Archive for August 10th, 2011

CIG claims to win discount for locals facing US fines

| 10/08/2011 | 72 Comments

(CNS): Cayman Islands residents who are US citizens or green card holders have caught a break on the fines that they may have to pay the IRS in the United States. According to a release from the finance ministry, a delegation led by the premier to Washington which had lobbied the American government in April managed to win locals a discount on potential fines. Those facing US tax penalties on income from sources in the States that they didn’t report to the IRS between 2003 and 2010 will be paying 5% penalty instead of 25% of the value of the property as originally proposed.

“This penalty reduction is an outcome of a recent revision to the IRS’ Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative programme. A Cayman Islands delegation led by the premier lobbied US officials this past spring to take this action,” the ministry statement read. “Originally the US Internal Revenue Service stipulated that offshore residents participating in the programme, who have $10,000 or less in unreported annual income from US sources, would be subject to a 25% penalty of the value of their property.”

Instead of the penalty applying to the value of all of a participant’s property, it will be applied only to financial assets, the ministry added.

“To qualify for the reduced penalty, an offshore resident must have reported all of his or her income to their country of residence and paid the taxes due on such income to that country,” the statement revealed. “However, the IRS has informed Cayman Government’s US counsel, Sidley Austin, LLP, that persons residing in jurisdictions that impose no income taxation – such as the Cayman Islands – would also be able to qualify for the reduced offshore penalty.”

Under the voluntary disclosure programme, participants can resolve their past US income tax and related obligations by paying all income tax due for the years 2003-2010, along with penalties, including the special offshore penalty, and interest.

During meetings held in March with high-ranking US Treasury and IRS officials, and with tax counsel for the US Senate Finance Committee, the Cayman delegation requested a revision to the penalty on behalf of Cayman residents who are US citizens or green-card holders.

The Cayman delegation told officials that the special offshore penalty of 25% that was related to unreported income was preventing many Cayman residents from participating in the programme.

“I am pleased that US officials took our concerns seriously and made this change so that more Cayman residents can resolve their US tax obligations by participating in the IRS’s voluntary disclosure programme,” the Premier said.

Meanwhile, the recent Global Forum’s 7th Peer Review Group Meeting (PRG) held in the Cayman Islands last month raised the islands profile in the area of international tax transparency and information exchange. The director of Cayman’s Financial Services Secretariat, Michelle Bahadur said representatives were involved in core internal communications steering international processes for tax information exchange

Cayman is one of many jurisdictions that has now substantially implemented the internationally agreed tax standards on transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes. These standards are monitored by the Global Forum, whose membership includes more than 100 jurisdictions.
Representatives from more than 40 jurisdictions were present at the PRG meeting which was only the second of its kind held outside Paris.

Bahadur explained that the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) began its work on tax cooperation in the early 2000s, and that the Global Forum is the continuation of that work.

In 2009 the Global Forum was restructured to allow non-OECD countries to fully participate. All members, regardless of their OECD membership, have equal footing in the forum. Preparing and guiding the Global Forum’s work is the Steering Group, of which the Cayman Islands is a member.

The PRG is the 30-member body – and Cayman also is a member of this group – that was responsible for developing the methodology and detailed terms of reference for a robust, transparent and accelerated peer-review process for tax transparency and information exchange.  The first phase of the PRG’s work examines each jurisdiction’s legal and regulatory framework. The second phase examines the implementation of the standards in practice.

See release from the finance ministry below regarding claims on penalties reduction

 

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American tourist dies after morning dive in East End

| 10/08/2011 | 9 Comments

(CNS): A 64-year-old man visiting the Cayman Islands on vacation from the United States has died following a dive in the eastern districts. A spokesperson for the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service said that an investigation has now been launched into the death of John Bonner, which occurred around 11am Wednesday 10 August. Police were informed that the diver from Pennsylvania had experienced difficulties and lost consciousness whilst boarding a vessel after completing a dive off in East End. Bonner was diving with a family member when the incident occurred and he was brought on board the vessel with the assistance of staff from the resident dive company .

