Archive for February 10th, 2009

Prisoners and drivers injured in road crash

| 10/02/2009 | 5 Comments

(CNS): Five people have been injured in a two-vehicle crash involving a prison bus and a Ford Escort, which occurred shortly before 7:00 pm yesterday. The collision happened on the East West Arterial in the vicinity of Lantern Point, an area already proving to be something of an accident black-spot. Police said the vehicles collided head on sustaining serious damage, while the passengers were taken to hospital.

The 911 Emergency Communications Centre received a call from an off-duty special constable at approximately 6:45 pm on Monday evening, 9 February, reporting that a government bus and a car had collided and a number of people were complaining of injury. Police and medics responded to the scene and found that a white Mitsubishi L300 bus being used by the prison to carry some of the prison football team and a green Ford Escort had collided.

Police stated that it appeared that the Escort had been heading towards Bodden Town and the bus had been travelling towards George Town when the vehicles collided head on. Both vehicles sustained serious damage. The drivers of each vehicle were injured and taken to hospital for treatment. Three passengers on the bus were also taken to hospital for treatment. All appeared to be suffering from minor injuries.

The Commissioner of Corrections, Dr. William Rattray, stated that he was relieved that no-one had sustained serious injuries and that the police investigation would determine the cause of the collision.

Anyone who witnessed the crash is asked to contact the Traffic Management Unit on 946-6254.

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Bermuda cruise vistors fall

| 10/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(Royal Gazette): Bermuda’s visitor arrivals fell by 12.2 percent in 2008, Premier & Tourism Minister Ewart Brown has revealed.  Air arrivals are down 4.6 percent but cruise arrivals have plummeted by 19.1 percent giving a drop in the number of overall tourists  from 663,767 to 582,980 for the year. Those flying to Bermuda on vacation fell 10.1 percent, from 191,150 to 171,928 — overshadowing a 5.6 percent increase in business arrivals from 48,762 to 51,469; and a 21.1 percent rise in convention attendees from 18,776 to 22,733. Go to article

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Caribbean Financial Service industry all at risk

| 10/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(Trinidad News): According to Sir Ronald Sanders the threat to the financial services sector of the Caribbean is growing every day and is becoming more evident in reports by media who have swallowed hook, line and sinker that so-called "tax havens" are helping US, European and Japanese nationals, both persons and companies, to evade taxation in their home countries. There is no hard evidence to support this allegation about Caribbean jurisdictions. Yet it persists from governments of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Go to article.

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Motivational guru to inspire young leaders

| 10/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): This year’s keynote speaker for the Young Caymanian Leadership Award (YCLA) is Mark Sanborn the author of 8 books and over 20 video and audio training programmes on leadership, change, teamwork and customer service and one of the youngest speakers ever inducted into the Speaker Hall of Fame.

The motivational guru will make his keynote address on 21 February at the black tie gala at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. As a former sales and marketing executive, successful business owner and national leader, Sanborn is said to understand the real-life challenges his audiences face, and he delivers ideas they can immediately use.

Sanborn says his mission is to transform knowledge into application to create a generation of leaders who make a positive difference, regardless of title. 

 “In my opinion, there are two kinds of leadership,” Sanborn said.”The most familiar is what I term “big L” leadership; this is formal leadership that typically comes with a title. But the other kind is important, too, and begins with a “little l”. It’s not conferred by the title a leader carries or the corner office she occupies. Rather it’s expressed in a leader’s daily actions and the influence he or she has with others, whether customers or colleagues. I believe that the definition of true leadership is not power over people but power with people. And true leaders see leadership as the ultimate opportunity to serve others and to give back; they are people committed to making a bigger positive difference in their organizations, communities and world”.

The YCLA is an annual awards show which attracts leaders in Cayman, both young and old. The 2009 YCLA will celebrate a Decade of Leadership with the 2009 five finalists, Elroy Bryan, Chris Duggan, Marilyn Conolly, Sean Parchment and Raquel Solomon.For more information on the 2009 YCLA, please email ycla@candw.ky

 

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Multivitamins a waste of time

| 10/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(The Independent): Middle-aged women who swallow multivitamin supplements are not doing their health any favours – and are just creating expensive urine, according to the world’s largest study into the subject. Researchers who examined the pill-popping habits of nearly 162,000 American women aged 50 to 79 found that although they swallowed dietary supplements by the bucketload, there was no sign that they reduced common cancers, heart disease or deaths. People who eat a healthy diet get all the vitamins they need from their food. Go to article

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Police aim to light up Little Cayman’s bikes

| 10/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Residents and visitors on Little Cayman are being reminding that they need to have working lights on their bikes during the hours of darkness. Local police officers had noticed that almost no bikes were using lights and have been working hard to educate the community about their use. “Whilst this is a small island with very little traffic, we cannot be complacent and lights must be used to prevent serious accidents from taking place,” said PC Darren Coles.

