Archive for April, 2010

Cayman bids good riddance to scrap metal

| 29/04/2010 | 12 Comments

Cayman Isalnds, GRand Cayman, scrap metal(CNS): After numerous controversies and failed attempts the country’s scrap metal left from Hurricane Ivan almost 6-years ago is headed for Asia. Following announcements by the deputy premier in February the contractors began work this week. A barge travelled from Tampa, Florida and docked at the harbour Monday night (26 April) and it is expected to be here until the end of the week. Government signed the new deal to have the metal removed last month and it was revealed in the Legislative Assembly that it had received around $300,000 from local company Cardinal D Limited, who bought the baled scrap at $50 per tonne. They in turn have reportedly sold the metal to Hong Kong-based metal trading company Hong Luen. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

The government said the $300,000 deal involving the 6,000 tons of baled scrap metal from the dump followed the awarding of a contract through the Central Tenders Committee. Juliana O’Connor Connolly said at the time that government had taken the money in advance and, unlike attempts made by the previous administration no local sub-contractors were out of pocket as a result.
O’Connor Connolly also confirmed that Cardinal D Ltd was a locally incorporated company that was working with its alliance, Pan Caribbean Energy Limited, and that it had in turn contracted Hong Luen Metal Trading Company of Honk Kong. O’Connor Connolly said everythingwas above board with this contract and the remaining metals would also now be put out to contract. “We have followed all the laws in regards to these contracts and we will continue to do so,” she added.

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Cayman law criticised on hedge fund ruling

| 29/04/2010 | 0 Comments

(FTAdvisor.com): The decision to strike out court proceedings, launched with the aim of forcing the winding up of a Cayman-based hedge fund, has been criticised by Laven Partners. The firm has said the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal’s decision over Camulos Partners Offshore Limited represented an imbalance in the law of the Caribbean nation. Jerome Lussan, chief executive of hedge fund consultancy at Laven Partners, said numerous funds were crippled by the effects of the credit crunch and its impact on securities markets.

"This is largely because many investors lost confidence and wished to redeem their positions. Such people are now desperate to contest the unfair decisions of funds to suspend NAVs or not to repay shareholders by suspending or gating redemptions at the last minute,” he said.
 Lussan said Cayman law seemed more protective of the rights of the funds compared with investors and added: "The ruling in favour of the fund manager is a lost opportunity for the Cayman Islands. It will lead to a demand for funds in stronger jurisdictions, such as Luxembourg, where company law and regulations are more likely to be protective of investors’ rights.”

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Cayman Islands laws criticized on hedge fund ruling

| 29/04/2010 | 0 Comments





Cayman Islands laws criticized on hedge fund ruling

(FTAdvisor.com): The decision to strike out court proceedings, launched with the aim of forcing the winding up of a Cayman-based hedge fund, has been criticised by Laven Partners. The firm has said the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal’s decision over Camulos PartnersOffshore Limited represented an imbalance in the law of the Caribbean nation. Jerome Lussan, chief executive of hedge fund consultancy at Laven Partners, said: “Numerous funds were crippled by the effects of the credit crunch and its impact on securities markets.”

“This is largely because many investors lost confidence and wished to redeem their positions. ”Such people are now desperate to contest the unfair decisions of funds to suspend NAVs or not to repay shareholders by suspending or gating redemptions at the last minute,” he said.

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British adult blood off limits admits HSA

| 29/04/2010 | 14 Comments

(CNS): Following reports in the media that the HSA has turned away some blood donors the hospital has said that in accordance with some international guidelines it cannot accept blood donations from anyone who lived in the UK for three months or more between 1980 until the end of 1996 or who has ever received a transfusion there since 1980 because of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD). The restriction limits most British adults as well as many other people who have lived or worked in the UK from giving blood. The HSA said that the Cayman Blood Bank takes a conservative approach to the safety of its blood and follows the guidance relating to known infectious diseases and potentially emerging ones.

