Archive for April 24th, 2012

Travers warns of moves against lawful tax avoidance

| 24/04/2012 | 0 Comments

(travers34_0.JPGCNS Business): CaymanIslands Stock Exchange chair Anthony Travers has warned that lawful tax avoidance may be in trouble because of a shift in the position of onshore governments towards the principle. Speaking on BBC Radio 4's flagship news show, The Today Programme, on Tuesday, the former chair of Cayman Finance said onshore jurisdictions no longer liked the idea of real tax competition, which is a function of domestic tax law. Arguing with the well-known anti-tax haven activist, Nicholas Shaxson, author of Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World, Travers pointed to a switch in attitudes about legal tax avoidance in the US and the UK. But until tax competition was eliminated across the globe there was still a role for the Cayman Islands, he said. Read more on CNS Business

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Woman arrested after smuggling attempt at jail

| 24/04/2012 | 7 Comments

Prison entrance.JPG(CNS): A George Town woman was arrested at HMP Northward on Sunday after attempting to smuggle drugs in to the country’s prison. The director of the prison said that officers  intercepted the woman who was intending to visit an inmate at the prison gate lodge and found she was carrying a white powder which was suspected as being cocaine. Dwight Scott said that the police were called and the suspected contraband was handed over while following initial enquiries he female visitor was arrested and taken in custody by the RCIPS. Police confirmed investigations are continuing into the matter but the woman has since been bailed.

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Brac police on hunt for missing pistol and shotgun

| 24/04/2012 | 8 Comments

(CNS): The RCIPS has opened an investigation on Cayman Brac into the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of two firearms from a private owner’s safe. A spokesperson for the RCIPS said Cayman Brac police received the report of the missing guns on Monday evening (23-Apr-2012) from the Brac resident. He told police that upon checking his firearm safe the weapons that were stored in it were missing. The police did not say if there had been a suspected break-in at the property or how else the pistol and the shotgun had come to be missing.

 

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UK minister crams in meetings over 3 day visit

| 24/04/2012 | 0 Comments

Gov&UK Min (228x300).jpg(CNS): The British minister with responsibility for the UK’s overseas territories faced a whirlwind of meetings and events when he came to the Cayman Islands for the first time last week. He met with government bosses, cabinet, various government agencies, non-governmental organisations, the opposition, the police, visited local schools and attended a cultural meeting. He also held intense talks with the premier in particular on procurement and good governance. Bellingham talso visited the Department of the Environment to hear about the Marine Park Review, a project supported by the UK’s Darwin initiative and a visit to the lionfish laboratory.

The minister noted at a press briefing before he left the island that more than 80% of the UK’s environmental diversity is found in the territories as he emphasised the importance of environmental issues. Bellingham made no comment however, on the failure of the Cayman Islands successive governments to implement the long awaited and much discussed national conservation law.

But it was good governance and procurement that appeared to be at the top of the Tory minister’s agenda a subject discussed during a round table meeting with the Commission for Standards in Public Life (CSPL) members, government leaders and officials.

According to GIS the meeting, held at Government Administration Building, reflected the importance that the UK Government places on the Overseas Territories practising proper procurement in all major government projects.

During a reception hosted by the premier at Pedro St. James Bellingham had reiterated the UK Government’s expectation of good governance in the OTs.

“We are keen to see responsible, fiscal, financial management,” the Minister said. “In this very tough global environment, we all must try and live within our means.”

 

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Caribbean teens showing risk factors for heart disease

| 24/04/2012 | 0 Comments

overweight-teens_3.24.jpg(CNS): An increase in the incidence of cardio vascular disease in Trinidad prompted a study on whether risks for the disease develop in teenage years. The results – revealed last week – showed that a significant number of young people are demonstrating risk factors, such as leading sedentary lifestyles, eating fast food and smoking, which could lead to them developing cardio vascular disease in later life. Surveying a cross section of teens, doctors in Trinidad focused on gender, ethnic background and age and found that the sector most likely to be smoking – one of the key risk factors for heart disease – was 14 year old girls of African descent.   

Fourth year medical student Azizah Fyzul presented her team’s findings at this year’s Caribbean Health Research Council’s 57th Annual Council and Scientific Meetings, held last week at the Marriott Beach Resort. Fyzul said that cardio vascular disease was the number one killer in Trinidad.

The risk factors associated with the disease could be split into modifiable and non-modifiable, she said.

