Archive for July 13th, 2010

Mac wants support for plans

| 13/07/2010 | 54 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Islands headline news(CNS): The country is not in a happy condition, says the premier, who has warned of further economic woes if government is prevented from moving ahead with its planned projects. Following revelations from the Economics and Statistics Office that spell out in black and white the decline in the country’s economic fortunes throughout 2009, McKeeva Bush said that to get people back to work he needed to begin the projects. He said the statistics made it clear that there should be no more stumbling blocks to what he was trying to do to get the economy back on track and everyone should support the government and its plans.

“This statistics tell me that there should be no more attempts to deter any good or effective moves to turn around our economy,” Bush told the Legislative Assembly as he laid the Cayman Islands Annual Economic Report 2009 on the table on Friday. Following his presentation on the content of the report, which revealed the depth of the recession in Cayman last year, he said that his government’s efforts should be supported “by all and sundry” because if the “stumbling blocks” stay it will get worse, the premier predicted.

“It should not need repeating but I say it to catch the ears of those who have nothing better to do then to employ stumbling blocks. The country is not in a happy condition, no matter how much we have tried,” Bush warned, after noting that in order to address the unemployment problem the government needed the projects to get started.

Government has indicated that it believes a number of public private partnerships, including the development of cruise berthing facilities, a channel in the North Sound, the Shetty hospital and a cargo dock in East End will help address the country’s rising unemployment and turn around the country’s declining economy.

The report reveals that during 2009 unemployment in the Cayman Islands reached 2,180 people, or 6% of the population. The supply of labour contracted by 7.4 percent in 2009, dipping to 36,100 compared to the 38,998 recorded in 2008.

“This is traced to the withdrawal of non-Caymanian workers, whose number decreased by 16 percent.  In contrast, the Caymanian labour force grew by 2.7 percent, or 479 persons, bringing the total to 18,165. This is the first time in four years that Caymanians accounted for at least half of the labour force,” Bush said as he presented the report to the LA.
The report said that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted by 6.6 percent in 2009 to reach $2.43 billion. Per capita income fell by 4.8 percent to $44,197, as compared to $46,409 in 2008. 
The financial services sector, which accounts for approximately 54 percent of GDP, was estimated to have declined by 4.1 percent. Real estate, renting and business activities contracted by 4.8 percent, induced by reductions in new company registration, lower property transfers, and a smaller population. 
In construction, building permits decreased by 29.3 percent to settle at $355.0 million and project approvals also fell by 14.6 percent to $434.2 million.
Transportation, storage and communication fell by 6.7 percent as the tonnage of imported cargo fell by 36.3 percent. Wholesale and retail trade declined by 4.8 percent, as indicated by the reduction in imports of consumer and intermediate goods.
Stay-over visitors declined by 10.2 percent. Similarly, the performance of hotels and restaurants mirrored the rate of decline in stay-over visitors.
The premier pointed out that, despite the weak economic conditions in other sectors, the domestic banking system remained healthy and resilient. Total money supply increased to $5.9 billion in 2009, or by 6.9percent compared to 2008. The expansion emanated from a 9.6 percent growth in foreign currency deposits along with a 1.5 percent increase in demand deposits and an expansion of the currency in circulation by 4.7 percent.


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Toy gun leads to arrest in West Bay

| 13/07/2010 | 32 Comments

(CNS): Police have said that a 27-year-old man was arrested following an incident in West Bay yesterday,Monday 12 July. At about 11.30 in the morning police were informed that a man was sitting under a tree in the vicinity of the Caribbean Bakery, in Mount Pleasant Road, West Bay holding a gun. Officers responded and found that the man was in possession of an imitation firearm. Police said the man had purchased the gun locally and are now asking shop owners to think about selling toy guns that look so real. West Bay area commander said that officers would be speaking with local sellers about the imitation weapons. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

The man in question was arrested for possession of an imitation firearm and has since been released on police bail. 

However, PC Ian Charlery of West Bay police station explained how the toy gun had been purchased from a local store for just a few dollars. “To the naked eye it looked like the real thing. The members of the public who reported this to us yesterday believed it was a real gun and I’m sure that anyone faced with it during the commission of a robbery would also believe it to be real,” he said.

“There are many stores throughout the islands where these types of toys can be purchased. I would urge store owners to think about what they are selling – while it may not be illegal to sell toy guns we should all be aware that they are so life-like they could be used for criminal purposes.”

West Bay Area Commander Acting Chief Inspector Frank Owens said that his officers would be paying a call to people selling the toy guns, although not illegal he question if it was responsible.

