Archive for May 1st, 2010

Experts warn of deep UK spending cuts

| 01/05/2010 | 0 Comments

(BBC): The UK faces the deepest spending cuts since the late 1970s if the three main parties are to meet their budget commitments, new analysis suggests. The years between 2011 and 2015 must see the largest cuts since 1976-80, according to a report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS). Its estimates suggest the Conservatives would need to make the biggest cuts.  Meanwhile a Labour government would see the biggest tax rises, the think tank predicts. Based on commitments made so far, the Liberal Democrats would need to cut an accumulated £51bn from spending on public services by 2017.

Go to article

Continue Reading

CITA elects new chief and lobbies for conservation

| 01/05/2010 | 11 Comments

(CNS): Following the organisation’s recent Annual General Meeting, the owner of Treasure Island Resort, Harry Lalli (left), has been appointed the new CITA president. Approximately seventy CITA members attended the event at the Ritz Carlton when Lalli was elected and Dan Szydlowski, general Mmanager of The Westin, was elected Vice President. During the meeting the membership discussed the association’s main goals for 2010, which included lobbying government to increase air arrivals and pass the National Conservation Law.

“We are grateful to the commitment the new Board takes on to steer the Cayman Islands Tourism Association in its annual goals and vision,” said CITA’s Immediate Past President Stephen Broadbelt, who reviewed and presented the launch of the Cayman Tourism 2020 Initiative. The message focused on priorities CITA has in order to drive the industry forward.
Broadbelt  reminded the membership that if they, as a destination, kept doing the same things they would get the same results, and it was therefore critical to make proactive plans that would bring them closer to the goal of 400,000 air arrivals and 1.75 million cruise arrivals.  “Right now businesses are struggling and they are lucky to break even, which is not sustainable,” he stated.
On behalf of its members, CITA continues to lobby the Cayman Islands Government about these tourism initiatives to benefit businesses and the economy as a whole. Priority items are: increasing air arrivals, implementation of the National Conservation Law, input on CI Department of Tourism marketing efforts, cruise port development, and pro-business measures, including ease of doing business, reducing cost of doing business and ease of immigration.
Executive Director Trina Christian presented a review of the accomplishments and highlights over the year. These included initiatives to increase member benefits through projects and events; Quarterly Luncheons, General Meetings, Cayman Islands Tourism Exchange (CITE), inclusion in new CITA Official CI Map, Dive 365, Kittiwake, and inclusion in three international promotions through Department of Tourism.
New CITA 2010 & 2011 Board of Directors – Steve Broadbelt CITA Past President – Ocean Frontiers; Harry Lalli Condo/Villas – CITA President -Treasure Island Resort; Dan Szydlowski- Hotels – CITA Vice President – Westin; Franz Ferschke- Hotels – The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman; Tom McCallum – Condo/Villas – TheReef; Steven Hayes- Restaurants – TTRG (Cimboco, Chicken!Chicken! Breezes);Rod McDowall – Watersports – Red Sail; Steve Surrey- Watersports – Divers Down; Hugh Treadwell- Allied – Dart Active Capital; Bud Johnson – Allied – Atlantis Submarines; Ronnie Anglin- Transportation – Captain Marvins;Emma Graham Taylor – Cruise – Image Group; Moses Kirkconnell – Sister Islands.

Continue Reading

US Embassy comes to Cayman

| 01/05/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS):  A delegation of various representatives from the United States Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica paid a visit for the first time to the Cayman Islands recently to offer information to the country’s American citizens. As an overseas territory Cayman does not host any international embassies or high commissions as they are located in London. However, Cayman is home to a number of US citizens whose nearest embassy is in Jamaica and as a result the visit facilitated by theDeputy Governor’s office, which holds responsibility for consular matters, gave them a chance to ask questions and seek information without travelling to Kingston.

