Archive for April 7th, 2010

Cayman Finance to confer on local economy

| 07/04/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The industry body which represents the country’s financial sector will be holding its inaugural Cayman Finance Summit next month to provide a platform to discuss the future of the islands economy. Cayman Finance is bringing together panelists and guest speakers to discuss issues ranging from how Cayman is viewed in the international media to the findings in the recent Miller Report. The industrybody said that experts in economics, policy development, taxation, regulation, public relations and public affairs will join together to illustrate why Cayman’s low tax model is the one that will generate the most substantive results for the people here and across the globe. 

Chaired by Anthony Travers, Chairman of Cayman Finance, the Cayman Finance Summit speaker list includes keynote speaker Dick Armey, former leader of the US House of Representatives, who will cover “Tax Competition – The Way Forward.  Premier McKeeva Bush will open the conference and Managing Director of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority Cindy Scotland will provide an update from the regulator.
James Miller and David Shaw will both be present to discuss their recently released “Miller Report” that calls for a dramatic decreased in government expenditure, the trimming of the civil service and the privatization of various public agencies. Richard Teather of the Bournemouth University Business School will be speaking on his recent research “The Fallacy That Low Tax Rates Contribute to Poverty and Why High Tax Rates Do.” 
Jack Quinn and Jack Irvine of Quinn Gillespie & Associates and Media House International respectively will discuss “How the Cayman story plays in the International Media”, looking carefully at the media’s role in creating and perpetuating misperceptions about Cayman and how Cayman Finance is actively educating and changing the minds of these key influencers of public perception.
Matthew Jones of the Alternative Investment Management Associations (AIMA) will provide an update on the Alternative Investment Fund Manager Directive, a European initiative focusing on the investment funds industry, in his presentation entitled “Will Protectionist EU Legislation Work?”
Other speakers include Gary Hufbauer of the Peterson Institute for International Economics who will provide his insights on “The International Tax Proposals and Their Implications for Cayman; Stephen Entin, President and Executive Director at the Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation who will speak on “No More Tax Avoidance: A Territorial Approach”; and Daniel Mitchell of the CATO Institute, who will speak on “The Supra-Nationals and the Not-So-Hidden Agenda”.  
The conference will be held at The Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman on Thursday 6 May from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm with a cocktail reception immediately following. Delegate fees are US$300 for Cayman Finance members and US$350 for non-members.
For more information or to register for the conference, visit or for sponsorship information, please contact Denise Gower at

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CIG signs deal for hospital

| 07/04/2010 | 100 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island Headline News, Dr Devi Shetty, Medical city in Cayman Islands(CNS): The Cayman Islands Government has now signed an agreement with the world famous cardiac surgeon Dr Devi Shetty (left) to facilitate the development of the much talked about major medical complex on Grand Cayman. The project got the official government go-ahead and the investor’s commitment at a media conference on Wednesday morning (7 April) when the celebrated doctor and the premier signed the deal and revealed more details of what is being heralded as the beginning of the Cayman Islands third economic pillar — medical tourism. Dr Shetty will be investing billions of dollars over thenext decade to create a state-of-the-art health city and medical university set to revolutionize the provisions of tertiary health care.

