Archive for October 22nd, 2008

Code of Conduct issued for Cayman Directors

Code of Conduct issued for Cayman Directors

| 22/10/2008 | 1 Comment

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Directors Association (CIDA) has announced the issue of its code of professional conduct. A release from CIDA explains that the association was formed earlier this year to promote and maintain professional standards of directors serving on the boards of Cayman Islands companies.

There are presently 120 members of the association. Requirements for membership are that applicants must be directors and must either be employed by a Monetary Authority licensed entity or be individuals sponsored by two existing members of the association. The Executive Committee is made up of Paul Harris (President), Don Seymour (Vice President), Allison Nolan (Secretary), Rex Rankine (Assistant Secretary), Jonathan Nicholson (Treasurer), Garry Wilkins, Victor Murray, David Egglishaw and Peter Anderson.

At the first AGM of the Association held on 27 May 2008 the membership voted to appoint a Committee to develop a code of professional conduct for members (photo above). After a review of several codes of conduct from various sources, the Committee entered into correspondence with the Institute of Directors (IOD) in the United Kingdom, a UK recognised body defining the conduct of directors in the United Kingdom and several other jurisdictions. As a result the IOD has given CIDA permission to base its Code on their Code of Professional Conduct for Chartered Directors and to refer to the link provided the CIDA Code did not differ materially. The CIDA Code is therefore almost identical to the code for directors prevailing in the UK.

The Executive Committee of CIDA has accepted the recommendation of the Code of Conduct Committee and, in accordance with the articles of association of CIDA, has approved the Code as a Code of Professional Conduct with which all CIDA Members must comply. Paul Harris, president of the association, said he was pleased with the recommendation since members would obviously be comfortable conforming to a Code which is so widely recognised in the UK and internationally.

The secretary of the IOD, in giving permission for the IOD Code to be used as a base for the CIDA code summed up the advantages to this alignment when he noted in correspondence with CIDA: "My view on best corporate governance practice is that it should be widely shared, as there is no point in it, if it does not carry general accord."

Harris also noted the importance of the Code being launched at this time when there have been failures in the fund sector. “In view of the state of the world financial markets, there is a possibility that further failures, or at least restructuring, will occur. In such cases additional pressures will no doubt be placed upon the directors of those funds. Hopefully the Code will play some part in assisting directors successfully confront the issues they are expected to face in the months to come.”

Asked what would be the situation of directors who were not members of the Association, Harris agreed that they would not be subject to the Code but pointed out that most Cayman resident directors involved in the fund industry were in fact already members of the association and the remainder would probably soon join now that the Code was in place.

A copy of the Code is published on the Association’s web site at


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New Manager for SMB Post Office

New Manager for SMB Post Office

| 22/10/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The new district manager of the Seven Mile Beach (SMB) Post OfficeMartena Villalobos, who will be responsible for managing that facility’s daily activities and everything that entails, as well as liaising with customers and supervising seven staff members. However, Villalobos says she welcomes the challenge.

“Just knowing that I am manager of the fourth-largest post office on these islands fills me with pride. My greatest satisfaction comes when a customer walks inside to mail a letter; knowing that I am part of the team that will ensure that that piece of mail arrives safely, gives me such a good feeling,” she said.

Promising that the excellent service that Seven Mile Beach Post Office customers have come to expect will continue, Villalobos said, “Nothing’s carved in stone, so I will listen to suggestions that have the potential for us to do even better.”

In previous years Ms Villalobos has worked in several capacities, chiefly in the hospitality sector. Formerly a human resources manager at the Reef Resort, she also did a stint with the Postal Service—where she was Savannah’s District Manager.

Postmaster General Sheena Glasgow said, “Managing the Seven Mile Post Office will certainly keep Ms Villalobos busy, given the facility’s volume of customers and mail. But I am sure she’s up to it and will be a positive addition there.

Growing up in East End, one of Villalobos’ childhood responsibilities was collecting mail. That sparked her interest in the postal service because, as she explained, her father, Thomas Carter, was a seaman.

“Mail was our only method of communicating in those days, and receiving a letter from my dad always filled our household with such pleasure. Iwant to extend that same feeling to today’s customers,” she said.


