Archive for September 28th, 2010

Selita features in rapper’s new video

| 28/09/2010 | 43 Comments

(CNS): According to, while the two may not be admitting any romantic involvement, Kayne West has shot a 40-minute video in Prague starring Cayman Islands supermodel Selita Ebanks. The song “Runaway” will be available October 4 on iTunes, the music website reports. The single is from the platinum-selling rapper’s much-anticipated new but yet to be titled album, which is set to be released on 22 November. Although West and Ebanks have been photographed together at a number of venues in recent weeks, Cayman’s supermodel has dismissed the rumours, insisting their relationship is purely platonic.

Ebanks recently commented on the speculation about rekindling her former romance with the rapper and said: "No, no, no … I’m just happy that he’s a great friend. I love his creativity. I love that he thinks outside the box. He’s just himself. Not only am I a fan, I support him 100 per cent."

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Healthcare takes centre stage

| 28/09/2010 | 10 Comments

(CNS): Government says it is planning a major national health care conference in November as part of its goal to improve the country’s health care system and see the industry play a part in developing the local economy. The Ministry of Health said the 11-13 November gathering will include insurance companies, patients, healthcare professionals, regulators and the Chamber of Commerce. Health minster Mark Scotland said the industry would be a future driver of growth. “It affects everyone, and our goal is to create a forum where we can bring together the divergent views, interests and collective intellect of all stakeholders with the benefit of international experts to develop a cohesive approach that will ensure a modern and sustainable healthcare system in the Cayman Islands” he added.

“A Participative Approach in Setting the Agenda for Health” will cover topics such as Medical tourism and its impact on economic and social development; Chronic disease and implications for the islands’ future; Health insurance: affordability, coverage, portability; The impact of technology on healthcare delivery; Healthcare careers for Caymanians; The potential for public/private-sector partnerships in sustainable healthcare delivery and questions of the sustainability of current expenditure on healthcare.

Scotland said healthcare impacts almost every area of life and it  was important for all groups interested in healthcare, particularly the private sector and the Chamber of Commerce, to be at the conference, the minister stated. “Healthcare is critical to economic growth and the involvement of the private sector is essential to our goals in making healthcare a major growth pillar of the Cayman economy,” he revealed.
The country’s premier said Cabinet had given its full support to the conference as government was committed to making healthcare a driver of economic development in the Cayman Islands.
“This conference will provide the opportunityfor everyone to bring our collective minds together to identify areas for the Cayman Islands to continue to modernize our healthcare delivery whilst taking advantage of global opportunities for growing our economy,” said McKeeva Bush.
Scotland explained that with technological innovation the way healthcare is delivered is changing and with easier access to healthcare information came a more knowledgeable patient. “Our challenge is to maintain a high quality cost effective service,” the minster said. “Hence the timeliness of this national conference, which will help to ensure that we are ahead of the curve in making sound, decisions to guarantee the sustainability of our healthcare-delivery system well beyond the next 20 years.”
Government said that a number of local and international organizations have already agreed to sponsor the event: LIME; Cerner Corporation, a leading US-based provider of healthcare information technology; Deloitte; Joh Alli Medical; Baptist Health; Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare, which owns and operates acute care hospitals and related businesses; and The UK-based Medical Protection Society, a provider of comprehensive professional indemnity and expert advice to health professionals.

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UBS client to contest account detail handover

| 28/09/2010 | 0 Comments

(Swiss info): Switzerland’s administrative court has ruled that a client of the UBS bank has the right to contest the handover ofhis account details to the United States authorities. The judges found that the client had not been informed that the bank was considering sharing his data with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and that he had therefore not had an opportunity to put his case. The Federal Tax Administration admitted it could not prove it had indeed informed the client personally about the steps it was preparing to take. The court found that extensive publicity in the newspapers about the fact that UBS client data was liable to be disclosed to the IRS was not sufficient.

Switzerland agreed with the US in 2009 to examine the accounts of up to 4,450 UBS clients suspected of tax evasion, with a view to handing them over to the IRS. It made the deal, approved by parliament in June, in order to avoid a lawsuit against the bank.