“My Neighbourhood officers will be visiting stores in the district where these toys are sold to raise awareness of how these imitation guns could be used for criminality. In this day and age is it responsible to sell these types of toys? That’s a question we’ll be discussing with the shop owners,” he stated.

Anyone who was in the area yesterday and has any information regarding the crime is asked to call West Bay police station on 949-3999, or the confidential Crime Stoppers tip-line 800-8477

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DoE calls on divers to send in Manta snaps

| 13/07/2010 | 4 Comments

(CNS): Since the Department of Environment began its Manta Ray sighting programme two years ago 26 mantas have been reported by divers in Cayman Islands waters. A near threatened species, scientists still don’t know a great deal about Manta Rays and their populations or behaviour. As a result, the DoE is asking local divers to help with the research and to photograph any sightings of the marine creatures if the chance arises. This will contribute to the work going on to try and better understand the marine animals and their behaviour. Mantas (Manta birostris) are born at a size of about 4 feet and can grow to more than 20 feet and 3,000 lbs. (Photo by Tim Austin)

They feed mostly on plankton, do not have stinging spines, and pose no threat to humans. Females give birth to only one pup in each breeding season. Mantas are categorised as “near threatened” by the IUCN but little is known about the status of most populations.
“Researchers are even debating the number of manta species in the world’s oceans: are all mantas one species, or two, or maybe even more?” the DoE said in this month’s edition of its Marin Research News. “If you see a manta in Cayman try to photograph both the top and the bottom sides for ID.”
The experts ask divers not to chase or touch the animals but said colour patterns documented in the photos will help them identify manta species—and individuals—and be able to tell if animals are male or female depending on whether claspers like those on a stingray are seen.
“Cataloguing manta observations will also help us determine when and where these animals can be found and how they use our waters. We’re already starting to see patterns in sightings: for example, Ocean Frontiers staff have observed mantas in the same locations for several years,” the DoE added.
The DoE asks the public to report sightings of manta rays, whales, dolphins, sharks, large turtles (more than 3 feet shell length) and other large marine animals to their sightings database and asks, where possible, for spotters to include photos. For more information, join the Facebook group “Sharks & Cetaceans: the Cayman Islands”.
To read more about the marine work going on at DoE log on to the website or to be added to the DoE newsletter email list contact
The DoE wil also be holding a meeting in East End this evening regarding the proposed National Conservation Law at the East End Community Centre at 7pm. 

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Government moves to beef up pension compliance

| 13/07/2010 | 16 Comments

(CNS): In order to fund compliance of the law governing private pensions the government has increased fees associated with the on-going registration of pension plans and employed a new pension inspector. According to government officials Charles Best who joined the National Pensions Office on 1 July, comes with significant practical investigative experience, which will assist the office to prosecute cases of non-compliance with the National Pensions Law. Government has recently announced that changes are taking place in the Department of Employment relations which will lead to a new labour enforcement agency that will include the NPO. It is also in the process of introducing fixed penalties for employers who do not comply with the law when it comes to providing employees with a pension.

Speaking in the Legislative Assembly recently the Minister for Labour, Rolston Anglin, announced plans to rearrange the DER and split it into two agency the Human capital development agency which will deal with employment and training issues, while a new unit will deal directly with all labour law enforcement issues such as compliance with pensions and health insurance. The minister said the goal is to create a compliance culture, which will be integral to the creation of a more effective regime for the regulation of private sector pensions.
Consultation with various stakeholders is currently in process in order to make the necessary changes to legislation and the ministry is working with the NPO board to make the changes and to the transition of the regulation of pensions by CIMA.
An amendment to the National Pensions (General) Regulations has already been made to increase fees associated with the on-going registration of pension plans and the administration of the NPL in Cabinet.
It was recently revealed that more than 600 employers were not in compliance with the pension’s law and the Office of the Complaints Commissioner is currently undertaking an investigation.
The minister recently introduced a twelve month suspension of the obligation by employers to pay in to a fund for their staff. It was only available to those who were complying with the law and designed to soften the blow of work permit increases for employers and stimulate the economy by giving both employees access to their share of the contribution for 12 months. However, uptake has been extremely limited with no more than 2% of employees asking for the holiday.

