Archive for November 24th, 2009

Walkers to talk funds in the big apple

| 24/11/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): With investor confidence tentatively returning, local legal firm Walkers says the hedge fund sector is gearing up for recovery and it will be spreading the word about the future of the sector in New York next week. The firm is hosting a special educational seminar to explore the issues facing the investment funds industry. The latest in the series of ‘Walkers Fundamentals’ events, anticipated regulatory changes for funds and their advisors, the liquidity of markets and expected investment inflows in 2010, as well as fiduciary responsibilities and increasing the effectiveness of due diligence will all be on the seminar agenda.

Mark Lewis, senior investment funds partner with Walkers in the Cayman Islands said that the last seminar was a resounding success and was happy to be returning with “Opening the Gate – A Discussion on Building Investor Confidence and Positioning for Recovery” on 2 December with the industry in much better shape but with issues to address for 2010.  

"Our clients want to lay the foundation for stable, long-term growth. To do that they must have confidence in their fund documents and prepare their business models for increased regulation and heightened levels of due diligence and fiduciary responsibility. This year’s seminar will provide our clients with insights that will help them achieve their goals," he added.

Ingrid Pierce, partner with Walkers and head of the firm’s Cayman Islands hedge funds practice said the seminar comes at an opportune time.

"Last year’s seminar took place in the immediate aftermath of Lehman’s collapse; this year it comes at a moment when managers are eager to get their houses in order before the next upswing,” she observed.

“Many of our clients have completed their restructuring work and are now seeing the tail end of the liquidity issues which came to the forefront last year. Some of our clients are launching new funds with different terms and they are meeting investor requests for increased transparency and additional disclosure. It is important that these tasks are undertaken with an understanding of the broader market."

Walkers has assembled a high calibre group of guest speakers for the event who will share their expertise. Scheduled speakers include the following:

Todd Groome, Non-Executive Chairman of the Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA) who will outline the state of the industry and the emerging regulatory framework, in particular the likely impact of the European Union’s Alternative Investment Fund Manager (AIFM) Directive;

Joel Press, Managing Director, Prime Brokerage Division, Morgan Stanley who will examine the market developments anticipated for 2010; and

Gregory Zuckerman, author and Special Writer at The Wall Street Journal, who will study the hedge fund industry’s love-hate relationship with bubbles in the market.

Partners from Walkers and Walkers Fund Services will also pull from their own experiences working with global clients to address key aspects including the responsibilities and accountability of service providers, the lender’s perspective on financing for funds, as well as the current issues regarding restructuring.

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Cultural norms challenged

| 24/11/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): People in the community are being urged to challenge cultural and social norms that encourage violence and get to grips with the Cayman Islands’ continuing problem of gender violence. With the start of the ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence’, which begins today, 25 November, which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and runs through 10 December, the Estella Scott-Roberts Foundation is asking people to “be the change”. Foundation Director Tammy Ebanks-Bishop says the community needs to re-examine how it deals with conflict and to recognize the equality between men and women.

The consultation period regarding the pending legislation, which is hoped will help protect women and children from domestic abuse and gender violence, remains open until 30 November. People are invited to send comment and those who have suffered gender violence or any form of domestic abuse are particularly asked to comment in order to ensure that the law which emerges from this exercise has teeth.

In the meantime, the ESRF is pointing out steps people can take to begin the process of eliminate the violence form our community.

“We all need to re-evaluate the media that we allow our children to watch in order to ensure that children learn non-violent conflict resolution skills, and as adults we have to challenge the cultural norms that violence in an intimate relationship is acceptable or ‘normal’,” said Ebanks-Bishop, adding that there was a need to promote and act upon the belief that men and women, boys and girls have equal value to our society,essential to achieving gender equality in our society.

She noted how children learn their behaviour from their parents. Therefore, if the community ensures its children are growing up in safe, stable and nurturing relationships with their parents and caregivers, they will learn not to use violence. Parenting is vital in the prevention of gender violence as children look to adults and peers in their lives to model how they are supposed to interact with the opposite sex, she said.

