Archive for May 25th, 2010

Cayman registered super-yachts warned to avoid Italy

| 25/05/2010 | 11 Comments

(FT.Com): Rome’s crackdown on suspected tax dodgers has unsettled owners of super-yachts considering Italy as a summer destination, after the tax police seized the 63-metre Force Blue owned by Flavio Briatore. Some legal advisers are telling their worldwide clients, 90 percent of whom have their yachts under a Cayman Islands flag, to take care before venturing into Italian waters. A spokesman for the Guardia di Finanza tax police said three similar cases of super-yacht tax evasion were under investigation. “The seizure is sending shock waves through the super-yacht community,” Quentin Bargate, senior partner with the London-based law firm Bargate Murray, said.

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Woman mugged at gun point

| 25/05/2010 | 22 Comments

(CNS): Police said today that George Town detectives are now investigating a robbery which took place in the Queens Court Plaza area in the early hours of this morning. At about 1.15am a 20 year old woman was walking with two friends through Queens Court in West Bay Road, when they were confronted by a masked man. The man threatened the young woman with what appeared to be a handgun before grabbing her handbag containing a camera, a small amount of cash and personal papers. The suspect who wore a mask over his face had black hair and was wearing a white t-shirt and denim jeans.

The suspect is said to have run off after stealing the bag and made his escape in a white or silver coloured car. Police said that no shots were fired and no-one was injured in the incident.
Detective Sergeant Richard Scott is appealing for anyone who have been in the Queens Court area at the relevant time this morning and witnessed the incident, or the car driving off from the scene, to contact George Town police station on 949-4222.

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Young politicians take time for young moms

| 25/05/2010 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Members of the Young United Democratic Party took five young moms from the Young Parents’ Programme out to lunch to celebrate Mothers Day recently. YUDP President Richard Christian said that, while everyone was running around getting gifts for their own mothers, the YUDP wanted to do something special for those who sometimes get forgotten. The YPP is a government run agency which provides education to mothers aged 15 to 20 during pregnancy. “Being a youth focused group, it was a no brainer that we should treat and encourage these young mothers and mothers to be,” said Christian.

The YUDP Leader believes that it benefits the politicians of tomorrow to understand the issues in the community by getting involved with and supporting the needs of young people.

"I am pretty sure that none of these teens planned to have a child at such a young age,”  he said. “That alone can bring an incredible amount of stress on them in a society where some people may even look down on them and automatically write them off as a failure. Our message to them was simple, we have all made mistakes and we have all made wrong turns in life. However past mistakes and wrong turns doesn’t have to determine your destination in life. These young ladies are still precious in God’s eyes and therefore should be in ours too.”

Richard said that he learned from the young women that what was once a healthy fully staffed day programme has over the years been reduced to a half day programme run by three staff members. Additionally, the bus which once serviced the YPP is now being shared between YPP and the department of Social Services.   
He said that not only have these cut backs resulted in the YPP having to reduce some of the practical and life skills courses that it once offered but the outreach to young parents without transportation has been severely limited along with the access to external activities. This means that many of these young parents will miss out on opportunities offered to their peers.
“Most of the young mother’s expressed to us that they love the programme and wouldlike to see the hours extended and to have some of the life skill courses brought back, in particular the cooking classes. We will meet with the Honourable Mike Adam, Minister overseeing the YPP and provide him with feedback and in our opinion the importance of this programme,” Richard added.
Programme Director Brenda Dawkins said the young mothers appreciated the YUDP Mother’s Day  gesture especially as it came from other young people. “This is a prime example of the kind of intervention that can go along way in encouraging our young people and at-risk youths. It was a warm, interactive and friendly environment and the young ladies felt relaxed with the young professionals,” Dawkins added.
YUDP Legal Advisor Chanda Glidden, who also attended the lunch, said it took courage for the young moms to be so open, "but we could see they appreciated us taking the time to get to know them and the issues concerning them without being judgmental. “I am proud to see these young ladies taking control of their lives by being part of the YPP which gives them the opportunity to enrich themselves past their current circumstances,” she added.
“The YPP is an excellent organization that reaches out to young parents who arefacing challenging times at such a crucial stage of there development. They do their best with these young ladies. However, there is still so much more that could be done if this programme is given the support it needs to flourish. I appeal to individuals and businesses to get involved whether by mentoring, donating or volunteering in programmes like the YPP, which give so much to the lives of our young people and therefore make our community a greater place for the future.”
Persons interested in becoming involved in the YPP programme may contact the YUDP at the details below or the Family Resource Centre at 949-0006 or Brenda Dawkins at 925-5649.
The YUDP thanked Every Blooming Thing and Casanova’s Restaurant for their participation in making this luncheon a success.
The Young United Democratic Party is the youth arm of the United Democratic Party, whose mission is to be a voice for the youth and to prepare young Caymanians for responsible citizenship. 

