Archive for October, 2008

Barber shop robber charged

| 30/10/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A teenager has been charged with two offences following an attempted robbery which took place at Wright’s Barber Shop in George Town on Thursday, 23 October. Romario Davis (18) of George Town appeared in court this morning charged with possession of an unlicensed firearm and attempted robbery.

 

He has been remanded to Northward prison.  Another man Robert Terry (22) of Newlands, who was arrested in relation to this incident, also appeared in court charged with possession of ganja. He was bailed by the court. A third man, aged 20, also arrested in connection with the attempted robbery, has been released without charge.

The men were arrested after one of them sought meidcal attention for a stab wound he had received during the botched robbery attempt, at the George Town Hospital.

The owner of the barber shopwho called 911 said that three men, each wearing masks and carrying what appeared to be firearms, entered the shop and demanded money. A struggle ensued which resulted in one of the offenders being injured. The men had fled from the shop and made off in a vehicle towards the direction of Welly’s restaurant and no shots were fired.

Anyone with information about crime taking place in the Cayman Islands should contact their local police station or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS). All persons calling crime stoppers remain anonymous, and are eligible for a reward of up to $1000, should their information lead to an arrest or recovery of property/drugs.

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Two men charged with the murder of Estella

| 30/10/2008 | 14 Comments

(CNS): A carpenter and a gardener have been charged with the murder of Estella Scott-Roberts. Larry Prinston Ricketts (25) and Kirkland Henry (27) both George Town residents appeared before Margaret Ramsey-Hale this morning and were remanded in custody. Both men were charged with robbery and abduction as well as murder, and Henry was also charged with an additional count of rape.

Police were unable to offer any comment on motives regarding the actions of the two men who were arrested by the RCIPS on Monday afternoon. In court the Solicitor General, Cheryll Richards, asked for the two accused to be remandedin custody because of the seriousness of the offences, the strength of the evidence and that as foreigners the men were a genuine flight risk.

Richards indicated that the men had recent possession of Scott-Roberts cell phones and there were specific forensics linking Henry to her. She also said the men had made detailed statements to the police.

With no legal representation but access to legal aid because of the severity of the offence, Ramsey Hale ordered that the men be taken to Northward and submit their legal aid requests and return before her on 6 November with legal counsel.

Speaking outside George Town Police Station early this morning announcing the charges, SIO Peter Kennett thanked the people and the media for their support since the murder. “The murder has rocked the Cayman Islands and sent shock waves throughout our community,” said Kennett. “Crime can not only be measured by the acts that place, but also by the reaction of the community in which they occur. The reaction we have seen since 11 October has been one of shock, disbelief, outrage and disgust. This is a testament to everyone that calls Cayman home. Our thoughts and prayers remain with Estella’s family. In particular, with her mother, Coreen, and her husband, Rayle.”

He added that this is a terrible time for everybody close to Estella, and even for those that did not know her. “Our condolences are sent to you all. This case is now subject to legal proceedings therefore, the RCIPS is not in a position to make any further comment,” Kennet concluded.

    

(CNS): A carpenter and a gardener have been charged with the murder of Estella Scott-Roberts. Larry Prinston Ricketts (25) and Kirkland Henry (27) both George Town residents appeared before Margaret Ramsey-Hale this morning and were remanded in custody. Both men were charged with robbery and abduction as well as murder and Henry was also charged with an additional count of rape.

Police were unable to offer any comment on motives regarding the actions of the two men who were arrested by the RCIPS on Monday afternoon. In court the Solicitor General, Cheryll Richards asked for two accused to be remanded in custody because of the seriousness of the offences, the strength evidence and that as foreigners the men were a genuine flight risk.

Richards indicated that the men had recent possession of Scott-Roberts cell phones and there was specific forensics linking Henry to her. With no legal representation but access to legal aid because of the severity of the offence Ramsey Hale ordered that the men be taken to Northward and submit their legal aid request and return before her on 6 November with legal counsel.