The issue of “British blood” has been highlighted in the comments on CNS as well as in reports in other media and the HSA said it was giving the wrong impression. It admitted however a long list of conditions on blood donors likely to exclude a considerable number of people in Cayman including Caymanians who studied or worked in the UK or Europe.
The HSA said the restriction was to reduce the possible risk of transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) and New Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (nvCJD) by blood and blood Products. CJD or mad cows disease is an extremely rare but invariably fatal degenerative disease of the central nervous system.
The HSA said it was not alone as several countries implemented a policy to restrict blood donors from Britain, including oher Caribbean countries and the United States. However, Judith Clarke, laboratory quality coordinator for the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority pathology laboratory said the bank remained hopeful that the scientific technology for determining individuals at risk for CJD and detecting the infectious agents will eventually reach a level that blanket restrictions will no longer be deemed necessary.
“Until then we are hopeful the community will rally behind the H.S.A by becoming donors,” she said adding that it was essential that new donors step forward to take the place of previous donors who may be restricted from giving.  The H.S.A desperately needs the support of all Caymanians and residents to ensure that adequate levels of blood are stored.
“Enforcing these guidelines is not a simple matter for the H.S.A.  It makes the job of providing patient care that much more difficult.  But it is the right thing to do.  The H.S.A will not ignore international guidelines, or put the life of even a single patient at risk, for the sake of convenience.  As a result, we will work harder as an organization to overcome the challenges caused by these restrictions and work with the media and the general public to create an understanding of why this is the only responsible approach,” Clarke explained.
The HSA said those affected by the blood donor ban included people who had travelled or resided in the United Kingdom for a cumulative total of three months or more at any time from 1980 through the end of 1996. Those who have received a blood transfusion in the United Kingdom at any time from 1980 to the present and people who travelled or resided anywhere in Europe for a cumulative total of six months or more at any time from 1980 through the end of 1996. People who travelled or resided anywhere in Europe for a cumulative total of five years or more at any time from Jan. 1, 1997, to the present are also banned.
“It may be worthwhile pointing out that from time to we have had to defer accepting donors from other jurisdictions due to health concerns and international regulations,” Clark said as she added that giving blood was an amazing opportunity for each of us to play a part in saving the life of a friend, neighbour, co-worker, or family member.  And it is such a simple thing to do.

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New talk radio show goes head to head with Rooster

| 29/04/2010 | 33 Comments

(CNS): While rock fans may be disappointed, Cayman radio listeners now have a choice when it comes to morning talk-shows with the introduction of a new breakfast chat show on 96.5 CAYROCK. Following long speculation that dms broadcasting would be introducing its own phone-in talk show to compete with Rooster’s long standing Crosstalk, the hosts were revealed this week when the show aired for the first time on Monday morning. Claiming to offer something new, dms said it was designed for Cayman’s morningcommute, offering talk listeners an option as it examined international, regional and local issues.

Although, dms station Hot 104 has aired an afternoon talk show in the past, this is its first full breakfast phone in, and the morning shows will be hosted by media veteran Cynthia Hew and “Snap Monkhouse” as well as a second pair of hosts, young Caymanians Victor Crumbley and Carolina Ferriera. The programme will be produced by Preston Onfroy who dms said would ensure “compelling, relevant topics”.
 
Hew (pictured above), who is a familiar local TV personality, said she was thrilled about her involvement in Cayman’s newest talk live radio broadcast. “We know that talk radio isn’t a new concept to Cayman, but Talk Live @ 96.5 boasts a new and unique approach.  Our aim is to explore both sides of every story and address the issues affecting our community by educating our listener,” she said.
 
Bryan Hollenbaugh, dms Broadcasting’s market manager said he was excited about the prospects of providing something not previously heard in the market, though he did not exactly say what the difference was. “This is about offering radio that addresses ‘real issues’ and engages in ‘real talk’ with reliable consults and experts, and provides possible solutions to the various concerns within our community – without the distraction of mudslinging and political rhetoric,” he said, echoing comments made by Walling Whittaker before his own afternoon talk-show’s short lived period on competitor broadcaster, Rooster.
 
