Archive for December 7th, 2010

$10 Christmas presents by young Brac entrepreneurs

| 07/12/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Coconut Creations, the business formed by the Junior Achievers on Cayman Brac this academic year, will be selling candleholders and fragrance holders made from coconut shells throughout the Christmas season at various locations on Cayman Brac. Produced in a variety of colours, the product, handcrafted by the high school entrepreneurs, can be used as candleholders, for holding potpourri or for holding change and decorative rocks. At $10 each, Coconut Creations says they make a great gift for Christmas. The company was formed at the first meeting of the Junior Achievement programme for the 2010/2011 session on 12 October at the Cayman Brac High School.

Twenty-seven students in Years 10 to 12 signed up for the 18-week programme in which they are challenged to produce and sell a product. During the first five meetings the achievers created their company’s name, motto, mission statement, bylaws, charter and conduct other important business.

A spokesperson from the company said that sales so far were good and the feedback was very positive. Cayman Brac residents interested in buying a Coconut Creations product should look out for the young achievers, who will be selling them at various functions and locations leading up to Christmas and beyond. Anyone in Grand Cayman and Little Cayman who would like to place order can do so by calling 938-0617 or emailing cyb.junior.achievement@live.com

Sponsors of the Junior Achievement on Cayman Brac are: The Rotary Club of Cayman Brac, Cayman National Bank, Brac Reef Beach Resort, MLA Moses Kirkconnell and the Alexander Hotel.
 

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No gag order on FOI sub-committee meetings

| 07/12/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The leader of the opposition and architect of the Freedom of Information law says he is comfortable with the make-up of the sub-committee that has been appointed to review the legislation. Kurt Tibbetts said that in the first instance the discussions would be behind closed doors but there would be no gag order on the proceedings. Following the election of the entire membership of the House to review the law earlier this year, a sub-committee has now been appointed to begin the review and report back to the full membership. Tibbetts, Ezzard Miller, Elio Solomon, Dwayne Seymour and the Speaker of the House, Mary Lawrence, will be meeting for the first time this Thursday under the chairmanship of Attorney General Samuel Bulgin.

The PPM leader and the champion of the legislation said that it was always envisioned that the law would have to be reviewed once it was in place.

“No matter how well prepared we could have been we always knew that, because it was an entirely new thing for the Cayman Islands, once the law was enacted and the workings manifest themselves it would have to be reviewed. By the time the law had been in place for some time we expected there would be a need to look back and review it to make it work more effectively,” Tibbetts told CNS.

The PPM leader said he could not anticipate what would be discussed at the first meeting on Thursday but he said he would be actively participating and he did not feel this was necessarily a secretive process. He said he hoped that there would be public input and he said he intended to speak openly and freely about any considerations or proposals the committee would make.

Tibbetts also noted that there were lines in the sand and he would not support any attempt to remove the right for applicants to remain anonymous when making a request and he said there was no need for any amendments to be made to the law regarding fees, since there was already provision for charging applicants when and if that could be justified.

While the premier has spoken publicly about some of his dislikes about the law, the opposition leader said he did not wish to anticipate what proposals may emerge from the sub-committee’s review but the issue of anonymity was one he believed most people supported.

“There was a rationale behind the introduction of anonymity and there is plenty of room in the system for addressing frivolous applications,” Tibbetts said, warning that trying to remove the right to anonymity would be self-defeating and would certainly limit the use of the law. He also agreed with points raised by the information commissioner on a number of occasions that it would be very difficult to verify that every applicant was who they said they were.

Tibbetts said the make up of the sub committee was fair and once it placed its proposals before the full legislative committee, if he found himself in a minority, in the same way that he would speak out on the floor of the Legislative Assembly about proposed legislation, he would express his opinion on the direction of the review publicly as well.

