Archive for January 21st, 2009

Binge drinking linked to premature births

| 21/01/2009 | 1 Comment

(The Guardian): Binge drinking in the early months of pregnancy can lead to women giving birth prematurely, even if they stop once they realise they are expecting a baby, according to research published today. The study finds that low levels of drinking do not lead to premature births. Low levels were defined as no more than six standard-sized drinks a week – equivalent to 12.5 units or 100g of alcohol – or more than two such drinks on any occasion. Go to article

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How to Deal with Grief

| 21/01/2009 | 0 Comments

Imagine a man leaving a courthouse. It’s been fifteen minutes since his divorce was confirmed by the court. Suddenly, he will only have a right to visit his children every other weekend.

His eyes sting with tears; his gut is tight and heavy. He realizes he is so confused he has no idea where he parked his car…

Grief is usually associated with the death of a loved one as such loss will usually bring profound sorrow. However, grief can be experienced in the wake of many types of losses. Lost hopes and dreams – for oneself, for one’s children – can bring significant anguish, as we cope with changing life’s plans and the impact of things beyond our control, and are forced to mourn what might have been.

Major life stressors such as death, divorce, job loss, chronic, acute or fatal illness, and other traumas, will likely prompt the grief process. The death of a loved one leaves survivors with the task of coping with life devoid of that affection and companionship. When close family members die, there are also practical aspects of reorganizing life in the midst of mourning which can feel overwhelming. Divorce often presents similar demands such as restructuring childcare, housing, and finances while dealing with the emotional impact of loss of a once vital relationship.

When a person who previously had job security feels the sting of a lay off, the resulting loss of income can be a shock to families, as the worker deals with the loss of identity a position carries. Job loss likely includes anticipatory grief, which may come before stressful events as one copes with the sinking reality of financial and other difficulties to come.

Caring for someone who is ailing, such as persons with Alzheimer’s disease or chronic or terminal illnesses, is particularly likely to prompt anticipatory grief.

Feelings of grief may even accompany joy-filled events such as weddings and childbirth. Newlyweds and new parents may grieve a loss of freedom and the weight of new family responsibilities. As children leave home and start families of their own, parents who may have looked forward to independence may be surprised by the sorrow ofthe ‘empty nest’. Life events that carry the expectation of happiness but instead profoundly disappoint can be particularly distressing such as a miscarriage, or the birth of a special needs child.

Just as a myriad of circumstances may lead to feelings of grief, there is no one “right” way to grieve. There is not a single path to understanding or expressing the anguish of grief. Aspects of grief may include physical symptoms as well as feelings of guilt, sadness, hurt, frustration, anger, tearfulness, and helplessness. Often, sufferers have a feeling of numbness or a sense that life no longer feels real, or even ‘worth it’. Deep grief may include social withdrawal, volatility, and spiritual disillusionment, to the point of suicidal thoughts and behaviours. Recognizing that grief is a natural reaction to loss is an important first step. A person experiencing grief is not “going crazy” or “mad.”

On this day of National Healing and Unity (January 23rd), we can use this time to reflect on the national traumas such as the murder of Estella Scott-Roberts and Hurricane Paloma, and the individual traumas that we have experienced in 2008. It is an opportunity to focus on our spiritual well-being and determine what steps we can do individually and collectively to work towards healing our spirits and the spirit of our communities.

Acknowledging and talking about grief, and being accepting of support, are the two most helpful ways to begin putting the pieces of life back together after a significant loss or trauma. Clergy, professional counsellors, and your friends and family are all various support systems that may help you process what has happened and assist you in beginning to move forward in 2009.

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Dreams at Butterfield

| 21/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Butterfield Bank (Cayman) Limited will be hosting a solo art exhibition at their Butterfield Place banking centre this month. The exhibition, entitled “Dreams Within Dreams”, will serve as the launch event for Butterfield’s new lending advertising campaign and initiative, simply entitled “Dreams”. According to representatives of Butterfield, ‘Dreams’ and the exhibition share a common idea, one that encourages viewers and customers to reach within their own imaginations.

(CNS): Butterfield Bank (Cayman) Limited will be hosting a solo art exhibition at their Butterfield Place banking centre this month. The exhibition, entitled “Dreams Within Dreams”, will serve as the launch event for Butterfield’s new lending advertising campaign and initiative, simply entitled “Dreams”. According to representatives of Butterfield, ‘Dreams’ and the exhibition share a common idea, one that encourages viewers and customers to reach within their own imaginations.

