Archive for October 20th, 2011

Bank renews youth sailing regatta sponsorship

| 20/10/2011 | 0 Comments

(CISA): For the fifth year in a row, Scotiabank is the title sponsor for the Cayman Islands National Youth Sailing Championship.The two-day regatta, to be held on 22nd and 23rd October 2011, is the most eagerly anticipated event on the Youth sailing calendar. It is open to all sailors under the age of 18 and this year will feature racing in four different classes. The Laser Radial class is for older sailors and is the cross over class to the adult Olympic Laser class. The Optimist class will have two divisions with the Championship fleet and the Green fleet for sailors new to racing, and finally the double handed Pico class which is always hotly contested.

Head Coach Raph Harvey is excited about this year’s event and said, “We now have sailors training every day and the standard has grown to the point where we can set courses in line with International regattas”.

All races will take place on the waters of North Sound in front of the Cayman Islands Sailing Club in Red Bay. Spectators will be able to watch the racing from the balcony at the clubhouse and private motor boats are welcome to view the racing from the water.

All youth sailors with sailing experience are invited to attend the regatta. The races will begin at 1pm each day and there will be an awards ceremony following the racing on Sunday 23rd October. All competitors will receive a t-shirt and there will be prizes for the top sailors in each class.

To register and reserve a boat, please email Raph Harvey at coach@sailing.ky.  Boats are limited and will be available on a first come first served basis.

For more information about sailing in the Cayman Islands, please visit www.sailing.ky

 

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$2billion Islamic bond programme set up in Cayman

| 20/10/2011 | 0 Comments

(Reuters): Goldman Sachs has registered a $2 billion Islamic bond programme, providing further evidence of conventional borrowers looking to sharia-complaint funding sources as market volatility makes raising debt finance more difficult. The investment bank has set up the Cayman Islands-registered Global Sukuk Company Limited special purpose vehicle to issue murabaha-structured sukuk, according to a base prospectus filed with the Irish Stock Exchange. Murabaha is a cost-plus-profit arrangement which complies with Islamic law.

"In the current environment it is unsurprising to see borrowers turning to markets in which they believe liquidity is still available," Chavan Bhogaita, head of markets strategy unit at National Bank of Abu Dhabi, said. "(Goldman Sachs' decision to tap sukuk) is simply a reflection of the very challenging environment in which we currently find ourselves, and the relative strength of the sukuk market at present given that we are seeing solid demand for assets in this space."

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Ward gets number two job in prosecutors’ office

| 20/10/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Criminal prosecutor Trevor Ward has been appointed the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions beating out two of his local colleagues and one overseas candidate. The new post was created this year with the opening of the independent prosecuting office. Officials said that following an open recruitment process and an initial short-listing process, an interview panel chaired by the attorney general, Samuel Bulgin QC with three senior government officials unanimously selected Ward. “In its view…the candidate with the best range of skills, knowledge and experience required was Mr. Ward,” officials stated in the announcement of his appointment.

Ward was selected from a field of four applicants, three of whom were from within the prosecutors’ office and one from overseas. 

Ward who is highly regarded as a criminal prosecutor with more than 13 years experience in the region, began his career as a prosecutor in Trinidad and Tobago but joined the Cayman Chambers of the Attorney General in 2005 as a crown counsel. He was promoted in 2007 to Senior Crown Counsel with direct responsibility for all matters pertaining to the Grand Court.  In this role, he was required to act as lead prosecutor in complex criminal trials, including murders; and to prosecute appeals before the Grand Court and the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal.

“His vast legal knowledge combined with his management skills and experience, will stand him in good stead in his challenging new role,” officials stated.

As Deputy DPP, Ward will function as a Deputy Chief Officer for the Office and will assist in the management of the performance work flow and reporting requirements of the Office.

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Movie star credits Cayman with his relaxed outlook

| 20/10/2011 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Star of Social Network, Armie Hammer, has credited his relaxed outlook on life with growing up in the Cayman Islands, and said living here taught him to be a "nicer person". His family moved to Cayman when he was seven years old and he stayed until he was eleven. The actor, who plays twins in the movie, told Prestige magazine, "As a kid,I would hop on my bike when I got home from school — that was my mode of transportation. I would have a machete on my hip. I would chop down coconuts, eat mangos and fresh papaya. It was a terrific way to grow up. The island had zero crime. Cops didn't even carry guns. It was just a fun, safe place.”

