Archive for November 4th, 2010

More cash coming for needy

| 04/11/2010 | 15 Comments

(CNS): Government says it will find more funding for the department of children and family services in order to help the country’s most vulnerable people. Following a private member’s motion tabled in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday by opposition member Alden McLaughlin the minister for community services revealed that he is taking steps to appropriate more money to give to the needy. Mike Adam made a commitment to tackling the increased demand. McLaughlin told the House that he had received increased representations from his constituents who he said were in genuine need but had not been able to secure any help as a result of a shortfall in funding at a time when demand had gone up.

During the debate on his motion the member for George Town pointed out that in this financial year the various appropriations for the department of children and family services had been cut by over $2million. McLaughlin accepted that it may be a challenging for government to find the money given the need to cut expenditure but he suggested it could reallocate funds from things such as protocol and executive expenses to assist people in real difficulty.

He said it was an area that was causing some resentment in the community and it was not so much the amounts that were spent on executive expenses that were necessarily the issue but at a time when some people were struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over their head it sent the wrong message for government to be seen to be receiving extra benefits.

“When top government officials appear to be living in the lap of luxury this causes resentment when people are struggling to make ends meet and they can not get any assistance,” McLaughlin said.

He noted that when people see the premier getting his utility bills and Christmas lights paid for by the public purse or when they see the deputy premier getting a new car it was a cause of public frustration.

“These sorts of instances create a great deal of ill will towards all of us as elected officials. What message does this send when we appear to be so insensitive?” he asked.

McLaughlin said he recognised as an opposition member he had no power to direct the government on how it allocates its budgets but he said if it could find the money from somewhere to help those in need then he would be quite happy. “If government takes it from protocol that would be wonderful but take if from somewhere,” he added.

In response to the private member’s motion Adam said his ministry had take steps to address the situation. “I am acutely aware of the needs of the vulnerable especially children and the elderly,” the minster said as he confirmed that he would find the money.

Other members also voiced their support for the motion including the member for North Side Ezzard Miller who noted that some of his constituents in need who had lost their jobs or business were being told they had to wait two to three months for an appointment with the department to be assessed.

The opposition member for Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, Moses Kirkconnell pointed out that his constituents were having a particularly hard time given so many of them were dependent on the public sector for work and were at the bottom of the civil service pay scale He said many families were suffering considerably as a result of the 3.2% pay cut. Anthony Eden also acknowledged that while money was tight for government they had a duty to do what they could to help those in need help.

The motion to reallocate funds to the department was accepted by the government.
 

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Male, embarrassed and speaking out

| 04/11/2010 | 64 Comments

I am a man. A male. These are my thoughts, yet I hope that I speak for the majority of my gender here in Cayman. A few weeks ago I went to the Estella Scott Roberts Foundation kick off of this year’s campaign, “Silence Hurts". The message behind the campaign is to challenge all of us to speak up when we see injustice. I am speaking out now at what I consider an injustice.

I have long spoken out and been active in the struggle against domestic abuse and gender inequality. I serve as chairperson of the Cayman Island Crisis Centre and was on the committee with Estella that helped to start that needed organization. I have served as president of two Rotary Clubs in this country. I was a member and chaired the Special Advisory Committee on Gender Violence that reported to Cabinet. I am a male that has a daughter, granddaughter, another granddaughter soon to arrive, three sisters and, of course, a mother.

Tuesday night, I made a point of listening to the TV broadcast of the Honorable Premier’s meeting in Bodden Town where he spoke and floored questions from the people. I will say here that I am very critical of government and have been, not just this administration but of previous one also.

Now to my point. This is not about political ideology but about common decency. I was amazed, embarrassed, disappointed and ashamed of our Leader. The Honorable Premier, when asked difficult and pointed questions, by two different females, referred to them with belittling terms such as "Sweetheart" and "Darling". In my opinion, such statements when delivered in the context which they were done are disrespectful, offensive, condescending, gratuitous, and unbecoming, not just the premier of a country such as ours, but any individual.

