of space for everyone and most seemed to be on generally good behaviour, perhaps due to the overt amount of security on site.

Cayman islands news island weather classifieds business financial servicesOne issue that did manifest and seems to do so consistently at the Jazz Fest is that between those who wish to stand and those who wish to sit. Perhaps in an earlier incarnation, presenting more traditional jazz acts, the Jazz Fest lent itself well to an entirely seated audience. However, some critics of the festival’s organizers feel that with more soulful performers such as Chaka Kahn, Anita Baker, Robin Thicke and Alicia Keys on the bill, it’s time to re-think how the venue is structured. “I can’t imagine why anyone would want to sit during an Alicia Keys concert,” says Helen Reid, a Cayman resident for 3 years and 2-time attendee of the Jazz Fest. “But of course if people want to sit, it’s their prerogative, I just don’t think they should be telling me to sit because they can’t see when I want to be up dancing. It’s a concert after all. The performers work hard to entertain us and they deserve to see all the people who want to dance and enjoy their music to the fullest.”

Local resident, Sandra Catron, agrees that there’s an issue when it comes to sitting and standing at the Jazz Fest. "I’m not one of those people who needs to be up and dancing all the time so I appreciate being able to sit and have a good view. When one person stands, everyone has to stand to see over them and then no one gets to enjoy their seats. But I think organizers really need to address the issue because I totally understand that some people want to dance. Perhaps they should section off the area in front of the stage with one side for dancers and the other for seats."

The view of the stage, whether seated or standing, was assisted by large screens on either side displaying the camera angles being captured by BET (Black Entertainment Television) who had exclusive filming rights to the entire event. There were even screens at the back for those not interested or brave enough to penetrate the inner seating. The large VIP area was moved from the left of the stage to front row centre this year, providing VIP access in its purest form to the lucky insiders.

Local songstress Andrea Rivera and her band Los Tropicanos opened the evening with a charged set of current pop, dance and Caribbean covers as well as some original work. Another well know local musician, Devon Edie, and his ensemble Absolute Joy soulfully serenaded the crowd with their unique arrangements of classic reggae, jazz and calypso. One of Cayman’s up and coming male vocals Jeffery Wilson squeezed in a quick 3-song set of up-tempo R n’ B.

Perhaps the most delightful surprise of the evening was Elle Varner. A native of California, her funky, eclectic tracks commanded immediate attention from the youth in the crowd. Her powerful voice bellowed fun and interesting tunes that were a cool mix of hip-hop and jazz while her quirky cuteness completed the perfect package. Next up was Barbados native, Arturo Tappin, whose sexy saxophone interpretations of classic reggae and soul really exemplified what Caribbean jazz is all about. The last act on the opening bill was Jermaine Paul, a New York native and long time collaborator with Keys. Paul’s rich and smooth RnB tones maintained a vibrant energy that really got the crowd steeped in anticipation for the main attraction.

During the opening line-up many people chose to explore the food vendors, bar area and the several Cayman cultural booths set up along the rear of the space. Local artists Gordon Solomon, Nikola McCoy-Snell, Nasaria & Randy Chollette, as well as Caymanite artist and sculptor, Horatio Esteban, displayed impressive arrays of works, once again proving Cayman artistic talent to be of international caliber. Esteban was also commissioned to create a one-of-a-kind sculpture for Keys as a tribute to her work and visit to the Cayman Islands, though this presentation was not made on-stage.

Also on display in a shared booth with the Cayman AIDS Foundation were T-shirts designed by local designer Luigi Moxam for his “Tink Again” campaign, aimed at empowering young people to take charge of their sexual health. In response to world AIDS day on 1 December and also in light of Keys’ outspoken international support for HIV and AIDS awareness, the Foundation was also selling CDs of 4 songs specifically composed by local musicians to acknowledge the threat, prevention and social implications of HIV and AIDS in our community.