Speaking outside George Town Police Station early this morning announcing the charges, SIO Peter Kennett thanked the people and the media for their support since the murder. “The murder has rocked the Cayman Islands and sent shock waves throughout our community,” said Kennett. “Crime can not only be measured by the acts that place, but also by the reaction of the community in which they occur. The reaction we have seen since 11 October has been one of shock, disbelief, outrage and disgust. This is a testament to everyone that calls Cayman home. Our thoughts and prayers remain with Estella’s family. In particular, with her mother, Coreen, and her husband, Rayle.”

He added that this is a terribletime for everybody close to Estella, and even for those that did not know her. “Our condolences are sent to you all. This case is now subject to legal proceedings therefore, the RCIPS is not in a position to make any further comment,” Kennet concluded.

    

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Donnie Ebanks chose JP

| 30/10/2008 | 5 Comments

(CNS): During his 124 page ruling stating that the search warrants served on Justice Alex Henderson were unlawful, Sir Peter Cresswell the presiding Judicial Review judge raised particular concerns over the selection of justice of the peace (JP) Carson Ebanks to sign the warrants, who it was revealed, was recommended by the Deputy Chief Secretary.

Reading from Martin Bridger’s affidavit, (Senior Investigating Officer of Operation Tempura) Cresswell an expert judge brought especially to hear the case from the UK by the Governor, said he was concerned by Bridger’s explanation for why he selected a JP.

Bridger had stated: “I did not have sufficient confidence in the judiciary of the Grand Court. I spoke to the oversight group about this and Donnie Ebanks the Deputy Chief Secretary suggested a list of three Justices of the Peace who would be suitable.”

It was made clear that Carson Ebanks, Chief Officer in the Ministry of Public Works was one of the three JPs recommended by Donovan Ebanks, Deputy Chief Secretary. There are some 168 JPs in Cayman many of which do have professional legal qualifications and experience in the law. Carson Ebanks however, admits that he has never been on the JP’s training course, attended any workshops for lay JPS or sat in court and at most would issue five warrants in a year.

His inexperience was highlighted by Cresswell who said the extraordinary applications for search warrants should have been made to the Grand Court and not a JP. He also criticised the obvious implication that the investigating officers had deliberately selected a particular JP. “I am troubledby the selection of a particular justice of the peace as ‘suitable’” the Judge added. 

“Mr Bridger knew that the complexity of the issues in the earlier applications for warrants, in respect of three other persons, had required several hearings and led to Reasons extending to 51 pages. How could a justice of the peace be expected to deal with similarly exceptional and complex applications on police premises in a short space of time?” asked Cresswell.

He indicated that Bridger could have asked the Chief Justice to appoint a visiting judge to hear the applications. Smellie had indicated he would do so in his rulings earlier in the year regarding when he declined the search warrants for Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan and Chief Superintendent John Jones.

“If Mr Bridger’s affidavit is to be read as suggesting that the Chief Justice would not have acted professionally if he had been approached to allocate a judge to hear the matter, such a suggestion is, in my opinion, wholly unwarranted,” added Cresswell. “Even, if contrary to my view, it was appropriate to make the applications for the search warrants to a justice of the peace, the applications to the respondent were contrary to good practice.”

Carson Ebanks stated that Donovan Ebanks had asked him to attend the offices of the special enquiry team which Cresswell said was wrong and it served to undermine the independence that a JP should maintain. If it was necessary to apply for the warrant after hours the police Creswell noted, should have gone to Ebanks’ home.

The judge also raised concerns that Donovan Ebanks had “advised” Carson Ebanks that the Governor was aware of the matter. Cresswell explained that the Governor appoints JPs so the statement could have had an inappropriate effect and he says should not have been made.

“It was obvious to any fair-minded police officer that the respondent (Ebanks) was out of his depth,” Cresswell said. “The respondent did not have independent legal advice available to him. The respondent could not be expected to have any knowledge of the ingredients of the offence of misconduct in public office contrary to common law or the law of contempt.”

During his ruling Creswell makes various recommendations about how justices of the peace should be assisted in future and to avoid having them issue search warrants in complex situations. Speaking after the case closed, Shaun McCann of Campbells from Henderson’s legal team noted that while the ruling to quash the warrants was important to his client it was also important to the jurisdiction as a whole for numerous reasons and the issue over JPs was one.

