Archive for December 23rd, 2010

Police charge Barnes over gun

| 23/12/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Following an incident last Friday night where Andy Barnes is alleged to have threatened several people with a gun at a Bodden Town shopping plaza, police have now charged the 31year old with possession of an unlicensed firearm with intent. Barnes was expected to appear in court on Thursday afternoon where he will be remanded to Northward prison. Barnes is accused of brandishing a firearm outside the Water Boyz Liquor Store in the Odessa Plaza at around 9:30pm. Barnes was said to be involved in a dispute with a woman, which escalated when he suddenly produced the gun. (Photo Dennie WarrenJr)

Police said that Barnes threatened not just the woman he was with but a number of people who were standing nearby. No shots were fired and no-one was injured before the couple left the scene. He was then arrested a short time later after a search in Shamrock Road after a search was launched by the police. Detective Constable Elizabeth Berns of Bodden Town CID said there were several witnesses to the incident.

“There were a number of people outside the store at the time of the incident in fact some of them had just come from a nearby church,” she said.

Barnes is the father of the four year old boy – Jeremiah Barnes who was shot and killed in a West Bay gas station in February of this year after two gun men reportedly opened fire at the car in which Jeremiah was seated with his parents and brother. Devon Anglin was arrested and charged with the killing of Jeremiah in May and is expected to go on trial for the murder next year.

Anyone with information should contact Bodden Town police station on 947-2220 or the confidential Crime Stoppers number 800-8477(TIPS).

 

Continue Reading

Bank seeks to block Aussie tax office from clients

| 23/12/2010 | 1 Comment

(Herald Sun): THE ANZ Bank has sought court orders to block the Australian Taxation Office from accessing the confidential records of 13,000 customers of its Vanuatu operation in a dramatic escalation of the ATO’s investigation into tax havens. A high-powered legal team representing the ANZ, which has the largest Vanuatu operation of the four major banks, lodged Federal Court documents that effectively argue the tax office is engaged in a fishing expedition as part of the Project Wickenby crackdown on tax avoidance. The bank says in its statement of claim that compliance with two December 17 notices from the ATO, which seek open access to customer data, would breach Vanuatu criminal law and put its licence to operate in the Pacific island nation at risk.

Go to article
 

Continue Reading

Ministry reveals travel costs

| 23/12/2010 | 59 Comments

(CNS): After more than six months, an FOI request by CNS on a full break down of the premier’s travels since taking office has been granted. The Ministry of Finance has supplied an account of who accompanied the country’s leader on more than 28 different trips over the past 18 months and how much each one cost. In total, as revealed by McKeeva Bush in a recent televised address, over $406,000 was spent on airfares, hotels and subsistence. The single most expensive trip was a two week tour in December 2009 that included London, Dubai, India and Bali, where the premier attended meetings to discuss the possibility of the Bvalgari boutique hotel chain coming to Cayman. The trip cost the public purse over $66,000.

The most costly trip for accommodation and expenses was one which included various meetings in Miami, New York, Singapore, Hong Kong and Washington in September of this year, when more than $32,000 was spent on hotels and expenses for the premier, Richard Parchment, Cline Glidden and George McCarthy.

The document covers the premier’sofficial travels from 4 June 2009, a week after taking up office, when he visited Paris, London Washington and New York, until 15 October 2010, when Bush attended the ASHRM conference in Tampa.

In a recent presentation to the country the premier defended the more than $400,000 on travels and said it was good value for money, averaging out at $22,000 per month.

“Government, including myself, has had to travel extensively to promote and convince the international community that these islands are open for business,” the premier said. “The cost is small in comparison to the benefits brought through the financial services and tourism industries to these islands.”

He said that besides Cayman’s placement on the OECD white list, the signs of a turnaround in the financial services industry were justification for the $22,000 per month spent on travel, which, while costly, was “certainly worth it to ensure the success of our key financial services and tourism industries,” he added.

