Archive for June 2nd, 2010

G20 leaders to discuss bank tax

| 02/06/2010 | 0 Comments

(Reuters): Finance ministers and central bankers from the G20 group of countries meet in Busan, Korea on June 4-5 to discuss progress in implementing their pledges to make the world’s financial system safer. Leaders have agreed that banks should be made to pay for bailing out the sector in a future crisis so they can no longer believe they are "too big to fail" or that taxpayers will always be there to rescue them. The International Monetary Fund has proposed two new taxes on banks. The financial stability contribution (FSC) linked to a resolution mechanism to pay for the fiscal cost of any future government support and a financial activities tax (FAT) levied on the profits of financial institutions.


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Mac to meet new UK minister

| 02/06/2010 | 94 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island Headline News(CNS): The premier begins another round of overseas travel tomorrow, starting in Bermuda for the pre Overseas Territories Consultative Council meeting before heading to London for key budget talks with the new Overseas Territories Minister. McKeeva Bush will be meeting Henry Bellingham for the first time on Tuesday, 8 June, when he will be discussing the Cayman Islands’ borrowing requirement to help balance this year’s budget deficit and meet the payments on next year’s capital projects. Government has still not revealed how the UK has reacted to its proposed three year financial plan or if the minister will be willing to agree to the $200 million or more which it is estimated government will need to borrow.

Bush has said that the three year plan submitted to the UK does not include direct taxation or any other new source of direct revenue, which the UK has said Cayman should consider, but relies on cuts in public spending and attracting inward investment.
Bellingham, who is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s new Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, is a member of the Conservative side of the new UK government coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. However, his Tory credentials are not necessarily going to translate into immediate approval on borrowing without taxation.
While the Conservatives are the UK’s party of lower tax they are certainly not opposed to taxation as a source of government revenue and will be no more willing to take a chance on incurring liabilities as a result of over-borrowing by any territory than the previous Labour Minister Chris Bryant. During his time in London the premier will also be meeting with representatives from the Treasury.
After the London talks Bush will then head to Brussels to meet with EU representatives on 9 and 10 June regarding the Alternative Investment Fund Manager Directive, new European regulations that could have an impact on the Cayman Islands hedge fund sector.
Bush said recently that he believes the Cayman Islands already meets the requirement in the new rules to continue doing hedge fund business in the EU. However, although further details of the AIFMD are still to be worked out before it goes to the EU Parliament in July for final approval, a number of industry experts have already warned that Cayman’s Confidential Relationships (Preservation) Law (CRPL) may prevent the jurisdiction from meeting the criteria under the new EU directive.
The law, which is often referred to as Cayman’s "secrecy law", was described earlier this year by the attorney general as “the bane of our existence since the 1970s”. Speaking to the Legislative Assembly on 25 February, Samuel Bulgin said that a report had been submitted to Cabinet on 8 February examining the issues on the most appropriate type of Data Protection Act to suit the jurisdiction which would replace the CRPL. Bulgin said at the time that the document would be discussed by Cabinet within two weeks, paving the way for draft legislation for a bill. Since that time there has been no further mention of any progress on the removal of the secrecy law.
Bulgin will, however, be accompanying the premier on both the London and Brussels visits along with MLA Cline Glidden, CIMA Chairman George McCarthy, CIMA Managing Director Cindy Scotland and CIMA Deputy Managing Director & General Counsel Langston Sibblies.
The premier is expected to leave London and head back to the Cayman Islands on Saturday, a few days before he plans to deliver his government’s budget address and strategic policy statement to the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday, 15 June.
While he is away Deputy Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly will be acting premier until 5 June, when Education Minister Rolston Anglin will step into the acting role until Bush returns.  

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Tax-haven poker websites hit jackpot

| 02/06/2010 | 0 Comments

( Prohibition of online poker in Australia has failed to halt the industry’s growth, thanks to the brazen marketing tactics of offshore companies and a reluctance to prosecute illegal operators. Australian visitors to poker websites are increasing by about 20 per cent a year and it is estimated $333 million will flow offshore this year from Australian players alone. Most of the companies offering online poker have bases in tax havens, although some are listed on the London Stock Exchange since Britain legalised interactive gaming.


