Archive for March 13th, 2009

No night time access to Barkers

| 13/03/2009 | 8 Comments

(CNS): As part of a crime prevention strategy, Barkers area in West Bay will be closed to the public every evening from 6:30 pm to 6:00 am the following day. Police say that the decision, which came into force Thursday 12 March, has the full support of the landowners. “It is important for us as a police department to do everything possible to try and prevent crime and we ask the community to work with us in this endeavour,” said West Bay Area Commander Chief Inspector Angelique Howell.

“Our decision to close Barkers is a temporary crime prevention strategy that we are employing until other measures, to address community concerns of criminal activity in the area, can be put in place. We would like to thank the landowners who have responded quickly and positively to these measures. We will regularly review our position on the closure of this area and ask that persons work with us to make West Bay a safer community,” Howell added.

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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Butterfield awards post-graduate scholarship

| 13/03/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Butterfield Bank (Cayman) Limited has awarded the Butterfield Employee Post-Graduate Scholarship to Antonette Alexander, who will be attending the University of Leicester by correspondence in the Spring of 2009, to work towards her MBA. The first-ever recipient of the award, Alexander has worked with Butterfield for over 15 years and is currently the Branch Manager, overseeing the management and operations of Butterfield’s three Banking Centres. (Left: Antonette Alexander with Butterfield’s Deputy Managing Director Mike McWatt)

“I am truly humbled and absolutely delighted to be this year’s recipient of Butterfield’s Post-Graduate Scholarship Award,” said Alexander in a release from the bank. “Butterfield has always supported me in my professional development, and I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincerest thanks to the Bank and my colleagues for their continuous encouragement.” The release said Antonette submitted a top-notch application for the scholarship, which is awarded every two years to an employee with a strong commitment both to Butterfield and to his or her own personal and professional development..

“Antonette symbolises lifelong learning and growth in everything she approaches at Butterfield. I feel very proud to be able to offer such an outstanding opportunity to an extraordinary colleague,” said Samantha Nehra, Butterfield’s Learning & Development Manager.

Butterfield also offers annual Associate’s and Bachelor’s level scholarships to its employees, as well as an Overseas Undergraduate Scholarship available to young Caymanians.

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Netball ‘Clash’ this weekend

| 13/03/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Netball Association invites member of the public to the Adult Open League Championship Clash which will be held this Saturday, 14 March, at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex Netball Courts. The proceeds from the entrance fee will go towards travel expenses and tournament preparations for the National Under-16 Netball Team who will be travelling to Jamaica to play in the Jean Pierre Tournament this April. Entrance Fee: Adults $3.00 and Children under-12: $1.00. The teams playing for the Championships are: Division 2 — Rising Stars B versus Maples & Calder at 5:00 pm; Division 1 — Storm Quick Cash versus Roma at 7:00 pm. Refreshments will also be on sale.

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Bank joins drive to save lives

| 13/03/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Heart Fund’s mission to have Cayman fitted with life saving automated external defibrillator (AED) machines right across the islands, received a boost this week with the support of FirstCaribbean International Bank. Dr Sook Yin, Director of the Cayman Heart Fund, said the goal was to have enough AED’s and trained volunteers to ensure that no matter the location there is at least one life saving device close by.

Paul Stoll, Manager Local Processing Centre, at FirstCaribbean International Banksaid that his firm considers this is an extremely important project and a great  way to give back to the community.

“We hope that our support will help save lives,” he said. “We recognise the importance to have our staff  trained and able to use the machine if the need should  arise At present,  we are very proud to say, we have fourteen staff members who are certified in CPR, First Aid and CPR/AED through the Red Cross training programmes.”  

The Cayman Heart Fund is always in need of donations and is appealing to the public for help.  Yin said, “We can all do our part to ensure we can make a difference between life and death.”