Ezzard Miller also said he was not concerned that the committee had opted to meet behind closed doors, as he said that was usual when it came to the workings of a select committee. However, he said the meetings were not secret and he would be discussing the outcomes openly. He said the first meetings would be about listening to the research and findings of the Information Commissioner’s Office and its recommendations.

Miller said that despite the public declarations of the premier, he did not think that he would be attempting to remove the anonymity of requesters and said he felt that most members of government were in support of retaining that right and supporting the development of the Freedom of Information Law.

The premier has, however, has been exceptionally critical of the law, citing both the cost to government and the time it takes to deal with requests as problematic. He has also stated on several occasions that he is not happy that “Mickey Mouse can make a request and government has to respond to Mickey Mouse.” The premier has publicly criticised CNS on several occasions for the requests we have made about ministerial spending on travel and expenses.

He also described the Freedom of Information Law on the floor of the Legislative Assembly earlier this year as “nothing but a scandal sheet”.

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World Bank boss calls for more action on graft

| 07/12/2010 | 0 Comments

(Reuters): The World Bank’s top anti-corruption official has called for a strengthened global alliance to fight corruption to ensure more wrongdoers are prosecuted. More than 250 corruption fighters, including attorney generals and heads of corruption agencies from 134 countries, gather at the World Bank Tuesday for a high-level meeting of the Corruption Hunters Alliance on how to advance the battle against graft. In an interview, Leonard McCarthy, the World Bank’s vice president for integrity, told Reuters he hoped the meeting would agree to a global mechanism to track major corruption cases to ensure more firms and individuals involved in fraud or corruption are held accountable.

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Police officer assaulted after car chase

| 07/12/2010 | 20 Comments

(CNS): A senior member of the RCIPS has highlighted the dangers faced by police following the assault of an officer in a church parking lot this morning. Two men have been arrested with that and other offences after a car chase in George Town on Tuesday at around 10:35am. Police officers on patrol saw a car travelling along Aspiration Drive in what was described as a dangerous manner, overtaking traffic and speeding. The officers reportedly tried to stop the vehicle but the man, who police said was recognized to be a disqualified driver, failed to stop. The officers gave chase and the driver turned into the parking lot of the Family Life Centre, where he and his passenger got out of the vehicle and ran.

The police officers chase after and caught both men and it was during the struggle that one of the officers sustained injuries to his right hand, for which he was later treated at the George Town hospital and released. The men, aged 26 and 34 were arrested for various traffic offences including driving whilst disqualified as well as possession of ganja and assaulting police. Both men are presently in police custody the RCIPS confirmed.

Chief Inspector Richard Barrow (above) from George Town pointed out the dangers faced by his officers. “We are committed to keeping the islands safe, and in carrying out this mandate there are inherent dangers faced by our frontline officers. The assault here clearly shows this,” the senior officer added.

 

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Travel advisory for Haiti remains in effect

| 07/12/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): While public health officials say the chances of importation of cholera into Cayman are very remote, with the cholera outbreak continuing in Haiti, a travel advisory to residents to avoid all travel to that country, unless it is essential, remains in effect. Medical Officer of Health Dr Kiran Kumar issued the warning on 27 October in the wake of the cholera outbreak in Haiti. According to World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, cholera deaths in Haiti rose from 259 in late October to 1415 by 23 November. In addition there were 25, 248 hospitalizations and 60,240 hospital visits related to cholera.

“We advise that residents travel to Haiti only when necessary. If you have to go, take vital precautions such as ensuring hygienic food preparation, boiling or purifying all water, and washing hands often with soap and clean water. Travellers should also carry an ample supply of oral rehydration salts,” said Dr Kumar. “The chances of importation of cholera into Cayman are very remote and even if it occurs, our excellent sanitation and safe water will prevent its spread. In addition, we have adequate facilities and drugs to manage any cases should importation occur.

“Nevertheless we ask anyone who have travelled to Haiti to contact their doctor immediately should they develop diarrhoea and vomiting within five days of leaving. It is also important to state their travel history to their doctor,” Dr. Kumar advised.

