Archive for October 4th, 2009

Electric cars could hit Cayman’s roads this year

| 04/10/2009 | 51 Comments

(CNS): With zero emissions, no noise pollution and an incredibly low carbon footprint, electric cars are one of the greenest ways to travel. But their acceptance into Cayman has been slow in coming with successive governments reluctant to license them for the roads because of their low speeds when compared to the distinctly un-eco-friendly combustion engine. However, there is now hope for a greener life as government is expected to change the licensing law before the end of this year to allow the vehicles to drive in zones with speed limits under 40mph.    

The good news is particularly welcome by John Felder of Cayman Automotive the local dealer for ZENN & GEM Electric vehicles. “We are the only business in the Caribbean offering this product to consumers,” said Felder, who added that his environmentally responsible customers include Camana Bay, Andro Electric & Orchid Development.

So far, the cars can only be used off the official roads, but all that is set to change as the new government is expected to pave the way for much wider use of these vehicles with legislation to license them for the road in zones not exceeding 35 mph. This means the cars will be able to drive in and around George Town and on the Sister islands, once the speed limit is reduced along the West Bay Road the cars will gain a much wider range.

Although the new law is currently being drafted which will see Cayman drivers offered the opportunity to be more environmental responsible, Cayman is still way behind Bermuda, which has already approved both the GEM and ZENN for use on their roadways and where the cars are being imported duty free as an incentive for the citizens to go "green". Meanwhile, Cayman is paying the same duty on these cars of the future as regular petrol and diesel burning cars and Zelder seriously hopes that the Caymanian public will get behind the cars and push for a reduction in duty to encourage far wider use across the islands.

Aside from the environment, which is probably sufficient reason alone for many people, owning and driving an electric vehicle is also ten times less expensive than a conventional vehicle. The vehicles charge from a standard 110 volt plug-in outlet, but to further reduce costs and the carbon foot print, solar panel charging stations are also available for the cars.

Amar Sheow, Marketing & Sales Representative for Cayman Automotive, said that electric vehicles provide worry-free operation and eliminate most of the replacement and repair costs of oil changes, filters, exhaust, and expensive tune-ups associated with conventional vehicles. “It makes the statement that you are socially and environmentally responsible and they are not only the future but stylish and fun. But most of all they make sound economic sense in the current reality of high fuel prices and dwindling non-renewable supply,” added Sheow.

The ZENN Electric vehicle will be taking pride of place at the forth coming Chamber of Commerce Expo on 23 & 24 October 2009 at The Family Center.

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New name for CIFSA to help define identity

| 04/10/2009 | 14 Comments

(CNS):  The Cayman Islands Financial Services Association (CIFSA) has become considerably more vociferous in the last six months as the body sought to respond more pro-actively to global tax issues and legislation from overseas that could affect Cayman’s financial industry. Now, along with this new more proactive image, comes a new and shorter name – Cayman Finance. Board member Dan Scott (left) said he and the other board members agreed that the new name reinforces the organisation’s specific identity than the previous acronym of CIFSA.

In response to this increased role as international representatives for the industry, the CIFSA Board approved the change, which Scott explained would be more recognisable than the letters. “With the increased profile our association is enjoying globally, the directors felt our name should reinforce our specific identity and that moving away from a name that is routinely reduced to an acronym (CIFSA) would have greater impact.”

With the appointment of Anthony Travers as Chairman and spokesperson, CIFSA has become far more proactive and visible in the international media. Its international profile and, more importantly, its impact have risen dramatically during 2009. Board member James Bergstrom, who has been closely involved in some of the structural changes to the organisation, explained some of them and said the body now speaks for the entire industry.

“Several other changes have been made to the structure of the organization, including new guidelines for membership, voting rights, and fee structure, which provide a more inclusive and broader base of representation. Our great strength is that when we deliver a position we speak for the entire Financial Industry,” he said.

Cayman Finance said in a letter to all its members recently that a great many challenges still lay ahead for the organization but there were many achievements already made. The new banner of Cayman Finance is expected to help drive the body forward.

“Through our collective efforts we believe that the best days for Cayman’s financial services industry are in our future,” Cayman Finance wrote to the membership.

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Hope on horizon for legislation to protect disabled

| 04/10/2009 | 3 Comments

(CNS): Given that the Bill of Rights that Cayman finally settled on does not offer rights to people with disabilities, the need for legislation to protect the more vulnerable members of the community from discrimination is widely accepted as long overdue. This week Minister of Education Rolston Anglin, and his Chief Officer Mary Rodrigues said that the ministry would be supporting the development of new legislation based on a report which was tabled in the House more than four months ago.

A committee established more than two years ago, Planning the Future for Persons with Disabilities in the Cayman Islands Steering Committee, has beenworking on reviewing the situation people with disabilities face in Cayman, as well as developing strategies to improve their lives and their rights.  The committee comprises representatives from the Education and Health ministries, practitioners from the Department of Education Services, HSA, Children and Family Services, and the Legal Department, along with parents of clients of both Lighthouse School and Sunrise Centre. 

