Archive for December 22nd, 2008

Slew of arrests over weekend

| 22/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): On Grand Cayman a man was arrested on suspicion of possession of an unlicensed firearm, and on Cayman Brac a man was arrested for drug offenses, which, according to police, were among a number of arrests over the weekend for offences that included theft, assault and driving under the influence of alcohol.

In George Town, a 36-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possession of an unlicenced firearm. The arrest came following reports of shots fired in McField Lane which were made soon after midnight on Saturday. No-one was injured. Following investigations by CID, the man was arrested and a number of bullet proof vests were seized. The man remains in police custody at this time.

Overnight Saturday into Sunday, officers in Cayman Brac arrested a 34-year-old man on suspicion of possession of ganja. He has since been released on bail pending further investigations.

In the Eastern Districts, a25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of a number of offences including possession of ganja, consumption of a controlled drug, failing to comply with a traffic sign, failing to comply with directions given by a constable, dangerous driving and resisting arrest.

Other arrests of note include: five arrests for assault, five arrests for possession of ganja, two arrests for theft, one arrest for consuming a controlled drug, and six arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Residents are reminded to act responsibly over the festive period by not drinking and driving, always paying attention to the traffic law and not getting involved with illegal drugs.

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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Police name diving victim

| 22/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) has named the cruise ship passenger who died after diving on Thursday, 18 December. He was David Guy Stuart, 57, from Oklahoma, US. Stuart had been diving with a friend off West Bay when he appeared to get into difficulty. He was brought to shore and taken to hospital but unfortunately was pronounced dead.

An investigation into his death is underway by the RCIPS and officers send their condolences to thefamily of friends of the victim.

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Lighthouse School Christmas Party

| 22/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Children and staff of the Lighthouse School enjoyed a Christmas Party held in Gardenia Court at Camana Bay Town Centre on 11 December, sponsored by the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) – as they have done for the past 21 years – and co-sponsored by General Motors and Chevrolet.

In 1987, when the Lighthouse School was located next tothe Pine’s Retirement Home, the Restaurant Association members started hosting a joint Christmas Party for both the residents of the Pine’s and the Lighthouse School students. With proceeds from the Taste of Cayman, Mike and Bobbi Flowers would fly to the States and buy individually selected gifts for each Lighthouse School student and Pines resident.

This year’s event was the biggest and best yet, with the students enjoying a warm welcome from CITA Staff and Board Members as well as the General Motors team. The party began with lovely Christmas carols by the Performance Arts class of Cayman International School (CIS). Following the sing-along, the children and staff enjoyed refreshments and topped off with DQ ice cream cakes. The students welcomed Santa with a lively rendition of “Here Comes Santa Claus” and anxiously waited as he gave each and every child a present from their “wish list”.

“Having this event at Camana Bay so close after the Taste of Cayman was fitting because the Lighthouse School is one of the recipients of our Charity Funds each year. It was such a pleasure watching the children’s eyes light up when they saw Santa and seeing the joy it brings to their holiday season,” said Trina Christian of CITA.

"Chevrolet is proud and honoured to be a part of such a wonderful event and bring a smile to the faces of the children from the Lighthouse School," said Dario A López, Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing Manager for General Motors International Sales. "The magical combination of children and the holidays is a wonderful way for Chevrolet to give back to the community during this special time of year," added López.

CITA would like to thank all those who contributed to make the event so successful: GMIS/Chevrolet, Book Nook, Reflections, Dairy Queen, Stingers and also to those who gave of their time to be with the children.

CITA would like to thank the community and CITA members for supporting the Taste of Cayman and other Association events that enable us to support the Lighthouse School.

Photo above: (left to right): Carla MacVicar, Lighthouse School Principal, LHS students Hamlet Soto and Andrew Hayles, Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing Manager for General Motors International Sales Dario A. López, LHS student Alec Cox, Trina Christian, Executive Director of CITA, Robert Hartsfield, CITA Board Member/ Director – Commercial, Cayman Airways, and LHS student Alejandro Warren

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Christmas Visit to the Lighthouse School

| 22/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): In the run up to Christmas, a number of staff members from Walkers were delighted to bring some festive cheer to the children of the Lighthouse School. By bringing gifts to the school to distribute among the students, the Walkers employees helped to spread plenty of seasonal joy, particularly with Mr and Mrs Claus in attendance.

