Archive for October 13th, 2010

Man beaten with bull’s penis

| 13/10/2010 | 115 Comments

(CNS):  Police have confirmed this evening that they are investigating a report regarding an assault on a man which took place in Bodden Town Road last night at around 6.40pm. CNS understands from unconfirmed reports that the male assailant was a well known member of the Bodden Town business community whose weapon of choice appears to have been a dried cow cod (a bull’s penis). Police told CNS they were unable to offer further details on either the weapon or the identity of the man who allegedly committed the assault. A spokesperson said that no arrests have yet been made and enquiries into the incident were ongoing.  Meanwhile, Bodden Town MLA Dwayne Seymour has been charged by police in connection with a fight at Cayman Beach Suites earlier this year.

Police confirmed that  a 41-year-old man has been charged in connection with an incident which occurred at the Grand Cayman Beach Suites on Saturday 1 May 2010. “The man has been charged with attempting to obstruct, prevent, pervert or defeat the course of justice. It is anticipated he will appear in court on 9 November 2010,” a police spokesperson said.
 
At the time of the incident, Florida based personal trainer Garrone Yap claimed he was assaulted by Seymour and another man outside the hotel.  All three men were arrested, but Yap was released without charge.
 
Check back to CNS later for more on both these stories.

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Hurricane Paula shakes up cruise itineraries

| 13/10/2010 | 1 Comment

(USA Today Travel): Nearly a dozen cruise ships in the Caribbean have altered their itineraries, as a result of Hurricane Paula. These include eight vessels operated by industry giant Carnival that collectively are carrying more than 20,000 vacationers. Among the most affected is the 2,124-passenger Carnival Legend, which skipped Cozumel today. The line also has canceled the ship’s stops in Roatan, Honduras and Belize scheduled for Thursday and Friday. The 2,974-passenger Carnival Conquest also will head to Key West instead of calls in Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

 

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Cayman businessman embroiled in million $ case

| 13/10/2010 | 28 Comments

(CNS): A multi-million dollar trust company based in Turks & Caicos Islands is at the centre of a legal dispute there and in Jamaica, according to reports in the Turks & Caicos Sun. The case involves Delroy Howell (left), former owner of Cayman business Quik-Cash and its parent company, First Financial Caribbean Trust Company, which was formed by Howell, a Jamaican national, about ten years ago. Howell, who lives in the Cayman Islands, sold the firm in July but he claims that his former employee, Judith Wilchcombe, improperly acquired a number of shares in the company. Investigations by the Turks based publication, however, have revealed that the court case in the TCI is part of a much larger set of legal proceedings in Jamaica alleging financial wrong doing by Howell and one of his directors at FFCTC.

The Sun reports that there is more to the case involving Howell and First Financial Caribbean Trust Co. Ltd than the dispute with Wilchcombe in Turks.  “There was an audit of the Trust Company which showed that US$14 million was unaccounted for and that millions in US dollars were allegedly transferred to Delroy Howell personally and several companies which he controlled,” the Sun reports.  “Allegedly, when the beneficiaries of the trust company demanded payment of their funds, requests to Delroy Howell and his companies to account for the funds went unanswered.”

When it was discovered that the companies to which the trust funds had been transferred intended to sell all their assets in a transaction in Jamaica, the trust company filed a claim against Howell and the companies for the repayment of the funds.   The claim was filed on August 19 and on the same date the trust company was granted a worldwide freezing order against Howell and the other companies under his control. The trust company has already been successful in defeating the first challenge to its claim when the Jamaican courts dismissed applications by the defendants to strike out the claim against them and to discharge the freezing order.
 
The Jamaican courts are expected to decide whether to extend the freezing order until trial on 15 October. The Sun writes that it had obtained various documents in connection with the case including copies of the particulars of claim that sets out the formal claim against Howell and other defendants, a freezing order dated August 19, 2010, freezing the worldwide assets of Howell and other defendants.
 