To ensure ultimate readiness the Public Health Department called a multi-agency preparedness meeting this week. Minister of Health Mark Scotland said, “I am pleased that the Medical Officer of Health has alerted the health professionals and issued the travel warning very early in the outbreak. As it has spread nationwide in Haiti, the whole Caribbean is on alert. As Dr Kumar has noted, the risk of importation of cholera is low. However I applaud the pro-active efforts by our public health officials and healthcare professionals as well as staff from Environmental Health and Hazard Management Cayman Islands. Together they are monitoring the cholera situation in Haiti and have also reviewed the Cayman Islands’ action plans to detect and manage any imported cholera cases.”

Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by ingesting contaminated food or water. It causes rapid watery diarrhoea that leads to severe dehydration. However, according to WHO figures, up to 80 percent of cases can be treated successfully with oral rehydration salts. The disease is spread through water which may be tainted by the faeces of infected persons or by untreated sewage. Food can be contaminated by using this tainted water or by being handled by someone who has cholera.

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Work with Eminem earns JG grammy nominations

| 07/12/2010 | 34 Comments

(CNS): Caymanian musician Jason Gilbert (known as JG) has been nominated for two Grammy awards for his work as a producer on Eminem’s latest album. The 27-year-old singer/songwriter from George Town, who divides his time between Miramar, Florida, and the Cayman Islands, is up for Album of the Year and the Best Rap Album for his contribution to Eminem’s Recovery album, for which he wrote and produced the song WTP (White Trash Party). The producer, who has never actually met Eminem, first came to the rapper’s attention after sending several of his self-penned tracks to Eminem’s management team a year ago.

The move, orchestrated by fellow producer Supa Dub’s manager, resulted in JG’s song WTP becoming track five on the 16-track Recovery album, which has been high in the charts since it was released in June. The album has garnered 10 Grammy nominations.

JG, who also fronts the Caymanian band ThE iZ, and had a hit with Summer is Over on his 2007 solo album, The Mind of Jason Gilbert, said he was still in shock since finding out that he’s up for the music industry’s most prestigious accolades. He confirmed that he’ll be attending the 53rd annual Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles on 13 February, when he’ll get to meet Eminem.

The double nominations, which mark a first for a Caymanian, came as a “total surprise”, the young producer said in a release. “I feel truly blessed to be in a position to have accomplished such great accolades in something I love,” JG said. “This is not only a milestone for me but for everyone around me.”

In the Grammy’s Best Album of the Year category, JG and the album’s co-producers are up against: The Suburbs by Arcade Fire; Need You Now by Lady Antebellum; The Fame Monster by Lady Gaga; and Teenage Dream by Katy Perry. Other contenders for Best Rap Album are The Adventures of Bobby Ray by B.o.B; Thank Me Later by Drake; The Blue Print by Jay-Z; and How I Got Over by The Roots.

The producer said he will be flying back to Grand Cayman on Wednesday, 8 December, to finish up recording an as yet untitled album with ThE iZ at Hopscotch Studios

The producer said he will be flying back to Grand Cayman on Wednesday, 8 December to finish up recording an as yet untitled album with ThE iZ at Hopscotch Studios

Visit Grammy.com for more.

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Bank to pay $500m over Cayman Madoff investment

| 07/12/2010 | 0 Comments

(ABC): A private Swiss bank will pay up to $500 million to investors defrauded by Bernie Madoff. The trustee working to recover money for the notorious Ponzi schemer’s victims says he reached an agreement with Geneva-based bank Union Bancaire Privee and M-Invest Ltd., a unit the bank set up in the Cayman Islands to invest with Bernard L. Madoff Investment SecuritiesLLC. Trustee Irving H. Picard says the settlement could reach $500 million. It is the first major international settlement reached in his pursuits of the billions Madoff stole from investors.