The dive company staff administered CPR until the arrival of the emergency services and the visitor was conveyed to the Cayman Islands Hospital, George Town, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. The man was staying at the Reef Resort with his wife and daughter.

Police said enquiries into the death are ongoing.

CNS note: The initial RCIPS press release about this incident named the dive company as Reef Divers. However, the police have now said that the deceased was staying at the Reef Resort in East End Grand Cayman and there was no connection to Reef Divers based and operated out of the Sister Island Little Cayman.

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service wishesto apologize for any inconvenience caused.

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Supervisor confirms election office is open for business

| 10/08/2011 | 15 Comments

(CNS): Following queries by potential voters who were not able to register at the elections office due to unscheduled closures the supervisor of elections has confirmed that the office is now operating under normal hours. Kearney Gomez has also revealed that although he is still in post as the supervisor, the governor is in the process of recruiting a new management team for the office. During finance committee in June the deputy governor had dodge questions from the legislative members regarding Gomez’s position which was left unclear.

However, Gomez told CNS via email that he was still in post at present. “The Governor hasconfirmed that I will continue to remain the Supervisor of Elections until such time as a successor is appointed,” Gomez wrote. “The Governor is currently considering proposals for succession planning with regard to the Supervisor and the Deputy Supervisors of Elections and will make his views known once he has made a decision in this regard. He is keen to ensure that there is a strong and experienced supervisory team in place for the next Elections.”

Gomez also said that the review of the register would be back on a three month cycle in October which was the next appointed date for the new lists. The elections register is required under the law to o be reviewedand signed off by a magistrate every three months. However, when magistrate Grace Donalds who had traditionally undertaken that task was retired there was no one to sign off which meant the register had not been properly reviewed.

During finance committee Donovan Ebanks explained there had been a lapse in the period. “The law calls for the list to be revised every three months. That hasn’t happened. There was a period during which we were without a revising officer as prescribed by law, which is a magistrate of the court. We have recently gotten a nomination from the court and so the revisions will be brought up to date and current,” he told the committee which explained why there had been a lapse in the registration of electors.

Staff levels had also been reviewed officials said nothing that between elections there was no need to have three full time staff members and as a result the office was now being manned by just two people but the office is open for people wishing to join the voter’s list.
 

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Contractors sign for $2.8m of work for NHDT

| 10/08/2011 | 20 Comments

(CNS): Eighteen different local contractors have signed agreements to start work on government’s affordable housing at the Windsor Park site next week, but none of the contracts have gone through the CTC process. Although this development is worth close to $3million each of the contracts with the National Housing Development Trust is less than $250,000 which means government does not need to put the contracts up for bid and the ministry involved is able to chose the contractors.  In his recent report on the management of government’s procurement porcess which focused primarily on contracts over $250K Alastair Swarbrick noted that the concerns he had over contracts going through the central tenders committee applied equally to those that were not.

The country’s public auditor had pointed out that aside from the obvious risk of corruption in the system, because there were few if any people working for government with procurement skills, the public was not getting value for money on government contracts.

The NHDT project in George Town is worth a total of $2.8 million to build 26 two- and three-bedroom concrete, affordable homes, replacing metal structures previously at the site, that will go to first-time Caymanian homeowners.

The community services ministry which oversees the NHDT said that the contracts were handed over at a special meeting last week. Mikr Adam the minister with responsibility said he was happy to help people get back to work and the contracts represented another milestone for the NHDT, which had already successfully completed 12 homes in East End and another 29 in West Bay.

“This project puts quite a few people back to work,” Adam said. “This is so desperately needed at this time and we’re happy to be assisting in that respect also,” he said.

