Archive for March 5th, 2009

Cayman film moves closer to production

| 05/03/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS):  The making of Cayman’s own feature length film production, When No One’s Looking (WNOL) will take another step forward towards the silver screen next month with a fundraising event in support of its production. The film will focus on a number of Cayman’s social issues, not least the reality of HIV and is being seen as an important production for the local fledgling film industry as well as contributing to raising awareness of HIV/ AIDS in the community. 

The fundraiser is being organized by 3P Entertainment and will showcase a wide array of local entertainment, fashion and performances, and will hopefully bring in much needed cash to help first time Producer Adonza Harrison and Director Judy Singh of Apex Video Solutions make the film a reality and begin production this summer.

The film is also receiving the endorsement of the Film Commission, which was recently established by the Cayman Islands Investment Bureau (CIIB).

“The Ministry of Tourism and the Cayman Islands Film Commission fully support the efforts of 3P Entertainment and their fundraising plans to fund the production of the local movie, When No One’s Looking,” said Minister Charles Clifford, who has responsibility for CIIB. “This uplifting movie could play a vital role in reaching the most vulnerable in our society; providing them with life lessons on how to make the right choice when it comes to protecting their health and quality of life.”

Harrison said that so far, 30 persons have died from AIDS related illnesses in Cayman, which is 30 too many, but she said local activists have united in a bid to raise awareness.

“We have accomplished more united than as lone voices. We now look forward to realizing WNOL to make such efforts easier. It’s also encouraging to obtain Minister Clifford’s endorsement for the movie through the newly formed Cayman Islands Film Commission."

James Myles of the Youth Services Unit said WNOL is also creating a win-win solution for the youth of Cayman and the newly formed Film Industry. Miss Cayman Nicosia Lawson has also heralded the film as a strong step forward towards addressing issues surrounding Cayman’s youth including teenage drinking, teen pregnancy & HIV.  "I’m excited about the potential the movie will have on raising awareness to many of the social ills, within our community. Especially that of HIV/AIDS. I’m in support of any organization that advocates education and prevention on this critical matter," she added.

The event will be held at  62 Forum Lane, Camana Bay, on 4 April. Doors open 7:00 pm and raffle tickets are $20 pre-sold and $25 at the gate.  Food, snacks & drinks will also be available for purchase.  Anyone wishing to get involved as a volunteer and/or sponsor are asked to call Adonza Harrison at 325-6658.

Main organizers are Adonza Harrison, Judy Singh, Rose May Ebanks, Nicosia Lawson, Luigi Moxam, Letitia Davis-Eden, Antoinette Hewitt, Lorna Reid and Tricia Bodden. Special thanks to3P’s Major Supporters: Home Gas Ltd., Digicel, Maples & Calder, Apex Video Solutions, Colin Wilson, Camana Bay, Lions Productions and all performers. Rob Patraulea, CPA of Dominion Accounting is the Production’s Independent Accountant.

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HSA tackles child virus

| 05/03/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS):  Director of Primary Health Services Dr. Kiran Kumar announced today that for the first time a vaccine for rotavirus will be available for infants at Health Services Authority facilities on all three islands from 12 March. The rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhoea among children worldwide and causes more than 600,000 child deaths each year. In Cayman, the Public Health Care Department annually registers between 300 to 400 cases of gastroenteritis among children under five years. From these cases, about 20 – 25% of children are hospitalized.


Minister for Health and Human Services, Anthony Eden said his ministry is, “committed to ensuring that every child has access to age appropriate vaccines, and government fully supports the continual upgrading of our immunization schedule.”

Health Services Authority paediatrician Dr. Marilyn McIntyre said this vaccination will reduce the number of hospitalizations due to rotavirus infections significantly and  spare many children and their families undue suffering. The Public Health Care Department will be using RotaTeq, an oral vaccine that is administered to infants in three doses. The first dose is given at six weeks, followed by second at four months, and the third at six months, Dr. McIntyre explained.

A rotavirus infection can cause severe vomiting and diarrhoea, accompanied by fever and abdominal pain that can last up to eight days. These symptoms, in turn, can lead to life-threatening dehydration. Public Health officials cited studies that show the vaccination to have reduced hospitalizations caused by gastroenteritis by 96% after the third dose.

