Archive for January 13th, 2011

Year’s 1st fishing contest offers 10K for record wahoo

| 13/01/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The 3rd annual Barcadere Classic will kick off the 2011 fishing year in Cayman on 22 January at the historic George TownBarcadere Marina. The tournament was originally the “Naul Bodden Wahoo Classic” named for Bodden’s record breaking 105 lbs 10 oz Wahoo caught in February 1987. The record stood until June 2007 when Elvet Conolly caught one weighing 146 lbs 2 oz normally a slow time for catching Wahoo making it the remarkable and unchallenged record to beat at this year’s contest. Although Yellowfin Tuna, Dolphin and new for this year Marlin have been added as eligible species to sweeten the pot the Wahoo continues to be the emphasis for the tournament with a $10K prize for a record breaker.

The prize on offer for a none record breaking first place is CI$5000, CI$3000 for second and CI$1000 for third. For Yellowfin Tuna 1st is CI$2000, 2nd CI$1000, and for Dolphin 1st CI$2000 and 2nd CI$1000. There are also prizes for the heaviest fish caught by a Junior Angler, the heaviest fish caught by a Lady angler and a prize for the most marlin releases.
The targets to beat from the 2010 tournament are: Heaviest Dolphin (26.8 lbs) caught byLincoln Hurlston aboard Bare Assets, Heaviest Yellowfin Tuna (67 lbs) was caught by Nick Jones aboard Pura Vida , Heaviest Wahoo (54.3 lbs) was caught by Al Parsons aboard Strike Force, Curtis Hester was awarded the Junior Angler prize for catching a 42.8 pound Wahoo aboard Yorkshire Rose.

Registration – Thursday January 20th at Guy Harvey’s Grill from 7pm-9pm
Fishing Days – Saturday January 22nd & Sunday January 23rd from 6am – 4:30pm
Weigh In – at The Barcadere Marina from 4:30pm – 6pm (Snacks provided by Cracked Conch & cash bar by Barnes Bartender Service)
Catboat Rides – provided by the Catboat Club at The Barcadere on Sunday January 23rd from 3pm
Awards Presentation – Monday January 24th at The Cracked Conch/Macabuca at 7pm
Entry Fee – CI$300/boat up to 4 anglers – each additional angler is CI$100

There will be a raffle draw and all proceeds will be donated to The Cayman Islands Diabetes Charitable Trust & Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation to promote responsible sport fishing the causes supported by this year’s tournament.

 

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Lionfish target of Cayman’s culinary month

| 13/01/2011 | 2 Comments

(CNS): The pesky lionfish which has become for too common a sight on Cayman’s reefs has a target on its back this month as various groups and restaurants involved in the culinary events taking place on Grand Cayman in January seek to put the fish on the menu. Divers are being enlisted to help bag the fish for both environmental reasons and to go in the pot for various cookouts. Although an attractive looking fish Pterois volitans is a dangerous invasive species. Native to the tropical regions of the Pacific Ocean its arrival in the Caribbean seems to be down to an accidental release from a home aquarium in Florida. Lionfish have no natural predators and are outcompeting native species, in particular the Nassau grouper.

The Cobalt Coast lionfish hunt and cookout combines an educational briefing about lionfish, a one-tank dive to catch some and a cooking demonstration as well as a tasting washed down with a glass of wine.
Local dive shop Ambassador Divers with the Department of the Environment will also be culling lionfish in Cayman’s waters which will be cooked and served at Taste of Cayman at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drinks booth. The third in their lionfish culling tournaments, Ambassador Divers hopes to encourage more than 125 divers to take part in this 3-day culling extravaganza. In all, about 300 pounds of lionfish are needed to provide the amount of food needed by Chef Tom at Michael’s Genuine for their booth at Taste of Cayman.