To contact the YUDP call 943-3338 or email

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Letter reveals billing rates for Cayman’s lawyers

| 25/05/2010 | 13 Comments

(CNS): The firm recently hired by the Cayman Islands government to represent the country’s interests  in Washington, London and Brussels will not be coming cheap, according to an engagement letter filed with the Washington Justice Department earlier this month. Sidley Austin, which has served as counsel to the government of the Cayman Islands in the past, will be charging as much as US$950 per hour for the work its senior partners do on behalf of the CIG. Cabinet recently confirmed that it has retained the firm, which has a long relationship with Cayman. Sidley Austin has supported the CIG on a number of occasions, including the $312 million successful note offering last year.

Joseph Tompkins Jr., a partner with the firm, will be representing Cayman in Washington, the letter stated, explaining that the firm will assist "in analysing and addressing proposals made in the United States Congress and the Executive Branch that may have an impact upon the Cayman Islands."
The disclosure filing also reveals that Sidley’s billing rates on the contract will range from $200 per hour for new associates to $950 per hour for senior partners. Non-lawyer professionals will cost the CIG between $100 and $315 an hour.
According to Legal Times blog, a website which examines who is lobbying Washington, Tompkins said he has represented the Cayman Islands government in different matters since the mid-1980s, when he worked on a mutual legal aid treaty between the Cayman Islands and the United States.
"Our relationship with them is just very special in the sense that they have relied on us for this 25-year period," he said. Tompkins said the new work involves "acting on their behalf broadly" in Washington, as well as in New York, Europe and Asia.
A release from the Ministry of Finance recently said engaging the firm was part of the CIG’s global international relations strategy for the Cayman Islands.  “Our focus moving forward is to take the Cayman Islands to another level in the minds of the international community, which will undoubtedly support our long-term business, economic and reputation objectives,” Premier McKeeva Bush stated.
The release stated that Tompkins and his team at Sidley Austin will assist government to marshal resources such as international communications, government and stakeholder relations and research, using a tailored approach as part of a globally-integrated strategic programme.
Sidley Austin’s relationship with the Cayman Islands government dates back to 1985 in connection with the negotiation of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty between the Cayman Islands and the US government. During this period, Sidley Austin has advised the Cayman Islands government in connection with numerous matters, including relationships with the US Department of Justice, the US Department of Treasury, and the US Securities and Exchange Commission. It has also represented the Cayman Islands government in negotiating an Asset Sharing Agreement with the US government.
In 2008 Sidley Austin supported the Cayman Islands government’s cooperation with the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) in that agency’s review of US business interests in Cayman. The GAO’s resulting July 2008 report noted that the US Department of Justice regarded the Cayman Islands as one of its “best partners” among offshore jurisdictions, and the GAO also recognized that the Cayman Islands has implemented a regulatory regime that has been recognized to be in compliance with a wide range of international standards, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Caribbean Financial Action Taskforce (CFATF).

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Death toll mounts in Jamaica

| 25/05/2010 | 20 Comments

(CNS): The man at the centre of the current violence in Jamaica remains at large as the killings mount in the West Kingston area. Official police reports state that some 40 civilians, two police officers and one soldier have been killed during the outbreak of violence. Many more have also been injured as the hunt for Tivoli Gardens’ strongman, Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, continues. On Tuesday National Security Minister Dwight Nelson confirmed that Coke had not yet been found, despite the three day security operation. Coke who has close connections to Jamaica’s ruling Labour Party is wanted by United States authorities on firearms and drug trafficking charges.