However, Hollenbaugh said listeners have suggested dms Broadcasting enter into this foray for some time. “So we’ve opted to oblige, and have found a dynamic group of advocates to take up the issues,” he added."
 
Snap Monkhouse, lead anchor at the new Talk Live @ 96.5, also said the show was about “the issues” although he also said it was about “peeling back the onion to get to the heart of matters”.
Monkhouse promised the show would deal with decision makers and experts and ask the tough questions.
 
The show, which airs between 7-9am, replacing the music, will also be supported by its own website www.talklive.ky featuring various international and local newsfeeds, covering everything from business to entertainment, dms said, with online streaming and podcasts.
 
“Our goal is to compel Cayman with stimulating, thought-provoking conversation – and get some real open dialogue going,” Hollenbaugh stated. “We hope to get Cayman talking as we maintain that it is through mediums such as this that we might arrive at answers for Cayman’s future. We will tackle it all, the controversial and the superficial alike – it’s all about keeping our listeners informed.”
 
dms Broadcasting, “operates four radio stations: 96.5 CAYROCK, HOT 104.1, 106.1 KISS FM, and X107.1 and is a subsidiary of dms Organization Ltd., a business conglomerate engaged in the financial services, real estate and media industries.

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Why levels of sperm in men are falling

| 29/04/2010 | 0 Comments

(The Independent): If scientists from Mars were to study the human male’s reproductive system they would probably conclude that he is destined for rapid extinction. Compared to other mammals, humans produce relatively low numbers of viable sperm – sperm capable of making that long competitive swim to penetrate an unfertilised egg. As many as one in five healthy young men between the ages of 18 and 25 produce abnormal sperm counts. Even the sperm they do produce is often of poor quality. In fact only between 5 and 15 per cent of their sperm is, on average, good enough to be classed as "normal" under strict World Health Organisation rules – and these are young, healthy men.

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Trust joins in Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival

| 29/04/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The National Trust for the Cayman Islands is celebrating the Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival with a host of events to show off Grand Cayman’s bird population and to raise awareness about the importance of bird and habitat conservation.. The festival, which is taking place throughout the Caribbean, began 22 April (Earth Day) and runs through to 22 May (International Day of Biodiversity). Though the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds began the annual Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival nine years ago, this will be the first time it will be celebrated in the Cayman Islands. The goal of the Festival is to highlight the region’s high endemism and encourage appreciation of our beautiful bird life.

On Tuesdays during the festival month (except 18 May) and also on Discovery Day (Monday, 17 May), the Trust will be conducting 3.5 hour tours (starting 8:00am) of the Eastern districts’ premiere birdwatching sites to see birds in various distinct habitat types. Participants will view waterfowl beginning at the Governor Michael Gore Bird Sanctuary and again at Meagre Bay Pond. The tour proceeds to the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park. Transportation provided from Governor Gore’s Pond. A free Land Bird Guide and Checklist of Birds of the Cayman Islands will be provided to each guest. The cost is $25 for Trust members, $32 for non-members.

On Saturday, 1 May, starting at 8:00am, there will be a morning bird watching stroll through the Agriculture Grounds, with a National Trust guide leading the group to help with spotting and identifying birds. And a guided walk along the Mastic Trail will take place on Saturday, 15 May, 8:00am to 9:30am. The cost for both of these events is $15 for Trust members, $20 for non-members.

Call 749-1121 for reservations. Check www.nationaltrust.org.ky or www.scscb.org for more information. All events in the Bird Festival will also be listed on the CNS calendar.
 

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Big investors get residency

| 29/04/2010 | 68 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island headline news(CNS): Government has now introduced a new category of a twenty-five year residency right in Cayman for wealthy individuals who invest $2.4 million in a business that employs at least 50% Caymanians. The amendment to the Immigration law to introduce a Certificate of Direct Investment was brought to the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday (28 April) by the premier, who said it was aimed at attracting more inward investment tothe country with an incentive for wealthy individuals. McKeeva Bush told members that the certificate was part of the original 2003 Immigration Law but it was removed by the previous administration.

