Archive for June 8th, 2010

Zombies wanted for business opportunity

| 08/06/2010 | 8 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island business news(CNS): For $1,000 residents of the Cayman Islands have the chance to not only help get the country’s fledgling film industry on its feet but to be Zombies as well. The next movie about to be made in Cayman has nothing to do with crooked cash but an altogether different theme from any thing that’s gone before. And it’s a theme that the producers are convinced will prove to be a success, not just for them but for the Cayman Islands too. Filming for Zombie Driftwood, a scary, low budget b-movie set in the well-known North Side bar, starts shooting next week and there is still time for would-be investors to get in on the act —  literally.

The film makers are in need of both cash and zombies and have opted to tie the two together. 500 shares in the company are currently being offered to the wider public, which will include, among a number of things, the chance to feature as a zombie in the movie. Investors can also hope for a return on their money too, as there are lucrative opportunities with this genre of film inthe DVD market.
The executive production team includes award winners David McWhinnie and Bob Carruthers, who say the zombie horror genre is an evergreen staple of the low budget film world. “The huge international DVD and Blu-ray market is the real engine which makes this kind of production possible.  The goal is to excite the interest of the millions of zombie film fans out there and deliver a great product,” said Carruthers.
Despite being about zombies, the film will be a very Caymanian affair with local production services being provided by film maker Beth Henning’s Caymana Production Services and the lead roles have gone to Cayman’s home grown actors, including Rita Estevanovich, Brian Braggs and Peter Costa with some of the islands’ unique characters also making cameo appearances. “There is some great acting talent here in the Cayman Islands, as good as you can find anywhere in the world so we were able to cast locally,” added Carruthers who is getting very excited about the project, with shooting due to start in just a few days.
A film industry professional, Carruthers told CNS that this b-movie could be the forerunner to more low budget films being made on the islands. He said there was a universal market for this kind of film and there was no reason why Cayman couldn’t be in on the action.
With the local film business still in its infancy, Zombie Driftwood will provide a great boost to the industry and also showcase the diverse potential the islands have for providing cinematic backdrops. Given that zombies are more commonly found in places considerably less attractive than beautiful, sun-kissed Caribbean islands, Carruthers said the exotic location will provide an added attraction for zombie movie fans the world over and introduce Cayman to a completely new audience.
For anyone who wants to take a chance on Cayman and the zombies, the producers will be holding a meeting for potential investors at the Harquail Theatre Black Box at 7pm on Sunday 13 June. The presentation will be followed by a short question and answer session and will last approximately one hour. For more details go to  

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TV station switches local channels

| 08/06/2010 | 37 Comments

(CNS): TV viewers could experience a sense of panic this weekend as they switch back and forth between channels 9 and 12 searching for the World Cup in vain. However, all will be well once they switch to 24 and 27, the new homes of cable channels Island 24 and Cayman 27 — which the local TV station says makes a lot more sense. From midnight on Friday 11 June, the channels will both switch to their new homes and will be broadcasting all of the live action from South Africa. The two free-over-air channels have always been on UHF 24 and 27, but because there were only 12 cable channels when WestStar began, they were placed on 9 and 12.

As CITN readies for a broadcast re-launch and what the station said would be “exciting changes this summer,” Weststar said it made sense to move the two stations to the correlating cable channels.
This means that Fox moves to channel 12 and Disney moves to channel 9. An electronic notice has been placed on the two cable networks so that regular viewers know where to find their favourite programmes.

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Legal fails to nail gun cases

| 08/06/2010 | 2 Comments

(CNS): A freedom of information request made to the Legal Department by a local attorney concerning a number of firearms related cases over the last few years revealed more than twenty of them had failed to result in any form of prosecution. The list covers a number of different indictments all of which involved unlicensed firearms but many never came in front of a jury for a number of different reasons, from missing witnesses to no case submissions being upheld by the courts. Of the eight cases that made it to trial, only two people were found guilty.

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Bush gets UK OK to borrow

| 08/06/2010 | 104 Comments

(CNS): Updated — Following meetings between the FCO’s overseas territories minister and the Cayman Islands premier, the UK has agreed in principle for the government to add to the country’s debt to help get public finances back on track. McKeeva Bush met Henry Bellingham on Tuesday for the first time to discuss Cayman’s financial situation and the forthcoming budget. In a statement Bush said the meeting marked the start of a new positive relationship between the UK and the Cayman Islands. Government officials have confirmed that the UK has sanctioned $155million, $52million short of the amount the premier had originally asked the FCO to approve.

