Archive for January 10th, 2010

Pink ladies serve up cash for school meals

| 10/01/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Following their fundraising efforts throughout 2009, the Pink Ladies Volunteer Corps are putting the cash towards keeping Cayman’s kids well fed in 2010 by donating funds to the Lighthouse School and various local school lunch programmes. According to Principal Carla Bodden, the Lighthouse School will be using the money towards providing breakfast and lunch to students who would otherwise not receive these meals, Creative Arts Programmes and ASDAN Programmes.

Funds were also donated to Mise en Place to support the school lunch programmes at John Gray High School and Red Bay Primary School.  Sean Collins of Mise en Place explained that the Pink Cheque received would be used to provide sponsored lunches at these schools in addition to a weekly breakfast on Fridays.

Funds are raised by the Pink Ladies Volunteer Corps through the operation of the Pink Hibiscus Coffee Shop at George Town Hospital. Breakfasts, lunches, sandwiches, salads, snacks and drinks are available daily and telephone orders are welcome (244 2661) for eat in or take out.  All funds raised are donated back into the Community.

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dms dress down for learning

| 10/01/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Local business conglomerate, dms Organization Ltd. (dms), is organising a ‘dress up – dress down day’ this Friday to raise additional funds for its Joanna Clarke Scholarship Fund. The new fund will offer financial support to an aspiring or existing educator looking to further their education or expand their professional development.  Participation in ‘dress up-dress down day’ is open to any local organization or individual willing to make a donation and dms is encouraging everybody to take part.

This scholarship fund will be in addition to its Joanna Clarke Excellence in Education Award (JCA), whereby dms grants up to $12,000 KYD annually to a worthy recipient(s). dms first introduced the JCA to publicly acknowledge the efforts of people and organizations that contribute to education in the Cayman Islands. 

“With their significant influence on young minds, dms believes that educators represent the future of Cayman as they encourage our local youth to discover their potential,” said President of dms Don Seymour. “Through this fund, it is our honour to do our part to recognize and celebrate the invaluable contributions that our teachers have in ensuring Cayman’s tomorrow.”

 The JCA Committee Member Lydia Warren said the fund was all about recognizing those who champion education, the JCA Committee and dms alike encourage the local business community tosupport the fundraising effort.. “This scholarship fund demonstrates our appreciation for the role that educators play, for this important profession does not always receive the recognition that it deserves. We appeal to the community to join with us in this endeavour,” she added.

Previous recipients of the JCA include last year’s winner, the N.C.V.O.’s Nadine Andreas Residential Foster Home for its Accessing Computer Aided Learning programme and runner-up – Cayman Islands Scout Association for Cayman Islands Scout Band. The 2008 recipient was John Gray High School for its “Blueprint for Literacy” initiative which aimed to ensure that all high school students, upon graduation, will be able to perform at their grade levels and pass at least four external exams. The 2007 recipient was Savannah Primary School PTA, which used the funding to pay for new playground equipment.

For further information on the Joanna Clarke Excellence in Education Award or Scholarship Fund, visit

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South Sound project back

| 10/01/2010 | 85 Comments

(CNS): The developers of Emerald Sound, a proposed residential canal development in South Sound which had met with considerable objection from the local community, are re-submitting a new application to planning. The Burns Conolly group, the consultant engaged to make the planning submissions, has issued information to land owners in the area detailing the revised proposal on the 91-acre site adjacent to Bel Air drive. The original objections had included several issues from drainage problems to the environment. However, Burns Conolly stated in the notice of application, on behalf of RC Estates, that the detailed information on the new plans was intended to dispel misunderstandings concerning the project.

He wrote: “Years of detailed consideration and thousands of hours of professional consulting have resulted in a very carefully thought-out development that will only enhance the area and increase property values for all. Additional studies have now been and those studies have informed the changes to the layout.”

The movement of the road as well as the construction of a bridge, the blocking of coastal views and the removal of mangroves were among the main issues which had caused controversy. Connolly states in the notice that there is no need to have a bypass but the NRA has requested a by pass road be reserved for the future. However, he said the new road would be elevated offering more protection from flooding.  He also said that the bridge would introduce new views of South Sound and with no existing coastal development in the area no property owners’ view are being blocked.

According to the notice, the drainage issue will be addressed by the use of swales and all water runoff will remain on the Emerald Sound property, which willbe completely encircled by a drainage landscape feature.

Conolly states that none of the mangroves in South Sound are protected by law and some 120 feet of mangrove and Casuarinas will be removed at the entrance to the canal on the seaside. But he said that the developers had already planted over 200 mangroves in the area and that they intend to replenish those lost during construction. He also stated that a public park would be developed to the West of the breakwater entrance.

He said, however, that the mangroves only provide limited protection during flooding and hurricanes and cannot protect against the flooding which occurred during the sea surge associated with Hurricane Ivan. The notice said that Emerald Sound would not increase the likelihood of surge since, except for the canal entrance, mangroves are not being removed and the beach ridge elevation is not being reduced. “Emerald Sound will likely improve the sea surge resistance of the area not reduce it,” Conolly claimed.

He said the development would be very low density and just over half of the land would be actually developed and the rest would be canal, landscape or public green space. “The property is allowed to have over 1360 apartments or 300 house lots,” the notice states but that this development proposes less than 170 apartments and only 82 homes.

