Archive for July 23rd, 2010

Worker injured after 20ft fall from scaffolding

| 23/07/2010 | 9 Comments

(CNS): A 27-year-old man is currently being treated in hospital following a fall from scaffolding in Eastern Avenue, George Town, earlier today (Friday 23 July) . Police said that shortly before 11.00 this morning the man, who was working on the fourth level of scaffolding at Cayman Distributors, Eastern Avenue,  fell approximately 20 feet to the ground. Emergency services attended the scene and he was conveyed to the Cayman Islands Hospital, where he is currently being treated for leg and facial injuries. Police have not yet revealed the circumstances surrounding the man’s fall. This is the second incident in the last two months involving a scaffolding accident. (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

On 4 June two men narrowly escaped injury when scaffolding on a building at Anderson Square collapsed during a heavy gust of wind from an approaching squall. The men were able to climb to safety on a cherry picker, which was parked by the scaffolding.

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Suspects in serious offences plead not guilty

| 23/07/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A number of suspected serious offenders appeared before the grand court recently to submit their pleas regarding a number of different charges. Last Friday, Raziel Jeffers who is charged with the murder of Damian Ming on 25 March in Birch Tree Hill West Bay and the Murder of Marcus Ebanks on 8 July 2009 on Bonaventure Road, West Bay, as well as the attempted murder of Adryan Powell has pleaded not guilty to all the offences. Jeffers will now face two grand court trials in November of this year and March of next.  A 16 year old boy charged with the murder of Marcus Duran in Maliwinas way in March of this year has also pleaded not guilty and will face a four week trial in November. Craig Johnson has pleaded not guilty to accessory to murder in the same case and will face a judge alone trial in January.

 
Charles Webster who is one of four men accused of kidnapping a young man for a half million ransom in March of this year has pleaded not guilty to a range of offences including abduction, blackmail, bodily harm, robbery and threatening to kill in relation to the islands first kidnapping for ransom. He will now face trial with Allan Kelly and Richard Hurlstone a date of which is still to be set. However, Wespie Mullings has pleaded guilty to abduction in connection with the same case.
 
Justin Manderson (18) who is accused of attempting to murder Andy Barnes at Kelly’s Bar in West in Junes has also pleaded not guilty and is expected to face trial later next year.

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UK Tory MP backs offshore finance centres

| 23/07/2010 | 7 Comments

(CNS): A conservative MP in the UK has spoken up for the world’s international financial centres (IFCs) in a debate in the British parliament this week.  Mark Field, the Tory MP for the Cities of London and Westminster has argued that small international financial centres (IFCs) have endured unwarranted “political attacks and misguided criticism as major governments seek to understand the cause of the global financial crisis”. Field said initiatives currently being driven by the OECD, the G-20, the Financial Action Task Force, the EU and national governments run the risk of inaccurately pinpointing small IFCs as a scapegoat for the recent shortcomings in financial markets obscuring the real causes of the financial crisis.

According to a release from the International Financial Centres Forum Field said: “Small IFCs were not the cause of the global financial crisis. While it is convenient to blame far off countries for causing the financial crisis, even those who work in the financial markets do not accept that small IFCs were a major cause of the crisis.”
In response to the debate, Mark Hoban the Financial Secretary to the UK Treasury acknowledged theimportant contribution played by small IFCs to market liquidity in the UK, as well as the important link to the UK retail financial services market. He said it was crucial that the small IFCs were fully engaged in the process of raising global standards on regulation and transparency on issues such as prudential standards, anti-money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities. He recognised the efforts made by small IFCs to date and welcomed further efforts towards progress in this area. He also supported the call for a balanced debate in arguing that it was important that the UK government, the EU and the G-20 proceed on an evidence-based approach.
Grant Stein, global managing partner with Walkers here in the Cayman Islands welcomed the debate and the government’s response. "It is encouraging to see that the UK government is taking a more evidence-based look at the role of small IFCs. We are also pleased to see that there is growing recognition among law makers in the major economies of the positive role that the small IFCs play in the global economy and the contribution which these small IFCs make to the economies of many of the G20 and other countries."
During his debate Field cautioned against recent attacks on zero-ten tax regimes. He said that they reveal a worrying trend which not only undermines the sovereignty of independent states to set their own tax rates, but which also sees high tax countries seeking to export their high tax rates around the world. He welcomed the UK government’s decision to cut corporation tax from 28% in recognising the need to keep the UK competitive rather than attempting to defend high tax rates by criticising any tax competition.
He highlighted conclusions reached by the Foot Review on the UK’s relationship with its Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories saying there was limited impact on the UK’s tax base as a result of so-called ‘tax havens’.
The UK’s Trade Union Council has argued that the tax gap created in UK government tax receipts as a result of offshore centres is £25 billion but Field said that a Deloitte Report, commissioned by the UK Treasury at the time of the Foot Report, showed that only £2 billion is potentially lost in tax leakages per annum.
Field said many small IFCs are able to offer stable, well-regulated and neutral jurisdictions through which to facilitate cross-border business for the benefit of the global economy pointing out that a number of academic studies have concluded that small IFCs create jobs within financial centres and in domestic economies; and can help poverty alleviation in developing countries. He argued that as a major net recipient of capital flows from small IFCs, the UK would suffer if its firms were to find it more difficult to access capital via the international markets.
It was also stressed that the Financial Action Taskforce gives many small IFCs a positive assessment in meeting its 49 recommendations – including measures to avoid concealing financial crime and terrorist financing. Backing arguments made by many in Cayman’s offshore sector Field argued that the OECD do not operate with the sort of transparency that they would expect of others and called for the government to outline measures it can take to ensure that the G-20 process is more inclusive.

