Archive for January 6th, 2009

Figure drawing course at National Gallery

| 06/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): National Gallery is offering an 8-week course on figure drawing, taught by Julieta Avarez Macías, a bilingual Argentinean artist with vast experience in the art field. Through her involvement in many group and solo exhibitions for more than nine years, she will teach participants not only how to do a correct drawing using traditional methods and techniques, but also “how to see” with a special sensitivity to the things that surround us daily.

According to the Gallery, there is probably no task or subject that appears more intimidating and complex than trying to draw the live human figure, which Julieta believes includes every challenge an artist should be required to meet, such as line, tone, perspective and composition. These challenges can be successfully accomplished throughout this 8 week course.

Participants will learn some useful methods and techniques through different approaches, beginning from analysing master pieces to life drawing and the self- portrait, a wide spectrum in developing and improving improve an individual’s drawing skill.

This course offered out of the Harbour place location begins on 15 January at 5:15 pm to 7:15 pm at a cost of CI$200, which includes some materials. Gallery members receive 10% off the cost of the course.

To register for this course please contact the National Gallery by e-mailing Kaitlyn at You may also contact Julieta Alvarez Macias at 323-7482 or e-mail

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Writer says invade Cayman

| 06/01/2009 | 7 Comments

(CNS): A Pulitzer Prize winning writer has called for a US declaration of war on the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and other offshore tax havens. David Cay Johnston, sets out his radical views in an article in the Jan-Feb 2009 issue of the leftist magazine, Mother Jones, in which he also suggests a Cuba-style blockade of tax havens and bringing criminal charges against US citizens who use them.

In the article, “Fiscal Therapy”, Johnston writes: “In 1983 just 10 percent of America’s corporate profits were funneled through places that charge little or no corporate income tax; today more than 25 percent of profits go through tax havens. The Obama administration could tell the Caymans—now fifth in the world in bank deposits—to repeal its bank secrecy laws or be invaded; since the island nation’s total armed forces consists of about 300 police officers, it shouldn’t be hard for technicians and auditors, accompanied by a few Marines, to fly in and seize all the records. Bermuda, which relies on the Royal Navy for its military, could be next, and so on. Long before we get to Switzerland and Luxembourg, their governments should have gotten the message.

“Barring gunboat diplomacy (tempting as it is), there is no reason we cannot pass laws to block financial transactions with tax havens or even, Cuba-style, make it a crime for Americans to visit or do business with them without special permission. Congress could declare the hiding of funds a threat to national security and require that anyone with offshore assets disclose them to the IRS within 30 days and pay taxes, interest, and penalties within 180 days. For the holdouts, temporary special teams in the IRS and Justice Department could speedily pursue civil or criminal charges.”

In 2001, as the tax reporter for The New York Times Johnston won a Pulitzer Prize “for his penetrating and enterprising reporting that exposed loopholes and inequities in the U.S. tax code.”

He is currently a columnist for the trade journal, Tax Notes. He is the author of best-selling books on tax and economic policy, the most recently published of which is Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You With the Bill), which follows a New York Times best-seller Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich–and Cheat Everybody Else.


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The Ponzi-hedge fund link

| 06/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(TIME): Bernard Madoff’s $50 billion Ponzi scheme continues to rock the financial world. But most hedge funds actually engage in similar — albeit legal — practices in the short run. In the past, these practices helped inflate their gains as well as hedge-fund managers’ salaries and bonuses, but recently they helped bring about the failure of many major hedge funds. Go to article

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More storms coming

| 06/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(Examiner): Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA have released the results of a study determining global warming is causing an increase in high clouds and a corresponding increase in severe storms and rainfall.  This is not unlike previous warnings issued by scientists, in particular those warnings of an increase in hurricane intensity and frequency in the Atlantic. Go to article

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Cops catch conch poacher

| 06/01/2009 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Officers from West Bay have arrested a 39-year-old man who was found in possession of 45 conchs – 40 more than the daily allowance prescribed in law. Police said that the officers were on patrol in the Barkers area when the man was spotted and searched. “Due to the amount of conchs this man had, it’s highly likely that he was supplying  people or restaurants," said Sergeant Everton Spence."Chances are they were buying more than they are allowed.”

He added, “Restaurants should be reminded that this is a criminal offence.”

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) said it was warning people that they must obey the marine conservation laws or they will as in this case face arrest. The daily allowance for conch during the season is five per person or ten per boat, whichever is less.

The law further stipulates that no-one may purchase or receive more than five conchs from Cayman waters in one day – this includes restaurants. The conch and whelk season opened on Saturday, 1 November 2008 and runs until 30 April 2009. The open season catch limit for whelk is 2.5 gallons in the shell or 2.5 pounds of processed whelks per day. Also, as with conchs, no-one may buy or receive more than this quota.