The committee found a desperate need for a comprehensive law for persons with disabilities and formed a legal subcommittee, which produced a report that was laid in the Legislative Assembly in May 2009.

Since then, the committee has been drafting instructions for new legislation, promoting the report to the wider community, receiving public feedback on the report, and looking at policies which can be executed prior to the implementation of the law to improve the lives of the disabled as soon as possible.  

Anglin reiterated his commitment to continuing the work of these committees. “After careful review I am anxious to continue this work and take the report forward to the next stages which will involve public review and debate,” Anglin said. “Persons with disabilities in Cayman have long been pushed into the shadows, but through the work of these two committees and the development of this report, there is a much more positive future that our persons with disabilities and their families can look forward to.”

Rodrigues added that this report is the first of its kind in Cayman for persons with disabilities. “We anticipate that the report will lead the way in helping us to develop much-needed legislation to protect the rights and enhance the quality of life of this important segment of our population,” she said. “With the leadership of the committee and the support and collaboration of key stakeholders, I am confident that we can make a real difference.

She also advised that the committee will strategise on how best to address critical needs for improvements in facilities, and will plan a comprehensive PR campaign.

Mitzi Callan, a parent of a person with disabilities and a member of the Steering Committee and Legal Subcommittee said she was thrilled that Anglin was championing the cause.

“It is so important, not only to the persons themselves, but to their families too. I truly hope that we can move forward in a timely manner and I anticipate continuing my role on these two committees and working with the Ministry of Education on this initiative,” she said.

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LoGB to address fund experts over lunch

| 04/10/2009 | 6 Comments

(CNS): Given the current global developments surrounding the fund industry, the annual Cayman Fund Focus 2009 conference is likely to attract considerable attention. The one-day conference on Friday will feature discussions on International Regulation, Product Development, Insurance for the Fund Industry, Liabilities of Service Providers, Restructuring and Liquidation issues, and the Global Challenges and Opportunities Facing Cayman. The leader of government business, billed as the keynote address, adds to what Campbells, the organizers, called an impressive list of speakers.

Alistair Walters, a partner at the local Campbells office, said registrations were strong again this year because of the presenters the firm has assembled andthe challenging environment for the funds industry. He said that, while attempts are being made to hold some places open for walk-in attendees on the day of the conference, it would be wise for anyone wishing to attend to pre-register with Campbells directly or through the conference website.

“This year we are delighted that the Leader of Government Business/Premier Designate, Hon W McKeeva Bush OBE, JP, has agreed to provide the key note address,” Walters added. “Now, more than ever, government and private sector have to work closely together, and we very much appreciate that he is able to take the time out of his extremely busy schedule to address the funds industry at this event”.

The conference which is in its 7th year and a regular fixture in the financial services calendar will be held at the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman on 9 October. For more information visit or call 949 2648.

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In tough times hotels offer unusual deals

| 04/10/2009 | 0 Comments

(Los Angeles Times): Hoping to keep its 119 rooms filled, Hotel Erwin on Venice Beach is offering an unusual promotion for its countercultural clientele: an Ink and Stay package that includes $100 toward a tattoo and a bottle of tequila to numb the pain. Down the coast at the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego, guests who get the Hard Rock and a Hog deal can roll through the All-American City on a Harley Davidson motorcycle that comes complimentary with a two-night stay. But for hotel perks, it’s hard to beat the deal offered at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, where your stay comes with a free rental of a Mercedes, Porsche or BMW convertible.

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Pope warns of ‘new colonialism’

| 04/10/2009 | 1 Comment

(BBC): Pope Benedict has warned that a form of colonialism continues to blight Africa. Opening a three-week synod of African bishops, he said political colonialism was over. But he said the developed world continued to export materialism – which he called "toxic spiritual rubbish" – to the continent. Almost 200 bishops from 53 African states have gathered to discuss how the Catholic Church can help resolve the continent’s social injustices and wars. The pope said Africa also suffered increasing religious fundamentalism, in the form of religious groups which "act on behalf of God" but "teach intolerance and violence".

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Pictures of cash not allowed says money regulator

| 04/10/2009 | 4 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) is warning businesses that they cannot use images of local currency without its permission. It said that all Cayman currency is copyrighted for the benefit of CIMA and use in advertisements is restricted to ensure that there is no chance of illegal reproduction and that the Queen’s portrait is not improperly displayed. Head of Currency, Deborah Ebanks said that the strict controls are about protecting the public from fraud so any use of imagery of the currency must be cleared by CIMA first. Unlike other iconic currency Cayman’s money does not appear on souvenirs or T-shirts.

“With today’s technology and our troubling economic times, CIMA is committed to making sure that Cayman’s currency is not tampered with or used to defraud consumers,” she said. “We ask all businesses interested in promoting their services using CI currency to please follow the guidelines for reproducing the images found on our website.” 

