Archive for June 26th, 2010

The other offshore disaster

| 26/06/2010 | 6 Comments

(The New York Times): Canaries are small. Coal mines are big. Finding one in the other is never easy. There is little debate these days, though, that the implosion in the summer of 2007 of two Bear Stearns hedge funds — run by two bankers, Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin — was the first sign that significant trouble was brewing in the market for subprime-mortgage-related securities and for the Wall Street firms that manufactured and sold them.

… To understand one of the central reasons the hedge funds failed — aside from the obvious one that Cioffi and Tannin were terrible investors — it is necessary to take a trip to an island paradise: George Town on Grand Cayman Island …

Go to NYT commentary

Related reading: The Offshore Director: Risks, Responsibilities and Liabilities by Tim Ridley

Continue Reading

Unemployed youngsters check out construction

| 26/06/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A Cayman construction company is urging other local businesses to get on board with the government’s employment programme and help get young people in work. The Phoenix Group has joined in with the National Employment Passport Program, called Passport2Success as one of the employers offering work experience to the students on the course. Barbara Anley, General Manager for Phoenix, said she believed a great deal of effort was put into the planning and organizing of this initiative, an excellent way to prepare young people to join the workforce. A group of fifteen students shown around the firm recently were surprised to learn the variety of careers available with the group.

As a local recruiter Anley said the two week job placements will help give entry-level applicants a better understanding of the day to day responsibilities associated with their industry of choice. As this programme is open to all industries, she encouraged more local business owners and managers to get on board. The firm believes the business community needs to throw its full weight behind these types of programmes at such a critical time for Cayman’s youth.

The National Employment Passport Program, called Passport2Success, is a new initiative funded by the Ministry of Education, Training and Employment. It is a full time, 11 week programme that teaches participants essential personal and career skills, gives them valuable work experience and better prepares them for the working world.
The programme is open to school leavers and young Caymanians who are struggling to find employment because they lack basic skills. Local research has shown that too many high school graduates in the Cayman Islands do not meet expectations in regards to literacy, effective communication, problem solving and working in teams.
 Increasingly, entry level positions in the workforce require higher levels of education. Passport2Success helps young Caymanians improve their skills and increase the likelihood of succeeding in the work place.
Lynne Banker, a key collaborator on the programme led the two hour expedition and was pleased with the reaction of the young people. “They were surprised by the variety of positions and departments that comprise Phoenix Construction. The visit to an active construction site was a first for all of us” she said. “There certainly has been more interest now for work placement with the Phoenix Group.”
 “We had no idea that Phoenix was so many different companies doing so many interesting things” said student Amadello Mena-Hebbert, who was attending from Cayman Brac. “We had all just thought they were just a construction company.” Interested in design he said it was great to see how designers and builders work together, as he and the group also had a chance to spend some quality time with the Group’s Chief Architect, Tami Scott, of Icon Architecture.
Amadello said the work place visits which have included tours of the Ritz Carlton, Red Sail Sports and Butterfield Bank, are critical for young people like him recently out of school and spinning their wheels. “A lot of these people are confused and uninformed about what their options are in life” he said. “The high school experience does not give you a good look at the working world out there as programmes like this do. I wish we had this sort of exposure earlier, when we could have used it to make some decisions about the future”
The Passport2Success programme is full time, 5 days a week, from 8:30am to 4pm, and is based at the International College of the Cayman Islands (ICCI), Savannah Newlands. The programme is 11 weeks long, 2 weeks of which will be work placement. There are 4 programmes a year. The programme launched on 19th April, 2010. There are 25 available spaces for the next programme.
 

Continue Reading

Hopes high that Alex will miss oil spill

| 26/06/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Atlantic season’s first tropical storm which formed early on Saturday morning remains on a track to avoid the massive oil spill area in the Gulf. However experts are warning that this or any system can quickly change course and send cleanup efforts grinding to a halt. The logistics of containing the oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico are difficult in ideal conditions. Things become even more complicated with the approach of a storm system like Alex, which has pelted Belize, northern Guatemala and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula with heavy rain.

Any system with winds over 46 mph could force BP PLC to abandon efforts to contain the flow for up to two weeks and delay the drilling of two relief wells that are the best hope of stopping it, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said. Alex has weakened to a tropical depression but Alex will cross over the Yucatan Peninsula back into the Gulf, where the warm waters could fuel it up to hurricane strength. It’s projected to hit Mexico again south of Texas and miss the spill, but officials are watching closely.

"We all know the weather is unpredictable and we could have a sudden, last-minute change," Allen said.

Alex is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 4 to 8 inches over the Yucatan Peninsula, eastern Guatemala and much of Honduras and Belize through Sunday evening. Isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches are possible over mountainous areas. These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. Tropical storm force winds are expected to reach the Bay Islands of Honduras by Sunday afternoon and the coast of Belize and the Yucatan Sunday tonight.

Continue Reading

Jamaican helper ban could be lifted for PRs

| 26/06/2010 | 146 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman local news, Cayman immigration policy(CNS): The immigration policy which prohibits permanent residents from hiring nannies and helpers from Jamaica could soon be lifted. The premier described the policy as a clear example of the kind of discrimination Jamaicans have experienced in Cayman over the years and that he was prepared to remove it. The policy was introduced by Cayman’s Immigration Board and not government and does not form part of the Immigration Law. Franz Manderson, the chief officer in the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs, said it was put in place at a time when the boards were trying to introduce more balance in the nationalities coming to the country to work and when there were only a few permanent residents.

During Tuesday’s meeting of Finance Committee in the Legislative Assembly, the member for East End, Arden McLean, questioned whether the policy was still in place. Manderson told the opposition MLA that there was a policy introduced some ten years ago restricting the employment of Jamaican nannies and helpers to Caymanians. He said it was still the case that only Caymanians could employ helpers from that country. Manderson explained that permanent residents could employ domestic worker but they had to be from another country.
McLean pointed out that most people with PR would eventually become Caymanians if they stay here long enough so there was no real point in the policy. “Those people are part of us now so why do we have the policy?” he asked, adding that it did not seem right that the immigration boards were introducing policies which should be the remit of elected legislators.
West Bay government backbencher Cline Glidden also questioned how such discrimination would sit with the Bill of Rights when comes into effect in 2012.
Manderson, who used to be the head of the Immigration Department, explained that it was introduced when there were a lot less permanent residents living in Cayman but now, he believed there was over 2,000. “I will ask the boards to look at that policy,” he said. Manderson also indicated that the department was working on having policies such as this posted on the website to better inform people, in line with freedom of information.
McKeeva Bush said it was just one example of how Jamaicans have been treated. “For too long we’ve discrimination against that country,” he said, adding that he would change the policy. If he did, however, he warned opposition members and the people not to march against him again wearing straw hats and whompers.

Continue Reading