“The Judge has set out the procedures for JPs with regards information and what a proper police officer should do,” he said.

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Glidden condemns CUC advantage in power bids

| 30/10/2008 | 11 Comments

(CNS): The decision to allow CUC to compete with potential new companies bidding to supply Grand Cayman’s additional electricity needs has been severely criticised by Clyne Glidden, Opposition United Democratic Party MLA and former Chairman of the Electricity Regulatory Authority. Glidden said the RFP which invites companies to bid to supply an additional 32 Mega Watts of power generation by 2012 encourages CUC to utilise its inherent advantages.

“The Government has not displayed a serious commitment to competition in the long run. By allowing CUC to bid and control the process, it encourages CUC to utilise its inherent advantages to fend off potential competitors,” the West Bay member said.“In the long run this will only ensure that we are held hostage by a single provider and that cannot be good for the Caymanian consumer."

CUC currently supplies roughly 100 Mega Watts of power to Grand Cayman so this additional capacity covered by the bid represents roughly a 30 percent growth in power generation on the island.

Glidden argued that in the coming 10 to 15 years given the current pace of economic growth it is possible that the electricity needs could be nearly doubled and the country would still be left with only one provider for delivery of this additional electricity if the Government does not introduce competition in power generation in the country. He also warned that there are other issues within the RFP that provides an inherent advantage to CUC in being the ultimate winner of the bid. 

“There is no point telling the public that we are offering competition in power generation if the conditions of the RFP do not explicitly encourage that” he said.

Referring to one of the provisions in the RFP he explained that even if the Electricity Regulatory Authority were to select a new company as the top bidder, the agreement requires that the bidder then enter into a separate negotiation with CUC for the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) before the new company can proceed.

Glidden explained that due to the way the RFP is written, it means that if those negotiations were unsuccessful CUC would then start new negotiations with another firm and so on. CUC could essentially use this as leverage to have an unfair advantage in negotiating the PPA.

 “To prevent this unfair competitive advantage the ERA should firstly licence the new provider and then act as an arbitrator to ensure that the PPA is equitable for all parties. The ERA role is crucial in ensuring that CUC as the incumbent does not abuse its monopoly position as a generator as well as distributor of electricity,” he added. “There is no incentive for CUC to work out its negotiations with the selected bidder, assuming that winner bidder is not CUC. And what happens if CUC decides that it cannot come to an agreement with any of the firms? Do we end up with the status quo with CUC as the provider?”

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Governor invites nominees for Royal gongs

| 30/10/2008 | 1 Comment

(CNS): The people of the Cayman Islands are being invited to submit nominations for the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2009. H.E the Governor Stuart Jack is inviting members of the public to submit nominations by Friday 21 November 2008. And while the honours remain popular in the Cayman Islands they have come in for much criticism over the years in other jurisdictions, with people such as Poet Benjamin Zephaniah (left) refusing them.

Final recommendations for OBEs and MBEs are considered in the United Kingdom while recommendations for the Certificate and Badge of Honour are considered locally. It is stressed that for any Award, long service is not enough. Nominations must be supported by a persuasive account of the outstanding or innovative or self-sacrificing services and achievements of the nominee, whether paid or unpaid, in one field or several, and what has raised them above those of others performing similar services.

While Cayman seems content to keep making nominations and accepting the awards, Royal Honours have been criticised in other jurisdictions and especially by people from the Caribbean community living in the UK. Many recipients have even gone as far as refusing the honours because of their connection to the concept of empire and slavery, as well as the issue of elitism and snobbery.

Poet Benjamin Zephaniah famously made the headlines in the UK in 2003 when he explained why he had turned one down: "I get angry when I hear that word ’empire’: it reminds me of slavery, it reminds me of thousands of years of brutality," he had said.

Actress Honor Blackman, musician David Bowie, writers JB Priestley, Graham Greene and Roald Dahl all rejected awards. Alan Bennett has rejected both a knighthood and a CBE for services to literature, but the most persistent refusenik, as they have been termed, was the British painter LS Lowry, who turned down five awards, including a knighthood.