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Lawyers send students to study anything but law

| 23/07/2010 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Although Maples and Calder is all about law and offshore finance the firm has traditionally offered a number of local scholarships to young people studying subjects completed unrelated to the legal or offshore world. Yesterday the firm announced that the 2010 non-legal scholarships have gone to five young people studying subjects that include mechanical engineering, biology and politics. Darren Ebanks, Morris Swaby Ebanks, Shenaye Ebanks, Takiyah Smith and Jameal WelcomeDale will all be going on to further education institutes overseas courtesy of the law firm.

 
Maples is one of only two law firms on the Island that has in place a non-legal scholarship programme. The programme, which has been running for over ten years, provides funds for school expenses each year until the completion of the student’s further education. Maples’ global managing partner Henry Smith added, "We are delighted to be able to assist talented young students achieve their goals. We had outstanding candidates this year."
 
The Maples non-legal scholarship is offered on an annual basis and is available to Caymanians who wish to pursue an undergraduate or post-graduate degree in any field. The firm also gives an annual legal scholarship and all applications are normally made in May of each year. Speaking about this years recipients Dale Crowley, Maples’ partner said, "Their individual motivation, dedication and outstanding achievements both in and out of school were key factors in the scholarship selection process."
 
Darren Ebanks will be attending the Florida Institute of Technology where he will major in Mechanical Engineering. Morris Swaby Ebanks who is a graduate of the Li Po Chun United World College ("UWC") in Hong Kong will be continuing his education in Political Science and Linguistics at Middlebury College in Vermont. Shenaye Ebankswill be attending the University of Tampa where she will major in Biology/Pre-med with a minor in Art.Takiyah Smith will be attending Oakwood University in Alabama where she will major in International Studies.Jameal Welcome has been accepted to Hiram College in Ohio on a soccer scholarship where he will further develop his soccer skills as well as study Computer Science, with a minor in Communication.
 
For more information on Maples’ non-legal and legal scholarship programmes, please contact Michelle Daykin on 949-8066 or at michelle.daykin@maplesandcalder.com.
 
 
 

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Frog cuts power to over 13,000 homes

| 23/07/2010 | 13 Comments

(CNS): A power outage in the early hours of Thursday morning stretching from WestBay to East End was caused by a frog, the country’s power supplier, CUC, has confirmed. More than 13,450 electricity customers in George Town, West Bay, Seven Mile Beach and up to Frank Sound and the Queen’s Highway in East End were without power for around 1 hour and 30 minutes between 2:10 am and 3:48 am when power was restored. CUC also stated that the outage was not connected to an island wide cut over the weekend and both were isolated incidents.

“This outage was the result of an animal making contact with one of our lines causing some of the feeders to trip. As always our teams worked hard to restore the power as quickly as possible and in a safe and efficient manner,” a CUC spokesperson said. “Although this outage closely follows the island-wide outage over the weekend, the Company can confirm that these are isolated incidents with no long-term or permanent impact on the integrity of its electrical systems.”
 
The power company did not reveal the breed of frog or explain exactly how it managed to cause such a widespread outage across the island but CUC offered its apologies for the inconvenience the frog caused to its customers.