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New Junior Minister of Tourism

New Junior Minister of Tourism

| 22/10/2008 | 10 Comments

(CNS): For the third year in a row, a student from Cayman Brac High School (CBHS) has been selected to hold the post of Junior Minister of Tourism after winning the 2008 Ministry and Department of Tourism Speak-Off Competition, held last Friday, 17 October. Karthika Velusamy proved herself to be an expert debater after successfully arguing her position on the three given topics. (Photo: 2007-2008 Junior Minister of Tourism Myfanwy Leggatt  – left – presents Karthika Velusamy with her winning plaque)

According to a release from the DoT, the Competition was held in the Multi-Purpose Hall at the University College of the Cayman Islands and housed a crowd eager to learn who the new Junior Minister would be for the coming year. The three contenders were Andrel Harris (John Gray High School), Jovonnie Anglin (CBHS) and the new Junior Minister of Tourism, Karthika Velusamy.

Prior to the competition the participants were given two of the three topics in order to effectively prepare their speaking points. Students were allocated two minutes to argue their position on each topic to the officials judging the Competition.

The first topic was “Climate Change and the impact on Cayman Islands tourism” and the young debaters were asked to discuss what two major ideas or activities they would recommend in order to put a serious focus on climate change in the Cayman Islands.

Second, they were asked to discuss what measures they would recommend putting into place to encourage more young people to seriously consider lending their talents to build and grow Cayman Islands tourism for the betterment of the country. Every participant felt that properly educating young Caymanians was key to attracting Cayman Islands youth to view tourism as a viable career option. Karthika also spoke about the DOT’s Tourism Apprenticeship Training Programme, referring to recent graduate Bethany Ebanks whose dream of becoming a pastry chef has become a reality because of the Programme.

Additionally, a mystery topic was asked and each student was given one minute to prepare their thoughts and 90 seconds to respond to the topic. The three participants were asked to pretend that they were the Cayman Islands Chief Minister and discuss what two or three measures they would recommend that Government put in place to significantly boost tourism in the Cayman Islands over the next 12 to 18 months.

With three winning arguments, Karthika proposed offering travel packages to all three islands to increase revenues and the value appeal to visitors. She also discussed increasing the number of cruise arrivals, as well as the use of public transportation so that visitors could avoid spending money on car rentals. Andrel discussed reducing the cost of airfares and increasing the production of locally-made goods to act as inexpensive keep-sakes for the visitor; while Jovonnie felt encouraging the use of Hybrid cars and targeting the wealthier market who may not be feeling the effects of the economic downturn were important measures to consider.

Patrice Donalds, Tourism Training and Development Coordinator for the Department of Tourism, said that the initiative of using debate as a means of building students’ awareness of the complexities of the tourism industry began six years ago as a team-based tournament. She went on to list all of the previous Junior Ministers of Tourism, referring to them as hall of famers:

2003 – Joni Ebanks (JGHS), who went on to compete in St. Thomas, USVI
2004 – Heidi Knowlton (CBHS), who competed in Aruba
2005 – Thea Bush (JGHS), who travelled to St. Thomas to represent the Cayman Islands
2006 – Nickolas DaCosta (CBHS), whose debating skills took him to Puerto Rico
2007 – Myfanwy Leggatt (CBHS), whose quiet grace and eloquence earned her placement of First Runner-Up in the CTO Youth Congress, a new laptop and US$300.

After tallying the total marks for each student, Karthika Velusamy was chosen to represent the Cayman Islands as the 2008/2009 Junior Minister of Tourism. Andrel Harris finished as First Runner-Up and Jovonnie Anglin, Second Runner-Up. Karthika addressed the crowd for the first time as Junior Minister of Tourism and thanked the Ministry and Department of Tourism for giving her an opportunity to represent her country.

Karthika and her coach, Yvette Gayle, and Patrice Donalds travel to Port of Spain on Saturday, 25 October, to represent the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean Tourism Conference and participate in the Caribbean Youth Congress.

Photo: From left, 2008 Tourism Speak-Off Competitors Jovonnie Anglin, 2008-2009 Junior Minister of Tourism Karthika Velusamy and Andrel Harris.


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Prison choir celebrates first anniversary

Prison choir celebrates first anniversary

| 22/10/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): On Saturday, 17 May, the Voices of Hope (VOH) gospel choir at HMP Northward hosted a concert for fellow inmates. According to a release from HM Prison Services, the occasion was to celebrate and give God the glory for the one-year anniversary of the choir. The program included special items by fellow inmates from Northward and Fairbanks and two special items from visiting guests.