Dr Shetty has already turned the health industry on its head in his native India by being able to provide state-of-the-art health care and major surgery for a fraction of the cost in the developed world at his health city, Narayana Hrudayalaya Group, in Bangalore. Dr Shetty’s next move is to build the Cayman Narayana Health University that will provide world class medical and health facilities to the North American medical tourism market at more than 50% less than is available in the United States.
Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island Headline News, Dr Devi Shetty, Medical City Cayman IslandsDr Shetty told the local media that health care was big business, which is why it dominated elections in the UK and occupied a significant part of the American political stage. He said that worldwide the industry was worth around $4.5 trillion, with some $ 2.5 trillion of that being spent in the United States alone.
Given the major changes predicted in the US as a result of health care reform, Dr Shetty said the waiting lists would drive up the already growing demand in the medical tourism market and Cayman was well placed to deliver those services.  (Photo of signing by Dennie Warren Jr)
“A lot of countries understand the potential of medical tourism,” the doctor said, adding that he had been offered a lot of incentives by other countries. “But we have picked the Cayman Islands.”
He explained that Cayman was not only geographically well located and politically stable but was also a great place for people to live and work, which would mean he could attract the best medical talent in the world to the new facility. He said that when the news was revealed in the Wall Street Journal recently that he was considering the Cayman islands, he received more than 600 applications from doctors in the US wanting to be a part of the new project.
The project is set to be rolled out over several years, and while the goal is eventually to have a 2000 plus bed health complex on some 500 acres, the first phase will be the development of a 200 bed university hospital.
Although a number of locations have been examined, the exact home for what is likely to be Cayman’s biggest ever development has not yet been settled. With the agreement now signed, however, once a suitable site is worked out Dr Shetty and his investor partners hope to break ground in January 2011 and to have phase one open for business in 2012. The doctor noted that the location itself was not a major issue as patients would be coming to it from the airport, but he said that during the few days he had been in Cayman with his local partners he had seen some wonderful potential locations.
Once the first phase was completed, Dr Shetty said the people of Cayman would then have a world class health care facility in their own country, meaning they would no longer have to go overseas for tertiary and serious medical care, leaving their loved ones behind  — something that Dr Shetty predicted would happen more and more as life expectancy increases. Moreover, that health care would be affordable.
Given the misconceptions about how the model works, Dr Shetty explained it was not about cutting corners or standards but that the American prices were unrealistic and medical attention did not need to be so expensive.
“The perception of cost is distorted by the cost of health care in America, which is unrealistic,” the cardiac expert said. He explained that the surgeons in his hospital in Bangalore have done more heart operations by the time they are in their thirties than many surgeons in the US do in their entire careers. He said the hospital in India was not only equal to those in the US, the standards were even higher with better outcomes — not least because of the wealth of experience his doctors gain by conducting so many procedures. The output, he said, was the key to keeping costs low.
Once the facility was built in Cayman, it would also provide a state-of-the-art medical university to train local medical professionals here that would eventually staff the facility and become the surgeons of tomorrow, he said.
Dr Shetty revealed that, in the first instance, the medical complex would be employing around 600 people, of which at least 160 would be Caymanian, but the goal eventually would be to have all local staff. His dream, he said, was that if he should ever need a heart by-pass it would be performed by a Caymanian doctor trained at the facility.
According to research commissioned by the investors involved in the project, Cayman’s existing infrastructure will not be inundated or overloaded by the project as it will be gradually developed in phases to reach the ultimate goal of the 2000 plus bed health city, giving the jurisdiction time to develop at pace.
Premier McKeeva Bush revealed that Dr Shetty and the investors had been given some work permit concessions and duty concession on medical equipment but not on the construction of the hospital. The concessions were important, he said, given the major investment being made.
Bush said the hospital would be a significant boost to the local economy in many ways. From the construction of the project in the short term, to the long term development of medical tourism as a third pillar in the local economy, the premier said the project was an extremely positive move. He urged the community not to focus on the negatives that he was sure people would come up with but to see this as a great chance for Cayman, and compared the start of medical tourism today to that of the financial services in the 1960s.

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Experts predict busy storm season for Atlantic

| 07/04/2010 | 10 Comments

(CNS): Colorado State University’s hurricane forecast team have released their latest predictions for the 2010 Atlantic season and have upped the numbers since their December forecast. William Gray and Phil Klotzbach said that 2010 will be an "above-average" season with 15 named storms and eight of those becoming hurricanes. The latest report was released this morning Wednesday (7 April) when the forecasters said that El Nino conditions will dissipate by summer and that unusually warm tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures will persist, leading to favourable conditions for hurricanes to develop and intensify.

In December the hurricane predictors issued a range rather than a specific number forecasting 11-16 storms but have now settled on the specific figure of 15 at the very top end of the December range for their latest prediction.
Gray and Klotzbach said that they expected 8 of the named storms to become hurricanes with four of those strengthening into major hurricanes. Major hurricanes are considered to be Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson scale with sustained winds of at least 111 mph. Communities along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts now face a 69 percent risk of being buffeted by a major storm this year
Despite the cooler weather this winter in the Caribbean, the famous forecasters said the combination of a weakening El Nino with abnormally strong warming of the tropical Atlantic waters will create a busy season. "We believe that these two features will lead to favourable dynamic and thermodynamic conditions for hurricane formation and intensification," the team stated in the new report.
Gray, has been forecasting hurricanes for 27 years and the team at Colorado bases its predictions on historical data and researchers say the 2010 season shows similarities to conditions before the 1958, 1966, 1969, 1998 and 2005 active hurricane seasons.
"While patterns may change before the start of hurricane season, we believe current conditions warrant concern for an above-average season," Gray said.
The Forecasters also warned that there is a 58 percent chance of a major hurricane tracking into the Caribbean, a 45% chance that one will make landfall on the East Coast of the U.S and a 44% chance that a major hurricane will strike the Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle west to Brownsville, Texas.
The team will up review the forecast once again as the season starts on 2 June and then in August at the season mid way point.