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Cayman takes lead on catastrophe bonds

| 23/07/2010 | 2 Comments

(Royal Gazette): Recent figures published in Cayman have revealed that the islands is the leading offshore jurisdiction for listed catastrophe bonds, with a market almost seven times as big as Bermuda’s its nearest rival. There are 74 bonds listed on the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange with a value of over $7.7 billion. The first cat bond was listed in Cayman three years ago and Cayman Finance chair Anthony Travers says it has been a great success. "When you consider that the first cat bond was only listed in April 2007 it has been a great success story for Cayman and the Cayman Stock Exchange, particularly since Bermuda has in the past had the leading position in insurance related products."

Catastrophe bonds are used by re/insurers to give them extra capacity to cover catastrophic risks, such as earthquakes or hurricanes. They offer attractive rates of return to investors, with the risk being that investors can lose all of the principal if insured losses reach a predetermined level and the cat bond is triggered.
 
""These are fully regulated and transparent structures and, contrary to the misperceptions that still persist among a hard core of left leaning European bureaucrats, are quite typical of the well structured financial products that are attracted to an offshore financial centre like the Cayman Islands precisely because of the quality of its legal and regulatory regime," Travers added.
 

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Kurt queries Mac’s motives

| 23/07/2010 | 111 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island Headline news(CNS): The recent amendment to the planning law, which removes the need for government to gain planning permission for development if it deems it to be in the public interest, has been questioned by the leader of the opposition, who asked why government needs to be above the law. Kurt Tibbetts said no government should ever have more democratic rights than its people. He queried the reason why the premier needed to remove the obligation for government to seek planning permission unless it planned to go ahead with a project where it would wish to avoid the regular planning process. Speaking at a PPM meeting in George Town on Thursday evening, Tibbetts told the audience that he felt “something stinks” over the change. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

The former leader of government business, who had responsibility for planning during his administration, explained that government, like anyone else, needed to go through the process of seeking planning permission when it intended to develop in order to allow objections to be aired and the people to be warned of the impending project.
 
However, clause 15 in the new amendments to the Development and Planning Law (2008 Revision) gives the government an overriding power to simply dispense with that process. This means that unless it chose to inform the people, the first a community could know about a major project would be when the heavy equipment arrived.
 
“How can you object when there is no application process? How can you appeal when there was no decision made?” Tibbetts rhetorically asked the people gathered at the court house. “I know people call me naive but something stinks with this. I see no reason why this amendment was necessary unless government has something in mind.”
 
The opposition leader wondered allowed why the premier would chose to remove government’s obligation to seek planning permission when it was an important, tried and tested part of the law which had served the community well.
 
“I believe this could be seriously detrimental,” he added.  “No government should have any more democratic rights than the citizens it governs, and this may not seem serious now but just wait until government announces the project that it says it doesn’t need planning permission for.”
 
McKeeva Bush brought the planning amendments and new regulations to the Legislative Assembly earlier this month with a number of major changes, including significant increases in fees, the increase of storey heights for buildings on Seven Mile Beach, an environmental impact fine, the removal of the requirement for legislative approval for regulations and this overriding power of government.
 
Tibbetts said while much of the law was commendable, there were serious implications with the power to override the law, as well as the removal of the legislative input on regulations, which he warned was “a regressive and undemocratic step”.
 
Raising concerns about government’s future development plans, he told the people to lobby their government representatives about their own concerns, as he said the premier was simply ignoring any raised by the opposition.
 
The changes to the planning law could facilitate government’s proposed plan to build a cargo dock in East End, which has so far met with considerable opposition, not just in the local community but across the islands. With this amendment to the law, however, government will be able to by-pass the entire planning application process and move to excavation of the area, which locals say would have serious negative environmental and social implications for the entire area, despite any and all objections.
 
The opposition representative for East End, Arden McLean, and the independent representative for North Side, Ezzard Miller, whose constituents would be directly impacted by the proposed project have said they will do all they can to fight the proposal. They have both said they believe the dock is simply an indirect way for the owner of the land, wealthy investor Joe Imperato, to excavate and quarry the land he owns in the area to generate millions of dollars in profit.

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University president to unveil latest book

| 23/07/2010 | 11 Comments

(CNS): The story of Cayman’s political personalities since the 1950s has now been revealed in the latest academic book by the UCCI president and former education minster, Roy Bodden. Following the 2007 publication of The Cayman Islands in Transition: The Politics, History, and Sociology of a Changing Society, Bodden’s second installment in a planned trilogy, Patronage, Personalities and Parties: Caymanian Politics from 1950-2000, is now on the local bookshelves. The former politician and long time academic will be presenting his latest work at special signing at Books & Books next Friday.