Songs included “Why me, Lord?”, “God on the Mountain”, “My God is Real”, “Just a little talk with Jesus”, “Men of Faith”, “Jesus hold my hand” and many other favorites.

The VOH choir commenced on 15 May 2007, under the direction of volunteer Cathy Gomez and was the result of a request from inmate Dwight Plummer to form a quartet. The first practice resulted in 16 inmates attending, and so a choir was born! Over the period of the year 28 inmates have participated in the choir, with 7 members being released and 8 of the original members remaining. Currently the number of choir members remains at 16. The choir meets twice per week and is accompanied by Gomez on the keyboards along with experienced and enthusiastic drummer Dave Whittaker. On occasion, guest bass guitarists or keyboard players have participated at special events.

During the concert, Gomez provided a short reflection of the events of the past year, including the fact that the first practice was without music! Nevertheless, she acknowledged at that early stage that the sound the choir produced was simply awesome. Since that time the ministry to others has been very rewarding and a blessing to all who participate and all who come to listen. The members have been faithful, many times attending practice when they are tired from work or even feeling ill.

Over the past year, the VOH choir acquired uniforms consisting of black pants and light blue shirts with the VOH cross logo in colors of red and gold. They have presented a Christmas and Easter Cantata to fellow inmates and staff of Northward, Fairbanks and Eagle House, participated in a Christmas concert, and sang at a number of church services at Northward. The concerts have been uplifting and well received by all.

Small tokens of appreciation were presented to all choir members, in addition to five members receiving special recognition for attendance, including two for perfect attendance.

Several visitors attended the concert from various church groups. Brother Courtney Perrin of the Savannah Seventh Day Adventist Church, attended choir performances on many occasions prior, and had this to say: “Heartiest congratulations to Cathy Gomez and the Voices of Hope Choir on their first anniversary as a choir. It is a blessing to see men interested in something like this. I believe this is a ministry that has manifold blessings. First, coming together to engage in something that is so positive is in itself therapeutic. Taking time out to consistently attend rehearsals, show commitment to a cause. Then there is the fellowship and interaction of the choir, coupled with the positive messages they bring. This has been truly a blessing. Once again, congratulations Ms Cathy, and may God continue to bless the ministry of The Voices of Hope.”

Rev. Dr Dave Hazle from Elmslie Memorial United Church commented, “I was most inspired by the experience of attending a performance of the Voices of Hope Choir on Saturday, 17 May 2008. It was pleasing to hear these inmates singing Christian songs, both traditional and contemporary. The enthusiasm and effort was evident and I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation. The concert experience has given me hope for the future of these men, and visions of an unprecedented move of God that would bring many of them to faith in Christ. Congratulations to the hard working choir director Cathy Gomez and to all the members of the choir.”

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Basketball U-19 Boys and Girls Leagues Action

Basketball U-19 Boys and Girls Leagues Action

| 22/10/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Three weeks into the season and already the entertainment and action are getting better and better in the Cayman Islands Basketball Association’s (CIBA) U-19 Boy and Girl Leagues.
In the games, which took place at the CIBA court off Eastern Avenue on Saturday, Tarheels Playmakers defeated Young Wolves 81-55 in the first game of the evening (left); Monarch took down Comets 56-25 and Links doused Sparks 37-31 in the final game of the evening for the U-19 Girls.

According to a release from the CIBA, young Josh Cotterell (Tarheels) entertained fans as he dunked the ball on several occasions. Cotterell was architect of his team’s win as he scored 27 points, secured 16 rebounds and was responsible for five steals and two blocks. Side-kicks David Taylor scored 18 points and Haymond Rankine had 14 points and secured 20 rebounds. They also provided those in the stands with some flying action.

Truth be told, the evening’s first game featuring Tarheels and Wolves was a one-sided affair, as the defending champs (Tarheels) secured their second win of the season. This is not to say that Wolves did not have some shining players of their own. Darrel Paddyfoot and Ruben Smith were the top-scorers. Paddyfoot netted 16 points and 15 rebounds. Smith was second with 12 points and eight rebounds.