The town-hall style public meeting was held at the Marriott Grand Cayman Beach Resort when the US Embassy officials explained who they were and what they did. “ This is the first Cayman meeting with citizens – which is long overdue,” said David Stone, who is the American Consul General in Kingston.
 He explained to the audience the role of his office, especially in relation to the Cayman Islands. Stone said consular services include registering US Citizens who live in this region, voting issues, as well as processing passport and immigrant and non-immigrant visa applications. Another service is providing country information for the benefit of travelers.
The Consular Section also works with host government law enforcement agencies, and, in instances where US citizens are charged or convicted of crimes, it “ensures that they are treated fairly in relation to the respective country’s laws.”
An important embassy service, immigration, is the responsibility of Adijatu Abiose. She is the Citizenship and Immigration Services Attaché with the Department of Homeland Security in Jamaica. Her office’s email address is: The US citizens were told that submitting immigration applications to the USCIS offices at the US Embassy in Kingston will expedite processing.
Her colleague, Lee Marple the American Embassy’s Regional Security Officer explained that his office assesses threats and vulnerabilities that relate to the United States and its citizens. In so doing, it works closely with the Royal Cayman Islands Polcie. “The Cayman Islands rate as ‘low’ for crime and terrorism in the security rating of the region,” he noted. Marple explained that the US Embassy has emergency preparedness plans in place for scenarios ranging from hurricanes to acts of terrorism.
He emphasized that the embassy provides citizens with information and support (such as evacuation) before and after emergencies, but it may be difficult following disaster situations depending on the type of emergency. In the Cayman Islands, the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman is the official gathering place for U.S. citizens in the case of a declared emergency or evacuation.
Jane McEntee, is the Social Security Administration (SSA) Field Officer, and is based in San Jose, Costa Rica. She is also the regional Federal Benefits Officer and oversees all 49 posts south of the United States. She told attendees that the SSA’s Federal Benefits Unit in Jamaica serves the needs of U.S. citizens living in Cayman and in Trinidad and Tobago. To access these services, log on to, or The phone numbers are (876) 702-6043/6006.
Captain Dom Micillo, United States Navy, US Defense Attaché in Kingston represents all the American armed services and deals with issues relating to veterans, as well as processing applications for US military academies. His section works closely with the Jamaican Defense Force and with Cayman authorities in relation to security issues.
Dee Duggan serves as the US consular agent in the Cayman Islands. This Consular Agency does not offer a full range of consular services, but processes and forwards documents to the US Embassy in Jamaica and provides information as well as notarial services.
The Consular Agency is located at the Cayman Centre, adjacent to the Airport Post Office, and is open to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 8a.m. to 2p.m., and Tuesdays and Thursdays until 1p.m. The office can be reached by phone at 945-8173, or by e-mail at:
The US Embassy’s number in Kingston is (876) 702-6000.

Continue Reading

Cuba issues health insurance directive to visitors

| 01/05/2010 | 8 Comments

cayman islands, cuba travel, insurance(CNS): Cayman Airways has issued an advisory to its passengers travelling to Havana, Cuba, that, as of today 1 May, all visitors entering the country are now required by the Cuban Government to present evidence of holding valid medical insurance with coverage in Cuba. Travelers who do not meet this requirement can, upon entry in Cuba, take out a policy from Cuban insurance companies at the airport, available 24 hours a day, year-round. The cost is approximately US$3.40 per day, which covers medical expenses for sickness and accident up to approximately US$28,000 and Repatriation and Transportation up to about US$7,840.

ABS Trade have announced that the company has recently signed a contract with Assistur and can sell the insurance here. ABS says it is currently the only company in the Cayman Islands that can offer this and points out that  while passengers can pay the insurance in Cuba on arrival, they are then required to go to an office to get the actual medical insurance card, taking away a portion of their vacation time.
According to the Cuban government’s website, over 80% of visitors to Cuba have insurance coverage from companies at their countries of origin covering their medical expenses in the country, but the website noted that US insurance companies do not provide coverage in the Cuban national territory. Upon demand after their arrival, travelers shall present a policy, insurance certificate or travelling assistance card valid for the time span they will stayin Cuba.
The website states that in case of any medical emergency, the Cuban health system guarantees the necessary medical care through a network of policlinics and hospitals, covering every corner of the island.  Primary health care is provided in most of hotel facilities.
For more information visit the official Cuban Government website: or


Continue Reading

Hospital plans made public

| 01/05/2010 | 108 Comments

(CNS): The government has now released the agreement it signed with Dr Devi Shetty to accommodate the Cayman Narayana Health University project. The deal for the $2 billion plus medical complex was signed at a press briefing in April, and the minister for health says it outlines the duty concessions on medical equipment, the discounted immigration fees and the necessary legislative changes to facilitate the development. World renowned cardiac surgeon, Dr Shetty, plans to build a large scale medical tourism facility, medical school, and assisted-living senior’s residence on 500 acres somewhere in the eastern districts of Grand Cayman.

