Archive for March 7th, 2011

DoT appoints new US boss

| 07/03/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Despite cuts in the budget, the Department of Tourism has appointed a new general manager for its US office. Thomas Ludington, a veteran of the leisure travel industry, will report to the DoT’s acting deputy director. Ludington will oversee the operational aspects of the Cayman Islands’ marketing activities in the US from New York. The role involves directing annual advertising and promotion activities, Internet and direct marketing, brand management and development, research and reporting, management and development of staff, operations, administrative and financial management as well as managing US industry relations and affinity groups, wholesales and other stakeholder groups.

Ludlington has 32 years of experience in destination marketing, managing departments’ business plans, overseeing staff and developing and maintaining supplier relationships including hotel chains, car rentals and theme parks. His career has involved expertise in advertising, broadcast and print media, sports marketing, database segmentation and lead generation strategy.

He will, however, be managing a tighter marketing budget following a recent civil service review that said some $3.5m could be cut from the DoT budget. It said that more than 60% of overseas staff time was spent on promotional activities, meaning that the government had hired overseas staff to attend these events at a cost of almost $8 million, and the review questioned the justification for spending 31% of the department’s entire budget just in this area. 

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UK to investigate tax haven subsideries

| 07/03/2011 | 0 Comments

(Accountancy Age): Firms that fail to disclose subsidiaries based in tax havens will be subject to a crackdown, the UK’s business secretary Vince Cable has said. Companies are obliged to confirm the locations of subsidiaries under the Companies Act 2006. Directors that fail to do so are liable to pay penalties, but this has not yet been invoked. The ActionAid charity claimed this year that 49 FTSE 100 companies were breaching the rules. A Daily Mail investigation found out that 27 of the 49 had since complied, declaring more than 1,000 tax havens between them. Cable said: "We must do the maximum possible to stop tax avoidance using powers that haven’t yet been invoked."

Martin Hearson, policy adviser at ActionAid, said: "We want to see an informed debate about tax avoidance in the UK and in developing countries, and we’re pleased that across government the momentum is building for more corporate transparency."

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Cops to be rewarded for outstanding service

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(CNS): The RCIPS is introducing a new awards night designed to recognize the men and women of the police service that have gone above and beyond the call of duty. The RCIPS Outstanding Service Awards dinner will take place on Friday, 18 March, at The Ritz-Carlton, where six awards will be presented for Police Officer of the Year, Support Staff Member of the Year, Special Constable of the Year, Diversity Award, Police Welfare Award and Community Award. The recipients of the six awards will be selected by the premier and the governor, the police said. (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

“The RCIPS is staffed with many dedicated, selfless, and skilled personnel, and we wanted to set aside a special evening to recognize the most exceptional professionals within our ranks,” said Police Commissioner David Baines. “It’s also an opportunity for the community to say thank you to those who serve and protect us, to forge new relationships, and to strengthen ties between members of the RCIPS and the Cayman community.”

All proceeds from tickets sales will go to the Police Welfare Fund, which provides financial assistance to RCIPS members, their families and dependents in circumstances not covered by public funds. This could include police members experiencing a serious illness or injury, or a death in the family.

The evening is being funded by corporate and community sponsorship and donations and no government funds have been allocated to stage the event, a spokesperson stated. The evening will include a three-course dinner with wine, live music and dancing. The event runs from 6:30pm to midnight. The awards presentation takes place at 9pm. Tickets and underwriting sponsorships are still available. Tickets are $150 per person with corporate tables of 10 available. For tickets and sponsorship inquiries, please call 945-6566.

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Expenses watch dog spends £1000s on luxury chairs

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(Telegraph): The new watchdog in charge of policing MPs’ expenses spent £300,000 of taxpayers’ money furnishing its offices including hundreds of pounds on luxury chairs. Following its establishment last May, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority splashed out on seven chairs at a cost of £538 each, along with 14 £465 “relaxer” loungers and 25 cabinets costing £2,295 each. The expenses body carried out a full refurbishment of the central London offices which became its headquarters, at a total cost to the taxpayer of £293,000.

