Archive for November 4th, 2008

Face the press 101

| 04/11/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The local business community is being offered the chance to gain some inside information on how to deal with the media. According to Tower Media only a few people are born with that natural sense of ease in front of a crowd or a camera when being aggressively questioned.

“For the rest of us it takes a little coaching and a little practice to get comfortable in the spotlight,” said Gary Ainsworth, Sr. Marketing Manager at Tower.

Hence why the media and communication company firm is offering a new Media Training course from Tower Marketing which the firm said could be a very important resource for anyone that may find themselves giving a big presentation, answering questions from a live audience, or giving interviews to the press.

Tower said that it has previously only offered this training directly to executives at large corporations, but is now making it available to a wider audience in a seminar format with up to 20 participants.  “We had been getting a lot of calls recently about Media Training,” added Ainsworth, “but companies could not afford to provide individual training for all the employees they felt needed this service.” 

Tower has developed this seminar, priced at just $500 per person, which provides the basic framework required to effectively deal with members of the media or other live audience interactions. The course explains the role of the reporter, provides attendees with easy to follow checklists that they can use to prepare for specific events, and teaches them the techniques needed to control any situation in which they are being questioned.

These techniques are reinforced through mock interviews and practice with fellow attendees. The seminar consists of four hours of training, with a lunch break in the middle.  “We get right into the core information that people need to know, without all the fluff” Ainsworth explained.  “We find this length of seminar keeps people focused and engaged, delivering the optimum results for them and their employers.”

 

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PPM failing Cayman says Opposition

| 04/11/2008 | 8 Comments

(CNS): With reports coming in that the recent OTCC meeting in the UK was not particularly favourable for the Cayman Islands, McKeeva Bush, Leader of the Opposition, has criticised the government for failing to look out for Cayman’s need in the current hostile environment. “The Government has not been paying attention to the various international issues impacting our financial services industry," he said.

Given the various international challenges facing the financial services industry and news that the meeting did not go very well with respect to issues relating to the industry, Bush has criticised the government for not dealing with the various international challenges facing the sector from a number of directions recently.

“Just recently, the BVI signed a Tax Information Exchange Agreement with the UK and Australia. Also, Jersey and Bermuda are close to signing similar agreements with OECD countries. Despite starting this process many years ago, our government is now regarded as being at great risk of being blacklisted by the OECD in its new tax initiative because we have done absolutely nothing to deal with these issues over the past 3½  years,” Bush said. “The financial services sector is one of our most important industries. How could we have neglected the issues to this extent? What has the so-called Minister for Financial Services Policy been doing for 3 years?”

The Leader of the Opposition said that there are senior representatives within the financial services sector that are unhappy with the current government’s treatment of the industry and its issues. With various pieces of financial legislation held up for several years, industry players are crying out to put these in place to keep the industry competitive.

Bush said that there are clear signs that the government has neglected to deal with the financial services industry’s issues. “The Secretariat, which is a part of Portfolio of Finance, was created precisely to provide strategy support in dealing with these issues and in particular in the area of tax issues. Yet this office has not had a full time Director for the past 5 months,” he added.

"The Financial Services Council, which was created by the current government, but have they even met sufficiently to be effective? The FSC is chaired by the Minister for Education who has not apparently had the time to deal with the FSC. This minister should be held accountable for any failures to address the international issues which should have been dealt with by now.”

The Leader of the Opposition accused government of allowing competitors to the Cayman Islands to catch up and even move ahead in some areas as they are actively putting in place the necessary legislation to compete with Cayman.

“Our industry needs quick and proactive responses to legislative needs, they need to be supported with effective lobbying in key places such as Washington. They need to see visible evidence of promotion of our financial services sector overseas and they need attention paid to many of the domestic issues they have raised. This industry is just too important to neglect in this manner,” Bush claimed.

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Absurd scams still a concern for police

| 04/11/2008 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Despite persistent warnings and the obvious absurd nature of many e-mail, internet and fax scams circulating not just in Cayman but around the world, the Royal CaymanIslands Police Service’s Financial Crimes Unit (FCU) is once again having to urge Cayman residents to be on their guard against these fraudulent communications that could result in loss of money to anyone who takes the claims seriously.

In the most recent case detectives said they have received a number of reports from businesses receiving faxes from a company claiming tobe the Internal Revenue Services (IRS). The fax claims the IRS requires personal and professional information to ensure that the recipient remains exempt from paying United States of America Tax.

Police said that investigations with the genuine IRS have proved that this is a scam designed to obtain details such as bank account numbers, mother’s maiden names and passport numbers. The IRS stresses that the genuine IRS Form W-8BEN does not ask for any personal information, except, in some cases, for a Social Security or IRS-generated Taxpayer Identification Number. In addition, genuine W-8BENforms are sent to recipients by their financial institution, not by the IRS directly. Anyone receiving this type of unsolicited communication is asked to discard it immediately.

Detectives are also investigating a number of reports relating to email scams. One of the most common sees the victim informed that they have won money or goods in a competition or lottery they have never entered. The scammers request that cash be sent for administration fees or to release the prize. Once the money is sent, the victim will never hear from the scammers again. The most recent reports relate to an Australian Lottery in association with Euro Millions & UK National Lottery. All emails or letters detailing wins of this kind should be ignored.

Police also warned against scams requesting to use a bank account to deposit a large sum of money usually involving a secret account, unexpected inheritance, over-paid government contracts or ‘forgotten money’ left in an African account. There are often fees or taxes requested to be paid by the victim before the money is deposited. Once these fees are paid the money will never appear.