Describing the meeting with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as “excellent”, the premier said the OT minister had welcomed the “positive action” so far and had commended the Cayman Islands Government on the measures proposed in the three year plan, which did not contain proposals for direct taxation and was sent to the UK earlier this year as a proposal on how the CIG would restore public finances to a sustainable footing.
“We had an excellent meeting today which we believe will be the start of a new and positive partnership between the UK and the Cayman Islands,” the minister and the premier said. “We have agreed in principle that the Cayman Islands Government can undertake additional borrowing next year. This agreement will help the Cayman Islands deliver its three year plan to deal with the impact of the global slowdown."
Estimates suggest that the Cayman government will need to borrow over $200 million in the next fiscal year in order to continue existing capital works, initiate a number of new projects including roads and a juvenile detention centre, as well as balance the 2009/10 budget deficit, which is expected to be over $50 million.
Following today’s meeting with the new UK foreign office minister, Bush is scheduled to head for Brussels tomorrow to meet with EU representatives over the Alternative Investment Fund Manager Directive (AIFMD), which could have a detrimental impact on the local fund industry.
The new EU initiative only allows non EU based funds to be marketed in the Union if the country of domicile meets strict new criteria relating to regulatory oversight, anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing, compliance standards and TIEAs. Bush said last month he believes Cayman will meet the criteria but he intended to find out for sure. "We believe that Cayman, on an objective assessment, meets these criteria. However, we are still seeking clarification on the specifics of the process that they will put in place to assess whether the criteria are met,” Bush had said.
The premier is expected back in the Cayman Islands at the weekend in time for the Queen’s birthday celebrations. The state opening of parliament takes place on Tuesday, 15 June, when the government will deliver the annual Throne Speech and the Budget Address.  

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Road to ‘Hell’ paved with more than good intentions

| 08/06/2010 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians should all enjoy their journey to ‘Hell’ more in future as the National Roads Authority (NRA)’s improvement plans press on. Officials said this week that the entire project is scheduled for completion by mid-August. The first phase which NRA staff are currently working on includes the widening and re-paving of Hell Road, from Watercourse Road and the Watercourse/Hell Road intersection, to Fountain Road. This will give road users two 12ft vehicular lanes, plus two 3ft bicycle lanes. The NRA will also install a curb and sidewalk along the Fountain and Hell roads, from the multi-purpose hall to the Town Hall.

The second phase of the project will focus on improving the Hell, Town Hall/Rev. Blackman Road intersection. There are big plans for the future of Hell Road as it is slated to become the major East-West collector road for West Bay, and will eventually connect the Morgan’s Harbour end of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway to the Boatswain Bay area.

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YUDP says change coming

| 08/06/2010 | 53 Comments

(CNS): The battle to make politics attractive to young people is one that the Young United Democratic Party (YUDP) president, Richard Christian, is determined to win as he says change is coming to the country’s political landscape. Well aware of the criticisms young people (as well as the older ones) have of party politics, Christian believes it’s not the system or the politics that is at fault but the people. He says that Cayman’s political landscape needs more inspirational leaders and he believes that change is coming. “There will be leaders whose attitudes and character will lift the nation and change the future of politics,” predicted the young politician.  

“I understand some of the concerns people may have about younger persons getting involved in politics,” Christian told CNS when we asked him recently about the YUPD and how young Caymanians fit into the politics of the future. “People are concerned that the younger generation will take on the same attitudes and inherit the old way of doing things. However, in my opinion, it’s the next generation that is going to bring this country closer together. We have a new generation of leaders or leaders to be that want positive change and have new concepts of achieving that.”
Christian revealed that there are a number of misconceptions that deter people from becoming involved with local politics and these are the issues that will need to be addressed before young Caymanians will step up and begin influencing the political landscape.
“It’s very difficult to get people in general involved in politics, not just young people. I feel the main barriers that hinder many people from getting involved is the misconception that politics is full of dishonesty,” Christian added.  “People also shy away from politics because they are afraid of being stigmatized by society on which party or candidates they support, fearful of possibly losing their jobs.”
The YUDP leader said he believes that it’s not politics or the even party system that needs to change. “It’s the people behind them that must change,” he said. “People are naturally drawn towards great leaders; we saw this during President Obama’s presidential campaign and Nelson Mandela’s eventual election as President of South Africa. We also saw the thousands of people Martin Luther King Jr. attracted to his peaceful marches. People want to be associated with leaders they can trust, that give them hope and leaders that inspire them.”
Politics, Christian said, is a rare occupation where only ahandful of natural born leaders are called to serve. “It takes a much focused, strong minded, bold and determined individual to be a politician,” he added, explaining that it calls for making tough decisions which will often come under heavy criticism. Already becoming wise to the trials and tribulations, Christian told CNS that he has learned not to believe everything he hears.
When it comes to the work of the YUDP, Christian said it has an important part to play in the community akin to a service club, not just because there are things that need to be done in the community but because service is part of the role a politician should play. The YUPD will serve as a platform for tomorrow’s leaders, he noted, but those leaders need to learn they are also servants.
“In my opinion a politician is a servant to his country,” Christian added.
Since taking the helm of the YUDP, Christian says it has been involved in a number of issues and demonstrated that it can make a meaningful contribution. He said the mainstream party is taking the YUDP membership seriously as they have been successful in pushing the concerns of young people with the mainstream UDP, from job security to crime as well as having a direct influence on policy.
“Recently we were able to influence the government not to proceed with enclosing the Francis Bodden Girls Home property with barbed wire fencing,” he said, adding that the membership is looking into a number of other policy proposals and how they can influence those with an eye on the needs of the country’s youth. “I see the YUDP being one of the groups the party turns to for advice and direction on youth related issues.”
Asked what legislation he would, personally, most like to influence if he could, Christian said he would like to get his hands on the charity’s law. He said it has been on the table for sometime but could make a real difference for some of the country’s less popular, but no less important, charities.
“I love to help those in need and I truly feel that is part of what God has called us to do – share. There are a number of committees and groups in Cayman that are doing a lot of good within the community volunteering their time, but they don’t get the support from the private or the public sector. I think the charity’s law needs to be passed to make it easier for committees and groups to get funding instead of donations going to the same non-profit organizations over and over,” he explained.
With the next election still three years away, Christian revealed that he is not yet sure if he will be stepping into the political fray himself. “My wife and kids are already complaining at the number of meetings and activities that I am involved in,” he laughed when CNS asked if we will see his name on the ballot sheet in 2010. “If it is God’s will for me to run as a candidate, I will. In the meantime, I am just determined to spread the love of God and to be a positive role model. When we look around the world, there are so many inspirational figures that we admire and look up to, I would like to see Cayman start producing leaders that inspire the whole country.” 