The HSA said it is not possible to test all gastroenteritis cases in the Cayman Islands for rotavirus, as stool samples have to be submitted and sent overseas.  However, it is confirmed that rotavirus is in the Cayman Islands. In 2008, Cayman had 343 reported cases of gastroenteritis among children younger than five years of age, with 75 admissions to the pediatric ward. Locally, there have been no deaths caused by gastroenteritis, for at least the past three decades. Symptoms include diarrhoea; vomiting; fever; and abdominal (tummy) pain.

In some cases severe dehydration and death can occur. Symptoms usually appear between 1 and 3 days after being exposed to the virus. It is highly infectious, and is spread by the vomit or faeces of an infected person through person-to-person contact (for example, touching someone who has been sick and has the virus on their hands); contaminated objects; contaminated food or drink and coughing and sneezing.

Young children are at greater risk of the disease, although older people can sometimes be infected. Subsequent infections are generally milder than the first infection. Aside from vaccinations good hygiene practices such as washing hands for 10 seconds, using soap and hot water, and drying with a clean towel after going to the toilet; before preparing or handling food; before eating food; and after caring for someone with rotavirus.

Using hot water and detergent, thoroughly clean the surfaces of objects (including toys), as well as clothing that have been exposed to vomit and/or faeces.

Children who have experienced diarrhoea should not return to childcare until 24 hours after symptoms have ended. Anyone with diarrhoea should not swim, wade or paddle in pools for at least two weeks after complete recovery.

Those infected should drink plenty of clear fluids to prevent dehydration and  avoid undiluted fruit juice and soft drinks, because they may increase dehydration and diarrhea. Do not give medicines to prevent vomiting and diarrhea, especially to children, except when prescribed by a doctor. Some children may require hospitalization for intravenous fluids.

The HSA said as with all medicines and vaccines, the rotavirus vaccine has side effects. The most common side effects reported within one week of any dose are fever, vomiting, diarrhoea and irritability others include bronchiolitis, gastroenteritis, pneumonia, urinary tract infections and seizures.

A condition called intussusception (a type of bowel obstruction) was problematic with the first rotavirus vaccine (Rota Shield) but RotaTeq, studies have shown no increased risk of developing intussusception after having the vaccine, although there have been reported cases.

The HSA said parents should call their child’s doctor or seek medical attention right away if a child has vomiting, diarrhoea, severe stomach (tummy) pain, blood in the stool, or change in bowel movements. These may be signs of intussusception.  Seek assistance for these symptoms even it was several weeks since the last vaccine dose.

The vaccine will be offered at the George Town Public Health Clinic and all Grand Cayman district health centres. It will also be available at Faith Hospital on Cayman Brac and the Little Cayman Clinic.

For more information, contact your doctor, your district health centre (Bodden Town – 947-2299; East End – 947-7449; North Side – 947-9525; West Bay – 949-3439) or the Public Health Department at 244-2648.

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Police tackle illegal vehicle modifications

| 05/03/2009 | 16 Comments

(CNS): Over the last few weeks 32 people have been stopped by officers from the George Town police station as part of a Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) crack down on vehicle violations, such as coloured lights on cars and other modifications that cause a nuisance, which have also been raised at a number of community meetings. The RCIPS said it now plans to work with local car dealerships and auto shops in relation to highlighting what can and cannot be used legally on vehicles.

“If a car comes with high density (HD) lights as part of its manufacturing, there isn’t much we can do about it,” said Inspector Harford of George Town police. “But, when you deliberately add coloured lights, noisy mufflers or anything else that could be unsafe or a nuisance to other drivers, you break the traffic regulations.”

Section 24 of the Traffic Regulations (2003) covers any accessories which are deemed to be unsafe, likely to be a nuisance to the public or which are inadequate for the purpose for which they appear to be intended. In addition, section 14 states that no vehicle, other than an emergency vehicle, shall be equipped with any external light of a colour other than white, red or amber.

Officers in West Bay and the Eastern Districts have also been targeting road safety. Over the last week 67 people were caught speeding in West Bay while several other drivers found were found not wearing their seatbelts. In the Eastern Districts, 28 traffic offences were detected with the main offence being speeding.The RCIPS takes road safety extremely seriously and is calling on all drivers to ensure they obey the traffic law all of the time.

“The law is in place to keep people as safe as possible,” said Inspector Harford. “Everyone behind the wheel should wear their seatbelt, stick to the speed limit and have their full attention on the road at all times.”