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US fails to stop money laundering

| 28/09/2010 | 0 Comments

(BBC): One of the US’s top fraud investigators is warning that America’s policing of money laundering is wide open to abuse. Eric Lewis will tell a Congressional hearing on terrorist financing that billions of dollars are slipping through the US banking system. In a testimony ahead of the hearing on Tuesday he says that only international action can stop the laundering. The US Committee on Financial Services is taking evidence on "trends in terrorism financing". Lewis will tell the hearing the "powerful tools" to stop the laundering of drug and terrorist money "are not being used as vigorously and consistently as they could be".

Lewis was legal counsel to the liquidators of the collapsed Bank of Credit and Commerce and is an adviser to liquidators running down the companies of fraudster Bernard Madoff.

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TD#16: more rain expected

| 28/09/2010 | 16 Comments

(CNS): Update 10:29pm – The Cayman Islands will continue to experience overcast skies with periods of heavy showers and another 2 to 4 inches of rainfall are likely during the next 24 hours leading to extensive flooding of low lying areas, Hazard Management CI said Tuesday evening. Residents of these areas should continue to take the necessary precautions. At 10:00pm local time TD#16 was located at 21.9N 81.9W or about 184 miles NW of Grand Cayman and moving towards the NE at 8 mph with maximum sustained Winds of 35 mph. Strong southwesterly winds reaching tropical storm force at times, and rough seas with wave heights of 8 to 10 feet are expected over our area.

The south and west coasts of our Islands will experience heavy wave action and some beach erosion.All boating interests should remain in safe harbour until further notice

The CI National Weather Service will continue to monitor the progress of this system, and all residents are urged to stay tuned to the local media for further updates.

Additional information on weather conditions over our area for the next 24 to 48 hours can be found in the local weather forecast.

The next bulletin will be issued 5am tomorrow.

All public service announcements about Tropical Depression #16 will be posted on CNS Storm Watch, which has a quick link on the main menu bar in Classifieds to the latest updates about hurricanes and storms under the sub-categories ‘Be Prepared’, ‘Business Update’, ‘Official News’ and ‘Personal Notes’. The link to the Cayman Islands Weather site is also on the Classifieds menu bar so that all the weather information is easily accessible. 

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Email scams claim to be from local banks

| 28/09/2010 | 3 Comments

(CNS): The RCIPS Financial Crime Unit is urging the public to be wary of emails claiming to be from your local bank because it might just be a scam. Police say that almost half a dozen scam emails claiming to be from local banks have been received by people in the Cayman Islands over the past few days. “These e-mails look like the genuine article,” said DCI Claudia Brady of the FCU. “They closely resemble the bank’s own websites and encourage people to click on a link button and supply their personal banking details on-line. Luckily the people targeted so far haven’t fallen victim to the scam and haven’t lost any money from their accounts. But the next person may not be so lucky."

She said, “That’s why we’re issuing this warning today and asking people to be extra vigilant.”

Local banks will never ask customers by e-mail to divulge their personal banking details on-line. Anyone who receives such an e-mail must not respond and should immediately report theactivity to their bank and / or the Financial Crime Unit.

Anyone who requires advice about how to combat internet / e-mail scams should contact the RCIPS Financial Crime Unit on 949-8797.

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Identity Irrelevant

| 28/09/2010 | 6 Comments

By now, the term ‘FOI’ is commonly used in Cayman and I would expect that the average person has a basic understanding of the law as it seems to be behind some of the more news worthy events of the past 21 months.So how much has been spent on security for current and past members of the Legislative Assembly?

It is true that FOI, both here and abroad, has helped to shed light on issues (and sometimes scandals) such as government spending and decisions. But a more fundamental question that needs to be addressed is how a law founded on promoting openness and transparency can also protect the true identify of a requestor? The answer is relatively simply – it has to.

