Tony Blair to headline fundraiser at Ritz

| 26/09/2011

(CNS): The former prime minister of the UK will be visiting the Cayman Islands in November to appear at a special fundraising event that will take place at the Ritz Carlton for the opening of the 2011 KPMG Legends Tennis Championships. Tony Blair, who was leader of the British Labour Party from 1994 to 2007, will be the guest speaker at the dinner, which will take place at Eric Ripert’s restaurant Blue on 16 November and will be sold as part of the tennis tournament’s Pro-Am package. The dinner kicks off the annual tournament that brings some of the world’s best tennis players to Grand Cayman and raises money for local junior tennis and the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre.

Mike Ryan, developer of the Ritz-Carlton and host of the tournament, said that it was touch and go that the annual tennis event would take place at all this year.  “Having run the event for the past ten years, it was doubtful, given the current tough economic times, if we could afford to do an event this year, but we thought it important to try and I am especially proud of our sponsors like KPMG and the Cayman Islands Government whose support has enabled the event to take place and allow us the opportunity to continue to give back to the community,” Ryan stated.

The players competing in this year’s Championships include Grand Slam tournament winners Martina Hingis, Jennifer Capriati, Mark Philippoussis, Wayne Ferreira, Chanda Rubin, Jimmy Arias, Stephen Huss and Murphy Jensen.

At a press conference to announce the event details, Premier McKeeva Bush said he was pleased to see the continued development of this event.

“KPMG Legends Tennis is a great contributor to the Cayman Islands tourism product.  Bringing internationally recognized names to the tennis courts of Grand Cayman is a contribution to tourism of the highest order,” Bush said, adding that the benefits of the Legends Tennis went beyond tourism as it is also a fundraiser helping women in distress and supports young tennis players.

He said everyone could appreciate the charity component of the tournament, which was in the spirit of giving back to the community. “It’s great to see a company like KPMG associated with the tournament. We know that without sponsors such as KPMG, such a big event may very well not be possible,” Bush stated, adding that the firm set an excellent example of good corporate citizenship.

Thanking Ryan for “having the vision and the passion to bring Legends Tennis to the Cayman Islands,” he also congratulated him for getting Tony Blair to support the event. “Such a distinguished guest speaker can only add another dimension and prestige to an already celebrated event,” the premier added.

Ryan explained that this year’s tournament had a number of extras as a result of feedback from previous tournaments. “What we tried to do this year was listen to the feedback that we’ve had over the various years about what were the things that people particularly liked and what were some things that we could improve on and how we could really make it a broader event that engaged more of the community,” he said.

One change is the addition of female players on the roster. The tournament will consist of both men’s single tennis and mixed doubles tennis. For the first time, local players will be included – with four Cayman players getting wildcards into the draw and two Cayman amateurs. 

“An important part of the 2011 KPMG Legends Tennis Championships is to ensure that Cayman’s best juniors, amateurs and pros get a chance to play alongside and on the court with some of the world’s greatest tennis players,” Ryan added.

Local junior players will also be in the competitive spotlight for the tournament as this year there will be a KPMG Junior Legends tournament taking place, with the Junior Finals being played as the first match on each evening of the pro Championships. 

“For the junior players to be able to play in front of all-time greats such as Hingis, Capriati and Philippousis will be a great boost and inspiration to them, and hopefully encourage them to go further in the sport,” said event organizer, Dan Kneipp.

Tennis Federation Secretary Geraldine Duckworth said the federation board members have already started assisting with the arrangements and recruiting volunteers to help out. “It is wonderful that we will be able to share in the benefits too, namely funds to help with our tennis development programmes. Some of our juniors will play in the event and many other young players will be able to watch,” she said.

To make the event more inclusive and accessible, organisers have expanded the seating and reduced match ticket prices. Over 5,500 tickets for the event will be offered, with prices starting at $5.  A 3-day pass to attend each night of play will cost $45.  VIP packages are also available, as is participation in the fund-raising Pro-Am portion of the tournament.

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Comments (30)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    As I understand it- this event is a non-profit event that raises much needed funds for the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre and is aimed at developing sporting opportunities for young people as well.  Perhap people could focus on the positive aspects for a change and show some supports for those people who the crisis centre cares for and the young people who need activities!

    A big thankyou to all of the sonsors perhaps, or maybe a donation to a worhty cause? Instead of the constant negativity and whining!

  2. Pastor Bucket says:

    Are any of you prepared to protest this event?

    • Anonymous says:

      Not really!!!!  All we can do is write junk on the keyboard and pretend we're some brave society, but when it come to getting up from our computer we say "not today bobo"

      And they know that, so they keep slaping us in the face with MOUs and s#1t becuase we don't have the brains to do anything organized, unless you giving away food!  I be going then!

      "Let's go deal with CUC" — free BBQ ribs to all who show up!

      Friday 10am – you MUST get out the car to qualify for the ribs! << and you must be Caymanian!

      • Anonymous says:

        Caymanians don't protest so we know that you are definately not from here.  We are peace loving people and not trouble makers, take your protest some where else, we don't want or need that here.  We welcome Mr. Blair and will give him a warm Caymanian welcome.

    • Anonymous says:

      I'm ready…How about a flash mob of picketers? I'm bringing two signs, one for Blair and the other for Ryan…Two peas in apod!!


      That place will be guarded like a fortress, wait and see.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not for the event, but for the presence of a war criminal in the events and in the country.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I'll go as long as I don't have to hear or do anything relating to tennis.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Maybe we should picket this event with signs telling Michael Ryan to pay his bills. Maybe a little worldwide attraction may shame him enough!


    When does the madness stop!

