Archive for September 22nd, 2010

Drivers warned over harbour front road works

| 22/09/2010 | 4 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Water Authority said that Phase 2 of the South Church Street upgrade project on the George Town harbour front is scheduled to continue on Thursday, 23 September 23 from 9:00AM until 4:00PM. The WA said warned the motoring public of the works which will take place between Ugland House and Melmac Avenue. Access from Ugland House to Melmac Ave will be reduced to one lane. All motorists travelling in the South Church Street area are urged to take note of the road works and use caution while motoring there. (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

If possible, motorists are asked to use an alternate route. The Water Authority said it apologizes in advance for any inconvenience caused and wishes to thank the public for its understanding as they continue to make service improvements.

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CAL resumes Washington & Chicago direct flights

| 22/09/2010 | 4 Comments

(CNS): Cayman Airways Limited (CAL) has announced that it will be resuming nonstop flights to Washington, DC and Chicago this winter. Chicago flights start again on 21 November while flights to the US capital start on 18 December until April 2011. The National flag carrier said the seasonal gateways are operating alongside the airline’s year-round non-stop service between Grand Cayman and New York (JFK International Airport).Senior Vice President of Commercial Affairs and CFO for Cayman Airways, Paul Tibbetts said not only were these gateways lucrative for Cayman tourism they also offer excellent vacation experiences for Cayman residents.

“Both Chicago and DC offer a plethora of activities for the whole family, including museums, planetariums, zoo’s, art galleries, and festivals just to name a few. We hope everyone takes advantage of this great travel opportunity available through the national flag carrier,” he said.

Shomari Scott, Acting Director of the Department of Tourism (DoT), said the department welcomed the return of the flights for the coming winter tourist season and was expecting that they will help boost visitor numbers.
“In the past, this route has proven to be an important gateway for many vacation and business travellers from the USA’s north-east region to the Cayman Islands, and the re-launch at this time will be an added convenience for travellers to and from our Islands, along with the regular flights out of New York City. DoT is also delighted to see the continuation of the Chicago flight as that area continues to be a strong tourism market for the Cayman Islands,” Scott added.
 Economy roundtrip airfares start at CI$200 for Washington and CI$264 for Chicago with taxes and fees on top. The DC service will operate on Wednesdays and Saturdays with the Chicago flight on Wednesdays and Sundays the airline said.

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Libraries push membership and encourage reading

| 22/09/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands public library services are promote reading to mark International Literacy Month this September. As well as offering tips to parents on how to get kids reading the local libraries are running a membership with sign up campaign. In tough economic times, parents find it hard to make sure their children have everything they need for school but library cards are free. Libraries support literacy education by providing teaching resources, space for tutoring, information and referral services, as well as free access to music, DVDs, the Internet, books and much more. Library cards aren’t just for kids a recent report found the importance of libraries has grown in 2010 in face of the global economic crisis as people looked for sources of cost-effective help.

Education Minister said the community should make the most of the range of information resources that are available and waiting at public libraries around the islands. He also noted how important a skill reading was for young people. “There are so many ways in which reading continues to be both a vital skill for children to master, and an important source of knowledge and pleasure that can last a lifetime. Nurture it in your children,” Rolston Anglin said.
Studies have shown that the more children read the better readers and writers they will become. However with so many electronic resources competing for kids attention today parents struggle to get children to read. According to the Reading is Fundamental Organization (RIF) if families have books and other reading materials at home then they have a better chance of getting kids to read.
A library card is free and members can borrow up to ten books at a time. Looking in the linrary with children can help parents understand what their kids are most interested so they can borrow books and magazines in that field.
The best way to motivate reading is for parents to display good reading habits and let kids see them reading as often as possible, whether it’s the newspaper, magazines or books. Discussing books that parents have read with their kids will reinforce the concept that reading is an important part of life.
RIF also says that Children at any age will appreciate being read to. Experts recommend that parents do this for at least 10-15 minutes each day at a convenient time as the more children are read to the greater their interest in mastering reading.

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OFCs fan to host seminar at UCCI

| 22/09/2010 | 3 Comments

(CNS): Professor Walid Hejazi, from the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, will be conducting an advanced level financial seminar at the UCCI next month. The seminar, designed for professionals in all sectors of the financial services industry, including those serving in related government agencies, will be offered over a four-day period, beginning 4 October. Professor Hejazi who is an international expert in the areas of macroeconomics and the global economy will explore the role of international financial centres such as the Cayman Islands in a global community.

