Archive for March 8th, 2009

Telecoms firm introduces happy hour

Telecoms firm introduces happy hour

| 08/03/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): In what it describes as an effort to “make life a little easier” for its customers in the current economic environment, LIME is introducing a region-wide promotion that includes free talk time and text messaging, bonus credit, complimentary SIM reactivation and discounts on internet service, through March and April. Mobile customers will be able to send text messages to other LIME mobiles free for one hour in the  “SMS Happy Hour” from 4:00 to 5:00 pm each day.

Tony Ritch, Country Manager Cayman Islands, said, “We know that many of our customers are finding it extremely challenging in these times, and so we decided to do something to help. The result is some great deals which will save them quite a bit on their telecoms spend,” he said. “We’re very proud that LIME is one of the first companies to acknowledge the difficult times in the Caribbean and provide some tangible offers as part of a promotional campaign that we believe can also keep a smile on our customers’ faces.”

Prepaid mobile customers can also enjoy free calls to other LIME mobiles all day on Sundays once they top up with at least $25 during the week, and new post-paid customers will automatically receive double their allocation of on-net calling minutes for the first three months of their service contract. LIME said it will also be giving $2 free “reactivation” credit to prepaid mobile customers whose phones have become inactive in the last three months.   In addition, customers will automatically receive 25% bonus credit the first time they top up their re-activated prepaid account. 

There will also be savings the firm said on broadband with customers signing up for internet service packages will get double the speed at the regular price for the first three months of their service contract.

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IMF back to assess Cayman

IMF back to assess Cayman

| 08/03/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS):  While all eyes turn to Washington and London for the next move in the campaign against offshore financial service, Cayman is currently playing host to the International Monetary Fund, which is undertaking a follow up visit to the island in relation to its 2003 assessment and report. The IMF officials will be evaluating our regulatory regimes against international standards and assessing the implementation of their recommendations. The results of this visit could play a key part in how Cayman will be viewed at the April G20 meeting.

Cayman has persistently rated quite well with the fund, and in the 2005 report following from the 2003 visit the IMF said the jurisdiction had a comprehensive regulatory and compliance framework. "An extensive program of legislative, rule and guideline development has introduced an increasingly effective system of regulation, both formalising earlier practices and introducing enhanced procedures," the assessment team said in the executive summary of the two-volume report.

The IMF said Cayman benefits from a well-developed banking infrastructure with an experienced and qualified workforce as well as experienced lawyers, accountants and auditors. “…The overall compliance culture within Cayman is very strong, including the compliance culture related to AML [anti money-laundering] obligations…" On this visit, however, there will be no new review of the anti-money laundering regime as this was done by the Caribbean Action Task Force (CFATF) in 2007, the results of which the IMF will then use for the report that will come from this visit.

It is understood, however, that the IMF team will be looking to see if the recommendations made in its 2005 report, which included the strengthening of Cayman’s legislative regime for the insurance sector, improvements in CIMA’s independence and staffing levels, as well as an increase in the fines for breaches of CIMA regulations, have been implemented.

CNS submitted questions to CIMA asking if Cayman has been able to meet the IMF recommendations and what sort of rating they expect as a result of this important visit. However, CNS has still not received a response. A clean bill of health from the IMF will be a crucial element in the campaign by the CI government to make sure that Cayman does not appear on any blacklists that are established by the G20 countries next month.

CIMA did say in a statement released on Friday that the IMF team was here and that it and CIMA would conduct a joint workshop for regulatory personnel and industry representatives on the topic “How to conduct stress testing” at the end of their two week visit.

The assessment began on Monday, 2 March, and will continue through next Friday, 13 March, and the IMF delegation is being led by Effie Psalida, the Deputy Division Chief, Monetary and Capital Markets Development, IMF. During the two-week visit, members of the group will be meeting with the CIMA, government officials, and representatives from the financial services sector, CIMA said.

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An “unusual” candidate for Bodden Town

An “unusual” candidate for Bodden Town

| 08/03/2009 | 7 Comments

(CNS): Citing the need for politics unusual instead of politics as usual, businessman Justin Woods has entered the political fray in a bid to win a seat in as an independent candidate in the district of Bodden Town in the May 2009 General Elections. The fifth independent to declare for the islands’ fastest growing district, Woods says it’s time to stop government borrowing and start to reduce the debt. A former civil servant turned business man, Woods says his experiences will stand him in good stead.

“My years in government, first in the Environmental Health Department then at the Office of Telecommunications have given me a good understanding in the way that government functions. My years in business have given me experience in the ways that government could be operated more efficiently,” Woods said.

He added that the country’s economy, borrowing, employment and education are key areas of interest for him. “We can not continue the philosophy of ‘borrow and spend’. It does not matter whether we are within our current debt ratio for servicing loans, that ratio will quickly change as revenues continue to decline.  In light of the current global economic crisis it would be prudent to discontinue any more borrowing and try to repay and reduce our present debt,” he said.

Woods said that there is a need to create opportunities for people to obtain gainful employment as well as the necessary skills to succeed in their chosen career path. “Education and training have to be a priority in order for our people to lead successful lives. Training has to be available to those just entering the workforce as well as those already in the workforce. Vocational training has to be a part of this endeavor in order to meet the needs of all of our people,” he added.

Another concern he has is with the flooding in areas of Bodden Town and feels constituents have had a raw deal.