“While there is little we can do about aging, our genetics and our gender, much can be done to reduce the levels of obesity, smoking, hypertension and physical activity,” she said. “It is believed that the presence of these modifiable risk factors in childhood result in atherosclerotic changes [hardening of the arteries] as early as seven to eight years. The number and/or severity of these factors positively influence the probability of developing cardio vascular disease.”  

Following a report in the Trinidad press that the average lifespan of its citizens had been reduced by 14 years because of an increase in non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, Fyzul said there had been a renewed interest in the early detection of these modifiable factors.

For their study, Fyzul and her team measured 1,896 adolescents for the occurrence of risk factors including their use of tobacco, their levels of physical activity and inactivity, the frequency at which they consumed unhealthy fast food and their Body Mass Index. Fyzul said that while many of the students had normal BMI ratings, a substantial amount had a BMI of 25 or more, making them either overweight or obese. She said, perhaps unsurprisingly, that there were higher numbers of those with a BMI over 25 where the adolescents admitted to eating fast food more than once a day. Smoking, she said, began at the age of 13, with African females the highest consumer of tobacco, peaking at 14 year olds. 

44.6 per cent of adolescents surveyed had more than two risk factors associated with cardio vascular disease. The most common risk factor was the consumption of fast food at 79.8 per cent while the least common risk factor was smoking at 12 per cent. 30.4 per cent of those studied were either overweight or obese, a figure that was backed up by a Trinidad Ministry of Health survey which found one in four people overweight. Those with the highest BMIs were African females followed by East Indian males. 18 and 14 year olds had the highest BMI findings. Overall the overweight or obese teens spent a significant amount of time (up to three hours a day) watching TV or playing electronic games.

The study found that a significant number of teenagers in Trinidad had two or more risk factors that could lead to CVD.

“Based upon previous research these findings have undoubtedly placed the students well within the models used to predict heart disease later in life,” the report concluded.
At the end of her presentation, Fyzul warned: “We can continue to search for medical solutions to treat these issues or we can work to reduce the modifiable risk factors.”

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Annual nursing award nominations sought

| 24/04/2012 | 0 Comments

nur8.jpg(HSA): Nominations for the 2012 Eloise Reid Award for Nursing Excellence is now open. The award gives recognition to registered nurses in the Cayman Islands who have demonstrated excellence in the application of the Standards for Nursing Practice and Code of Ethics, and made outstanding contributions to the nursing profession in clinical practice. The deadline for receipt of nominations is Tuesday, 1 May. Nomination forms must be submitted to the Selection Committee, Eloise Reid Award for Excellence in Nursing, c/o Chief Nursing Officer, 2nd Floor Administration Building, Cayman Islands Hospital. For more information call 244-2610. Nominations forms are available from www.ministryofhealth.gov.ky

See guidelines and forms below
 

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8th group starts government employment training

| 24/04/2012 | 0 Comments

(CNS): While government has been adapting is work preparation course to assist different demographic groups the employment ministry is still continuing with the original course designed to get young people into work and keep them there. Passport2Success began its eighth cohort on Monday, 16 April at the International College of the Cayman Islands campus. The students, ages 17 to 20, will undertake classroom based learning and  engage in internships where they will receive first hand experience in a professional working environment. “We are hoping to improve upon the success rate that has been established by the former students,’ said Shannon Seymour of the Wellness Centre.

“Currently, the programme has a 90% completion rate by those who have started,” she added as she challenged the latest group to be the first group where everyone graduates at the end of the 12 weeks.

Rolston Anglin the education minister spoke about why younger members of society continue to find it difficult to enter the workforce.

“If you want change in your life, you must first work on changing yourself,” he told the students.  “Have a positive attitude, work harder, set your goals and achieve them.  If you do this, you will be successful not only in this course but in life.  Take advantage of this programme and give it your all. “

For more information onPassport2Successvisit www.passport2success.ky

 

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Miller calls on CIG to dismiss UK Lord

| 24/04/2012 | 5 Comments

lord blencartha (222x300).jpg(CNS): With questions raised by UK MPs about potential conflicts of interest for Lord Blencathra in his role as the Cayman Islands’ representative in London, the independent member for North Side said government needed to terminate its contract with the Tory peer. Ezzard Miller said Monday that Premier McKeeva Bush is not the only person that needs to go. Because the islands’ reputation already hangs inthe balance on the international stage as a result of the three investigations into Bush, questions in the UK about Lord Blencathra will only make matters worse, he added. Miller said the questions had drawn negative attention from the UK press, defeating the purpose of what the peer had described as his role of Cayman’s "mini ambassador".