Our country has made amazing strides over the years toward the goal of gender equality and towards the acceptance of the worth of individuals of both genders and their ability, and right, to achieve and contribute equally to the growth and fulfillment of the Cayman Islands.

I would ask all people, not just our elected officials, to embrace the fact that as individuals we are equal, regardless of gender, and as such deserve the respect we would ask for ourselves. Until we respect the worth of all individuals our country will never realize its full potential.

In the future, I would suggest that the Honorable Premier, all leaders for that matter, address individuals in a respectful manner and with respectful titles, not condescending pet names used out of context. Should the Honorable Premier wish to right the wrong that was done, then I would respectfully suggest that he publicly apologize to these two women, the same way in which he publically belittled and disrespected their value as persons who accepted his invitation to the public to attend this meeting and ask questions.
 

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Cops ask how they’re doing

| 04/11/2010 | 31 Comments

(CNS): The RCIPS has announced that it will be conducting a public satisfaction survey which will influence the future of policing in the Cayman Islands. Police said the survey, which will give the public an opportunity to tell the RCIPS how they are doing, is the most comprehensive ever undertaken by the service. Beginning next Friday 12 November, for three weeks residents across all three islands can participate by completing the form on-line at www.rcips.ky or by completing a shorter paper version and submitting it to their local police station. The process will be independently managed by Deloitte and the survey will cover criminal investigation, uniform operations and specialist support such as the marine and drugs units, the police said.

The survey aims to identify public perceptions in the areas of crime investigation and policing
and develop potential public priorities for the RCIPS. It will be directly linked to the RCIPS vision
detailed in its Corporate Plan of reducing crime and disorder, strengthening the trust and
confidence of the community and working with the community and partners to build a stronger
Cayman Islands.

Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony Ennis said it was a priority for the RCIPS to ensure the communities get the best possible customer service from staff. “The survey will not only
help us establish the needs and expectations of the people we serve, it will also allow us to
identify areas where we are doing well and those where improvements need to be made.
“In addition, the survey results will provide valuable information to help us formalise our policing
plans and establish Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s),” the senior officers said..
“I would encourage everyone who has an interest in keeping our communities safe to take part
in the survey and help us work together to shape the future of policing in the Islands.”

Taron Jackman, Partner, Consulting Services, Deloitte & Touche, explained why the accounting firm was helping the police with the survey which it is doing free of charge.

“In keeping with Deloitte’s shared values that include its commitment to the community we live in, and our understanding of the importance of this initiative to the RCIPS, Deloitte agreed to support the
RCIPS by offering its services at no cost to the Cayman Islands Government to assist with the
development of the public perception assessment.

“Deloitte’s commitment to serving the Cayman Islands community through initiatives such as the
RCIPS Public Satisfaction Assessment indicates our willingness and ability to provide support to
our local community. We are pleased to partner with the RCIPS in this initiative,” he said.

Police said that neighbourhood police officers will be available at the following times, dates and locations to distribute the paper version of the form for those that don’t want to complete the form on line. The results of the survey, will be published at a future date, the RCIPS stated but did not reveal the anticipated date..