Tarheels placed Wolves under their heels in the first moments of the game with Josh landing the first couple of shots in the rim. In fact, the score was 33-26 at the opening of the second quarter. In the third quarter, Wolves slowed the onslaught of Tarheels to nine points. This was due in part to young Tikko Moore, David Terry and Ben Stoner who closely guarded Cotterell. The three took turns sticking closely to Cotterell, which kept the Tarheels’ main player under wraps. In the end, Tarheels changed their game plan as they drew on other players. Wolves, on the other hand, had a very short bench of only six players.

This is the first time that Young Wolves is appearing as a team in CIBA’s U-19 Boys League so coach Durand “Trini” Whittaker” stressed that he views this season as developmental period.
“We have a young team, some players are only 15 years-old and for some this is the first time they are playing organised basketball. We are looking to the future and not immediate results and I would like to thank our team because each time we play, we are getting better and better,” he added.

Monarch, the defending champs of the women’s U-19 league ruled Comets 56-25 in the second game of the evening.

It seemed that the stars were aligned for Monarch – they have the height, the experience and fitness to out match the younger, less experienced Comets, as the results showed.

However, Comets’ 12-year-old Felicia Conner’s three-pointer in the first quarter put Monarch on notice not to toy with their opponents.
In the second quarter, Comets were on a run and came within eight points of catching Monarchs. However, Monarchs rallied to win the game in the third and fourth quarters.

Conner was the leading scorer for Comets with nine points. Tracey Hydes added 12 rebounds.
Monarch’s top-gun was Christsanian McLean, who led with 16 points and 14 rebounds and April Ebanks had 14 points and 10 rebounds along with five steals.

In the final match of the evening, Lynx overcame Sparks 37-31 in a close and exciting game.
Catherine Ebanks led with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 4 steals; Annique Holness added 14 points and 15 rebounds in her game debut. Kimberly Pitta led with 16 points and 22 rebounds.

Cayman Islands Basketball Association’s U-19 Boys games are played on Tuesdays (6.15 p.m.) and Saturdays (4:00 p.m.). CIBA U-19 Girls games are played on Saturdays from 6:00 p.m.
All games are played at CIBA’s court off Eastern Avenue.


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Chagos exiles ‘cannot return’

Chagos exiles ‘cannot return’

| 22/10/2008 | 8 Comments

(BBC): Exiles of the Chagos Islands will not be able to return to their homeland, the House of Lords has ruled. The government won its appeal against a previous court decision that had ruled in favour of 2,000 former residents of the British Indian Ocean territory. They were evicted in the 1960s when the colony was leased to the US to build an airbase on the atoll of Diego Garcia. Go to article

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Europe calls for tax black list

Europe calls for tax black list

| 22/10/2008 | 0 Comments

( Switzerland should be placed on an international blacklist of tax havens, the German government said on Tuesday as it joined a dozen other countries to turn up the heat on territories that profit from tax evasion. “Switzerland offers conditions that invite the German taxpayer to evade taxes. Therefore, in my view, Switzerland belongs on such a list,” Peer Steinbrück, German finance minister said at a conference in Paris.Go to article.

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Bridger seeks to keep secrets

Bridger seeks to keep secrets

| 22/10/2008 | 9 Comments

(CNS):  The undisclosed details of the special police investigation took centre stage Tuesday when the Judicial Review concerning the arrest of Justice Alex Henderson and the subsequent search of his home and office resumed. Arguments were made that key evidence to support the warrant being signed by a Justice of the Peace and not the court, given by Martin Bridger, had to remain under wraps otherwise theintegrity of the whole investigation could be under threat.

Flown in from the UK especially to represent the respondents to Henderson’s application for Judicial Review, Nicholas Purnell, QC, argued before the presiding judge, Sir Peter Cresswell, on Tuesday, 21 October, for Public Interest Immunity (PII) regarding elements of an affidavit submitted by the Senior Investigating Officer, Martin Bridger.

Given the sensitivity of the investigation, Purnell argued, some 18 to 20 paragraphs of Bridger’s complete affidavit should not be seen by anyone other than the judge himself otherwise the entire investigation could be compromised. Asked to explain his argument by Cresswell, Purnell said he could not. “I can’t expand because the investigation has a wider impact beyond the private interests of the applicant (Justice Henderson),” he said.