For more information on the Cayman Heart Fund and how to become involved with this worthy cause contact Dr Yin at or Kevin Doyle at


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CUC earnings fall

| 13/03/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A change in the reporting period, a reduction in customer rates, the weather, the loss of the Hurricane Ivan surcharge and other reasons were offered by CUC this week by way explanation for a 47% decrease in net earnings. While the CUC share price had been steadily increasing over the past few yeas, during 2008 the price fell to its lowest ever. The company said that in anticipation of an economic downturn and escalating fuel prices, it had projected reduced sales growth for the 2008 Transitional Period compared to prior periods.

Announcing its audited results for the eight-month period ended December 31, 2008 – the transitional period – following the change in the firm’s financial year-end from April 30 to December 31, CUC said earnings were negatively impacted by consumer rate reductions, the removal of the Hurricane Ivan Cost Recovery Surcharge, both implemented in January of 2008, and unseasonably cool and wet conditions during the last two months of the period.

During the period, the Company also began to see slowing demand growth arising from the deteriorating worldwide economic conditions and their effect on Grand Cayman. Net earnings for the transitional period were $12.6 million, or $0.45 per Class A Ordinary Share, which it said was in-line with the company’s expectations.

Kilowatt hours (kWh) sales for the period grew by 2% to 376.6 million kWh from 368.4 million kWh for the eight month period ended 31 December 2007. The system peak of 93.8 Megawatts achieved in September 2008 grew 1.2% over the summer 2007 peak.

“During the transitional period, CUC focused its capital expenditure program, totalling $27.8 million on priority projects in view of the deteriorating economic conditions,” said Richard Hew, CUC’s President and CEO. The company funded capital expenditures using the proceeds of the $28 million Class A Ordinary Share rights offering completed in August 2008. The offering also served to strengthen the company’s balance sheet. The company continued to focus on reducing controllable operating expenditures.

“In the transitional period we devoted significant effort to the advancement of renewable energy with our wind initiative moving towards a request for proposal stage. The company, in conjunction with the Electricity Regulatory Authority, also announced approval of the Consumer-Owned Renewable Energy programme,” Hew added.

Reliability of service to customers as measured by the Average Service Availability Index (ASAI) remained high 99.95% for the transitional period compared to 99.96 % for the previous year.

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Inmates rewarded for reading

| 13/03/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The power of literacy skills to improve people’s lives should never be underestimated and no where more so than in the prison system. Each week volunteers from the Cayman Islands Reading Aids programme spend time offering one-on-one reading lessons to inmates at HMP Northwood. This week the work of Michelle Pentney, the prison training Coordinator, the volunteers from CIRA and the inmates was acknowledged at an awards ceremony.

“This programme helps many people whether they are in the community or in prison, to gain the listening, speaking, reading, writing and math skills they need to solve problems they encounter in daily life. There is a sense of satisfaction in helping anyone to read. I firmly believe that the reading skills taught through the CIRA programme are an essential building block in helping ones in prison to successfully rehabilitate,” said Pentney.

Rotary Central is an important supporter of CIRA and its only source of funding and Paul Byles President Elect of Rotary Central noted why literacy programmes in prison are essential.

“The Reading Aids program is a valuable service to our community and the inmates have shown a passionate interest in learning to read over the years. This will help them to better function as they rejoin society,” Byles said. He noted the importance of being able to read to understand a person’s social and economic environment and engaged the inmates in the issues surrounding the global financial crisis and what it means to Cayman.

Byles said he was impressed with the level of participation at the session and the way the two inmate speakers spoke about literacy. “It was very encouraging to hear them speak about what it means to them to be able to read. Reading certainly opens up a lot of doors to life and as one of the inmates put it – once you have the ability to read and the knowledge that comes with it, no one can take that away from you,” he added

Alice Mae Coe, a long time supporting tutor on the programme spoke about the importance of perseverance and Rick Springer a psychologist and author spoke about dealing with life’s challenges.