See auditor general’s report on procurement below
 

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Public authorities make effort to improve website info

| 10/08/2011 | 3 Comments

(CNS): The information commissioner’s office says that government departments are beginning to take steps to improve their web presence and public access to information. Following the recent publication of the commissioner’s website audit report the office said this week that some public authorities were now trying to improve the way they communicate FOI rights online. Jennifer Dilbert said that the audit has generated a number of enquiries about how departments can improve their online presence and upgrade their rating. In her audit the information boss gave every public authority a grade for their websites and of more than 80 government entities only a handful got a top grade.

Some government departments, including the ministry of finance, don’t even have a website and Dilbert also found that most of the government’s various departments had only the most basic information on their websites and were given failing grades. The investigation found that almost three-quarters of the country’s public authorities did not have a properly updated informative website.

The audit focused on what FOI information the public could find on government websites.  This included areas such as the location of FOI information on the homepage, whether the authority published their most recent publication scheme on their site, and if the process by which a person can make a request was outlined.  Only 8 public authorities fell into the highest grade but Dilbert said that if authorities make changes to their websites they should inform the ICO and their website would be re-graded at the end of the year.

“I am pleased that we have received such a positive response from the public authorities and that they are interested in improving the way they communicate FOI access rights” said Mrs. Jennifer Dilbert, Information Commissioner.  “It is encouraging to know that the report is being reviewed by authorities and that they are genuinely interested in publishing more FOI information online.”

During the audit, the FOI link at the bottom of the Department of Tourism’s homepage was mistakenly overlooked which resulted in them being given a low grade in the report. The ICO has since reviewed their website and re-graded them at a higher level to better reflect the considerable amount of FOI information that they do have publically available.  The ICO’s report has been amended to reflect this change.

A full version of the Own-Initiative Investigation into websites can be accessed online at www.infocomm.ky.

 

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Local top cop says UK riots ‘frightening’

| 10/08/2011 | 24 Comments

(CNS): Despite experiencing various riots and major civil disturbances during hiscareer as a UK police officer, Chief Superintendent John Jones said the riots in England this week were “quite frightening". A Birmingham native, Jones said he was concerned to see that his home town had suffered as a result of the violence raging across the country, including the torching of the police station. Jones echoed comments coming from the authorities in the UK that the violence was down to criminality and that while the initial demonstration may have been a legitimate protest over shooting of a suspect by police, since then the violence had degenerated in to nothing more than opportunistic looting and gratuitous violence.

Jones said that the UK was no stranger to civil unrest on the streets but the scale of the current violence was unnerving. “It says a lot when officers from Scotland Yard are describing this as the worst in living memory. That’s quite frightening.”

Hundreds more arrests were made on Tuesday night in the UK after another shocking night of violence. Speaking outside 10 Downing Street on Wednesday morning, British Prime Minister David Cameron said the “fight-back” was underway and that every action would be taken to restore order, with contingency plans for water cannon to be available at 24 hours' notice.

On Tuesday night unrest spread to other cities, including Manchester, Salford, Liverpool, Nottingham and Birmingham, with shops being looted and set alight. Three men died when they were hit by a car in Birmingham.

Following a meeting of the government's Cobra emergency committee, Cameron said police had the legal backing to use any tactics necessary to bring the situation under control, including using baton rounds.

"This continued violence is simply not acceptable and it will be stopped. We will not put up with this in our country. We will not allow a culture of fear to exist on our streets,” Cameron stated.

The police have also created a website to advice people on what to do in the face of the street violence and are also posting CCTV footing of the young criminals involved in the gang violence and shooting. The Sun newspaper invited the British public to “shop a moron” by posting pictures of youngsters committing crime and asking people to tell the police who they are. 

The violence started on Saturday in London after a peaceful protest in Tottenham over the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan, 29, by police.

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Youth Optimist Sailors get a boost from Flowers

| 10/08/2011 | 0 Comments

(CISA): Cayman’syouth sailors recently took delivery of a newly refurbished fleet of Optimist sailing dinghies thanks to generous support from Flower’s Bottled Water. The Optimist Sailing dinghy is arguably the most successful sailing boat of all time. Designed to be sailed by children up to 15 years old, there are over 160,000 active optimist sailors in over 100 countries worldwide.  85% of medal winners at the Beijing Olympics were former Optimist sailors and most Americas Cup Sailors started off in Optis. 