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Grown-up junior achievers wanted

| 13/07/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Junior Achievement will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in the Cayman Islands next year and is seeking out past participants to join JA Alumni Association to help expand the programme and act as ambassadors for the future. Since its launch by Rotary Central in 1991, hundreds of high school students have been through the programme and are now working in both the private and public sectors in a variety of jobs. Rotary Central in partnership with the Board of Directors of Junior Achievement (JA) is inviting past participants to attend the launch of the JA Alumni Association on 23 July at a cocktail reception at Grand Old House. (Junior achievers Samuel Bowen and Maxine Bodden-in 1991)

“Rotary Central is the major shareholder of the JA programme in the Cayman Islands and we are delighted to support the launch of a new alumni association,” said Rotary Central President Wil Pineau.
“Past achievers are the perfect group of ambassadors who can share the wonderful JA experience with others in our community. Youth development is a key focus for the upcoming Rotary year which focuses on Building Communities and Bridging Continents. JA provides many of our youth with a solid foundation to build their future. I encourage past achievers to support the new association,” he added.
Pat Randall, President of JA said it has become even more relevant in these though economic conditions and welcomed the formation of the alumni association.
Junior Achievement is the world’s largest in-and after-school practical business education programme. JA Worldwide reaches 9.7 million students per year in 122 countries around the world. JA has a proven long-term impact on youth, giving them a stake in the free enterprise system to create a better workforce for tomorrow. This programme is free for students, schools, and organizations to participate.
The organization said that the programmes teach students crucial lessons about work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy; prepares young people to enter the workforce, trains them to become the next generation of business leaders, and educates them about basic financial management and responsibility. These programmes aim to demonstrate the connection between the theories of business and “real-life” circumstances.
If you are interested in attending the cocktail reception on Friday, 23rd July, 2010 at The Grand Old House at 6:30PM please RSVP by 21st July by contacting Tara McField at You must be over the age of 18 and have previously participated in a JA programme.

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Local accountants become first ‘platinum’ employers

| 13/07/2010 | 2 Comments

(CNS): KPMG has become the first company in the Cayman Islands to achieve the highest accolade for training and employment award by theglobal professional accounting body ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants). The local firm has qualified as an ACCA Approved Employer for trainee development at the Platinum Level. KPMG is the first organization in the Cayman Islands to attain this status which will allow them access to specialized services and knowledge through ACCA customized for approved employers. ACCA said this was the highest level an organization can attain in its Approved Employer Programme and acknowledges that KPMG’s learning and development systems are on par with global best practice.

Paula Marcelle-Irish, Manager ACCA Northern Caribbean congratulated the firm on its proven commitment to the training and development of its employees.
“It was a pleasure to have collaborated with KPMG in the Cayman Islands on this process,” she said. “From the beginning, it was evident that KPMG has a robust and structured training and development system that successfully supports and develops their trainees. This achievement is historic for two reasons, firstly, KPMG is the first and only firm in the Cayman Islands to have received ACCA Approved Employer Status for Trainee Development and secondly, Platinum Level status is the highest level of the Trainee Development stream. We warmly congratulate them on such an achievement.” 
Marcelle-Irish explained that it would also help fast track the young employees.
“I am certain that those trainees pursuing the ACCA qualification are equally happy as they can be now exempted from having to complete the Trainee Development Matrix (TDM), which satisfies ACCA’s Practical Experience Requirements for membership.”
Sheenah Hislop, Partner at KPMG said the firm was proud to receive the ACCA Platinum Accreditation.
“We aim to provide the highest standard of service and value to our clients.  To accomplish this, the ongoing professional development of our people is extremely important.  This accreditation is a great example of our continuous efforts to enhance the development options for our trainees and we thank ACCA for the support received throughout the accreditation process,” she added.
The ACCA Approved Employer programme can be used to compare and certifythe training policies and procedures of organizations, against ACCA’s global best practice standards, providing independent assurance for their learning systems. ACCA’s Approved Employer programme continues to grow and now has more than 8000 Approved Employers worldwide.

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Failed directors getting off easy, says survey

| 13/07/2010 | 1 Comment

(Insolvency news): The UK’s insolvency regime is too forgiving to company directors who fail, according to 60 per cent of insolvency practitioners polled in new research. The study of 329 insolvency practitioners (IPs), which was carried out by insolvency trade body R3, also found that 56 per cent of corporate failures were caused by incompetence or bad management. Respondents also argued that nearly 40 per cent of businesses could have been saved if professional advice had been sought earlier, while over half of respondents felt that company directors should receive mandatory financial education before opening a business.


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Cayman’s position in the world on briefing agenda

| 13/07/2010 | 3 Comments

(CNS): International governance expert, Dr Carlyle Corbin will be the guest speaker at a special interactive briefing hosted by the People for Referendum at the University of the Cayman Islands tomorrow evening.  With many international changes taking place that will affect Cayman the meeting is intended to offer a forum to discuss their relevance to the country and how it becomes engaged on the global stage. Dr Corbin who was an expert presenter at the recent C24 Pacific Seminar in New Caledonia will be joined by Cayman’s own Steve McField who represented the Cayman Islands at the C-24 Seminar.