Conolly said that RC Estates was proud of the development and its design features and that it would increase property values in the area and would be the start of a more beautiful South Sound coastal road system.

The notice and revised proposal was issued to residents in the area on 23 December who had 21 days from that date to submit their objections to the director of planning.

CNS has received notice that a community meeting for those affected by the project and others with concerns will be held at the South Sound Community Centre on Thursday evening.

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3D TV is being billed as possible industry saviour

| 10/01/2010 | 0 Comments

(BBC): 3D TV is being billed as a possible saviour for recession hit manufacturers looking to boost sales. On the opening day of the Consumer Electronics Show, CES, in Las Vegas, all the big names unveiled 3D TV’s. Industry experts said the picture looks promising with a survey showing around 3.4m 3D TV sets will be sold in the US this year. "It’s a challenging market. We need something to kick us out of this," said Panasonic’s Elsuke Tsuyuzaki. "To me, the thing that’s going to get us there is 3D," added the firm’s chief technology officer. "2009 is a year none of us want to repeat," said Gary Shapiro the president of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) which hosts the annual tech gathering.

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Unemployment still growing

| 10/01/2010 | 23 Comments

(CNS): As the Cayman Islands domestic economy continues to suffer, there are currently 882 people registered with the Department of Employment Relations that say they are looking for work. Although figures had fallen in November ’09 from earlier highs of around 900 last year, the January figure has increased by around 40 people.  In what was a difficult year for Cayman when it came to jobs, Lonny Tibbetts, the director of the department, said it had managed to place over 200 people in work through 2009 and it currently has some 244 listed vacancies.

Tibbetts also said despite the particularly tough time, with a number of major layoffs over the last few months, since October his department has placed 51 people in work. However, he stated that twice as many people had registered with the DER saying they were seeking work in the same period.

Although Cayman has yet to get a true picture on the economic activity for the first six months of this fiscal year during the presentation of the 2009/10 budget, Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson had predicted that Cayman’s real GDP growth in 2009/10 would be down -3.3% and unemployment would reach an all time high of 5.5%.

With the collector of customs recently stating that imports to Cayman were down by more than 15%, a direct reflection of flagging retail sales, the prospect for job creation in the private sector is still low. With the school projects on hold, the glass house construction coming to end and all major government capital projects (with the exception of the affordable hosing initiative) on hold, government is also offering few opportunities to generate new jobs and pick up some of the employment slack caused by the economic downturn.

According to reports on News 27 this week, the chamber of commerce has also said that its members have reported a relatively disappointing Christmas season with festive sales flatter than expected.

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Travers takes issue with UK press on hidden cash

| 10/01/2010 | 30 Comments

(CNS): The chair of Cayman Finance has taken the UK media to task over its depiction of the Cayman Islands. In a letter to the editor published in the weekend edition of the Daily Telegraph Anthony Travers accuses the right wing broad sheet and other UK papers of taking, “intelligence on the Cayman Islands from potboiler novels and Hollywood movies.” Referring to a Telegraph piece about the UK’s tax amnesty, Travers takes issue over the use of a photo and caption inferring that Cayman is where wealthy Brits are hiding their cash. (Photo used to illustrate amnesty article)

“Your article (“Offshore amnesty targets dodge tax deadline”, January 3) rightly makes no mention of the Cayman Islands, but is accompanied by a picture of the Islands with the caption, “Cayman Islands face scrutiny by Dave Hartnett and his team,” Travers wrote. “Really? No bank accounts exist in the Cayman Islands that can produce any additional tax revenue for the UK as the Cayman Islands have complied with proactive account reporting with the UK, and every other EU jurisdiction, under the European Directive since 2003. Over the past two decades, the Cayman Islands have complied with every international initiative on transparency.”

In his short letter the Cayman Finance (formerly CIFSA) chair indicates that the constant mischaracterization of Cayman not only undermines the jurisdiction’s contribution to the UK but creates unrealistic expectations that money will be found here to fund the UK deficit.

The amnesty deadline passed at midnight on 4 January and as many as 10,000 people have admitted to the UK treasury that they had offshore accounts with untaxed income, most of which were accounts in Licehenstien. No mention has been made by the UK tax office that any of those coming forward had accounts in the Cayman Islands.

According to the Telegraph, the total admissions revealed by the disclosure is below estimates made by PricewaterhouseCoopers, who suggested around 13,000 people would admit they had tax, interest and fines to pay going back up to 20 years.

By applying for the amnesty account holders will have tax liability capped to 10% of the total tax due. Those that did not come forward now face penalties of up to 100% and potentially being named and shamed. HMRC has details of offshore accounts held by UK residents with over 300 banks.

Dave Hartnett, the permanent secretary for tax at the Revenue and Customs department, said last week that now the ‘New Disclosure Opportunity’ was closed the Revenue and Customs department would begin the job of using the data from banks to identify people who have not made disclosures despite having “hidden their money” offshore. "We are starting our investigations, and penalties can be up to 100% of the tax not paid," he said.

Officials had hoped the amnesty would raise £500m and form the latest "line in the sand" in its efforts to clamp down on tax evasion. Stephen Camm, tax partner from PWC, said the Revenue was now looking at raising less than £135m.

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