He said his government was firmly of the view that the economy and therefore the people of the Cayman Islands benefited from the money brought by foreign investors and it was the UDP policy to offer them more incentives to attract more investment.
Bush explained the changes and said that the regulations with the law would provide for those worth some $6 million or more who invested in excess of $2.4 million to buy this certificate for $20,000, which would give them and their dependants the right to reside in the Cayman Islands and work in their business without a work permit.
The individuals in question would need to have a clean police record and a clean bill of health with insurance coverage for themselves and their dependants living here. The investors would need to be employed by their own business or the business in which the investor was a partner and demonstrate the expertise to manage or operate that business.
Bush said it must be the sort of business that would have a positive impact on the Cayman economy and, above all, half the workforce would need to be Caymanian. Bush said it was not an automatic Trade and Business Licence and the person would still have to apply for that or a Local Companies Licence if the investor did not have a Caymanian partner.
Following the premier’s presentation of the amendment the opposition questioned the need and asked for the motive behind the introduction of such a certificate. They also asked why the regulations had not been presented with the law as it referred to them extensively. Having only received a copy of the amendment to the Immigration Law that morning and without the regulations, the opposition said they were unable to say with any certainty whether they would be able to support the amendment.
The third elected member for George Town, Alden McLaughlin, raised his concerns when he queried the real purpose of the proposal as he suggested the same end could be achieved already through a less complex route.
He said the premier had not offered any explanations for the net worth value of $6million or the calculation of $2.4 million as an investment. “Why is this necessary?” McLaughlin asked. “Why do we need this complex set of provisions in order to allow someone who has made a substantial investment to live and work here? What is the benefit? Unless there are some reasons for why this is being brought which are not being divulged I cannot see why it is necessary.”
McLaughlin said residency was already attainable under the present law and all the recipient would get under this amendment was the right to live here and work in his own business.
“Some thought must have gone into this I am sure, but it doesn’t seem to be being revealed,” he stated. “I may come round to supporting it but I can’t say as I don’t understand what is trying to be achieved, but as it came out of the blue it must have some degree of urgency.”
The PPM’s East End representative, Arden McLean, suggested it may open the floodgates for foreign investors and lead to some Caymanians being put out of business. Ezzard Miller also raised some questions about the issue of management control and the risky proposition of being refused an LCC or T&B, which he felt was not making the certificate particularly attractive. He also wondered why people would want to apply for it.
Backing the amendment, Education Minister Rolston Anglin accused the opposition benches of pursuing a continual theme of trying to smear government by suggesting that it had something to hide. The minister said the provision was in the law in the past and the PPM had removed it because they said no one had applied but, Anglin said, all over the world countries offered such residency incentives to major investors.
“For the life of me I cannot see why it is so necessary … to have … them … try to spread doubt about our motives,” he added.                 
Rolston asked if the opposition had any idea how they were viewed by the business community because of their anti-foreign and anti-business rhetoric. He said it was important to give investors incentives. “We are not going to get sidelined by rumour and innuendo,” Anglin added.
Any alleged parliamentary camaraderie that had existed between the members on Wednesday morning at the Legislative Assembly prayer breakfast had already been dispensed with during the exchanges about the amendment to the PMFL and as the politicians debated long into the night.
Responding to the opposition as he closed the debate on the Immigration Law Amendment, Bush appeared to be outraged by the PPM’s suggestion there was an ulterior motive. And following the earlier heated exchanges things became even more acrimonious when he accused the opposition of using the same old bag of tricks.
“Why try to create the impression of wrong doing?” he asked, suggesting they were trying to portray themselves as lily white before he accused them of "atrocities" during their term. He asked rhetorically if the PPM’s accusations were the language of co-operation before he said they were throwing cold water on everything. He said they should be tarred and feathered for the atrocities they had committed on small Caymanian businesses during their administration instead of coming to the LA to make trouble.
He said all they ever did was tear down what he was tying to do for the country and also accused the opposition, the media and, of course, the ‘bloggers’ of having no love for the country. “Those people who write on blogs have no love for this country,” Bush added. “They are helping to tear it down, they are tearing it apart they are not helping this country.”
The bill was passed after committee stage and a third reading at around midnight and the House was adjourned sine die.