Since gender violence is statistically more commonly inflicted by men on women and girls, the foundation director said it is necessary to challenge the stereotypes that give men power over women and girls. Gender violence both reflects and reinforces inequities between males and females and compromises the health, dignity, and safety of its victims.

“We have to begin to engage with men and boys on these topics in order to reduce the violence against women and girls that is all too prevalent in this and many societies around the world,” ESRF Chairperson Rayle Roberts said. The ESRF will be further pursuing this issue as they plan to host ‘A Call to Men Conference’ in mid-2010, which will encourage men to examine their roles as a part of the solution to address violence against women and girls.

“The eradication of gender violence cannot be the responsibility only of specific groups or the government,” Roberts added  “It is up to all of us to be the change, and to ensure that support is available to victims of gender violence and all violent crime.”

The foundation launched the ‘Be the Change’ campaign on 10 October, the first anniversary of the tragic death of Estella Scott-Roberts.

“Estella became a local icon through the work she did in the community to address domestic abuse and raise awareness about the issue,” ESRF Vice Chairperson Melanie McLaughlin said. “Her passing touched the nation profoundly, and we wanted to mark the anniversary with a campaign which builds on the foundations she laid.”

The foundation intends for the campaign to challenge men and women to work together to become the change they want to see in our society. “We want to promote the Foundation’s vision of gender equality and a life free of violence for all,” added Ebanks-Bishop

For more information on the ‘Be the Change’ campaign, visit: or The Estella Scott-Roberts Foundation on Facebook. Persons interested in purchasing the ESRF lapel pin ($5) that was launched as a part of the campaign can send a message via the Facebook page or email

Following the tragic death of Estella Scott-Roberts in 2008, the foundation bearing her name was formed on 31 October that year. Rayle Roberts, Estella’s husband, envisioned the foundation as a vehicle that would continue to raise awareness about the social issues that his wife had been so passionately involved in tackling, such as domestic violence and abuse.

The objectives of the foundation are to advocate for a life free of violence; to carry out activities to facilitate the empowerment of women and girls; to support policies and research projects that further the aim of gender equality; and to advance progress in dealing with social issues affecting women. The Estella Scott-Roberts Foundation is a non-profit company licensed in the Cayman Islands.

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Work presses on to preserve Miss Lassie’s house

| 24/11/2009 | 6 Comments

(CNS): As work continues on the project to restore and preserve Miss Lassie’s House as a national monument and museum, a team from the Cayman National Cultural Foundation gave the house a facelift recently in preparation for Christmas. The house, located at the intersection of Walkers and South Sound Road, was painted and the yard cleaned to give the property a fresh look while refurbishment continues. The original shutters adorned with Miss Lassies famous nurals have been replaced with plywood shutters for protection and security during the hurricane season, but the originals are being stored in order to preserve them.

Replica shutters with murals will eventually replace the original shutters, as the murals on the originals can no longer stand up to weathering. Steve Hawley, a local contractor who is working on the project, is making replica shutters that have an aged look.

Gladwyn Bush, who was better known as Miss Lassie, passed away on 24 November 2003 at age 89 having only started painting when she was 62 years old.  Driven by voices that inspired her to paint every available surface inside and outside her home, she also produced almost 200 pieces on canvas in a style described as “intuitive”, an art form which is an emotionally raw expression lacking a formal perspective.

The Cayman Cultural Foundation (CNCF) holds around 122 pieces of Miss Lassie’s work, while some are in private hands, including in galleries across Europe and the US.

It was more than five years ago that the CNCF Artistic Director Henry Muttoo, who knew Miss Lassie, began campaigning to preserve the 48 South Sound Road property. The dream became a reality last year when the previous government invested $1 million in the project to buy the house and the surrounding land. 

The preservation project involves the National Gallery, the National Museum and the Ministry of Culture, and a fund raising effort is also continuing to raise a further $1million to cover the costs of the refurbishment and preservation work.