He said that he believed his time in Cayman made him a nicer person. “The deal with living on an island is that you can't really afford to be mean to anybody, or be an asshole to anybody because you will see them again. Invariably you will run into them, probably the same day. So I learned to be nice, just take things slow and relax,” the actor stated.

Hammer’s father, Michael Armand Hammer, was the founder of Grace Christian Academy.
 

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MLAs interests cause concern

| 20/10/2011 | 75 Comments

(CNS): The mixing of politicians’ business interests with their role as public servants is becoming increasingly problematic, says the independent member for North Side. Ezzard Miller has called on elected government members to divest themselves of their private interests as they are paid salaries and do not need to run businesses while in office. Despite the not insufficient pay, he said, some government members have interests directly related to their public work, and even if that is not leading to actual issues of dishonesty, it is creating the perception of it. He also said he had concerns that not all MLAs are being completely open when it comes to declaring their interests in the register.

According to the Register of Interests, West Bay MLA Cline Glidden has some of the most declared businesses interests on the government benches. He has also publicly admitted that his companies, GMC Electric Supply and GMC Construction, are contracted by the Dart Group at Camana Bay, despite the fact that he has been involved directly in the For Cayman Alliance negotiations — a deal proposed between Dart and government for long term development.

Miller said that this type of situation is unacceptable for any MLA, no matter their integrity, as it is an issue of perception. He questioned how anyone would ever know whether or not an individual’s business interests had influenced the negotiations, given such circumstances and temptations.

“I don’t think it is humanly possible to have a direct pecuniary interest, to have construction companies who work for developers while leading negotiations on behalf of government and not, at the very least, be tempted to look after your own interests,” he said. “In politics in a small society like ours perception is reality. There is no difference.”

Miller said that when he first entered politics in the 1980s, he divested all of his successful pharmaceutical businesses to his long term economic detriment but it would have been untenable to accept the Cabinet position as health minister in those circumstances. While he may have economic regrets about going into politics, he has no personal regrets and now manages to live on his MLA salary, he said.

As a long time advocate of proper salaries for MLAs, he explained that he had fought for politicians' pay to be on a level of senior civil servants so that people did not have to have outside interests when they went into politics that could lead to the perception of corruption, if not the reality of it. “People cannot be expected to give up business without a proper salary,” he said, adding that today the salaries of MLAs were sufficient to have a decent standard of living without having another business interest.

The level of pecuniary interests held by government members and their families, and those links that they retain with businesses even when they step down from directorships are of growing concern, given the strides that had been made to compensate members officially, Miller added.

He believed that not all members were declaring absolutely everything on the Register of Interests that they should and there was no pressure for them to do so.

The register is designed to allow the public to see exactly what their elected membersare involved with while serving in office. This allows voters to judge if those interests held by government members are benefitting, either directly or indirectly, from their position or if the interests are influencing their role as minsters or public representatives.

The members are also required to declare any gifts or hospitality that they accept worth over $500 on the same register for the same reasons. The register is overseen by a parliamentary committee and Miller says there are no consequences if members fail to declare all their interests or any gifts they have received.

Although the Commission for Standards in Public Life is working on drafting new legislation to introduce sanctions for public officials who may fall foul of the register of interests law, the independent member said he was disappointed that after two years the committee had not looked into the current failures by members and publicly highlighted them to demonstrate the pressing need for the law.

“I am fairly certain that gifts and hospitality have been accepted which have been reported in the media but have not gone in the Register of Interests,” he said, adding that politicians had even been photographed in the media accepting expensive gifts at public events which never made it to the register.

Miller said he was concerned that a culture had emerged where the public, as a result of the picture painted by politicians, did not even see this as wrong. He said even when politicians were involved in questionable situations regarding their interests, there was little or no pressure from the media or the public at large for them to resign and even when pressure was being applied, politicians were not doing the right thing.

Business interests were also causing problems on government boards, Miller said, against the background of the recent arrest of an NHDT member. He added that this highlighted the dangers of political appointments to boards of people with related pecuniary interests “under the excuse of expertise and experience”, which was a dangerous situation.  

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