Archive for November 11th, 2010

Liquour board denies making new JS decision

| 11/11/2010 | 33 Comments

(CNS): The Liquor Licensing Board has denied making a new decision to grant a provisional licence to Jacques Scott for its new flagship store in West Bay, despite a letter from the Attorney General’s Office to the wine merchant stating that the licence had been granted subject to planning approval. On Thursday afternoon the LLB issued a press statement saying no meeting of the board had been held to reconsider the application and no variation had yet been granted for the store. In possession of an order from the chief justice and a letter from the AG, Jacques Scott said, however, that it did not think the LLB statement was accurate.

Nevertheless, the LLB said on Thursday that it had still not met to reconsider the Jacques Scott application for a change of location licence in connection with the new West Bay store so it was the board’s position that nothing had been granted and it was still up for reconsideration at the earliest opportunity.

The board stated that reports in the media on 3 November (CNS – Wine Shop gets new decision) that said the licence had been granted were incorrect.

“Since 3rd November and the present date the Board has had no opportunity to meet for the purposes of reconsidering the variation as there was no quorum following the absence of one member due to medical reasons,” it said in a statement. “The Deputy Chairman of the Board did not approve the application pursuant to section 13 of the Liquor Licensing Law but instead actually agreedonly to a reconsideration of the application by the Board in quorum, as soon as reasonably possible and in accordance with the Order of the Chief Justice.”

It said that as a statutory board charged with responsibility for matters concerning liquor licensing in Grand Cayman, it understands that the courts may guide the board in its decision-making but that ultimate responsibility and power to grant any variation rests solely with the board.

However, having received a letter from the attorney general’s chambers on 3 November saying the license was “hereby granted”, Jacques Scott said it believed the board was wrong.

“The Board was ordered by the Chief Justice to reconsider the application and reach a decision in accordance with the findings of the Court within 14 days,” the wine merchant said in a statement to CNS. “If it was true that no reconsideration of the application had taken place within 14 days of the Chief Justice’s order then the Board would have been in breach of the Judge’s clear direction to make their decision quickly. No-one from the Attorney-General’s chambers or the Board has suggested to us that the letter of 3 November was written in error, and of course we would have heard about it before now directly from the Attorney-General’s chambers or the Board if that was indeed the case.”

According to the chief justice’s order, the board was told to reach a new decision on the licence within two weeks of his order of 25 October based on the information the board hadreceived at the original application hearing in April after he squashed the original refusal. The chief justice pointed out the grounds of refusal were not appropriate as the conclusions fell outside those reasonably available to the board.

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Private water firm reports decline in sales

| 11/11/2010 | 4 Comments

(CNS): Consolidated Water Co. Ltd, the private company which supplies West Bay customers has reported a decline in revenues for the 3rd quarter of 2010 compared to the same period last year. Revenue fell 14% to around $11.7 million, compared with $13.5 million in September 2009. The firm has also revealed in a statement about the results that it is still negotiating with the Cayman Islands government to renew its license and has received two temporary extensions since July as the talks continue. The firm’s CEO also said that, “recent unfortunate legislative changes have increased the cost of operating businesses” in the Cayman Islands which was hampering an economic recovery.

According to the statement retail water revenues declined for Consolidated Water by 18% to $4.6 million, versus about $5.7 million in the prior-year, due to inflation index-related decreases in base rates and a 19% decrease in the volume of gallons sold. Bulk water revenues decreased 6% to $6.3 million, compared with $6.7 million in the year-earlier reflecting the annual adjustment made to the base rates charged by Ocean Conversion Cayman, a 9% decrease in the volume of water sold and a lower rate charged for water sold by the Red Gate plant under the new contract signed in connection with its refurbishment, the firm stated.

Consolidated gross profit decreased 25% to approximately $3.8 million (32% of total revenues) in the most recent quarter, versus approximately $5.0 million (37% of total revenues) a year earlier. Gross profit on retail revenues declined to approximately $2.3 million (50% of revenues) in the most recent quarter, compared with approximately $3.2 million (57% of revenues) in the quarter ended September 30, 2009.

General and administrative expenses increased 23% to $3,296,593 in the third quarter of 2010, versus $2,671,169 in the third quarter of 2009, primarily due to approximately $873,000 attributable to the business development activities of the Company’s newly formed consolidated Mexico affiliate.