Friday 12 November 2010
Foster Food Fair ( Airport Road) 11.00a.m. – 1.00 p.m.
Fosters Food Fair (The Strand) 11.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m.
Fosters Food Fair ( Countryside) Noon – 2.00 p.m.
Fosters Food Fair (Republics) Noon – 2.00 p.m.
Hurley’s Grand Harbour Noon – 2.00 p.m.
Fosters Food Fair (East End) 4.00 p.m. – 6.00 p.m.
Monday 15 November 2010
Kirks Supermarket 11.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m.
Tuesday 16 November 2010
Hurley’s 2.00 p.m. – 4.00 p.m.
Wednesday 17 November 2010
Bank of Nova Scotia, George Town 1.00 p.m. – 3.00 p.m.
Thursday 18 November 2010
Fosters ( Republics) 1.00 p.m. – 3.00 p.m.
Friday 19 November 2010
Fosters ( Countryside) 4.00 p.m. – 6.00 p.m.
Saturday 20 November 2010
Fosters ( Airport) 11.00 p.m. – 2.00 p.m.
Monday 22 November 2010
Fosters ( East End) 3.00 p.m. – 6.00 p.m.
Tuesday 23 November 2010
Forms will be available from all district police stations and departments until the end of the
survey period.
Wednesday 24 November 2010
Billie’s Supermarket Cayman Brac Noon – 2.00 p.m.
George Town Post Office 2.00 p.m. – 4.00 p.m.
Kirkconnell’s Market Place Cayman Brac 4.00 p.m. – 6.00 p.m.
Thursday 25 November 2010
Kirkconnell’s Market Place Cayman Brac Noon – 2.00 p.m.
Village Square Little Cayman 3.00 p.m. – 6.00 p.m.
Friday 26 November 2010
George Town Waterfront ( North Church St) 2.00 p.m. – 4.00 p.m.
Sunday 28 November 2010
Village Square Little Cayman 4.00 p.m. – 6.00 p.m.
Monday 29 November 2010
Sir John A Cumber Primary 2.30 p.m. – 4.00 p.m.
Tuesday 30 November 2010
Scranton 4.00 p.m. – 6.00 p.m.
Wednesday 1 December 2010
John Grey High School 2.00 p.m. – 4.00 p.m.
Thursday 2 December 2010
Clifton Hunter High School 2.00 p.m. – 4.00 p.m.
Friday 3 December 2010
Various hotels and condo complexes 7MB 4.00 p.m. – 6.00 p.m.
 

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Dump workers jobs at risk in face of privatization

| 04/11/2010 | 19 Comments

(CNS): The employees working at the George Town landfill may lose their jobs once the decision over which private company will take over the management of the dump is made. MLA Clyne Glidden told Cayman 27 that some of the seventy workers at Mount Trashmoremay not be needed because of the technical expertise that will be required to process the country’s trash in future. As public sector workers however Glidden said they aregovernment’s responsibility and contracts will be honoured if the company selected does not keep them on. He also said it was government’s intention to take care of any Caymanians employed there. The RFP for addressing the land fill was issued last month and government says the deadline may be extended.

Go to Cayman27 report
 

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Cayman to take up CFATF Chair

| 04/11/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands will be officially taking up its turn as chair of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) this morning at the ministerial session of 32nd plenary meeting. The outgoing chair, the Netherlands Antilles, will hand over to Cayman in front of various overseas members and local officials including the governor and the premier. This CFATF meeting began on Tuesday and has focused on enhancing the levels of compliance with the international standards to combat Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism in the region.

In its most recent follow up mutual evaluation report in June of this year the Cayman Islands received ratings of compliant or largely compliant in fifteen of the sixteen core recommendations and a partly compliant rating on the remaining recommendation.

During this session of the CFATF meeting the Cayman Islands will be presenting the actions it is currently taking to ensure full compliance with the report’s recommendations.

 

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Millions of government documents to be digitized

| 04/11/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A contract to digitize and index more than one million documents for the Lands & Survey Department of the Cayman Islands Government has been awarded to Ignition (Cayman) Ltd the firm announced on Wednesday. The eight month project includes processing documents in varied sizes from letterhead up to full¬-scale technical drawings. Once digitized and indexed, the documents will be uploaded to the Government’s Oracle-based ECM (Enterprise Content Management System) for secure authorized accessibility. AS a result the firm has boosted its staff with an all-Caymanian team to augment to execute the extensive project.

