Archive for October 23rd, 2008

Armed robbery in GT

Armed robbery in GT

| 23/10/2008 | 2 Comments

(CNS): An off-duty police officer gave chase to a suspect after it was reported that a George Town store was robbed on Wednesday afternoon, 22 October, by a man carrying what appeared to be a firearm. The 911 Emergency Communications Centre received a call from the officer at around 3:40 pm reporting that the China Boutique on Shedden Road had been robbed of cash.

(CNS): An off-duty police officer gave chase to a suspect after it was reported that a George Town store was robbed on Wednesday afternoon, 22 October, by a man carrying what appeared to be a firearm. The 911 Emergency Communications Centre received a call from the officer at around 3:40 pm reporting that the China Boutique on Shedden Road had been robbed of cash.

The off-duty officer, who was in the vicinity at the time of the incident, chased the suspect who ran towards the Government Administration Building (Glass House), but lost sight of the suspect at the back of the building. Police officers were told that a man carrying what looked like a firearm entered the shop, pushed a bag towards the cashier and demanded that she fill it with cash from the till. The offender then went behind the counter, took some money that was accessible to him and ran away from the shop after a customer entered the establishment. No one was injured during the incident.

The offender is described as having a fair complexion with dark, curly hair and spoke with a Caymanian accent. Anyone who was in the area at the time who saw the offender or anyone who recognises the description should contact the investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Dwayne Jones, on 525 6494 or George Town CID on 949-4222.

Calls can also be made to Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS), where callers 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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Police: Husband not a suspect

Police: Husband not a suspect

| 23/10/2008 | 12 Comments

(CNS): Update: Following a statement from the police yesterday countering rumours that Estella Scott-Roberts’ husband was a suspect for her murder, Rayle Roberts himself has spoken out in an appeal to the public to stop "rumor mongering and allow the police to get on with their task without having to respond to baseless and unfounded stories." 

On Thursday, Detective Chief Inspector Peter Kennett reiterated that Rayle Roberts had not been arrested and was not a suspect. “People that peddle unjustified rumours without any foundation whatsoever cause untold anguish to those closest to Estella and have a negative effect on the progress of the enquiry. Rayle has not been arrested, is not a suspect and has never been a suspect,” he said.

Calling the person, or persons, who committed the crime “evil”, Roberts insisted that he had nothing to do with the murder of his wife, and had cooperated with the police and their investigation from the outset. He also said he had provided police with all information that they have requested, and allowed them full access to their home and possessions.

“In the midst of our grief and loss, we have been subjected to further unimaginable pain and suffering by the unfounded and malicious rumours that havespread like wildfire throughout this community since Estella’s murder,” Roberts said, explaining that he had been counseled not to talk but that the most recent stories have left him no option other than to speak publicly. “These rumors have sought to sully the character, reputation, and name of my wife. They have also sought to implicate me in her murder. These unfound stories have left me, my family and friends, with feelings of profound anger and resentment.”

Roberts said he had never been arrested or treated as a suspect “in this horrendous crime” by the police, and would continue to support the efforts of the police.

He said, “On behalf of my family, Estella¹s family, friends and myself, I ask those responsible for starting and spreading such vicious rumours to stop your falsehoods, as they are a source of our continued grief and suffering. Please allow us to grieve and mourn over our loss without having to deal with the distraction of such malicious falsehoods.”

According to an RCIPS release, the investigation is going well with a number of leads being followed and progress being made. One man remains in custody, assisting police with their enquiries.Referring to assistance from the public, Kennett acknowledged that cooperation has generally been good.

Since the tragic events of 10 October, twenty officers supported by various specialist staff have been diligently working on the case. Two experts have been drafted in; a Forensic Pathologist and an Arson and Explosives expert, both of whom have given invaluable advice and assistance to the investigation team. A number of exhibits have been sent to laboratories overseas for forensic analysis and many statements have been taken, with this number growing daily. In addition, 8 anonymous tips have been received by Crime Stoppers in Miami and passed to the Major Incident Room for follow up.

“We appreciate the assistance offered by the public so far and ask that this continues. We must stand up against violence together, as a community,” Kennett said. “Some people are quick to engage in conversation about theories, possible motives, suspects and the investigation in general. If anyone has information that they think can help, they should contact the murder investigation team. Even if the information you have seems insignificant to you, it could be crucial to us.”

