Archive for September, 2010

Unemployment focus of regional youth day

| 30/09/2010 | 10 Comments

(CNS): To mark Caribbean Youth Day the minister with responsibility for youth has called on the entire community to help tackle youth unemployment. With the jobless rate for young people in Cayman running at over 35% getting young people in work is just as challenging in our community, despite over employment problems among the experienced workforce. "Youth unemployment has become this century’s biggest developmental challenge in almost every country. With global unemployment figures for youth running two to three times higher than those for adults, almost half of all jobless people are under the age of thirty," Scotland said.

Mark Scotland’s full message:

The theme for this year’s Caribbean Youth Day is creating sustainable employment for young people. Some might say the challenges are insurmountable. They include low economic growth, continuing job losses, the high cost of tertiary education and a general reluctance to encourage or accept inexperienced youngsters who are trying to enter the job market.

How then do we help our young people to not only overcome these difficulties, but to also unlock their potential so that they can mature and become tomorrow’s dynamicworkforce?

The Ministry of Education, Training & Employment has also been working on several initiatives aimed at improving services, support, assistance and guidance to the youth of this country. These include increased career guidance in school, providing students with work experience through dedicated placement (which is part of the Further Education Programme for Year 12) and preparing young people for the world of work through the National Employment Passport Programme, Passport2Success.

But these commendable efforts should not be left to stand alone.

Parents, teachers and friends should all be part of the equation. From an early age, our children need to develop solid values and we need to instill in them the value of a strong work ethic. We should likewise offer career counseling, encouraging our youth to think outside of the box when it comes to livelihood choices and strongly promoting creativity and entrepreneurship. I accordingly call on everyone to make an investment in Cayman’s future and celebrate this Caribbean Youth Day by spending time with a young person. I can assure you that it will be time well spent.

Our approach is necessarily interactive and cooperative: Together with other government agencies such as the Department of Education Services and the Ministry of Education, our Youth Services Unit is already working hard to place our young people on the pathway to sustainable employment.

Annual summer camps help students identify possible careers by testing aptitude and personality traits. There are also opportunities to explore a range of fields including mechanics, office administration, fashion design, creative media and culinary arts.

In addition the Youth Services Unit works with youth to plot their further education plans by exploring tertiary education institutions, course requirements and scholarship opportunities. Staff also assist with creating and updating young people’s résumés, and maintain an updated bulletin board of job opportunities for entry-level applicants and other suitably qualified youngsters.

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Activists reschedule meeting to talk ‘rubbish’

| 30/09/2010 | 13 Comments

(CNS): Following yesterday’s poor weather, the second public meeting of the local activist group WISE was postponed and the members are inviting the public to join them this evening upstairs at A L Thompsons at 5;30pm. The group intends to make another presentation about the issue of waste management in the Cayman Islands and stimulate debate about how the country can handle its rubbish in future. Taking the position that government’s proposal to deal with Mount Trashmore, as the George town landfill is commonly known, via incineration and waste to energy is not the real solution, the activists will be presenting alternative proposals for discussion. (Photo Kerry Horek)

For more details visit

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Hedge fund moves from Cayman to Luxemburg

| 30/09/2010 | 66 Comments

(Finalternative): Another European hedge fund has moved onshore in advance of new European Union rules covering hedge funds. Signina Capital is redomiciling its Cayman Islands funds in Luxembourg. The Swiss fund of hedge funds said that the move was motivated by client demands, and that it would move other funds to Europe from Cayman. The firm recently hired Northern Trust as its administrator. “Fund managers are hearing from investors, who continue to demand increased transparency, greater control and more robust governance frameworks for their alternative investments,” said Ian Headon, Northern Trust’s product development head for hedge funds and funds of hedge funds in Europe.

“We were looking for a jurisdiction and a provider that would enhance our ability to meet our clients’ needs and Northern Trust had the experience and product expertise to support these requirements.”

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Census secure, says ESO boss

| 30/09/2010 | 33 Comments

(CNS): The director of the Economics and Statistics Office says that information given to workers during the national census will be secure. With only ten days to go before the national count, Maria Zingapan said the information given to enumerators will not be linked to personal individuals when the information is entered into the database. No organisations, such as insurances companies, will get access to the personal details given in the survey and the public can feel safe answering the survey. Zingapan said that legal names are not required and people can use nicknames merely to distinguish between members of a household. She explained that sole householders do not need to supply a name at all for the questionnaire.