Cayman is small. And while it is certainly charming to live in such a close knit community, the reality is that everybody ‘knows your business’. We have all participated in this phenomenon at some point, whether by sharing gossip heard on the marl road or through witnessing events in person. Information in Cayman runs like the Nile (yes, I do mean the river in Africa).

Now, one might ask what local gossip has to do with Freedom of Information, but the correlation is easy. It boils down to fear.

FOI requests are for records that are, for the most part, already owed to the people. The requestor’s identity should therefore be irrelevant. The anonymity afforded in the FOI Law was meant to ensure people were free to ask for any record without the fear of reprimand.

If all FOI requestors were required to prove their identity, the law might simply fail. Caymanians would cease to make requests if they thought that it could be used against them. Expatriates would stop requesting records for fear of being labeled ’anti-Cayman’. Requests would taper off and the veil of Government secrecy would again cover our beautiful Islands.

Think this sounds a bit rash? Think again. Information is a powerful thing. Using it for good is altruistic. Unfortunately, misinformation can change lives. FOI gives us access to the truth.

Fear drives us in many different ways. Sometimes it’s a primal sense of fear when faced with the unknown. Other times fear can be completely irrational. Regardless, the right to remain anonymous is set out in the Law. While this point could, and may very soon be debated as the law is under review, I think the fundamental right to remain anonymous is needed.

Don’t be afraid. The Government is accountable to you. So keep asking.

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NHC warns of storm formation over Cayman

| 28/09/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The large system of low pressure which is currently passing across the Cayman Islands area could become a tropical cyclone as winds are close to tropical-storm-force the National Hurricane Centre has warned. “Environmental conditions are becoming more favourable for development and only a little more organization of the associated thunderstorm activity is needed for this system to become a tropical depression or a tropical storm at any time,” NHC forecasters said early Tuesday morning. The system is continuing to strengthen and thunderstorm activity is becoming better organized as the system moves northward.

There is an 80 percent chance of this system becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours and interests in Cuba and the Cayman Islands should monitor the progress of this system.
The local weather forecast for Tuesday calls for cloudy to overcast skies with an 80 percent chance of scattered showers and some thunder. Showers will be locally heavy at times leading to flooding of low lying areas. Winds over open seas will be south to southwest at 15 to 20 knots with higher gusts in and around showers. Seas are expected to be rough with wave heights 5 to 7 feet and a small craft warning is in effect. The high is expected to be 82°F or 28°C while the low 77°F or 25°C.
Meanwhile, an area of low pressure, the remnant of tropical depression Julia located about 175 miles south-southeast of Bermuda is moving west-north-westward near 15 mph but the NHC said conditions were not conducive for significant development with only a low 10 percent chance of Julia being regenerated into a tropical cyclone over the next 48 hours.

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Miller: Cut fees not rollover

| 28/09/2010 | 125 Comments

(CNS): The government’s increase in fees is far more of a problem for the country’s commercial community than the length of rollover, says the independent member for North Side. In the wake of announcements by the premier that the rollover could be reduced to as little as thirty days, Ezzard Miller said that he doubted very much that would constitute a genuine break in stay and, more importantly, immigration policy is not the cause of Cayman’s declining economic fortunes. Miller said that government should be reducing the cost of doing business not risky reductions to the break in stay that could result in Caymanians losing political control of their country.