“I am calling on the UDP Cabinet, who I understand have employed Lord Blencathra by some form of consultancy contract, which was not tendered nor did it follow proper established procedure, to terminate whatever relationship Lord Blencathra has with the Cayman Islands government immediately,” Miller said.

The London office director may be the subject of an investigation over potential breaches of parliamentary regulations by accepting the paid position to lobby for Cayman’s financial services industry while also sitting in the House of Lords.

Labour MP Paul Flynn has accused him of abusing the system and has referred him to the Committee for Standards in Public Life. Tim Farron, a Liberal party member of the coalition government’s back bench, said that with all the “controversy surrounding lobbying and tax at the moment” in the UK, it was “astonishing that a Tory peer is now the lead advocate in Britain for one of the world’s biggest tax havens.”

The question of the Lord’s position became the focus of a number of stories in the UK’s Independent newspaper and was also picked up by the peer’s native Scottish media in which Cayman was referred to as a “notorious tax haven”.

Miller said he believed that the Cayman Islands was suffering enough “reputational damage” as a result of the three ongoing police investigations of the premier. “We have no need to endure what will transpire in the UK media surrounding this issue,” he added, referring to the questions surrounding Lord Blencathra.

“I am confident that if the government properly advertises this position they can find a Caymanian of high moral, ethical and educational standards to represent our interests in the UK and Europe and should be able to utilize one of the two civil servants whom we have been paying for the last two years to sit at home,” Miller added, referring to Deborah Drummond and Diane Montoya, senior public servants who have both been on paid leave since 2009, though they have not been accused of any wrongdoing.

In the wake of the stories about Blencathra in The Independent and the comments by the UK members of parliament, a spokesperson defended the Conservative peer’s appointment by the Cayman government and dismissed the comments in the British media about Cayman’s tax haven status.

“Cayman has been criticised as a tax haven for many years – long before Lord Blencathra came on the scene and it is naïve to suggest that if he was not there then there would be no criticism of Cayman,” Jack Irving said on behalf of Blencathra.

“The opponents of Cayman and low tax jurisdictions in general will use any excuse to attack, even if the Archbishop of Canterbury was the UK representative. What is desperately sad is that some people on Cayman seem determined to help these opponents.”

He said the article in a “low circulation British newspaper, owned by a former Russian KGB officer,” which has consistently attacked Cayman and the House of Lords did not change the value Lord Blencathra brings to Cayman.

“It makes no difference to and does not undermine the work he does making representations to the City of London, the EU, HM Government and private companies and others,” Irving stated. “Nor does it effect, in any way, the task of bringing new business to Cayman, which is also part of his brief.”

Irving went on to state that Lord Blencathra was not appointed to please the liberal press or as a glamour boy to attract temporary favourable publicity.

“As The Independent had to admit in its editorial," he brought a vast experience of the inner workings of the British political system to the Caymans, Irving said. "That, in itself, justifies his appointment.”

Despite the request for an enquiry, Irving said there had been no follow-up stories in rival and more substantial UK newspapers.

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Big win for Cayman at the Big Game

| 24/04/2012 | 0 Comments

Cay2 (238x300).jpg(CRFU): Mexico’s road to the 2015 Rugby World Cup may have started in Mexico in front of IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset, Rugby World Cup winner and 2015 World Cup Ambassador Lawrence Dallaglio and the William Web Ellis Trophy but that journey ended in George Town on Saturday 21 April at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex. Cayman Big Game 1, an event featuring junior rugby exhibition matches, the RCIPS marching band, live acts such as Jeffrey Wilson, DJ XS and a host of other local talent came to a climax at 4pm when Cayman kicked off to Mexico in front of an estimated 2000 people with more watching internationally online thanks to www.caymanrugbytv.com. 

Whilst Cayman had recorded wins over Mexico in the country’s rugby infancy in the mid 80’s and in 2001 Mexico, with a population of over 100 million people has seen its Rugby fortunes grow exponentially since the early days and recorded wins over Cayman in 2007 and 2011. That comingled with Mexico’s huge 68-14 win over Jamaica followed by Cayman’s 19-18 shock loss to Jamaica would have made Mexico major favorites to defeat the local boys on home soil.

Mexico started brightly in the game and drew first blood with a penalty to take the score to 3-0 but the floodgate of points opened up for Cayman once Chris Bunce crossed the line to score the opening try for Cayman. Cayman mounted a further 21 points before the Mexicans could find their way to the score board again.