For those who think their nominations are unlikely to refuse, forms can be collected from the reception desk of the Government Administration Building or requested by e-mail from mandy.heffield@fco.gov.uk.  Nominators are asked to make every effort to fully complete all the relevant sections.  Once completed, the forms should be submitted, under confidential cover, to the Governor’s Office.  While all recommendations will be acknowledged, the Governor’s Office cannot enter into correspondence about the action taken on them.

For any further information please contact the Governor’s Office on 244 2401.

 

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Bridger abused process

| 29/10/2008 | 22 Comments

(CNS): Quashing the search warrants against Justice Alexander Henderson and granting relief to the application, Sir Peter Cresswell accused Martin Bridger, Senior Investigating Officer in Operation Tempura, of taking a fishing expedition in waters he should never have been allowed to enter. Ruling the warrants unlawful, Cresswell said it was the “gravest abuse of the process".

In his ruling made on Wednesday morning (29 October) Cresswell, the presiding judge brought from the UK, decided in favour of the Judicial Review application by Henderson, stating that Bridger’s special police investigation team was “mischievous and wrong” to imply that Justice Henderson had sought to obstruct the course of justice. He criticised the fact that Bridger et al made the warrant application to an inexperienced Justice of the Peace and then deliberately withheld important and pertinent information.

“The respondent, (Carson Ebanks JP) was out of his depth and that should have been obvious to the police,” Cresswell said, adding that the special police officers in this case did not present a complete picture to Ebanks.

The judge also noted that Bridger had not informed Ebanks of the Chief Justice Anthony Smellie’s ruling made earlier this year which Cresswell considered to be relevant, contrary to the submissions made last week by Bridger’s legal representative, Nicholas Purnell, QC.

Smellie had ruled against Bridger’s request for search warrants for the homes of Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan and Chief Superintendent John Jones. He said there was a deliberate misrepresentation of the facts and had the full details as well as the ingredients of the crime of misconduct been given to the JP he would not have signed the warrants to search Henderson’s home and office and seize his computers and cell phones.

“I fail to see how the (JP) could have discharged his function to satisfy himself unless he knew the ingredients of the offence,” Cresswell added. In view of the catalogue of failures he said that it was not just that the warrants stand and he granted relief.

Cresswell made it clear that the police abused their powers and that the reason why police are supposed to apply for a warrant before they search any premises is to protect people from the power of the state. He explained that the police cannot simply decide to search someone’s premises for themselves. The court needs to ensure it is right and to identify if the circumstances actually warrant the search.

Cresswell was very critical of how Ebanks was both selected and approached to sign the warrant, and recommended that in future inexperienced JPs do not sign warrants without seeking legal counsel.

Henderson’s legal team was delighted with the results and agreed to the judge’s decision to hold another enquiry with regards the damages to be awarded to Henderson. However, Steven Barrie representing Bridger, or possibly the Acting Police Commissioner David George as this was still not clear, submitted an appeal, in particular with regards Cresswell’s ruling on point three in the application for review. He also asked for a stay with regards the materials taken from Henderson.

Cresswell advised Barrie to tell his client to read the ruling before making his appeal and asked if the Acting Commissioner, who he still considered to be the applicant had seen the ruling which at that point had not left the court. As he obviously had not, Cresswell expressed his puzzlement that Barrie had already been instructed by his client to appeal and request a stay. Moreover, he noted that his ruling had indicated that Bridger, who was in court, had made several failings and therefore everyone should think hard about the appeal.

The Judge stated that all Henderson’s original possessions should be returned to him and in acknowledgement to the appeal he said the police could keep copies in the Governor’s safe until Friday 7 November when they also had to be returned to Henderson unless the Court of Appeal ordered otherwise.

The Court of Appeal is expected to hear the application on 24 November and it is anticipated that the enquiry into damages and costs will follow once the appeal is over, given the ruling is not overturned. Henderson’s legal team noted that this was in fact merely a first step; the next would be to clear Henderson of the arrest, which would then be followed by civil action. If Henderson were to win a civil case against Bridger’s investigation, this could mean millions of dollars in compensation which would have to be paid for by the Cayman Islands Government.