Estella Scott-Roberts was last seen in the car park in-between Deckers and Buckingham Square at around 11:15pm on Friday, 10 October. Her burnt out vehicle was found in the Dykes in West Bay the following day. An examination of remains found in the vehicle by a forensic pathologist has left little doubt that the body is that of Estella Scott- Roberts.

Dedicated contact numbers:
Detective Inspector Kim Evans – 926-1773
Detective Constable Wade Chase – 925-7240
Detective Constable Charmane Dalhouse – 926-3975
Detective Constable Karl Lovell – 925-6761

Anyone with information about this case should contact the murder investigation team or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS). All persons calling Crime Stoppers remain anonymous and are eligible for a reward of up to $125,000 USD, should their information lead to an arrest and conviction.


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Rotaract Blue Fun Day

Rotaract Blue Fun Day

| 23/10/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Rotaract Blue club of the Cayman Islands will be hosting a Family Fun Day event on Saturday, 25 October, at the Airport Park. This event is a continuation of the club’s Open Arms programme, which aims to create community awareness of different disabilities and to integrate individuals with disabilities into the community. (Left: Open Arms Commitee)

According to a release from the club, the Rotaract Blue Open Arms Committee hopes to change society’s perceptions and educate everyoneon the fact that those with disabilities deserve to be respected and provided with the opportunities to learn and grow. The programme saw success with the first Annual Rotaract Blue Open Arms Awards Ceremony, which was held on 12 July 2008 to honour caregivers and educators of those with disabilities.

The committee hopes to build on this success with the Family Fun Day event this weekend. This event will provide an opportunity for those with special needs to have fun with their families, members of Rotaract Blue and the wider community. Gates open at 11:00 am and the fun will continue until 6:00 pm. The Family Fun Day will feature a bounce-a-castle, lots of games, cotton candy, snow cones and barbeque. There is no admission charge.

Rotaract Blue Open Arms Committee member ShakiraGourzong had this message for the public, “I would like to encourage members of the community to come out and support this important event. It will be a day filled with fun for the entire family!” All the proceeds will benefit the Sunrise Adult Training Centre and Maple House.

Rotaract is a programme which is recognized on an international level and is designed for young professionals who want to make a difference. Rotaract Blue is one of the newest Rotaract initiatives in the Caribbean. They are proudly sponsored by Rotary Club of Grand Cayman Central and under their guidance have become the second established Rotaract Club in the Cayman Islands.

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Exhibit by autistic artist

Exhibit by autistic artist

| 23/10/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The National Gallery has collaborated with RBS Coutts to host ‘Icons of Cayman’ an exhibition of new works by Seth Chwast, an autistic artist from the US, that were inspired by a visit to Grand Cayman and the Sister Islands in 2008. The exhibit opens 25 October 6:00 to 9:00 pm, and runs through February 2009.

On 4 November and 13 January a 30-minute documentary by filmmaker Marni Deutsch that explores Chwast’s remarkable journey will be screened at 6:00 pm. Chwast and his mother, Debra, will be on island on the 13 and 14 of November and are set to appear at several in public engagements to discuss Chwast’s art and life with autism.

A release from the National Gallery says, ‘Seth Chwast is an accomplished artist. He is also autistic. He cannot safely cross the street by himself. He rarely speaks. His art, however, speaks volumes. It is moving and powerful and instantly conveys his contagious sense of joy.”

Diagnosed with autism as a very young child, Chwast lived for years in a world of roller coasters, haunted houses, and classical music. A dramatic change came in 2003, when at age 20 he took an oil painting class at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Chwast soon began describing his world in paint. It turned out that he has an innate ability to mix colors and create amazing works of art that reflect his vision of his world and the world around him.

In the years since he has exhibited internationally and his work resides in public and private collections. He has been twice documented on NBC’s Today Show; recently completed two solo exhibitions in the Galapagos Islands, and paintings for the Charles Darwin 200th anniversary celebrations, among other projects. Through art Chwast conveys his contagious sense of joy, happiness, and beauty, and his story inspires.

The artist’s mother, Debra, commented, “Seth’s art and his journey serve as a reminder that through creativity we canovercome the most challenging odds.”

Extensive student educational programming has been developed around the exhibition in conjunction with the Department of Education Services.

Head of Student Services, Department of Education Services, Brent Holt explained, “The Ministry of Education and Department of Education Services are proud to support The National Gallery during the Seth Chwast ‘Icons of Cayman’ exhibition.” He said, “Through coordinated activities both at the Gallery and within our schools throughout the time, we expect that this opportunity will lead to greater awareness and appreciation by teachers, students, and community members of the valuable contributions to Cayman society which come from our children and adults who may experience unique individual differences.”