It was close to 1am by the time crowds were pouring back into the Camana Bay town centre but most were still reeling from such a diverse and complex range of talents and performances, so the process wasn’t as arduous as expected and once again, security and event staff kept the lines moving in the right direction to ensure everyone’s safe arrival to their vehicles. Long time fans of the Cayman Jazz Fest thought the event a true achievement for organizers, with most wondering how it could be possible to top such a monumental headline show. Fortunately, we only have to wait a year to find out.
 

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Burton wins Blue Turtle Award for conservation work

| 07/12/2009 | 9 Comments

Cayman islands news island weather classifieds business financial services(CNS): Cayman Islands conservationist Fred Burton, who has spearheaded efforts to bring the Blue Iguana back from the verge of extinction, became the first winner of ‘Blue Turtle’ Award for nature conservation in the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, presented by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC). The award was presented at a ceremony held in Peterborough on 2 December. Burton has worked in conservation in the Cayman Islands for over 20 years, with the last nine as the Director of the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme, which is an unsalaried position, and is deeply committed to creating a viable wild population of blue iguanas in their own protected area.

JNCC Chair, Peter Bridgewater, one of the panel of judges for the Award, said, “It is not often that one person’s efforts are contribute so much to bringing a species back from the brink of extinction, but in Fred’s case this was absolutely the case. There are many examples of extraordinary professional and enthusiastic work being done to conserve and manage the biodiversity of our Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies by the local populations, often with little fanfare. JNCC wanted to help by, once a year, rewarding the work of a particular individual or group. For 2009, Fred was theunanimous choice of the judging panel.”

In addition to a trophy, the recipient of the Blue Turtle Award is given £500 plus a £1,000 contribution to an Overseas Territory or Crown Dependency nature conservation project of their choice.

The Blue Iguana Recovery Programme relies heavily on its volunteer programme. Dedicated members of the local community feed and care for the animals in the captive breeding facility, as well as give talks and provide public education experiences. Key volunteers from overseas also contribute time and expertise in areas such as specialist veterinary care and radio tracking of released animals. The Recovery Plan for the Blue Iguana is a collaborative effort that is reviewed every five years with the involvement of representatives from local and international environmental agencies and groups.

Department of Environment Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie said of the Programme, “The Blue Iguana was once referred to as the most endangered rock iguana on the planet. Through Fred’s work a very successful captive breeding programme was established and blue iguanas are being re-introduced to the wild. Fred has taken the programme from a backyard project to a fully-fledged captive breeding facility which produces over 100 young iguanas for release into protected areas each year. The programme has been so successful that it serves as a model for other regional projects.”

Tara Pelembe, JNCC’s Overseas Territories Officer, commented, “We hope this is just the beginning of JNCC being able to shine a light on projects and actions that deserve a wider audience and acknowledgement. Fred is inspirational in his care for the blue iguana, and it is a pleasure to celebrate his success.”

The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) is the statutory adviser to Government on UK and international nature conservation, on behalf of the Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside, the Countryside Council for Wales, Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage. Its work contributes to maintaining and enriching biological diversity, conserving geological features and sustaining natural systems. One of JNCC’s priorities is to provide advice on the conservation of biodiversity in the UK’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies.

JNCC has adopted a high-level strategic objective, derived from its vision, to ‘provide, to UK government departments, the governments of the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies and others, timely and sound advice to support the achievement of the 2010 biodiversity target, the progressing of Environment Charters, and the implementation of multilateral environmental agreements.’

Any individual, or group of individuals (including governments) from and working on an Overseas Territory or Crown Dependency, can be nominated for the Blue Turtle Award. The work or project must have been in place for over a year, demonstrated innovation and have made a real difference. The award is based on the following criteria: nature conservation benefit/added value; innovation; community involvement; and links to a specific project, or demonstrating long-term commitment and dedication.