She explained that names and telephone numbers are only there for follow-up to clarify certain responses specific to a person if it is needed.
Zingapan also reassured the public that the information will not find its way to any other agents.
“By law, ESO cannot and will not be providing individual census data to any agency including government bodies,” the ESO director told CNS in the wake of concerns raised by readers.
“ESO also follows international best practices for national statistics offices where data collected from households and businesses are used for statistical purposes only and no individual data are to be released.  These best practices also govern the ESO through the Statistics Law (1996 Revision) as Amended (2010).”
She explained that the purpose of the health questions is to guide health services policy and planning at the community and national level. No individual information will be provided to any government agency outside of the ESO or to any private sector group or industry. In 2007 a significant number of health status questions were asked in the Survey of Living Conditions but none of that information has been provided to the insurance industry, or any industry for that matter, Zingapan noted.
“ESO places utmost importance on its confidentiality obligations to its respondents with the penalties for breaches of this confidentiality strengthened in the Statistics Amendment Law 2010,” she said. “Among households, ESO’s past surveys, which include the Labour Force Survey (LFS), enjoys one of the highest response rates (80-85%) in the region. In the upcoming 2010 Population and Housing Census, ESO hopes that all households will similarly be as co-operative to the census enumerator and responsive to the census questionnaire.”
She asked the public to welcome the enumerators and pointed out that household interviews are not new to Cayman. As ESO conducts household interviews for the Labour Force Surveys (LFSs) annually – sometimes twice in one year.
Although, some jurisdiction do such surveys via the post or even on-line, Zingapan explained that ESO conducted a survey in 2008 to guage the preferred method for household surveys or censuses and over 65% of people who were asked said they preferred face-to-face interviews.  “Most importantly, the United Nations recommends face-to-face interview as the best method for censuses and surveys to ensure high coverage and good quality,” she added.
The statistics expert said that on-line census systems are technically complicated and costly and no Caribbean countries have used the internet. She also noted that the recent 2010 US census did not use an online option.
“While the ESO initially considered this way back in 2008, it was not pursued for a variety of logistical and financial reasons,” Zingapan said. “A key reason is that the census field work requires three simultaneous activities: canvassing and listing of dwelling units, and interview of households. Canvassing means going through an enumeration area to identify all buildings or structures that are used as dwelling units. Identified dwelling units should correspond to household interviews. The matching of canvassing/listing activities with an on-line interview and subsequent verification would make this process complicated and costly.”
Online and postal censuses also require more time from the participants and the public will need to at least read the Census manual for themselves.  “This option requires more hours from the respondents than the average 20 minutes required in face-to-face interviews,” she said explaining that twenty minutes is the estimated time for an enumerator to interview a household with 2-3 members. “It is very typical that posting would eventually require follow-up face-to-face interviews for those with incomplete or poor-quality returns. This turned out to be the case in the 1999 Census,” she said.
The national count begins on 10/10/10 and the ESO is hoping to get a 100% accurate count of the number of households and therefore population of the country on that night. Officials also hope that they will get a 100% response on the household survey, which is comprised of 67 questions.
Aside from getting a snapshot of the lives of people Cayman, it is hoped the survey will result in a cross section of comprehensive statistics to help inform future government policy regarding services and management of emergencies.
The office has also released a number of the questions that the public will be asked during the interview by enumerators, ranging from migration and immigration issues to education standards. The first and most important question will be how many people were living or staying at a house on census night.
All the questions can be viewed here. Scroll down and click on "Census SAMPLE Questionnaire".

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Cops go quiet on crime

| 30/09/2010 | 36 Comments

(CNS): Although sources tell CNS that an attempted robbery took place at the Domino’s Pizza Parlour in Mary Street last night, the police say that cannot offer the public any information.  It is unclear what time the incident took place, how the robbers were foiled in their attempts or how the men or women were armed.  Police told CNS this morning that they were aware of an incident but were unable to offer information for the public and advised us to call the press liaison officer. Recent instructions from RCIPS officials to the media advise that outside of office hours the duty sergeant or inspector at George Town police station would be the source of information for media distribution. However, officers have become increasingly reluctant to talk with the press, making it difficult for local media to keep the public informed. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

This is at least the second time that robbers have targeted the small takeaway restaurant, but with no informationcoming from the police we are unable to say if anyone was hurt or the property was damaged. In June masked armed men crashed through the store’s front doors and left with a small amount of cash.
With the increasing breakdown of communication between police and media, CNS is calling on members of the public to help us keep the community informed. Please contact our news room with any information about crimes taking place in your neighbourhood on or 926 6816.

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Drilling plans off Cuba stir fears of impact on gulf

| 30/09/2010 | 0 Comments

(New York Times): Five months after the BP oil spill, a federal moratorium still prohibits new deepwater drilling in the American waters of the Gulf of Mexico. And under longstanding federal law, drilling is also banned near the coast of Florida. Yet next year, a Spanish company will begin drilling new wells 50 miles from the Florida Keys — in Cuba’s sovereign waters. Cuba currently produces little oil. But oil experts say the country might have reserves along its north coast as plentiful as that of the international oil middleweights, Ecuador and Colombia — enough to bolster its faltering economy and cut its dependence on Venezuela for its energy needs. The advent of drilling in Cuban waters poses risks both to the island nation and the United States.