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Local man makes plans to “Rescue” Cayman

| 07/04/2010 | 8 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island local news(CNS): With the worsening economic recession, Howard Ron Rivers says there are increasing numbers of people in the Cayman Islands that are slipping through society’s safety nets and who are in need in many different ways. As a result, he wants to galvanize people into helping them. Ron believes that members of the community need to come together to offer support and assistance to each other to get people on their feet, a roof over their heads, medical assistance, a much needed car back on the road or even training in a skill to help them find work. Under the umbrella name of “Rescue”, Ron is now trying to establish an official charity that can co-ordinate this support throughout the Cayman Islands.

The goal is not just to raise funds to help people financially but to attract volunteers who can offer their skills — be it a house repair for an elderly member of the community or debt advice to someone about to lose their house. Ron says that the Cayman Islands community needs to be a lot more supportive and he feels there are few if any places for those in need to go to find help.

“Child and family services turn a lot of people away and there are many people here who, with just a little bit of assistance, could turn their lives around,” said Ron, adding that by establishing this new charity he hopes to draw on the wider community’s resources to match volunteers, skills and talents as well as financial resources with the right people. “People are falling through the net but I really believe there are simple ways to help people and that’s what Rescue is all about.”
Although he recognises that he has a daunting task ahead of him, Ron told CNS that by pulling the community together and matching those in need with those who can help he believes more people will have a chance to get back on their feet and eventually help themselves.
In some cases, he explained, it may only be some advice, some hands-on help or a very small loan that someone needs to get their life back on track but at present they do not know where or who to go to, to get that help. Rescue, he says, could be that one-stop shop that will seek to find the help, support or assistance that individuals need to pick themselves back up.
Ron explained that the economic downturn has hit people really hard and spurred him on to make what has been a dream of his for some time a reality and begin recruiting volunteers and raising funds to officially launch Rescue. “This has been in my heart for a long time,” Ron said. “But now it is time to make it happen and encourage people to hold out a helping hand to their neighbours and start to rebuild our community.”
This week, Ron says, he intends to begin publicising his vision for Rescue and to begin recruiting people that can help him establish the charity, which will have a management committee to co-ordinate and match those the can help with those that need it. Ron told CNS that he will be onRadio Cayman’s Talk Today programme on Thursday to talk about Rescue and make the first moves to make it a reality.
Anyone who thinks they maybe able to help can contact Ron on 917 2812 or tune into Talk Today at noon on Thursday 8 April for more details.

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Cruise business on wave of recovery

| 07/04/2010 | 0 Comments

(Businessweek): Shares of cruise operator Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. climbed Tuesday after a competitor reported better-than-expected results and said passengers were paying more to book vacations. Shares of the company, which owns Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Pullmantur, rose $1.65, or 5.3 percent, to $33.08 in afternoon trading. Royal Caribbean rival Carnival Corp. on Tuesday said more travellers are booking cruise vacations and paying higher prices for their getaways.

In the past nine weeks, reservations for the next nine months climbed 8 percent at Carnival. Meanwhile, the prices passengers paid for their cruise vacations climbed 17 percent. Additionally, Carnival said its first-quarter profit fell as fuel costs dragged down results. But its revenue grew and adjusted results were better than expectations.

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Local firm does its bit to fight unemployment

| 07/04/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Bucking the trend of job cuts and recruitment freezes local business conglomerate dms Organization Ltd. (dms) has recently recruited nine Caymanians to the firm including its affiliates and and subsidiary. Despite the economic recession dms Vice President Krista Pell said the firm is continuing to recruit and is still on the look out for more local talent to join its varied and diverse range of businesses dealing with property and finance.