Although Bridger made no comment to the media as the proceedings ended, he submitted a statement to the press late Wednesday afternoon: "Justice Sir Peter Cresswell has this morning given a reasoned and detailed judgement, 124 pages in length. I do not consider it prudent to comment at this stage, but after careful analysis of the judgement with the legal team and other people affected by that judgement, I will respond when I am able to do so."

 

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Taste of Cayman cancelled

| 29/10/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): With 100% chance of rain this weekend, the Cayman Islands Tourisdm Association has announced that its Taste of Cayman Food & Wine Festival at Camana Bay has been postponed to 22 November. However, The Taste of Cayman Spanish Wine Dinner at LUCA is still scheduled for this Thursday, 30 October. All raffle tickets will be valid for the new event date.

The event will still be at Camana Bay from 5:00 pm to midnight on 22 November. Tickets will still be on sale for the next three weeks at all locations: Abacus, Books & Books, ALL Blackbeard’s locations, Brickhouse, ALL Café Del Sol locations, Cimboco, Kirk’s Supermarket Customer Service, Cayman Islands Tourism Association office (next door to Dunkin’ Donuts (upstairs) on Lawrence Blvd.)

For more information contact CITA at 949-8522 or info@cita.ky or log on to www.tasteofcayman.com.ky for updates. Contact Luca at 623-4550 or luca@candw.ky for details on the Spanish Dinner.
 

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Walkers named Top Offshore Law Firm

| 29/10/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Walkers has been named as ‘Top Offshore Law Firm’ in the 2008 Alpha Awards for hedge fund service providers, with particular praise in the areas of hedge fund expertise and in the regulatory and compliance field, based on the votes of more than 1,000 hedge fund firms which manage more than US$1.5 trillion. (Left: Jonathan Tonge)

Alpha Magazine compiled its rankings based on the quality of service the firms received for the 12 months to March 31 2008. Views on service quality were broken down into a number of broad attributes and respondents were also asked to rate the importance of each attribute, which was used to help calculate the overall winner.

"Receiving any award is always welcome but it is particularly gratifying when the results are based upon the views of our clients in the investment management community," said Jonathan Tonge, managing partner of Walkers’ hedge fund practice, who is based in the Cayman Islands. "Our success can be attributed to the expertise and hard work of all the members of our hedge funds group and clients can be sure of our continued devoted attention and responsiveness at what is such a crucial time for the industry."

In addition to offshore law, the Alpha Magazine awards also recognised excellence in service to hedge funds among accountants, fund administrators, prime brokers and onshore law firms. Other winners included Morgan Stanley, Shartsis Friese, Rothstein Kass & Co., and Goldman, Sachs & Co.

The recent establishment by Walkers of a specialist Distressed Funds Group was also noted by Alpha Magazine. Formed earlier this year to assist hedge funds affected by the credit crisis and market downturn, the Distressed Funds Group draws on expertise from Walkers corporate, insolvency and litigation departments in its Cayman, British Virgin Islands and Jersey offices. Amid current market uncertainty, clients have welcomed additional specialist services targeted towards a specific market need.

In its overview of this year’s Alpha Awards, the publication noted the brisk growth that the hedge fund industry has experienced in the Cayman Islands, where the number of hedge funds registered with the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority reached 10,291 as of September 30. Demonstrating resilience in the face of the global financial crisis, there were a net 254 new hedge funds registered in the Cayman Islands in the third quarter of 2008, taking cancellations into account.

"As has been demonstrated by the recent moves to Cayman by offshore law firms from elsewhere in the region, the Cayman Islands remain the clear jurisdiction of choice for offshore hedge funds. If you want to work in the hedge fund space then you need to be here," said Mark Lewis, senior investment funds partner at Walkers.

Walkers will host a seminar in New York on November 6 specifically designed to examine issues relating to distressed hedge funds. ‘Fighting the Tape’ will be a unique discussion on protecting and growing a hedge fund business in volatile markets. Speakers at the event include a number of Walkers hedge fund partners and invited guests, particularly renowned hedge fund manager George Hall, the Founder and President of the Clinton Group Inc.; Yolanda McCoy, Head of the Investments and Securities Division of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA); and Jeffrey Rosensweig, Associate Professor of Finance at Emory University.

