Archive for September 2nd, 2011

Thieves try to steal ATM

| 02/09/2011 | 50 Comments

(CNS): During the early hours of the morning thieves attempted to steal an entire ATM unit from inside the public area of the Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town, police reported Friday. The thieves were unsuccessful in their efforts to remove the Butterfield automated teller sometime between 12:30 and 1:00am 2 September. Police said that the two men who were believed to have been involved also stole a Black Dodge Ram motor vehicle # 138 237 which they suspect was used to try to make off with the ATM. This vehicle was stolen from Redgate Garage on Redgate Road, George Town sometime between 8pm Thursday evening and 1am Friday morning.

Police said that the vehicle is still missing and anyone with any information regarding the incident at the hospital, the theft of the truck or its present whereabouts, should contact DC Lizzy Berns at George Town police station on 949-4222. Information can also be passed via the confidential Crime Stoppers number 800-8477 (TIPS).

Lizzette Yearwood, CEO of the Health Services Authority said in a release that the CCTV was in operation in that area and the incident was recorded.

“We would like to thank the RCIPS, the staff of Butterfield, and our own Hospital staff for their prompt and professional response to this unfortunate incident so that no hospital operations were effected," she said. “It is regrettable that the actions of these individuals will cause some inconvenience to those that use the services of the ATM, and we hope to have it fully functional again as soon as possible.”

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Cayman flops in key rankings

| 02/09/2011 | 115 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands ranks nowhere in the region when it comes to business friendliness, best economic potential, best infrastructure or best human resources, according to the Financial Times’ fDi Intelligence division’s most recent Foreign & Direct Investment (FDI) ‘Countries of the Future’ rankings report. The islands could only managethird place in just one area: Best Quality of Life, behind the British Virgin Islands, placed first, and Bermuda second.  The Cayman Chamber of Commerce described the poor showing asa wake-up call for Cayman, saying the jurisdiction had to become more attractive.

President James O’Neill said it was unclear why this jurisdiction was only ranked in one category on the list but Cayman may not have provided the FT with sufficient data.

“Nevertheless, the rankings should be considered a wake-up call to us all. We must become more innovative, competitive and attractive to the local and international business and investment communities,” he said.

“We must become more aggressive in our approaches to become business friendly by reviewing our fees and structures to ensure that we are competitive with other countries in the region and around the world. We have become complacent and it is time to use this report as the tipping point for change. We encourage everyone to become involved in the Future of Cayman economic development initiative so that we can all play our part to make the Cayman Islands the best place to live and conduct business.”

In the survey Cayman ranked joint second for the highest GDP per capita for 2010, behind Bermuda and alongside the US Virgin Islands, but was not listed in any other category.
The 'FDI Caribbean & Central American Countries of the Future 2011/2012' report placed Costa Rica in overall first place as the top country of the future in the region, followed by Dominican Republic in second place, Trinidad and Tobago in third, Barbados in fourth and Panama fifth.

The report states that Costa Rica’s dominance in this year’s ranking is no surprise given its successful record in attracting FDI into the country. According to fDi Markets (the FT’s online database tracking system), Costa Rica has been the number one destination country in the region in terms of FDI project numbers since 2003, attracting a total of 227 FDI projects between 2003 and 2010.

Costa Rica came second in the Best Economic Potential category (Panama came top); followed by Turks & Caicos in third place, while Panama was voted Best for Infrastructure, followed by Antigua & Barbuda and then Puerto Rico. The Best Business Friendliness ranking went to Puerto Rico, followed by Costa Rica, Guadeloupe, Panama and then Saint Lucia.

Panama, although only ranked fifth in the overall top country ranking, was seen as a rising star, according to the report, so far this year attracting more FDI projects into its country than Costa Rica and therefore attaining the ranking of number one country with the Best Economic Potential.

Cayman’s closest neighbour, Jamaica, faired moderately well, placing fifth in the Best Infrastructure category, fourth Best Country for FDI Strategy and tenth for Best Human Resources. Bermuda is often identified as Cayman’s closest financial services industry competitor, and was generally better positioned than Cayman, ranking fourth for Best Economic Potential, sixth for Best Infrastructure, second for Best Quality of Life, top for highest GDP per capita for 2010 and also top for highest internet usage per capita.

Dax Basdeo, Chief Officer with the finance ministry believes that Cayman did pretty well, considering the Islands were not able to supply the panel of judges with specific data.

“Our number three placement in the Best Quality of Life category was positive news as this position was awarded without our active participation in the process,” he says. “While we were approached and invited to submit country details, the deadline set was unattainable given the amount of data collection necessary and our current staff capacity limitations.”

Judges who made up the selection panel included Alfredo Coutiño, director, Latin America, Moody’s Analytics; John Bowers, owner,Bowers Consulting and Jacqueline Walls, senior investment analyst, fDi Intelligence. Judging criteria on economic potential included such factors as population and population growth rate,unemployment rate, GDP growth, labour force, number of inward and outward FDI projects and the number of ‘mega’ FDI projects by capital and by jobs.