The goal is to turn the site into a National Heritage site and to hold the property forever in trust for the people of the Cayman Islands. When the project is complete, the building and its interior will be renovated to museum standards, able to handle thousands of visitors and the local climate, and the larger building at the rear of the property will be turned into a shop, small restaurant and service centre.

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Swine flu vaccine further delayed

| 24/11/2009 | 9 Comments

(CNS): Cayman is unlikely to receive its first batch of Swine flu vaccine until the end of this year or possibly not until 2010. The UK has, according to government, agreed to send around 12,500 doses of the H1N1 shot, which should be enough to cover high risk local groups, but worldwide shortages are putting pressure on supplies and government is trying to secure other sources. The minister for health said he has also been talking with a manufacturer that could supply the vaccine directly to health officials in Cayman.

“My ministry will continue to support the Public Health Department in securing enough H1N1 vaccine for our population,” Mark Scotland said. “To date, the H1N1 vaccine was not available on the open market and we focused our efforts on working with the UK and PAHO to secure the vaccine. However, we are also now working with a manufacturer that can supply vaccine directly to us. Even so, because demand is outstripping supply worldwide, here too supplies will only be available in the New Year.”

The Public Health Department has requested an initial 12,500 H1N1 vaccine doses from the UK to cover most of the high-risk groups, Medical Officer of Health Dr Kiran Kumar said.

Meanwhile, Public Health has also been working closely with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) to secure a second source of H1N1 vaccine. PAHO will be receiving its first supplies – a million doses – in the second week of December. The bulk of its supplies, some 33 million doses, will only arrive between February and April next year.

“These doses have to be divided amongst all Caribbean and Latin America countries and will be allocated according to population size. Therefore, we cannot be sure how many doses we will receive in each instalment,” Dr Kumar explained.

To date, Cayman has registered a total of 109 confirmed H1N1 cases – four of these were confirmed during the past two weeks.

While the public awaits the H1N1 vaccine’s arrival, Dr Kumar continues to urge proactive measures. “Staying home when you are sick, keeping sick children out of school and frequent hand washing remain the best defences,” he said. The Health Services Authority has set-up a dedicated Flu Clinic where people with severe flu symptoms can be treated as a priority and segregated from other patients to prevent the spread.

Meanwhile, doctors in Canada are being advised not to use 170,000 doses of the vaccine manufactured by pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline following a number of allergic reactions to the drug. Company spokeswoman Gwenan White said that GlaxoSmithKline has advised medical staff in Canada to refrain from using one batch of the vaccine while they look into reports that that it might have caused more allergic reactions than normal.

Six people in Canada had suffered an allergic reaction and GlaxoSmithKline is only investigating the one batch, as it said no other doses around the world are affected.

Yesterday, the World Health Organisation reported that 65 million people have been vaccinated to date worldwide and there have been 10 known cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome, an auto-immune based paralyzing condition often seen following viral infection.

The agency said the side-effects of the H1N1 shot have been typical of flu vaccines: “As anticipated, side effects commonly reported include swelling, redness, or pain at the injection site, which usually resolves spontaneously a short time after vaccination. Fever, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches, occurring shortly after vaccine administration,have also been reported, though with less frequency. These symptoms also resolve spontaneously, usually within 48 hours. In addition, a variety of allergic reactions has been observed. The frequency of these reactions is well within the expected range.” WHO said.

Health officials in Norway have reported three cases of H1N1 swine flu that have a mutation which enables the virus to attack the deep lungs. Whether this means the virus is or could become more dangerous is unclear. “This mutation has been seen sporadically here and there around the world. Sometimes it’s been seen in patients who had very mild disease and sometimes it’s been seen in people who had more severe or fatal disease,” said Dr Anne Schuchat, the director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. 

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Music and bigotry

| 24/11/2009 | 18 Comments

There has been a lot of chit-chat over the airwaves and newspaper letters recently that have compelled me to lift my pen. It’s all part of the expat-Caymanian debate which I usually don’t get involved in.