Whilst Optimists have been sailed in Cayman in the past, the Optimist fleet had been sidelined for some time as our sailors grew out of them and into the Byte C2 class, the Youth Olympic gamesclass boat. As part of the Race Cayman event in 2010, the Cayman Islands Sailing Club (CISC) hosted the Caribbean and Central America Youth Olympic Qualifier Regatta for the 2010 Youth Olympics held in Singapore. A total of 34 youth sailors from 17 countries competed for places at the Youth Olympics along with five of our local youth sailors. Lizzy Wauchope went on to represent Cayman in Singapore.

Rick Caley, the CISC manager said, “This group of sailors has all now moved on to college and beyond, leaving a bit of a vacuum in the CISC sailing programme. There were no new young sailors coming through to fill their shoes.”

New Head Coach Raph Harvey has put in great efforts to rejuvenate the grass roots of the sailing programme and has targeted the Optimist class as the way to go. Coach Raph summed up his new philosophy saying, “Kids want to get sailing fast but if they haven’t learned how to sail properly and handle their boat well, they just won’t get to the very top. The Optimist requires a high level of skill and commitment to get the best out of the boat and our present squad of sailors is starting to show signs that they have what it takes”.

This new initiative has led to the CISC being invited to host the Western Caribbean Optimist Dinghy Championship in March 2012. This will be a large event and the CISC expects up to 50 sailors from North America, Central America and the Caribbean to take part. It will also be a great opportunity for Cayman’s young sailors to compete against top sailors in their own back yard.

It is recognised that to compete at the top level you have to have the proper equipment and in the sailing world that is not cheap. Therefore the CISC has taken great strides to ensure that the cost does not prohibit any of our youth from going to the top levels. The coaches offer training every weekend free of charge. The club has recently purchased a further six second hand boats and the coaching staff have spent many hours repairing and polishing these boats so that they are as good as new. The club provides the boats free of charge to our youth sailors.

Rick Caley said, “A generous donation from Richard Flowers from Flowers Bottled Water was the last piece of the jigsaw and has allowed us to purchase new sails and equipment for the boats. The fleet is now looking very impressive and the hope is that the new equipment will inspire the kids to train hard to improve their boat handling skills and represent Cayman to their very best. “

 

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Fast and Fourie-ous

| 10/08/2011 | 0 Comments

(CRFU): With torrential rain, scorching summer sunshine, 40 mph wind-gusts or near 100% humidity, Super Saturday seemed more like an episode of MAN (or Woman) v. WILD thanthe backdrop for 24 teams battling it out for points in all three Divisions of the Summer Touch Rugby League.  Each team was slated to play two games representing Rounds 6 and 7 of the competition which followed on from a busy week of games that has stretched the resources of some teams to breaking point. Prior to Super Saturday, a brief one-week transfer window was opened for teams to redress some of their recruitment problems. (Photos Caroline Deegan)

The end of Saturday’s games represented the mid-point of the season and teams can now reflect on the good, the bad and the ugly that has represented their season so far. 
Matches were far tighter than in previous rounds and could be an indication that teams are getting their defensive strategies sorted or perhaps more teams were suffering from the exhaustions of late Friday night team bonding sessions than they would care to admit.
In Division 1, the Match of the Day was Appleby versus PWC. 

Both teams have shown flashes of brilliance during the season and the game was played in wet and wild conditions.  Appleby are a team that can worry anyone on their day and the dynamic duo of Stuart Geddes and Simon Raftopoulos were in devastating form with four and three tries respectively. 

PWC were always dangerous and any team taking them lightly will be put to the sword without a hint of hesitation. Their try threat comes from all over the team but they could not muster enough in the end and Appleby ran out 7-6 winners.  Maybe the effort to win this one was just too much for Applebyas they came a cropper in the next game against a Genesis Five Nationsteam that is steadily growing in confidence.  Five Nations won that one 4-2.