“The Cayman Islands would benefit by understanding how we can better utilize our membership in the UN Economic Committee of Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and other UN organizations that allows us to gain access to the UN system and further our international exposure,” said the organisers.
“We are Associate Members of CARICOM but as an organization CARICOM consistently does not speak up, when it should, in matters adversely affecting the UKOTs and our displeasure of the lack of support for UK OT’s interests should be made known to the organization.  Dr. Corbin is familiar with all of these issues.” 
In 1986 the UK, Cayman’s administering power formally withdrew from active participation in the work of the C-24.  Since the time of the C-24 2003 Atlantic Seminar in Anguilla the UK has been unofficially participating in some aspects of the work of the committee. 
In March 2009 they informed the committee that they have “devolved powers” to some of their Overseas Territories (OTs).
“This is just plain not true,” said the People for Referendum spokesperson. “All of the recently revised constitutions put the OT’s under more direct personal control of the UK Prime Minister with the power of the Order in Council now eliminating the Privy Council from the process. No powers have been devolved to the UK OT’s.’
The UK is however, actively seeking the “delisting” of their OTs from the Non-Self-Governing Territories List created in 1945 and reaffirmed again in 1960. 
“We will also discuss the adverse effect premature “delisting” has had to other Non-Self-Governing Territories and why some of them are trying to get back on the list,” the organisers stated. “We can never know too much in the relations with our Administering Power and knowledge will assist us as we move towards developing a constitutional model that truly benefits the peoples of our Islands.” 
Dr Corbin is the former Minister of State for External Affairs of the US. Virgin Islands, and was the territory’s representative to various United Nations agencies. He was that territory’s Washington Representative, and presently serves as the international advisor to the US Virgin Islands Fifth Constitutional Convention.
He has served as a United Nations (U.N.) expert on self-determination and governance for over two decades, and was the UN independent expert on UN political missions to Bermuda, and to the Turks and Caicos Islands, as well as constitutional advisor to the Government of Anguilla. He has also served as political advisor to successive chairs of the U.N. Special Committee on Decolonisation, and is Senior Editor of the journal Overseas Territories Review.
He has lectured widely on governance and political development in the Caribbean and Pacific, is the author of two United Nations studies on small island countries, two books and numerous scholarly articles on political and constitutional advancement. 
Dr Corbin is also the author of three book chapters: “Direct Participation of Non-Independent Caribbean Countries in the United Nations,” in the book Islands at the crossroads: Politics in the Non-Independent Caribbean (Ian Randle, Jamaica, 2001); “A View of the Metropole,” in the book Governance in the Non-Independent Caribbean (Ian Randle Publishers, Jamaica, 2009); and Dependency Governance and Future Political Development in the Non-Independent Caribbean in the book “The Diplomacies of Small States” (Palgrave Macmillan, United Kingdom, 2009).  
The Interactive Briefing will take place on Wednesday July 14 at 6:30 PM in the UCCI, Cascade Lecture Room at the campus South Entrance.

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Fees go too far, says PPM

| 13/07/2010 | 19 Comments

(CNS): Although the opposition supports most of the amendments to the planning law, the increase in fees is a step too far, the PPM has said and has asked the government to reconsider. Alden McLaughlin said that this is the second set of fee increases directly affecting the construction sector in the last few months and one more in a long line of fees, which have become too much to bear for all local businesses. The George Town opposition MLA said that he could not reconcile the premier’s claim to be in support of small business with his actions. Government policy, far from helping the economy, was making things worse as businesses collapsed under the weight of endless fee increases, he said. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