Inmates in the CIRA program learn they can succeed, and as their self–esteem grows, they become able to achieve personal goals such as reading books to their children, and teaching and helping others who are struggling with the same problems they had. Prison Director Dwight Scott thanked Rotary Central for their continued support of CIRA and at Northward in particular.

 “I want to personally thank Rotary Central for all their support over the yearsfor this very important programme here at her Majesty Prison” he said, with applause from the inmates.

Despite the exceptionally high illiteracy rates in the prison and probation system this is the only programme offered to prisoners and without it there would be no classes for those who have more often than not found themselves on the wrong side of the law because of their poor educational levels. Pentney said that to keep the programme going she is in desperate need of more volunteers in particular those who can spare two hours on Wednesday lunchtimes and Monday evenings.

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“Do no harm” LoGB tells UK

| 13/03/2009 | 30 Comments

(CNS): Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts has said that the forthcoming G20 meeting and its potential blacklist could indiscriminately shut legitimate jurisdictions such as the Cayman Islands from the global trade in financial services. He called on UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown to reflect on this and said he would do well to invoke the Hippocratic injunction to physicians: “First, do no harm.”

He said the G20 summit in London in April was initially billed as a summit on ‘jobs, growth and stability’, but the agenda quite suddenly acquired an objective of producing a ‘blacklist’ of ‘uncooperative tax havens’.

“This to us smacks of the intellectually destitute and desperate, but perhaps that is uncharitable.  What is clear is that we must intensify our efforts to be properly identified and treated,” Tibbetts added. Achieving recognition that our jurisdiction is a positive contributor was important, he stated, as was the fact that, as facilitators of global investment flows, centres such as the Cayman Islands have a real contribution to make to the global objectives of ‘jobs, growth and stability’.

“We are regulated.  We apply international standards, and in some cases have exceeded them.  If, as it appears, those standards are lacking, we are ready, willing and able to move to any new standards developed.  But failures in the standards themselves, or in their lax application in onshore centres cannot fairly be attributed to us,” he added. “We are cooperative.  We have strong, effective channels for international cooperation in regulatory, law enforcement and taxation matters.  We are transparent.”   

Tibbetts said he agreed with Brown when he had said that protectionism is a malign influence.  “This is no less true if it should happen to manifest as a ‘blacklist’ that would indiscriminately shut legitimate players like ourselves out of the global trade in financial services,” the LoGB noted.

He said that aside from the government’s efforts during the recent visit to Washington, where they had conducted 30 meetings in just over two days, the government was seeking briefings prior to the G20 summit with No.10 and No.11 Downing Street (the residents of the prime minister and the chancellor of the exchequer)  to communicate the Cayman position directly.   

“We do hope that, dare I say, ‘sanity’ will prevail, and it is by no means clear what will ultimately transpire, but we are not relying on hope alone.  We have an unswerving goal to do our utmost to protect the interests of the Cayman Islands,” he added.

He explained that the recent ratification of  a series of commercial and tax information agreements with the seven Nordic countries and more such arrangements to follow, including onewith the UK, were important demonstrations of the Cayman’s transparency.

Minister Alden McLaughlin also said that a new collaboration project between government and the Cayman Islands Financial Service Association (CIFSA) was underway, the details of which would be revealed on Friday afternoon.

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No U-turns on investigation funding says LoGB

| 13/03/2009 | 4 Comments

(CNS): Government has said there were no U-turns regarding the funding for the special police investigations, and suggestions by Acting Police Commissioner James Smith that Cabinet was very supportive were misleading. Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts said that Cabinet was always prepared to support genuine investigations, once Bridger was removed, and Minister Alden McLaughlin added that any support coming from government was based on very specific conditions.

The LoGB explained that Cabinet had not approved any funds for either Operation Tempura or Operation Cealt but had agreed to allow the request for more than CI$915,000 to go before Finance Committee for the fifteen members to have a chance to vote and have the police explain the need for the money.

Tibbetts said after seeing an exit strategy for the lead investigator, Martin Bridger, whose appointment the government had concerns over because of the compromised situation regarding the various legal judgments by Sir Peter Cresswell, it was able to accept that the request for funding could go before the committee.