Ipsa has been criticised by some MPs who say that it does not represent value for money, while others feel that the strict new rules introduced following the expenses scandal are administered too rigorously.


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$12,000 up for grabs for education programmes

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(CNS): Local business conglomerate dms Organization Ltd. (DMS) has opened this year’s application process for the annual Joanna Clarke Excellence in Education Award (JCA). In its fifth year, the JCA gives up to CI$12,000 annually to worthy education initiatives. Schools, youth groups, churches and other non-governmental organisations undertaking specialist education programmes in or out of school have until 1 April to make an application. Previous applicants are also encouraged to apply again if the programmes are still running. The award was created to publicly acknowledge the efforts of all those contributing to education in the Cayman Islands.

DMS Vice President and JCA Committee Member, Krista Pell, said the local community was becoming increasingly familiar with the requirements. “We are proud to officially announce our call for applicants and we very much look forward to seeing what the community puts forth – we continue to be impressed both with the applicants who we receive each year, as well as following up on the success of the initiatives that have been award grantees in the past,” she said. “Investing in our nation’s youth has always been of fundamental importance to our business practice.

Bell confirmed that applicants who may not have been chosen last year can apply again for consideration, as well as those from new initiatives. She explained that even if an initiative doesn’t win, the award offers exposure for the programmes and raises awareness in the wider community.

Joanna Clarke, for whom the award is named, explained that recipients have gone on to achieve educational excellence. Two of the students from last year’s winning initiative, the Cayman Prep and High School’s marine science programme, went on to receive ‘Top of the World’ exceptional performance awards from the University of Cambridge International Examinations for gaining the highest marks in the world in Marine Science at AS‐Level in June 2010.

“There is nothing more rewarding than knowing that this award contributed to the programme – it’s our way of showing support for all their hard work, and they took this opportunity and capitalised on it to outperform all their peers. We are so incredibly proud of them,” Clarke stated.

Applications are currently being circulated throughout Cayman Islands’ schools and are available at the award website www.joannaclarkeaward.ky. All reputable organizations with a not-for-profit educational pursuit are eligible for consideration including, but not limited to, charitable organizations, teachers, students, parent teacher associations (PTAs) and schools.

The JCA criteria are: contribute to and promote excellence in education in the Cayman Islands; be sustainable and measurable; contribute to increased parental and/or community involvement in education; be affiliated with a reputable educational institution or organization; demonstrate a proven history in successful education projects and/or teaching;c ontingency for leadership.

The JCA Committee will carefully review all applications submitted, and if several worthy projects are identified, they may provide grants to multiple organizations up to CI$12,000 in total.

Recognizing the importance of private sector support for education, DMS introduced the award to honour local educator Joanna Clarke in 2007, seeking to bring awareness to the contributions of local educators and encourage others to also demonstrate their support. For further information and to obtain an application contact Tara Tvedt-Pearson, DMS Project Coordinator, at 749-2407 or ttvedt@dms.com.ky.

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Index reveals climate change injustices

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(CTV): Climate change will have the greatest effect on those least responsible for causing the problem, a new study suggests. Researchers at McGill University found what many have long-suspected — countries that produce the least greenhouse gases per-capita also tend to be the most vulnerable to climate change. "Based on our ecological models, we see that the potential impact of climate change will be the greatest in countries that have contributed very little," lead researcher and PhD candidate Jason Samson said in an interview. Similar models have been used to study how plants and animals respond to climate change, but Samson applied the tools to study the impact on humans.

He calls it the first global index to predict the effects of climate change on humans. According to the study, published in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography, people living in hot, low-latitude countries are the most likely to feel the effects over the next several decades.

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New way to measure fat without the scales

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(Reuters): Scientists have developed a new way to measure whether a person is too fat without having people step on the scale. The new measure, called the Body Adiposity Index, or BAI, relies on height and hip measurements, and it is meant to offer a more flexible alternative to body mass index, or BMI, a ratio of height and weight, US researchers said. BMI has been used to measure body fat for the past 200 years, but it is not without flaws, Richard Bergman of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and colleagues wrote in the journal Obesity. While there are other, more complex ways to measure body fat beyond simply stepping on a scale, BMI is widely used both by researchers and doctors.