According to a release from the bank, the “Dreams” concept will open up lending products such as mortgages, car loans and education loans, among others, to a much wider segment of banking customers. The central idea is that given the right financial guidance, almost everyone’s dreams can become a reality.

The art exhibition, by Argentinian artist Julieta Alvarez Macias (right), comprises a set of paintings that reflects the artist’s perception of nature. Flowers wind in and out of surreal settings. In the pieces, floral shapes appear to float as if suspended above the ground. Vegetation appears to morph into unrecognizable animals with tendrils and tentacles. The images are reminiscent of the work of Marc Chagall-the expressionist/surrealist painter of the earlytwentieth century, sharing the same dream-like narratives with Alvarez using strange images of underground caves with chimneys and roller coaster structures.

“I am interested in being an explorer of the conscious and unconscious mind, an interpreter of dreams and visions. That is the reason why my paintings are not only a metamorphosis of the visible world but also of my own mental and emotional world,” explained Julieta. “Exuberant trees, fantasy characters and zoomorphic shapes appear in scene, taking part of the big performance illuminated by shiny bright colours, light yellows, crazy pinks and deep blues among others. The whole shows a world of entire fantasy, fantasy that even though we do not see it is always there.”

Julieta is the first of four featured artists in David Bridgeman’s curatorial series at Butterfield. “I am looking forward to working with Butterfield on this new series of exhibitions. Artists in Cayman are continually looking for alternative spaces to display their art,” said David. “It is encouraging to see that Butterfield is supporting local artists by providing such a venue, complimenting the permanent artwork already on display.”

“Dreams within Dream”s opens to customers and members of the public on 30 January and runs for three months. Viewing hours are during the Bank’s normal business hours Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 4:00pm.

Photo: an example of Julieta Alvarez Macias’ work

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Leadership nominees revealed

| 21/01/2009 | 2 Comments

(CNS): The five finalists for the Young Caymanian Leadership Awards 2009 have been announced and include a wide cross section of local talent. Marilyn Connolly, (left) Raquel Solomon, Chris Duggan, Sean Parchment and Elroy Bryan (right) form this year’s line up for a title that is in its tenth year and which has become a significant local accolade.

The winner of the Young Caymanian Leadership Award 2009 will be announced at the Gala Awards night on Saturday, 21 February at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman which will be broadcast live on Cayman 27. The annual event will be celebrating the ten-year anniversary of the YCLA, which was launched in 1999.

“We are so proud to be celebrating a decade of promoting leadership and excellence in our community”, said Melissa Wolfe of the Young Caymanian Leaders Foundation.  “Each year we are challenged with delivering a spectacular event and have successfully done so with the help of both Television Centre and Celebrations”

Olivaire Watler was the first recipient of the award in 2000 followed by Dax Foster in 2001, since then Sara Collins, Steve Blair and Cindy Scotland are just some of the names that have been awarded the title.

This year’s list nominees of will not present an easy choice for the YCLA board who must choose between an impressive group.

Marilyn Conolly is Managing Director of her consulting company, Innotiva and she has served as a senior policy advisor to six government ministers and five chief officers.  Currently, she is working with the Commonwealth Foundation. Her work in the community is broad as she has been involved with and chaired numerous committees and organisations. She has worked with the Vision 2008 ‘Family’ Roundtable, the CI Crisis Centre Board of Directors, Rotary Sunrise, United World Colleges her local Neighbourhood Watch, and the Cayman Islands Human Rights Committee she is currently the  Vice-Chair of the Estella Scott-Roberts Foundation. Marilyn was described by her nominees as a born leader with high moral and ethical standards.

Chris Duggan is Head of Butterfield Bank’s Private Banking Division and is a Sergeant in the Royal Cayman Islands Police Force Special Constabulary. He is Chairman of the St. Ignatius Catholic School Board of Governors and the Grand Cayman Labour Tribunal board, a member of Cayman HospiceCare, and he is also a  Notary Public. His nominee described Chris as a visionary in the making and a lifelong learner.

Sean Parchment is a Partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and is one of approximately sixty people in the Cayman Islands licensed as a Public Accountant under the Public Accountants Law. He is a director with the Children and Youth Services (CAYS) Foundation and chairman of PwC’s Corporate Responsibility Committee as well as a serving as a member of the Trade and Business License Board. Sean was described by his nominees an important role model with integrity.

Raquel Solomon is the Training Manager for Fosters Food Fair and is active in a number of community initiatives including the Cayman AIDS Foundation, the National Youth Policy Task Force Member, Rotary Club,  Mentoring Cayman, the Labour Appeals Tribunal Young Parents Programme as well  as being a guest lecturer, and volunteer reader/mentor at Leading Edge High School. Raquel’s’ nominees described her as a natural leader and people gravitate to her like bees to honey.