The premier has, according to the list, travelled to 18 different countries for a variety of reasons, from business conferences to supporting Cayman’s first winter Olympic competitor in Vancouver early this year and the Miss Cayman at the Miss Universe pageant in 2009.

He has been accompanied by his political assistant Richard Parchment, MLA’s Cline Glidden, Elio Solomon as well as the chief officer Carson Ebanks. He has also been accompanied by specialist technical staff and consultants.

See trip schedule below
 

Continue Reading

Stanford to get psych exam before trial

| 23/12/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNBC): Accused Ponzi schemer Allen Stanford, whose attorney claims is unfit to stand trial next month, will now be examined by a government psychiatrist. Federal prosecutors asked for the exam after Stanford’s court-appointed attorney argued the Texas financier is too heavily medicated to assist in his own defense at a criminal trial scheduled for next month. U.S. District Judge David Hittner, who is to preside over the trial, granted the government’s motion for the exam, the results of which will be filed with the court under seal. Hittner has yet to rule on defense motions to free Stanford on bail and to schedule a competency hearing. Stanford, 60, has been held without bail since his indictment in June, 2009, on 21 criminal counts.


Go to article

 

Continue Reading

Cayman Finance denies fund exodus to Europe

| 23/12/2010 | 2 Comments

(CNS): The latest statistics from the country’s financial regulator reveal that there has been no exodus of funds from the Cayman Islands to Europe. Despite stories in the press of relocations Cayman Finance says that the percentage of de-registrations is still small and typical of the jurisdiction’s rate over the last few years. Statistics from Ireland revealing that the fund industry there has doubled recently to 7.4% pales into insignificance, says the Cayman Finance chair, compared to the size of the sector in the Cayman Islands. Anthony Travers said he was surprised that there was so much press coverage when only four funds have actually said moving to Europe was the reason for their termination.

The Cayman fund industry continues to grow by approximately 95 funds per month, according to the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA). The regulator is reporting a natural attrition rate of de-registrations of approximately 5 percent, indicating stability in the local industry. According to the CIMA website there are currently 9,594 funds registered with the authority.

CIMA confirmed that only four funds have cited re-domicilation to the EU as their reason for termination – two of those funds to Malta and two to Luxembourg.

“If we sent out a press release each time a Cayman fund was launched, the international media would be flooded with two such announcements each day. A doubling of registered funds to 7.4% does not constitute news. What astounds me me is how these insignificant claims get column inches. These are statistics to be shy about,” stated Travers.

He cited a recent study conducted by International Fund Investment which has revealed that 60% of investors surveyed are against more regulation as it adds to increased costs (which directly impact returns) with no other discernable benefits, including investor protection.

This study also showed that only 18% of fund managers are even considering moving funds to the EU.

“For the institutional investors and managers the well understood path of the Cayman fund – non-bureaucratic, quick set up times, high quality service providers and its solid reputation is preferred Cayman is well-known and that familiarity breeds trust,” says Simon Osborn of International Fund Investment.

“A number of managers believe that the AIFMD could drive managers out of the EU and only managers serious about EU distribution will have EU domiciled funds. The rest will continue to use offshore structures,” continued Osborn.

“Comparing the information from the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority and the International Fund Investment report supports what the Cayman service providers are seeing,” stated Travers. “Investors are not looking for increased regulation. They are looking for returns and the emphasis is now on stress-tested products such as Cayman’s and effective due diligence to best protect their investments,” he continued.

When asked about the viability of the Irish claims of gaining large numbers of funds from Cayman, Travers pointed out that Ireland as a whole is in serious financial difficulty and it would be prudent for any investor or manager undertaking proper due diligence to consider very carefully the longevity and sustainability of Ireland as a domicile.

Cayman is well placed in terms of EUAIFM Directive and is compliant on the relevant issues. Cayman Finance is currently commissioning a ‘gap analysis’ to highlight any areas for improvement that will have positive effects in the long run.

