Archive for December 17th, 2009

Bush excited by health city

| 17/12/2009 | 38 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Cayman Islands Health News(CNS): Speaking in the Indian city of Bangalore on Wednesday, Premier McKeeva Bush, said that plans by Dr Devi Shetty to establish a healthcare facility in the Cayman Islands represented the most significant inward investment in the jurisdiction in decades. He added that the Cayman government appreciated the display of confidence in Cayman’s economy by Dr Shetty and was excited about the plans. Bush was in Bangalore to deliver a key note address at the opening of the famed doctor’s latest health city. (Left: Dr Shetty with Premier McKeeva Bush)

Bush said that Cayman welcomed the plans by India’s most renowned cardiologist to build the large medical complex in Grand Cayman that would provide tertiary care to patients from North and South America, as well as Cayman’s own patients. "We in the Cayman Islands are very excited about Dr Shetty’s stated intention to build a first-class healthcare facility in our country,” he said.

Bush had traveled to Bangalore with a delegation from Cayman for the formal opening of the new cancer treatment facility. The new 500,000 square foot hospital, with 1,500 beds, is the largest in the world and is a part of a larger complex of specialty-care hospitals which comprise Dr Shetty’s Narayana Health City.

“It is amazing to hear that Narayana Health City will be able to cater to more than 15,000 patients daily, bringing down the costs substantially,” Bush said. He observed that access to quality health care is a fundamental right and not a privilege and that the Narayana group had been a model to the world in achieving that objective.

Bush said that Dr Shetty’s commitment of “inward investment” in the Cayman Islands is one of the most significant in decades. “Our government appreciates the display of confidence in the Cayman Islands economy by Dr Shetty and his colleagues,” Bush added. “There is intense competition for India’s foreign investment and there are many choices of jurisdictions with which to do business. We want to work to make the Cayman Islands India’s preferred location,”  the premier acknowledged.

On behalf of the people of the Cayman Islands, Bush issued an invitation to the people of India to come to Cayman. “Bring your families and see for yourself what we have to offer,” he said.

Health Minister Mark Scotland; MLA Cline Glidden, HSA chair Canover Watson, and businessmen Gene Thompson and Harry Chandi formed part of the delegation on the India leg of the premier’s world tour.

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Traffic chaos in wake of accident & airport emergency

| 17/12/2009 | 3 Comments

(CNS):  Updated  — Downtown George Town was gridlocked this afternoon (Thursday 17 December) after a road accident and an airport emergency saw a number of the capital’s roads closed. A motorcyclist is currently recovering in hospital after his bike collided with a car at the junction of School Road and Eastern Avenue at about 12.50 pm, which came in the wake of the emergency landing at Owen Roberts International, which had also forced road closures all around the airport when a cargo plane reported the loss of an engine.

The rider of the Yamaha motor cycle that collided with a Lexus motor car was taken to the George Town hospital, where he is currently being treated, though police said they were believed his injuries were not life threatening.  The female driver of the Lexus was not injured as a result of the accident. Police enquiries are ongoing and PC Muschette of the RCIPS Traffic Department is appealing for witnesses to the collision.

The Cayman Islands Airport Authority has now confirmed the details of the airport incident. At around 12 noon today, Air Traffic Control received notification of a cargo aircraft en-route to Grand Cayman which had declared a full emergency due to the loss of one of its engines. All emergency services were deployed in accordance with Air Traffic Control notification procedures.
The Saab 340 type aircraft, operated by IBC Airways Inc., was a scheduled cargo flight from Miami to Grand Cayman. The aircraft, with two crew members, landed safely without further incident at Owen Roberts International Airport (ORIA) on Grand Cayman at 12:30 pm.

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Blackberry service back on, say makers

| 17/12/2009 | 6 Comments

(CNS): Research In Motion Ltd, the maker of the BlackBerry smartphone, said Thursday that it has fixed the problem that left BlackBerry users unable to send or receive emails on their phones for several hours. The outage affected almost all users in the North American area as well as in the Cayman Islands, but it did not impact the phone service, browsing, or "PIN-to-PIN messaging" — just email messages. The Ontario-based company said in a statement that some customers might still experience delays as email queues were processed. "RIM is continuing to investigate the cause of the issue and apologizes for any inconvenience."

According to reports on PC World, RIM uses an Internet-based service to push e-mails to the handheld without going through an enterprise server, and this was the root of the problem and corporate users didn’t experience the same delays as consumers.