Maples1only had one game due to a postponement and against DMSthey were once again were penalized for being asleep at the first whistle.  DMS, like PWC in the previous game, scored all too easily in the first few seconds with the Maples1defence asleep. 

Defensive co-ordinator, Guy Major, looked a lost soul as he desperately tried to explain to his teammates quite how lightning had struck twice on his watch.  “I doubt if you’ll see him on the pitch next time the opposition kicks off” said an inside source.  Eventually the sleeping giant awoke (I’m referring to Maples1 here not Guy Major!) and put away nine unanswered tries.  Rudolf Weder was the stand-out player running in two solo tries with 30 metre sprints round opposition defenders. 

Both Team LIME and Walkers Blue Iguanas wished they had stayed in bed as they only mustered one try between them all day.  Bottom-of-the-table Walkers played teams from the top half of the table and were handed two defeats to make it seven from seven.  However, they must be commended for their never-say-die approach and hopefully that first win will soon come.

Division 2 is proving to be the most competitive in the League with each team able to upset the other on any given day.  The surprise package of the day was the DART team.  Previously without a single victorythey may have feared the worst. 

However, it is testimony to the old adage that “practice makes perfect” as all their hard work on the training pitch paid off with two defensive performances pulled out of the top drawer.  Having conceded an average of eight tries a game to date they conceded only three in their two games.  They handed defeats to Harmonic and Trident Titans who must have been stunned by the turn around.  Special mention must go to Elizabeth Taylor, ShakeraMitto, Shynecka Williams, Kelly Fiebig and Captain Stacy Ottenbreit for performances above and beyond the call of duty.

In the much anticipated top-of-the-table clash between KPMG1 and Maples2 it proved a match too far for the Maples2 team as they were spanked by the KPMG’ers 4-1.  Philip Fourie, in what was to prove to be a very productive day for him, scored a hat-trick in tricky conditions.  Their two victories on the day (they also beat Harmonic 4-2) take them to the top of the league.  Paraphrasing their company motto, they use their expertise and insight to cut through complex defenses and deliver tries galore. Maples2’sseasonhas stalled without a win in three.

In their first game, Trident Titans scored a good win against Campbells (6-4) with speedster Riley Mullen catching the eye.  Permanently in fast forward mode, this fellow is a try threat every time he has ball in hand and only the sharpest of defences can handle him.  Knowing what he is going to do is one thing, stopping him doing it is something entirely different. 

The happy Fish Ticklers went home with a smile on their faces after a win (UBS) and a draw (Maples2) to show for a good days work.  They currently reside 5th in the table but given the quality of their roster they must be thinking that they need to be more consistent in the second half of the season if they are to achieve their full potential.

UBS had a “curate’s egg” kind of day – some good, some bad with one win and one defeat.  Campbells and Harmonic lost both their games, however these are two of the easiest going bunch of guys and girls and accept defeat and victory in equal measure with both grace and humility – the true spirit of touch rugby.

In Division 3Deloitte continued their excellent form of late with good wins against closest rivals KPMG2 and Credit Suisse.  These made itfive wins on the bounce.  Again, Riley Mullen was the danger man with five tries against the Suisse.   

GCM also posted two wins against Ernst & Young (5-1) and Island Heritage (5-3).  Philip Fourie was once again imperious with 6 tries on the day.  This form belies their position in the table where, due to two defaulted games, they only lie in seventh place.

Rawlinson&Hunter’s dreams of progressing up the table were dealt a blow as they only managed two draws, and Island Heritage were on the brunt of two defeats.  They should send in the assessors if they are going to adjust these losses and make a claim for the top half of the table. 

Ernst&Young posted their first win (5-2) of the season against QueensgateGrizz’s Old Fellas.  In a most entertaining game both teams enjoyed themselves in a match where both were happy to throw the ball around.  If only they had thrown it to a team-mate it may have made for an even better spectacle. 

