Archive for December 29th, 2008

Lions spread some Christmas cheer

| 29/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Lions Club of Tropical Gardens (LCTG) spread some cheer earlier this month at its annual Christmas tree lighting and carol singing ceremony for the residents of the Golden Age Home as well as with the students and staff of the Alternative Education Centre.On 11 December the Lions were at the Golden Age where they other guests, and residents gathered on the porch for fellowship and a lively round of carol singing. 


Lion Ann Hunte spoke about Christmas being a special time of year when people get together for fellowship and sharing.  She said that it was only fitting in this festive season that the Lions spend time with the residents and staff of the Golden Age Home. 

Lion Judith Witter and guest Petra Graham led the singing of old and familiar carols.  One of the residents and Lethan Bush made a wish to Santa, ‘asking for a wife”. Lion Kerry Nixon, Chairperson, Geriatrics and Social Services told him that she would speak to Santa about granting him this wish for next year. 

Then on Monday, 15 December, Lions Melrose Gooding and Belinda Blessitt Vincent of LCTG turned up at the Alternative Education Centre (AEC) during their morning assembly. 

Judy Henriquez of the tutorial unit spoke of the club’s contribution to the Centre over the years.  Raphael Daniel, Principal of AEC, also commended the Lions Club of Tropical Gardens on their service to the community at large.  He encouraged the students to use the Lions as their role models and become involved in community service in whatever ways they can.  Lion Belinda spoke briefly about lionism and the LCTG emphasizing the club’s work with young people and educational projects within the community.  Lion Melrose then presented each student with a gift certificate redeemable at Funky Tang.

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Bars to open late for New Year frolics

| 29/12/2008 | 1 Comment

(CNS): With New Year’s Eve falling on a Wednesday night this year Cayman liquor licensee’s don’t have to worry about falling foul of the music and dance law for the 2009 celebrations and will be able to open late. The Liquor Licensing Board said this week that valid liquor license holders are allowed to remain open for one hour beyond their regular permitted time on New Year’s Eve.

The board said that for night clubs, this extension only applies to liquor sales as music and dancing must end at the normal time of 3:00 am. The Board also said it wanted to remind all liquor licence holders that the sale of liquor and the playing of music should still cease during the last ten minutes of permitted opening hours, and all patrons must vacate premises before the closing hour. For further information licensees and members of the public may contact Marva Scott at the Liquor Licensing Office on 946-5446 ext. 5


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Chamber misses target but still throws Brac party

| 29/12/2008 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Although falling short by some $60,000 of the target set for the “Christmas Joy” initiative intended to give every family on the Brac a $100 gift certificate, the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce, the Agape Family Worship Centre and other organizers pressed ahead with their planned Christmas party and giveaway for families on Cayman Brac recovering from Hurricane Paloma which hit the Sister Islands in November.

Although at the launch both the Chamber and Agape had hoped to raise $100,000 the celebration was still attended by some 1000 residents. Chamber of Commerce President Eddie Thompson said that over CI$40,000 had been raised from member businesses, churches, service clubs and the general public in an attempt to assist the families in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman during the holiday season following an estimated $20 million worth of damage across the island.

“Businesses, organisations and individuals in Grand Cayman have responded to our goal to provide each family with a $100 gift certificate for the holiday season,” he said at the event. “The Chamber of Commerce works best when we pool the resources of our membership and that’s why we are able to come together this evening in support of the Sister Islands Christmas joy initiative.”

Organisers also included the Health Services Authority, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and Cayman National and on 18 December a number of people from Grand Cayman travelled to Cayman Brac to organise the special celebration on the playing field at the Cayman Brac High School.

The Chamber also said a committee in Cayman Brac which will include representatives from the Department of Children and Family Services will distribute the certificates to the neediest families first. The certificates can be used to purchase products and services at any business in Cayman Brac or Little Cayman that is willing to accept them. Business owners will be able to redeem the certificate at a Cayman National Bank location in Cayman Brac or Little Cayman.

According to the Chamber the initiative was designed to benefit the Sister Islands in two ways: first, to provide a little relief for families in the Sister Islands this Christmas and second, to stimulate the economy. ”It is our hope that this initiative will not only assist families but will also provide much needed support for businesses operating in the islands,” Thompson said.

Chamber member the Water Authority also contributed $5,000 worth of certificates to be redeemed at their location in Cayman Brac and Chamber Member Cayman Lenscrafters also donated $2200 worth of certificates to be distributed to the neediest families in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman (see picture).

AS well as the usual dignitaries including the Governor Stuart Jack, Sister Islands MLAs Juliana O’Connor-Conolly and Moses Kirkconnell, District Commissioner Ernie Scott, Health Services Authority Acting CEO

Lizette Yearwood, Chamber CEO Wil Pineau and Pastor Al Ebanks more than 50 volunteers from Grand Cayman went along to help. Santa andMrs. Claus were also there to deliver some early Christmas presents to children and their parents.