In judging the human resources rankings for each country, the panel took into consideration the labour force, literacy rate, number of universities, secondary and tertiary enrolment rates, the number of International Baccalaureate schools and education expenditure.

FDI promotion strategies were assessed by a country’s number of staff dedicated to promoting and facilitating inward investment, systems or programmes in place to train staff and measure performance, key initiatives implemented to attract more investment, incentives available to inward investors and major infrastructure and urban planning.

See report below

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Residents challenge Planning over Emerald Sound

| 02/09/2011 | 64 Comments

(CNS): A number of South Sound residents have put the planning department on notice that they will be formally challenging the Central Planning Authority’s decision to give a controversial development planning permission. On 3 August the CPA approved the inland component of Emerald Sound, which does not yet have a costal works license for the second element of the development which covers the creation of a channel into the inland area and dredging of the seabed. The residents are also appealing to Cabinet, in whose hands the costal works license application lies, not to allow the project to go ahead.

‘Protect South Sound’, the organizers of the campaign against the development, have vowed not to give up despite the recent decision by the CPA. They argue that the project will not only put the entire South Sound community at risk, but allowing a developer to dredge a channel from the South Sound into the interior would also set a dangerous precedent.

Protect South Sound is also collecting signatures on the petition they re-started following 3 August decision, which now includes the appeal to Cabinet to deny approval of the Coastal Works License.

“We are not opposed to land based development but we are categorically opposed to a canal, the related dredging of South Sound, the 20 feet high bridge and the re-location of the South Sound road,” a spokesperson for the group stated, adding that ‘Protect South Sound’ would be at various locations in the upcoming weeks to collect signatures and ensure the public are fully informed about the proposed development and its potential impacts on area. 

Once the appeal is launched the Planning Appeals Tribunal will need to hear the application within six months, when organizers hope that they will be able to reverse the decision.

A significant number of objections were submitted to planning by residents in the area as well as a petition against the project.  The Department of Environment, the NRA and the Water Authority had all also raised serious concerns about the project but the CPA was not swayed.

According to the minutes a submission made by local attorney Anthony Akiwumi on behalf of the objectors that the CPA meeting be rescheduled as it was unlawful was denied.

Akiwumi argued that the CPA should not consider the application on 3 August, in the absence of a Cabinet decision on the coastal works license. However, the CPA said it did not take its “instructions from Cabinet” and dismissed the request, suggesting it was anattempt to “kick the can further down the road.”

During the presentation the CPA also took the view that despite the number of objections it was “not a situation where the more objections you have the better the case,” as it said it would determine the application on the Development Plan, the Law and the Regulations.

The lawyer for the developers of Emerald Sound argued that the CPA could only reject the application if it could be proved that the project would cause harm.  “They need evidence that this development will cause harm,” Samuel Jackson said. “Any objection must be factual and provable or CPA must reject it.”

He added that in law there was no need for the applicant to demonstrate a need or demand for the development and argued there was no good cause, “despite the emotive objections,” to refuse the application.

Although the authority listed a number of conditions that must be met before work can start, planning permission was granted for the development.

The public can follow the progress of Protect South Sound to fight the development and sign the petition at various on line locations:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SaveSouthSound
Online petition: http://www.petitiononline.com/ci345es/petition.html
Twitter: https://twitter.com/protectssound

See CPA meeting minutes here www.planning.ky

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Oprah to do Q&A on Facebook live-webcast

| 02/09/2011 | 0 Comments

(LinkedIn): Oprah Winfrey is coming to Facebook next week. On September 8, the TV star will be the one answering questions rather than asking them, appearing on a one-hour Facebook Live streaming video interview on Sept. 8 at 4:30 P.M. Eastern Time, 1:30 P.M. Pacific. To see the live webcast, go to Facebook Live on Sept. 8 and Oprah will answer questions shared by visitors to the Facebook Live event wall. Fans are invited to share their questions now, with the promise that “you might hear Oprah answer your question during the live show.” Oprah is no stranger to Facebook. Her official Oprah Winfrey page is liked by more than 6.2 million fans.

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Robbers strike at popular harbour front restaurant

| 02/09/2011 | 45 Comments

(CNS): One of downtown George Town’s most popular restaurants was targeted Thursday by masked robbers, who managed to get away with an undisclosed sum of cash. Police say that just after 10pm last night Casanova by the Sea was robbed when two masked men entered the premises, one of whom was brandishing a handgun, and demanded cash. The suspects then fled the scene with cash and were last seen running towards the Rock Hole area. Both were dressed in dark clothing, wearing masks and white gloves. One of the robbers spoke with what has been described as a Jamaican-Cayman accent.