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Women under and misrepresented by news media

| 29/09/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS):  Women are still significantly underrepresented and misrepresented in news media coverage according to new research by Global Media Monitoring Project. Despite significant change since the project began 15 years ago 76% of the people heard or read about in the world’s news are male the organisation said on Wednesday.  The research covered 108 countries, 1,365 newspapers, television and radio stations and Internet news sites, 17,795 news stories and 38,253 persons in the news and found that female representation in the news had only increase by 7% since 1995. However 44% of people providing popular opinion in news stories were female compared to 34% in 2005.

The report Who Makes the News? The Global Media Monitoring Project 2010 found that news media show significant gender bias with 46% of news stories reinforcing gender stereotypes.  13% of news stories focus centrally on women.  Expert commentary is overwhelmingly male with only one female in every five experts.  The age of women in the news is mentioned twice as often and family status almost four times as often as for men. Today female reporters are responsible for 37% of stories compared to 28% fifteen years ago, and their stories challenge gender stereotypes twice as often as stories by male reporters.
Gender bias in Internet news is similar and in some respects even more intense than that found in the traditional news media.
The GMMP is the largest and longest running research and advocacy initiative on fair and balanced gender representation in the news media. It is coordinated by WACC, a global network of communicators promoting communication for social change, in collaboration with data analyst Media Monitoring Africa, and with support from the United Nations Development Fund for Women.

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Kurt says Mac has no plan

| 29/09/2010 | 83 Comments

(CNS): The government does not have any real plans to improve the country’s economic fortunes and “is floundering hopelessly” as it tries to work out what to do, the opposition leader told the country on Wednesday night. In response to a recent address to the nation by Premier McKeeva Bush, the leader of the opposition, Kurt Tibbetts, says that despite the premier’s globe trotting endeavours he had achieved little in his 500 days in office and the country’s fortunes have continued to decline under the new administration. Speaking on Radio Cayman and Cayman 27 the PPM leader said the premier has not put forward one meaningful solution to stimulate the economy since he was elected

In his own address to the country the opposition leader referred to the premier’s extensive travel since taking office on a number of occasions as well as the failure of the wining and dining of international leaders to woo any new investors or millionaire residents to the islands.
Criticising the hikes in fees Tibbetts spoke a lot about the proclamations that the premier has made consistently since coming to office that have not led to anything concrete.
Tibbetts said that after two budgets and two -soon to be three- world tours to promote and encourage inward investment the government cannot point to one economic success story or one tangible project that has started since it took office the opposition leader said.
In his statement he claimed that there was nothing of substance in the premier’s address earlier this month, to reassure the people.  “The country’s economy cannot prosper on a diet of the Premier’s rhetoric and travel stories,” Tibbetts said of the current government statements and rhetoric. 
Pointing to the premier’s announced 11 point plan Tibbetts said it would be fine if he had just been elected but his government has been in office for nearly a year and a half, delivered 2 budgets, numerous policy statements and conducted various reviews and reports.
“A full year ago government announced a National Planning Initiative and the appointment of two strategic advisors who would prepare a plan dealing with the physical, social, cultural and economic development of the country. What has happened to that plan?” Tibbetts asked. “We haven’t heard a word about it since the grand announcement 12 months ago.”
He also pointed to what the PPM have called ill conceived and hastily drafted legislation affecting the financial services sector, saying that some of the changes to laws have raised very serious concerns in the financial industry which are also adding to the wider problems caused by the extensive increases in fees and duties which Tibbetts says are crippling the local economy.
“What must be considered at this point are not so much the most recent promises and rhetoric of the Premier, most of which we have heard before, but the effect of the measures which have been taken by the government since it took office 16 months ago to alleviate the impact of the recession on Cayman, its people and businesses,” he said. “We must ask: Have the actions of the government actually improved life for the people who live, work and invest here? This is the question which must be answered in evaluating the performance of the government over the past 16 months. “
The issue of immigration, Tibbetts said was not the reason behind Cayman’s economic misfortunes. He also noted that the previous government had closely examined the length of the break in stay and were advised that 12 months was the safest minimum period.
“We considered reducing the break to six months but were advised against it because of concerns that such a short break, if challenged, might not be considered by a court to have broken the individual’s legal and ordinary residence in this jurisdiction.  We are perplexed as to how the Premier can announce that advice from the United Kingdom says that we can make the break following roll-over as limited as we want in our legislation and I call on him to make that advice public,” Tibbetts said.
 He pointed out that in 2003 the premier insisted that two years was the minimum break but today the government advisors are purported to be giving completely different advice.
Tibbetts cautioned acting on the adviceparticularly in light of a recent report by the UK Parliament advocating the right to vote should be given not just to citizens of Overseas Territories but the residents as well. 
Given the failure of current policies to help stimulate the local economy or assist the flagging financial and tourism sectors Tibbetts posed the question of what the government has been doing since it was elected 500 days ago.
The opposition leader called on the current government to roll back hikes in license fees and other taxes to relieve small businesses as well as the financial services sector and give an undertaking that there will be no further increases during this term. Tibbetts also said government should introduce tax breaks and incentives to rejuvenate small businesses.
He asked government to get public spending under control, publish the plan on how the administration intends to do it and convince investors and the Cayman public that it is realistic. When it comes to immigration Tibbetts said the government’s review of the immigration laws and policies should be done openly with full disclosure of legal advice and not behind closed doors.
The opposition address was transmitted on Radio Cayman Wednesday evening 29 September after the 7 pm news and again after the 10 pm news. It was also broadcast on CITN (channel 27) at 8pm on Wednesday. It will also be aired on Cayman 27 again on Thursday morning at 8:00 am and evening at 8:00pm.
The leader of the opposition’s full speech.

