Archive for December 21st, 2008

Local legal text updated.

| 21/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Head of the Cayman Islands Law School’s  Professional Practice Course, Deborah Barker Roye has updated her popular textbook, Civil Litigation in the Cayman Islands. Originally written in 2004, it explains the process of civil litigation in Cayman, referencing it to local laws, procedure and case judgments. The book was reprinted in 2007, but Barker Roye has now written a fully indexed second edition with important local legal updates.

The Cayman Islands Law School’s Academic Press publishes a number of books on local jurisprudence including and Simon Cooper’s a senior lecturer for the Professional Practice Course, is instrumental in publishing the school’s series of textbooks including his own book Conveyancing Law and Practice in the Cayman Islands, originally published  in 2004 now  second edition.

Receiving he copy of Barker Roye’s book Attorney Geenral Sam Bulgin said it was an import contribution to the local legal sector. “I am elated that the law faculty are enabling students to get a solid local grounding, thereby ensuring that demands by the Islands’ vibrant legal profession are locally met,” Bulgin added.

Clear and concise, the textbooks have also become a popular resource for local and visiting attorneys as well as the local judiciary, Director of Legal Studies Mitchell Davies said the Chief Justice wrote the foreword for two of Barker Roye’s books. The textbooks can be purchased at the Law School, located above Cayman National Bank’s downtown branch. For more information, contact the school on 945-0077 or


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Body confirmed as Cummings

| 21/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Investigating Officer, Chief Inspector Peter Kennett, has confirmed that the human remains which were found in the area of Moon Bay on Friday, 12 December, have been positively identified by a pathologist as those of Ian Hugh Cummings, who was lost at sea during a fishing trip on Wednesday, 10 December. “This is a terrible time for the family and our condolences go out to them,” said Kennett.

He explained that the family had been informed and the remains had been released to relatives for a funeral. Cummins disappeared after the boat he and a friend were on capsized and he began swimming back to shore for help.

A search and rescue operation was launched after Cummings’ fishing partner made it back to shore at around 10:00 pm. He explained that he and Cummings were fishing in Bodden Town in the Moon Bay area where Cummings lived. Cummings had started swimming to shore after their boat was capsized by a wave. The other man stayed with the boat for a short while but was forced to abandon it. When he got to shore Cummings could not be found.

A search of the area by Marine and Air Support Units and foot patrols was conducted but had to be called off at 2:45 am on Thursday, 11 December, due to worsening weather conditions. The search resumed at first light by sea, in the air and on land, but there was no sight of him. Cummings body was eventually discovered in the Moon Bay area on 12 December by local divers who had volunteered to assist in the search.



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Legal Aid faces overhaul

| 21/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): With the wider publication of the Law Reform Commission’s report reviewing Cayman’s legal aid system, the public has until 15 January 2009 to comment on proposed changes to the system which would introduce controversial merits and means testing for applicants. Although the authors say by comparison to other jurisdictions Cayman’s legal aid costs are not unduly high, the goal is to make the system more efficient.

Always unpopular with elected officials as the policy is controversial and rarely a vote winner, a commission was established earlier this year to assess the situation regarding the country’s legal aid system to see if savings could be made. The commission made eight recommendations including the appointment of a legal aid administrator (public defender) whose role would be to help improve the current system’s efficiency.

It also suggests amending legal aid rules to specify who is eligible for legal aid; and recommends both merits and means tests. It further proposed creating a duty counsel service for all types of criminal offences to which legal aid applies. Duty counsel could help reduce costs by providing clients with legal advice about their options. For example, it could assist clients in identifying matters where guilty pleas are to be entered, and then represent them on such pleas as well.

The report shies away from making pro-bono work mandatory for local lawyers but does suggest encouraging and promoting voluntary legal assistance from the private sector as it would be an obvious way or reducing the government’s legal aid overheads

Although legislators have long complained about the high cost of legal aid and the fact that too many of the cases are conducted by overseas lead attorneys, when he tabled the report in September, Attorney General Samuel Bulgin said access to legal aid is an integral aspect of the administration of justice in the Cayman Islands. He added that a modern, transparent system of legal aid enables access to justice to persons in need and enhances the Islands’ image as a sophisticated, democratic and stable jurisdiction. Defending the system, he said that the commission had found the present system of provision of legal aid services in general offers good value for money.

“Though it may not necessarily resulting in reduced costs, the commission’s view is that a more transparent and efficient administration of legal aid could serve to more readily demonstrate that funds are being appropriately spent, thereby satisfying the objective of accountability inherent in the legislators’ concerns,” Bulgin said.

Legal aid is offered according to law to defendants, charged with specified criminal offences such as burglary, rape and murder, who cannot afford lawyers to present their cases in court. It is also provided in civil cases to those unable to bring or defend a legal action for lack of funds.

The report is available on the Legislative Assembly’s website, under House Business and Presentation of Papers and of Reports.

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Tax law changes pave way for wider revelations

| 21/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS):  Amendments passed in the Legislative Assembly on Friday, 19 December, to the Tax Information Authority Law will allow the Cayman Island government to give more information relating to business conducted here in regards to tax matters in the countries of origin of those involved. The changes will enable Cayman to enter into bi-lateral tax agreements with other jurisdictions to reveal more information regarding accusations of tax avoidance.

As a result of various international obligations, the Cayman Islands already provide information regarding tax information to other jurisdictions. These amendments widen the scope of information including documents and correspondence. The primary purpose of the bill however, is to allow the government to enter into treaties with other countries without falling foul of the country’s strict privacy laws.

