Archive for November 19th, 2009

Bars given extra hour for New Year’s Eve celebrations

| 19/11/2009 | 8 Comments

(CNS):  As is tradition unless New Year’s Eve falls on a Saturday, the Liquor Licensing Board Chairman, Mitchell Welds, has confirmed that liquor licensees will be permitted one additional business hour beyond regular closing times, as specified by their licences. Welds said valid liquor licence holders can extend their opening hours for the celebrations but reminded them that the licence stipulations would still be in effect. This year New Years Eve will be on a Thursday night, starting a long weekend break before its back to work for 2010.

“The extension applies to all seven categories of holders but different categories have different closing times,” Welds said. “Liquor sales and the playing of music must cease during the last ten minutes of permitted opening hours and all customers must vacate the premises before closing.”  

For more information, licensees and members of the public may contact Liquor Licensing Board Executive Secretary Marva Scott by calling 946-5446 ext. 5 or emailing

Continue Reading

Cayman bond yields 5.95%

| 19/11/2009 | 14 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands government appears to have secured a good deal on the open markets to re-finance its debt. The launch of a $312 million, 10-year bond offer today, Thursday 19 November, has, according to reports, yielded 5.95%. The yield on the notes, which will be listed in The Cayman Islands and London, came in tighter than the guidance given on Wednesday of 6% to 6.125%. HSBC is the sole book-runner on the deal and CNS understands that the issue was oversubscribed and is the tightest deal that a Caribbean country has ever achieved. The debt was a combination of various government borrowings that were due to be paid at the end of this year.

The announcement of government’s intention to issue the bond was made in the Legislative Assembly yesterday by Premier McKeeva Bush when he brought a motion to facilitate the issue. He said government had made the decision to issue the bond on the open markets because of the size of the debt and based on advice that suggested the CIG would be likely to get a wider reach and a better interest rate, which turned out to be the case.

Bush said at the time that he could not elaborate on the details as the terms had not been set and the government would not know the final terms until the bond was issued.

According to the final term sheet, the bond interest will be payable semi-annually in arrears in May and November the first interest payment will be due on 24 May 2010.  The issue which is Cayman’s first international sale of government bonds has reportedly been taken up by a wide distribution of buyers from North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

On Friday morning a release from the ministry of finance confirmed the yeild and said that the Notes have not been registered under the U.S. Securities Act, as amended, (the “U.S. Securities Act”) and unless so registered, may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration or an applicable exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to, the registration requirements of the US. Securities Act and other applicable securities laws.

The offer comes on the heels of other offers from the Caribbean and Central America this week. The Bahamas raised $300 million through a 20-year bond yielding 7%, while Panama priced $1 billion in 10-year notes with a 5.224% yield. According to reports on Bloomberg, a number of governments from the emerging markets have been or are planning first-time debt offerings to take advantage of what it described as the biggest bond rally in at least 11 years.

Continue Reading

Robbery at knifepoint

| 19/11/2009 | 17 Comments

(CNS): Police have arrested one suspect following a robbery by two masked men in the early hours of this morning in the vicinity of Royal Palms, on the West Bay Road. The robbers, who were both dressed in full black, with hoodies and black masks and carrying knives, approached a man and took two phones from him. Police said no one was injured during the incident. The robbery was reported to the 911 Communications Centre at approximately 2:15am. Officers responded and searched the West Bay Road area and a short time later one man was arrested on suspicion of robbery. Police have not conirmed if the victim was a visitor or a resident.

Investigations continue by RCIPS CID and anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to call 9494222 or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS).

Continue Reading

Alcohol protects men’s hearts, study says

| 19/11/2009 | 2 Comments

(BBC): Drinking alcohol every day cuts the risk of heart disease in men by more than a third, a major study suggests. The Spanish research involving more than 15,500 men and 26,000 women found large quantities of alcohol could be even more beneficial for men. Female drinkers did not benefit to the same extent, the study in Heart found. Experts are critical, warning heavy drinking can increase the risk of other diseases, with alcohol responsible for 1.8 million deaths globally per year. The study was conducted in Spain, a country with relatively high rates of alcohol consumption and low rates of coronary heart disease. The research involved men and women aged between 29 and 69, who were asked to document their lifetime drinking habits and followed for 10 years.

Go to article

Continue Reading

Oxford philosopher pledges 1/3 of his salary to charity

| 19/11/2009 | 0 Comments

(Guardian): As far as I can tell, Toby Ord is not wearing a hair shirt under his nice overcoat. But then he isn’t as worthy as I expected. A moral philosopher, Ord has pledged a third of his £30,000 salary as a research associate at Oxford University this year to charity, and will give away 10% for the rest of his working life. "I worked out my total future earnings would be around £1.5m," he says, as we sit on a bench under a horse chestnut tree. "I worked out how much I would need to live on and I realised I could give away £1m without missing out." He wants you to join him.