The Jamaican Observer reports that gunmen have carried out a string of attacks in sections of St Catherine. Three men were killed in the McCooks Pen community and one person was killed in Waterford. There were also reports of a shoot-out between gunmen and police in the March Pen Road area of Spanish Town. The incidents are the latest in a string of murders and fire-bombings which are being carried out in St Catherine. Murders have also been reported in Braeton, Waterford, and Newlands in Portmorem the newspaper reports in its online edition.
During the third consecutive day of unrest, thousands of heavily-armed police and soldiers continued their assault into the violent areas, battling masked gunmen loyal to Coke, where so far some 18 police stations have been attacked.
The BBC reports gangs from slums just outside the capital have also joined the fight, erecting barricades on roadways and shooting at troops. A total of 211 people have now been detained as soldiers go from house to house looking for Coke.
The Jamaican Ministry of Health is appealing for members of the public to donate blood as a result of the escalating violence. “The blood bank is always in need of blood but we are experiencing a higher demand based on the current violent attacks in parts of the island and the increase in the number of injured patients being seen at our health facilities,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr Sheila Campbell Forrester. “We are therefore appealing to individuals to go to any of our blood collection centres across the island to donate.”
The United States requested Coke’s extradition in August last year but Jamaica initially refused, alleging that evidence against him had been gathered through illegal wiretaps. An arrest warrant to begin extradition proceedings against Coke was finally issued last week. In its annual narcotics control strategy report in March, the State Department said Coke’s well-known ties to Jamaica’s ruling party highlighted "the potential depth of corruption in the government".
Britain, the US and a number of other countries have issued travel alerts. US citizens living and residing in Jamaica or the Cayman Islands were today advised to register their presence in the country through the US Department of State’s automated online registration system
Meanwhile, here in the Cayman Islands the Governor’s Office has recommended that people considering travel to Jamaica consult the latest advice issued by their home countries. “As a British Overseas Territory, the Cayman Islands will follow the travel advice issued by the UK Government, which is updated on a regular basis and can be found on,” the office said in a statement. “Non-British expatriates living in the Cayman Islands may also wish to consult their respective government’s websites for advice regarding travel to Jamaica.”
Britain "strongly advised" its nationals to avoid all "non-essential travel" to the Kingston area, and Australia urged its visitors to show a "high degree of caution".
Air Jamaica has cancelled a number of flights and Cayman Airways has also made a number of changes to its scheduled flights to Kingston and Montego Bay.
All passengers are advised to contact their airline for further details.

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Students get exposure on additional school year

| 25/05/2010 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Young people who will be moving into year twelve will have unprecedented opportunities in this additional year of compulsory education Chief Education Officer Shirley Wahler said at the recent Year 12 Expo. Scores of students and their parents attended the event hosted by the Ministry of Education and Department of Education Services and gave students a glimpse of the myriad options available for them to pursue in the mandatory last year. The year 12 programme is part of a major restructuring, which will see the implementation of two “all-through” high schools. These schools will replace the current middle- and high-school arrangements, come September, 2010.

“This is really a milestone for the Cayman Islands education system. It’s the beginning of a big change,” said Wahler. “Students who are now in Year 11, moving into Year 12, will have opportunities this September that are just unprecedented, and we’re really excited to see them taking the first step."
Explaining that students must start submitting their applications for programme selections soon, she said that a survey would also be conducted to determine the areas of highest demand.
She said howver that successful admission to programmes will depend heavily on external exam results. “Once results are in, we’ll have consultations with students. Their parents will also have a chance for input before the final decision is made,” Wahler added.
The Ministry of Education’s Chief Officer Mary Rodrigues said the guidance and counselling phase before entry to the programme was important. “Students cannot just sign up for a programme and tell us ‘this is what I want to do,’ she said explaining that the DES will review each student’s choices and then a decision, based on what’s best for each student, will be made. She said this will ensure that participating students meet graduation requirements.
The mandatory Year 12 programme is part of a major restructuring, which will see the implementation of two “all-through” high schools. These schools will replace the current middle- and high-school arrangements, come September, 2010.
The programme will offer second chances for students who wish to improve their CXC/GCSE grades. It also will provide new learning opportunities – such as technical and vocational programmes – that complement current UCCI certificate courses.
Depending on CXC/GCSE passes, students also will have the option to pursue either GCE ‘A’ levels at the private schools that offer this programme, or an associate’s degree at UCCI.
The Year 12 Expo was the last in a series of events and initiatives designed to inform persons who will be affected by the education transition, the government said. “These included several parent/student surveys; radio appearances; meetings with affected home school- and parent teacher associations; and meetings with years 5 and 6 primary school teachers, students and their parents.
Several meetings and presentations, involving teachers, students and parents from George Hicks and John Gray high schools, were also conducted.           
For more information on the education transition, or mandatory Year 12 Programme, visit and click on Education Transformation Blog at the bottom right of the home page.