Elroy Bryan is a senior teacher/ PE Teacher at the Lighthouse School and is responsible for assisting senior management with the overall running of the island’s special needs school. His involvement in the community includes Cayman Islands National Little League Program, Coach for Special Olympics and a recipient of the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching. Elroy was described by his nominee as having a very loving and compassionate approach to encouraging others and this motivates everyone he comes in contact with.













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Soup-er Bowl Saturday

| 21/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Over 40 of Grand Cayman’s finest restaurants will showcase and serve their most creative and delicious soups in Cayman’s First Annual Soup-er Bowl, which will take place on Saturday, 31 January, from noon to 6:00pm at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, hosted by the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Cayman Islands. The winning chef will become the “2009 Cayman Islands Soup-er Bowl Champion”. For an admission price of $15 for adults and $8 for children under 12 and seniors, the public will have the opportunity to sample soups from all of the participating restaurants and cast their vote for first, second and third place honours.

Admission includes unlimited access to taste all of the soups being showcased. Advance tickets for the Cayman Islands Soup-er Bowl are on sale at Al la Kebab, Funky Tangs and Western Union Money Centre for a reduced price of $12 KYD. Additional refreshments and a cash bar will also be available at the event. All proceeds raised from the event will benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Cayman Islands.

Participating restaurants include: Abacus, Al la Kebab, Aqua Beach, Azzurro, Bacchus, Bamboo, Bayside Café, The Brickhouse, Britannia, Calypso Grill, Champion House, Cracked Conch, Deckers, Full of Beans Cafe, Grand Old House, Guy Harvey’s Island Grill, Hemingways, Kaibo, Little Tokyo Mongolian Grill, The Lobster Pot, Lone Star, MacDonald’s, Marriott Beach Resort, Mezza, Mise en Place, Myrtle’s, Perk Up, Piccolo’s, Prime, Rackam’s Pub, Reef Grill, SeaHarvest, The Thai Restaurant, Thai Orchid, Treats, Vivendi Cabaret, and The Wharf .

Some of the featured soups being served include: Caribbean classics such as Fish Tea, Conch Chowder, Turtle Soup and Lobster Bisque, as well as all time favourites such as Beef Soup, Chicken Noodle and Minestrone. Other culinary creations to be sampled include: Roasted Kaocha Pumpkin Soup, Crab and Artichoke Bisque, Muscovy Duck Bouillon with Almond Essence and Candied Orange, Tom Ka Gai, Thai Lemongrass Chicken Soup, Mullugutawny, Hoto-Tay and Austrian Fritatten Soup.

Shawn Wilcox, Member of the Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Cayman Islands and Event Organizer, commented, “We are truly excited to introduce the First Annual Cayman Islands Soup-er Bowl. This will be a fun and tasty, family-friendly event that will showcase some of Cayman’s top chefs and finest restaurants. The event is unquestionably a win-win-win as restaurants can “strut their stuff”, attendees get to experience a culinary cornucopia and 100% of every ticket sold goes directly to Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Cayman Islands. We encourage the public to attend as their support helps us to continue our mission to provide as many children as we can with mentors.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Cayman Islands’ mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of Cayman’s youth. Theorganisation hopes to assist them in achieving their highest potential, through a professionally-supported one-to-one (mentoring) relationship with a caring adult.



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Nadel “planned” to vanish

| 21/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(AP): A missing hedge fund manager who owed investors a $50 million payout told his wife in a note he felt guilty about mismanaging people’s money, and threatened to kill himself, according to a sheriff’s report. However, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said it believes Arthur G. Nadel planned his disappearance and that it was ending its search for him. The FBI will continue to investigate complaints from investors who were expecting Nadel to deliver the $50 million redemption last week. Go to article.

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No “safe harbour” for criminals in Cayman

| 21/01/2009 | 7 Comments

(CNS): In the wake of the arrest of Philip Eric de Figueiredo, a principal of accountancy firm Strachans, in Jersey earlier this month followed by the pronouncement that Raoul Weil, former head of UBS’ global wealth business, was now a US fugitive, there have been some concerns raised in the Cayman Islands about how far international law enforcement can reach. The Portfolio of Economics and Finance told CNS that the CI government would not offer protection to anyone here who broke the law.