 

Continue Reading

Young Caymanians find work after government course

| 23/12/2010 | 5 Comments

(CNS): The second group of students from the government’s work preparation course graduated on Monday and six of the class of 24 have reportedly secured full-time employment. Seven more Passport2success students are preparing to attend UCCI to further their education in the New Year and several more managed to secure some temporary holiday work officials said. The original programme started in April and from that intake six now attend the University College of the Cayman Islands and eight have gained full-time employment. Government will be launching its third session on 10 January with 25 students. The Labour minister told the graduates that the local businesses needed skilled Caymanians who would become irreplaceable.

Created by the Ministry of Education, Training and Employment, Passport2Success is free, open to all and requires no qualifications or work experience.

At the graduation Anglin told the students they could now rely only on themselves. “Remember and take away everything you learned in this programme, especially how to look within. Everything comes from inside. Challenges and frustrations are going to come, and how you respond determines where you are going to end up,” he said. “Take as much responsibility as you can; the person who knows the most will survive the longest. It’s not enough for a business to need Caymanians; we need skilled Caymanians who will become irreplaceable employees.”

The programme aims to give school-leavers and out-of-work young people a chance to improve their employability, boosting both personal and professional skills, providing practical training in job-specific areas, work experience, exposure to employers, career guidance and a demonstrating commitment to hard work.

Operating out of the International College of the Cayman Islands, classes convene five days per week from 9:00am-4:00pm, for four 12-week sessions per year. Each student receives a mock “passport”, earning stamps upon completion of a section of the programme. Participants earn a weekly stipend, and a bonus for each stamp earned, which is payable at the completion of the 12-weeks.

In return, instructors and counselors address such skill gaps as literacy and information technology, and teach students how to navigate the process of securing and retaining a job, and preparing them for the realities of the workplace.

The premier, who was also at the graduation, encouraged the students to continue acquiring skills.
“For years, I have hoped for a programme like this, overcoming barriers and working smartly and passionately. The future of these islands depends on people recognising that we cannot rely on others, but must seize advantages whenever they occur. Passport2Success means you should never lose the willingness to learn,” McKeeva Bush said.

Four of the graduates spoke at the graduation to relate their experiences before and after the course. They all offered similar testimonials, describing angry attitudes, abbreviated school careers, damaged confidence and an unwillingness to accept the demands of either education or employment.

“When I started, I had a stinking attitude,” said Overtha Bush, 18. “I spoke disrespectfully to others and to anyone that said things I didn’t want to hear.” She said she was expelled from John Gray in 2009 for fighting, and completed her schooling at the Alternative Education programme. When she gradated she thought it would be easy to find a job, but quickly found herself “with nothing to do”.

She heard about Passport2Success from a relative and applied “because I was tired of sitting around”. After her initial courses, she said, she gained work experience through a placement at Caledonian: “I was worried about what the staff would think of me, but it was a great experience and I found something I really liked: marketing.

“When I left, I was given an evaluation, and told there were a few things I needed to work on, but that’s all right and I have made a promise to myself to continue to work on improving myself,” she said. “I have changed; my mother says she has seen great changes in me. This is the best decision I have ever made.”

Nicholas Ross who graduated from John Gray in 2009 said he didn’t care about exams and never studied after being accepted at UCCI he left in December last year thinking it would be easy to get a job.
“I made out resume after resume, applied to company after company, and got no answers. I could not understand why,” he said. Applying to the Passport programme, however, he realised he had no communications skills. Now a customer service agent at Owen Roberts International Airport, Mr Ross thanked the programme instructors: “I would not have the success I have today without all of you at the programme.”

Johnathan Seymour, 17, joined the group as a diversion. “I thought it would be fun to join Passport, but it turned out to be more challenging than I had thought. It made me realise I needed to get serious and stop being a joker. I learned how to write a resume and a cover letter, I gained more patience, learned to listen to feedback and gained confidence. I would encourage other young people to attend this programme,” he said.

Young people wishing to earn a place must submit a registration form, which can be obtained from the Wellness Centre info@wellnesscentre.ky, by calling 949-9355 or by visiting www.passport2success.ky

 

Continue Reading