Interest income increased 24% to $386,562 in the third quarter of 2010, versus $311,990 in the 2009 quarter, due to interest earned on the loan receivable from the Water Authority Cayman arising from the refurbishment of the Red Gate plant.

"The global economic downturn has definitely impacted the tourism and real estate industries in Grand Cayman, while recent unfortunate legislative changes have increased the cost of operating businesses on the island, thereby hampering an economic recovery," stated Rick McTaggart, Chief Executive Officer of Consolidated Water Co. Ltd.

"While there are some encouraging signs, including an uptick in cruise ship arrivals and some expansion in new company incorporations, the soft global economy and wetter-than-normal weather patterns reduced demand for water in the Cayman Islands during the three months ended September 30, 2010, as evidenced by a 19% decrease in the number of gallons sold in our retail business segment when compared with the prior-year quarter.

“The first and second quarters of the year are generally the most profitable for our retail business, reflecting seasonal strength in tourist arrivals and drier weather patterns, so we are hopeful that our retail business will strengthen in early 2011," McTaggart said optimistically.

He also revealed that the company continues to negotiate with the Cayman Islands government for a new water utility license. “We have received two license extensions since July in order to allow more time for negotiations,” McTaggart added. “We have made some progress towards a final agreement, and at this time we see no reason why the government would not continue to extend the current license during these negotiations. The new rate model proposed by the government is more complex than our present inflation adjustment rate model and includes a ‘guaranteed profitability range’ based on the Company’s invested capital.

“This has required us to carefully analyze a number of variables and terms that directly impact water rates and our profitability in order to fully understand the implications of this complex rate model over time. We hope to reach a mutually acceptable agreement with the government in the near future."

Despite flat sales and other issues impacting earnings McTaggart remained optimistic. "While the economic downturn in the Caribbean has adversely impacted our recent operating results, we believe it may ultimately provide new opportunities to grow our business through potential privatization of government-owned assets in a number of countries,” he said.

“All of our government customers are grappling with significant tax revenue declines and a need to raise cash. We will continue to follow these trends in order to take advantage of privatization opportunities, when appropriate, if they develop in the future," the water company boss said.
According to a report in the Bahamas Tribune the firm is owed some $5.9 million from the Water & Sewerage Corporation the country’s government water supplier. "We have been informed previously by representatives of the Bahamas government that the delay in paying our accounts receivables is due to operating issues within the Water & Sewerage Corporation, that the delay does not reflect any type of dispute with us with respect to the amounts owed, and that the amounts will ultimately be paid in full,” the company said.

Go to article www.tribune242.com/features/artsentertainment/11102010_Water_business_Page1-3
 

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Special needs teacher training oversubscribed

| 11/11/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The number of students which teachers are encountering with special needs was reflected in the oversubscription of a training session recently that had to be expanded. Nearly 100 public and private school teachers turned out for an autism awareness training workshop which was originally planned for 25 classroom teachers. The workshop was specifically developed to meet the needs of teachers who currently number autistic students among their pupils. “We exceeded our registration target by nearly 300 percent,” Wellness Centre Director and Workshop Facilitator Shannon Seymour explained.

“This response is a clear indication that teachers want this information. They want support and resources so they can do what’s best for their students,” she said adding that the overwhelming response says government needs to fund this kind of training. “It tells our schools, parents and guardians that everyone needs and wants to work together to try to improve the educational success of autistic children,” she added.

Topics included the unique needs of students with autism spectrum disorders; an introduction to behavioural management strategies; and methods to address social skills and sensory issues in the classroom. “Participants learned a lot about students with autism,” Seymour said. “Hopefully they now have a renewed sense of the challenges so typical for an autistic child and recognise that there is much they can do to help manage these students. They should now be better equipped to address some of the disruptive behaviours that are typical.”
Some teachers, particularly those who had already been trained to manage special needs students, found the workshop refreshing.
One teacher explained why so many were interested in the workshop. “We do get kids with different behaviours and I want to be able to identify what those behaviours are, what they might mean and what I can do to help those children cope,” the First Baptist School teacher said. “This has been tremendously helpful and I’ve learned some great techniques that can be applied to all kids in the classroom.”

 

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Clock ticks on YCLA 2011 nominations

| 11/11/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): There are only a few days left for the community to nominate this year’s YCLA candidates as the process closes on 16 November. Organisers of this Cayman Islands annual specialist award  said the nomination process relies on the community to identify and recommend young people who excel in both the professional and personal arenas of their lives. Over the past 12 years, recommendations for the YCLA have come from various contributors, including employers, employees, parents, siblings, coworkers, fellow church members, friends or spouses. Through their many accomplishments, YCLA candidates will have demonstrated their ability to act as leaders in both the workplace and in the community.