In the particulars of claim that were filed in the Jamaica Supreme Court, the claimant was the company FFCTC  and the defendants were listed as Howell, Kenarthur Mitchell, First Financial Caribbean Jamaica Limited, First Financial International Group Limited, First Financial Caribbean Limited and First Financial Caribbean Holdings Limited. 
 
The documents reveal that Howell and Mitchell are accused of breaching their fiduciary duties to the company, breach of contract and that fraudulently, Howell and Mitchell transferred the Trust Funds to themselves and others including First Financial Jamaica, First Financial Group, First Financial Caribbean and First Financial Holdings.

 

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Camana Bay secures tenant for third office building

| 13/10/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Local law firm Mourant Ozannes has revealed that it has agreed to become the anchor tenant of a new 62,000 square foot commercial building located in the Town Centre of Camana Bay which is expected to be finished in 2012. The lawyers will occupy the top two floors of the third commercial building that Dart will build in the new town. Neal Lomax, Managing Partner of Mourant Ozannes in the Cayman Islands said the firm was growing and it needed new larger premises to accommodate that future growth.

 
He said the practice also wanted an office building and location which reflected the quality of the firm. “We are very confident that this new building in Camana Bay will satisfy these criteria. By committing to this project, we demonstrate our confidence in the future of the Cayman Islands as one of the world’s leading international financial centres,” he added.
 
The latest addition to the Camana Bay skyline was designed by Torti Gallas and Partners and was supported by local architects, the Burns Conolly Group, Dart said. The developers said the design of the Mourant Ozannes building is consistent with the architectural principles already in use at Camana Bay.
 
“We are delighted to welcome Mourant Ozannes to Camana Bay,” said Jackie Doak, Chief Operating Officer for Dart Realty (Cayman) Ltd. “This latest development shows that despite the economic downturn, confidence in Camana Bay as a preferred address for commercial and retail businesses remains high. As Camana Bay continues to grow, our focus is firmly on attracting the "best of the best" and Mourant Ozannes with their growing list of accolades is the perfect anchor tenant for our new building.” 
 
 
With sustainability being a key influence in all aspects of Camana Bay, Dart Realty said it will pursue LEED certification for the new building. LEED provides a framework for design and construction and third-party verification that a building is designed and built using strategies aimed at improving energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction and indoor environment quality.
 
The new building will also feature a hurricane resistant building envelope designed and constructed to the most stringent of Cayman and Miami-Dade hurricane resistant standards, start-of-the-art technology, ample parking adjacent to the building within The Town Centre and solar shading solutions to both decorate the building and keep it cool. In keeping with Camana Bay’s mixed use philosophy, retail outlets and restaurants will be located at ground level with four stories of commercial office above.
 
 

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Tobacco dealers to ‘cough up’ cash for new licence

| 13/10/2010 | 2 Comments

(CNS): While smoking was banned in public places from the beginning of 2010, tobacco dealers had a further twelve months to comply with the requirement in the lawfor them to register. However, all dealers will need to have a Certificate of Registration (similar to a Trade and Business License) before 1 January 2011. Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kiran Kumar will host tobacco dealers’ awareness sessions this week to help them prepare for general Tobacco Law compliance, government officials said. The yearly registration fees are CI$500 for a retailer; CI$750 for a cigar bar, and CI$5,000 for a wholesale distributor or importer.

According to the law, everyone dealing with tobacco products must register annually and display the Certificate of Registration. In order to continue operating legally Cayman’s tobacco dealers must be registered before the start of next year and the Public Health Department is encouraging them to submit their applications by 1 November 2010.