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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Failing insurer rewards staff with Cayman trip

| 05/03/2009 | 0 Comments

( At a time when Blue Cross Blue Shield wants to increase premiums up to 18.3 percent, reports surfaced Wednesday that the health insurer is spending up to $227,500 to send 35 of its employees to the Cayman Islands to the Westin Casuarina Resort. The expenditure seems curious in light of the “dire” financial projections Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota made last year, when it once predicted a possible loss of up to $23 million, said North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm.

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Henderson shares experience with Canadian media

| 05/03/2009 | 10 Comments

(CNS): Grand Court Judge Alex Henderson, who recently received almost CI$1.3 million following an unlawful arrest by the Special Police Investigation Team (SPIT), has shared his experiences in an interview with a Canadian newspaper. The judge said that he now had a new perspective on the justice system. "It’s a different experience, being a suspect," Henderson said in the interview."You get a fresh appreciation for the rights of criminal suspects…. Perhaps more judges should try it."

Henderson told the Globe and Mail that despite recent events, he intends to remain on the job until 2011 and may even go for another contract. Henderson related the story of his arrest and said the SPIT had initially contacted him in March 2008. They told him they were looking for confirmation of statements made by former Cayman Net News sports reporter John Evans.

Henderson said after consulting with the chief justice and others on whether it would be appropriate for him to be interviewed, he told police he would respond only to written questions. Police insisted on a face-to-face interview, creating a standoff that lasted six months before his arrest at 7:00 am on 24 September when the SPIT came to his home and, as it turned out, unlawfully arrested him for misconduct in public office and took him to the station for questioning.

Judge Henderson told the paper that he took a leave of absence from the court after his arrest to work with his lawyers, and he said, "I did not want to be bumping into the judge trying my case in the hallways."

He also revealed that his demand for compensation had met little resistance and he had more difficulty convincing his seven-year-old daughter, Tanya, who repeatedly asked him what he did wrong. "Kids at school were telling her I did something wrong," Henderson said.

Having returned to the bench, the judge told the Globe and Mail that the whole thing was unusual. "I have never heard of a judge being arrested. I guess it is unusual to just go back on the bench and continue on. But that is exactly what I was entitled to do, because I did not do anything wrong," he added.

According to the reporter, Robert Matas, he made contact with Anne Parsons, whom he described as manager of the government’s public affairs office, but Matas wrote that neither Governor Stuart Jack nor anyone else from the government or the police were available for an interview.

See full article at The Globe and Mail

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Books & Books broadens Cayman’s literary horizons

| 05/03/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): During March local book store Books & books will be presenting an eclectic mix of authors and experts with a local and international flavour. From Cayman’s very own orchid specialist Kirkland Nixon to international best selling author Peter Robinson, the Camana Bay book store will be offering diverse literary experiences throughout the month.

This evening (Thursday 5 March) Nixon will be offering a presentation on growing orchids and helping gardeners find their way through the myriad literature available on the subject. On Saturday 7 March Peter Robinson, the acclaimed award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller Friend of the Devil visits to present his new novel, All the Colors of Darkness .

From Thursday, 12 March UCCI’s Dr. Keith Jardim will begin teaching an eight-week Prose Fiction Workshop. A professor of Creative Writing & English Literature at Jardim will offer an introductory approach to the craft of fiction writing – mainly short stories – with the purpose of improving creative writing skills through attention to plot, setting, description, tone, narrative orchestration, style and language. Classes will run every Thursday from 7-9pm for eight weeks.

Michael Shane, creator of the well-known character “Dready,” brings his latest novel, Evoluting Sherman to Books & Books for a reading and book-signing on Saturday, 14 March which is  set amid the white sand, blue sea, warm sun and offshore money of our own island.

On Wednesday 25 March, Marylin Jax will be presenting The Find which weaves a chilling tale of murder, greed, and suspense and was a finalist in USA Book News’ Best New Fiction category in 2008 .

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Mourant donates for Brac recovery

| 05/03/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Mourant du Feu & Jeune has made a donation of US$30,000 to the Cayman Islands National Recovery Fund. The funds were raised through a combination of staff pledges from the Cayman Islands office, the law firm’s charitable donations programme and charitable trust money. Hurricane Paloma devastated Cayman Brac during November 2008. The Cayman Islands National Recovery Fund will use the funds donated by Mourant du Feu & Jeune to repair buildings and replace furniture, appliances and equipment in people’s homes, with special emphasis placed on meeting the needs of children and the elderly.