 They have used their aptitude and talent to advance their own positions, but also for the greater good of those around them.

In the past nine months, the current YCL has completed over 40 speaking engagement, primarily to youth. Thousands and thousands of impressionable young minds have listened carefully and benefited from the positive message of YCLA recipient, Collin Anglin and his views on character, values and the choices we make everyday, the awards organisers said this week.

“The young leaders of the YCLA are presented a strong platform from which they can make a tremendous impact with our youth,” he said.

Anyone interested in nominating a young Caymanian between the ages of 20 and 35 are encouraged to act now and contact Melissa Wolfe at 916-8335 or ycla@candw.ky. Nomination forms may also be obtained online at www.ycla.ky



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Scotland visits Mexico to talk sport

| 11/11/2010 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Cayman’s Minister of Sport Mark Scotland and Cayman Islands Olympic Committee (CIOC) President Donald Mclean were in Mexico recently for the first ever World Olympic Sports Convention. The international from was to encourage partnerships and promote the importance of sports for healthier nations. Scotland said that he welcomed the discussion between the Olympic committees and governments because true development through sports cannot be done by either one in isolation. He agreed that sports can be a very effective vehicle for the development of healthy societies and said that it was some of the best money a government can spend given the wide range of benefits which can be derived from sports.

“I hope to be able to take the discussions further with our local Olympic committee and other governing bodies of sport, to address a number of issues raised at the convention,” he said. “These include the development of long term plans for wider grassroots participation within the districts, increasing the number of volunteers in sports, the increase in the significance and quality of school sports, increasing opportunities for the development of our elite athletes and increasing the involvements of women and the elderly in sporting activities.”

Scotland added that while the CIOC enjoyed a good and transparent working relationship with government, this was not the case with all sporting federations and called on them to join the government in getting behind a shared goal to maximise the benefits of sports for the Cayman Islands as a whole. The minister said following his trip to Mexico that he will be establishing an advisory group in the near future made up of government and sporting organisations to look at a number of the issues highlighted at the convention and to discuss a strategic sports delivery model for the Cayman Islands.

Discussions during the convention centred on how governments and Olympic committees can establish better partnerships to ensure that the known benefits of sports such as the strengthening of societies and development of healthier populations can be achieved by the largest possible number of people.

President of the International Olympic Committee Dr. Jacques Rogges, appealing for better partnerships, noted that the need was even more crucial at this time when countries were grappling with the challenges of more sedentary populations. He pointed out that according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) some 60% of the world’s population did not receive the required levels of physical activity. According to the WHO some 1.9 million deaths each year are attributable to low levels of physical activity.
 

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Cayman based fund ordered to pay creditors $1B

| 11/11/2010 | 0 Comments

(Bloomberg): Harley International (Cayman) Ltd., an insolvent Cayman Islands-based fund that allegedly funnelled money to Bernard Madoff, was ordered to pay $1.07 billion to creditors of the convicted con man. Irving Picard, the trustee overseeing the liquidation of Madoff’s former firm, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, sued Harley in May 2009, seeking to recover phony profits paid to Harley in the six years before the Madoff bankruptcy was filed. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Bernard Lifland in New York today entered a judgment against Harley, which is being liquidated in the Cayman Islands, after ruling the fund had failed to contest the suit within the deadline for doing so.

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European parliament votes in new hedge funds rules

| 11/11/2010 | 0 Comments

(BBC): Hedge funds are to be subject to EU-wide regulation for the first time after the European Parliament approved new rules for the sector. They aim to make the workings of the privately-run funds more transparent and to reduce the risks to investors. MEPs voted 513 to 92 to pass a new directive, which will cover a range of funds worth $1.4bn. The directive also includes rules to try to curb asset-stripping by private equity firms. The measures have already been passed by EU member states. The European Commisson will have what the Parliament described as "the considerable task" of working out exactly how the rules will work in detail.

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Remembrance Day protest on Cayman Brac

| 11/11/2010 | 52 Comments

(CNS): The vice president of the Cayman Brac and Little Cayman Veteran & Seaman’s Society has said he will boycott the Remembrance Day parade on Cayman Brac following an announcement that rather than hold it, as is traditional, in front of the cenotaph in Stake Bay on Sunday morning, it has been moved to the Aston Rutty Civic Centre and will be held in the afternoon. It is understood that the time change for the parade has been made so that the deputy premier can attend and lay wreaths at the ceremony on Grand Cayman and the one on Cayman Brac.