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Jet Around Cayman brings in the pros

| 02/06/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Legendary PWC Racer and IJSBA Hall of Famer and 13 Time World Champion, 13 Time National Champion , Chris MacClugage, is coming to the Cayman Islands to participate in the 2010 Jet Around Cayman race. The fourteenth annual LIME Jet Around Cayman, jet ski race takes place on 14 June at Public Beach, Grand Cayman when scores of  competitors will be lining up to take on world renowned MacClugage and a new team of champions from Guadeloupe. This year there will be six different classes according to differing skill levels and experience.

The Guadeloupe team includes Davy Vaitilingon, the world champion in 2007, and Guadeloupe’s Champion for “Offshore Racing 2010” who is riding a  Kawasaki 260X. Jean Meclot, 17, who finished 5th this year at the World Championship, Marc Forbin, 20, who rides a Kawasaki ultra 260X and Vincent Karam, 29, the World’s Vice Champion for 2008 on a Kawasaki Ultra 260X. Vincent Thomas who is one of the best riders on the international circuit but is yet o receive a title for 2010is looking forward to taking home the Championship at Jet Around Cayman 2010.
“Jet ski racing has become a passion and hobby for many Caymanian youth, and is yet another tie to our love of the ocean and our seafaring heritage,” said Vincent Ramgeet, President of the Cayman Islands Watercraft Association which is assisting with race sanctioning and all major safety aspects of this year’s event.  “It is also a competitive sport that the young people have access to here on the island; it’s affordable and attainable for those in their teenage years and into young adulthood.
Last year, the event hosted 37 competing riders for the first place, but it was Pro rider Eric Francis who had the fastest time overall at 1:13:30.
“It was highly entertaining to see such a large number of participants riding in 2009 and we are glad to see them return this year again,” stated Kenny Rankin, Manager at Monster Media. “We always aim to make it an exciting race for everyone involved and the introduction of the new classes, this year, does just that. We are excited that Jason Smith is returning to the race. He is a great young talent and has the hunger to be one of the best riders the race has ever seen. I can’t wait to see what he will do.”
 George “Lulu” Smith will also return to the race. Smith’s biggest competitor from 2007 – Jordan McLean – will also return. In 2007, McLean blasted through the first half of the course with a huge two–minute lead only to break down at the second pit stop in East End.
This year’s class divisions are set according to rider’s individual skill level. The first of the new classes to be introduced is the Pro Class; for those riders who have gained substantial racing experience and have advanced competition skills. This class offers a more challenging competition and an enticing prize purse. The Open Division is for all riders except those riders classed as “Pro’ or ‘Expert’ by IJSBA regulations. The Rookie Class is open to all new riders who have not previously participated in Jet Around Cayman; all rookies must ride a stock Jet ski craft.
 The Amateur Class is the second of the new classes in this year’s event, designed for those riders who have previously participated in Jet Around Cayman but are not yet ready to ride at the competition level of the Open Class.
The Female Classcontinues to grow as Jet Around Cayman encourages female riders to get involved with the race. The participation has definitely increased over the years. The Veteran Class is for all riders thirty five years old and over.
Organizers are currently offering an early registration special: CIWA members get a onetime early registration discount of $75 off and non-members get $50 off the registration fee if they register before May 26, 2010. Note: the discount is applicable towards one class only, even if a rider signs up in multiple classes.
This year, organizers are anticipating an even larger number of riders as the prize purse continues to increase.  Jet Around Cayman is presented by LIME, a long term supporting sponsor of the event.
 “We were delighted to see a large number of racers out last year and this year I’m sure it will be an even bigger field” said Julie Hutton, Marketing Manager, LIME.  “LIME is delighted to be involved in this growing sport and it’s great to see so many young people coming out to race. It’s a fun day for all the family with lots of entertainment and activities taking place all day long at the beach. ”
Race Daykicks off at 12pm and the race starts at 1pm sharp with riders leaving the Public Beach coast and setting off on the intense round–island course. On land, there will be an array of activities including an appearance from the JAC calendar girls and entertainment from Vibe 98.9 FM DJ’s. There will also be a Kids’ Zone and a range of games for them to participate in while the race takes place. Food and drinks will be available for purchase all day on the beach and families are welcome.

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Shutter team earns cash bonus for speed

| 02/06/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Despite the impending pay cuts across government departments some employees at the Public Works Department (PWD) and National Roads Authority (NRA) got a little boost to their pockets recently with an efficiency reward following the recent national hurricane exercise. The deputy premier and works minister gave a letter of commendation and cash from her personal funds to the team leader, PWD Foreman Thomas Ebanks. The seven-member crew shuttered seven buildings in two hours and twenty minutes, before going on to assist a rival team with its work.