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Police answer 15 calls over domestic violence

| 29/12/2008 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Although reporting a relatively quiet Christmas period with no death or serious injury police said they were forced to attend to nine reports of domestic disputes on Christmas Day and another six on Boxing Day. Officers were also concerned about the number of disturbances over the four day holiday at licensed premises one of which resulted in the arrest of an 18-year-old man for grievous bodily harm.


Acting Inspector Doris Morris of the Family Support Unit (FSU) said that the combination of family stress and alcohol combine to increase the number of domestic incidents  which kept officers from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service’s FSU busy over the holidays incidents.

“While the holiday period can be a very relaxing and enjoyable time for some, unfortunately this isn’t the case for everybody. Although domestic abuse and domestic violence is a year round problem, the number of reports we receive often increases around holiday periods. A combination of factors can attribute to this including the various stresses people associate with Christmas, the amount of time a family spends together and the fact that more alcohol is consumed,” said Morris.

The RCIPS remains committed to tackling domestic abuse and she said it reaffirms that all incidents will be dealt with appropriately; supporting the victim, dealing positively with offenders, making arrests where possible and gathering the best evidence so prosecutions can be made.

Another area of concern over the Christmas period was of disturbances at liquor licensed premises. Over the four day period (Christmas Day, Boxing Day, 27 & 28 December) the RCIPS responded to 9 reports of disturbances at liquor licensed premises. One incident occurred at O’bar in the early hours of Boxing Day at around 2.30am when the 911 Emergency Communities Centre received a call from a security guard atthe nightclub reporting that a man had been assaulted. Police and medics responded and found that a 28-year-old man had received a laceration to his head, thought to be caused by a bottle. The man was taken to hospital for treatment. Police arrested an 18-year-old man on suspicion of assault causing grievous bodily harm.

On Saturday, at around 2.10am, the 911 Emergency Communications Centre received a call from a security guard at Next Level reporting that a fight was taking place in the car park adjacent to the nightclub. Police and medics responded to the scene and found that a 21-year-old man had sustained a laceration to his face. It is believed that he was punched in the face while inside the club. The man stated that he would attend hospital in his own time.

The RCIPS said that it has been working hard with liquor licensed premises and the Liquor Licensing Board to address issues that occur at bars and clubs. Proactive teams have been patrolling areas and paying particular attention to closing times at bars to help prevent offences taking place. This approach will continue over the New Year period.

Meanwhile a number of arrests were also made over the Christmas period by police teams in West Bay, George Town and the Eastern districts for drug and other offences. Six people were arrested during an operation by the George Town proactive team on suspicion of various offences including driving offences, possession of ganja, consumption of a controlled drug and disorderly conduct; Four people were arrested by the West Bay proactive team on suspicion of various drug offences including possession of cocaine, possession of ganja with intent to supply, possession of ganja and consumption of a controlled drug; One man was arrested on suspicion of possession of cocaine with intent to supply; One man was arrested on suspicion of possession of cocaine; Two men were arrested on suspicion of theft and damage to property; Three men were arrested on suspicion of theft; One man arrested was arrested on suspicion of possession of drug utensils and consumption of a controlled drug; Two men were arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct; One man was arrested on suspicion of possession of ganja and consumption of a controlled drug; One man was arrested in North Side on suspicion of threatening violence; One woman was arrested in North Side on suspicion of assault causing actual bodily harm and disorderly conduct at a police station.

The RCIPS said that criminality and violence will not be tolerated in the Cayman Islands. Proactive teams will continue to operate in all districts to help prevent crime, respond quickly and efficiently to incidents and assist in making sure people feel safe as they go about their business. Police also urged residents to play their part in keeping Cayman safe by looking out for each other, keep an eye on their neighbourhoods and report any suspicious activity to police or Crime Stoppers. People can call 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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Year of the smart phone

| 29/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(BBC): The last 12 months has seen the launch of iconic devices such as the iPhone 3G, Google G1, Blackberry Storm and Nokia N97. It also saw the emergence of the electronic ecosystems needed to get the most out of such handsets. But all is not rosy in the smartphone garden. The popularity of these devices has brought to light several problems that look set to become acute in 2009. Go to article

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Reefs healing from tsunami

| 29/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(NYT):  Scientists thought it would take a decade for the coral reefs in Southeast Asia that were ravaged by the tsunami four years ago to heal, but a study has shown that some reefs have bounced back much faster. Scientists said their examination of 60 sites on 497 miles of coastline in Aceh Province in Indonesia showed that the reefs were recovering. The disaster struck on Dec. 26, 2004, and killed about 230,000 people in a dozen countries. Go to article

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Cayman fuels profits for DHL

| 29/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Theinternational delivery and logistics company DHL Express has announced a 22 percent revenue growth in its fastest growing product, Import Express Worldwide — a door-to-door service in the Caribbean. The highest activity for imports using the service was in the Cayman Islands, the Dominican Republic, Bermuda, Jamaica and French Territories in America, where the product registered a 22% average growth rate, the firm said.

The company reported that the growth has been primarily driven by the increase in imports in the technology industry as well as in other sectors, including third-party import-exports and automotive. The top two DHL Express import trade partners for the Caribbean arethe United States and France.

