Archive for February 15th, 2009

Be careful what we wish for

| 15/02/2009 | 2 Comments

We should be careful what we wish for in any calls for more regulation come what may. Cayman has over the past four plus decades charted a very intelligent and nuanced approach to the development of its financial services industry.

The resulting success is clear for all to see, not least of all to our international detractors, our competitors and those who envy the per capita GDP of the Islands that timeonce forgot.

Times are always changing (pace Mr. Dylan) and our regulatory regime and our financial services industry must continuously evolve. But in the face of the inevitable hysteria and finger pointing by those in the US, UK and Europe trying to deflect the blame from their own policy and regulatory failures, we should remember that our domestic financial services industry has proved resilient and that our offshore industry has not itself been the centre of significant frauds, malfeasance and the like produced by the global meltdown. To the contrary, a small number of our funds have themselves been the victims of fraud committed elsewhere, to-date principally in the USA by those supposedly regulated by the SEC.

We should therefore continue to take a mature, measured and cautious approach to any new legislation and regulation and continue the practice of  a full 360 analysis and consultation to ensure any new moves are appropriate to Cayman, are proportional and balanced, meet the cost-benefit test and do not prejudice (and preferably enhance) our competitive position.

We should also participate actively in the planned global colleges of supervisors better to coordinate cross border oversight and assistance. And the Government and the Monetary Authority (CIMA) must continue to be robust and not concede the game to those who would put us out of business for improper reasons.

Where we can and must do better is in the enforcement of the many laws we already have on the books to deter and punish transgressors promptly and effectively. It is naïve to think that Cayman can avoid any risk of abuse (the only way to do that is to shut down entirely). So we have to demonstrate we perform on the backend clean up.  I believe that the necessary commitment exists on the part of the front line agencies, CIMA and the Financial Crimes Unit of the RCIPS (FCU). But they need greatly increased resources.

So rather than calling for new laws and regulation, we should be calling loudly for more resources for CIMA and the FCU to enable them to meet these challenges. 

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Registered jobless exceeds 1000 people

| 15/02/2009 | 8 Comments

(CNS): The week long job drive by Department of Employment Relations culminated at the weekend when the job team appeared at the Chamber of Commerce Career, Education, Training and Job expo at the UCCI. By Friday afternoon, with one more open day to go, the DER reported that  well over a thousand people were now registered with them and in need of work. The DER noted that, for the Cayman Islands, this figure was a significant number of people out of work.

At the start of the drive the DER had 850 people registered, most of whom were looking for work. Now the figure is well over 1,000. The good news for jobseekers, however, is that the DER jobs bank currently has more than 1,200 vacancies with new positions being submitted every day.  

Jennifer Smith, the Deputy Director of the DER (above), said that during the week a significant number of people had registered with the team and the priority now was to get on with the job of matching job seekers with vacant positions.

“After a very successful week registering people who want to find work, next week we will be going through the list of jobseekers and trying to make matches for them. There is a lot to do, we have a lot of people wanting to find work,” Smith said. Positive about the week’s drive, she added that she and the job team had already been able to place some people immediately in work as they had come to the registration sessions fully prepared.

She went on to note that the jobless figure was now significant for Cayman and that the increase in those registering was likely to be related to the recession as a number of jobless had said they had lost their job due to cutbacks and some had been given notice that they would be getting laid off. Smith also said the figure may be higher since some people came by to collect forms but did not sign up to the job seekers’ register.

Given the growing unemployment situation, Smith said that the DER would be doing its very best to help those people who had come out and registered to find suitable work. She said there were a number of challenges, from transport to the level of pay, that people faced when it came to finding work but the DER was doing all it could to help.

She also noted that they would be scrutinizing the Work Permit Board agendas to make sure that those positions had been filed with the DER and to ensure no one was being overlooked. Smith also said there were a considerable number of school leavers who were registering, but she was encouraging them to do further study as that would greatly improve their chances of finding work.

“Even with an associates degree young people will find a lot more doors open to them, but further education is very important when it comes to getting work. And with a number of scholarships available our young people should take advantage of that and give themselves an advantage in what is a very competitive job market,” Smith said.

The DER joined a number of local firms, educational institutions, as well as government departments and agencies which were present at the Chamber Expo offering training, education, scholarships and career opportunities to the more than 600 young people that passed through the door on Friday.

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Jamaican consul to Cayman calls it a day

| 15/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(Jamaica Gleaner): The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday confirmed the retirement of Jamaican Consul to the Cayman Islands, Robert Hamaty. Hamaty was appointed in 1992 as the first Jamaican Government representative for the British overseas territory. Speaking to The Gleaner by telephone from The Cayman Islands yesterday, Hamaty said it was an honour and a pleasure to have represented the Jamaican community for the past 16 years. Go to article

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The biology of belief

| 15/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(Time Magazine): Most folks probably couldn’t locate their parietal lobe with a map and a compass. For the record, it’s at the top of your head — aft of the frontal lobe, fore of the occipital lobe, north of the temporal lobe. What makes the parietal lobe special is not where it lives but what it does — particularly concerning matters of faith. If you’ve ever prayed so hard that you’ve lost all sense of a larger world outside yourself, that’s your parietal lobe at work. If you’ve ever meditated so deeply that you’d swear the very boundaries of your body had dissolved, that’s your parietal too. Go to article

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Student makes it a “perfect” Spelling bee

| 15/02/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Although only 11-years old student, Venkatta Batta did not drop a single spelling challenge during the high school round of the national spelling bee achieving a perfect score. Venkatta who is from Cayman Brac High school was formerly the primary school champion but having graduated to high school the young wordsmith is back on a wining streak walking away with a laptop, trophy and the 2009 title.