Go to article

Continue Reading

Minister offers backing for promotion of safe sex

| 19/11/2009 | 15 Comments

(CNS): The minister for heath has offered his support to proactive sexual health education and the drive to mainstream the idea of safe sexual habits. Mark Scotland said that condoms remain the only readily available and effective way to prevent the spread of HIV – and other sexually transmitted infections – among sexually active people. Opening a workshop on Condom Programming and Promotion in the Prevention of HIV and Unplanned Pregnancies, the minister said that people need to talk about safe sex.

“Parents especially need to be proactively involved, prepared to discuss these ‘taboo’ subjects with teenagers, especially our girls – for they are the most vulnerable. Having difficult conversations now can save a lot of tears later,” Scotland said. “We need to accept that avoiding talk about sex and contraception does not protect anyone. Without frank conversations, we simply have no chance of changing attitudes, yet altering people’s mindsets lies at the heart of the solution."

He said that while HIV/AIDS and teen pregnancies were topics many wish they did not need to discuss, people had to be honest as both are realities in the Cayman Islands and young people are increasingly at risk.

The multi-agency workshop workshop is a collaboration by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the ministry, intended to strengthen Cayman’s national family planning and reproductive health programmes. GIS stated that the main objective of the three-day workshop was to increase awareness and understanding of reproductive health issues. Participants include government health officials as well as representatives from non-governmental agencies such as the Red Cross.

“This workshop is timely and important, and will help to ensure that our health care workers remain ahead of the curve when it comes to prevention,” Scotland added.

UNFPA Country Coordinator and workshop facilitator Mario Aguilar said the UN organization focuses on improving women’s quality of life. “While we will talk a lot about condoms during this workshop, our aim is to reduce infant mortality, reduce unwanted pregnancies (including teenage pregnancy), and reduce the transmission of HIV/AIDS.”

The workshop agenda includes promoting condom use, implementing effective HIV prevention activities and helping people to change risky practices, such as having unprotected sex.

While on island, Aguilar will also assess Cayman’s national HIV, sexual and family planning programmes.

Continue Reading

Mac heads east as he goes back on the road

| 19/11/2009 | 10 Comments

(CNS): Following his ‘live tour’ of London and five US cities, the new premier goes back on the road next week as he heads out to promote the Cayman Islands financial services industry in Asia. McKeeva Bush and the road show delegates, forming part of the marketing event, will be visiting Singapore and Hong Kong. The goal is not just to promote Cayman’s existing experience and services in the finance sector but to encourage new areas of business such as fund management and reinsurance to relocate.

“We are keen to create the most attractive environment possible to encourage more financial services firms to locate operations in the Cayman Islands,” said Bush when he was in New York “Just as we built our reputation in our current lines of business such as funds, insurance and banking, we know that we need to do the same – even more so – to extend our leadership position in other areas of international financial services.”

After meeting with finance experts in London, the first stop on the tour, the delegates headed to New York, where they met with several leaders in New York’s financial services industry at a briefing held there on 16 November.  As they did in London, the Cayman Islands delegation highlighted the new programmes and incentives identified to facilitate the domiciling and relocation process, including specific immigration policies for new investors and boosting departments’ capacity to service investor relocation in the CaymanIslands.

Government is offering a package which predominately includes changes to immigration policies that will make it easier for financial entities to relocate their staff and attract and retain talent. Government is particularly keen to attract more physical financial operations and move away from the plaque on a door business to more association with the offshore industry.

Several private sector representatives from Cayman Islands firms accompanied the government officials to support the government’s position. Rick Severance from Camana Bay, one of the those private sector partners supporting the initiative, highlighted Camana Bay’s special incentives and a dedicated lifestyle concierge for a select group of potential investors considering relocating to the Cayman Islands.

Continue Reading

Cayman Finance opens web window to the world

| 19/11/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS):Part of its goal to promote the Cayman Islands in a positive light and continue the battle to counter the attack on the jurisdiction and other offshore centres by the G20 countries, Cayman Finance has introduced a new website which, it says, reflects the organisation’s new emphasis on public disclosure, information sharing, and its proactive approach to the global village. In keeping with the focus on being proactive now instead of reactive, the site is a global platform for Cayman Finance to deliver its own message to the world about the industry.

The updated site includes a new blog section, where representatives of Cayman Finance, formerly the Cayman Islands Financial Services Association (CIFSA), will be posting commentary on issues or events that will affect the jurisdiction.  Members of the public are invited to leave their own comments on each blog posting in the hopes of creating a broader understanding of the key issues and promoting productive discussions on these topics, although users are asked to leave a name.

“The new site is very much a news portal, a central resource if you will, where individuals can find the latest information and commentary on issues affecting Cayman’s financial services industry,” says Anthony Travers, Chairman of Cayman Finance, whose latest blog on the site criticizes the Foot Report for missing the mark and cultural particularism.

Located at, the site also includes international news with stories from around the world related to financial services. Cayman Finance news contains all the news releases from Cayman Finance, an Events section highlighting upcoming conferences and events, a Publications section where members can share reports, surveys, presentations, ad summaries of legal decisions, and an Archive section for news releases and articles from prior years.  The home page contains a section called The Latest that pulls the most interesting news stories from each section and includes other original content released by Cayman Finance.