"This growth in imports indicates that businesses in the Caribbean have embraced the speed, reliability, security and simplicity offered by the solution and still have enormous potential for more growth," stated Jaime Hooker, Vice President of DHL Express Caribbean. "Twenty-two percent growth is both amazing and encouraging because it signifies how different countries and industries have adopted this service. In times of economic uncertainty, businesses must utilize and take advantage of efficient resources and tools to their maximum capacity."

Import Express enables customers to send or receive documents and packages of any size, weight or value to and from 120,000 destinations around the world. Using Import Express is very simple: customers only need to open an Import Express account number, which provides all routing order instructions. When submitting an order, DHL Express takes care of each step in the process — from pick-up to delivery. Once the shipment is underway, easy track and trace is available at every touch point throughout the transfer.

"The Caribbean has always been a region with enormous economic potential since it imports twice as much as it exports," said Steve Garside, Commercial Director of DHL Express Caribbean. "Import Express Worldwide is our fastest-growing product because customers from over 220 countries enjoy the simplicity and control of one point of contact, one fixed price, and one invoice in their local currency for all their door-to-door import requirements."


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Enough is enough

| 29/12/2008 | 1 Comment

The issues surrounding Operation Tempura may end up as a blessing in disguise to our community. Caymanians are coming out of their shell – and about time.

We have had the courage to say “enough is enough” and simply refuse to make this issue go away, unresolved. The Talk Today and Rooster airwaves make it clear that people are looking to determine accountability and responsibility on this issue.  In (the recent) press, Sir Peter Creswell described as “gross incompetence” the action of Mr Martin Bridger in arresting Henderson, for what we now know to be an unarrestable offence. He is also asking the question that has been uttered publicly on many occasions, ‘who will foot this bill?’

Surely not the Caymanian tax payer!

While H.E the Governor has admitted that mistakes were made, he has not, as yet, gone as far as to say that the actions of Mr.Bridger were just plain wrong and egregious and that the Caymanian community is deserving of a public apology

It remains to be seen what Mr Bridger’s Report (which I understand is due shortly) will reveal.  Hopefully it will provide the community with a proper assessment of what transpired and enable us to make informed decisions as to whether or not there was a breach of good governance. It certainly cannot come too soon.

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PPM party chair defends rushed tax treaty law

| 29/12/2008 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Chair of the People’s Progressive Movement, Anton Duckworth (right) has hit back at critics who have said the government rushed through legislation regarding the Tax Information Authority Amendment Bill. While Duckworth agreed the amendments went through the Legislative Assembly at short notice he accuses Tim Ridley (left) one of the major critics of going “over the top.”

In his article The Irony of Politics Ridley drew attention to the lack of debate surrounding what is a very important piece of legislation and said people in the financial services sector were not given any time to scrutinise the changes to the law.

However, Duckworth defended government actions and said that there were good reasons for the speedy enactment and more importantly the amendments are widely supported. He said in the first instance the changes to the bill are technically enabling measures and no surprise to the sector.

“It allows tax information exchange arrangements to be made by this country unilaterally, in a form which we believe will meet OECD standards,” Duckworth said in a statement released before Christmas explaining the need for the amendments and why they were rushed through the house.

He said the recent changes in the global financial situation have seen the OECD turning up the heat on offshore centres and the government was concerned that it might accelerate its timetable.

“This has in fact now happened. The OECD has announced that it will be making its assessment in February.  This is one of the difficulties of addressing the OECD’s requirements.  The goalposts have a tendency to move,” Duckworth said in justification.

He explained that while continuing to look for satisfactory bilateral arrangements, the government needed the ability to establish information arrangements unilaterally.

 “This approach was adopted after discussion with private sector representatives.  And it was explained at a meeting on 4 December attended by numerous financial industry representatives,” he added noting that Ridley was invited to the meeting.

The law may still not be enough however, to protect Cayman from potential blacklisting

“As long as there is the political impetus for this kind of tactic, we must expect that there will be continuing demands, from the OECD and from others, that we are called on to meet in order to avoid being deemed uncooperative,” Duckworth said. “Both the government and the financial industry understand the need to work together, they have been doing so, and I am sure they will continue to do so.  If Tim or anyone else thinks they know a better way, or wants to help, they should let the government know.  If Tim wants to know more sooner he should come to the meetings.”

Duckworth also criticised Ridley for suggestingthe PPM government was not practising what it preaches.

“I think he knows that in the last three and a halfyears there have been very few occasions on which it has introduced measures on short notice.  It may be recalled that the previous Government did it frequently. This is not an end to public consultation, good governance, or life as we know it in these Blessed Isles,” he said.

The TIEA was passed on 19 December and forms part of government’s strategy to try and address potential onshore threats to the financial sector in the Cayman Islands. The idea is that if Cayman enters into bilateral tax information exchange agreements with countries the quid pro quo is that the countries in question will remove Cayman from blacklists and agree not to discriminate against the jurisdiction. In the past however the negotiations have proved sticky with some international governments not necessarily seeing the quid pro quo benefits. With the global circumstances however things have changed and the OECD is talking tough about identifying uncooperative offshore centres, by reference to the number of tax information exchange arrangements they have. 


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