Since police officers Coles and Greg Shepherd started their campaign, many businesses and residents have installed lights on their bikes and officers say it’s been very encouraging to see the cooperation from islanders. “We are very pleased to see people taking this issue seriously and investing in lights for their bikes,” commented PC Coles.

Police said that cyclists need lights on the front and back of bikes so they can be clearly seen in the dark and should always ride on the left. Officers advised riders to wear a helmet at all times as the most serious injuries from a cycle accident are to the head. They also advised wearing light coloured clothes, keeping bikes in good working order, and not carrying passengers on the front or back of the bike. They also asked drivers play their part and look out for cyclists, especially children, as they may not be looking out for you. Always use mirrors before making a manoeuvre to check the path is clear and always use indicators to make movements known to others, police said, adding that when passing a cyclist drivers should make sure they have enough room to do so safely.

Little Cayman Police can be contact on 948-0100, 925-4428 or 925-4431.

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Drive to help unemployed

| 10/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): On the first day of its island-wide job drive, the Department of Employment Relations (DER) registered around fifty people who were not in work and seeking jobs. The drive started in East End and surprised staff with the number of people who came out to get help. “We even had people already waiting at the door when we arrived,” said Deputy Director Jennifer Smith. With the recession beginning to bite, unemployment is rising and the DER currently has 860 people registered as jobseekers.

The department is now reaching out in an attempt to help everyone who has not yet registered withthem to get help finding employment. Smith said that the first day revealed a true cross section of new people, from insurance sales to IT professionals, some of which had been laid off and others who had recently left their jobs.

“We have had a lot of different people, some skilled and some not,” she said. “We are trying very hard to help everyone. For some of the young people registering, however, we are trying to direct them towards study as it will be hard for them to find work without a full education.”

She explained that there was plenty of funding available for all young Caymanians wanting to go to college and they should try and take advantage of it. In the case of some of the more experienced workers, Smith said the DER was able to help them straight away and more than ten people were given immediate referrals from its job bank.

Today (Tuesday, 10 February) the job drive moves to West Bay, where DER staff will be at John Gray Church Hall between 2-7 pm. On Wednesday the team will be in North Side, Bodden Town on Thursday and at the Chamber Job Fair at the University College of the Cayman Islands on Friday and Saturday.  

Smith said it was important that anyone coming to register brought their resumes, educational certificates, passport or birth certificate, written references, proof of Caymanian status or right to work, police record and drivers licence. If they did they could register immediately. It would be possible to match candidates to the job bank as with the help of new technology they have all of the details of the vacancies at their fingertips.

The department workswith around 1500 local employers and has a considerable number of vacancies in the job bank, and the idea behind the drive is to offer people living outside of George Town access to those jobs.

“We invite jobseekers to come out, talk to us and begin the registration process so that we can begin the effort of helping them to become gainfully employed,” said DER Head Lonny Tibbetts, and he called for employers with vacancies not yet listed with the DER to make contact as well.

With around 27,000 work permits issued in the job market, the DER also works with the Work Permit Board. Tibbetts explained that the department prepares a report  for each WPB meeting listing unemployed persons registered with the DER who can perform the job for which the work permit is being sought.

“The goal of this exercise is to enable the WPB to make an informed decision. When there are persons available, the WPB may defer the grant of the WP and refer the employer to the DER for suitable Caymanian candidates. Presently the Immigration Law permits the Director, or his appointee, to sit on the WPB and present the summary of each report,” he said.

Since last year the department has assisted more than 450 Caymanians to get jobs, but Smith noted that a match does not mean automatic employment. “We give them the connection and the opportunity, and then it is up to them to take that a step further,” she added, but she said the staff at DER do all they can to advise and help job seekers how to present themselves at interviews. She said the two things that were hindering Caymanians in finding work was not presenting themselves properly to employers and being under-skilled.

“We train persons in preparing resumes and job interview skills, and we guide them on proper work ethics, in order that they can keep jobs they get in the future,” she said.  

DER also works closely with the Immigration Department to ensure that Caymanians are not discriminated against in the workforce and that work permits are only issued when there are no qualified Caymanians to fill specific positions. Smith noted, however, that being Caymanian is not an entitlement to work and that they need to have a professional approach to job hunting.

All job drive sessions run from 2-7p.m and the schedule is as follows.

East End: Monday, 9 February, at East End Civic Centre

West Bay: Tuesday, 10 February, at John Gray Church Hall

North Side: Wednesday, 11 February, at North Side Civic Centre

Bodden Town: Thursday, 12 February, at Bodden Town Civic Centre

George Town: Friday, 13 & Saturday, 14 February at UCCI.