Neal Lomax, Partner and Head of the Cayman Islands office of Mourant du Feu & Jeune, commented, “This is a cause that is particularly close to the hearts of all our staff in the Cayman Islands and they were eager to contribute in any way they could. Grand Cayman was incredibly lucky to have been spared, but we know only too well the damage a hurricane can cause so we are delighted to be able to assist with the recovery programme for Cayman Brac.”

Mourant du Feu & Jeune provides regular community support in the Cayman Islands through its charitable donations programme and charitable trust contributions, including donations to Cayman Hospice Care, the Cayman Islands Humane Society, the Blue Iguana recovery project, Hedge Funds Care, the NCVO (National Council of Voluntary Organisations), The Cayman Islands Red Cross and local youth sports teams.

The Cayman Islands National Recovery Fund is a private independent Trust, established in September 2004, to help people who were affected by Hurricane Ivan. Ithas since been used to help with the aftermath of Hurricane Paloma.

Photo (left to right): Pastor Winston Rose (NRF Trustee), Dr. Mark Laskin (NRF Director), Huw Moses (NRF Trustee), Neal Lomax (Mourant du Feu & Jeune), His Excellency the Governor (NRF Chairman) and Andreas Ugland (NRF Trustee)

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Obama bid to open up havens

| 05/03/2009 | 0 Comments

(The Guardian): The world’s most secretive tax havens are to be prised open after Barack Obama’s new administration endorsed far-reaching legislation to crack down on them. The decision to force "secrecy jurisdictions" to reveal the identities of the super-rich and major corporations who use them came from the US treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, at a congressional hearing and will be seen as a blow to places such as Jersey, the Cayman Islands and Switzerland. "We fully support the legislation … on offshore tax centres, and we look forward to working with you as part of the broader effort to address international tax evasion and close the tax gap," Geithner told the House ways and means committee late on Tuesday.

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Grey creates perfect Storm

| 05/03/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Quik Cash Storm captured the Cayman Islands Basketball Association (CIBA) National Women’s League trophy by defeating Dominos Lady Heels 58-48 last Sunday night at the court off Eastern Avenue. Storm took the trophy with an unblemished record of remaining undefeated for the entire season, a feat accomplished by Wolverine in 2004 and not duplicated since. According to a CIBA release, Storm had a rough start, as Lady Heels dominated the first quarter, but Storm equalised the score, first as Bobeth O’Garro made her free throws count, then Merta Day took the score to 13-11 with a running layup. Photo: Lavern Davis (blue) and Benieca Thompson (orange)

While Day continued to show her scoring prowess, it was O’Garro and Sofia Foster that kept her well fed with opportunities. In fact, O’Garro made 10 steals and Foster garnered 10 rebounds throughout the game. However, Lady Heels caught a lucky break when Day picked up a third personal foul, which forced Coach Errol Grey to bench his top scorer. This gave Storm’s other top scorer, Lavern Ebanks, the chance to step up, which she did. Lady Heels gave Storm a tempestuous time, especially with Bencia Thompson who nabbed a number of crucial rebounds.

Nevertheless, Storm retained their offensive edge 25-21 going into second half. But in the third quarter Storm went 43-29 up to blow away their opponents. In the fourth, Lady Heels stepped up their game, but it was not enough to catch the perfect Storm.

Quik Cash Storm’s top earner was Merta Day with 22 points. She was followed by Lavern Ebanks with 15. O’Garro earned 10 steals, Foster nabbed 14 rebounds and Lashawn Davis recorded 6 assists. Top scorers for Dominos Lady Heels were Benieca Thompson with 19 points and 16 rebounds. Dionne Anglin also recorded 15 points and 20 rebounds.(Right: the winning team)

Coach of Lady Heels, Collin Anglin explained his team’s performance. “We broke down defensively in the third quarter. We switched to a ‘man-to-man’ defense in an effort to distort our opponents but it backfired on us. When we re-grouped and returned to our original defense – triangle and two – we outscored them in the fourth quarter. The game was close except for that third quarter. Offensively, we simply turned the ball over too much. We worked hard on defense and when we finally got the ball we threw it back to them, forcing us to play another hard defensive possession. We usually needed our offensive sets to rest, but when you’re playing defense so much you get fatigued quite quickly. The Storm out-hustled us. They won the majority of the loose balls which gave them a lot of second and third chance opportunities,” he added.

