Archive for February 18th, 2011

Hedge funds put US economy at risk, says report

| 18/02/2011 | 0 Comments

(Bloomberg): Hedge funds and insurers might threaten US economic stability in a time of crisis, according to a report aimed at helping regulators decide which non-bank financial companies warrant Federal Reserve supervision. An exodus of hedge-fund investors could “cause activity in some markets to freeze,” said the report by staff of the Financial Stability Oversight Council. The report, obtained by Bloomberg News, also said the failure of a large insurance company could “result in dramatic and destabilizing actions being taken by investors.”

The 80-page report is a preliminary draft that, without making recommendations, offers a glimpse of issues regulators, including Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, will consider when deciding which firms should be designated “systemically important” and warrant central bank scrutiny. The council, created by last year’s Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law to prevent another financial crisis, may begin making those rulings by midyear.

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Cops plead for witnesses in Anna’s dissappearance

| 18/02/2011 | 3 Comments

(CNS): It is now three weeks since George Town landfill worker Anna Evans disappeared from her workplace and officers involved in the enquiry are again appealing for any drivers or passengers who attended the landfill site on the day that Anna disappeared who have not yet spoken to police, to come forward. The last confirmed sighting of Anna was around noon on Thursday, 27 January at the landfill. On Thursday 17 February senior police officers met with Anna’s family and Mike Adam the community affairs minister to provide an update on the progress of the investigation so far.

The meeting included a question and answer session where members of Anna’s family talked directly to those involved in the enquiry and the police said the meeting was well received by all in attendance. A dedicated Family Liaison Officer will continue to support the family as the investigation into Anna’s disappearance continues.

Last weekend hundreds of people reportedly turnedout to join an organised search for the missing mother of five but there is still no trace of her.

Anyone with information can call the enquiry hotline on 526-0911 or the confidential Crime Stoppers number 800-8477 (TIPS).

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Of courage, bravery and discernment

| 18/02/2011 | 18 Comments

Hot on the heels of the departure from office of Egypt’s western backed dictator and oppressor of his people (a departure that can largely be attributed to the bravery and courage of ordinary Egyptians) the Swiss Government announced that it had frozen the assets of the Mubarak family held in its jurisdiction.

As the Egyptian people (and the Tunisians and the peoples of all the other nations ruled by corrupt despotic leaders poised to follow a similar course) begin the search in earnest for the wealth of their respective nations, wealth that has been illegitimately spirited away by the corrupt ruling families and their sycophants, the gaze will inevitably turn on jurisdictions such as the Cayman Islands.

Truthfully the focus should, in the main, be directed on the City of London, Wall Street and their masters. It is those locales and the select band of the new global elite that inhabit and control them who are the primary beneficiaries of the pillage of the wealth of underdeveloped nations.

However, jurisdictions such as the Cayman Islands, purveyors of the vehicles (trusts, secretive hedge funds, offshore companies) that would have been at the centre of the process of facilitation of the export of the wealth that rightfully should have been utilized in the improvement of the quality of life of sad and destitute citizens, can hardly expect to escape the spotlight.

As with the BCCI scandal, the Enron fraud, the Madoff rip off, the sub-prime mortgage con game, we can expect the self-righteous western media to find much fodder in the facilitation process we so willingly and proudly peddle.

As always once the buckets of opprobrium are poured upon us, our own elite (the Cayman Finance types), arguably the sole local beneficiaries of this inglorious enterprise, will respond with righteous indignation.

We the ordinary people will yet again be left with the reality that in response to the moans of our elite, our Government will be forced to hurriedly divert already scarce public financial resources (resources urgently required to fight crime and stimulate employment) to pay the smooth talking PR men in New York, Washington and London to burnish our yet again tarnished reputation.

The usual suspects can be expected to trot out to justify such diversion of funding and focus on the grounds of the importance of the financial industry for our well being.

When the history of the second decade of the 21st Century is written, it will undoubtedly be replete with references to the bravery, courage and discernment of ordinary Egyptian people.

One can only dream that all ordinary people were Egyptians of early 2011.




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McTaggart takes on Cayman slight in UK commons

| 18/02/2011 | 3 Comments

(CNS): Despite the departure of Anthony Travers, Cayman Finance is keeping up with the work he started. Interim Chairman Roy McTaggart has sent a letter to Ronnie Campbell, MP (left), a UK parliamentarian who referred to the Cayman Islands as a tax haven during a debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday. In the letter he says that Campbell is doing a disservice to his constituents, given the enormous economic benefits UK companies gain by using Cayman when he inaccurately describes the islands as a tax haven. Delivering the same message as his predecessor, McTaggart says Cayman is a fully transparent jurisdiction and not a place where individuals or corporations are able to “hide money”.

During his comments in the UK parliament Campbell, the Labour MP for Blyth Valley, said he was sick of hearing the argument that there was no money in the UK government’s coffers. “Does my right hon. Friend not agree that, if all the multinational companies, including the banks, paid the tax on their profits instead of avoiding doing so by hiding their money in tax havens such as the Cayman islands, we would not have this problem? We would have bags of money-billions of pounds,” he said.