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Cayman & Bermuda youth face off

| 29/04/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Conyers Dill & Pearman will host the second annual Conyers Rugby Youth Challenge Cup this weekend in the Cayman Islands, which will see a group of young players fly from Bermuda to play against Cayman in the international rugby tournament. The tournament will be arguably the biggest day of international test match rugby ever held on Cayman soil, and is a season highlight for the top players from each country. It will be aired live at www.caymanrugby.com.

On 1 May, there will be mini-tournaments involving Cayman and Bermudian players. On 2 May, Bermuda will face Cayman in four Youth Internationals (U10, U12, U14, U16) which will be followed by a Men’s Full International test match where Bermuda will play Cayman in a full International Rugby Board sanctioned Test match.

This match holds special significance for both countries as Cayman, Jamaica and Bermuda were recently drawn in the same pool for the upcoming North American and Caribbean Regional Championships which will be held between November 2010–March 2011.

The Conyers Rugby Youth Challenge Cup is played according to Continuum Rules as posted in the Rugby Football Union for the U10 and U12 age groups, as well as full International Rugby Board Age grade rules for the U14 and U16 age groups. The country that has the best overall record of match wins and losses wins the Conyers Youth Challenge Cup. In 2009, Bermuda won the Cup. This year, the Cup has been expanded to include an U16 age group.

The Conyers Rugby Youth Challenge Cup provides young players from both countries with the opportunity to compete at an international level and promotes the ideals of friendship, enjoyment and fellowship through international youth competition. Bermuda’s mini-rugby program has continued to grow and is committed to developing Bermuda’s youth into better sportsmen and, through the Conyers Youth Challenge Cup, international ambassadors.
 

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Mac cuts budget scrutiny

| 29/04/2010 | 32 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island Headline News, Cayman finance(CNS): The premier has successfully changed the Public Management and Finance Law and removed the obligation for a two month review period before a budget is brought to the Legislative Assembly. In another midnight session parliamentarians debated changes to the PMFL which will enable the current administration to not only postpone bringing to the House the 2010/11 budget, which was due 1 May, but all future budgets as well. Government will now be able to present its budget and make their statement about proposed spending plans on any date before the 1 July, which is the start of the fiscal year.