Hejazi has been a vocal supporter of international banking and low-tax jurisdictions. “I have argued in front of Canadian parliamentary committees on three occasions that if the OECD were to shut these international jurisdictions down, it would hurt the global economy and, in particular, the specific economies that are home to the investments,” he said, adding that from a global economic perspective, international financial centres “play a very important role that is very much not understood by many policymakers.”

On the other hand, he noted that the use of these jurisdictions to hide money that "should" be taxed in a home jurisdiction is “out of the scope” of the above comment. He anticipated that the “should” would serve for interesting discussion during the seminar.

The scope of this advanced-level workshop which costs $1800 covers the relationships and impacts of macroeconomics, international financial centres and the global economy. Also explored will be current shifts in the global economy, including emerging economies, and the increasing importance of international financial centres in a changing global financial environment.
The agenda will include the role of monetary and fiscal policy and links to financial markets, theories of exchange rate, international trade, and foreign investment.  The underlying causes of the global financial crisis and implications for international financial centres will also be addressed.

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Popes bankers under investigation

| 22/09/2010 | 0 Comments

(FT.Com): Italy’s finance police have seized €23m held by the Vatican in an Italian bank while the pope’s top two bankers have been placed under investigation for suspected money laundering. Police confirmed reports that they had confiscated the funds held by the Institute for Religious Works (IOR) – the Vatican’s bank – in an account at Credito Artigiano, an Italian bank, following suspicions raised by the Bank of Italy over two attempted transfers. Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, formerly Bank Santander’s head of operations in Italy and a professor of ethical finance, was appointed head of IOR a year ago.

According to sources close to the Vatican, one of his main mandates was to bring the bank in line with international norms and regulations on tax havens and money laundering.

The second official being investigated is Paolo Cipriani, the bank’s director-general. The Vatican expressed its full confidence in Mr Gotti Tedeschi. In a statement it expressed surprise at the investigation and said it remained committed to financial transparency.

 Go to article

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One man arrested for nightclub murder

| 22/09/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): More than a year after the shooting, police have announced that a 24-year-old man has been arrested in connection to the death of Carlo Webster. The 24-year-old man, who is from the West Bay area, was arrested earlier this morning (Wednesday 22 September) on suspicion of murder, police revealed. Webster was gunned down in the Next Level Nightclub, on the West Bay Road, on 10 September in a shooting which police have said they believed was connected with a tit for tat escalation of gang violence throughout 2009. Webster was shot in the head in front of over one hundred people who were in the club that night. Police have not named the man and have not indicated if he was already in custody or not. However, a spokesperson said that enquiries into the shooting continue.

On the night of the incident the 911 Emergency Communications Centre received a call froma member of the public reporting that a shooting had occurred inside Next Level. Police responded to the scene and found a man in his thirties inside the club who had received fatal gunshot wound. Another man was then found at the rear of the club suffering from a gun shot wound to his abdomen.


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Law enforcement raid nets immigration offenders

| 22/09/2010 | 9 Comments

(CNS): Two Jamaicans and one Caymanian were arrested during a joint RCIPS and immigration operation on Monday night which involved some twenty law enforcement officers who were carrying out checks in the Eastern Avenue area of George Town. The two Jamaican nationals were arrested on suspicion of having landed illegally and the Caymanian for obstruction of the officers all three remain in custody pending further investigations. Meanwhile, another man who is a permanent resident with the right to work was arrested for not having an employment rights certificate.

Deputy Chief Immigration Officer for Enforcement Gary Wong explained the situation. “The charge facing this professional-level worker is working without being authorised by an Employment Rights Certificate. The offence occurred after the permanent resident failed to pay the required fees which would allow him to work in the Cayman Islands. The outstanding amount is some $25,000,” he said.
The two separate events provide illustrations the Immigration Department stated of its intention to clamp down and remain vigilant in both detecting illegal residents and ensuring that local employees and businesses adhere to relevant laws.
Applauding these recent efforts and thanking the RCIPS and other uniformed agencies for their continued support, Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans said offenders will continue to be targeted. 
“This continued enforcement drive is in the national interest. It targets all levels of law infringement and is about protecting border security aswell as detecting abuses in the labour market,” she added.  
Evans also thanked the public for cooperating and reminded permanent residents to ensure that any required payments are up-to-date or they would face being arrested and fined.
The department is able to impose administrative fines, which do not require the subjects to appear in court or necessarily face imprisonment.
During the immigration amnesty in July 87 people representing diverse nationalities took advantage of the opportunity to depart Cayman without repercussion. An enforcement crackdown was subsequently implemented.
Cases detected since then include overstaying, altering documents, working without a permit, obstructing law enforcers and making false statements. Overstayers or others committing any immigration offences should voluntarily contact the Immigration Enforcement Section, or they will be arrested when attempting to depart.