Divers in Caymans waters have been integrally involved in helping to cull, or remove, lionfish from the reefs. As a result there has been an increase in the number of fishing tournaments that target the lionfish as well as many local restaurants offering various dishes on their menus–both for special occasions and as a regular offering. L lionfish ceviche, lionfish fingers, teriyaki lionfish, Greek style lionfish are just some of the dishes that are putting the fish to good use.

While the fish were once prized for their beauty as an aquarium fish they do have food value as well. Despite having dangerous poisonous spines fish is safe to eat as the venom is only in the dorsal spines–not in the flesh. All the danger comes into play in the catching and cleaning of the fish. Even after the fish has died, the venom in the spines remains active for up to one hour.
 

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MLA takes family on early Kittiwake dive

| 13/01/2011 | 19 Comments

(CNS): While there may be times when West Bay MLA Cline Glidden’s family curse him for choosing politics as a career because of the notorious demands of public life, they were unlikely to be doing it last Thursday when the privileges of office paid off for them. The back-bencher, his 13-year-old son Cline Jr and wife Gloria, who all recently received their dive certification, were among the first people to dive the Kittiwake. While the site was closed to ‘Joe diver’, the Gliddens were able to join the visiting film crews and dive the wreck the day after the historic sinking. (Photo by Courtney Platt)

Diving with crews from the Discovery Channel and National Geographic, who were chronicling the story of the Kittiwake’s scuttling in Grand Cayman’s waters, Glidden said it was one of the most thrilling experiences he has had diving since he was certified. Both film crews have followed the progress of the Kittiwake and will feature its remarkable story as the Cayman Islands’ newest dive site in upcoming documentaries.

“Having been involved in the Kittiwake project over the past few years and, more recently, participating in the topside tour while it was anchored off the West Bay Public Beach and watching the fascinating sinking process, I was quite eager to get underwater and explore this wreck that so many divers and snorkelers will visit the Cayman Islands to see,” the backbench MLA said.

Glidden had also officiated in the vessel’s dedication ceremony prior to the sinking event .
“The Kittiwake is an incredible underwater attraction – one that I encourage all Caymanians and residents to experience, whether by diving or snorkeling. Not only is this a pleasurable experience, but I am sure divers and snorkelers will come to appreciate its importance to our dive industry and tourism in general,” Glidden added.

The Kittiwake permanently and officially opened to the public on Wednesday 12 January and operators licensed by the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) are now running diving and snorkeling tours. For more information on how to dive or snorkel the wreck visit www.kittiwakecayman.com.

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Cayman gets positive coverage in on-line magazine

| 13/01/2011 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Following the less than positive media coverage for Cayman this week as a result of Nicholas Shasxon’s book and the resurrection of Operation Tempura, Hedge Week has set things back on the more positive track started by the coverage the Cayman Islands enjoyed last week following the sinking of the Kittiwake. The on-line magazine has produce a special report about the jurisdiction and the hedge fund sector. With the financial industry ever sensitive to Cayman’s public image, Simon Gray of Hedge Week explains that the sector is no longer remaining silent when it is criticised on the world stage.

“Having a single body representing the Cayman financial services industry was long overdue, but since its establishment Cayman Finance has done well in responding to some of the misinformation about the jurisdiction,” Neal Lomax, managing partner of Mourant Ozannes tells the online industry magazine. “If there is a negative, it is that we should have started it five or six years ago.”

The special report contains articles by many of the local industry’s experts and is opened by Cayman finance chair, Anthony Travers.

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Tax justice campaigners plan busy year

| 13/01/2011 | 4 Comments

(CNS): Activists that the chair of Cayman Finance, Anthony Travers, has referred to as the “Tax Taliban” say they are planning a number of campaigns in 2011 to keep up the pressure to end tax haven secrecy. Christian Aid, a leading international charity and one of the many NGOs that says offshore tax havens contribute to third world poverty, says it will be launching a new phase of the tax campaign with the launch of a global call on G20 leaders to end tax-haven secrecy. “Without this secrecy, multinational companies would find it much harder to dodge tax in developing countries,” said Helen Collinson, Christian Aid’s economic justice campaign manager on the charity’s website.