Juliana O’Connor-Connolly thanked the men for their effort, noting that their skills will help to protect life and property in a real-life hurricane situation.
PWD Director Max Jones and NRA Managing Director Brian Tomlinson added their congratulations, both citing the importance of teamwork in achieving crucial objectives.
 “When a hurricane is approaching we have to work speedily and efficiently, so the exercise helped the men on both teams to identify their strengths, weaknesses and what they require to get the job done right,” Jones said.
Tomlinson said the men were focused under pressure and that the inter-agency collaboration was essential to the success of the exercise.
Other members of the winning team were the PWD’s Silbert Facey; Alcot Gould; Lloyd Campbell and Chaz Powery, as well as NRA staffers Daniel Ebanks; Selwin Fraser and Frank Bagwandat. The completed buildings were checked by PWD Inspector Nick Johnson.
Thanking the officials on behalf of his team, Foreman Ebanks noted: “It is very encouraging to be rewarded for working well and all the men did a tremendous job.”

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Immigration takes on eleven new recruits

| 02/06/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The immigration department is currently training a new class of eleven recruits the first to join the front line since 2007 the department said. The officers are undergoing a month long training programme in order to become immigration officers the men and women will cover a diverse range of topics such as forgery detection; interview techniques; behaviour analysis; enforcement; and intelligence. Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans illustrated the unique nature of the Cayman Islands immigration service when she told the recruits of the delicate balancing act, as both gatekeepers and goodwill ambassadors that they faced.

She emphasised the need for teamwork “in an unpredictable environment,” and told them to take pride in their positions, “whether you are in uniform, or not.”
The training includes field exercises and tactical training, as well as classroom presentations. Some sessions are led by other government agencies, including the departments of Tourism, Prisons, Customs and – to emphasise the use of technology –Computer Services. The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service will conduct training on ethics, interviewing, target identification and law enforcement, while a private law firm will conduct training on the Immigration Law and Regulations. 
Former CIO Franz Manderson took the first class explaining how he progressed from being a filing clerk on high-school work experience, to joining the Department in 1981, becoming an experienced immigration officer, to heading the Immigration department from 2004 to 2009. Now, as the Chief Officer in the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs Manderson has oversight of the entire portfolio, under which the department falls.
He warned they would deal with many issues – from sham marriages to employment matters –Manderson directed them to learn local legislation, as well as international rules, governing people such as asylum-seekers and refugees. Manderson also spoke about the department’s history including milestones such as the Cuban refugee crisis, and the ensuing policy changes; and the immigration issues surrounding Hurricane Ivan.
Encouraging officers not to be judgmental or discriminatory, he added:  “Your business is dealing with facts and certainty, while treating everyone fairly and consistently.”

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New firm presents greener energy services

| 02/06/2010 | 7 Comments

Cayman Islands News. Grand Cayman Island science & nature news, alternative energy(CNS): Two local businesses with an eye on energy efficiency and sustainability have merged to provide an even more green service to residents in the Cayman Islands. While sustainable and alternative energy solutions remain in their infancy in the jurisdiction, the two companies hope to encourage more people to both maximise energy efficiency and turn to the sun as an alternative for their power source. Arch Solar Ltd, a contractor providing renewable solar energy systems, has acquired Smart Energy Management, which provides residential and commercial building performance assessments that help people cut down on energy use and power bills by as much as 40%.

Smart Energy’s founder, Jorge Vera, said he was first introduced to Arch Solar in 2009 and the two firms began planning their formal alliance in order to expand the services the two firms offer. Smart Energy and Arch Solar share the combined goals of energy efficiency and sustainability in residential and commercial spaces.

