Archive for September 11th, 2009

DCFS gets much needed help

| 11/09/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Although times are very hard for many families in Cayman at the moment local firms and service clubs have been stepping up to the plate to help out when families face the extra expense of ‘back-to-school’. Campbells Attorneys-at-Law donated CI$2000 recently to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) for school uniforms, the Business and Professional Women’s donated school supplies and the Lions club also handed over a cheque for $888.

J. Ross McDonough a partner as Campbells told DCFS Director Deanna Look Loy that the company was keen to assist children for they are the future of the Cayman Islands and that uniforms are critical to maintaining standards, instilling discipline and building self-esteem.

“We do not want any child to feel left out; everyone wants to look and feel the same as their peers as they go back to school,” McDonough said.

Look Loy noted that 617 clients had needed uniforms at the start of the school year. She said that it cost some CI$80 to provide one full outfit (including shoes) for one child.

“Most students are required to have more than one uniform, but we do what we can. We are grateful for the companies and the citizens who have assisted; they have enabled us to provide for more children,” she said.

The latest donation from the Lions Club will also go towards uniforms. Lion Ian Callow said as part of the clubs outreach the Lions were pleased to assist, “especially in these tough economic times,” he said.

Two local women’s clubs recently came together to make back-to-school brighter for children.

The Business and Professional Women’s (BPW), and the Young Business and Professional Women’s (YBPW)  have also donated school supplies and BPW President Velma Powery-Hewitt said in the economic downturn professional organisations and clubs have to increase their help efforts. 

“There are many children in our community who need equipment for learning, and we feel that we have a responsibility to respond in these difficult times,” she said.

 YBPW Club Chairman Tulsi Bodden said the clubs held a fundraiser at Foster’s Food Fair at the Strand.  “Donations came from Cayman Shoe Shop, the Phoenix Group, the Security Centre Limited staff, First Caribbean Bank, and children who attend the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,” she said.

Look Loy thanked the membership of both clubs for their interest in and compassion for Cayman’s children.

“Your giving is welcome, particularly during this time of economic uncertainty,” she said, adding that the supplies will be divided equally among children in all six districts. She also explained that monetary donations go directly into the DCFS’ Lifeline Fund to help the students.

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Classrooms still flu-free say health officials

| 11/09/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Despite the return to school this week by all the islands’ students the feared spike in flu figures has not yet materialized. Health Service Authority officials said “flu activity” in Cayman remains low, and schools haven’t reported any abnormal incidence during the first week of classes. “While this is encouraging, we must remain vigilant,” said Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Joy Wallace. So far Cayman has seen only one fatality as a result of the HINI or swine flu virus of a patient with other medical complications.

“For now there seems to be a lull in the amount of cases overall, although we have admitted two patients with H1N1 flu to the hospital this week, both with underlying medical conditions,” the doctor added. Public health officials reiterated the importance of personal actions that can limit the spread of the H1N1 virus, such as social distancing, keeping sick children out of school and hand washing. There are still concerns that as the northern hemisphere turns into its fall season the flu will mutate and become more virulent.

For more information on H1N1 visit www.CaymanPrepared.ky or www.hsa.ky. The Health Services Authority also offers the public direct responses to their flu queries through its flu email and message system – flu@hsa.ky. This complements the 24-hour flu hotline (926-2812) manned by HSA staff.

 

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Murderer could be on tape

| 11/09/2009 | 85 Comments

(CNS): The owner of Titan Security, Matthew Leslie, who provides the Next Level Nightclub with guards, said he had ten people working the club when Carlo Webster was shot dead inside the club in the early hours of Thursday morning. Leslie said that all his staff followed procedure and everyone entering and re-entering the club was searched. He also said there were around a dozen security cameras operating both inside and outside the premises and the footage has been seized by police. As well as Webster, who was shot in the head and was dead when police and medics arrived, a second man was also shot by the gunman.

The shooter reportedly fled after firing at least three shots inside a busy nightclub, where more than 100 people were attending the club’s Reggae and Dancehall theme night. The second man is now recovering in hospital but Webster is the sixth person to be murdered in Cayman so far this year in what is proving to be another violent year for the islands with a considerable number of shootings.

Leslie told CNS that he had complete confidence in his staff and that they could not be blamed for how the gun entered the premises. He said that since Titan had taken over the security at Next Level in December 2008 there had been a dramatic decline in incidents and the owners had been praised by the Liquor Licensing Board for the improvements as well as the high ratio of security personnel to club guests. With at least eight of the security cameras inside and another four out, which were reportedly functioning, Leslie said the murder is likely to be on that footage, which has been seized by police who are currently examining the footage.

“We are averaging 15 people to every guard,” said Leslie. “The law merely requires 75 per guard, so you can see we are doing far better and, as a result, we have kept security incidences down. We don’t know how the gun got into the club but we know that our procedures were carried out to the letter.” Leslie suggested the individual must have gone to great lengths to conceal the weapon to get it past the metal detector wands, body pat-downs and bag searches.

Wednesday night is the club’s ‘local’ night, and one owner said that there would have been the least amount of tourists compared to any other night of the week in the club that night. Although Next Level is popular with visitors because of its location, Wednesdays have gradually evolved into a night geared to local tastesbecause of the music theme attracting those that live here rather than those coming to visit.

The club remained closed last night as it is still a crime scene, but Leslie said the owners were hoping to re-open as soon as possible. There has been no comment yet from the Liquor Licensing Board about the club’s licence. Police said yesterday that no arrests had been made but they were following up several leads on what was described as “an unbelievably brazen act".

There were also well over a hundred people inside who could have seen what happened and police are asking witnesses to come forward. Almost immediately after the incident the social networking website Facebook was buzzing with the details of the death. A graphic and shocking picture of Webster’s body was also circulated on the local email throughout Thursday morning.

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Travers says FCO is in no position to lecture on debt

| 11/09/2009 | 19 Comments

(CNS): Chair of the Cayman Islands Financial Services Association has described the letter from the UK Overseas Territories minister Chris Bryant as a lecture on the propriety of deficit spending. Anthony Travers said the FCO was in no position to offer advice. “If we were asking for a lecture on how to manage a country’s finances, the last institution on earth that we’d be seeking advice from would be the Foreign and Commonwealth office – and you can quote me on that,” he told CityAM a London based business-news website.

 

Travers said that the recent a allegations that Cayman was bankrupt were “unsubstantiated and blatant” pieces of propaganda and “entirely erroneous.” The CIFSA and Stock Exchange chair explained that Cayman requires British government consent as a matter of constitutional law to incur further borrowing.  “They have declined to consent thus far and it’s hard to understand why,” he adds.

Answering the usual questions over Travers’s former work place the offices of Maples & Calder at Ugland House he said that the companies are listed there for “precisely the same reasons that 217,000 companies are listed at one registered officein the vice-president’s state of Delaware” to “obtain the benefit of superior legal structures”.

Travers insisted, once again, that Cayman has been fully transparent with respect to tax matters for over a decade, most importantly, with the US since 2001 and with all 27 countries under the European Union since 2003. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has produced a three-tier list, featuring a “white list” for those offshore locations that have ‘substantially implemented’ information-sharing agreements and that Cayman recently made it on to the white list, alongside Jersey and Guernsey.

Richard Murphy an accountant with the Tax Justice Network and an outspoken critic of the offshore business community said in the same article that Cayman was coming to terms with the fact that it is basically bust. “I think others will follow,” he said. “The situation where you aren’t prepared to raise revenue to meet your ongoing revenue obligations isn’t a viable option.”

 

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