All works on display will be up for sale with a percentage being donated to the artists’ charities and the outreach and education programmes of the National Gallery.

On Thursday 13 November at 6:00 pm Debra Chwast will join her son Seth to talk about his work and inspiration. On Friday 14 November at 7:30 am, mother and son will join other families in the Cayman Islands to share experiences of life with autism.

On 26 November, 28 January, and 25 February National Gallery curators will lead a lunchtime lecture discussing various aspects of the artist’s work. Complimentary lunch served.

For additional information or to book any of these events please call the Gallery on 945-8111 or e-mail Natalie at 

For more information on the educational programme or to book a tour, contact the National Gallery Outreach and Education Officer Kiran Denis via e-mail

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Rotaract Blue Cayman Islands Goes Coastal

Rotaract Blue Cayman Islands Goes Coastal

| 23/10/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Ivory Sands Point at Cayman Kai beach located in North Side, often referred to as “Jesus Beach”, recently got a much needed facelift from the members of the Rotaract Blue Club of the Cayman Islands. The club participated in a Rotaract 7020 District initiative to clean up beaches in the region.

The project was spearheaded by Assistant District Rotaract Representative, Dorothy Scott, and was met with great support from the local Rotaract clubs. Rotaract Blue’s focus on this particular area resulted in twenty-five 30-gallon sized bags of garbage and debris being collected.

Director of the Community Service committee for Rotaract Blue, Luigi Moxam said, “This area is such an important part of what makes North Side and Cayman Kai so unique and relaxing. We were amazed at the amount of litter that was collected from the beach, and encourage patrons of this beach and the general public to be more considerate and conscious of the natural environment of our beloved islands. The club plans to continue with this initiative and will execute other projects geared towards raising environmental awareness.”

The club was proud to have 16 volunteers on hand for the project and celebrated the success of the clean up with a small fellowship at Over the Edge in Old Man Bay, where members took the opportunity to encourage others to join the community service clubs. Rotaract Blue would like to extend special thanks to Stan Zukin, nearby home owner and fellow Rotarian from Pennsylvania, who also came out to lend a hand with the clean up.

Rotaract is a programme which is recognized on an international level and is designed for young professionals who want to make a difference. Rotaract Blue is one of the newest Rotaract initiatives in the Caribbean. We are proudly sponsored by Rotary Club of Grand Cayman Central and under their guidance we have become the second established Rotaract Club in the Cayman Islands.

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Sex offenders to be listed

Sex offenders to be listed

| 23/10/2008 | 2 Comments

(CNS): A proposal for an official Sex Offenders Register was approved by the Attorney General more than two years ago and sent to the Legal Drafting Department. However, no bill has since been submitted to the Legislative Assembly (LA). While police say it would be up to the LA to decide who would have access to a Cayman Islands register and to what level, local activist Sandra Catron, insists she will continue to fight until the government database is accessible to the public at large.

Catron announced in October that she intends to create a private sex offenders register on a website that would be open to all, and if necessary she would host and upload it in the United States to avoid running foul of the local Information Communication and Technology Authority (ICTA) or privacy laws. Following a release from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) about the official database, Catron said that if that was not made public her own would still go on the Internet.

According to police, the proposal is for the official Register to be a collection of information relating to persons convicted of any sexual offence and would include information such as the individual’s name, aliases, distinguishing marks, photograph, place of abode, work place and DNA samples.

The purpose of such database would be to monitor and supervise the offender, say police. In the United Kingdom this information is not made public, however in the United States under Megan’s Law the public has access to information about convicted sex offenders.

“In 2006 the RCIPS Family Support Unit (FSU), in conjunction with the Legal Department, submitted a Sex Offenders Register proposal to the Commissioner of Police for review,” an RCIPS release stated. “Soon after, the draft was forwarded and approved by the Attorney General and sent to the Legal Drafting Department where it is at present until its submittal to the Legislative Assembly to be made Law.”

Police say the advantages of such a register include the increased supervision and tracking of convicted sexual offenders, particularly those at high risk of re-offending after expiry of their parole or probation period, through knowledge of their patterns of offending and place of abode and employment, which would highlight any contact they may have with potential new victims.

The main intended use of the Register is for the personnel who have been recommended to supervise such offenders, such as police andprobation officers, who could have readily available information on all convicted offenders.