Police also said that the public should remember that no-one can take conch or whelks from any marine protected area and that chitons, periwinkles and bleeding teeth may not be taken from Cayman waters at any time.

Violating the marine park regulations and conservation laws carries a maximum penalty of CI$500,000 and one year’s imprisonment. If convicted, the court can also order the forfeiture of a person’s boat or other equipment used.

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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National Gallery to hold Video Workshop

| 06/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The National Gallery is hosting two workshops on the basics of capturing video and advanced video practises, taught by Judy Singh of Apex Video Solutions, who has over 10 years of film and television production experience. Using simple language and personalized attention, Singh will show participants how to capture precious moments with family and friends. The seminars are open to people who own a video camera and need a little bit of guidance in making a story truly memorable.

As Singh says, “There are many simple ways to make your home movies not only easier to film, but interesting to watch.”

In the fun and informative workshop, Video Basics, beginning at 9:00 am through noon, on 17 January, individuals will learn how to use a camera effectively by learning the basics of video production including: Camera Care, Holding Your Camera, Camera Movements, Composition, Focus, Lighting, Settings & Situations, Visual Storytelling, Audio, Tips & Tricks.

In the Advanced Video Skills workshop, which begins at 1:00 pm through to 4:00 pm on the same day, the material is geared for the seasoned amateur or eager beginner. The three hour session will take an intensive look at how to use a camera to create specific types of productions including: Creative Shooting Techniques Pre-production & Planning, Basic Scripting, Narrative & Storytelling, Directing Subjects, Shooting-for-Edit, Advanced Composition, Advanced Audio, Advanced Lighting, Production Teamwork.

Both sessions are CI$150.00 and last three hours. Participants are asked to bring their own camera, lots of questions and a creative mind. Interested persons can sign-up for both sessions and save CI$50. Gallery members receive 10% off the workshop price.

To register one or both workshops, contact the Gallery Education Coordinator Kaitlyn Elphinstone by emailing or call 945-8111.

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Polaine stands by advice

| 06/01/2009 | 13 Comments

(CNS): Despite his advice leading to an unlawful arrest, Martin Polaine (left), who was the legal adviser to Martin Bridger, the Senior Investigating Officer of the Special Police Investigation Team (SPIT), has said that he believes the information he offered to Bridger was sound. However, Polaine told CNS that he accepted responsibility for that advice if it was now seen as incorrect. “If, as others have now concluded, the advice was wrong, then the blame for it does indeed rest with me,” said Polaine.

Although he is no longer advising SPIT, Polaine, who is a director of Amicus Legal Consultants Ltd in the UK, explained his grounds for offering the advice while working with SPIT last year. Polaine said that he believed that the arrest of Grand Court Justice Alex Henderson in September of last year for Misconduct in Public Office was lawful, not because the arrest falls under the penal code as he acknowledged it does not, but because it carries, at least in the UK, a potential maximum punishment of life in prison.

“I was of the view that misconduct in public office was an arrestable offence,” Poliane said, explaining that, while under English law the offence of misconduct in public office is a common law offence, it is at large and carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Polaine noted that as the Criminal Procedure Code states that offences against other laws without prescribed power of arrest but which are punishable with more than six years imprisonment are arrestable, Misconduct in a Public Office was indeed an arrestable offence.

“It was my view that the phrase ‘other laws’ includes the common law,” he added. “On that basis, misconduct in public office would be an arrestable offence. I gave the advice in good faith, believing it to be sound. However, the Attorney General and his legal team have concluded that the offence was not arrestable. They have not sought to discuss their reasoning with me and I do not know, in any detail, what their reasoning is.”

In Henderson’s second Judicial Review, Sir Peter Creswell made it quite clear that he considered Bridger’s legal advice to be inadequate and suggested that seeking advice from an expert in British law regarding Misconduct in a Public Office in the Cayman Islands was a failure on the part of Bridger and his team. He suggested that arresting anyone for an offence that was not an arrestable offence was a fundamental policing error.

Polain noted that it was, however, not his role to advise that an arrest take place and that he did not advise Bridger to arrest or not arrest Henderson. “I advised that the offence was arrestable and that there was sufficient evidence and material from which a reasonable suspicion could be drawn that an arrestable offence had been committed,” Polaine told CNS.

Since both the search warrants and the arrest of Henderson were declared unlawful by Cresswell during the two judicial reviews, the advice by Polaine has proved to be the scapegoat for both SPIT and Governor Stuart Jack. In a statement released following the first review, Jack defended Bridger and stated that he was acting on the advice of his legal adviser, which was confirmed during the review as being Martin Polaine.