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All clear issued for Cayman

| 29/09/2010 | 8 Comments

(CNS): Updated 5pm  —  Education officials have confirmed that all government schools will open at their usual time tomorrow (Thursday 30 September) unless weather conditions deteriorate overnight. The decision comes in the wake of the discontinuation of the Tropical Storm Nicole warning by Hazard Management Cayman Islands. HMCI discontinued the tropical storm warning at 3pm on the advice of the National Weather Service and the ‘All Clear’ was declared.  The broad Area of low pressure will persist however, over the Northwest Caribbean leading to continued poor weather over the Cayman area for the next 24 to 48 hours.  Boating interests should continue to remain in safe harbor as strong southwest to west winds will persist, reaching tropical storm force at times.

Rough seas, with wave heights of 8 to 10 feet are expected to continue over our area for at least another 24 hours. The south and west coasts of our Islands will continue to experience heavy wave action and some beach erosion.

At 4pm the NHC said that Tropical Strom Nicole had already dissipated over the Straits of Florida but large areas of heavy rains were persisting. The storm was about about 175 miles ENE of Havana Cuba and the circulation had degenerated into an elongated area of low pressure. The remnants of Nicole were moving toward the north-northeast near 12 mph with maximum sustained winds near 40 mph with higher gusts. Winds associated with the remnants of Nicole should gradually subside, the NHC said, but a strong non-tropical low pressure system with gale force winds is expected to develop near the southeast US coast tonight.
Tropical storm force winds still extend outward up to 345 miles to the southeast of the centre which is still impacting the Cayman area.


Further information on local weather conditions will be issued in regular weather forecasts.

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Crews working on flooded roads

| 29/09/2010 | 19 Comments

(CNS): The National Roads Authority currently has six crews dealing withthe flood waters associated with Tropical Storm Nicole, across Grand Cayman. According to Hazard Management Cayman Islands early assessments although a number of roads have been flooded, flood waters have not caused damage to homes. HMCI and the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Shelter Operations are currently working with the NRA to alleviate areas where flooding has occurred. Areas in George Town, Prospect and Newlands have been flooded but officials said that the Cumber Avenue area of Bodden Town had escaped this time.

In George Town portions of Windsor Park were flooded but NRA is actively pumping the water out although there is still standing water on Anthony Drive and Templeton Street officials stated. Over at Randyke Gardens parts of Concord Avenue and Randyke Way are flooded. In the Several roads in the Industrial Park are flooded including Maclendon Drive, Industrial Way, Dorcy Drive, Red Gate Road, Commercial Avenue, Seymour Road, Barnes Drive and Webb Road.
Large areas in Washing Boulevard area (Swamp) have been flooded but NRA is also pumping the water out. There is still standing water on Woodpecker Close, Grackle Road, Washington Road, Cypros Road Brushy Avenue, Greenwood Drive, and Kennedy Drive. There is also flooding in Central Scranton towards the back of Tigris Street and the northern portion of Watlers road has flooded. Along Eastern Avenue portions of Saturn Close has sustained flooding as well as the end of Courts Road.
Meanwhile, in Prospect Marina Drive, Rosemary Street, Mahogany Way, Party Lane, Almond Avenue, Buttonwood Avenue, Logwood Way, Birch Avenue are all flooded. In Newlands portions of Moonbeam Drive and Butterfly Circle have also sustained flooding.
While Cumber Avenue in Bodden Town is saturated there was no flooding in the area officials said.
If your area had been flooded and is not present on this list, please specify the street name and contact HMCI at 945-4624 or the NRA at 946-7780. If you need shelter or other assistance please contact Lynda Mitchell at the DCFS Shelter Operations at 949-0290 or 925-5346.

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