"The government seems to be half hearted in their commitment to a sexual offenders registry,” said Catron. “Now that the issue is in the forefront and one of major concern to the public they are able to reveal information that seems to have been on the back burner for far too long. How much longer will the people of these islands have to wait for a proper sex registry to be put in place?”

She continued, “Having said that, I am pleased that they have at least admitted the need for one. However, I will not stop my fight until this database is accessible to the public at large. Recent events and the number of persons that have come forward to me only confirm that this is the right thing to do. In other jurisdictions, the government mandates, oversees and maintains such a registry and it would be the right and proper thing to do. However, it is clear that private sector oversight is necessary as there’s a lack of political will to take this topic on with full force.”

Catron said the statement on the Sex Offenders Register by the RCIPS “proves that every person can make a difference in this community about issues that affect us and we should never rest until all our children are safe."

According to the FSU, one of the most important things you can do if a child has been sexually abused is respond in a calm and matter-of-fact manner. Listen to the words and feelings of the child and observe his or her body language. Believe the child – children rarely lie about sexual abuse.

If you don’t have enough information about what is going on, it is a good idea to ask questions and let the child know you are someone they can safely talk to about this issue. Be sure you do not ask leading questions. What is most important for you as someone who cares about the child is to say that no matter what happened or what they say, you will still love them.

Also, take the time to reassure the child that he or she has done nothing wrong. Let the child know that you will do whatever you can to keep him or her safe. Many people are tempted to handle the disclosure on their own. However, there are resources throughout the Cayman Islands that can help a family through this difficult situation. Furthermore, sexual abuse is illegal so it is important to seek professional help. By taking action you may reduce the risk of others in your community or family from being sexually abused.

Anyone wanting more information should contact the Family Support Unit at 946-9185 or the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre at 949-2422.

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Esso boss says increase to Texaco fair

Esso boss says increase to Texaco fair

| 23/10/2008 | 6 Comments

(CNS): As pump prices finally began to fall across the islands’ fuel stations today, Alan Neesome, Country Manager for Esso Standard Oil, defended accusations made by Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts last week that the firm had passed on an unfair increase to the islands’ second fuel supplier, Chevron-Texaco, for use of the storage facility.

Neesome said it was fair and the last time Esso increased “seaberth thruput fees” (sic) was in 2001.  “The increase made in September is only 0.12 CI cents per Imperial Gallon (about a tenth of a CI cent per US gallon).  This is relatively insignificant and does not cover the real inflation rate for the elapsed period (2001-2008),” he said. He explained that since 2004 Esso has invested over $2Million to replace seaberth pipelines and hoses.

“We installed a second larger diameter discharge hose and pipeline system which allows for two different products to be off-loaded from a ship simultaneously, ensuring an added degree of redundancy in the instance one of the receiving lines is out of service for maintenance and enhancing stability of fuel supplies to the island. It also means that ships can off-load in less time, which reduces risk exposure to changing weather situations because a ship can typically berth, off-load its cargo and unberth in about 18 hours,” he added.

Neesome said that it also reduces the instances of demurrage charges being incurred because discharge times are less. “In other words, by reducing the time that a ship has to be unloading its cargo, we made it a safer operation, reducing the potential impact for environmental impact.”

Denying any dispute with Chevron, he said the company was in fact negotiating a potential aviation joint operation at the airport with them, which he said was of interest to the government.  “These on-going commercial negotiations are, of course, of a private and confidential nature,” he noted. Last week LoGB had said the suppliers were in a business dispute and the government would intervene if the two firms were not able to settle things among themselves.

The issue of fuel prices has remained extremely controversial as prices in the US seemed to fall dramatically recently while Cayman’s pump prices remain significantly high. However, Neesome explained yet again that the market in the United States is so different to the Cayman Islands that comparisons cannot be fairly made.

“The Cayman Islands’ fuel demand is extremely small.  You can’t make a fair comparison of this market with the USA market, which represents 25 percent of the global demand and has totally different supply logistics,” Neesome added. “USA pump prices change more quickly reflecting the volatility (ups and downs) of the international fuels markets. Vessels currently come to the Cayman Islands for Esso on average every 21 days.  To ensure consistent fuel supplies to the island these vessels are scheduled up to 3 months in advance by Esso Cayman’s suppliers and load several days or in some cases weeks prior to arriving in Cayman depending on the fuel source and the route to Cayman.”

He said that landed prices in here reflect  international prices perhaps up to 20 or 30 days prior
to the date that the fuel actually arrives in Cayman and Esso pays the international price of the date the ship loads the fuel, not the international price of the date the ship discharges the fuel in Cayman.