“The District of Bodden Town has two areas with some of the worst flooding namely the ‘Gully’ in Savannah and the Cumber Avenue area in central Bodden Town. The people affected by this situation no doubt live in fear as to when the next flood will occur and need a solution. Drainage ditches were quickly put in under South Sound Road for the residents of George Town, why should the residents of Bodden Town be second class citizens having to suffer repeatedly?” he asked

“I think it’s time for politics unusual, not politics as usual. We don’t need more of the same. Instead we need representatives that truly have this country’s survival and prosperity at heart, representatives who plan for the future not make isolated decisions based solely on today.”

Woods said his loyalty is first and foremost to the country and the people and not to either party. “However, if the people of Bodden Town see fit to select me as their representative I will work with whoever else the people select to solve the many problems and issues facing Bodden Town in particular and the country in general,” he added.

The other four independent candidates for the district are Sandra Catron, Theresa Pitcairn, Gilbert McLean and Vincent Frederick.

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Terrorists kill 2 in Ireland

Terrorists kill 2 in Ireland

| 08/03/2009 | 0 Comments

(BBC): A Dublin-based newspaper has received a call supposedly from the Real IRA which claimed responsibility for the attack at Masserene army base. Using a recognised codename, it claimed responsibility for the attack in which two soldiers were killed. Four other people, including two pizza delivery men, were also injured when gunmen struck at the Antrim base. The prime minister described the attack as "evil" and said "no murderer" would derail the peace process. The soldiers are the first to be murdered in Northern Ireland since Lance Bombardier Stephen Restorick was killed by an IRA sniper in 1997.

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Celebrating International Women’s Day

Celebrating International Women’s Day

| 08/03/2009 | 3 Comments

As we embark upon International Women’s Day and month long celebrations I took a few moments to consider the implications of women in modern day Cayman.

Coincidentally, as I was contemplating the impact that the current economic situation would have on women and children in the Cayman Islands, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women just issued a statement of concern as well.

The fact of the matter is that as more people lose jobs and face enormous financial and emotional strain we can expect to see a rise in violence against women and children. Here in the Cayman Islands our fight for gender equality could also be compromised as the World Bank predicts 53 million more people will be pushed into poverty in developing countries this year.

With unemployment rates reflecting a 25 year high and also rising in the Cayman Islands, we cannot ignore the long understood correlation between gender violence and the economy. The global economic crisis provides a dark backdrop and we can expect this to take its toll, especially on women. The Geneva-based International Labor Office Thursday launched its annual Global Employment Trends for Women report; indications are that women in Latin America and the Caribbean are particularly vulnerable.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday reiterated his urgent call to bring an end to violence against women, a scourge whose impact is devastating and immeasurable, as the United Nations began a series of events to mark International Women’s Day.

"It is sometimes said that women are weavers and men are too often warriors," Ban said in an address to the commemoration of the day, observed annually on March 8, in New York. "Women bear and care for our children. In much of the world they plant the crops that feed us. They weave the fabric of our societies," he said. "Violence against women is thus an attack on all of us, on the foundation of our civilization." He added that violence against women is an "abomination" and stands against everything in the UN Charter.

The secretary-general, who last year launched a global campaign called "Unite to End Violence Against Women", cited statistics of one in five women worldwide suffering from rape or attempted rape, while in some nations up to one in three women are beaten or abused.

Financial problems often equate to relationship problems which can act as a trigger for domestic violence. It is well understood that domestic violence is about power and control. When people lose control in one area of their lives, like losing a job, they are more inclined to exert more control in another area, such as their homes.

Tough economic times mean that victims are less likely to get child support if a parent is unemployed. Additionally, women are more likely to stay in abusive situations for the fear of having nowhere to go or not being able to support themselves. Also, with our current government monetary constraints there is the concern that agencies that serve as safe houses and provide services to victims could be facing budget cuts and less available funds.

We can see from the recent celebrity domestic assault case involving singer Rihanna that no one is immune from gender violence. The Estella Scott-Robert’s case brought the point a little closer to home for us here as well. These widely publicized cases serve as a reminder that violence against women is alive and well in all sectors of the community.

The elimination of gender violence means that we have to focus on preventative measures that work. Prevention is best achieved by empowering women and reducing gender disparities and by changing norms and attitudes which foster violence. Intervention should employ a multi-sectoral approach including laws and policies and work at different levels: individual, community and institutional. They should create and foster partnerships between government and nongovernmental agencies.

We can also do our part as individual members of this community and offer a network of support for anyone who is being abused. We should seek to protect the vulnerable members of our community; especially children, the elderly and women. A recession is no time to turn a blind eye to the ills of gender violence; instead we should seek to strengthen the social fabric that will allow us to support each other.

When I look around at the culture in the Cayman Islands I am so stricken and proud of the number of strong women we have among us, including those who run households, companies and organizations and also those involved in the political makeup of this country. We have a history of strength amongst women. However, we also have a history of violence, rape and gender inequality as well. Let us not hide the ills of our society but expose them and implement solutions.

International Woman’s Day (IWD) is marked on March 8 every year. It is a major day of global celebration for the economic, political and social achievements of women.

Since starting in 1909 it is an occasion marked by women’s groups around the world. This date is also commemorated at the United Nations and is designated in many countries as a national holiday. When women on all continents, often divided by national boundaries and by ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and political differences, come together to celebrate their Day, they can look back to a tradition that represents at least nine decades of struggle for equality, justice, peace and development.

International Women’s Day is the story of ordinary women as makers of history; it is rooted in the centuries-old struggle of women to participate in society on an equal footing with men.

I would like to wish all – in the name of universal sisterhood – Happy International Women’s Day!


Sandra Catron is an independent candidate for the district of Bodden Town

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