In his letter McTaggart, who took up the role only this week, said the statement was factually inaccurate and that UK-based multinational companies and corporate structures that are domiciled in the Cayman Islands have done so legally and in compliance with their domestic tax laws.

“This model allows these companies to make the most efficient use of capital held in the UK, thereby creating employment and wealth for your constituents,” McTaggart wrote. “The tax neutral platform which the Cayman Islands provide to international financing transactions has nothing whatsoever to do with the issue of tax evasion. Cayman Island entities pay taxes in the jurisdictions where the profits are made in accordance with the laws of those jurisdictions.”

He pointed out that the responsibility for the ability of UK companies to use Cayman remained with UK tax laws.

See McTaggart’s letter below.

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Government building not ready until March

| 18/02/2011 | 17 Comments

(CNS): Despite recent revelations that the Glass House could be making people sick with the levels of mould and other dangerous pathogens, civil servants will have to stay in it for a bit longer. According to reports on Cayman 27 the move –in date for the move into the new government accommodation building has been pushed back again. Project Manager, Jim Scott has said crews are in the final stages of commissioning the engineering systems and finalizing inspections which must be completed before the contractor, McAlpine, hands over the site to government.

The move was original scheduled for 17 January but inspections and tests were not completed on time. There is no new confirmed move in date, but Scott told the TV news station that the target was for the first people to move into the building in mid-March.

Go to Cayman27

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PPM: Life worse under UDP

| 18/02/2011 | 105 Comments

(CNS): Despite the criticisms directed at the previous administration and the blame that the PPM has taken for the country’s continuing economic woes, the new leader of the party says that most people in the Cayman Islands are worse off now under the United Democratic Party than they were when the PPM left office. As a result of the current government’s fee hikes, duty increases and its failure to kick start the local economy, Alden McLaughlin believes almost everyone is facing a reduction in their quality of life. In many cases people have lost their livelihoods because of the increased cost of doing business and everyone is paying more for goods and services than they were two years ago, the PPM leader said at the recent party conference.

“I believe that there would be few in this country outside the circle of direct patronage of the ruling party who would say that their lives and fortunes have improved since the PPM left office,” McLaughlin said. “For most people and businesses the assumption of power by the UDP has meant a reduction in the quality of life. In many cases it has meant a closure of their businesses as a result of the increase in operating costs.”

People are paying more for everything today than they were two years ago the new party leader pointed out in his conference speech last Saturday. He also spoke about the cuts in the salaries of civil servants and threats of more pay cuts, as well as record levels of unemployment in the wider community.

“For the first time in memory Caymanians are demonstrating because they can’t get jobs,” McLaughlin said, adding that, despite the fact the unemployed were taking to the streets, the current labour minister has said Cayman does not have an unemployment problem but an unemployability problem.

Almost two years into their term in office and in the face of regular announcement about various construction and development projects, the PPM leader said the government could not point to one single project that had actually started. Listing the numerous proposals that have been announced from the cruise berthing terminal to Dr Shetty’s hospital, he said nothing at all had commenced.

“The only project of consequence that the government can point to is the construction of the new government administration building, which was conceptualized, designed and commenced under the PPM administration,” he stated, adding that although government was now excited to move into it, only a few months ago they were ready to sell it and pay rent to the buyer.

He also lamented the delay in the schools and hurricane shelter project which he had started when he was education minister. The sites have remainedidle for 18 months since the contractor left but McLaughlin says the minister has insisted that it is not lack of money which is the reason for the one year and two year delays. He said the minister has repeatedly stated that the government has the resources to complete them so the reason for the continued delay must be that the government does not see the schools as a priority, even as the country’s children remain in the cramped, aged and inadequate conditions at John Gray.

McLaughlin also accused the UDP administration of returning to its old practices of ignoring the rules and acting unlawfully when it will save the country money. He spoke about the premier’s decision to overrule the Central Tenders Committee over the financing arrangements for the country’s loan and select the New York firm Cohen and Company. Having chosen substance over process, McLaughlin questioned how government “would pay back the money advanced by Cohen” and how much it was going to cost now that the deal had been cancelled.

The bashing of the media and the “frightful record of non-compliance” with FOI requests hadn McLaughlin saidn assumed “legendary proportions” as he awarded the government a failing grade.

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Masked robbers hit local store

| 18/02/2011 | 35 Comments

(CNS): In the ninth armed robbery of the year robbers wearing Halloween masks held-up a local grocery store in Prospect on Thursday evening. Police say that the two men were armed with what appeared to be a handgun when they entered the McRuss grocery store on Marina Drive at around 8.50pm. The men threatened the cashier, who was in the store with her 8-year-old son, as well as customers and demanded cash. The suspects grabbed a sum of money, ran out of the store and are believed to have then entered a black Toyota Prado before driving off from the scene. No shots were fired and no one was injured in the incident, a police spokesperson said. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

George Town detectives said the suspects are described as wearing dark clothing and Halloween type masks. One of the robbers was around 5’3" in height and the other was around 5’11". They both were of medium build and spoke with Caymanian accents.

Anyone who was in the area at the relevant time and witnessed the crime, or the suspects fleeing the scene in the black Prado, is asked to contact George Town police station on 949-4222 or the confidential Crime Stoppers number 800-8477 (TIPS).

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