Taking advantage of the latest technology available, Cayman Finance said the site also includes a powerful multi-media section and is connected to the most frequently used social media sites.

“This incarnation has been developed with an international audience very much in mind and with the goal of supporting the global public relations and lobbying efforts undertaken by Cayman Finance in defense of the local industry,” the organization said. 

Lauding the amount of information on the site and its powerful search function to help users find the specific information they are seeking, Cayman Finance said it anticipated the new website to be an effective tool in developing stronger relationships with news outlets around the world.

Continue Reading

Government plans future cuts

| 19/11/2009 | 14 Comments

(CNS):  Although government is predicting operating expenses for 2010/11 to be only a fraction less than this year, at around $531.3 million, the premier said that the following two years will see core government spending cut to $522.3 million. Delivering the UDP administration’s Strategic Policy Statement for the fiscal year 2010/11 McKeeva Bush vowed to cut public expenditure and reduce government debt to around $470 million by the year 2013. Outlining wider policy goals for government, which included new revenue measures, improving the performance of statutory authorities and entering into private partnerships, he also vowed to control government spending.

Bush told the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday that public spending could not be allowed to continue growing at the rates of previous years. “Over the past four financial years, from 2005/06 to 2008/09, government operating expenses grew from $372.19 million to $525.98 million — that is a 41% increase,” he said. “This rate of increase is unacceptable to my government and we are taking definitive steps to address this in a sensible manner.”

Although he did not outline in detail what those steps would be, he said that a review of public services was to be conducted by a team, headed by Deputy Governor Donovan Ebanks, which would report back to Cabinet by January 2010, in time to make recommendations for the next budget.

“Our undertaking as a government is to act as needed to either reduce expenses or increase revenues,” Bush stated. He pointed to over staffing, improving management, further training and streamlining or simplifying processes as areas to examine.

The targets set out in the SPS, which, the premier said, were about complying with responsible financial management as set out in the PMFL, would not be easy to achieve and would require managers in public service to exercise strict financial management, but government would do its part to support and encourage the operation of government within the targets of the policy statement. However, he made it clear he expected public sector workers to deliver.

“”I maintain that in general we have a civil service of high quality. There is a saying that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. This is a chance for them to shine, to show what they can do,” Bush noted.

He did say that he was also committed to finding a wider more sustainable income base for the country and predicted, optimistically, that government’s core revenue for 2010/11 would be over $580 million, almost $20 million more than revenue expectations for this fiscal year. This goal was expected despite the fact that Cayman’s economic fortunes were expected to get worse in 2010/11 and that GDP would grow at only 1.6%.  With fortunes predicted to improve in 2012 and 2013, he said government revenue would reach $585m in 2011/12 and $590m in 2012/13, giving government a projected surplus of $22.8m next year and $35.6m and $41.15m in the following years.

Making the statement in his new role as the Minister for Finance, he went on to say that government aimed to keep borrowing well within the limits of the PMFL and that he would reduce the overall government debt burden as capital projects were completed and with no new borrowing. Bush said government would use the predicted budget surpluses to finance its capital projects over the next three fiscal years and would not add to the existing debt as he intended to start reducing it. The finance minister said he was committed to keeping all budgets compliant with the PMFL.

Outlining 19 broad outcome goals, Bush said government’s primary focus over the next three years would be economic improvement, as well as enhanced social welfare and the elevation of education standards. Promising to provide leadership in challenging times, he also took aim at the opposition benches.

“The focus of this administration is not on personal accusations and the destruction of people’s character, it is not even on the winning of the next election, as was evident in the political operations of the last government,” the premier said. “My government’s focus is on moving this country to higher and safer ground and making sure our people advance.”

Despite pointing out earlier in his presentation that the economy is expected to worsen before it gets better, he said the policy statement established realistic and achievable targets.

When Leader of the Opposition Kurt Tibbetts stood to make a response to the policy statement, he noted that in the SPS itself government has said the predictions were based on a thorough forecasting exercise in just the same way that his government had made its predictions in its previous SPS.

He then pointed out how different the real outcome had been and questioned whether the current government could depend on the financial predictions any more than his administration had been able to. He also said it would be difficult to meet the surplus given that the country was supposed to be bankrupt.

Asking if there were figures available yet to indicate if the 2009/10 budget was on track, Tibbetts also queried what government would do if the projections were incorrect, given the fact there was very little room for error in the current budget before it would be in deficit. “If the surplus is not realized, where do we go from there?” he asked.

In his rebuttal Bush accused the opposition of making a mess and then criticising him for not mopping hard enough. But he acknowledged that, given the global uncertainties and the precarious position left by the previous administration, there was no real certainty with the budget predictions.

He also pointed out that, whatever they said about the projections during their time in office, they had accepted those economic forecasts as they brought them to the LA and passed the budgets based on those forecasts. “They must have agreed with the estimates,” he said, adding that they couldn’t blame the civil servants. “You’ve got to take the blame for something,” he told the opposition benches emphatically. “You sat there for four years and spent the money.”

Continue Reading