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UK ‘reviewers’ due in March

| 10/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A statement issued by the Portfolio of Finance and Economics has revealed very little about a recent meeting between Cayman Islands government representatives and UK Financial Services Secretary Paul Myners in London regarding the review into British offshore financial centres by the UK government, due to take place shortly. The review was announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling during last year’s UK budget speech, and despite acknowledgement by Lord Myners over Cayman’s compliance, a team will still be coming to Cayman in March.

During his time in London for the constitutional talks, Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts and others met with Myners and Michael Foot (pictured above), head of the independent review. The statement from the portfolio said that Myners shared “perspectives” on various matters, including Cayman’s strong compliance record in the financial services arena and areas for mutual interest.

Foot told the Cayman Islands delegation about the approach and procedure to be adopted in the context of the review, including confirmation that the review will incorporate an on-site component, with the first visit to occur in the second week of March.

These details were not revealed in the release, however, and no explanation of why, given the acknowledgement of Cayman’s adherence to international regulatory regimes, a site visit was required. Nevertheless, Tibbetts said the CI government was pleased to have secured the important meetings.

“We were particularly struck by Lord Myners’ level of knowledge about Cayman’s compliance achievements and were delighted to establish with the new financial services secretary a sound footing for a constructive relationship going forward,” he said.

Last year Darling said in his pre-budget  speech that the current global economic crisis had highlighted potential problems in the UK territories with offshore financial service industries as they attract banking customers with lower taxes – without contributing to the UK Exchequer.

Despite the fact that last year the UK Treasury Committee began an inquiry into offshore financial centres and invited them to submit written evidence for the report, which has yet to be released, the UK Chancellor says he has asked for a review of the regulatory arrangements surrounding territories and dependencies, which will report to him in the spring of this year, he says.

Minster Alden McLaughlin, who accompanied LoGB to the meeting, said last year that the review was more concerned with the Crown dependencies than with the overseas territories but that Cayman was a target as the UK government remained under pressure given the economic crisis, though its fundamental causes were firmly rooted onshore.

“Whatever the real reason, given the global economic crisis, it is to be expected,” McLaughlin told CNS. “This is not driven by local circumstances but we have no difficulty with it and we expect, as ever, that the Cayman Islands will score highly.”  

According to information released earlier from the UK, the review will identify opportunities, current and future risks (and mitigation strategies) to the long-term financial services sectors of territories and Crown dependencies, including financial supervision and transparency; taxation in relation to financial stability, sustainability and future competitiveness; financial crisis management and resolution arrangements; and international cooperation.

Attorney-General Sam Bulgin, QC, and Deputy Financial Secretary (Financial Services) Deborah Drummond also attended the meetings.

 

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Cayman to compete in Inaugural Caribbean Games

| 10/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Olympic Committee (CIOC) is working to send a team to compete in the Inaugural Caribbean Games hosted by the Trinidad and Tobago during the period 13 to 19 July. The Cayman team, which will be among 26 participating countries from the Caribbean, will compete in the sports of Athletics, Boxing, Tennis and possibly Beach Volleyball. Competitors are not limited to those who competed at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, but must be among the best the Islands have to offer.

The Chef de Mission (overall person in charge of the delegation) will be James Myles, the CIOC said in a release. Each sport will have a number of officials as well as their athletes. There will also be representation from the CIOC Executive Committee. The government of Trinidad and Tobago will be covering the cost of accommodation and internal transportation for the athletes, coaches, officials and administrators.

CIOC encourages members of the community to attend these inaugural Games and will be looking into the possibility of organizing a charter flight from Grand Cayman for use both by the delegation members and residents.

Tickets for the events for the 2009 Caribbean Games will be available for purchase on line, at retailers to be announced as well as directly from the Local Organizing Committee in Trinidad & Tobago. They will be affordably priced to ensure maximum public participation.

The CIOC says the Caribbean Games 2009 is the most important sporting event in the region for 2009, as this is the inaugural Games and a wholly Caribbean endeavor; hence it is important to present a memorable event.

These Games were born out of discussions with the CARICOM Governments in conjunction with the CARICOM Sports Directors and the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC). It was thought that the Caribbean has such excellent athletes who perform internationally at high level meets including the Olympics, but never “at home” in front of their countrymen.

The Caribbean Games will provide a platform to showcase elite Caribbean Athletes as a means of motivating young sportsmen and sportswomen to aspire to International standards and achievements. It is intended that the Games should expose Caribbean audiences to the Best of the Caribbean Athletes.

The Caribbean Games will be held quadrennially, in the year immediately following the Summer Olympic Games. A maximum of 7 sports may be in competition among which must be 2 team sports to be chosen from football, basketball and volleyball. Non-core sports must be selected from among Olympic Sports disciplines.