No shots were fired, and no-one was injured in the incident.

Anyone who was in the area at the time and has any information about the crime should call George Town police station on 949-4222 or the confidential Crime Stoppers number 800-8477(TIPS).
 

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US seeks $39M from dead Cayman banker

| 02/09/2011 | 15 Comments

(CNS): The US government has filed a complaint against the Estate of deceased offshore banker John Mathewson in an attempt to collect on an unpaid judgment for $11.3 million in 1993 that has grown to $39 million, Offshore Alert reported Thursday. The defendants include two Bahamas companies in which Mathewson allegedly "kept most of his money hidden". The action was brought nearly 14 months after Mathewson died at the age of 82. He became one of the most notorious figures in the world of offshore banking when, in 1996, he gave the IRS computer tapes containing the complete accounts statements of over 1,000 customers of Cayman Islands-licensed Guardian Bank & Trust, the offshore watchdog stated.

The action is an attempt to collect "the unpaid balance of certain federal taxes plus statutory additions owed by convicted tax felon John Mathewson who died intestate on November 26, 2009, and to enforce and foreclose IRS tax liens and a judgment in favour of the United States relating to Mathewson’s unpaid tax liabilities", it was stated in an amended complaint filed on June 1, 2011.

"A Judgment in favour of the United States is enforceable for at least 20 years," stated the U. S. Government, which obtained a judgment for $11,329,588, plus interest from April 26, 1993, against Mathewson on September 28, 1993 for his unpaid income taxes from the years 1972 and 1974 through 1985. "As of January 4, 2011, the total amount due on the Judgment against Mathewson was $38,779,655.18."

The action was brought at the U. S. District Court for the Western District of Texas on January 11, 2011 – and the defendants are the Estate of John Mathewson, his widow, Linda Mathewson; Martin O'Neill, Texas NOM limited Partnership, d.b.a. Garrison, Ltd., described as a Texas limited partnership; Texas MON, LC, described as the general partner of Texas NOM; FMBL, Inc., described as a Texas corporation; Enster Corporation, and Marlborough Investments, Inc., which were both described as Bahamas corporations.

See full article at www.OffshoreAlert.com
 

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Miss Cayman records video for Miss Universe

| 02/09/2011 | 23 Comments

(CNS): Cristin Alexander along with her fellow contestants has recorded a short interview as part of the Miss Universe pageant. Miss Cayman Islands says she definitely believes in life on other planets, thinks women are better nurturers than men and sees herself as a Siberian tiger. With less than two weeks to go before the big event, the voting on the website is still open. Miss Cayman Islands will be taking part in a number of publicity events this week before the preliminary contest starts next weekend as a prelude to the main event on Monday 12 September. Meanwhile, back home tickets are on sale for the Miss Cayman Islands contest, which takes place on 24 September at the Lions Centre.

The ten local girls who will be competing to follow in Cristin’s footsteps have been training for several months and Committee Chair, Lynn Bodden, commended the young ladies for their dedication and unrelenting efforts.

“These contestants are extremely hard-working and committed to becoming the next Miss Cayman Islands. All ten of them are true winners in our eyes, and we wish them all the best in the pageant,” she said

The contestants will be visiting the Sister Islands from 2-4 September, hosting a fashion show at the Alexander Hotel and touring both Islands during the weekend, followed by a fashion show fundraiser at Tikki Beach on Thursday, 15 September, and a Motorcade on Saturday, 17 September.

This year’s pageant theme is ‘Island Paradise’, and doors open at 5:30 pm. General admission tickets are $30 and children tickets are CI $15 now on sale at Sand Angels (Camana Bay), Just Add Water (Governor’s Square), Ministry of Tourism (Dawn McLean-Sawney, 5th Floor), Miss Cayman contestants and committee members. Children ages 12 and under have discounted tickets, and the VIP section is sold out.

Sticking with September’s beauty theme, the Cayman National Cultural Foundation is also offering a Fashion Model Catwalk Training this month at the Harquail Theatre. The workshop facilitators are modelling coach Dwight McLean, hair and makeup artists Jimmy DeLoach and Letitia Eden, as well as professional photographer Patrick Broderick. Participants will learn the basics of modelling for fashion shows, including basic rules of modelling, walking the catwalk, techniques of motion and gestures, facial expression, posing in front of the camera and hair and makeup.

There will also be a session on portfolio development and a mini photo shoot with a professional photographer. This workshop is designed for the young male and female whose goal is to become a fashion model or who simply wants to build more self-confidence. Participants must be legally resident in the Cayman Islands and be between the ages of 16 and 26.

For further information contact Virginia Foster at 947-5477, volunteercncf@candw.ky or visit the websiteat www.artscayman.org

For more on the Miss Universe pageant and to vote for Christin go to www.missunivers.com (the system allows ten votes per day from one email) and see the video here

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