A limited number of spaces remain and for more information about the event or to reserve a seat, please contact Walkers’ Marketing Team at communications@walkersglobal.com. The ‘Walkers Fundamentals’ series of ‘Thought Leadership’ events will be developed further over the coming months.
 

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Esso Blazers stretch winning streak

| 29/10/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): In the Cayman Islands Basketball Association (CIBS) Boy U-19 League, Esso Blazers continued its winning ways at the CIBA court on Saturday, when they defeated Silver Bullets 81-46. This latest win places Blazers at the top of the tables and seals their position as the only undefeated team in the CIBA’s U-19 Boys League. (Photos CIBA)

Despite the 35-point deficit, the game was not an entire washout, says a CIBA release. In fact, Silver Bullets kept the game within a respectable range of 18-11 in the first quarter, 36-29 in the second and 46-41 in and third quarter.

But then Bullets’ game plan fell apart largely due to players getting in foul trouble and compounded by a lack of players on the bench from which Coach Redver Ebanks could draw.

The foul trouble left the team short as only three players were eligible to play in the fourth quarter with four minutes remaining on the clock. This gave Blazers the opportunity to score a whopping 26 points within those four minutes.

The go-to-it guys for the Silver Bullets were Kwei General and Deandre Simpson who scored 43 out the team’s 46 points. Simpson also captured 15 rebounds and was one of the players in foul trouble. Jake Whittaker and Kadane Hall were the other two players who had to watch the remainder of the game from the bench. The Blazers players executed their coaches (Shawn Pitterson and Deon Ebanks) game plan to near perfection.

“Our team played as a unit. So it was no surprise that Blazers took control of the game when Simpson got in foul trouble with four minutes remaining,” said Blazers U-19 coach Deon Ebanks. Top players for the Blazers were Patrick Barnes with 33 points and Stephan Shaw with 15 points and 17 rebounds.

Photo: Esso Blazers’ player (blue) double tag Deandre Simpson
 

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Delays in drafting legislation

| 29/10/2008 | 4 Comments

In days gone by, when the private sector saw an opportunity for Cayman to get a competitive advantage globally, they would propose new legislation to government, who would apply their own version of the “Rotary test” to see if it would be good for Cayman.

Government might ask: Will it help the economy and boost government revenues? Will it have any negative impact on Caymanians in their daily lives? Will it have any negative effect on the international reputation of Cayman?

If the answers were all satisfactory, the private sector would get together and draft the legislation themselves, then give it to government to run the rule over the draft and pass the legislation. All of this would often happen with in a very short period of time.

Cayman is a small place, and this was one way that we used to be able to put that to our advantage by moving quickly.

Our islands will not be immune to the economic turmoil ahead, but our financial services industry are middle men to the world, and such major upheaval will also bring opportunity. We must be much quicker than recent history has shown us to be when the opportunity comes to react to the need for legislative change, else it will be the swifter moving offshore jurisdictions that take the "first mover" advantage.

In recent years, however, it seems that we have moved to be slower, not faster, with all drafting of new legislation being tightly controlled by the Legal Department, who themselves report to the AG, who (of course) reports to the Governor.

I doubt very much that the delays are deliberate, most likely simply due to lack of resources and prioritisation given to the Legal Department, but there have been a few examples recently of how this change in approach is delaying legislation unnecessarily:

In the news this week we see that the Legal Department was given the task of drafting legislation for the sex offenders register over two years ago.

The tobacco legislation that was eventually passed recently took around four years to get from "content agreed" stage from the government appointed committee on tobacco legislation until it was passed in the House.

In the Observer on Sunday 19 October edition, an article noted that the financial services industry has been waiting for about two years for the Legal Department to finalise legislation important to the future competitiveness of Cayman.

This one is an easy one to fix. Simply revert to the tried and trusted method of letting our private sector do the drafting of financial services legislation. They’ll do it for free, and quickly, yet government can still ensure their own control over the process through Cabinet and the Legislative Assembly. Such a move won’t cost our Government a penny, in fact it will save money.

 

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