My argument has always been this – unscrupulous people come in all colours, shapes, sizes, races, and nationalities and if I have any objection to an individual work-permit holder, Caymanian, or any other human being it is likely to be based on scruples.

This being said, what has drawn this Caymanian into the debate is the persistent attack on teachers who play music on the side. And to the objectors I ask – ARE YOU FOR REAL?!

To give some clarity, there are two things that I ask that the objector consider.

1. Music is a subjective thing. It is much like the human voice. An instrument will react to different people in different ways. How one lady plays the sax is going to differ in style, sound, and plain old soul than how a man down the road plays the same instrument with the same reed. How one plays an instrument will vary also from genre to genre. How a sax is used in a soca band is going to be completely different from how it is used in a band that plays classic rock (a genre most Caymanian bands wouldn’t touch anyway). How then can you tell a band leader of a jazz band that he should not hire the lady who has played jazz for 15 years but instead he should hire the boy who plays classical because he is a Caymanian?

To deny the subjectivity of music is to disrespect the art. And no true artist disrespects the art they claim to fight for.

2. Let’stalk about teachers. Teachers, a bit like nurses, are hard to come by and absolutely impossible for a society to grow without. They also happen to be some of the worst paid and best qualified professionals the world over. Cayman does its best to recruit qualified and dignified professionals to entrust our children’s growth to – both our public school system and our private schools. I have been privileged to be taught by many of these professionals and have come out the better for it. There are teachers who play music who contribute in invaluable and irreplaceable ways teaching serious subjects like IT and physics. You know what many others of them teach? You guessed it! MUSIC. They join bands, not only to supplement their teacher’s income but to keep their skills fresh – skills they then return to work and pass on to CAYMANIAN students.

So when I heard objections to varying people’s work permits to allow them to play music I listened with half an ear. And then when I heard it was TEACHERS – the people who have made their life’s work the shaping of Cayman’s future – my question again… are you FOR REAL?

Which begs the real question – what is the REAL objection here?

Let’s face it. This isn’t patriotism. This is eliminating the competition.

For this reason I belong to no association. Naked bigotry will never appeal to someone like me…

…someone who is in it for the MUSIC.


Holda Wright-Note is a Caymanian musician

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Police send warning to drivers ahead of holiday season

| 24/11/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Local officers will soon begin the Christmas road safety enforcement campaign, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service said today (24 November). The aim is to both discourage and detect instances of drink driving and speeding, and to challenge all bad driver behaviour the service warned. “The message is clear – don’t drink and drive and don’t let others drive when they shouldn’t,” police said. Drivers with high blood alcohol content are at an increased risk of car accidents and vehicular deaths.


Every accident caused by drunk driving is completely preventable, the RCIPS said in a statement, but unfortunately alcohol impaired driving remains a serious problem that can affect many lives. The Traffic Department alerted drivers to the fact that it takes less alcohol than one might think for driving to be impaired and warned of the risks to motorists and pedestrians alike.

“As we approach the holiday season it is essential that drivers remember that if they are going to drink they should either leave their vehicle at home or find a designated driver. Any amount of alcohol can impair reaction times and the consequences can be devastating,” advised Inspector Adrian Barnett, officer in charge of the RCIPS Traffic Management Department.  “It is a privilege to own a driver’s licence and as we share the roads with other drivers we must travel within the laws.”

Last year 321 people were charged with driving under the Influence on Cayman’s roads, an increase of over 18% on the previous year and an average of 26.7 arrests per month. The 2008 Christmas police campaign had a significant impact on the statistics as only 15 drivers were arrested during December. However, the campaign did not manage to influence behaviour once it was over, as 31 drivers were arrested in January 2009. According to the latest RCIPS statistics between January and June of this year 167 drivers have been arrested for DUI.