“Before investing in a renewable energy system, it is advisable to invest in an energy audit. Simple upgrade measures increase the efficiency of a building and optimize the performance of a renewable energy system. We are pleased to be able to offer our clients an exclusive package service that reduces energy costs on multiple fronts,” says Dana Arch, Vice President of Arch Solar.
An energy audit exposes inefficiencies associated with building design, reveals energy usage trends and provides information on where and how the energy is being used in the building in order to develop an energy management plan to reduce energy consumption.
“The comprehensive building diagnostic report provides insight into the building’s current performance, isolates any problems, and develops an array of improvement options designed to increase energy efficiency, building performance, comfort, and air quality,” explained Vera. “Creating an energy management plan, changing energy usage behaviour, upgrading lighting and installing properly sized and engineered air conditioner systems can drastically increase comfort and reduce energy bills by up to 40%.”
He added that some of the most common problems in Cayman when it comes to wasting energy are oversized air conditioning units and inefficient lighting. Turning off lights and appliances when not in use and pushing up the a/c thermostat when the rooms are not occupied are also just some of the ways people can cut costs and energy use.
Vera said that although awareness is increasing about the need for a more sustainable approach to energy and taking green issues more seriously, in reality very few people are taking energy efficiency as seriously as theycould, and he hopes the partnership between Solar Arch and Smart Energy will help more people embrace the cause.
“It’s a good match”, says Vera. “Our combined knowledge and experience will create the most effective provider of energy saving technologies. The increasing price of oil is moving Cayman residents and property managers to seek out independent, effective solutions to reduce their utility bills while increasing the value of their properties, and we are now ideally positioned to help.” 

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Fixing Cayman’s financial problems

| 02/06/2010 | 27 Comments

Over a year ago I wrote that Government and the private sector should don their rain gear as the global financial crisis started to bite in Cayman. People said I was being a Cassandra. Nearly ten years ago, I wrote that Cayman’s revenue base was too narrow to sustain its development and the needs of a growing population, certainly not in a down economy.

I recommended a modest annual property tax specifically dedicated to building and maintaining the infrastructure. I also recommended that Cayman should develop a ten year plan for independence (a discussion for another day). People said I had truly lost it with these two suggestions. And now we are in the perfect storm, with the UK running interference and no real progress with long term solutions.

Earlier Governments wisely put in place mains water supply, sewage (but as yet only for part of the Islands), new airport and hospital and mandatory health insurance and pensions. But we then lived on borrowed time by deferring investment in roads, schools, port, runway extension and waste management. The previous Government decided to build the roads, schools and a new Government building simultaneously and without proper long term funding/financing for these projects. Also, over the past few boom years, Government operating expenditures troublingly grew as a percentage both of revenue and GDP. Paradoxically, the Ivan disaster produced a huge inflow of overseas insurance and reinsurance money and (even with the duty waivers and reductions) the Governments coffers filled with import duties on (re)building materials and replacement equipment and goods of all kinds. This inevitably tailed off. Then the global crisis hit and our two main economic drivers, tourism and financial services, stopped expanding and then slid backwards. Real estate, construction, support services and consumer spending all suffered. 2009 Government revenue suddenly sank well below projections, yet Government expenditure continued unabated.

Voters everywhere continually demand more and better services, all too often from their Government. And politicians promise to deliver them. So either we stop demanding or we (not just others) have to pay for these services. And there are indeed vital projects still to be undertaken here. The most pressing (and maybe the most expensive) is waste management and the current landfills in particular. Even the most optimistic realtor, developer and “no new taxes” lobbyist must be aware that the south end of Seven Mile Beach, Camana Bay and the bypass stretch are exposed to a potential toxic disaster (air pollution already and soil and water pollution that may be happening unseen underground). What price tourism, real estate and the North Sound if that occurs (and the crime wave and poor underresourced policing continue)?

There are some things we should stop doing. First, bashing the UK. This may play well locally for a time but is unproductive. Second, saying we just have a short term cash flow problem and all will be well if we can borrow some cheap dollars to keep us going until the boom times in tourism and the financial services industries restart. Those times may be a while coming(and we must ensure the right platforms to encourage these key industries), and the traditional revenue streams from these industries will likely be insufficient for the long term. Third, saying we just cut Government expenditure, eliminate waste and abuse in Government services, downsize the civil service and improve civil service performance. Steps must be taken (the civil service and statutory authorities are in the aggregate far too large a percentage of the total work force), certainly to freeze the expansion, but it will be very hard in reality to turn the clock back (just count the votes). Fourth, saying that privatization and public/private partnerships and private finance initiatives are the solution. There are some sensible options, but these are not sufficient to handle the problems. Fifth, saying that our ratios of debt and debt servicing costs to GDP are and will be well in line with other countries. This is misleading if most of that GDP is off limits as a source of Government revenue, i.e. we are not prepared to tax it directly! I suspect Moody’s may not have taken this into account in their recent rating confirmation of Cayman. Sixth, parroting “do not raise taxes in a recession”. This comes from the same people who during good times say “do not raise taxes, you will stop the boom”. Lastly, painting this as a Caymanian-non Caymanian issue. We are all in this together.