However, Travers has referred to this position as a delusional one held by “disturbed individuals” who believe that one high global rate of taxation would solve global poverty. Describing various socialist activist movements, such as the trade unions, Oxfam and Christian Aid as well as the Tax Justice Network, as the “Tax Taliban”, he said their effectiveness was diminishing as their claims “are a heresy and are unlikely to withstand the tax transparency” that Cayman demonstrates.

Christian Aid said, however, that it is working with a loose coalition of organisations inEurope, the US, Latin America and Africa leading up to November’s G20 meeting. France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy will chair the meeting, and he has already expressed an interest in tackling tax secrecy.

The charity also plans to step up its Trace the Tax campaign regarding FTSE 100 companies that Christian Aid says avoid paying tax in developing nations. They are asking supporters to write to four of the UK’s biggest multinational companies — Vodafone, Unilever, TUI Travel and Intercontinental Hotels Group — and persuade them to help trace the tax that the NGO says they have avoided paying.

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Anguilla in battle with UK’s Bellingham

| 13/01/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands is not the only overseas territory having trouble with its budget and the UK. The Chief Minister of Anguilla, Hubert Hughes, following the refusal by the UK governor there to sign the 2011 Budget has called on the people to consider independence. In a rally held in the wake of the governor’s decision Hughes said over the years, Britain had been allowed to eat away at the country’s constitution. In an interesting parallel to Cayman the chief minister in Anguilla has said his government was trying use capital projects such as the construction of a Sea Port to attract foreign investment to stimulate economic activity after the previous government had over spent and over borrowed. Now however Hughes claims the UK is trying to destroy his plans for recovery.

He said the UK had no difficulty in allowing his predecessor to pass a budget but they refused three attempts byhis administration. In what appears to be a problem with the number of civil servants and the cost of the public sector, Hughes said the policies which the UK was trying to impose would spiral Anguilla into an irrecoverable situation.

“We have to determine whether we are going to start seriously to move towards independence or allow the British to continually increase their powers,” Hughes told the people

“This economic crisis tells us that we cannot be afraid any longer to talk about independence. I pledge to you that we will not let this matter rest anymore. …The immediate issue is that you have to raise your voices with your Government and make sure that Anguilla is the winner in this crisis,” he added.

The UK has reportedly asked the Anguillan government to step aside from the budgetary process and have two independent experts draw-up and implement a revised budget, a three year fiscal forecasts; and a three year cash-flow management.

The OT Minister Henry Bellingham has rejected the Anguillan government’s ability to balance the budget pointing to the "failure to act to reduce expenditure."

Hughes’s budget had focused on new taxes and revenue generation to limit the exposure of the public service layoffs but the UK has rejected his proposals they, Bellingham said, did not meet his conditions, and that the budget had projected an overall increase rather than a decrease in expenditure.

 

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Barclays Cayman toxic debt move queried by UK MPs

| 13/01/2011 | 0 Comments

(Telegraph): Suspicions about a scheme devised by Barclays during the financial crisis to spin off its toxic debt have been reinforced by the lack of detail in the deal’s only public disclosure to date. Asked about Protium by MPs on Tuesday, Bob Diamond chief executive said: "We had some illiquid assets that were sold, so Protium is not a part of Barclays." Under a plan orchestrated by Barclays’ investment bank the lender sold $12.3bn risky sub-prime assets in September 2009 to Protium Finance, a Cayman Islands registered fund. Protium was financed by a $12.6bn loan from Barclays and staffed with about 45 Barclays bankers. The arrangement allowed Barclays to "derecognise the assets" – kicking a risky problem "into the long grass", as one analyst said.

At the time, Alistair Milne, a banking professor at Cass Business School, described the deal as "murky" and "suspicious".