Dennis Hunter continued his rich vein of form in recent weeks with an invaluable contribution to his team on the day with a great try and sublime assist to show the youngsters just how it should be done.  Larry Cayasso scored his annual try for the Old Fellas and can now happily return to the bar to regale all with stories about how he ran past seven players to touch down in the corner.  At least I think it was seven, right Larry?  But aren’t there are only six on a team?  Ah, the stuff of legend!

Player of the Week

He’s fast, he’s Fourie-ous! This week’s Heineken Touch Player of the Week goes to Philip Fouriefor his standout performances for Genesis Five Nations, KPMG1, and GCM.  Sixteen tries in six games.  A bucket of six cold ones awaits you at the bar!

Results and league tables:

ROUND  6
Division 1 Results
Walkers Blue Iguanas 0 v. 8 Genesis 5 Nations
Maples 1 9 v. 1 DMS
Appleby 7 v. 6 PWC
Ogier  v.  Team Lime – MATCH POSTPONED
   
Division 2 Results    
KPMG1 4 v. 1 Maples2
Harmonic 1 v. 4 DART
Campbells 4 v. 6 Trident Titans
UBS 3 v. 4 Happyfish Ticklers
   
Division 3 Results    
Deloitte 7 v. 3 KPMG2
Island Heritage 0 v. 4 Credit Suisse
Rawlinson &Hunter 3 v. 3 QueensgateGrizz’s Old Fellas
GCM 5 v. 1 Ernst & Young
   
Round 7   
Division 1 Results    
Walkers Blue Iguanas 1 v. 6 PWC
Genesis Five Nations 4 v. 2 Appleby
DMS 3 v. 0 Team LIME
Ogier  v.  Maples1 – MATCH POSTPONED
   
Division 2 Results    
Happyfish Ticklers 5 v. 5 Maples2
Harmonic 2 v. 4 KPMG1
DART 3 v. 2 Trident Titans
UBS 3 v. 2 Campbells
   
Division 3 Results    
Rawlinson &Hunter 3 v. 3 KPMG2
Island Heritage 3 v. 5 GCM
Deloitte  8 v. 3 Credit Suisse
Ernst & Young 5 v. 2 QueensgateGrizz’s Old Fellas
   
   
Division 1        
Rank Team Play Won Draw Lost Df Points For Points Against Points Diff Total Points
1 Genesis Five Nations 7 6 1     42 13 29 20
2 Maples 1 6 5 1     48 16 32 17
3 PWC 7 4   3   42 30 12 15
4 Appleby 7 3 1 3   37 41 -4 14
5 DMS 7 2   5   18 34 -16 11
6 Team Lime 6 2   4   18 38 -20 10
7 Ogier 4 1 1 2   20 22 -2 7
8 Walkers Blue Iguanas 6     6   10 41 -31 6
Division 2        
Rank Team Play Won Draw Lost Df Points For Points Against Points Diff Total Points
1 KPMG 1 7 5 1 1   43 27 16 18
2 Maples 2 7 4 2 1   35 25 10 17
3 Trident Titans 7 4 1 2   33 28 5 16
4 UBS 7 4   3   35 34 1 15
5 Happyfish Ticklers 7 2 1 4   32 34 -2 12
6 Campbells 7 2 1 4   33 36 -3 12
7 Harmonic 7 2   5   27 39 -12 11
8 Dart 7 2   5   32 47 -15 11
         
         
Division 3        
Rank Team Play Won Draw Lost Df Points For Points Against Points Diff Total Points
1 Deloitte  7 5 2     54 19 35 19
2 KPMG 2 7 5 1 1   34 25 9 18
3 Credit – Suisse 7 4   3   34 25 9 15
4 Rawlinson & Hunter 7 2 3 2   24 28 -4 14
5 Island Heritage 7 3   4   20 34 -14 13
6 QueensgateGrizz'sOld Fellas 7 2 1 3 1 22 30 -8 11
7 GCM 7 2 1 2 2 17 20 -3 10
8 Ernst & Young 7 1   5 1 16 40 -24 8
         