We should not ape the fiscally irresponsible behaviour of the US and the UK. Fortunately, we cannot “print money” and flood the market with CI$ debt that we cheapen by devaluing the currency (since Government borrowings are essentially in US$, we leave the Fed to do that for us!). We need to reinstate sound Government finances. I believe this is possible but contributions are required from the entire resident community and those invested locally. The self-interested “nail the other guy, he’s not at the table so he can be lunch” is very unhelpful. Suggestions should be constructive with a willingness to compromise for the greater long term good.

We now have deficit figures for the last fiscal year (disturbing even if predictable), an optimistic proposed budget for the current fiscal year and UK in-principle and conditional consent to a portion of the loans requested (as yet we do not know which financial institutions have made firm commitments to fund the loans). The UK still requires, not only satisfactory short term fixes, but also a long term plan for sustainable revenues/financing and expenditure cuts/containment to match (phased implementation should be possible). In our own interests, we should also set clear priorities.

The short to medium term solutions outlined so far in the proposed budget call for swingeing increases in the usual indirect fees and duties (e.g. import duties –effectively our sales tax, financial services and company fees, work permits, etc), a 2% levy on money transfers through licensed money services companies (but not through banks) and various other miscellaneous fees, a new annual business premises fee payable by the tenant of 10% per annum of the rent (with the concession that no such fee is payable on leases in force on which stamp duty has already been paid), one off savings (e.g. deferrals and perhaps cancellations of services and projects) and windfalls, civil service/statutory authority hiring and remuneration freezes, disposition/refinancing of Government assets/liabilities etc., and improved efficiencies, performance and collections (delivery is another question). But I fear that, given there is little hard evidence of sustained cuts on the expenditure side and of specific long term funding/financing of capital projects, there needs to be detailed study followed by action that broadens in the longer term the revenue base through meaningful new levies (implemented in a sensible staged manner) that are not so dependent on perpetual boom times and buoyant consumption. And this is not simply because the UK tellsus this. If we fail to do this, we are likely only kicking the can down the road for a short while.

Taxes should be fair, have the lowest adverse impact on economic activity and should be cost effective to collect and enforce. There are two new proposals in particular that do not meet the tests.

The proposed 2% levy on money transfers through money services licensees is unfair as it hits those at the bottom end of the economic scale (who have also been abandoned by the traditional banking system; perhaps the retail banks will be good community citizens and now rethink this poor attitude). It also sets a very ill advised precedent (thin edge of the wedge) as it will be seen as a tax on cross border fund transfers, an anathema to the global financial industry. Finally, it can only be short term, as in a few years, it will be uncollectible as electronic money transfers by cell phone will be possible (this is happening elsewhere already).

The proposed 10% business premises levy on rents (to be an obligation of the tenant but, it appears, to be collected by the landlord and remitted to the Government) fails to meet all the tests (the last one in particular) and is potentially open to nonpayment and fraud, in the same way as stamp duty, health insurance and pension contributions. And in the current climate, I fear that it may finally drive under many small businesses that are already struggling, if they have lease renewals coming up. Also, the new 10 % annual levy may adversely impact one of the key things Cayman needs to do to get the economy going again; that is to encourage greater economic activity here with new financial businesses establishing physical offices with people living and working here in and making real decisions. My concern is that this new in-your-face line item (combined with the ever increasing work permit fees) in the budget of a fund or investment manager considering a physical presence here might be a turn-off. To put this in perspective: currently a 5 year lease at an annual rent of US$250,000 carries upfront stamp duty of 5 %, i.e. a one off US$12,500 approximately; under the new regime, no stamp duty but an annual tax of 10%, i.e. an annual US$25,000, and thus US$125,000 over the five years.