“I remain to be convinced that the problems we are facing with the economy are solely down to immigration,” Miller told CNS. “I believe it has more to do with the cost of doing business in the Cayman Islands right now.”
He said that the increases in duty, in particular that on gasoline, have had an inflationary impact and the increase in building fees have also shut down the construction industry.
“When bank manager tells me now that before he makes a dime he has to lay out close $¾ million before he does anything, I know something is wrong with the fee structure,” he said. “What I think government needs to do now is find out what other jurisdictions competing with Cayman are doing that’s better than us and start doing it better and cheaper and take back what we have lost in the financial services sector. We can given someone a Cayman stamp in their passport but if it takes forever to get business done people still won’t come.”
He pointed out that reducing rollover to as little as a month was a risky approach as he said it was very unlikely that was sufficient to represent a genuine break in stay. Miller recalled that the islands’ legal minds in 2003 all said the minimum period of time for a genuine break in domicile had to be two years and couldn’t be any less. “Cutting fees would be a far more sensible approach to getting the economy on track rather than reducing rollover to the point where it cold be challenged,” he added.
The UK government had said before the status grants were given out that a six month break that some people had taken prior to the assessment was not a sufficient period, Miller recalled, pointing out the current legal advice coming from Lord Panik relates to sovereign states.
“Any attorney will give you the answer you might want but it depends on the question you asked and I would be curious to know what the question was in this case,” the North Side MLA said.
He pointed out that Cayman was not only an overseas territory but, as a UK dependency, it was also a signature to the European Convention on Human Rights, which would mean that a short gap would very easily be challenged. Miller said he had voted against government’s introduction of a caregiver certificate earlier this month as he doesn’t believe the UK government is going to allow Cayman to keep people for seventeen years with no rights.
He explained that he did not see the rollover policy as having anything to do with protecting jobs for Caymanians and therefore the reduction in the length was irrelevant from that perspective. He said Caymanians were not getting work because the immigration law was not be adhered to and arbitrary decisions were still being made about granting permits.
Miller said rollover was all about managing the numbers of people who would be eligible for permanent residency and the subsequent right to Caymanian status for those who passed the criteria. He said the evidence pointed away from a shorter rollover period being enough and said Cayman faced losing further control especially at a time when there were over 22,000 work permit holders in the country.

“Someone will test it in the European Courts and we will then be in a position where we face having to do another status clean-up, then we could see the electoral list double by the 2018 elections,” he added.

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HRC falls short of standard

| 28/09/2010 | 29 Comments

(CNS): The composition of the Cayman Islands Human Rights Commission does not meet the Paris Principles, as adopted by the United Nations, when it comes to human rights institutions,, experts have said. Along with a number of other problems Cayman faces ahead of the implementation of its Bill of Rights in 2012, Desia Colgaon and Serlina Goulbourne, who visited Cayman last week, said the key elements of any human rights national institution are independence and pluralism. The experts who were here to offer free training to members of both the public and private sector said Cayman lacked a human rights culture, which would take some time to develop.

The two women came to the islands as part of the Commonwealth Foundation and its project partners (the Commonwealth Legal Education Association, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and the UK’s Department for International Development) to help raise awareness and offer assistance to the community at large about what human rights mean to a community.

“While there is some technical understanding of what human rights are there is considerably less understanding of what the Bill of Rights will mean to society,” Goulbourne told CNS. “I think there is a will to embrace the concept but there needs to be support from civil society to ensure that the Cayman Islands will adopt a culture of human rights.”
She also pointed out that some civil servants had voiced real anxieties about coping with the implementation of the Bill of Rights as they said they did not really know where to start when it came to ensuring the policies in their departments were compliant. “There appears to be a sense of panic among some public sector workers but every department will need to review policies.”
Colgaon pointed out that with three lawyers, including a former attorney general, on the commission and only two lay people, one of whom is a church representative, the local HRC does not meet the Paris Principles, which were defined at the first International Workshop on National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights held in Paris in 1991. The guidelines were adopted by the UNCHR as comprehensive recommendations on the role, composition, status and functions of national human rights organisations. The principles say that the body must incorporate a cross section of people from the community or a plural membership.
She also pointed out that training and education, which is one of the roles of the HRC needs to stretch beyond government and into the wider community so that the people understand what rights they will have under the bill once it is implemented.
During the week long workshop around 100 people attended the various different seminars and Reshma Sharma, one of the organisers from the Attorney General’s Office, said there was definitely a mixed response from those who attended about how HR will take affect in Cayman. She said there was a very strong response to the training and that it was clear a lot of people want to know a lot more about how the Bill of Rights will affect them.’
The trainers will be publishing a report with recommendations for the way forward for Cayman based on their brief time here, which will be available to the public.

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