Organised by the Compliance Department at Walkers, along with staff in the Finance Department, employees collected money from everyone on the fourth floor of Walker House, to purchase gifts and goodies for the children, a Walkers release said. Stockings were filled and distributed by partner Julian Black who played ‘Papa Claus’ and compliance administrator Sherene Jackson who was ‘Mama Claus’. They were ably assisted by ‘Santa’s Elves’ compliance administrators Helen Bush and Tammy Welds.

"Christmas at the Lighthouse School is always a very festive and happy occasion with celebrations and parties," said Carla MacVicar, principal at the Lighthouse School. "We are thankful to the various members of the community that support us and Walkers coming here to give out stockings has been something different for the children which they really enjoyed." (Left: Mama Claus – Sherene Jackson – with Children from the Lighthouse School)

The Walkers staff sang Christmas Carols with the children before the gifts were handed out, which everyone enjoyed and the smiles going around afterwards were particularly meaningful to those that took part and everyone back in the office that contributed. "The kids were so excited and grateful," Tammy Welds said. "It was truly heart-warming to see the smiles that we all helped to put on their precious faces."

"The Lighthouse School plays such an important part in our community and we at Walkers are delighted to support it in any way that we can," said finance partner Julian Black. "To be able to bring a few smiles along the way at Christmas time makes it that much more worthwhile."

(Above: Children of the Lighthouse School with Walkers Staff Members)

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Government should show economic leadership

| 22/12/2008 | 8 Comments

On Tuesday, 16 December, the United States Federal Reserve gave up on the banks and began to act boldly to stem what all indicators are now predicting will be a deep and prolonged US recession.

The US Federal Reserve (Fed) cut its target for the overnight funds rate to a range of zero to 0.25 percent and brought the United States to the zero-rate policies that Japan used for many years in its own fight against deflation.

In effect, the Fed stepped in as a substitute for banks and other lenders and are now acting more like a bank itself (at least in the US financial context). The Fed said it would employ all available tools to promote the resumption of sustainable economic growth. The Fed boldly pushed banks which have remained sadly stuck in the doldrums of no credit, or frozen credit to the curve, and said that it would print as much money as necessary to revive the frozen credit markets and fight what is shaping up as the nation’s worst economic downturn since World War II.

The United States Federal Reserve has stated it will go to any length and take whatever actions it deems necessary to revive its own economy and ensure the survivability of its citizens.

But again I ask, what are we doing in Cayman to simulate our own economic activity? When will our political leaders act to ensure low interest rates? When will we have access to the many hundreds of millions of dollars of our local Pension Funds that are now sitting idle in New York earning zero percent interest when these same funds could be employed here in Grand Cayman to ensure a robust free market system, coupled with vast sums of guaranteed funds to outward lending to our many qualified Caymanians to purchase property, build a home, attend to needy home repairs or expansion and a host of other areas, which would drive good economic growth into the foreseeable future?

I do not write this letter blindly either. The Cayman Islands Government has a real conflict of interest when it comes to being able to monitor and manage its fiscal policy. As I write, the Cayman Islands Credit Union operates with a policy that runs contrary to the normal accepted banking procedures. It uses its CI$100 million in member savings to pay an interest rate of some 5 percent (called dividends) which has no reflection as to real global market realities and then also on-lends these same member savings at a spread of between 5 and 6 percentage points. How can government be expected to lead in addressing the abnormalities of which I have so often written about in regards to forcing the local banking institutions to lower their lending rates when they themselves are driving an instrument which writes its own rules and creates a false source of wealth transfer?

Is this perhaps why each successive government in these Cayman Islands has been hamstrung and unable to act to allow the wider Caymanian consumer to also enjoy these same wealth returns?