With competition was tough this year the final also came down to a spell-off to break the tie for second and third place. In a tense showdown, and only after correctly spelling the French word bête noire (meaning dark beast), was Moesha Ramsay-Howell of PACE High School named the second-place winner. Joshua Dilbert of Cayman Brac High placed third. Other finalists were Bennard Ebanks, representing Heritage High; Janelle Taylor of New Horizons; and Japhia Augustine of PACE. 

The annual event took place at Mary Miller Memorial Hall on Wednesday, 11 February, and saw students grapple with words such as braggadocio, abiogenesis and triturate. The spelling bee was hosted by the Department of Education Services, in conjunction with the Lions Club of Grand Cayman and British American Insurance – both of which have been sponsors for more than 25 years.

Education Minister Alden McLaughlin, commended the finalists for their composure under extreme stress, and expressed his delight that they are “all my students.”  The six finalists all attend the public school system. Chief Education Officer Shirley Wahler said: “A teacher’s greatest joy is watching children grow and develop.” 

The overall high school results, by school, were:

Cayman Brac High – 73 points;

PACE High – 66 points;

New Horizons High – 47 points; and

Heritage High – 42 points.

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NYU sues Cayman providers

| 15/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(OffshoreAlert): New York University is suing a hedge fund, its auditor, its registrar and a bank – all based in the Cayman Islands – in an attempt to recover damages of at least $24 million that it claims to have lost due to alleged fraud by Bernard Madoff. According to the watchdog Offshore Alert a civil complaint has been filed at New York State Supreme Court by NYU. Maples and Calder; Gabriel Capital Corporation; Fortis Bank (Cayman) Ltd; Fortis Prime Fund Solutions (Cayman) Ltd; BDO Tortuga and BDO International have all beennamed. Go to article.

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Voters list still going up

| 15/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Local Registering Officers for the six electoral districts have now published their Second Quarter Revised Lists giving a final total of 15,386 people entitled to vote in the 2009 general election. Once settled by the Magistrate sitting as Revising Officer, this list will become the Official Registry of Electors on 1 April 2009 increasing the Cayman Islands electorate by 2268 people.

A record breaking number of electors are now registered tovote in Cayman with the most significant increase coming from George Town where 941 new voters have registered since the 2005 election. The Bodden Town electorate has also grown significantly with almost 700 new voters and West Bay has a another 531 people on its register.

The total number of electors on the Revised List is in the districts is as follows: West Bay 3,772; George Town: 5,971;Bodden Town 3,484; North Side, 580; East End: 599; Cayman Brac and Little Cayman: 980

After a last minute surge of people registering to vote over on the final weekend before the list closed the elections office said  the concerted effort to offer everyone a chance to enter their names before the register closed at midnight on Sunday, 1 February helped to add to the figures.

“The last minute drive to get people registered was well worth it,” said Deputy Supervisors of Elections Colford Scott who explained that they had more than 200 voters register in the last two days before it closed.

The next key dates is Nomination Day, which will take place on 25 March, the day after the dissolution of parliament by the governor on 24 March. All potential political candidates will have declared themselves and then be officially nominated to run for office in the election, which takes place on 20 May. This year theelection’s office will also have to deal with a referendum on the Cayman Islands’ future constitution setting an enormous challenge for Elections Supervisor Kearney Gomez and his team. He recently said that the office would be looking to recruit more than 600 volunteers to help them conduct this year’s election and referendum, double the usual amount of people.

“We already have a pool of people but this year we need double the usual number and we are approaching the private sector for volunteers,” said Gomez, adding that anyone who would like to participate does not have to be Caymanian but merely to have lived on the island for more than four years.


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UK police accused of racism

| 15/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(BBC): The UK’s police force is still institutionallyracist despite attempts to confront the issue, a review claims. The report by the Runnymede Trust criticised failures to recruit and keep black officers and the reliance on stop and search techniques. The study also said some forces were "dragging their feet" when it came to reporting racist offences. The findings come from the Trust’s review, ‘The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry 10 Years On’. Go to article

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Humans and chimps genetically similar

| 15/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(ScienceDaily): There may be greater genetic variation between different yeasts of the same species than between humans and chimpanzees. This is one of the findings of a study from the University of Gothenburg that is being published in the scientific journal Nature. This study heralds a new era in evolutionary genetics research — the mapping of an individual’s DNA. The mapping of the entire yeast genome in 1996 marked the beginning of a revolution in biological and medical research. Go to article

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