Archive for October 29th, 2008

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 or log on to for updates. Contact Luca at 623-4550 or 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 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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Are credit cards the next collapse?

| 29/10/2008 | 1 Comment

(McClatchy): First came trouble with mortgages, then home equity loans and commercial real estate. Now, banks are starting to worry about credit cards. As the economy slows and unemployment rises, consumers are defaulting on credit-card payments more often. And though that trend is unlikely to create a crisis in line with the mortgage fallout, it’s still a headache for banks that are already hurting. Go to article

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Fishermen paid to stop

| 29/10/2008 | 0 Comments

(New York Times): About 800 fishermen in the northernmost crook of the Gulf of California have taken up the government’s offer of payments to stop fishing with nets and, in some cases, to stop fishing altogether, Mexican conservationists said. The offer is intended to save a small porpoise that is threatened with extinction as an unintended byproduct of commercial fishing.  Go to Article.

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US tax law may deter talent

| 29/10/2008 | 0 Comments

(Royal Gazette): Former Bermuda Premier Sir John Swan has described a new tax law which stops the deferral of income tax paid on compensation earned by US taxpayers working there as a "warning shot across our bows". The Emergency Economic Stablisation Act of 2008, which was enacted at the start of this month, added the new section to the US Internal Revenue Code. Go to article.

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UK Minister gets down to business

| 29/10/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Foreign Office Minister, Gillian Merron welcomed delegates to the Overseas Territories Consultative Council (OTCC) in London this week for what she described as a critical part of debate and decision-making between the UK and the Overseas Territories. Along with the other OTs the Cayman Islands has sent a delegation led by the Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts.

The OTCC, held each year in London, is a key annual event in the British Government/Overseas Territories calendar, providing a forum for the elected leaders  of Britain’s OTs and their representatives to discuss high-level policy with a team of British Government Ministers.

"I’m glad to be welcoming so many  elected leaders from the Overseas Territories  and senior ministers to the OTCC this year,” said Merron, the new Minister with responsibility for OTs, ina FCO statement. “The forum is a critical part of debate and decision-making between the UK and the Overseas Territories. We’ve got a great deal to discuss – from financial services to  human rights – I’m looking forward to getting down to the business of ensuring continuing close relations and the security and prosperity of the OTs."

Discussions are expected to cover a range of current issues including economic issues and the current global crisis; financial services regulation; human rights; prospects for the relationship between the EU and the Overseas Territories; the environment and disaster  management. Proceedings will include the signing of a new Tax Information Exchange Arrangement between the UK and the British Virgin Islands.

Attending for the Overseas Territories is Osbourne Fleming, Chief Minister, Anguilla; Ewart F Brown, Premier of Bermuda; Ralph O’Neal, Premier, the British Virgin Islands; Kurt Tibbetts, Leader of Government Business, the Cayman Islands; Michael Summers, Executive Councillor, the Falkland Islands; Lowell Lewis, Chief Minister, Montserrat; Leslie Jaques, Commissioner, Pitcairn Islands; William Drabble, Councillor, St Helena; Michael Misick, Premier,  the Turks and Caicos Islands; and Conrad Glass, Chief Islander, Tristan da Cunha.

The British Government team will be  led by Gillian Merron, who will be joined by Michael Foster MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for International Development;  the Stephen Timms MP, the Financial Secretary to HM Treasury; Gareth Thomas MP,  Minister  of State at the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform; and Huw Irranca-Davies MP, the Minister for the Natural and Marine Environment, Wildlife and Rural Affairs at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

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New Resident on the street

| 29/10/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Fast becoming a key resource for both old residents as well as new, the latest edition of Acorn Publishing’s New Resident magazine has arrived in the Cayman Islands. Charles Grover, Publishing Director at Acorn Publishing, said it marks the sixth anniversary of the magazine and is the largest and most complete edition ever produced.

“The complimentary magazine has over 250 pages crammed full with useful information to help both new and existing Cayman residents and contains a total of 24 chapters on subjects as diverse as: preparing to move to Cayman; finding a health specialist; cost of living; pitfalls to avoid when buying or renting a home; activities for adults and kids; schooling options; and even where to buy fresh fish in Cayman,” added Grover.

The first resident to receive a copy was H.E the Governor Stuart Jack, from Joanna Boxall, the owner of Acorn Publishing. “I very much welcome the latest edition of the New Resident magazine. It is full of information for people coming to work and live in the Cayman Islands.” Jack said. “My staff use both the magazine and the website because it is the most comprehensive and up-to-date guide available.”

Grover said two new chapters have been added this year ‘Establishing a Business’ in Cayman, which details the legal formalities and provides information on setting up an office. The second new chapter is ‘Running your Home’ and provides useful information about getting help around the home, how to keep rising costs under control and security considerations in Cayman.

In addition to adding these new chapters the magazine has been fully updated by a team of researchers and contributors. “This year we have received a massive amount of input from specialists in their field,” said Joanna Boxall “As a result we have expanded sections and added completely new information.”

The Immigration, Heath and Education sections and summer camps in the Activities for Kids chapter have all been extended.

Laura Hatfield, a partner at Solomon Harris, who helped provide some of the information for the Establishing a Business chapter, said the purpose is to give people an overview of the different types of business structures that can be formed in Cayman and to help people navigate some of the legal restrictions. “This is a really useful guide both for the expat community as well as for Caymanians looking to set up a new business,” she added.

The New Resident is used by virtually all of the large organisations in Cayman, such as government, law firms, hotels and accounting firms, to encourage people to move from their home countries and Angela Piercy, acting Chief Information Officer for the Cayman Islands Government Information Services (GIS), said it provided some of the information too.

“We highly recommend the magazine to both existing residents and new arrivals,” said Piercy.

Richard Dyer, a recent new arrival to Cayman and a marketing executive at Islands Companies, said: “I would have been at a complete loss without my copy of the New Resident. It helped me prepare before I came to Cayman and now I’m here I constantly use it for advice about getting through the hurricane season, to what internet options are available and much more. It is the best thing I have received for free all year!”

Grover commented explained that that people who read the New Resident before they arrive in Cayman not only settle in more quickly but also save themselves a lot of money, as the magazine advises people what to bring, and more importantly what not to bring and he urged employers to send their new employees a copy of the magazine. “I don’t think people are aware how much effort goes into updating the information in the magazine. We check every piece of contact information to ensure that it is accurate and have researchers who are constantly adding new information,” added Grover.

The information in the magazine is also available at and the magazine will be distributed at the beginning of November 2008 to over 350 businesses, including schools, government departments, hotels and tourist offices both on and off Cayman

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