I shall leave it to the good reader of this article to be the judge.

In closing I list some general thoughts that should now be explored in regards to providing a source of economic stimulus for the Caymanian consumer:

Amend the Pension Law to mandate that all new inward payments be earmarked and retained in the Cayman Islands banking system and be used to provide local lending at fixed interest rates.

Take action to bring all Government entities, inclusive of the local Cayman Credit Union, in line with standard interest rate realities.

Empower the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) to be able to set local minimum lending rates, based solely on empirical proof as to real “cost of funds”.
Allow and encourage all local banking lending institutions to provide long term fixed rates loans.

These are but a quick few ideas, but I have many others and with the right Leadership they can and will be enacted one day to benefit the wider Caymanian community and the borrowing public.



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Foundation wants to protect Scott-Roberts’ name

| 22/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Board of Directors of the Estella Scott-Roberts Foundation is requesting that anyone using the name of the late Estella Scott-Roberts for causes and awards should obtain the permission of the foundation. Chairperson Rayle Roberts explained that the Foundation was very keen to ensure that his late wife’s memory.

The Estella Scott-Roberts Foundation, a newly established non-profit company, aims to continue Scott-Roberts’ community work by focusing on areas such as non- violence, women’s and gender issues, and other social issues as deemed necessary, and its are particularly anxious to protect the use of the name of the late Estella Scott-Roberts.

The Foundation is aware of some community initiatives, as well as awards, which have already started or were issued in Scott-Roberts’ memory. However, they are concerned that there may be more activities or awards being planned in Scott-Roberts’ name that are unknown to the Foundation.

Rayle Roberts, Chairperson of the Estella Scott-Roberts Foundation, explained that the Foundation was very keen to ensure that his late wife’s memory, name, and image are not misused or improperly associated with any activities, awards, or initiatives which do not reflect Estella’s beliefs or her life’s work.

The Foundation will grant approval to use Scott-Roberts’ name in support of any project or award which reflects the objectives of the Foundation, namely – to promote a life free of violence, gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

Any entity or persons planning to or who are already using Scott-Roberts’ name in association with any project, award or activity should first obtain approval to do so from the Estella Scott-Roberts Foundation by writing to PO Box 84 Grand Cayman KY1-1501 CAYMAN ISLANDS or by emailing

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The irony of politics: transparency is for others

| 22/12/2008 | 6 Comments

Those in the community who value the democratic process in action will be disappointed and saddened by the way in which the Legislative Assembly last week enacted the amendments to the Tax Information Authority Law (TIAL).

Remarkably few were aware of this as no Bill was published and available in the official Gazette  (not even on the GIS website), there was no broad public consultation and even the usually alert media seems to have been caught napping. Why this should have happened is puzzling and concerning.

The amendments are designed principally to permit cross border exchange of information with foreign tax agencies (as yet to be identified). This goal is desirable in itself and (combined also with formal bilateral agreements and privacy safeguards) is also much needed as part of Cayman’s efforts to fend off the threats to the financial services industry from various international quarters such as the OECD, EU and the USA. Whether these amendments contain the right privacy safeguards and yet will also prove to be the silver bullet to pacify Cayman’s foreign attackers, time will tell.

Doubtless, the Government proceeded with the best of intentions. But the first irony is that a Government elected overwhelmingly based on its commitment to transparent government and good governance has fallen victim to the samelapses as many of its predecessors. The second irony in this case is that the amendments to the TIAL are designed to enhance transparency to meet international standards, yet the process followed by the Government was anything but transparent.

Surely it was entirely unnecessary to have disregarded the normal rules of parliamentary democracy on this occasion? It is rare, if ever, except in the case of emergencies such as natural disaster, war etc, that the usual legislative procedures need be suspended or rushed. Dilatoriness in preparing the draft legislation should never be a justification. Openness, timeliness and public discussion (however tedious that may seem to any government in power) are vital safeguards and should not be sacrificed on the altar of “we know best”. The expression, “O Tempora, O Mores” was never more apt.



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