The geek magazine said that RIM has yet to explain the issue, but previous outages may reveal clues. In 2007, RIM blamed one lengthy service interruption on new software routine. This routine was supposed to optimize system cache memory, but instead caused an e-mail outage that lasted at least 12 hours. RIM said its back-up system proved to be inadequate as well. Last year, another e-mail outage lasted for a few hours as RIM ran into problems while upgrading the capacity of its infrastructure in order to satisfy demand.

RIMM shares were down 97 cents or 1.5 percent to $63.70 a share in later afternoon trading on the Nasdaq in New York.

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High Court ruling brings relief for BA travellers

| 17/12/2009 | 0 Comments

(BBC): A strike by British Airways cabin crew planned for Christmas has been declared illegal in a High Court ruling. The court agreed with BA that the cabin crew’s union, Unite, had not correctly balloted its members on the strike action. The injunction means that the 12-day strike cannot now go ahead. Unite called it "a disgraceful day for democracy" and vowed to hold a fresh ballot of cabin crew if the dispute with BA was not resolved. The judge refused the union permission to appeal, but the union could apply directly to the Court of Appeal. If it decides to hold another ballot instead, industrial relations laws would mean that fresh industrial action could not be announced until well into the new year.

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Jazz fest organisers under investigation

| 17/12/2009 | 57 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Alicia Keys(CNS):  Questions over the legality of the Alicia Keys concert have been raised after the music went past the country’s Saturday night – Sunday morning music and dance midnight deadline. As a result, News 27 reports, the Liquor Licensing Board is investigating whether any laws were broken when Jazz Fest organizers allowed the music to play on. One of the largest concerts in Cayman’s history, the festival has been commended across the island, but the chairman of the board said one of his inspectors is looking into the issue of the unplanned extension.

News 27 say they contacted Ernesto Carter, the Inspector of Licensed Premises, who has been asked to investigate, but he said he can’t comment on the investigation without permission from the Department of Tourism, the organizers of Jazz Fest.

In the past, commercial licences have been forced to close on exceptional and special occasions, including on New Year’s Eve when it has fallen on a Saturday night, losing out on considerable commercial opportunities. As a result, there is a feeling among some licensees that if government doesn’t have to obey the rule, then why should private bars and restaurants be subject to the commercially limiting restrictions of the law.

CNS also understands that there were other controversies surrounding the VIP guest list and area during the jazz fest weekend, but has been unable to verify the details of what was said to have undermined the festival, and what has otherwise been seen as one of the most successful public events the Cayman Islands has ever produced.

Go to News 27’s video

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Witness scared to testify

| 17/12/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The trial of Randy Martin ground to a halt yesterday when the two legal teams became bogged down in the legal arguments and ramifications of the refusal by the crown’s last witness to give evidence after she had taken the stand. She told the judge that she had no evidence to give against Randy Martin as she had a child to live for and she was afraid for her life. The witness said she had given a statement to the police during the murder enquiry but she had said she would not testify in court. As a result of her refusal Justice Charles Quin adjourned the proceedings and for the second time in this trial ordered the services of ‘amicus curiae’ to advise the witness about her legal rights and contempt of court.

The judge explained to the very reluctant witness that she would be in contempt of court if she did not answer the crown’s questions but he did not wish to send her to jail. Anthony Akiwumi then arrived at the court to offer advice and support to the witness, who had made it quite clear that she was not prepared to give evidence under any circumstances as she felt threatened.

During her brief period on the stand the witness said that she had already explained to Solicitor General Cheryll Richards (pictured above) that she did not want to testify as she was scared and she had no one to defend her.

“I have a child to live for. If he gets off this case I have to wonder what my life will be,” she said, becoming clearly distraught and emotional.

As the witness’s statement is yet to be officially examined in evidence, the content of that statement was not fully revealed. However, it was clear that the crown held considerable weight on the evidence she had given to the police in her statement with regards to its case against Martin. At this stage the crown has presented forensic evidence which places Martin at the scene, as well as evidence of a connection between the deceased and the defendant. The crown has also presented evidence that it says shows Martin also had the opportunity, but has not yet provided a motive for the brutal murder of the 21 year old.  

Despite being pressed by the court over the importance of her testimony and the seriousness of the charges against Martin, the witness said she had moved on and said she did not want to say anything at all about Martin.

Following discussions with the ‘friend of the court’, Akiwumi, the witness submitted a hand written statement to the court setting out her fears and anxiety over testifying, which then drove both defence counsel and the crown into further legal arguments and submissions about whether or not the statement amounted to sufficient excuse for the witness not to speak and if so how the evidence could be admitted.

The judge adjourned the court yesterday afternoon to consider the submissions and is expected to offering his ruling in court one this morning (Thursday 17 December).