“We are pleased not only to have won this contract, but also that it provides us the opportunity to build our ever-expanding team of professionals,” said Graham Pearson, CEO of Ignition. “This project has brought the hiring of an additional six employees, which we have been able to do looking no further than our local Caymanian talent. In addition to providing employment opportunities, this contract further enables Ignition to train these employees, introducing them to the ever-expanding business of document management.”

Ignition said that it had extensive experience in records management having completed major projects both locally, in Bermuda and in their other international locations With more than 90 employees located globally, they are able to support all corporate and civil entities with their document and records management. In addition to providing both human resources and specialized equipment to carry out these projects, Ignition also has a team of highly-skilled consultants offering expertise in all facets of records management and archiving, the firm stated in a release.

 

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Immigration board to change

| 04/11/2010 | 93 Comments

(CNS): Expressing his frustrations with efforts to speed up work permit related decisions, the premier announced his intention to change the members of the immigration boards as well as introduce more new policies. McKeeva Bush also said government would be putting a stop to the questioning over permits of those coming to Cayman for short business trips and creating more residency certificates for CEOs and investors to encourage them to relocate here, especially those bringing business from China. Speaking in both the Legislative Assembly and at a public meeting this week, the country’s leader continued to point to immigration changes as one of the key areas which will help turn around the country’s economic fortunes.

Turning his attention specifically to the boards and the decisions they are making, Bush warned in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday morning that he intended to review the membership. “We are going to change the people on the board, whether they are government supporters or not,” he said. “The tail cannot wag the dog.”

He also said that there would be new policies introduced at the airport which would stop officers from question those visiting Cayman for business meetings about temporary permits, as they did not need them, or taking their lap tops away. “Business people coming to the country for legitimate business meetings will no longer be held up at immigration control with questions about a work permit,” he told his legislative colleagues.

Speaking at the Bodden Town meeting on Tuesday night, the premier said he would extend Cayman’s welcome to staff or family travelling with those coming to do business without permits and red tape.

As part of the government’s goal to move away from the ‘brass plate’ style of business in the Cayman Islands and a move towards a physical presence, Bush said he was introducing more twenty-five year residency certificates for those bringing actual fund and investment business to the jurisdiction.

CEOs from China in particular, he added, would be offered various residency incentives to attract them and their business to the Cayman Islands, which in turn would generate more jobs for Caymanians

“We are moving now to attract businesses to these Islands by offering a 25 year residential certificate to owners and or CEOs and their dependants that move their businesses here. We will encourage business from China with a similar Chinese Investment Certificate,” Bush said on Wednesday. “We will also make it possible for foreign nationals who invest in developed real property of at least 2.5 million dollars to be eligible to apply for permanent residence for themselves and dependants.”

The premier has persistently stated that the existing immigration system is one of the main reasons why Cayman has lost business jobs. In the Legislative Assembly he berated the opposition benches for not doing anything about stopping the businesses from leaving when they were in office.

The premier has stated on many occasions that changes to the immigration system will encourage business to return as well as encourage new business sectors from the financial servicesindustry to set up shop in Cayman.

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Tomas forecast to regain hurricane strength

| 04/11/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Tomas was building up strength again on Thursday morning as it headed towards the north-northwest. At 7am local time the tropical storm was packing winds of near 50mph and the National Hurricane Centre in Miami warned that it could regain hurricane strength over the next day or so. Located about 150 miles SSE of Kingston, Jamaica Tomas is travelling at 6 mph though an increase in forward speed is expected and the storm is now forecast to pass near Haiti or extreme eastern Cuba tonight. The storm does not pose any threat to the Cayman Islands local forecasters have said.

Tomas is expected to reach hurricane strength this weekend as it heads north towards the Bahamas where a hurricane warning is now in effect.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend currently extend outward up to 70 miles mainly to the east of the centre the NHC said.
 