During the second review, the Attorney General’s representative, Douglas Schofield, who was forced to take up the reins of the case after the first judicial review, found the search warrants to be unlawful and the unraveling of any case against Henderson began. He stated that Bridger did at the time believe the advise from Polaine was accurate and based his decision to arrest Henderson purely on that advice.

Polaine came under the spotlight when, during the first judicial review, his legal status in the Cayman Islands was questioned by Henderson’s legal team. They revealed that Polaine had not been called to Cayman Islands bar even though he was in the court room and clearly offering  advice to the legal team representing SPIT during the hearing.

According to the Amicus website, Polaine is an expert in anti-corruption and has worked on a number of transnational cases. He is also one of the authors of Corruption & Misuse of Public Office (Oxford University Press, 2006).


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College retains accreditation

| 06/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Thirty years on from its first accreditation, the International College of the Cayman Islands (ICCI) has announced that the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools in Washington, DC has renewed the college’s grant of accreditation until 31 December 2011 guaranteeing the quality of the ICCI’s degrees.

The accreditation agency is recognized by the United States Department of Education and it ensures the institution is adhering to a set standard for both its curriculum and its administration. Interim President Dr John H Cummings II said he was pleased at the news. "This reaffirmation by an American Council shows once again the high quality of education provided to the Cayman Islands by ICCI. This demonstrates that an ICCI education is one that is recognized throughout the world. We are always happy when outside accrediting agencies evaluate our Instructors and Curriculum and find us worthy," he said.

The grant comes after the difficult recovery period for the college post-Ivan, when it was forced to undergo extensive renovation. However, difficult as it was, Dean Scott Cummings noted it was also an opportunity to modernize the administrative processes at the college.

"Going through an accreditation visit by an outside agency and meeting all of the requirements to be given this new grant was a difficult and time consuming task,” he added.  “We are very grateful for the hard work of our administrative staff and faculty who have once again confirmed that ICCI meets the highest standards required to continue to be accredited. This new grant of accreditation reaffirms that ICCI continues to meet the highest standards, both in its faculty and its curriculum, and continues to insure that our students’ degrees will have the full power of an accredited status behind them."

Opened in the fall of 1970, ICCI was founded by Dr. J. Hugh Cummings. First accredited in 1979, it has maintained its accredited status ever since. The college offers a diverse range of study from MBA’s to BA’s in Community Service.


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Cops get top FOI requests

| 06/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Few people were surprised yesterday when the government department to receive the most Freedom of Information (FOI) requests on the first day of the law’s implementation turned out to be the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, followed by the Immigration Department. However, according to Carole Excell, the FOI Coordinator for the unit, there was a steady stream of requests going to a number of different government departments, from the Department of Tourism to the Postal Service.

“It was a really interesting and exciting day for us as it was great to see the law being utilized across the board,” she said. Admitting to facing a few technical glitches with emails, she apologised for the problem on the first day the law came into effect, but said that it had all been ironed out and the public could now email most of the 87 different government entities for information.

“Some requestors received an automated response when they made requests this morning, (Monday 5 January) but Computer Services has rectified the problem,” Excell explained.

She said that a number of requests had been made to FOI itself before the law was implemented and her department submitted those today, but she is hoping that the process has been simplifed enough so that people can make their own requests directly.

“We have made it as easy as possible for people to download forms from the FOI website and to access all the information they will need to make a request themselves,” she noted.

Excell admitted that she had alsomade two enquiries herself to the postal service and to the MRCU. According to other sources, Governor Stuart Jack also made a request to the Ministry of Tourism regarding Cayman’s marine replenishment zones.

Excell said that, aside from the police and Immigration Department, the Ministry of Tourism and the Postal service also received several requests throughout the day. Although not all government departments had yet reported back to the FOI unit about the number and nature of the requests on the first day, she said that the evidence so far revealed that the law was being used by a diverse cross-section of people concerning a number of different issues. She also noted that many of the information managers were not particularly surprised by the requests they received.

“Quite a few of the requests that we helped to submit were requests for specific information that people had been seeking for some time,” Excell noted, adding that she hoped to have more details about the first requests and how things were going in a few days time.

The implementation of the Freedom of information Law guarantees the public access to official records. It was passed on 31 August 2007 but the necessary preparations for the law saw its implementation delayed until January 2009. People now have the ability to seek information on any subject from any government entity to which government must, in most cases, respond within one month of the request.

While not all information can or will be released, Information Commissioner Jennifer Dilbert will be overseeing the divulgence of information and should requests be refused she will decide on whether a government entity was entitled to withhold information or not. According to the FOI Law, public interest must take precedent in terms of revelation.


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