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Mac wants oil refinery

| 17/12/2009 | 86 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Cayman Islands Business News(CNS): McKeeva Bush, the Cayman Islands premier, has told a gulf-based newspaper that he is looking for investors to establish an oil refinery in Cayman. Talking to The National about his mission to find some $3.5 billion of investment for the jurisdiction over the next three years, Bush said he was looking for investors that would be interested in such a facility. This is not the first time that the premier has raised this idea, Bush first spoke about it soon after the election when he proposed a commercial port somewhere in East End that would include an oil refinery.

The premier did not tell the English language daily if he had found any interest in the controversial idea while he was visiting the oil rich area of the United Arab Emirates, but the comment comes only days after Environment Minister Mark Scotland made a commitment to the people of Cayman to enact a National Conservation Bill and offer protection to the Cayman Islands’ delicate eco-system.

During his interview with the UAE media, Bush said that he was in the region to seek investment partners for a number of other commercial ventures as well.

“We’re doing a continued search for inward investment but we also are here looking for a longer-term relationship with the Emirates. We believe it holds a lot of opportunity for safe, regulated, open and transparent transactions,” he said. “We are open for hotel development, condos [condominiums] in particular, conference centre and golf facilities. We are also looking for an oil refinery to be based in the country.”

Bush explained the establishment of an investment office in Dubai to cover the entire Emirates to help direct investments for the Cayman Islands. “We have been here before so now we’re trying to formulate and set up the offices. As well, we’re taking this opportunity to talk to various business entities and people that are in similar businesses in the Cayman Islands.”

Promoting Cayman, he said it was one of the best regulated offshore international business centres. “In that regard our financial services, we believe, have tremendous stability and are well-known in the industry. The business environment in both cities as well as Qatar, and the region in general, makes it reasonable for us to be based here,” he said, adding that he anticipated that the new office would open in January or February of 2010.

Talking about the fiscal challenges faced by the CIG, he said there was no problem at this time. “Going through the international crisis like anybody else, yes, we’ve had our challenges. But I think we’ve done a good job of facing them. We haven’t lost any business to speak of,” he said. “I think businesses are taking this time to have an inside look at themselves and trim where they have to.”

Despite the fact that the revenue review has yet to be completed regarding future government earnings, as requested by the UK, Bush promised that there would be no direct taxes in Cayman. “There is no plan for direct taxation, no income tax, no property tax, no capital gains tax – none of the taxes you’ll find in any other jurisdiction. We’re not going to do so, either. Our main thrust is in inward investment,” he vowed. “We have developed the country in the past 40 years based on inward investment and we believe it is the right way to go. It is part of the reason we are in this region. We believe that there are synergies between the Emirates and ourselves.”

Bush said he did not believe that OFCs would disappear as a result of the continued pressure from G20 nations. "Like water, good money finds its own level. It’s going to go where it’s best regulated, where it feels it’s the safest and where it is open and in well-protected regimes. The Cayman Islands is just that. I have no worry about what any government is going to say. We will survive and we have survived for so many years simply because there is so much bad management in all these metropolitan countries. Good money is going to go where it feels it is best protected,” he said.

Asked about the case surrounding the freeze of $9.2bn of on the assets of Saudi Arabia’s Saad Investment Company by the Cayman Islands Grand Court, Bush explained the separation between the executive and the judiciary and that government was not involved in court matters. The premier said the case would not affect the financial relationships between the Cayman Islands and the GCC countries.

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US Coast Guard coming to Cayman for Christmas

| 17/12/2009 | 0 Comments

 (CNS) Crews aboard two American Coast Guard cutters will be able to enjoy a little Cayman festive hospitality this Christmas and New Year when their ships visit Grand Cayman. Government said today that the USCGC Steadfast will arrive on Wednesday, 23 December, and depart on Boxing Day, Saturday 26 December. On Tuesday, 29 December, the USCGC Anacapa will arrive, departing on Monday, 4 January 2010. There will 12 officers and 63 enlisted men, under Commander J.L. Jimenez on the 210 foot-long Steadfast while the Anacapa, at 110 feet-long, carries 16 enlisted men and two officers under the command of Lieutenant M.H. Wholley

The Steadfast  is currently usually deployed along the western seaboard of North and Central America and the vessel has served the Coast Guard for some 30 years. Steadfast was the first, and is one of only two cutters awarded the gold marijuana leaf, symbolizing one million pounds of marijuana seized. Legend holds Steadfast was named "El Tiburon Blanco" (Spanish for "The White Shark") by Colombian drug smugglers in the 1970’s for being such a nemesis to their illegal drug operations.

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