“The lag is real,” he said. “In the volatile international environment which is subject to daily fuel
price fluctuations caused by many international factors, unlike the USA which has huge volumes and is constantly resupplied through its vast storage and distribution network, Grand Cayman because of its fuel supply logistics and very low fuel demand does not reflect this daily volatility in the domestic Cayman market. This is true whether international prices increase or decrease. “

He explained that the Cayman Islands, as well as the Caribbean, are exposed to international fuel price variations but with very limited influence on prices. However, Esso was doing what it could to be as efficient as possible in order to keep costs as low as possible.

“Our international fuel suppliers are sourcing their products from the most convenient points of supply in terms of quality, price and reliability,” Neesome added.

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Justice case reveals 3rd party

Justice case reveals 3rd party

| 23/10/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Legal wrangling over the sensitive contents of an affidavit presented to the court at Justice Alex Henderson’s Judicial Review has revealed that the special investigation team could be trying to protect the identity of further key witnesses in the police investigation. When the possibility of limited disclosure to the legal counsel was proposed by the presiding judge, the interests of at least one other mystery party were raised by the legal team.

As proceedings in front of expert UK Judge, Sir Peter Cresswell, regarding the Judicial Review for Henderson (who was not present) reconvened on Wednesday, 22 October, they centred on an extended affidavit by Senior Investigating Officer Martin Bridger. This long version had been presented at the start of this week’s hearing to the judge only, which, the special police investigating team’s legal counsel, Nicholas Purnell, QC, had sought to protect from open court through an application for Public Interest Immunity (PII).

The extended statement, as was later revealed, contained details of another, so far unnamed person involved in the special investigation, who although not directly related to the accusations made against Justice Henderson appeared to have some significance to the overall mystery police investigation into alleged corruption in the RCIPS and possibly the judiciary.

The day began with Purnell’s request to withdraw the extended affidavit and leave only the shorter version which was already in open court. He said that in reality the extended affidavit did not really impact the arguments surrounding the subject of the review and he was happy to set it aside. “If your Lordship, as has been previously suggested, can put this out of his mind then we are happy to proceed without this evidence,” said Purnell.

However, the request to withdraw the evidence, having already been seen by Cresswell, raised concerns both from the judge himself and Ramon Alberga, QC, Justice Henderson’s lead counsel, who was clearly disadvantaged having not had sight of the entire affidavit and unable to asses how relevant this was to his client and the case. “I believe I should be entitled to see it,” Alberga noted.

As a result, Cresswell proposed a counsel to counsel disclosure of the sensitive part of the affidavit to allow Alberga to decide whether or not he was prepared to allow the long affidavit to be withdrawn in the interest of protecting a sensitive police investigation or whether he would like to argue for disclosure.

At that point Purnell announced that if the extended affidavit was to be disclosed to anyone, including just counsel, then another interested party (not in the court or ever disclosed) had to be informed first. Causing an apparent unease among the special investigation team, the potential disclosure just to the applicant’s counsel triggered a flurry of activity from the members of the special investigation team.

Secret notes were then written and passed around the legal teams, including Alberga’s team and the judge, regarding the identity of thisthird and possibly fourth party and why they needed to be informed. Although no details of the person’s identity was given in open court it was clear through Purnell’s requests that at least one other person had a significant interest in keeping the details of Bridger’s affidavit closed, and if the Judge was to suggest even counsel to counsel disclosure it was emphasized that this other party may want to file another PII to stop it.

Throughout the day’s hearing Purnell pushed for the need to keep all of the latter part of Bridger’s affidavit from disclosure to anyone, as it was so sensitive and was concerned with matters unrelated to theJudicial Review but crucial to the integrity of the ongoing police investigation.

In the end, with an interest in moving the case forward, Alberga stated that he would not object to Purnell withdrawing the sensitive paragraphs of Bridger’s statement provided he disclosed any details that may directly affect his client, Henderson. Eventually, all parties agreed to withdraw some 20 paragraphs from Bridger’s original affidavit and get ready to argue the actual case tomorrow at the urging of Creswell, who expressed his desire to hear the matter as quickly as possible. “I want to get on with it,” he said frequently. However, Purnell persistently argued that time could not be allowed to constrain the hearing.