Another common scam is where businesses are sent communications from someone proposing to be a public official offering an opportunity to be involved in a large commercial opportunity. The offer will involve very large financial returns and will require the victim to finance a portion of the contract up front. The cash will be requested via money transfer agencies such as Western Union and will be for tasks such as legal fees, registration costs, project fees etc. Once the money is sent, the victim will hear no more about the business opportunity.

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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Acting top cop to head home

| 04/11/2008 | 5 Comments

(CNS): Having served in the position for only eight months, Acting Police Commissioner David George is leaving the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) and returning to the UK, CNS has learned. George will be replaced by another top cop from Britain and an official announcement on his departure is expected sometime today (4 November).

The departure of the senior officer, who has been in Cayman on secondment from the Metropolitan Police Service in London since Cayman’s own Commissioner Stuart Kernohan was placed on required leave in March of this year, comes at a time when the special police investigation team (SPIT) lead by Martin Bridger, investigating alleged police and judicial corruption, still seems a long way from resolution.

News of George’s return to the UK was first reported yesterday 3 November on the Legge Report, which suggested the commissioner would be gone by the end of the month. CNS was able to confirm that the acting commissioner will indeed be leaving before the year end and that another senior police officer from a UK will be stepping into the post, as opposed to a local senior RCIPS officer.

Also noted on the Legge Report is an anticipated announcement by suspended police commissioner Kernohan going to the heart of Bridger’s investigation before the week is out. The online opinion site promising the real scoop also suggests that the next step in the Justice Alex Henderson case will be to question the validity of his arrest.

The role of the RCIPS and the Acting Commissioner was arguably undermined by SPIT recently after his enforced appearance at Henderson’s recent judicial review regarding the search warrants issued by JP Carson Ebanks for his office and home.  

George was brought to the hearing to define his role in the Bridger investigation. In what was clearly an awkward situation, George attempted to explain the RCIPS relationship with Bridger. He said that as commissioner he swore in the special constables working for Bridger and had overall responsibility for them. However, George said  he was not appraised of the detailed comings and goings of Operation Tempura.


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Ebanks not on jazz card

| 04/11/2008 | 25 Comments

(CNS): Award winning local jazz musician Gary Ebanks is a surprise omission from this year’s line up for the Cayman Islands Jazz Fest. Cayman’s leading saxophonist and only professional musician actually playing jazz for a living, has been left out, the DOT says, to make room for local artists from other genres on what is a limited card. Relatively philosophical about the snub, Ebanks said it was a shame that local musicians had to be rotated at all given the fact it is suppose to be a Cayman showcase.

“If I have to be sacrificed to allow other local musicians a shot then I’m fine with that but I would have thought that if Cayman wants to best represent itself we would use all of our best talent,” Ebanks said. “After all, it is a showcase and I would suggest that cutting me out to bring more foreign acts in is not necessarily helping to promote the concept of the Cayman Jazz festival or the local musical scene as a whole.”

Asked why Cayman’s best known jazz artist and recent winner of the CNCF lifetime achievement award was dropped from the 2008 card, the DoT told CNS that although Jazz Fest is predominantly a jazz and R&B festival, one of the primary goals of the event is to give Caymanian artists of all genres the chance to showcase their talent alongside international artists and in front of an international audience.

 “The Department of Tourism is blessed in that we have a great pool of local talent from which to draw from and to be fair to all artists we change the line up each year to give everyone a chance to shine,” said acting Director of Tourism, Shomari Scott. “That said, Gary Ebanks has played at every one of our four jazz fests to date and we are extremely grateful to him for giving some amazing performances. This year we are delighted to announce some very talented local artists – KK Alese, Mainstream, Jonathan Ebanks, Stuart Wilson & Love Culture and Impulz – who will share the stage with international performers such as Anita Baker and Michael Bolton.”

Ebanks said that he had no hard feelings at all about the DoT decision and hoped that they would reconsider him for next year’s line up, but he could not help but feel he has a lot to offer not just as a performer but with his experience as a professional in the industry for so long and he could have helped the DOT in the overall production of the event.

”I’m not angry about this and I’m looking forward to next year, but if we are to be realistic it’s a shame that I can’t contribute not just on stage but to the whole production,” Ebanks said. Henoted that the scale of the production required a lot of work and that he would’ve been happy to help DoT with important elements such as ensuring the local acts featured made it on to the BET promotional schedule.

“Yet again Cayman’s acts won’t be in any of the BET promotional material as it was all submitted far too late,” said Ebanks. “These things are important. We need to ask ourselves who is the Jazz Fest for? Missing out on these major promotional opportunities demonstrates that the DoT has too many other things to do and would benefit from the creation of a Jazz Fest board or committee of local musicians to focus on all of the elements of this important annual event.”

Ebanks also noted that the Cayman Islands Jazz Fest was not advertised in any of this month’s issues of the jazz press such as Downbeat, Jazziz and Jazz Times.

Smiling through the snub, however, Ebanks said that the most annoying thing about him not appearing this year was that the decision was made by a political figure that knew nothing about him or his music. "Lets face it, Charles Clifford (the Minister of Tourism) has never been to see us perform but he is making a decision on whether I should be allowed to play jazz or not,” Ebanks added.

Not one to be undermined by events, Ebanks said  that no matter what happened during the weekend he would be playing somewhere on island and that he hoped that those visiting for the jazz fest, as well as his many local supporters would manage to look him up and come to hear him play. “At the end of the day I will be playing that weekend somewhere on island and I hope the jazz fans will come seek us out,” he added.

 

 

 

 

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