The use of the currency in imagery is protected under section 31 of the Monetary Authority Law, which reads: “A person who, without lawful authority or excuse (the proof whereof shall be on the person accused), defaces, mutilates or perforates any currency note or coin which under this Law is made legal tender in the Islands is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine of one thousand dollars and to imprisonment for 3 months. Photographic reproduction of coins for advertisements, etc. requires the written consent of the Monetary Authority.”

Unlike other currencies such as the GB pound or the US dollar which are iconic in their own rights and reproduced on everything from mugs to T-Shirts, the CI dollar is not used in any kind of promotional material.

If a business wants to reproduce the notes for advertisements the Authority says they must seek permission and designs are normally expected to meet certain criteria. Notes whether in black and white or colour, must not be the same size as actual notes. If they are smallerthey can be up to half as long and half as wide. If they are to be larger, they must be at least twice as long and twice as wide and reproductions of parts of notes must be in the same proportions. As an additional protection against misuse, notes should be shown on the slant and not flat to camera. They should also form part of a larger pictorial design.

CIMA says that reproductions of notes for educational training purposes must also be approved and should satisfy the same size criteria as those for advertisements but may be shown flat to the camera provided that they have the word "specimen" in solid black capitals across them.

The Authority does not permit any physical reproductions of its coins in metal or other material because it needs to ensure that reproductions cannot be used to defraud the public.

It also says in its regulations that pictures of coins cannot distort the Queen’s portrait.

CIMA Said for more information on using Cayman currency in advertisements, businesses should review the guidelines posted on the Authority’s website at: in the Currency section under ‘Reproduction Guidelines’ or by calling 949-7089.


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Offshore haven considers a heresy: taxation

| 04/10/2009 | 20 Comments

(New Yok Times): What happens to a tax haven when it has to raise taxes? The Cayman Islands may soon find out. Caught in a vise of shrinking revenue and stubbornly high public spending, the Caymans averted a fiscal crisis this week by securing a $60 million overseas loan. But the Foreign and Commonwealth office in Britain, which oversees the Caymans and can veto foreign lending requests, has delivered an ultimatum: The rest of the $284 million the Cayman government says it needs will not be forthcoming until this offshore financial center imposes spending cuts and considers some form of direct taxation on businesses here and its 57,000 residents.

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Rating agency faces scrutiny

| 04/10/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The ratings agency that gave the Cayman Islands its triple A rating recently was accused of ignoring their own staff’s concerns that ratings weren’t updated at regular intervals and that the firm violated laws by knowingly providing incorrect ratings. Former Moody’s compliance executive Scott McCleskey was given the “old mushroom treatment” and kept in the dark the US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform heard last week. According to Bloomberg the House is considering legislation that would increase oversight of credit- ratings companies and make them liable for missteps and allow regulators to review the methods they use.

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Regualar flu jabs now available swine flu soon come

| 04/10/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS):  Although the Swine flu vaccine is unlikely to be available in the Cayman Islands before next month the Health Services Authority said it does have this year’s seasonal flu vaccine which is available at the Cayman Islands Hospital, District Health Centres, Faith Hospital and Little Cayman clinic from Tuesday 7 October. Dr. Kiran Kumar explained there will be two types of vaccine offered this year —  one for the season or regular flu and the other for the 2009 H1N1 flu.

Dr. Kumar said the seasonal flu vaccine will not provide protection against the 2009 H1N1 flu and that the H1N1 vaccine is expected to become available in the Cayman Islands in late October or November.  The regular flu vaccine will be available at: The General Practice Clinic at the Cayman Islands Hospital, Faith Hospital in Cayman Brac and all District Health Centres, from 2:00 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Little Cayman Clinic. Residents of Little Cayman should contact the clinic to make arrangements.

The flu vaccine is free to everyone and no appointments are necessary, however persons should indicate to the registration officer at the clinic that they need to have the flu shot.

“We recommend that people get vaccinated as soon as possible and definitely before the peak of the flu season which ranges between December and January,” Dr. Kumar says.

Dr. Kumar said that the vaccine is only effective for one season. Therefore, people at high risk for complications from influenza and those who live with or care for high-risk persons should be vaccinated early each year.  To ensure that these groups are protected the flu vaccine will offered to the following priority groups from October 7 to 20:

Young children 6 months to four years of age

Pregnant women (with prescription from Obstetrician)

People 65 years of age and older

Persons of any age with weakened immune systems and those with chronic medical conditions such as heart, kidney and lung diseases and diabetes.

People living in nursing homes and other long term care facilities.  From October 21 until supplies have been exhausted, the vaccine will be available to the general public.

“To minimize workplace disruption and ensure that as many persons as possible get vaccinated, I am also pleased to announce that our Public Health Department will continue our program of  onsite workplace vaccination initiative for companies with ten or more employees wishing to have the vaccine” Dr. Kumar added.  Companies interested in the program should contact the Public Health Department at 244-2648 to register.


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