During the day’s proceedings, the Attorney General (AG) Sam Bulgin was also called to the court in case he was needed to assist Creswell in hearing arguments regarding the proposed PII application. However, the possibility of the AG seeing the sensitive elements of Bridger’s affidavit was raised again by Purnell, who noted that although he was happy for the AG to offer advice on the law and the principle of PII in general, he did not want him seeing the full affidavit.

The AG also brought with him literature regarding the role and duties of Justices of the Peace in the Cayman Islands to assist Creswell in his decision regarding Carson Ebanks’ signature on the warrants to both arrest justice Henderson and allow his home and office to be searched, along with the seizure of his computer and cell phones.

Meanwhile, as speculation mounted that the third party and other details in Bridger’s secret affidavit concerned other senior members of the Cayman Islands judiciary as potentially accused and witnesses, it was revealed that Chief Justice Anthony Smellie had left the island. However, Acting Chief Justice Charles Quinn confirmed that Justice Smellie had gone to Miami owing to a serious illness in the family, but was himself in good health and would be returning both to the island and work as soon as the family medical emergency permitted.

The judicial review continues Thursday and is expected to see the parties argue the points submitted by Henderson and the fundamental issue of whether the warrants were actually lawful.

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The OECD unleashed yet again

The OECD unleashed yet again

| 23/10/2008 | 3 Comments

If anyone had any doubts about the storm brewing for Cayman, the reports following the recent meeting of 17 OECD member countries (the rich club that does not want anyone else to become rich) led by France and Germany will make the position clear. Offshore financial centres are in the spotlight again and a renewed attack is under way.

Various extreme and aggressive statements have been made by certain political leaders about prying open and/or shutting down tax havens, punishing those who deal with them and the like. That may be the standard rhetoric we have come to expect from the US and European (including the UK) politicians trying to deflect criticism from the mess they have created in global financial markets and in their own domestic economies. And a significant number of important global financial players, such as the US, Luxembourg, Austria and Switzerland opted not to attend the meeting.

But more directly concerning developments are to be found deeper in some of the reports. Naming and shaming is to restart. We are in for a new blacklist (bad guys) and possibly a green (not a white) list (good guys) from the OECD probably in 2009. This list will resurrect the names (and maybe include some new ones) of those countries that are deemed not to fully cooperate on tax evasion and transparency. The French suggest that about a dozen countries will be on this list.

There are very obvious clues as to the names that may be on the role of (dis)honour. The Secretary General of the OECD reportedly said “Aruba, Bermuda, Isle of Man, Guernsey and Netherlands Antilles are making progress in negotiating exchange of information agreements”. So far so good. These places may expect to be treated as good guys on the green list. The French Minister, Eric Woerth, then presented the other side of the coin and reportedly said “The Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, St Kitts and Nevis, as well as some Pacific islands such as Samoa, aren’t meeting their pledge to fight tax evasion.” So these places can expect to be treated as bad guys on the blacklist. This would be an extremely disadvantageous outcome.

 So what has Cayman done or not done to be singled out? In 1998, when the OECD first prepared its list of (non cooperative) tax havens, the Cayman Islands narrowly avoided being listed because it gave an advance commitment to cooperate by eliminating what were perceived to be unfair (competitive) tax practices, by enhancing transparency and by entering into exchange of information agreements on tax matters. Since then, Cayman has entered into the first tax information exchange agreement (TIEA) with the USA and implemented the EU Savings Directive (including execution of bilateral agreements with all EU members). Good faith negotiations (at least on Cayman’s part) were also started with other jurisdictions (including the UK) with a view to agreeing TIEA’s or similar arrangements (hopefully with some benefits flowing to Cayman as well as to the other party). It is these negotiations that appear to have stalled, not because of any particular deliberate fault or unwillingness on the part of Cayman. Indeed, it might be concluded that the other parties have now decided that continued vilification of Cayman and other offshore financial centres plays better in the media than recognizing their efforts and welcoming them into the fold!

Nevertheless, it is vital that Cayman renew its engagement efforts. It is necessary as a matter of urgency to move to Plan B as Plan A clearly has not worked. Plan B should include (1) increased local transparency by amending the Companies Law and similar laws governing Cayman entities to make more information public and readily available both locally and internationally, (2) a reduction in Cayman’s demands that it receive significant and quantifiable (but to-date unobtainable) benefits under tax information exchange agreements and (3) the execution of a meaningful number of  TIEA’s. This should demonstrate and secure international recognition of Cayman’s effective implementation of its commitment to transparency and avoid Cayman again being blacklisted. The Government and the private sector A Teams must give this the highest priority.

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