 
The book, which forms part of a volume of work outlining the country’s social and political history, charts the evolution of the Caymanian political landscape from the 1950s to the present.
 
Three main features stand out: a system of patronage based on the nexus of power, influence and money in which a white and near white oligarchy controlled the economy, its politics and the society; the emergence at various times of strong personalities who established hegemonic incumbencies and controlled political power through ‘teams’ rather than political parties; and a rigid adherence to the status of ‘voluntary colonialism’ in which political leaders, the merchant elite and the society at large, continue to opt for a relationship with Britain rather than seek political self-determination.
 
Bodden provides an historical and interpretive analysis of the political development of Cayman from the time the country received its first written constitution, through the turbulent decades of the 1980s and 1990s to the modern era.
 
The account of these years is dominated by outstanding personalities like Ormond Panton, whose attempts to arouse political consciousness among Caymanians through the formation of the National Democratic Party (NDP) were undermined by local political elements and the colonial power; Jim Bodden, who for many years bestrode the Caymanian political scene like a colossus; and McKeeva Bush, who, in the words of Bodden, “has brought a 21st century approach to Caymanian politics.”
 
Bodden introduces a number of organizing concepts to aid our understanding of crucial aspects of Caymanian politics; the ‘reptilian agenda’ of Jim and Haig Bodden is used to explain their tactics as opposition politicians; similarly their ‘hegemonic incumbencies’ highlight for the reader how they and other politicians were able to establish and maintain rigid control over their constituencies, sometimes for decades; and finally ‘voluntary colonialism’ to explain why generations of economically independent Caymanians continue to opt for control by a colonial power in preference to their own political independence.
 
Bodden’s first volume, The Cayman Islands in Transition: The Politics, History, and Sociology of a Changing Society, set the standard for modern scholarship in the Cayman Islands.
 
In his new book, he combines the dispassionate approach of the professional historian with the insight and authenticity of one who was an active participant in the processes and events described in the book. Even more so than the first volume, this new work is bound to provoke debate, discourse, argument, criticism and scholarship, both within and outside the Cayman Islands.
 
Bodden is President of the University College of the Cayman Islands. He is a former member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) of the Cayman Islands and served as minister of education, human Rresources and culture from 2000 to 2005. He is currently working on the third volume, provisionally entitled Family, Wealth, Class, Status and the Political Economy of Land in the Cayman Islands.
 
The Cayman Islands in Transition: The Politics, History, and Sociology of a Changing Society and Patronage, Personalities and Parties: Caymanian Politics from 1950-2000 are now available at Books & Books. This event is free and open to the public at 7pm on Friday 30 July.

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Tropical Storm Bonnie on track for oil spill

| 23/07/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Tropical Storm Bonnie had increased its speed on Friday morning as it raced towards southern Florida on a course towards the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Forecasters at the US National Hurricane Center in Miami said the storm was likely to reach the Gulf of Mexico by Saturday. Earlier this morning Bonnie was centred about 80 miles southeast of Miami with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph. The storm is moving at 19mph and tropical force winds extend outward up to 85 miles. The NHC said Bonnie could strengthen when it reached the gulf. There were no reports of major damage, flooding or injuries in the southeastern and central Bahamas as the storm past on Thursday night.

 
Work to dig a relief oil well has been suspended as boats around BP’s ruptured well prepared to evacuate. The leaking oil well spewed somewhere between 94 million and 184 million gallons into the Gulf before a cap could be attached. The crisis — the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history — unfolded after the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers.
 
Experts continue to raise concerns that the hurricane season could worsen environmental damage from the spill, with powerful winds and large waves pushing oil deeper into estuaries and wetlands and also depositing more of the pungent, sticky mess on beaches.

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Woman injured in 2-car crash

| 23/07/2010 | 6 Comments

(CNS): A collision occurred at the roundabout at King’s Sports Centre in George Town at 8:42pm this evening where 2 vehicles collided at the intersection, sending one off the road and onto its side. One woman was sent to hospital with severe facial wounds that police said were not life threatening. The boyfriend of the woman and the male driver of the other car are reported to be unhurt. Police are investigating the incident. CNS also received unconfirmed reports that another single vehicle accident occurred on Seven Mile Beach early Friday morning in which a BMW flipped over.

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