The court heard that the sensitive information contained in Bridger’s affidavit was important when it came to answering Henderson’s applicants for judicial review based on the premise that the warrants to arrest him and seize his property were unlawful. However, Purnell said the unusual circumstances of the case meant that the full details could not be released to Henderson’s legal team as they contained information which not even the Attorney General, Sam Bulgin, could see.

The judge raised numerous concerns throughout the hearing, including that as the matter was about a serving judge whose computer had been seized and which might well contain sensitive information regarding other cases, it needed to be dealt with quickly. “There is a need to get on with this case,” he said on more than one occassion.

However, it appeared the respondents (Bridger et al) were seeking to alter the case management timeline that had been established at Friday’s hearing and were fighting for more time. Purnell argued that the ordinary processes of judicial review were being short circuited by the desire to hear the case quickly and that the respondents still required more time to amass more affidavits and evidence to answer the four main points in Henderson’s application (see  Lawyers say search unlawful).

Purnell noted that in the sections of the affidavit he wished not to disclose to the court there was evidence that would explain the fundamental questions. These questions were set out in Henderson’s application and asked why Carson Ebanks, Chief Officer in the Public Works Ministry who has never before been involved in court proceedings, was chosen to sign the warrants rather than a representative of the courts, and exactly what he was told by Bridger to cause him to sign. The heart of Henderson’s application is that Ebanks was notgiven full disclosure regarding Chief Justice Anthony Smellie’s opinion that Bridger had failed to prove evidence of a crime in earlier applications relating to the wider investigation surrounding Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan and Chief Superintendent John Jones.

Purnell argued that the ‘secret’ part of the affidavit would explain this but it could not be seen by others.  “This is to help you decide if there was a failure of disclosure. The applicant does not need to see it,” Purnell stated.

The issue of the PII covering key evidence became the primary issue as the hearing progressed. Raymond Alberga QC, representing Henderson, pointed out that until a decision was made over the PII application they could not continue with the rest of the hearing as he and his client would need to know whether or not they would eventually be privy to the information in Bridger’s affidavit. Cresswell agreed with Alberga but then raised his concerns as to how he could fairly decide on whether to disclose or not.

Purnell argued that PII must be given, and presented various examples of case law to back up the request. He also said that it was within the law for the judge to grant PII to protect the identity of someone under investigation by police who may not know he is being investigated, and the QC suggested that this was illustrative of the current circumstances.

Cresswell noted he would seek the advice of the Attorney General, who should be the person seeking to protect the public interest. However Purnell said he objected to the AG seeing the details of Bridger’s affidavit as the AG was likely to be a witness if the special investigation brought a prosecution with regards to the wider case.

Pushing Purnell on exactly who he was representing, who was authorizing the request for PII and who had the public’s interests at heart, Cresswell asked the QC to explain the basics. While Purnell expressed his own uncertainty as to who he was actually acting for, he said he believed, having cut short his holiday in France on Saturday after being instructed by UK based solicitors on behalf of Cayman Solicitors, he was representing the Commissioner of Police.

Even though the applicant’s legal team presented a letter from Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis stating that the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service had nothing to do with Bridger’s investigation, Acting Commissioner David George was called to the hearing. On appearance, George stated that as Acting Commissioner he was responsible for Bridger and his various officers in a professional sense as they were sworn into the RCIPS as special constables, but given the unusual circumstances he was not briefed on the details of the investigation. He explained that Bridger reported to the Governor and the Strategic Oversight Committee.

Alberga suggested that Bridger and his officers were on a rampage of their own and that the issue regarding his affidavit was of enormous concern to his client. Alberga’s legal team also noted that if the real motive behind Bridger’s warrant to search Henderson’s home, office and computer was to find evidence against someone else then this would change the applicant’s case and further question the integrity of the warrants and the bad faith issues surrounding them.

Cresswell adjourned the hearing after a full day’s arguments, citing his significant concerns surrounding the PII application and asked if Purnell could not argue his case in another way or come forward with another solution so that he, as judge over the judicial review, would not be forced to rule on the PII. “I don’t find this situation satisfactory,” added  the Judge “Given the importance to the applicant and the sensitivity of theseparagraphs, can you not see if there is some other way of solving this problem.”

Proceedings will resume today, Wednesday 21 October, when the Attorney General Samuel Bulgin is expected to attend.

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