 

 

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Local media company plans to create TV choice

| 10/08/2011 | 24 Comments

(CNS): As soon as next year television viewers in Cayman may be able to access several hundred television channels from around the world, via the island’s very own fibre optic cable network, brought to the island by Infinity Broadband.  Local businessman and owner of Infinity Broadband and Hurley’s Entertainment, Randy Merren, says that although there are still regulatory hurdles to be overcome, he is confident that they will begin the build out for the cables for his new television network next year, with customers receiving the new cable TV service soon after. He estimates the entire build-out operation will take around two years to complete.

“75 per cent of all properties will be able to access the initial range of services within 18 months from the start of the build-out, and 95 per cent within 24 months,” he confirms.
Not only will customers get the choice of hundreds of channels, they will also be able to view 3D-TV, enjoy pause and rewind live programming and time shifting which will allow viewers to replay a TV programme that was broadcast hours or days after it originally aired.Customers will also have the ability to watch one programme while recording two others and they will be able to watch TV on laptops, iPads and other tablet devices while at home.

Infinity Broadband has just signed a memorandum of understanding with an as yet unnamed overseas strategic partner, giving the company the go ahead to take the next steps in rolling out the new service, which also includes high speed internet and telephone service via IP (internet protocol).

“All our licences with the regulatory body are in place,” Merren confirms, “and we have come to agreement with CUC after lengthy negotiations to use their poles to distribute the cables. This is a much cheaper solution than laying cables underground.”

He adds that he is currently considering two locations in George Town, one on Walkers Road and one in the Industrial Park, where the core of the system will be housed.
Merren says he believes the service will be good for the island as Cayman is one of the last places in the Caribbean that does not have its own cable television network.

“When deregulation first happened in Cayman I waited for someone to request a cable television licence from the ICTA,” Merren says. “Nobody did, so I decided to make my application. It’s a thriving business. The service we are offering in Cayman will be unique because of the interaction between the viewer and the system, allowing them to communicate back.”  

Merren says Infinity Broadband has contacted several content aggregators, i.e. companies who sell packages of television stations to networks, to ensure that they will be able to offer a wide range of television channels to customers.

“We will be bringing our customers channels that they can already get via WestStar as well as new stations from the US, the UK and elsewhere, including Spanish-speaking channels. We can bring television stations to our viewers from anywhere in the world, as long as they are on the satellite to which we are connected,” he confirms. “Capacity is not a problem.”

In addition, all customer set-top boxes will have the capability to deliverHD-TV, Pay Per View and Video on Demand.

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Dump legal troubles ahead

| 10/08/2011 | 98 Comments

(CNS): Government could be facing another law suit from a local company, this time because of what one businessman says was the “unlawful way it has handled the process” surrounding the GT landfill bids. The director of CWML, the local participant with Wheelabrator, which was informed last year that it was the preferred bidder on the project after going through a full tendering process, has said he is seeking a judicial review over government’s actions. Peter Campbell (left) says the move to hand over the landfill to Dart, which did not win the bid, merely weeks after the proper process was completed, was illegal and he intends to challenge not only government but the developer too in the Grand Court.

Campbell says that as the representative Wheelabrator he brought the well known US waste management experts to the table. Together they went through the full proper tendering process after the request for proposal was circulated last year.

He told CNS that he was informed by the Central Tenders Committee on 17 December 2010 that Wheelabrator had been successful in the bidding process. The firm would therefore have the exclusive right to begin negotiations with the Cayman Islands government on the way forward for a waste management solution, as per the request for tender. However, Campbell says, even before the first date for negotiations to begin was set a public announcement was made by the premier that government had changed its mind and was giving the landfill to Dart.