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Most US stimulus loans based in the Cayman Islands

| 07/12/2010 | 0 Comments

(Muckety): Records released last week by the Federal Reserve provide a new perspective on government tolerance of offshore tax havens. Of the 169 foreign investors in a stimulus program designed to re-invigorate consumer lending, the majority – 102 – were based in the Cayman Islands. Twelve others were based in Bermuda. In March 2009, the US government launched the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, or TALF. The program provided low-cost, low-risk loans to companies buying bonds backed by auto and student loans. Loans of more than $71B were approved between March 2009 and March 2010. About 20% of the investors in these transactions were based outside the U.S at a time when the White House was calling for restrictions on offshore tax havens.


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Immediate changes needed to immigration policy

| 07/12/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The chair of Cayman Finance has called for immediate action regarding immigration to attract the necessary experts to the Cayman Islands to create a full financial service centre. Anthony Travers has said that the issue of security oftenure for work permit holders needs to be separated from the issue of status and voting rights. Travers has made no secret of the fact that he believes the country’s immigration restrictions have had a detrimental impact on the economy and on local as well as expatriate jobs. Criticising rollover, the financial expert said it had to be corrected.

Go to the CNS Business page to read this and other stories and to comment.
 

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Action needed on immigration

| 07/12/2010 | 14 Comments

(CNS): Cayman’s financial services industry needs to prove to the outside world that a substantial amount of that business is physically done on island and the most important way to do this is to immediately reform the country’s immigration policies and woo people to come and live in Cayman, according to Cayman Finance Chairman Anthony Travers. Travers said that getting immigration policies in line with the reality of what was required of Cayman by onshore authorities (in particular the OECD) was crucial and required immediate action. Travers also called for the issue of security for work permit holders to be separated from voting rights.

Speaking to the 1,000 plus international as well as local delegates at the Cayman Captive Forum held at The Ritz-Carlton last week, he said the lack of ability for incoming professionals to reside in Cayman for the long term was a massive impediment to business.

The knock-on effects of business moving elsewhere meant that it was not just ex-pats that were losing jobs in Cayman; local people were also losing out on the job front. Looking at statistics from 2007, Travers said that around 50 percent of financial services sector jobs were undertaken by Caymanians and 50 per cent by ex-pats.

“800 fund administration jobs exported to Canada as a result of the roll over policy and immigration issues generally means therefore 400 fewer jobs for young Caymanian professionals in the Cayman Islands. This policy must be corrected,” he commented.

In particular, Travers said that Cayman had to address the 800 lb gorilla in the room – namely what he termed the “heresy” that the highest quality financial professionals can be attracted to the Cayman Islands to develop the financial services industry with the requisite substantial presence on the basis that these professionals are here for a finite term and with the view to being replaced. This, he said, was an “unrealistic delusion”.

“We understand the long term concerns of the Caymanian public but these must be addressed by decoupling the issue of work permits and security of tenure for financial professionals from the issue of status and voting and this conundrum has not yet been effectively solved in the minds of the voting public,” he continued, a tricky issue since European law says countries need to give certain rights to long term residents.

Nevertheless, Travers said that getting more of a physical presence of financial services business on island was extremely important because the OECD, in its 1998 paper on harmful tax competition, had outlined a lack of physical presence as an indication that a country was a tax haven. Cayman had successfully dealt with other issues that the OECD felt were also indicative of a tax haven, namely lack of transparency and lack of information exchange, but had not as yet dealt with the issue of a substantive presence on island.

Thus, Travers said, Cayman needed to encourage a wider range of financial services business and it could only do that if immigration issues such as the rollover policy were changed. This in turn would provide much needed revenue for government.

“If we cannot elevate our financial services industry by providing substantial presence and verifiable value-added, the recent fee increases borne by the financial services industry will not be sustainable and we face a further exodus of organisations and employment opportunities, and then the inevitable race to the bottom on fees with lower cost jurisdictions, which will ultimately see government revenues from financial services decline, not increase. That, in my view, is the stark choice,” he said.

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