Speaking on behalf of the PPM opposition benches on Monday afternoon, McLaughlin pointed out that the Development and Planning Amendment Bill had many positive elements and asked government to move ahead with it (omitting clauses 12 and 15, which refer to the regulations being passed in Cabinet and Cabinet’s ability to waive the law) without the fee increases.
The PPM member pointed out that the modernisation of the law and the reduction in bureaucracy, along with the other amendments, were positive and could stimulate development but the fees would undermine it.
McLaughlin said the constant increasing of fees by the government was to pay for operational spending, which it had not cut in the budget but was in fact spending $5 million more in 2010/11 than 2009/10.
He told his legislative colleagues that the government did not seem to have learned its lesson from previous mistakes. McLaughlin said last year’s fee increases had produced the opposite of what was intended — instead of government earning some $94 million as it had predicted, the economy had contracted even further.
“We have had many representations from people about the course this government has taken in relation to the economy,” McLaughlin stated. “It is difficult to reconcile the rhetoric about stimulating the economy and removing hurdles with the actions of government.”
He said people were saying they could not take any more increases that “add to a terrible catalogue of fees that are putting people out of business”, and “how much was too much.”
During the budget presentation McLaughlin pointed out that the premier had said he would not be increasing any more fees, but here the government was again bringing more increases to the House that would undermine any hope of stimulating the economy. “What is government trying to do?” he asked. “Does it really have a plan for recovery or is it blundering from one decision in crisis to another?”
The PPM member said he was well aware that when he finished his debate and sat down he would face the barrage of criticism that he was entirely responsible for the economic troubles but he said people were tired of that. He pointed out that the previous administration’s record was there for all to see. What people wanted to know now was what the current government was going to do make life better. “So far the people wait in vain,” the former minister added.
Although the opposition member said the premier had made valid points during his presentation of the bill that developers should be made to contribute more for the impact they have on local infrastructure, timing was everything and this was not the right time.
McLaughlin echoed the sentiments raised by the independent member for North Side and his opposition colleagues that these significant fee increases, though they were aimed at the major developers, would still impact the smaller local developer and construction businesses.
“I ask the government not to make the same mistake for the umpteenth time,” McLaughlin said of the planning fees, as he begged the government to reconsider the increases and offered to support the bill if he did.
During the debate the premier called on the Speaker a number of times as he accused McLaughlin of attempting to debate the budget and of not being relevant to the matter of the debate.
In his reply to close the debate before the bill was taken to the committee stage for further amendments, McKeeva Bush said that the fee changes had avoided targeting smaller businesses and the phased payment would ease the burden for all developers. He said the bill was long overdue and was a positive move for the industry and the country.
Bush told the Legislative Assembly that the opposition member was right about the little man hurting at present but he was also right about the mess his administration had left the country. Bush added that the root cause of the problem was the money they had wasted and the negligence of the previous administration, which had failed to encourage more development. “It would have been a lot easier now if the last government had done what it was supposed to do,” Bush stated.

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Cops arrest foiled robbers

| 13/07/2010 | 13 Comments

(CNS): Update 12:15pm – Hell Service Station in West Bay could have become the latest gas station to be targeted by armed robbers. However, staff foiled the attempt at around 9pm last night (Monday 12 July). Police now have two men in custody in connection with the attempted robbery, who were both arrested later on Monday night. Police said that the attempt failed at Hell gas station as staff inside the store, who were about to close up, saw one man, who was hooded and wearing dark clothes, rushing towards the door. The staff pushed the robber away and quickly locked it preventing his entry before they activated the alarm. The suspected robber then ran off towards Watercourse Road. (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

No one was injured during the attempt and the staff did not see a gun or other weapon.
Police saidthe two men were arrested after a patrol car spotted a suspect vehicle, a Toyota
Altezza, in the Cockspur Road area. Two people were in the car. The police officers signaled
the driver of the vehicle to stop. As the Toyota came to a halt the masked man jumped from the
passenger seat of the car and ran off. The driver, a 28-year-old man, was arrested and taken
into custody.
Officers immediately cordoned off the area where they suspected the masked man was hiding.
A K-9 officer carried out a search and ashort time later the officer and his dog located the suspect. He was arrested and taken into custody. He is 26 years of age.
Police enquiries into the incident are ongoing and they confirmed that no weapons were recovered when the men were arrested.
Detective Sergeant Dave Morrison of West Bay CID is appealing for anyone who was in the area of the gas station at the relevant time last night and witnessed the incident to come forward.
“I would also be keen to speak to anyone who saw the masked man running off from the scene
or the getaway car to get in contact,” he said. Morrison also commended the member of staff at the gas station. “This man did not panic when he saw the suspect running towards him he calmly stopped him entering the premises and closed the door. His activation of the alarm allowed police resources to get there quickly, and arrest the suspects.
“We would always urge people to take the utmost care when confronted by would-be robbers
and remember that their own personal safety is a top priority. Do not put yourself in danger but
alert the police as quickly as possible and provide as detailed descriptions as you can. This will
assist the enquiry and ensure that we have all the information available to help us trace the
people responsible.”
Anyone with information should call West Bay police station on 949-3999, or the confidential
Crime Stoppers tip-line 800-8477 (TIPS).
Police said that enquiries are continuing but did not say if the two suspects are connecting to any of the other gas station robberies that have taken place over the last few weeks.


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