With Cayman dominating the lineout and the Caymanian back line punching holes in the Mexican defense the points kept mounting before Mexico crossed the line once more and slotted one further penalty to bring up 13 points. Cayman on the other hand tallied a total of 7 tries, 4 conversions and 1 penalty to make the final score a whopping 46-13.
The win for Cayman not only ensures that the Islands they remain alive in the Americas qualification process but also results in a six place climb to 68th in the IRB world rankings.

Cayman can now look forward to encounters with Bermuda away on 19 May and Bahamas at home on 26 May in the next phase of the NACRA Championship 2012; the defeat has ended Mexico’s involvement in the qualification process and also seen them slide six places to 76th.

Half time Score: 24-10
Full Time Score: 46-13

Cayman Points:
Try: Chris Bunce, Ben Blair, Vanasio Tokatokavanua (2),Josh Clark, Joel Clark, Simon Crompton,
Conversions: Morgan Hayward (4),
Penalty: Morgan Hayward

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Cayman skier fastest 15-yr-old in Downhill & Super G

| 24/04/2012 | 12 Comments

Dean Travers.jpg(CNS): Very strong late season finishes in senior FIS races at Telluride, Park City and Vail and two excellent runs in the Downhill and Super G at Mount Bachelor in Oregon in April have catapulted Caymanian Dean Travers to the world No 1 position in the International Ski Federation rankings for 15-year-olds in Downhill and Super G, two of the four Alpine disciplines published today. Dean is the first person from any Caribbean nation to achieve this. Speaking from Dean’s Winter training headquarters in Colorado, the young skier's mother, MaryAnne Travers, said, "Everyone here is just amazed by these results. Dean has been the fastest 15-year-old in the US in Super G but he has now reached an entirely new level.v”The results are the more remarkable because Dean had to recover from a bad injury early in the season, which kept him off the slopes for 6 weeks. 

As a result, when it was time to race he had no start points.

"We decided to ignore the junior races favored by the European junior skiers and entered Dean in the late season senior races just to gain experience," said MaryAnn Travers. "This was a big challenge for him because he had start positions in the 90’s, inevitably  on rutted and soft courses. It also meant he had to race 15 to 30 year olds, including the senior European racers at US colleges. But he started to surprise everyone with some  tremendous finishes in the top 20 and then just got faster and faster.”

In some races Dean finished within just a second or two of the winner, which meant meaningful points on the FIS system, and he is now ranked ahead of the Austrian and Swiss racers of his age, as well as the North Americans. In one sensational Giant Slalom run in Park City, Dean beat the entire senior field. As a result of the Mt Bachelor Downhills,  Dean moved frombeing ranked as the 240th 15-year-old  in the world in Downhill to 1st , to add to his No 1 world ranking in Super G. 

Dean has been clocked at over 70mph in the Downhill. He attributes his success to his coach, former World Cup and Olympic racer Jake Zamansky, and to his strength coach Ray Cook.

"Thanks to my coach and trainer I am very happy with the way the season ended," Dean said. "I am pleased that I have been able to build on my Gold Medal in the Super G at Whistler Cup last season and the Downhill, ranking the best. It doesn’t matter to me how steep or icy the course. In fact, the steeper the better — I like to accelerate on the steeps.”

Dean has worked very hard on a specifically designed strength programme. "I put in two hours in the gym most days," he said, “and then spend about three hours on the training hill at Aspen before we do the video analysis. The video allows my coach, Jake, to pinpoint any problems in technique so I can correct after every training run. The core and leg strength have also been essential. The longer senior FIS runs are much more physically demanding because they generate much higher speeds. But Ray has focused on this and it means that  I can holdmy angles at higher speeds and get much more energy out of the ski."

Coach Zamansky won’t change the approach, he said. “Next season we will continue to race Dean against  the seniors. He has certainly surprised a lot of more experienced competitors already. These FIS rankings in these two disciplines are a great indication of potential, so we are very encouraged. This could turn out to be something special.”

Dean, who races in Cayman colours and his custom sting ray and turtle helmet added, "Next season I should rank with the top seeds in Downhill and Super G. This means I will start on clean harder courses, which should be a second or two faster. Some of these late season courses in soft snow have been very difficult. For now, though, after I catch up on my homework I’m looking forward to a rest on the beach at Rum Point before I head to New Zealand for more training in July.”

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