Premier McKeeva Bush told members of the LA that this year’s budget had to be delayed as a result of both the UK election and work within the civil service to find the necessary cuts. However, the opposition raised their concerns that, while this year’s circumstances made the delay for the 2010/11 budget inevitable, it should not apply for every year thereafter without setting a deadline. Opposition members said it removed the opportunity for the LA and the country to scrutinize, debate and make recommendations to government before the budget was set in stone.
During his presentation on the amendment Bush explained that UK ministers must avoid certain decisions during an election campaign that could impact a new administration. “Ministers are required to observe discretion and avoid undertaking any decisions or policies of a continuing or long-term character,” Bush said. “The UK government’s agreement to a requestfor new borrowing falls into this category … This has implications for the timing of the delivery of any OT budget where additional borrowing is required. I would not expect approval for such borrowing to be possible before the week beginning 24 May 2010 at the earliest.”
He added the “exceptional circumstance” allowed government to delay this year’s budget and had given his government “valuable time to consider a wider range of options” which was threatening governments ability to meet the Principles of Responsible Financial Management.
The premier noted that previous budget speeches were delivered by the financial secretary, but since it would now be delivered by the minister of finance the focus would be broader, with concerns going beyond issues of financial management to issues of leadership as well.
“This year the deadline of 1 May was going to be difficult to meet, primarily because of the difficulty associated with getting the civil service to agree with bringing personnel costs down to a total of CI$219 million for the 2010/11 financial year,” Bush said, adding that government needed flexibility to pursue its policy. “The ‘common good’ to which we all aspire must be conducted within a ‘common vision’ that is achievable in the most cost-effective way possible. This demands efficient management of our limited resources and effective leadership ofour common vision.”
He said government was justified, given the economic challenges, to push back budget preparations deeper into the fiscal year, giving it more flexibility and time for more data to make more informed decisions.  He also suggested that the UK had agreed with the delay and as a result, if that were true of this year “then it is also true for all subsequent years”, Bush said, adding that the amendment was an example of the need “for leadership as well as management of the budgetary process.”
The opposition and the independent member for North Side disagreed, however, not so much with the need to defer this year’s budget but those in the future and in particular with the lack of a specific date.
Ezzard Miller said he sympathized with the circumstances government was faced with but would still prefer to see a date set that would give ample opportunity for members to review government’s financial plans and asked them to set a date of 1 June. Miller also submitted several other proposed amendments to the PMFL, which were all rejected by government during committee stage.
The opposition was also opposed to leaving the budget presentation open ended and questioned why the law needed to be changed for future budgets. Former Cabinet minister Alden McLaughlin said he understood the government was “in a Jam” as a result of the “long and winding road” it had taken to reach the current predicament but the delay was “inexcusable” as government knew they would be facing a deficit and need to cut spending for many months. The situation for now was unavoidable but there was no reason to change the law for the future or leave it open ended, the former minister pointed out.
McLaughlin said that the reason why there was a date in the law two months before the end of the fiscal year was to give the Legislative Assembly and the public the opportunity to review, analyse and question government’s budget plans. By eliminating that two month period the government would be tempted to push preparations to the wire every year and bring budgets on the last day possible,leaving no time for scrutiny, he suggested.
“Because of the long and windingroad, we are where we are and we understand that government is incapable of producing a budget,” said McLaughlin. “But this amendment will significantly erode one of the principles of democracy — that government is held accountable for its budget.”
Leader of the Opposition Kurt Tibbetts agreed with his PPM colleague and noted that he could understand the circumstances for 2010/11 but saw no argument at all for it to continue and be left open ended. “”Whatever the deadline it is human nature to push it to the limit,” Tibbetts said, adding there was not sufficient argument to change the law and leave it open ended.  “Let’s not make government less accountable or less transparent in the long term to tackle a problem in the short term,” Tibbetts suggested.
In defence of the premier’s amendment, Education Minister Rolston Anglin argued that no sensible government would bring a budget on the eve of the fiscal year end if they wanted to be voted back in. Since no government had ever changed a budget as a result of debate or analysis, what was the point in the scrutiny? he asked, and said that members wasted time around the LA as it was, so pushing back the deadline might focus attention. Anglin said the reform was about making the system stronger and more practical. Blaming the opposition for the situation anyway, he also said there was “very little fat” in the Cayman government’s budget that could be cut, forcing very difficult conversations with the civil service. “We have to allow time for the best possible outcome,” Anglin added.
In closing the debate the premier took aim in particular at McLaughlin and accused the previous government of “atrocities” while in office and said the opposition continued to give nothing of substance
“What are these people (the PPM) offering this country except to play with words?” Bush asked rhetorically, adding that he had to go to London and “virtually wash people’s feet” to get the money to run government because of the PPM.
He said the change in the law would give the government flexibility with future budgets. “We do not know what lies ahead,” Bush said. “I am not going to tie ourselves to a date for our budget process as we don’t know what will happen in the future.” Bush said that it would not be possible to bring the 2010/11 budget to the Legislative Assembly until sometime in June.
The amendment to the PMFL was passed along with a number of other amendments that establish the financial independence of the Office of the Information Commissioner, which will now submit its own annual report.  

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