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Sailing youth Olympic games qualifying regatta

| 07/12/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): TheCayman Islands National Sailing Authority will host a Sailing Regatta in March 2010, which will encompass a Youth Olympic Games Qualifier in the Byte C11 Dinghy class boat for young athletes who will be eligible to compete at the Singapore 2010 Inaugural Youth Olympic Games in August 2010. These athletes must be born between January 1st 1994 and December 31st 1995.The qualifier will be a Regional event and will take place in the North Sound, from the Cayman Islands Sailing Club in Red Bay. (Left: Athlete Chris Delaney, athlete Marina Maffessanti, coach Mike Weber)

Competitors have shown an interest in or have registered from Barbados, Bermuda, Canada, Cayman, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, Netherland Antilles, St Lucia, the US and Venezuela.

As the Youth Olympic Games falls under the umbrella of the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee (CIOC), a grant has been provided by CIOC to assist the Sailing Authority with the expenses of the Qualifying Regatta. CIOC wishes the Sailing Authority a very successful event and hopes that athletes from the region will qualify for the Youth Olympic Games next year.
 

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ID needed at for some items at post office

| 07/12/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Anyone picking up registered mail, express mail, parcel post and general delivery from a post office must present photo identification to counter staff in order to collect their mail. This long-standing policy of the Cayman Islands Postal Service (CIPS) is based on law, a release from CIPS notes. However, the law allows for customers who are unable to collect such mail personally to authorize someone to collect it on their behalf. This is done by sending a letter authorizing a particular person to collect mail, along with a photocopy of an ID that shows the addressee’s signature.

“Photo identification has long been our policy and we have been enforcing it for several years now,” said Postmaster General Sheena Glasgow. “But sometimes our customers expect postal service counter staff to act contrary to the law and hand over their mail or mail for a family member without proper ID or without a letter granting permission to collect mail on the addressee’s behalf. This puts our staff in a difficult position and CIPS at legal risk, should we hand over mail without ID or permission to deliver to an agent. ID strictly enforced for all residents.”

She noted that the CIPS’s services of registered mail, parcel post and EMS require a chain of custody. “This means that the sender can demand proof of the date and time when the addressee received the item,” she said.

“Knowing family connections simply has nothing to do with staff following the law. Sharing post boxes is very common, but sometimes one family member does not want his or her mail collected by another. CIPS must remain neutral in such family dynamics, so staff have been told to follow the law,” Ms Glasgow stressed. “We have to be just as careful with general delivery because these customers do not have a post office box. There may be two or more persons with the same name collecting mail at general delivery. Therefore we have to do our best to ensure that the right person is receiving the mail.”

Glasgow advises against having registered mail, EMS or parcel post addressed in nick names when a person’s ID is in a formal name because of the problems this can create when trying to claim such items. Inaddition, when collecting parcel post on behalf of a child, the parent or guardian needs to bring the child’s passport to prove the relationship and that the addressee is a minor.

Customers are therefore reminded that Cayman Islands Postal Service staff must see identification when releasing items that are from registered mail, express mail service, parcel post or general delivery.

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Smile Africa donates to GT hospital

| 07/12/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Child patients at the Paediatric Ward of the George Town Hospital are now benefiting from the arrival of essential specialised medical equipment donated by a benevolent group of local corporations and individuals. Worth over $13,000, the equipment includes a Bili-Bassinet (as shown left), a vital addition to the ward that uses phototherapy to treat newborn infants with jaundice. Additional items purchased for the specialised care of small children include the Broselow Paediatric Resuscitation System and Veinlites.

The resuscitation system contains specific weight-related supplies designed for speedy resuscitation of children & infants, and the Veinlites make it easier for clinical staff to take blood and start intravenous infusions by helping them to locate veins, and making the experience less traumatic for their small patients.

Gillian Barlow, Nurse Manager of the Children’s Ward at the Health Services Authority, said, “We are extremely grateful to our donors for their support. This equipment will help to improve the quality of care for our young patients in the Paediatric Ward and make the staff better equipped for a range of medical situations. We always welcome donations, which help us provide the best possible care to our patients, and we thank the companies and individuals involved for their support and generosity.”

The donations form part of an initiative begun by Smile Africa, a Cayman-based project launched to raise funds for local children and Facing Africa, a U.K. charity dedicated to helping children in sub-Saharan countries who suffer from a devastating flesh-eating disease called Noma.