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Miracles and Mirages

| 25/05/2010 | 10 Comments

A recent NY Times column, "Irish Miracle – or Mirage", written by former IMF Chief Economist, Simon Johnson (I vaguely recall Cayman Finance quoting him earlier in the year, so I guess they would consider him to be both credible, informed and wise) and Peter Borne, Principal of Salute Capital Management Ltd, had this amongst other things to say about Ireland:

“The Celtic Tiger’s impressive reported growth over past decades was in part based on its aggressive attempts to help major corporations in the United States reduce their tax bills.” They further suggest, “The remarkable success of this tax haven means roughly 20% of Irish Gross Domestic Product is actually ‘profit transfers’ that raise little tax for Ireland and are owned by foreign companies.”

Such is the reality of the so-called economic success of Ireland, a country where the Government sets corporate taxes at an internationally attractive rate of 12.5% and now finds itself in dire economic and financial straits.

The authors go on to point out that Gross National Product, which excludes the profits of foreign residents is for most countries nearly identical to Gross Domestic Product, but not so in Ireland as a direct consequence of the “profit transfer” element.

Cayman’s reality is Ireland’s mirage much magnified.

In the absence of any corporate taxes or any suitable alternative fiscal mechanism, it is safe to suggest that the portion of Cayman’s GDP attributable to “profit transfers” is, at a minimum, double the Irish figure of 20%.

As I have stated in the past, this is not a reality that was lost on our leaders and planners. As far back as the late 1980’s the then Financial Secretary publicly lamented the fact that the per capita GDP attributable to the Cayman portion of the population was 50% of the heralded world class headline number.

As nations around the world grapple with the challenges of the current global economic conundrum, it is clear that the smoke and mirrors economic machinations of the few (the financial elite) who have been the primary beneficiaries of the three decade old scam, will fight tooth and nail to ensure very little in the way of fundamental change is permitted anywhere in the global financial architecture.

We can be assured that the reflexive response of the self-interested captains of the industry here, as in every other major financial centre, will continue to bemoan and decry any and all suggestions for enhanced regulation and greater contributions on their part to the fiscal solutions which must be found in the face of the deficit problems that plague most nations, large and small.

We should see these responses for what they really are.

Naked unadulterated greed.

Ordinary folk in the Cayman Islands would do well to begin to understand that what has been labeled as OUR economic success would be more accurately described as meretricious.

Acceptance of this fact is a necessary first step to seeking the formulation of an alternative developmental model that would place the local population at the centre of the process.

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Bracker takes young entrepreneur title

| 25/05/2010 | 1 Comment

(CNS): The 2010 Junior Achievement President of the Year was awarded to Zachary Jones of Sea Breezes Ltd, which produced wind chimes made with Brac driftwood, shells and glass. His company, based on Cayman Brac, was also awarded the coveted Company of the Year award. One of several students honoured at the weekend’s JA gala ceremony for their achievement during the programme, Jones said, “Working together as a team is the most important thing for the company. "It doesn’t matter how much work you put out as president, if you don’t have your team working behind you, you’ll get nowhere.”

The Junior Achievement is an international non-profit organization that turns high school students into entrepreneurs. They do everything a business would normally do, such as elect company presidents, manufacture a product and work out how to market and sell it.
At the ceremony to mark the end of this year’s 18-week programme in the Cayman Islands, other officers’ awards went to: Nickisha Stephenson for Vice President of Finance, Dannia Clarke for Vice President of Marketing, Shequita Lynch for Vice President of Human Resources, and Shannon LeBert Vice for President of Production.
With sales of over $1,500 for her JA Company, Tropical Impressions, Nikita Durant won the Salesperson of the Year, while the Product of the Year award went to Beyond Ideas fortheir product, Gardens in a Box.
Jonathon Masters and Rasheed Powery Saunds shared the Male Achiever of the Year award, and Female Achiever of the Year was Drean Ebanks. These awards are given to students who took part in the programme but were not officers of the company. “I tried my best, I followed directions, and I tried to do everything that was asked of me,” Masters said, describing how he won the award. Another important thing, he found out, was that “everyone’s opinion is very different.”
Eight students will represent the Cayman Islands in Canada at an international JA gathering, "Next Generation Leaders". They are Jonathon Masters, Lloyd Barker, Renee Lindo, John Fawkes, Shanaz Whittaker, Nikita Durrant, Shemina Barnes, and Alex McIntyre. (Below: the staff of Sea Breezes)

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CIMA helps shape guidelines for world’s captives

| 25/05/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Cayman’s financial services regulator Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) recently contributed to the creation of a new set of best practice guidelines for the captive insurance industry worldwide. Captive Best Practices Guidelines Volume 2-Utilizing Service Providers, was recently released by the Captive Insurance Companies Association (CICA), a multi-jurisdictional grouping of owners, administrators and managers of captive insurance companies or risk retention groups, and their service providers. The volume outlines what captive owners and regulators should expect from captive managers, actuaries, consultants, auditors, and attorneys.