I also question whether this new levy will result in tenants buying or building their own premises. Anecdotally, the response seems negative. The market is a lot more complex than that. First, many smaller tenants are in no financial position to buy or build. Second, in Cayman other than major retail banks (and most already have their own bricks and mortar), financial services and professional firms typically do not own their office premises as it limits their flexibility for growth (or downsizing) and ownership causes succession problems and more for partnerships. Third, major tenants are usually already tied into long term leases. Fourth, I wonder if the existing landlord/owner lobby has thought carefully enough about the implications in the unlikely event of their major tenants constructing their own buildings and vacating their current premises. A whole lot of empty buildings, so be careful what you wish for.

I must emphasise that new taxes should only be imposed if and to the extent that the various short-medium term measures outlined in the budget fall short or are not sustainable. Applying the three tests outlined above, I suggest for mature study and consideration three possible new revenue sources. First, a modest annual community service charge on real estate dedicated to appropriate infrastructure and services (like waste management) and collected by the Land Registry (there can be exemptions for those who genuinely cannot pay and for low value properties, perhaps variable rates/bands depending on the usage and value and a credit/reduction of the upfront stamp duty already paid or payable). Second, a levy on electricity, telephone (including prepaid cell phones), TV and water bills collected by the utility companies. Thirdly, and very reluctantly ifall else fails, casino licences (collected by a new Gaming Board). These could together raise a stable CI$45-CI$75 million annually for Government fairly, with low adverse economic impact, at a reasonable cost and with a high collection rate.


This article is an expanded version of the article that appears in the October issue of the Journal.


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Judges give up pay rise

| 02/06/2010 | 35 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island Headline News(CNS): Although the country’s judiciary should have received a biennial cost of living allowance of 2.2% last year, the Chief Justice’s Office has stated that, in support of the civil service, the judges will be giving up the increase from 1 July. Following speculation that government had approved salary increases for judges, a statement from Chief Justice Anthony Smellie indicates that this is not the case but that under the terms of the Judges Emoluments and Allowances Law and Order they are entitled to an adjustment every two years based on inflation. Judges should have received this last September but it was delayed because the cost of living index was not published until earlier this year.

“Judges have made the decision to give to government, effective July 2010, the 2.2% increase that was due to them from September last year,” the statement from the CJ’s office said.  “This is being done effective July, when the general civil service rollback comes into effect, as a symbolic expression of support in the face of the present financial difficulties of the country.”
 In keeping with Section 95 of the Constitution, the judges’ consent is required before there can be any diminution to their entitlements.
As judges’ pay is awarded under different rules to the rest of the civil service, members of the local legal bench did not receive the same 3.2% cost of living allowance (COLA) which is now being rolled back across the rest of the public sector as part of the 2010/11 government budget cuts.
“Cost of living increases to judges’ salaries can be made only under the terms of the Judges Emoluments and Allowances Law and Order and not by Cabinet. Therefore, the earlier 3.2% cost of living increase for the general civil service did not apply to, and were not received by, judges,” the chief justice explained.
The office confirmed that magistrates’ salaries fall under general public sector pay and their salaries, along with the rest of the courts’ staff, will be subject to the same conditions as other civil servants and subject to the 3.2% rollback.

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Dudus’ brother ‘Livity’ hands himself in to police

| 02/06/2010 | 1 Comment

(CNS): The brother of Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke is now in the custody of the Jamaican security forces, according to local reports. Leighton ‘Livity’ Coke, who was placed on the police most wanted list last week, turned himself in late Tuesday. However, his now infamous brother remains on the run, evading capture despite a week-long assault on is stronghold of Tivoli Gardens that has left at least 73 civilians dead and divided the country. Many Jamaicans are hailing what they see as a chance to fight rampant crime but others are alarmed at the incredibly heavy price in human lives.

‘Dudus’ Coke, who is wanted by the US authorities for drug and gun trafficking charges, is said to have escaped through the barricaded West Kingston area which was at the centre of a heavy security operation throughout last week.

According to the indictment, US prosecutors have accused Coke and his "Shower Posse" gang of funnelling cocaine and marijuana to New York and other US cities, contributing to violence that has caused thousands of deaths there and in Jamaica.
The Jamaica Observer is also reporting that Jamaican police have arrested Justin O’Gilvie, the business partner of Coke in the Presidential Click business and one of several alleged members of the Shower Posse gang. Other alleged Shower Posse members on the list are Harry Mcleod, also called ‘Harry Dog’; Prince Bucket, also called ‘Tugman’; and Paul KirkPatrick, otherwise called ‘Teddy Paul’.

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