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Governments turn up heat on tax cheats in Med

| 22/09/2010 | 0 Comments

( Panic swept through Italy’s superyacht owners like wildfire last May, when finance police pounced offshore and seized the 63m Force Blue from Formula One tycoon Flavio Briatore, evicting his ex-model wife and infant son, amid accusations of tax fraud. Tax police said Briatore was suspected of evading €4m ($5m) in unpaid VAT on the boat and tax of €800,000 on fuel. Legal advisers around the world promptly told their clients – some 90 per cent of whom, like Briatore, had their yachts under the Cayman Islands flag – to reconsider before entering Italian waters. In both Italy and Greece, the Mediterranean yachting idyll is coming under threat, as cash-strapped governments turn up the heat on tax evaders.


Over the summer, undercover inspectors in T-shirts and flip-flops were popping up in Italian marinas, checking ownership of yachts against tax returns, asking such embarrassing questions as how someone claiming disability or social welfare could be at the helm of a 15m boat.
Similar moves – but so far without the drama of a high-profile seizure – are afoot in Greece, where financial police are checking the names of superyachts berthed at marinas around Athens against the registry of non-ocean going vessels at the maritime affairs ministry.

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Audit office defers FOI

| 22/09/2010 | 14 Comments

(CNS): The Auditor General’s Office remains determined to keep a lid on the number of public bodies that have not conformed with the Public Management and Finance Law this year, and has refused a CNS freedom of information request regarding the submission of annual accounts. Despite the fact that additional public funds were allocated to help financial officers catch up with delinquent government accounts so they could submit the 2009/10 financial year on time, the audit office says it is not prepared to reveal whether that extra expenditure of public money has improved the situation. Although it is an independent office, free to make its own decisions about disclosure and the only place collating information about government financial compliance, the auditor general is giving nothing away.

Following an FOI request by CNS at the beginning of this month asking the AG’s office to list the number of government companies, statutory authorities, government ministries and other public bodies which had complied with the PMFL, the office has sent a letter of deferral until January next year.
CNS had asked which government entities had submitted their annual accounts to the office for audit by the 31 August deadline under the PMFL. However, the office said it was not prepared to reveal the information as it was working on a major report regarding the entire issue of government financial accountability for December and did not wish to pre-empt the findings.
In a departure from the previous auditor general’s position of answering questions and providing information to the press and the public at large unless the law prevented him from doing so, the new auditor general has said he intends to communicate with the public only when reports are complete and have been delivered to the Legislative Assembly.  
Given the allocation of extra public money to assist government financial officers in the goal to catch up and to get this year’s accounts in on time, CNS pressed for this piece of information in the belief that the public had a right to know at the material time (the legal deadline of 31 August) how many government bodies had complied with the law. We therefore submitted an FOI request.
In the deferral letter the Auditor General’s Office said the information requested by CNS was “considered a significant matter for our December Auditor General’s Report as we intend to present progress in presenting financial statements as a major component of the Report before talking more widely about the audit opinions and the issues we have found.”
The office said that the matter would be presented in the context of all of the issues surrounding the progress made on government accounting. “We believe the release of the number no matter what caveat we attach, is potentially a misrepresentation of the position and does not really ensure effective accountability at this time,” the letter stated.
The AG said the information would be released at the latest by 4 January 2011 if the report was not tabled in the Legislative Assembly before that date.
CNS has appealed the decision in order to ensure the issue of government financial accountability remains in the forefront of public awareness so that the people can continue to press government to fulfil its obligations regarding how public money is being spent.
The Caymanian public is aware of the poor state of government finances because the previous auditor general made the decision to do a special report on the subject. As a result of his revelations the government was forced to tackle the problem, and while progress has been slow the public scrutiny helped to place the problem higher on government’s agenda.
At present the people still do not know how government departments have spent public money, despite two budget deficits and a continuing recession, as an annual government financial report has not been produced since 2004.

Read AG’s letter here  

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Local customs officer’s drug running connection

| 22/09/2010 | 45 Comments

(CNS): Unconfirmed reports that three Caymanian men have been arrested in the UK on charges of importing drugs may also include a local customs officer. Chief Customs Officer Carlon Powery (left) told News 27 yesterday that he was aware of an alleged offence regarding a flight that had left the Cayman Islands for the UK but was not prepared to comment on the connection with one of his officers. Powery said he did not want to withhold any information from the public but the investigation was in the preliminary stage.  CNS understands that the men involved were on a British Airways flight and were arrested on arrival in London with a significant amount of cocaine and may have been assisted by an official at Owen Roberts International.


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