 
Application forms for tobacco dealers’ registration as well as the Tobacco Law and Regulations are available from the Public Health Department at the Cayman Islands Hospital. These documents are also online at www.gis.ky A one-off non-refundable application fee of $100 applies on top of the yearly registration fees
 
Tobacco Dealer Awareness Sessions:
 
Tobacco importers’ meeting: Wednesday, 13 October, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Cigar bar owners’ meeting: Thursday, 14 October, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Tobacco retailers’ meeting: Thursday, 14 October, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
 
All meetings will be held in the Hibiscus Conference Room next to Pink Ladies Cafeteria at the Cayman Islands Hospital.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Task force adressing mental health care, says minister

| 13/10/2010 | 3 Comments

(CNS): The minster for health has admitted that there have been both deficiencies in treatment for mental health and a public awareness gap allowing the stigmatisation of people with mental health problems. In his message marking World Mental Health Day, Mark Scotland said his ministry has recognized the need for a new approach and has appointed a Mental Health Taskforce to draft a National Mental Health Policy and review legislation. Concerns have been raised for many years in Cayman about the lack of adequate mental health care to treat those with serious conditions, many of whom end up in the prison system.

Mark Scotland’s full message:
 
As we celebrate World Mental Health Day in the Cayman Islands this year, we are reminded of disquieting statistics produced by the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).  
 
Mental disorders account for some 24% of diseases in our region and of these, depression is by far the most prevalent.
 
In addition, the regional health organization warns of a strong link between mental illness and poor long-term health.
 
Many still perceive mental health issues as belonging on the periphery of health care, particularly since they feel that the numbers involved are limited to only a small percentage ofthe total population. However, these PAHO findings should dispel that myth and at the same time serve as a wake up call to make mental healthcare far more accessible to everyone.
 
Sound mental health is vital to optimal well-being and just as we guard our physical health, we should also be mindful of our – and others’ – mental health. And in this regard, I do commend our local mental health practitioners who are already working towards integrating mental and physical treatments, to the benefit of all patients.
 
However, while health practitioners are recognizing mental disorders as a prominent health concern, the truth is that for too long, authorities in this region have underestimated the prevalence, impact, and associated costs of mental illness.
 
This has led to deficiencies in treatment. But it has also resulted in a public awareness gap that has in turn led to stigma and stereotyping that so often seriously undermine effective management and recovery.
 
Recognizing the need for a new approach, my ministry appointed a Mental Health Taskforce in May this year. Comprising educators, psychologists, social workers, nurses, police and physicians in both public and private sectors, these taskforce members are drafting a National Mental Health Policy, in addition to reviewing local legislation.
 
The ultimate goal is to produce a legal framework that will better protect patients and reflect statistical trends, as well as accommodate advances in psychiatric treatments.
 
There are no quick fixes and for the foreseeable future, mental illness will continue to challenge individuals, society and government.
 
But even as health officials and others work towards introducing dynamic solutions, you too can help curb the negative impact of mental illness. Just make a point to access care if you feel you need it, join the awareness drive, or help a friend get through depression.
 
Mental health is everyone’s business. For as the Chief Executive Officer of the World Federation for Mental Health, Vijay Ganju so wisely noted: “The bottom line is that there is no health without mental health.”

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Animal activists to “paws” for a little wine

| 13/10/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Local animal activists will be trying to raise money to keep up the fight against cruelty to animals next month with a wine tasting evening. Cayman Animal Rescue Enthusiasts is a new non-governmental organisation with the goal of preventing cruelty and suffering to all domestic animals as well as address the problem of over-population with the promotion of spaying and neutering local animals. CARE hopes to raise more funds at the wine tasting evening so they can continue paying for the surgical procedures to keep the unwanted pet population down. To date, in less than 12 months since the charity was registered CARE has been able to organise 177 surgeries preventing the birth of unwanted animals and easing the pressure on the humane society.

 
“If we can keep this up we will begin to see a real difference in the suffering and over population in the near future,” spokesperson said.
 
Besides actively promoting and organising spaying and neutering the charity endeavours to educate the public on responsible pet ownership, animal welfare and animal behaviour by engaging the hearts, hands and minds of the community to help the animals.
 