We were accused by the media of not being prepared to fund the investigations but we refused before because of the compromised situation and thought money would be wasted,” said Tibbetts. “Part of this new request for money is for the second phase of the investigation to determine if any of the new allegations that have been made have any basis in fact. He said the government was in support of the police but it had experienced a fundamental difference of opinion on specific matter.

However, Minister McLaughlin said he felt the acting commissioner may have exaggerated when he said that Cabinet was particularly enthusiastic about supporting the investigations, as this was not the case, and that any support they may offer was based on very specific conditions. “A pre-condition of any support is Martin Bridger has to be gone,” said the minister. “Second, there are to be no more no reckless arrests of people, no suspensions or placing people on required leave, and definitely no arresting of judges.”

He said that there was a need to see evidence rather than speculation and he said he had little confidence in the commissioner saying that all sorts of dire things were going on in this jurisdiction that needed to be sorted out without coming with the evidence.

McLaughlin added that there was a need to strike the balance of ensuring serious allegations were investigated against the context of what we know about how badly this issue has been managed so far. “This is not Cabinet embracing these investigations; there are lots of conditions imposed on how this is going to work. If the commissioner and the governor dont play game correctly Cabinet’s support will fall away.

McLaughlin said that the vast majority of the money requested would be to deal with the legal cases which are going through the court system with regards to Lyndon Martin and Rudolph Dixon and to close down Operation Tempura. He said only around $150,000 of the request would be spent on the new investigation known as Operation Cealt.

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Aiming to unite the Sister Islands

| 13/03/2009 | 6 Comments

(CNS): Declaring her candidacy for the district of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman for the fourth time, Maxine McCoy-Moore believes that this time she will be successful. Standing for “United for positive change”, she thinks the two representatives for the district should work together as a team. “We have not had that for many years,” she said. The two Sister Islands should also be “united” because they face many of the same problems, and she wants to emphasise their connection to Grand Cayman.

Having been raised on both the Brac and Little Cayman and with business interests on each islands, she calls both “home”. The first three times she ran McCoy-Moore was living on Little Cayman. Now, she says, she will be living on Cayman Brac for at least the next eight years but she will not forget Little Cayman and remains very much aware of the issues on both islands.

“The cost of living is way too high,” she said. “The government needs to control what’s going on here. The prices on these two islands, especially groceries and electricity, have skyrocketed since Hurricane Paloma. The Sister Islands were hit by three hurricanes last year – Gustav in August, Ike in September and Paloma in November – and the economies of both islands are suffering.”

She said, “Everyone is aware of the mess the whole world is in but I feel something must be done for us here.” In order to mitigate the effects of the global economic downturn, McCoy-Moore believes that the Cayman Islands should be looking for alternative places from which to import cheaper food, such as Jamaica and Honduras. “Government talked about that years ago but nothing was done.”

Reaching out to young people, especially creating jobs for them on the Brac, is a particular focus of her campaign. Every year, students graduating from high school, if they don’t get a scholarship to go to college, have to leave to find work. “One of the biggest problems is government retiring people and then hiring them back instead of training a young person for the post. They are not giving the young people a chance to prove they can do the job.” At the same time, she recognizes that many people cannot afford to stop working at age 60 and that government should reconsider the retirement age.

One young person told her recently that things are so hard that he would rather go back to jail because he couldn’t pay his bills. “The young people have lost all hope that anything will improve. It’s very sad.”

She continued, “We want to see sustainable development that would create jobs.” One way is to use the safety of the Bluff, which because of its elevation is safe from flooding, to attract businesses to set up on the Brac, especially the financial sector. Young people could be trained to work in offshore banks, which could be easily set up here, she said. “What I don’t wish to see is ex-pats being hired from overseas for the jobs and the young people not getting them again. It all comes down to good education and training.”