“As the agreement generated a great deal of public interest, Cabinet has decided to release it at this time in the spirit of transparency,” Health Minister Mark Scotland stated in a release on Friday afternoon.
According to the agreement, while government is not investing in the venture, it has pledged to facilitate the project through various initiatives, including import duty waivers for medical equipment and supplies, streamlined application processes, an exclusion of competition, no taxes on profits in the future, upgrades to the airport as well as other infrastructure improvements.
In return, the developers have undertaken to train Caymanians and offer discounted services to Health Services Authority patients. They will also start discussions with the Education Ministry to establish a medical faculty in the Islands.
“Several other countries have approached Dr Shetty and offered him a variety of different incentive packages to encourage him to build this project in their country – varying from a 50-year tax-free zone to actually constructing some buildings for him. As is common practice in many jurisdictions, the Cayman Islands Government has offered some incentives to the developer to tip the balance in our favour,” Scotland added. 
“We believe very strongly that the potential benefits to Cayman of this project are so significant, and will benefit such a broad spectrum of our population, that it was important to do what we could to secure the project here. While the value of the concessions and the support we offer are considerable, I believe that the advantages of the proposed project are equally significant.”
The minister also noted that government would save millions annually by taking advantage of the tertiary care offered by the Narayana hospital.
Other benefits include the possibility of reduced insurance premiums for everyone in Cayman as the overall cost of tertiary care decreases, increased tourism arrivals and a diversified economy, he noted.
“Medical tourism is a growing industry, and we already have all the attributes necessary for success – an established tourism product, our geographical location for easy access by American visitors, political stability, and a reputation as a safe destination in the Caribbean. Not to act on it would be a missed opportunity,” explained Scotland.
The Cayman Narayana project will be constructed in phases at an estimated cost of US$2 billion. It will take approximately ten years to complete.
The development has been broadly welcomed by the Cayman Islands community, though there are concerns that government will need to carefully manage the infrastructure demands the project will have on the island. So far a location has not yet been revealed but the developer is seeking a significant size property and is likely to focus on the north coast of Grand Cayman.

Continue Reading

Insurance firm cites ‘risks’ as it leaves Cayman

| 01/05/2010 | 22 Comments

(CNS): Global insurance and reinsurance company XL Capital Ltd is moving from the Cayman Islands to Ireland, according to a press release. The firm said that at a special meeting on Friday its ordinary shareholders approved changing the parent holding company’s place of incorporation. XL said the move would reduce certain risks and expected to complete the redomestication on or about 1 July 2010, assuming the transaction is approved by the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands and that other conditions to the redomestication are satisfied. The firm is one of a number of companies that have relocated to Dublin recently.

"We are grateful to our shareholders for supporting this initiative," said XL’s Chief Executive Officer, Mike McGavick.  "We believe that our redomestication to Ireland will offer us opportunities to reduce certain risks and reinforce our reputation across our global business platforms.  We look forward to the successful completion of this initiative this summer."
 XL shareholders also approved, among other proposals, the renaming of the Company from "XL Capital" to "XL Group".  The name change is expected to be made in July 2010.
Separately, the company announced that at its regularly scheduled annual general meeting its shareholders approved all proposals presented to them, including the election of three directors (Joseph Mauriello, Eugene M. McQuade and Clayton S. Rose) and the ratification of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC as the company’s auditors for the year ending 31 December 2010.
The company also announced that its board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.10 per ordinary share payable on the company’s ordinary shares. The dividend will be payable on 30 June 2010 to ordinary shareholders of record as of 15 June 2010.
In addition, a semi-annual dividend of $0.76275 per share on the company’s Series C cumulative preference ordinary shares was declared. The dividend will be paid on 15 July 2010 to all Series C cumulative preference ordinary shareholders of record as of 14 July 2010.
XL Capital Ltd, through its subsidiaries, is a global insurance and reinsurance company providing property, casualty, and specialty products to industrial, commercial and professional firms, insurance companies and other enterprises on a worldwide basis. More information about XL Capital Ltd is available at

Continue Reading