CARE aims to prevent the Humane Society animal shelter from being over populated with unwanted dogs by actually going into the communities and offering the spay and neuter services free of charge as well as talking to owners about looking after their animals.
 
The activists are also working with the craftsmen at Northward Prison and have purchased 5 dog houses to support the "home to call my own" project initiated by one of the founding members.  This project aims to provide a dog house to all those dogs without any shade and there are further houses on order which are currently under construction. 
 
The volunteers with the charity are also working to get animals permanent homes with local families and they have also relocated many animals overseas through CARE’s alliance with "no kill shelters" and various families across the USA.  Since July 2008 CARE has successfully relocated 239 dogs across the USA in addition to successfully finding forever homes for 25 dogs here in the Cayman Islands.
 
The Paws for wine and silent auction will take place at Guy Harvey’s on 6 November for more details contact 938 22 73 or caymancare@candw.ky
 

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NPO names only 14 offenders

| 13/10/2010 | 16 Comments

(CNS): Following afreedom of information request for a list of local employers that are failing to make their employee pension contributions, the NPO has released only 14 names, despite the fact that there are hundreds more. According to a recent report by the Complaints Commissioner, over the past decade the National Pensions Office has received some 2000 complaints relating to more than 600 different employers. However, the NPO said it could only release the names of employers in the cases that have reached the court system. Although some of the other complaints have been resolved, the majority are still under investigation while the unnamed delinquent employers continue their business and employ more staff.

The FOI requester, who used the pseudonym Ray Ban to make the request, told CNS that he believed the names of the employers who are failing to make contributions should be made public, giving people on opportunity to decide if they want to work for or do business with someone who is breaking the law.
 
Ray Ban expressed disappointment in the NPO’s limited revelation and indicated he would be seeking an internal review of the decision. Ban asked theNPO under a freedom of information request for a list of all the companies known to be delinquent in making pension payments for employees but the request was only partially granted.
 
“The NPO is only willing to release 14 company names despite hundreds known to be delinquent. The very limited release is disappointing,” Ray Ban told CNS, adding that he felt the NPO was hiding behind the excuse that the others, which amounts to more than 600 employers, are under investigation. “This FOI resistance gives absolutely zero deterrent to offend,” Ray Ban added, asking that at least these fourteen employers be publicised. “These 14 names should be in the public domain so that consumers can make a choice whether they wish to use these companies’ services or not.”
 
The list of names of those that have actually reached the courts includes firms that have since stopped trading as well as a number of well known local businesses.
 
However, this represents a mere fraction of the employers that owe money into their employees’ funds, an issue which was addressed in the report by the OCC. "Penny Pinching Pensions", published last month, reveals that hundreds of employees in the Cayman Islands who are close to retirement age are facing a very bleak future as their pensions are so underfunded. She also revealed that the NPO doesn’t know how many employers are defaulting on pension payments or by how much.
 
“At present the NPO does not know exactly how many complaints against delinquent employers they are charged with investigating,” the report revealed.
 
Complaints Commissioner Nicola Williams said the situation was large scale theft as employers were not only failing to pay their share of their employees’ contributions but were collecting the employees’ part from their salaries and not paying that into the fund either.
 
“This is a ticking time bomb for the people of the Cayman Islands,” Williams said, adding that the deep rooted and endemic problem was only getting worse in the poor economic climate.
 
William Adam, a member ofthe National Pensions Board, has also spoken out time and time again about the major failure of so many employers as well as the government’s lack of will to enforce the law, which he cites as another example of “poor governance”.
 
The current minster with responsibility for pensions, Rolston Anglin, has said his ministry intends to overhaul the law and introduce administrative fines, making it easier for the NPO to enforce the law. He also recently offered a voluntary pension holiday to employees to help employers catch up on delinquent payments. However, it is understood that less than 3% of workers have chosen to take the holiday and employers continue to lag behind.
 