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Cayman wins ‘cym’ internet domain address

| 04/11/2010 | 30 Comments

(BBC): A four-year campaign to secure a ".cym" internet address for Wales has been lost to the Cayman Islands. DotCYM project leaders in Aberystwyth a west coast university town said it was disappointing, but they still plan to bid for a Welsh version of the .com or .co.uk domain. They are appealing for new suggestions and said .cymru (the Welsh language word for Wales) could be used instead. An internet expert said it was "more complex" for nations like Wales to secure their own domain names. Cayman already has its own internet domain .ky, but is also registered to use .cym. DotCYM managing director Siôn Jobbins, from Aberystwyth, has asked supporters to come up with new suggestions. “Not being able to use .cym is a shame, but it’s not a problem," he said.

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Industry troubles reflected in Butterfield results

| 04/11/2010 | 30 Comments

(CNS): Butterfield announced a third quarter net loss of $18.6 million on Wednesday compared to net income of $0.2 million for the second quarter of 2010 and net income of $7.0 million in the third quarter of 2009. Brad Rowse, the Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer said that while the financial markets have stabilised in 2010, banks continue to face difficult conditions. In Cayman the bank reported net income before gains and losses of $2.4 million for Q3 2010, $ 1.1 million below Q3 2009 due to lower interest income earned and increased IT outsourcing costs. In the wake of the announcement of the losses the bank’s president said Butterfield remained focused on reducing risk, returning to profitability and delivering sustainable growth for shareholders. (Photo Dennie WarrenJr)

“That focus entails concentrating our financial and management resources in jurisdictions where we have a meaningful market presence and a depth of local market knowledge,” Brad Kopp said. The Bank sold its trust, wealth management and advisory businesses in Hong Kong and its trust operation in Malta in September with a resultant net loss of $7.4 million. “Additionally, continued weakness over the summer months in the hospitality industry has led us to provide a further $14.2 million of specific allowances for related loan exposures. Although we are not happy to be taking additional provisions, we do believe that we are positioned to see the cycle through.”

Rowse said that Butterfield was reviewing all aspects of its business against a backdrop of global uncertainty to ensure the right balance between current profitability and future growth. “The Bank is well positioned with a strong capital base and remains focused on the two pillars of our business, community banking andwealth management,” he said.

Michael Collins, Senior Executive Vice President in Bermuda said that islands economy continues to reflect the weakness of tourism and international business and the effects of an unprecedented global recession. “We are well positioned for an economic recovery as transaction activity has actually increased over the past year and deposit volumes are stable,” he said. “However, demand in the hotel and retail sectors has fallen considerably, and we have to accept that tourism is gradually transitioning to a more sustainable business model in order to recover the inherent value in Bermuda’s tourism product. In the first nine months of 2010, we have taken $19.7 million in credit provisions for our hotel loans and will continue to manage these exposures conservatively as we complete the de-risking of our balance sheet.”

Excluding the $0.3 million gain in the prior year, in the Cayman Islands total revenues of $15.3 million were $0.7 million below Q3 2009 results primarily due to decreased interest income and lower FX commissions,” bank officials said.
 

Net interest income before loan loss provisions was $0.6 million below prior year levels due to low inter-bank interest rates on lower client volumes.
Non-interest income of $8.1 million in Q3 2010 was down $0.2 million (3.0%) on Q3 2009 resulting from increased Banking commissions offset by reduced volumes in foreign exchange commissions and the completion of its transitional services agreement with its former subsidiary Butterfield Fulcrum Group (Cayman) Limited in Q3 2009.
 

Total assets at the end of Q3 2010 were $1.9 billion down $666 million from year end 2009, reflecting the strong hedge fund subscription cash inflow cycle seen prior to the Bank’s most recent year end. Loans increased by $32.6 million over twelve months, with growth in both the personal lending and commercial loan portfolios and prudent loan loss provisioning.
Client assets under administration ended Q3 2010 at $4.5 billion representing a decrease of $573 million from Q3 2009, fee earning assets under management of $ 885 million, increased 7.1% over Q3 2009, reflecting gradual recovery in the financial asset markets.
 

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