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Swiss Re bond lets investors bet against swine flu

| 24/11/2009 | 0 Comments

(InvestmentNews): Swiss Reinsurance Co. Ltd. today introduced a $75 million catastrophe bond that covers extreme mortality risks related to a swine flu epidemic. The offering, which was sold through a private placement, guards against unexpectedly high mortality rates in the United States and the United Kingdom for five years. Essentially, investors will bet that mortality rates related to the H1N1 flu virus won’t be unusually high. Vita Capital IV Ltd., a special-purpose vehicle in the Cayman Islands, issued the H1N1 bond in the capital markets.

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New Yellow Pages website

| 24/11/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Caribbean Publishing Company (CPC), publishers of the Cayman Islands Yellow Pages® have launched a new version of its online phone number listings, and to promote it they have developed a brain-teasing treasure hunt with a weekly cash prize. CPC says in a release that they collaborated with a web building team to provide a more comprehensive source of company information about Cayman businesses with a fresh look and feel and a faster simplified search.

The new website facilitates a quicker, more meaningful connection of consumers and businesses through several new features, such as improved look, simplified search layout, faster more meaningful search results for the user, easier to find and navigate, more information about local businesses, and an improved user experience.

“This site is Cayman’s best local search where customers can find what they need, when they need it to help them in their everyday life. It’s completeness, accuracy and robust information about the local market is a gold standard that sets apart," said Chris Morgan, Regional Sales Manager for CPC. "This is a significant step for us – and for the industry – as we remain dedicated to providing the most logical source for consumers who are increasingly searching the Internet for local information", added Chris.

To celebrate the launch of the new website, Caribbean Publishing Company is giving anyone the opportunity CI$500 each week through a treasure hunt using the new website. The treasure hunt will consist of following clues and solving riddles to find a set of letters on the website that spells out the hidden word. Letters have to be arranged to form the secret word to gain access to the treasure. All correct entries will be collected and a winner will be selected by a draw every Monday.

The promotion runs from 25 November to 14 December, with a new Treasure Hunt each Wednesday. Visit for riddles and clues.

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Schools sailing regatta

| 24/11/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): An annual event to determine Cayman’s top school sailing team, the 2009 RBC School Sailing Championship will take place The regatta, organized and held at the Cayman Islands Sailing Club and National Sailing Centre in Red Bay, was started over ten years ago and has grown to include almost every school in Cayman. In 2008 a junior division was added for students in years 4 to 6, which was won by St. Ignatius, which also took first place the senior division.

Sailing Director, Michael Weber, notes that “this year will be the most competitive event ever. We’ve had teams training since September and I think that it will be a challenge for St. Ignatius to hold on to the title as the top sailing team.”

This year two new schools, North Side Primary and George Town Primary have entered the regatta. Mr Weber said, “These schools are now able to sail competitively because of the time and effort that is put into the school sailing programme by both the schools and the sailing instructors. Again we must thank Royal Bank of Canada for their kind sponsorship.”

the regatta will be held on Friday 27 November from 9am to 3pm. Each school can enter a junior team (years four to six) of ten sailors and one or two senior teams (years seven and above) of five sailors.

Schools must email to enter a team. The registration deadline is November 15th 2009.

For more information on sailing in the Cayman Islands, check out the club’s website at or join the Facebook group, Cayman Islands Sailing Club and the National Sailing Centre.


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Christians pray for Obama’s death

| 24/11/2009 | 1 Comment

(Salon): Pastors are invoking Psalm 109 — "May his days be few" — in hopes of saving our country, and our souls. Pastor Wiley Drake preaches on most Sundays in a church tucked in between California’s big amusement parks, a place some people refer to as "Wiley World." The particular Sunday I visited First Southern Baptist Church was the weekend following the Fort Hood tragedy, when U.S. Army psychiatrist, and Muslim, Maj. Nidal M. Hasan, shot and killed 13 people. “Ladies and gentlemen,” Drake said as he addressed the group of about 60 gathered in Buena Park that evening, just down the street from Knott’s Berry Farm. “If they’re a Muslim, they’re a danger to this country.”

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