“This was a complete circumvention of the proper process,” Campbell told CNS on Monday. “I will now be seeking judicial review of both government and Dart and taking the necessary legal action about what happened. This is just not lawful. Several companies responded to the request for proposals. They all went through the competitive bidding process properly, including Dart, which came around sixth or seventh place. Wheelabrator was considered by the technical team and the CTC as the most capable company to meet the tender as requested.”

He added that the complete dismissal of the entire tendering process, by government just weeks after the bidding was complete was an illustration of what has been happening since this administration came to office and how too often the Public Management and Finance Law was just being ignored.

Campbell, who was a founding member of the UDP, says he resigned from the party in November last year (see email below), long before the bidding process on the landfill was complete. He said that his resignation had come after more than a year of growing concerns about the actions of the government and in particular how it was handling project bids. He said government has been creating what he described as “inappropriate committees” outside of the usual tendering system without the transparency and necessary lawful systems that offer comfort to businesses entering into what should be a fair process.

He spoke too about the need for politicians to be accountable for their actions, which was why he was turning to the courts in connection with the events surrounding the landfill RFP and the subsequent bid. In this case, government’s actions are of particular concern, Campbell noted, because of its decision to overturn its own policy after putting out a tender.

Government has known for many years of Dart’s interest in the landfill as the developer has approached not just this but previous administrations, which Campbell saysmakes the last minute policy reversal by the government all the more peculiar.

“Why, if government was considering Dart’s offer, go through the RFP at all?” Campbell asked rhetorically.

As a long standing friend of all of the government members, Campbell said he regretted having to pull away from the party but he had concerns about the various conflicts of interest which were arising.  He said he saw no other option when he raised these potential conflicts of interest and was ignored.

Campbell said that he and Cline Glidden had recently exchanged words on Rooster’s early morning radio call-in show, Crosstalk, about those conflicts. He said the backbench MLA, who has been appointed by the premier as government’s lead negotiator with the Dart Group, firstly over the George Town cruise port and more recently with the ForCayman Investment Alliance, was conflicted but refused to acknowledge the fact.

Campbell pointed to the two companies owned by Glidden — GMC Contracting and GMC Electrical — that had been working for the Dart Group for some time and how the MLA could directly benefit from successful negotiations with the firm, which had to be a conflict of interest, one which Glidden had denied on the talk-show because he said he had declared his companies in the register of interests.

“This kind of conflict appears not to be of concern to government members yet the anti-corruption law, which is very far reaching, warns that this kind of relationship could be open to another interpretation,” Campbell said, adding that he intended to speak with the Anti-Corruption Commission. He added that he did not believe Glidden was alone in possible conflicts when it came to private business interests benefiting from public ventures.

Campbell categorically denied that his issue was nothing more than sour grapes and stated that Glidden’s claims were misplaced when he said he had done “the right thing for the Cayman people and not for Peter Campbell”, as it missed the point.

“We don’t know if Mr Glidden has got the best deal for the country over the landfill because the process hasn’t been transparent. We don’t even know the exact details of how this was decided. And we shouldn’t forget that the RFP, whichI as a representative for Wheelabrator and several other people pitched for, was circulated by government. It was government that said it wanted a waste-to-energy solution for the George Town landfill and that would be based at the same location and that’s the RFP we all responded to,” Campbell asserted.

The former UDP member stated that he was not opposed to elements of the ForCayman Alliance but he believed that as the landfill had been tied into it by government he was forced to challenge Dart as well as government in order to begin to highlight the continuing problem of the circumventing of proper rules and creating unfair environments for local bidders.

He said that he was not alone in his feelings about how government was seeking project partners and he said the recent report by the auditor general also pointed out that the proper tendering process was being ignored.

Campbell, who has letters from Wheelabrator confirming he was the firm’s representative in Cayman during the bidding process and would be the local partner should Wheelabrator be successful, said Glidden’s accusations that he did not have a binding agreement with the US-based garbage experts was irrelevant.  The local businessman said that whatever his relationship with Wheelabrator, the Cayman government had still ignored the process and it was that issue which he would be challenging and which should be of concern to all Caymanians.

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