    • DO IT! says:

      It is public land afterall…. Unless Macmaniac sold it already…

    • Anonymous says:

      I don't think he has any shame otherwise he wouldn't be putting on theselavish events for his own good knowing full well how much money he owes our government (us) and other people on this island.

      Let me know when the protest is planned.  I will be there. 

      Getting my signs ready right now!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    He tried to destroy our country when he was in power. Now  he wants to come here and make money off us and let us believe he is a changed man.

    Michael Ryan is bringing him here. That says loads!!! Two peas in a pod,  both destroying us in their only little way.


  6. Anonymous says:

    I hope he encourages Michael Ryan to pay his bills and I'm not talking about just to the Government!

  7. Caymanian says:

    Please give him Cayman Status.

  8. Anonymous says:

    This man is not a distinguish gentlemen.  He is a Co-conspirator along with George Bush to all war crimes committed in Iraq by Western allied troops since 2003 in search for WMDs.  He should be held responsible for killings of  nearly 600,000 (by western estimates) innocent men, women and children in Iraq during the war. These 2 men destroyed that beautiful country.  Iraqis are still dying in their country.   Further, When the hurricane Ivan struck Cayman in 2004 he was the Prime Minister of the UK.  Cayman did not get a penny to support our recovery efforts except sending few thousand yards of tarpoline.  All Caymanians should be mobilised to protest for his presence in these islands.  We should go to all the places he goes and protest.  He is now looking for money and goes for any functions who could pay him $50,000 appearance fee.  I beleive the organisers should have invited people like Bill Clinton or former German Chancellor Helmot Kohl for these events.  If the right price is paid they would come.  Blair is a war criminal !!!  GO HOME BLAIR !!!

    • Stiffed-Necked Fool says:

      Are you for real serious?

      Have you heard about a certain Sadam Hussein and all you can do is blame Blair & Bush for deaths in Iraq. You should be thanking them that Sadam is not closer to you now as that was his plan, to take over the world with brutal force and those who opposed him would be exterminated like he did to his own people.

      Wake up Star to the real world!

  9. WREX says:

    I don't think we shold let him in Cayman, look what happened to Gaddafi after he started dealing with Blair.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I don't want to be in the same room as someone with so much blood on his hands

  11. Loopy Lou says:

    Wot no Chagos postings yet?  Guys, you are disappointing us.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Another Globalist Elite crook and murderer!!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Arrest him for war crimes.

  14. Anonymous says:

    God Help us  …Another champagne socialist here to add to his offshore earnings. 

    As a Labour Prime minister he made every effort to damage our financial industry, now he trades on his name.  As you stand to applaud and have your picture taken with him, ask yourself  "what has this man done to deserve my adulation..?"


    • Actually says:

      Human Rights Act, greater autonomy for Overseas Territories (White Paper and subsequent negotiations), devolved government for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, peace in Northern Ireland, dragged the monarchy into the 21st century (Diana episode), improved separation of powers (CRA 2005), first Labour PM to win three elections.  


      Just a few.  Yeah, you bet I'll have my picture taken with him.

      • Actually says:

        Didn't know there were so many people against peace, self-determination, checks and balances,  human rights and respecting the dead.  I thought those were the things we liked here on CNS?  Politicians do not measure their careers by their mistakes you know.  Ordinary people might but the smart ones know that everyone makes mistakes, and its what you have done in totality that counts.  Tony Blair changed the UK forever and showed every politician in the UK how you capture the imagination of its people.  This is why DC used to say he was the 'heir to Blair'.  


        You lose credibility on here when you thumbs things down so quickly.  'Ooh good thing about Tony Blair, good thing bad, I put thumbs down now no like Tony Blair, Iraq bad thing'.  Grow a brain people.

        • Actually says:

          'Comment is bad person, say I have no credibility, bad thing to me is bad, Tony Blair bad, I thumbs down now'

      • JTB says:

        Illegal wars, constitutional vandalism, crony culture, cash for honours, bankrupt economy, Ecclestone affair, dodgy dossiers, EU sellout, sending ill-equipped soldiers overseas to fight his illegal wars, destruction of the british pension system … etc etc ad infinitum ad nauseam


        It amazes me that this man is not in jail, after the damage he did to the UK

        • Anonymous says:

          Unlike yours my examples are backed up by Acts of Parliament or specific examples.  Unfortunately politics generally is broken and requires some corner-cutting in order to get results.  Destruction of pension system is a symptom of 50 years of mismanagement of the UK economy.  The EU is a runaway train that the Conservatives cannot stop either.  


          I'm afraid although I agree with some of your complaints they pale in comparison to his successes.  Imagine a UK with no regional government, bombs outside No. 10 every day, no human rights??  It would have been finished a decade ago.  Which party's government ignored these issues…oh yes.

  15. Whodatis says:


    Will there be a Q & A?

    Can we ask him about illegal wars, unconstitutional invasions and crimes against humanity?

    Should we "hold him" on behalf of the Hague?

    Just curious.

    * Oh my days … what was I thinking?! For a minute there I forgot he was White, Western and Christian … scratch all of the above. Greatest apologies.

    • Stiffed-Necked Fool says:

      I suppose when he gets licks on the tennis court, he will claim its a "conspiracy" to bring him and his Government down!

  16. Anonymous says:

    I just watched a very interesting expose of Blair on the UK's Channel 4 Dispatches programme –

    The programme showed Blair was closely to JP Morgan, who just happen to be co-defendants with KPMG in the fall out from the Madoff financial collapse, which involved several Cayman-registered entities.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why would you give this kind of false information on a blog that could cause a further fall out for Cayman's financial industry when you know fully well that Cayman had nothing to do with the Madoff financial scandal?  You seem to be just another HATER who want to see these islands go to ruin.