Corporate donors were Stuarts Attorneys, Krys & Associates, dms Management and Tower Marketing, whilst individual donors were Andrew and Nicola Hersant; Jane Wareham and Timothy Ridley; Lee and Sheila Aronfeld; Don and Cheryl Seymour; Deanna Bidwell; Joanna and Chris Humphries.

Jane Wareham who coordinated the donations said, "Small acts of kindness lead to better things. Charity starts at home and the generosity of our local donors helps to show the importance of corporate responsibility in our community. Projects like these produce tangible benefits for children and the under privileged in the Cayman Islands.” Wareham continued, “The international aspect of these projects also demonstrates Cayman’s understanding of third world problems and the need to combat suffering wherever that may be."

The group’s fundraising efforts will continue in 2010 with a marathon scheduled to take place in February, which is attracting a lot of interest from local organisations. Kenneth Krys, Managing Director of Cayman-based corporate recovery and insolvency firm, Krys & Associates, will be drawing on his experience of completing the grueling Marathon Des Sables, a six-day, 151-mile endurance race across the Sahara desert in aid of Facing Africa, to help organise the marathon.

Corporate donors and representatives of Cayman-based charity Smile Africa with staff of the George Town Hospital Paediatric Ward and the equipment purchased through their fundraising efforts. TheBili-Bassinet shown here will treat newborns with jaundice.

 

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CSC offers its first degree

| 07/12/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Civil servants can now obtain an Associate of Arts degree in Public Administration from the Civil Service College (CSC). The CSC has designed the degree to provide specialized training to better prepare the public service to meet the demands of a dynamic and competitive work environment, and is offering it jointly with the University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI), a government release said. At last week’s launch, UCCI President Roy Bodden and the Portfolio of the Civil Service Chief Officer Gloria McField-Nixon were co-signatories for the official documents.

Bodden noted that the launch also signals UCCI’s and CSC’s potential to meet similar needs in the British Overseas Territories. In turn, McField-Nixon said that the programme confirms government’s commitment to investing in staff—of particular importance since the civil service is the largest employer in the Islands. Improving the capability and effectiveness of the public service enhances the government’s ability to deliver services locally and to support the jurisdiction in its efforts to compete globally.

“The Public Administration degree is the latest offering by the CSC which is equipped to help a wide cross-section of public employees ranging from new entrants and persons previously lacking higher level education to those already highly educated and experienced but seeking to remain current in their respective fields,” she said. “The college will continue to assess and develop programmes that target all segments of our workforce. To date, more than 500 government employees have already benefitted from learning interventions within the first two years of its establishment.”

The Cayman Islands Civil Service College was founded in September 2007 to provide competency-based training, applied research and advisory services for the continuous improvement of public services, to enhance the job performance of civilservants and increase their career development opportunities. Credits previously earned from courses taken at the Civil Service College will count towards fulfilling requirements of the new degree.

Further details on the Associates Degree in Public Administration or generally on the CSC, is available for review online at http://sis.ucci.edu.ky. Detailed programme information for new students can also be accessed at www.csc.ky. For additional information, contact the CSC team Andrea Fa’amoe or David Stock on 244-2344 or call UCCI on 623-0546 for registration information.
 

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H1N1 flu cases increasing, officials warn

| 07/12/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): There was an increase in flu activity during the last two weeks of November, according to Public Health officials. In the third week of November, there were 178 cases of flu reported and in the fourth week there were 229 cases. Since the first case of H1N1 was confirmed in June, Cayman has had a total of 112 confirmed cases of H1N1.Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kiran Kumar points out that almost all schoolshave reported both students and staff with flu-like illnesses, and since schools have opened, there have been three confirmed cases of H1N1 from schools.

He also reminds the public that not everyone with flu-like symptoms needs to be tested for H1N1. Since June, in young people who have been tested, there have been 49 confirmed H1N1 cases in school-aged children, 5 to 16 years old. The most recent confirmed case was a student from Triple C School.