The law has raised controversy on both sides of the debate as some say it has been enacted too quickly and does not go far enough and others have raised concerns about where information about local off-shore businesses would be revealed and to whom .

Given the international climate and issues relating to offshore tax havens, the amendments could go some way to help Cayman silence some of the critics and demonstrate the islands’ strong commitment to meeting all international obligations.

Minister with responsibility for the offshore sector, Alden McLaughlin, recently said in the wake of criticisms that Cayman had already established that the financial services sector was not built around tax evasion. There had been issues regarding the establishment of treaties with some countries as he said they tend to be a one-way street, with Cayman giving everything and receiving no business benefit in return.

Tim Ridley, the former Chair of The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, noted that the problem was a failure of Cayman to keep up the Tax Information Exchange Agreement talks with onshore jurisdictions. “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,” said Ridley.

Since then, Cayman entered into the first Tax Information Exchange Agreement with the USA and implemented the EU Savings Directive. But other negotiations have been stalled and Ridley believes Cayman needs to renew its efforts in order to stay in the OECD’s good books.

However, McLaughlin has said that the negotiations have been one-sided and Cayman will not sign deals that give the jurisdication no benefit. “We have no difficulty with the concept of effective cooperation in tax matters,” he said recently in the local press. “Our difficulty arises where not only is such cooperation a one–way street, but where we are also expected to stand in the middle of that street and be run over.”

With a deterioration recently in negotiations over Tax Information Exchange Agreements and Cayman’s failure to make it into the most recent ‘green list’ of what the OECD sees as jurisdictions following the rules, the Minister said it was disappointing.

Whether the new law will pave the way for more effective agreements remains to be seen and a number of those in the financial sector have already raised concerns that the amendments have been passed with a lack of transparency and discussion.

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Atlantic Air says it is back in service

| 21/12/2008 | 1 Comment

(CNS): In the last few weeks several hundred passengers seeking to fly to Honduras have been stranded in the Cayman Islands because of the failure of Atlantic Airlines to operate its regular service to and from the central American country. The airline has now announced it is back in business despite what it described as misinformation by its potential competitors.

Following the airlines suspension of flights to La Cebia both Rollins Air a charter operator and local flag carrier Cayman Airways have both being looking at ways to fill the vacuum created by what was believed to be Atlantis’s demise. However, Atlantic Air asserts its demise has been greatly exaggerated. The airline said that despite the rumours raised by what it called “its intentioned competitors attempting to mis-inform the public in the hopes of absconding with routes traditionally dominated by Atlantic Airlines”, it was back in business.

“Given the market stress in our industry in the past few months, Atlantic Airlines International decided to take the initiative and re-design itself to better serve its loyal customers and the public at large,” said (Bill) A. Lara VP Planning & Marketing.

“Our commitment to excellence and foresight forced us through some abrupt changes that may have inconvenienced some of our passengers as we re-adjusted for the times. And it is for these inconveniences that we apologize to our customer base.”

He added that the airline’s efforts had paid off handsomely and that with the upgraded services, routes and equipment being implemented by Atlantic Airlines during 2009, it would be able to serve the public for many years to come.

Thanking the staff in Grand Cayman, Lara said they had endured some difficult days.

The trouble began when an angry crowd gathered outside both the Atlantic Airlines offices and the Legislative Assembly demanding assistance to get home after rumours that Atlantic had gone bankrupt began to circulate. Rollins Air and Cayman Airways were drawn into the dispute as neither airline seemed able to help get the passengers home because of issues withpaperwork and documentation. CAL is now considering the route but has had its hands burned flying in to La Ceiba before.

Lara said the airline welcomes professional competition such as that of Cayman Airlines and their excellent staff. “Their professional attitude has prompted us to fully support their Honduras operation. And we are also very happy to announce that Atlantic Airlines International will back Cayman Airways’ application to operate to the Honduran Government, at any time now or in the future that they may choose to apply,” he said.

Lara also noted that Atlantic Airlines International is not affiliated in any way nor has any kind or business relationship with Rollins Air. “Both Atlantic Airlines International and Rollins Air are distinct, separate and, completely unrelated corporations,” Lara added.

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Clifford goes to Washington

| 21/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Washington DC already provides a large percentage of visitors to the Cayman Islands, the Minister of Tourism told an audience in the US capital before they boarded the first direct flight by Cayman Airways. He said Cayman had confidence that the new route from the National Flag carrier would provide business opportunities for both places.

Launching the inaugural flight between Dulles and Owen Roberts International on 13 December, he said the addition of a direct, non-stop air service underscored the strategic importance of the north east corridor for the Cayman Islands. “The launch of this new route is a symbol of confidence in the potential business and tourism opportunities between Washington DC and the Cayman Islands,” he said.

"The importance of Washington DC is obvious. As the capital city in the western world – the DC area already provides a large percentage of our visitors to the Cayman Islands.  This new route will simply enhance the business opportunities between the two locations and will make it easier for those persons who are traveling on business and who wish to bring their families with them to experience the warmth and tranquility of the Cayman Islands.”

Clifford was speaking at the end of a week-long the trip to Washington where he had been promoting the new route. He also met with the media in the region. In a taped segment for the morning news on WUSA-9, which aired on 21 December, Clifford spoke with Anchor Mike Walter on the importance of Cayman Airways’ new DC gateway, attractions on all three islands and more.  





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