Captain Arlin Tatum noted the custom of the two minutes silence that begins on the 11th hour of the 11th day (or the nearest Sunday) on the 11th month in honour of those who gave their lives in battle at the exact time that the armistice was signed, bringing peace after World War I.

“We’ve been keeping that hour for slightly shy of 100 years. For the life of me, I don’t see why we have to change for one person,” he said, noting that normally all the churches change the times of their Sunday services to respect the Remembrance Day ceremony. He said that in protest at the time change he would not be attending the ceremony and that some of the other members of the V&SS might also boycott the parade, though others would be attending as usual. V&SS President Roy Walton will not be attending for health reasons.

The Remembrance Day ceremony on Cayman Brac will be held at the Aston Rutty Centre at 1:45pm on Sunday, 14 November. In previous years it has been held in the civic centre when bad weather prevented it from being held at the cenotaph but no reason for the change in venue this year has been given.

Grand Cayman’s ceremony takes place at the Elmslie Memorial Church in George Town, beginning at 10:45am and includes the laying of wreaths at the memorial cross and the Seamen’s Memorial.

There are also changes to traffic flow in George Town as a result of Saturday’s rehearsal and the Sunday ceremony. Harbour Drive (from Fort Street to Shedden Road) will be closed Saturday morning from 6am to 9am. It will also be closed Sunday morning from 6am to 12:30pm.

Remembrance Day is observed on 11 November, with the ceremony often on the nearest Sunday, in the UK, France and Belgium, as well as all Commonwealth countries. While the tradition started after WWI, the ceremony honours the sacrifices made by servicemen and women during all wars. Rifle shots at 11:00am mark the beginning of a two minute silence to remember the fallen.

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Cayman’s racing champ meets with young fans

| 11/11/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The number of students which teachers are encountering with special needs was reflected in the oversubscription of a training session recently that had to be expanded. Nearly 100 public and private school teachers turned out for an autism awareness training workshop which was originally planned for 25 classroom teachers. The workshop was specifically developed to meet the needs of teachers who currently number autistic students among their pupils. “We exceeded our registration target by nearly 300 percent,” Wellness Centre Director and Workshop Facilitator Shannon Seymour explained.

“This response is a clear indication that teachers want this information. They want support and resources so they can do what’s best for their students,” she said adding that the overwhelming response says government needs to fund this kind of training. “It tells our schools, parents and guardians that everyone needs and wants to work together to try to improve the educational success of autistic children,” she added.

Topics included the unique needs of students with autism spectrum disorders; an introduction to behavioural management strategies; and methods to address social skills and sensory issues in the classroom. “Participants learned a lot about students with autism,” Seymour said. “Hopefully they now have a renewed sense of the challenges so typical for an autistic child and recognise that there is much they can do to help manage these students. They should now be better equipped to address some of the disruptive behaviours that are typical.”
Some teachers, particularly those who had already been trained to manage special needs students, found the workshop refreshing.
One teacher explained why so many were interested in the workshop. “We do get kids with different behaviours and I want to be able to identify what those behaviours are, what they might mean and what I can do to help those children cope,” the First Baptist School teacher said. “This has been tremendously helpful and I’ve learned some great techniques that can be applied to all kids in the classroom.”

 

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Miss Cayman takes up official role

| 11/11/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Following her recent return from China, Cristin Alexander signed a contract at the Legislative Assembly on Monday with the premier formalising her ambassadorial roll as Miss Cayman. Part of the job of winning the beauty pageant title is that Cristin becomes an ambassador for the country. Miss Cayman will participate in tourism promotion activities both local and international, scheduled by the Miss Cayman Committee, the Department of Tourism, and/or the Ministry of Finance, Tourism and Development. At the Miss World contest in Sanya, Cristin was voted number four in the People’s Choice for Miss World and placed fourteenth in the swimsuit competition. She will also go on to compete in the Miss Universe pageant next year.

Expressing his wish to take the title to a level beyond pageants McKeeva Bush said, “Besides promoting the Islands, the year will be an opportunity to also showcase our youth at major events and, in particular, give Miss Cayman an opportunity to talk about her aims and objectives.”
 

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