The Games are sanctioned by the applicable International Sports Federations, the National Olympic Committees (NOC), the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as well as by the Governments of the participating countries.

Qualifying standards for the Games are established in consultation with the International and Regional Federations. Individual sports have no age limits; while there is an age limit to participants of team sports.

Please log on to www.caribbeangames2009.com for further details on the Games.
 

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“Justifiable discrimination”

| 10/02/2009 | 42 Comments

It’s sad to see Cayman’s church-leaders so fixated on homosexuals, and so certain that they (the leaders) speak in the name of the god of the universe. In truth, they speak only for their own personal god, a false god with mean prejudices.

Look, we don’t live in a theocracy, yet. It’s none of the churches’ business what sexual shenanigans anybody gets up to in their private lives as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. The root cause of the anti-homosexual agitators is simple personal distaste. And personal distaste is not of itself a good reason for making anything illegal.

There is something pathetic about people who pore over ancient history books seeking support for their prejudices. Don’t they have anything better to do? After all, the religious doctrines of three or four thousand years ago are not always justifiable today in the civilized world. All ancient holy books (including the Old Testament) report the ancient gods’ approval of slavery, rape, racism, sexism and mass slaughter. But times and customs have changed; those practices are no longer the virtues they once were.

Ancient texts also report the old gods’ disapproval of other practices, and time has changed the civilized world’s attitudes towards them, too. Moses reported a long list of practices that his tribe’s god abominated. The list of abominations included sacrificing blemished sheep, some intimate acts between men (though not all), shaving men’s faces, and revering statues.

Christianity inherited both Moses’ god and all his prohibitions. None of those prohibitions carry much weight in the Western World today – except sometimes among fundamentalists whose beliefs owe more to the tribal values of the ancient Israelites than to any later enlightenment. One same-sex marriage is more deplored by our anti-homosexual lobby than all the corruption, exploitation and cruelty in Cayman.

At the moment, our whole constitutional Bill of Rights is being held hostage by the Lobby. The Lobby rejects civilized standards of tolerance, and wants discrimination to be allowed as long as it’s justifiable.
Well, two generations ago discrimination against blacks was justifiable in the United States, southern Africa, and half the nations of Europe. The ruling classes decreed that it was not natural for blacks and whites to eat together, sleep together or sit next to one another on the buses.

The Governments of those places despised blacks, gays, liberals and outside agitators. Today the Governments have changed; but many of their people haven’t changed their prejudices – and have even added some to the list. Think: Moslems. It’s a shame to see Cayman in such company, and so many of Cayman’s churches drawing their inspiration from such models.

Seventy years ago, many of Cayman’s Christians felt the same way about men and women of colour as some of their descendants feel about same-sex couples. A hundred years before that, slavery was an accepted feature of society. Just imagine if earlier Caymanians had been as stubborn in their defence of the colour-bar as some of their descendants are of the discrimination against homosexuals.

Arguably, anti-gay sentiments are a subconscious substitute for racism. As one prejudice becomes too unpopular, another is slipped into its place. Prejudice is as prejudice does. At least with gays you don’t have to worry so much about your daughter marrying one.
At a Commonwealth human-rights conference in Gibraltar in 2004, women judges from West Africa told us of their problem persuading some men in their jurisdiction that wife-beating and what in my youth was called “queer-bashing” could not be justified by reference to ancient tribal traditions. In Cayman, our people have (mostly) come to accept that wife-beating is an uncivilized tradition that can safely be abandoned. Queer-bashing, however, is apparently still acceptable among many of our church-goers, and many of our politicians too. A US historian once wrote, “Politics, as a practice, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.”

Discrimination is catching, that’s the poison of it. If the doctrine of justifiable discrimination were to become entrenched, who might its next victims be? According to our present Government it is now justifiable to cancel the Legal Aid that allows poor people to be defended against the courtroom wiles and tricks of professional prosecution lawyers. They will be denied the full protection of the law, in defiance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This discrimination against the poor of Cayman is a very risky enterprise because it confirms Cayman’s steady retreat from “the rule of law”. That is bound to affect our image among offshore professionals. Their overseas clients are rich peoplewho don’t need Legal Aid; but how much confidence can those clients feel about doing business in a jurisdiction that is gradually distancing itself from the rule of law? And the local professionals themselves: what does it do for their personal reputations when they accept this situation without protest? How much time before their silence is taken as collaboration?

Britain is obliged by several international treaties to ensure that its colonies apply the protection of the law to all, without discrimination. Most of the thirty Articles of the Universal Declaration specifically forbid discrimination against minority groups, either explicitly or implicitly.

The British Government exempts Cayman from all of them. Our anti-homosexual lobby, like the anti-immigrant lobby and the anti-Legal-Aid lobby, all draw support and inspiration from that exemption. Thank you, Britain. Good job.
 

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