It covers principles that service providers should follow during the prefeasibility, feasibility and formation stages of a captive, as well as during the company’s life and when the company is being closed. It also gives guidance on how owners should measure service providers’ performance.
“We volunteered to be part of the development of the guidelines because we agreed with CICA that the initiative was important in the process of continuous improvement for the captive industry globally,” said CIMA’s managing director Cindy Scotland. “I believe that if captives take responsibility for putting the principles into practice it lifts the standard of the entire industry and makes regulators’ jobs easier.”
The guidelines were developed through advisory groups representing owners, regulators, and service providers. CIMA, was represented by Gordon Rowell one of eight jurisdictional supervisory bodies in the group regulators from Bermuda, Guernsey, and the US states of District of Columbia, Kentucky, Montana, South Carolina, and Vermont.
Although regulators are not members of the association, CICA draws on their input and perspectives in carrying out its work. Rowell said this set of guidelines was the result of a careful consultative process:
“The starting point was the captive owner and regulator groups recommending best practices and then the service provider groups considering these and giving their responses and input, leading to amendments and refinements. There were several rounds of this before the document was finalised,” he explained.
This is the second time in recent years that CIMA has contributed to CICA’s development of principles for its members and other captive industry participants. Scotland, was part of the regulator group for the initial volume, Captive Best Practice Guidelines, which was completed in 2008. That volume compiled best practice principles applicable to the business situations of a variety of captives. Scotland said CIMA fully supported both best practice guidelines.
CICA describes itself as the only domicile-neutral captive insurance association, without jurisdictional or commercial ties and not linked with a domicile or government entity. CICA is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and its members are domiciled throughout the world, with the highest number in Vermont, Hawaii, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands. It provides education, networking and leadership for captive and risk retention group professionals.Both Captive Best Practices Guidelines volumes are available through the association’s website:

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Scuba, marine science and media lead to JCA grants

| 25/05/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Three schools shared in the $12,000 prize at this year’s Joanna Clarke Excellence in Education Award on Saturday (22 May). Cayman Prep and High School, George Town Primary School and John Gray High School walked away with grants of $4000for their various educational initiatives at the awards diner hosted by the dms organization. Cayman Prep and High won for its marine science programme, George Town for its Digital Visual Media Club and John Grey won for its SCUBA club. The other finalists recognized at the ceremony and their proposed initiatives included Bodden Town Primary School – Beyond School and The Wellness Centre – Autism in the Classroom.

Cayman Prep and High School recently introduced a marine science programme as an A-level two-year course of sufficiently high standard which can be used for advanced credit at North American universities. The funds will aid in furthering efforts to offer students a host of off-site excursions, providing invaluable hands-on experience for students. The schools head of Science, Jason Nehra said the school would work hard to ensure that the award is used to maximize its positive impact.

Offering students insight to the world of media, George Town Primary School introduced a Digital VisualMedia Club which equips students with necessary skills to integrate literacy with media. The grant will assist in continuing to teach students proficiency in various digital, visual, broadcasting and photojournalism applications, as well as the opportunity to explore careers in the relevant industry.
John Gray High School, also a JCA winner in 2008, entices students with its John Gray High School Scuba Diving Club. The club seeks to heighten awareness for environmental and marine conservation, and the funds will contribute towards purchasing equipment to make diving more accessible to students after they have completed their open-water dive course.
dms also announced the first recipient for the scholarship fund, Krishan Welcome the firm said it will make an annual award of at least $1,000 KYD to Caymanians or those with permanent residency who are currently in the education field or aspiring to enter. An established lawyer in the Cayman Islands, hopes to redirect her energy from a career in law and pursue a teaching degree to one day explore her passion to influence young minds. Welcome was awarded $2,500 KYD as well as being chosen to continue as the 2011 scholarship recipient.
Thirteen applications were made this year for the JCAs and the committee narrowed the pool of adown to five finalists whom they then invited to give an oral presentation outlining their project and demonstrating how their proposed projects satisfied the criteria.
 JCA Member Krista Pell said the point of the award is to ensure the energies of young people are directed towards positive activities. Pell thanked all of the applicants and everyone who came out to show their support and said the number of applications was increasing each year.
“The award started with a belief that our children, who represent our future, are a worthy investment in the well being of our community. dms believes in the importance of corporate social responsibility, and this award is part of our ongoing commitment to recognize deserving initiatives that focus on our youth and provides them the support to succeed,” President of dms Don Seymour said.

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