The majority of people on the Sister Islands are civil servants, and this means that there is no freedom of speech, she said. “This is crippling the progress and development of the islands because they can’t stand up and speak out on what they wish to see done in the Sister Islands.” She believes that civil servants were not fully involved in the drafting of the Constitution and they need the absolute right and freedom to speak out on such matters.

Tourism is another major issue for the Sister Islands, and McCoy-Moore said there should be more focus on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman when the Department of Tourism markets the three islands. “Most people abroad still think the Cayman Islands is just Grand Cayman,” she said.

Cayman Brac needs a safe harbor for yachts and small boats, and the only feasible place is Salt Water Pond in front of Coral Isle Club on the South Side, she said. She also wants to promote agriculture on the Brac to make use of the good farm land on the Bluff, and to scrap plans for the new landfill on the Bluff which, she says, will destroy the water table for future generations. A matter of concern is the Cayman Airways schedule, especially between Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, and she wants to see the reintroduction of direct flights from Jamaica and Miami to reduce the cost of flying to the Sister Islands.

Turning to insurance, she said CINICO should be open to everyone, since the private sector of the insurance industry charges “an arm and a leg” but does not offer sufficient coverage. McCoy-Moore also believes that, in these tough economic times and with the market so unstable, pension payments should not be mandatory for small businesses as it is hurting both employers and employees. The money paid into pension schemes is just disappearing on the stock markets, she said. "When we retire we’re not going to have any funds left."

McCoy-Moore operates a tour bus business, MAM’s Island Tours, as well as MAM’s Janitorial Service, on both Sister Islands. She is also the office manager for the family business, McCoy’s Fishing and Diving Lodge, in Little Cayman and sells land for ERA. In addition, she drives one of the high school busses every morning and evening,which gives her a great opportunity to talk to young people.

Having worked and lived on all three islands in both private and public sectors and with all levels of society, she feels she understands the issues well. “I’m not going to buy anyone’s vote with a fridge or a microwave or a water container, but I want to work for my people and that’s why I’m offering my services again. This time I feel that people are ready for change and I am the person to implement that change,” she said.

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Immigration to explain new accreditation system

| 13/03/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Officials from the Department of Immigration will be meeting with employers and business owners as they embark on an island wide road show in a bid to explain the new work permit system that the government intends to implement. The new accreditation system requires all businesses that will employ work permit holders to become accredited before they can be considered for future permits and other immigration services.

Chief Immigration Officer Franz Manderson said the accreditation system is geared toward holding business owners accountableand rewarding best practices; advancing Caymanians in the workforce; and preventing the work-related abuse of non-Caymanians workers.

Over the coming weeks, representatives will visit all the districts to meet with small and large business owners, he said. Manderson added that the accreditation system is expected to promote good business practices, specifically by ensuring that employers are complying with the pension, health and labour laws.

“There are many outstanding business operators in Cayman who play by the rules, but unfortunately there are also instances of employers acting unscrupulously, or disregarding the fair treatment of their employees,” he said. “Sometimes employers opt not to hire Caymanians because they can employ non-Caymanians at lower wages and deny them benefits.

The accreditation system, which is based on a four-tiered points system, is a way of correcting this imbalance, Manderson said.

“It sets out a number of criteria and assigns each a score,” he explained.  “A minimum score of 350 points is necessary in order to access certain immigration services, such as consideration for work permits.” Businesses that receive more than 350 points are eligible for more benefits.

Accreditation criteria includes maintaining a high standard of business ethics; talent development programmes; employment practices; community programmes; participation in developing a currently under-developed sector, and evidence of Caymanian ownership.

“We will lookat issues such as a company’s compliance with immigration, health and pension laws; mechanisms to advance Caymanians in the workforce, such as scholarship  programmes; the number of Caymanians already hired by that company; as well as support for community initiatives,” he said.

Manderson believes the system will also bring greater transparency and equity to the work-permit application process, and attract other businesses and industries to the Cayman Islands.

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