Protium is registered at Ugland House, identified by President Barack Obama as "either the biggest building or the biggest tax scam on record". Bar the profit in London, 16 months on, details of the deal remain opaque, though there is no suggestion it is a tax scam.

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Turtle Farm can sustain discount sale say officials

| 13/01/2011 | 12 Comments

(CNS): While officials from the Cayman Turtle Farm have claimed that the significant increase in the price of meat was essential to the facility’s survival and future meat production it is continuing on with the Christmas sale prices as it says it can sustain them at present. In a statement released Wednesday afternoon the farm said turtle meat and menavelin would remain at discount prices for those buying in bulk throughout this month. Cayman Turtle Farm Managing Director Tim Adam said, not surprisingly, that the holiday-season price cuts had proven tremendously popular and a decision was made to keep them at discounted levels. He explained that the farm aimed to monitor prices and production levels and reduce the cost of the meat whenever possible.

“Understanding the traditional value and the sentimental place of turtle meat in Cayman culinary traditions, we are happy that we can continue commercial supplies to the community, while simultaneously maintaining our management programmes for green sea turtles,” he said.

Adam said the lower prices would remain in effect at least for the month of January on a first-come, first-served basis.

Prices are now set at $12 per pound for stewing meat and $9 per pound for menavelin. Turtle steak is also discounted to $20.25 per pound. Purchasers are required to buy in 5-pound lots.

The holiday price reductions discounted 2010 increases that had pushed turtle stew from previous long-standing levels of $5.40 per pound to $16, and menavelin from $4 to $12. The price hikes had formedpart of efforts to reduce consumption and enable replenishment of the farm’s turtle stocks, the farm had said.

Adam said that the increases through 2010 had assisted in the management of the 8,000-member herd because of a drop in demand and as a result supplies remained sustainable. “To maintain supplies at sustainable levels, we need to continue careful management, and we think that, by and large, the community both understands and supports our efforts,” he said.

“We will monitor demand at these new prices to determine what further price adjustments may be necessary from time to time. Our intention is to adjust prices periodically so as to better balance demand against the sustainable amount we can supply. That will give us the best opportunity to continue providing turtle meat to our valued customers in the Cayman Islands,” he said.

 

 

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Experts warn not to bank on hedge-fund gold rush

| 13/01/2011 | 0 Comments

(WSJ): A sign the financial world may be returning to normal hedge -fund start-ups in 2010 reached the highest level since the boom, with 715 new funds launched in the first nine months of the year, according to Hedge Fund Research. But would-be hedge-fund tycoons shouldn’t get their hopes up. The industry is seeing net inflows after two years of bleeding assets, with a strong uptick at the end of last year. Pension funds are increasing allocations. But many of last year’s launches were new funds created by existing managers. For all but a handful of stars, starting a new firm is much tougher now than it was during the boom. The biggest challenge is that many hedge funds are struggling to demonstrate the outperformance required to justify their fees.

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US alarmed by Chinese investment in Bahamas

| 13/01/2011 | 2 Comments

(The Guardian): American diplomats feared heavy Chinese investment in the Bahamas, including in a luxury hotel, would destabilise US influence in a post-Castro Caribbean, according to leaked state department cables. Chinese banks invested $2.5bn in the 1000-acre Baha Mar hotel complex in April 2010, one of several Sino-Bahamian deals which cables suggest the US embassy monitored closely. Diplomats were frightened the investment would leave the Bahamian government "indebted to Chinese interests for years to come", a cable from September 2009 reveals. They also repeated Bahamian politicians’ fears that "China is using this investment solely to establish a relationship of patronage with a U.S. trading partner less than 190 miles from the United States."

The embassy had been concerned for several years about China’s involvement in the Bahamas. They previously worried that Chinese activity in the Bahamas constituted "a strategic move [in preparation] for a post-Castro Caribbean", and questioned China’s interest "in a country where apart from geography, there would seem to be few mutual cultural, tourist, economic, or political interests", according to cables from 2003 and 2004.

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