Figueiredo was arrested as part of an ongoing operation by Australian Authorities into tax evasion, and the US has declared Weil a fugitive for his failure to surrender to US authorities on charges of conspiring to help wealthy American citizens hide assets from US tax authorities.

Ted Bravakis, Director of the Public Relations Unit in the Portfolio of Finance and Economics, told CNS this week that depending on extradition treaties — and Cayman has one with the United States — the government here would not offer safe haven to anyone who is engaged in criminal activity. “There will be no safe harbour for anyone who has broken the law with regards our international co-operation agreements,” he added.

Given the local industry’s wide experience and its proximity to the US, professionals based in Cayman say they have for many years been extremely careful in scrutinising the business they accept with US connections. As a result, most local experts don’t expect to see similar situations to that of Weil, who faces charges in the US. However, it is possible that some professionals in Cayman may have inadvertently broken US law by assisting US taxpayers to avoid their obligations, and given the climate, Cayman may see the US making use of the extradition treaty in its heightened frustration with and campaign against offshore service providers.

In a recent presentation to Cayman’s second annual International Fund Conference, Tim Ridley, former chair of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, warned that after years of avoiding litigation for their actions the offshore director may no longer be able to preserve his unscathed position when things go wrong. He said directors and auditors should sit up and take note of the wake-up calls as they may no longer be able to avoid the fallout.

“There is a school of thought in the US — likely to grow under the Obama presidency — that offshore service providers that supply directors and other services to structures that enable US taxpayers to evade taxes should be sanctioned and put out of business by their home regulators, e.g. by the revocation of their licences on the grounds they are carrying on business contrary to the public interest or in a manner that is not fit and proper,” Ridley warned.

As Barack Obama begins his presidency, the campaign against offshore financial centres is expected to intensify after his campaign promise to reduce the effectiveness of tax havens. It is thought that the US Treasury Department will be given more manpower to investigate what can be done to stop American citizens’ money leaving the US for offshore jurisdiction with new legislation, likely to be passed this year.


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Local lawyer takes on Maples

| 21/01/2009 | 60 Comments

(CNS): A writ of summons has been filed in the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands on behalf of Theresa Pitcairn, a Caymanian attorney, against her former employers, Maples and Calder. Dated 11 December, the document contains an extensive statement of claim which sets out Pitcairn’s grievances that she was discriminated against in terms of salary, bonuses, training, distribution of work and promotion when compared to expatriate attorneys at the firm.

According to the statement, Pitcairn claims that she had worked “tirelessly and loyally” for the company for many years and had been led to believe that she could expect to rise to partner. However, Pitcairn claims that despite promises made as far back as 2004 she was held back from advancing, was unfairly treated and paid well below other lawyers at the firm, despite being commended for her work.

In her final full year of service, 2007, her sixteenth with the firm and her fourteenth as a fully qualified lawyer, Pitcairn states that she was offered an annual salary equivalent to that earned by lawyers with 3-4 years post qualification experience. In the claim Pitcairn’s attorney Graham Hampson states, “By awarding Mrs Pitcairn a salary at that level Maples discriminated unfairly between her and expatriate lawyers with equivalent or less post qualification experience.

“Notwithstanding the many representations made to her by Maples the inescapable conclusion reached by Mrs Pitcairn was that Maples had no genuine intention of making her a partner. In addition, Maples was seeking to maintain Mrs Pitcairn’s salary at a level which was below the level of a lawyer with less post qualification experience.”

The statement of claim says that Maples failed to provide Pitcairn with adequate training; fair opportunities; a fair distribution of work; equal remuneration with equivalently experienced and qualified expatriate lawyers; make her a partner before the end of 2006 and had acted in a manner that discriminated between her as a Caymanian attorney and other non-Caymanian Attorney’s and on the grounds of her gender and /or her race and otherwise than on merit and ability.

The claim also contains correspondence between Maples and Pitcairn’s attorney where the firm denies the accusations.  In the letter Maples states that Pitcairn had fallen short of the standards required to become a partner in her annual assessments. The letter stated that while Pitcairn was considered as being able to “…deal adequately with certain types of transactional work, she has not yet proved herself capable of detailed technical analysis, difficult problem solving or leading complex or novel transaction without supervision by a partner.”

Despite the fact that the statement of claim describes the circumstances under which Theresa had been commended for her work and the various circumstances under which she was led to believe she would be offered a partnership, Maples have denied any such promises were ever made and said that partners had taken a great deal of time to train Pitcairn over the years and she had been offered numerous trianing opportunities. Despite those efforts Maples said she still scored too low in her assessment to be made a partner.