“Despite recent global economic hardships, dms has been fortunate to execute a sound people strategy and has continued to build our firm and expand our employee base,” she said. “It is dms’ philosophy that the key to our success is our people, and as such, we are delighted to welcome these talented professionals to our team. As a conglomerate with stake in a range of fields, we continue to actively recruit and encourage anyone wishing to join our team to apply at”
After joining dms in the fall of 2009, Mindy Kimball was promoted in just a few months from Receptionist to Office Services Administrator where she is responsible for planning and administering the policies relating to all phases of operational activity for dms.
Photo caption (left to right): Kristin Ebanks, Carney Ebanks, Valdreen Lindo, Janine Mitchell, Leisha Taylor, Mindy Kimball, Tamika Gilliland, Jonathon Doak and Monique Williams
“With this position came increased responsibility which is something I value as I enjoy rising to challenges. dms is a company that I truly enjoy working for as their commitment to their staff is highly recognizable,” Kimball saidI look forward to many years with the company.” Mindy was previously employed with KPMG as a Personal Assistant in the Tax Department.
Tamika Gilliland has also recently joined dms’ Office Services department as a Receptionist where she says there is ample opportunity for growth which is what attracted her to the company. “An organization that promotes from within and encourages learning and development is just the place for me to get started on my career path,” she added.
Valdreen Lindo joined dms as a Finance Administrator during mid 2009 and has been an impactful contributor to the Finance team. Previously Valdreen worked in similar roles at Cayman Surveying and Property Consultants Ltd. and CML Offshore Recruitment. She holds a BA degree in Accounting from the University College of the Cayman Islands. Keeping things close to home, Valdreen’s brother Ian Lindo is also employed with dms Corporate Services Ltd., an affiliate of the conglomerate.
Joining the dms Properties team in the summer of 2009, Carney Ebanks has been a welcome addition as the Maintenance Person. He is responsible for ensuring the upkeep of the conglomerate’s marquee properties including dms House, dms Place, dms Centre and dms Broadcasting Centre.
Within the dms financial services companies, dms Management Ltd. and dms Corporate Services Ltd. also continue to expand their teams, welcoming Jonathon Doak and Leisha Taylor as Corporate Administrators. In their roles, they administer client needs including administration of official corporation records and financial services transactions. Leisha was previously employed with Ernst & Young (Cayman Islands) as a Client Serving Associate Supervisor while Jonathon recently earned his LLB (Hons) at Cayman Islands Law School. 
Janine Mitchell has also joined dms Management as a Finance Administrator. Formerly, she was employed with KPMG as an Accounting Assistant. She also previously interned with the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority.
Offshore Business Solutions, another expanding dms financial services company, has hired Monique Williams as an Administrative Assistant focused on serving client needs. Monique is one of several of dms’ former Junior Achievement students who have returned to dms after graduation and are now employed on a full-time basis.  “While serving as the President of the first dms student group in the Junior Achievement programme I had the opportunity to learn about career opportunities with the company,” she said. “I have only been with OBS for a month, but already I am confident that this is a company that will challenge me and help me to excel.”
Saxon Administration Ltd., a dms affiliate, recently hired Kristin Ebanks as a Finance Manager where she directs all financial management functions and oversees general accounting functions. Previously, she served as the Finance Manger for the Public Service Pensions Board and thus her experience in a similar role will be a great asset to her new role.
dms Organization is a business conglomerate engaged in the financial services, real estate and media industries.

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Suspect released over Ming shooting

| 07/04/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Police confirmed on Tuesday that one of the two men arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of Damion Omar Ming (left) has been released on bail.  Ming who was gunned down close to his homein Birch Tree Hill Road, West Bay last month was laid to rest over the weekend. News 27 reports that friends and family gathered at the Wesleyan Holiness Church in West Bay on Saturday (3 April) to pay their final respects to the 29-year-old who was the 5th murder victim of 2010. One man remains in police custody in connection with Ming’s shooting but no charges have been made.

Meanwhile, the man accused of shooting a woman in broad daylight last month also appeared in court on Tuesday morning. 32-year-old Royden Robinson is charged with attempted murder and possession of an unlicensed firearm.  The charges followed a police operation in the George Town area last week Friday (2 April). 
Robinson claims he had nothing to do with the shooting but it’s alleged he shot a woman in the face at Barnes Plaza.  She sustained serious injuries and was hospitalised for several weeks though police confirm she has now been released. Robinson has been remanded to Northward Prison and is due to appear in court 13 April

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Minister encourages Cayman to get active for health

| 07/04/2010 | 9 Comments

(CNS): In his message for World Health Day the minster for health is encouraging people to get out and get active. With growing obesity problems in children, diabetes widespread and heart disease one of the three leading causes of death in the Cayman Islands Mark Scotland says Caymanians need to return to some old time outdoor pastimes. This year’s World Health Day theme is about city living and people’s health. And while the Cayman lifestyle may be more laid back than the average metropolis, rapid population growth and economic development have still brought a new set of health problems.