“We’re at the beginning of the traditional flu season, so an increase in flu activity is expected,” Dr Kumar said, “but we’re continuing to stress the first line of defence — be diligent with hand washing and cover coughs and sneezes.” Or more on how to avoid flu this season, read the HSA handout Five Things You Can Do To Fight The Flu

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Historic Cayman bond issue underwritten by HSBC

| 07/12/2009 | 2 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Government’s USD312 million, 5.95 per cent notes closed on 24 November 2009 and are due November 2019, with HSBC Bank acting as Sole Book Runner on the first-ever public bond issue for the CIG. Floated on the international bond markets, the issue was enthusiastically received and was four times over-subscribed, a release from the HSBC said. This highly successful bond issue was also historic for HSBC, as it was the first Caribbean bond issue led by the Bank and the lowest yield ever achieved by any Caribbean issuer in the US dollar public bond markets, the release said.

The arrangement of the bond was a result of a very close collaborative effort between the Corporate Banking team at HSBC Bank (Cayman) Ltd. and other HSBC personnel in the Global Capital Financing – Latin America and Caribbean Syndicate team (New York, London and Hong Kong) as well as the Government Sector team (New York and London).

HSBC’s global reach, in all key investor markets, played a very important role in arranging and coordinating a three-week investor road show for the CIG across major business centres in Europe, the US and Asia. HSBC’s key players for the bond issue joined together with Premier McKeeva Bush and other senior members of the government to meet with senior executives of several large investment management firms in seven locations — London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, New York, Singapore and Hong Kong.

The bond issue, originally announced on Wednesday 18 November 2009, attracted numerous high-quality accounts which enabled the Issuer to release price guidance at a "6.00% to 6.125%" yield area. The deal generated positive momentum overnight, with heavy participation from Asian and European accounts, building a USD1.2 billion (with a four-times over-subscription rate) order book, which allowed the Issuer to revise price guidance and ultimately launch and price the bond at a 5.95% yield.

“Subscribers to the bond issue represented a diversified order book, with US accounts comprising 41 per cent of demand, Asia accounting for 30 per cent and Europe taking up 29 per cent. This created an entirely new investor market for the Cayman Islands going forward and raised awareness of Cayman globally,” noted Gonzalo Jalles, Chief Executive Officer of HSBC Cayman.

Jalles was also appreciative of the opportunity for HSBC to support the Cayman government on such a significant transaction. “We at HSBC Bank (Cayman) Ltd. are also especially pleased that after only 18 months of expanded banking operations in the Cayman Islands, our local Corporate Banking team together with our HSBC colleagues overseas, were able to assist the Cayman Islands Government with the single largest international bond transaction executed to date,” he stated.

“This clearly demonstrates HSBC’s global capabilities to guide first-time and infrequent issuers through the bond marketing and deal execution and further underscores HSBC’s unparalleled global distribution capabilities and execution abilities, even in periods of uncertain market conditions,” he added.

HSBC Cayman was also responsible for providing bridge financing facilities for the Cayman Islands Government prior to the bond issue.

Mark McIntyre, Head of Corporate Banking at HSBC Bank (Cayman) Ltd., who was also a member of the Cayman delegation on the international road shows held in Europe, the USA, and Asia last month, noted, “The over-subscribed response of the bond issue was a clear testimony of the level of investor confidence that the international community has in the Cayman Islands.”

“The Cayman Islands Government were very well prepared for the rigors of the three-week road-show and were extremely well-received in all of the seven cities that were visited,” McIntyre said. “It was evident that not only was the bond issue popular with investors, but the international investor community regards the Cayman Islands as a place to do business,” he added.

Chairman of HSBC Bank (Cayman) Ltd and Chief Executive Officer of HSBC Bank of Bermuda, Philip Butterfield underscored HSBC’s commitment to the Cayman Islands. “We are pleased to see the exceptional progress that HSBC has been making in the Cayman Islands after just over one year of launching its Corporate Banking and Personal Financial Services lines of business. We continue to be fully supportive of these efforts and are also committed to expanding our banking operations and services in the Cayman Islands as we move into Phase 2 of our strategic plan early in 2010,” he said.

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