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Travers takes on another US senator

| 08/06/2010 | 49 Comments

(CNS): Following comments made about the Cayman Islands financial services industry by US Senator Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota) on the floor of Congress recently, the chair of Cayman Finance, Tony Travers has written an open letter to him stating that his comments regarding tax secrecy and "ridiculous loopholes" are not true. Travers, who has said he will seek out and correct every public statement by influential people that he believes is false where Cayman is concerned, told the senator that most of what Americans think they know about the Cayman Islands is wrong.

This is not the first time Travers has taken on those who use Cayman’s name in vain when it comes to what he sees as misunderstandings or myths about the country’s role in the world’s economy. In his latest correspondence to Washington, Travers sent an open letter on Wednesday morning to the senator following the remarks Dorgan made during a recent debate on financial regulatory reform. The senator had implied that the Cayman Islands is a "tax secrecy jurisdiction" with "unbelievably ridiculous loopholes".
In his letter Travers wrote, “Neither of those claims is true.” The Cayman Finance chair pointed out, as he has now on numerous occasions both verbally and in writing, that the Cayman Islands has full tax transparency with the United States and with 27 members of the European Union.
“The US Department of Justice has had complete authority to access needed records in the Cayman Islands since 1990. Profits and capital gains made in the United States by Cayman Islands investment vehicles are fully taxable under United States law,” Travers wrote. “The anti-money laundering legislation of the Cayman Islands has been evaluated by the International Monetary Fund and by the Financial Action Task Force and is found to be superior to that of the United States and most EU jurisdictions.”
He pointed out that Cayman is a member of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and has full "regulator-to-regulator" disclosure with all other IOSCO regulators.
The chair of Cayman Finance stated that the jurisdiction’s financial services sector is enormously important to the economic growth of the United States as the preponderant flow of capital is from the Cayman Islands into, not out of, the United States.  “Most of what Americans think they know about the Cayman Islands is wrong. It’s time to learn how our financial services industry is working to promote economic growth in the United States and around the world,” Travers wrote.

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Gunmen rob GT Burger King

| 08/06/2010 | 92 Comments

(CNS): Three men armed with a shotgun and a hand gun robbed the George Town Burger King at around 10.00 last night (Monday 7 June) police have now confirmed. A spokesperson for the RCIPS said that one of the employees in the restaurant sustained a slight head injury when one of the gunmen hit him with a weapon as the robbers demanded money from the tills. There were no customers inside the restaurant at the time the robbery took place, although it appears some customers were at the drive in. Police said the three young men all wore hooded tops and dark clothes and witnesses said they spoke with Caymanian accents. The gunmen escaped on foot with around $300, no shots were fired during the incident and no arrests have yet been made.

The incident is the fifth armed robbery in Grand Cayman in the last five days which has included hits on two gas stations -the Seven Mile Beach and Red Bay ESSOs, Dominos Pizza and the Tortuga Liquor Store in Passadora Place.
Police have said recently that they do not believe any of the robbery’s are connected but are stepping up patrols and warning people who are victims of robberies to remain calm, make a mental note of what is going on and not to put up a fight.  
Detective Francis of George Town CID, is appealing for anyone who may have been in the area at the time, and witnessed anything out of the ordinary to come forward and share the information. Or call 949-4222 or crime stoppers at 800-8477.

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Novice farmers learn lessons in growing greens

| 08/06/2010 | 7 Comments

(CNS): The boys at the Bonaventure community home have been taking part in some valuable lessons in more ways than one recently. Learning to grow their own vegetables as part of a project at the home the boys are involved in a garden enterprise from seeds to table and are now branching out to sell their quality produce to local restaurants and grocery stores. A report on News27 revealed that although it takes effort to grow the vegetables and herbs it’s extremely rewarding. With hep from local Rotarians boys at the home built the green house and are now growing and harvesting their crops with their Basil said to be some of the freshest and best around.

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