Message from Minister of Health Mark Scotland for world Health day 7 April:
Health statistics show that globally, mankind is making encouraging strides in solving some key health problems: The number of under-nourished children is declining; more than a dozen countries have reported a 50 percent reduction in malaria cases; access to HIV/AIDS treatment in developing countries has increased, and almost a billion more people have safe drinking water than during the previous decade.
Paradoxically though, certain health risks remain and have become even more acute,including obesity, smoking and alcohol abuse. Collectively, these and other preventable risks account for over 40 percent of the 58 million annual deaths worldwide, not to mention the huge loss of healthy life years they cause.
And troublingly, local statistics confirm that Cayman is not bucking the trend:
Public health school entry screenings for 2008-09 revealed a looming obesity-fuelled health crisis. More than 27 percent of children under the age of 6 and almost 38 percent of school students aged between 11 and 14 are overweight.
Obesity increases the risk for diabetes and heart disease, and already the latter is one of the three leading causes of death in the Cayman Islands.
National Drug Council (NDC) figures show that some 20 percent of our population smokes regularly, with one in every five smokers consuming a pack or more of cigarettes daily. Moreover, a 2007 NDC report on student drug use confirmed a marked increase in smoking among 7th-graders – an early warning sign that future smoking rates may rise.
Ironically, these findings and risks are exacerbated by the very thing that helps curb many other health challenges – namely, urbanization.
It is therefore entirely fitting that the 2010 World Health Day will focus on how city living affects people’s health. And while most persons view the Cayman lifestyle as being somewhat more laidback than is the average urban experience, even here, rapid population growth and economic development have removed us from things as simple as walking to our neighbours or – for our children – playing outside until sunset.  
This year’s World Health Day theme – 1000 cities, 1000 lives – thus calls us to rediscover creative and wholesome ways of relieving stress and staying healthy while living in an urban environment.
Likewise, my challenge to you is also to defy negative trends: Get out and get active, involve your family, friends and your entire community in reviving old time habits. Hide the TV remote and enjoy an ocean swim instead. Switch off the PlayStation and take your children for kite flying or build a sand castle. It might seem too good to be true, but in this instance, the first step to a healthier Cayman is just that simple!

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Civil service asks what to cut

| 07/04/2010 | 75 Comments

(CNS): Following government’s decision to ask the civil service to cut both operational costs and its own human resource costs, public sector workers are now asking which services people will be prepared to do without. While members of the Cayman Islands Civil Service Association say there may be room for some trimming, to make the 8% HR cut requested some services will be sacrificed. The president of CICSA has said that the Civil Service is already understaffed in many areas and further cuts in HR will mean cuts to the quality and efficiency of services that survive, while others may have to be sacrificed altogether.

“People must now ask themselves which services they believe the country can do without,” said James Watler, the CISCA president.
With the ball now in the civil service court, the president of the association explained that if HR is to be cut further than it already has been, then there will be an impact on the quality of services offered and those in government or the wider community must decide what they feel they can do without.
Watler explained that while it may be possible to trim what people have described as ‘fat’ in some areas of government, many departments are already understaffed.  While government is facing the need to cut expenditure because of the decline in revenues, Watler pointed out that  it still requires its programmes and policies to be carried out, which costs money as it requires people to deliver those services.
“It is not possible to have one’s cake and eat it,” Watler said, explaining that it is the duty of the public sector is to deliver the services and programmes the government of the day wishes to implement – without the people services cannot be delivered in the way the community would expect. “No government can function properly if it cripples itself by cutting the people who deliver its services,” the CICSA President  added.
The difficulty now faced by the civil service was spelt out in the latest directive from the elected arm of government. The administrative arm has been asked to not only cut operational costs further but to work out how to cuts its own HR costs by more than 8% for the next budget, which will be delivered to the Legislative Assembly later this month.
In a memo to senior staff Deputy Governor Donovan Ebanks asked civil servants for their proposals on achieving this 8% HR cost reduction, as mandated by the elected arm, and noted that a headcount reduction would be one of the issues which the service must consider.
Watler noted that since the seriousness of the budget deficit was revealed last year, public sector workers have been on a roller coaster with constant uncertainty over what will happen to their salaries, their health cover, their pensions and even their jobs. Despite this, Watler said they had risen to the challenge to make significant operational cuts in this budget year, even when many departments have been functioning well below their optimum staffing levels.
“Regardless of the uncertainty, and even though morale is far from its peak, civil servants have still continued to do their very best to deliver government services as professionally as possible. They know that there has to be cuts and they are prepared to do all they can, but at the endof the day the question that has to be asked now is —  what do the people want us to cut?” Watler said.

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