Quik Cash Storm’s coach Errol Grey, who also earned the “coach of the year” title, praised his team. “My team fought hard and truly deserved the championship. We have a perfect blend of experience and determination which played a major role in us earning the trophy,” he said.

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Look for onshore, not offshore scapegoats

| 05/03/2009 | 5 Comments

Political leaders in the US, Germany, France, the UK and elsewhere have once more threatened to close down offshore financial centres. These centres have been presented as the drug dealers of modern finance and pushers of instability.

Yet the origins of this crisis are in a failure of regulatory philosophy in the US, Europe and elsewhere. It would have occurred were there no offshore financial centres. The attack on offshore centres is a politically seductive distraction from the thorny task of making regulation better in large developed countries and will end up being a discriminatory attack on small developing countries with little voice.

One of the first institutions to fail in this crisis was Northern Rock, a very British bank where supervisors appeared to overlook the niggling detail that funding long-term mortgages of more than 100 per cent of the value of homes in a mature boom, with short-term deposits and money market funds, is highly risky. A German savings institution, IKB, was next. Regulators did nothing about the exponential growth of mortgage-related financial derivatives, not because they were hidden in offshore financial centres – they had the discretionary powers to raise bank capital charges for any additional risks they perceived – but because they thought that this was an example of safe financial innovation that was banking the under-banked and diversifying risk.

Admitting that the crisis was a failure of domestic regulation implies that those in power were out to lunch as the largest financial crash was brewing. It is easier to blame tax-dodging foreigners. But let us be real. The largest centres of boastfully light regulation and light taxes for non-residents were London, Luxembourg, Dublin, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar, Monaco and many other locations in the European back yard. Yet some Group of Seven leaders would rather play to the gallery by stepping on small developing countries. You can see why international co-operation is struggling to secure legitimacy when some of the same countries that mucked up their own regulation, plunging the world into crisis, appoint themselves judge and jury of what is good, bad and ugly elsewhere.

There are at least two ways in which the current attack on offshore financial centres is illegitimate. First, it is inconsistent with the notion of tax sovereignty. Europeans prize this internally but do not want others to have it. Why should developing countries that have difficulties in administering direct taxes, and so rely more on land and consumption taxes, not have low income taxes? Remove tax competition and you remove one discipline on countries otherwise tempted to engage in expensive wars or over-generous government bail-outs.

Second, the idea of offshore financial centres is that they offer low tax because taxes are paid before money reaches them and after it leaves them. Imagine a company that builds and sells cars in Britain, Turkey and Japan. If the holding company is based in an offshore financial centre, corporation taxes on earnings will be paid in the British, Turkish and Japanese subsidiaries before they arrive in the holding company. Taxes on dividends are then paid by the shareholders when they repatriate their dividends home – wherever that may be. The offshore centre acts as a “way station” that facilitates complex international trade and investment flows. There are no taxes or low taxes in the “way station” because the money is in transit. Taxes are paid at the beginning and at the end of the journey, just not along the way.

The potential for abuse is whether the way station becomes a hiding spot, either to reduce taxes at the end of the journey or to launder criminal money. The problem is not the tax rate but Swiss-style bank secrecy. The solution is what Bermuda, Barbados and other responsible offshore financial centres do, which is to have information agreements that allow tax authorities to share information. The presence of standardised tax information agreements applicable to all countries would be an objective measure of responsibility.

Of the 192 members of the United Nations, 56 countries and a further 100 dependent territories have populations of less than 1.5m. Smallness brings its own challenges and vulnerabilities. International finance is one of their few comparative advantages: it can be scaled up without more land and labour. Many have developed genuine world-class expertise in international financial services – such as Bermuda, Luxembourg and Guernsey.

The current financial crisis suggests that large states have a comparative disadvantage in global finance. They do not need global finance to prosper but global finance distorts their economy and politics. There are more than a few small states that need to improve the quality of their regulation but so, too, do large states. European and US governments should refocus regulation on all financial activities that take place in their jurisdiction, making them less vulnerable to the quality of regulation in Iceland or elsewhere. They should also agree broad principles internationally and sign common information agreements across all the jurisdictions their banks deal with.

The author is chairman of Intelligence Capital Limited, emeritus professor of Gresham College and a member of the UN High Level Taskforce on International Financial Reform. This article was first published in the Financial Times.

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