"There is only one route to partnership at Maples and Calder: convincing the equity partners of one’s suitability," the correspondence stated. 

Pitcairn claims she was first led to believe she would be made partner by Anthony Travers (although retired now, Travers was at the time the firm’s senior partner) in 2004 when she was told she was meeting the criteria to become partner within a year or two.

Even prior to her review at the end of 2006, Pitcairn claims that other partners told her Maples had no issues or concerns regarding her dedication, hard work, loyalty and legal knowledge, and stated they were happy with her performance and encouraged her to submit an application for partnership.

Maples told CNS yesterday that the firm would be vigorously contesting the action and would be filing its response to the statement of claim shortly.

Maples and Calder, established in Cayman in 1967, is an international law firm specializing in international and offshore law. It is headquartered at Ugland House, which hit the international headlines in 2007 when US Senator Carl Levin announced that there were 12,748 companies registered there.  The firm has offices in seven offshore jurisdictions, including Cayman where it employs 102 lawyers;  26 are said to be Caymanian and of those 10 are partners.

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Who Cares for the Caregivers?

| 21/01/2009 | 0 Comments

Although we understand the concept of professional caregivers such as nurses and doctors, the majority of caregivers are either in your family, next door, at your church, or on the beach and do not wear a badge saying “I CARE”.

Caregivers are an important but often invisible part of our community. They can work long, unsociable hours, holidays, weekends, and sometimes nights, but get no pay and little recognition. If this sounds like you, then you’re probably a caregiver! Many of us do not see ourselves as caregivers straight away; we are parents, husbands, wives, partners, brothers, sisters, friends and neighbours. We may go to work then return home to look after our family after a busy day and are doing what anyone would; looking after a loved one or friend and helping them do the things they are unable to do for themselves. This could mean caring for an elderly or young person, someone with physical or mental challenges, or both!

There are many “unsung heroes” in today’s world and you could certainly agree that caregivers fit that bill. When a family member or loved one is in need, most caregivers take on that role willingly and would not trade it for any other job in the world, regardless of its extreme demands. Without a doubt, being a caregiver is a difficult job. Fortunately, it does deliver a few perks. Caregivers report that they feel a strong sense of purpose. They also enjoy the peace of mind knowing that they are making a difference in the life of a loved one.

Many times, attitudes and beliefs form personal barriers that stand in the way of caring for one’s self. Not taking care of yourself maybe a lifelong pattern, especially when taking care of others is an easier option. You’ll find that this barrier is often constructed of guilt, the guilt of feeling that you have to prove that you are worthy of the care recipient’s affection. The thought of being selfish if you put your needs first can also bring about feelings of guilt.

When you don’t take care of yourself, it can have a negative effect on both your physical and mental health and usually in the form of stress. Stress is the response of our mind-body systems to some positive or negative external factor or event; for caregivers, stress is generally related to the emotional and physical strain of care giving. So how do you know when you’re under too much stress?

The signs and symptoms of stress can be physical; such as headaches, muscle tension, and digestive problems such as heartburn and nausea. They can also be mental in nature; such as feeling preoccupied, having difficulty listening, being forgetful, and finding yourself unable to concentrate. Stress can also effect your emotions and you may experience a depressed mood, you may feel more impatient and irritable than usual, you may have urges to cry, run or hide, and may even experience feelings of fear for no apparent or obvious reason.

In order to combat accumulated stress and to avoid becoming over-stressed, caregivers must learn to take some time to care for themselves. Finding time amid the hectic schedule of a caregiver may seem like an impossible task, but its important to take care of yourself in terms of getting enough sleep, eating well, being physically active, and taking time out to take deep cleansing breaths and a few moments of relaxation. Perhaps the most important aspect of caring for yourself as a caregiver is the development of a support system.

No matter how alone you may feel there are many others in the Cayman community who are living with similar circumstances. Find a “Support Buddy”, someone who may be in similar circumstances and can understand what you’re going through, maybe even start an informal support group which can be as simple as meeting a few other caregivers for coffee on a regular basis. There are also online support groups for those who are comfortable with this form of sharing. You may want to talk to a professional counsellor who can provide you with emotional support and help you to arrive at a realistic understanding of your strengths and limitations.

In order to be more beneficent and productive in all areas of life, caregivers need to feel energetic and have the overall feeling of wellbeing which can result from self care. Caring for yourself is one of the most important, and one of the most forgotten, things you can do as a caregiver. When your needs are taken care of, the person you care for will benefit, too.

Contact the Employee Assistance Programme at 949-9559 for a confidential appointment or more information about community resources.

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