It is calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by height in meters squared. A person who is 5 feet 5 inches tall is classified as overweight at 150 pounds (68 kg) and obese at 180 pounds (82 kg).
But there is a lot of wiggle room in that calculation. BAI is a complex ratio of hip circumference to height that can be calculated by doctors or nurses with a computer or calculator.

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Cruise workers arrested as cops seize 2Ks of cocaine

| 07/03/2011 | 23 Comments

(CNS): Three cruise ship workers have been arrested following a Cocaine seizure in George Town this weekend, a police spokesperson revealed on Monday. At around 2.00 pm on Saturday, 5 March officers from the RCIPS Drugs and Serious Crimes Task Force stopped and searched three men who were acting suspiciously in the waterfront area. The searched revealed that the men were in possession of approximately two Kilos of Cocaine. Two of the men are from St. Vincent (aged 27 and 41 years) and the other is from Jamaica (aged 31 years). All three are employees of a cruise ship which was visiting George Town on Saturday.

The men are still in police custody in George Town on suspicion of drugs offences while enquiries continue but the ship left port on schedule on Saturday.

The RCIPS stated that the chief of security on the ship was immediately notified of the arrests and RCIPS officers are liaising with the cruise line in relation to the enquiry. Police did not say which of the three ships that were in port employed the men. There were three ships in port on Saturday Jewel of theSeas, AIDAluna and Oceana.

Nor have police revealed if the suspects are believed to have brought the drugs to Cayman for sale here or whether they had bought the drugs here and intended to leave with them. The drugs would have an estimated street value of around $180,000 if they were destined for sale on the street in Cayman.

The police commissioner David Baines recently stated that police believe that Cayman is becoming a hub for cocaine transhipment as a result or major efforts to stem the flow of the drug in neighbouring jurisdictions.
 

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Female bankers want equal pay

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(Financial News): Women working in financial services are overwhelmingly in favour of greater transparency on pay, according to preliminary findings of Financial News’ fourth annual Women in Finance survey. Of the 900 respondents to the survey, 90% said governments should compel companies to conduct equal pay audits. Discrepancies between men’s and women’s pay are widespread. Full-time female employees in the finance sector receive 55% less pay than men. This increases to a 79% pay gap when bonuses are taken into account. But, according to data from the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission, companies with more transparent pay information have lower pay gaps.

The EHRC recommended that the UK government’s Equality Bill should include a clause on conducting annual equal pay audits and publishing the results when the bill was enacted last year, but the clause was neither repealed nor enacted.

However, Elizabeth Corley, chief executive of Allianz Global Investors Europe, said reviewing distinctions on pay were part of routine good HR practice and not an issue for government intervention. She said: “If you regulate it, the risk is that it then becomes a matter of compliance rather than a matter of culture.”

Bronwyn Curtis, head of global research at HSBC, said that, while companies should be encouraged to be more transparent, she believes mandatory equal pay audits would create too much red tape for companies.

Collating gender pay gap data is far from straightforward.

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Millionaire farmer gets EU payout

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(Daily Mail): Zac Goldsmith, the wealthy UK Tory MP, was paid nearly £60,000 in European farming subsidies in just three years, according to figures seen by The Mail on Sunday. Goldsmith, 36, who is estimated to be worth £300 million, received the payments for his 300-acre ecological farm in Devon, which is believed to be owned through offshore companies based in the Cayman Islands. But under an information blackout ordered by the Government, all the payments to Goldsmith and hundreds of other rich farmers have been removed from official figures.

Last week it emerged that the family of Richard Benyon, the Minister whose department covered up the details of the subsidies, earned £2 million from the same payouts. In 2009 Goldsmith was paid £21,500 from the two European agricultural funds for his Walreddon Farm in Tavistock. In 2008 the figure was £35,000 and in 2007 £2,600.

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