The minister has raised concerns that it will be very difficult for some employers to ever catch up but has said new legislation is in the process of being drafted that will change the entire system and ensure employers violating the law will face immediate consequences.
 
“We are going to ensure that we put in place a regime wherepension violators can be dealt with administratively and immediately,” he told CNS recently. “If we don’t have a law that’s enforceable and that ensures swift action can be taken, we will continue to fight a losing battle.”
 
He warned that trying to prosecute employers did not help anyone, least of all those employees who were missing money from their pensions. “The aim of my ministry is to bring violators to account and then get the money back into the pension funds,” Anglin said.
 
Read NPO FOI request response. The employers are listed on page 3 each one is facing differing charges under the pensions law and not all are accused of directly taking contributions from employees and not paying in to the fund.
 
 

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New business idea offers early warning on corruption

| 13/10/2010 | 0 Comments

(Swiss Info): The rising tide of anti-corruption legislation and the growing cost of reputational damage are forcing companies to be more careful about who they do business with. Steering clear of laundered money, organised crime, bribery andtrading sanctions is a priority. One enterprise, formed to help Swiss banks comply with money laundering rules, specialises in keeping firms out of hot water. Despite their best efforts, many multinationals still sometimes find themselves on the wrong side of the law. This year, Swiss firm ABB was fined after a bribery probe while Credit Suisse was also forced to pay up for dealings with countries subject to United States sanctions.

Doing business on a global scale has turned into a minefield and the rising costs of negotiating a safe path have spawned a new industry that allows companies to outsource some of the expensive research.

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National count is secure, insists ESO

| 13/10/2010 | 11 Comments

(CNS): As almost 300 enumerators begin the surveys for the country’s national census the Economics and Statistics office says the process is both safe and secure. Recent changes to the Statistics Law mean that Cayman’s residents can be assured that data gathered by Census 2010 will remain confidential . Despite some concerns raised in the public domain about trusting census workers the ESO said they have been chosen carefully and added that the penalties for breaching the confidence of the survey, as a result of legislative amendments, are now quite sever. The ESO  also noted that there are penalties in the law, as well, to deal with those that refuse to take part in the census.

 
“The law recognises that our data collection is serious business and must be exclusively used for statistical purposes,” said Economics and Statistics Office (ESO) Director Maria Zingapan. “We have selected our census workers carefully and trained them well to recognise the seriousness of what they can and cannot do.”
 
Census workers face stiff penalties if they breach the confidentiality oaths that they took to become enumerators. A breach can mean a $5,000 fine and a year’s jail time if convicted in Summary Court. Grand Court penalties are even stiffer, rising to $10,000 and three years’ imprisonment.
 
The ESO said that all the census workers are aware that leaking or misusing any information is a crime that attracts stiff penalties, particularly in instances where data has been released or used for personal gain. There are further penalties for issuing false data or seeking information unsought in the questionnaires.
 
The census order and regulations were recently approved by Cabinet to upgrade the legal framework for the ESO to conduct the census, the office explained. Any census worker who comes to your door must carry the three laws and show them as required.
 
Legally, all completed census forms will be deposited with the Census Office to be entered into the census database as raw statistics. The preliminary count and final reports will emerge from this data. But before that happens, enumerators’ work will be closely monitored by field supervisors who are themselves answerable to area coordinators. They, in turn, are guided by the census manager and her deputy, officials added.
“We looked at every step,” said Census Manager Elizabeth Talbert. “That is why so much effort went into proper training for all, not least for the enumerators who will be conducting the door-to-door count.”
 
On the other hand the law also considers anyone who might decide to ignore a census worker’s knock which is also a legal breach with its own penalties but the ESO boss said census staff hope for and encourage voluntary participation. “We hope everyone willingly responds to the census questionnaires when the enumerators arrive at their doors,” said Zingapan.
 
The amended law, census order and regulations are posted on www.eso.ky or www.2010Census.ky websites.
 

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