Archive for May 12th, 2011

Conyers behind successful IPO for oil company

Conyers behind successful IPO for oil company

| 12/05/2011 | 1 Comment

(CNS): A local legal firm was patting itself on the back this week after its successful part in a complex and significant IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. A spokesperson from Conyers said that the firm advised Kosmos Energy Ltd. on its US$594 million IPO that priced on Tuesday at the top of its proposed price range, at US$18.00 a share. The lawyers said it was a landmark transaction because of the high profile nature of Kosmos’ African oil assets and the strong investor appetite for the IPO shares. It was complex as it involved a Cayman company limited by guarantee and required us to address unique issues of Cayman Islands law.

“The offering was so well received by investors that Kosmos increased the number of shares offered from 30,000,000 to 33,000,000,” Conyers stated.

The transaction involved the coordinated advice of lawyers in two Conyers’ jurisdictions, with Conyers’ Bermuda and Cayman Islands offices advising on complex legal matters in the lead-up to the IPO, which was completed by way of a corporate reorganization immediately prior to the closing of the offering. Richard Finlay, managing partner of the firm’s Cayman Islands office said it demonstrated the growing strength of Conyers Cayman Islands office, “where we are currently being instructed in several similar transactions as the IPO market revives,” he added.

Finlay, advised Kosmos Energy Holdings, assisted by Cayman Islands associate Tara Rivers. Marcello Ausenda, director in Conyers’ Bermuda office, advised Kosmos Energy Ltd. on Bermuda law aspects of the transaction along with a number of associates led by Jason Piney. Davis Polk & Wardwell acted as US counsel to Kosmos and Credit Suisse, Barclays Capital and Citi were the underwriters.
Kosmos is an international oil and gas exploration and production company withmajor oil discoveries offshore West Africa including the giant Jubilee Field in offshore Ghana. Kosmos shares commenced trading earlier today on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol KOS.

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Lawyers laud groundbreaking cross border decision

Lawyers laud groundbreaking cross border decision

| 12/05/2011 | 23 Comments

(CNS): A Cayman Islands based offshore law firm said that its client was granted the first ever free standing Mareva injunction recently. As a result of what Ogier’s Cayman Partner and Head of Litigation, Chris Russell, described as a trend towards modernization in cross border financial cases, assets of a defendant in a law suit have been frozen in this jurisdiction, despite the fact that the legal case is going on in a different country. Ogier, who were acting for the successful applicant, said to order a free standing Mareva injunction never before granted here was a ground breaking decision by the Grand Court.

Named after a 1975 case in the UK  'Mareva Compania Naviera S.A. v International Bulk Carriers S.A.', a Mareva injunction is a court order preventing the defendant in a law suit from transferring assets until the outcome of  the law suit  is decided to ensure that the defendant’s assets are not dissipated in order to avoid satisfying a judgment.

This decision means that the court has held that it has power to grant asset-freezing injunctions over Cayman based assets in support of foreign proceedings. The only relief claimed in the Cayman Islands Court is the asset-freezing injunction itself, and there is no other cause of action against the defendant within the jurisdiction of the Cayman Islands courts.

“This case follows a modernising trend, which is to be greatly welcomed, and is a significant contribution to cross-border co-operation and protection,” said Russell, who together with Rachael Reynolds, Managing Associate, and Will Jones, Associate, acted for the successful applicant for the injunction.

The lawyers revealed that a written judgment is expected shortly.

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UN report calls for more tax information exchange

UN report calls for more tax information exchange

| 12/05/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A report on the problem of money escaping from the world’s poorer countries, published by Global Financial Integrity (GFI) for the UM points the finger at tax havens as the places where the money is going and undermining their ability to develop. The report says there is a need to improve the exchange of tax information between governments on non-residents and corporations. “Frequently, national tax authorities are constrained by national borders and collecting tax revenue has been difficult,” the report states, adding that bank secrecy and confidentiality laws in many jurisdictions prevent disclosure. The authors call for international companies to be required to state all their earnings from all jurisdictions in their annual reports.

“More can be done to ensure that all nations, developing and developed, collect a fair amount of tax from both individuals and corporations. Governments could mandate financial institutions to provide relevant government authorities with data on income, gains, and property paid to non-resident individuals, corporations, and trust,” the author GFI Lead Economist Dev Kar, states.

In order to stem tax avoidance by multinational corporations, the international community could support the development of an international accounting standard requiring that all multi-national corporations report sales, profits, and taxes paid in all jurisdictions in their audited annual reports and tax returns. Tax avoidance is facilitated by the lack of transparency in the way many multinational corporations report and publish their accounts. Improving transparency in the accounts of multinational corporations could help tackle tax avoidance.

The report reveals that the world’s 48 poorest countries lost US$197 billion from 1990 until 2008 which is a serious impediment to development efforts for lesser developed countries. (LDCs). IT was commissioned by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and was presented for discussion at the United Nations IV Conference on Least Developed Countries hosted by the Republic of Turkey, on Wednesday.
Illicit Financial Flows from the Least Developed Countries: 1990-2008 examines how structural characteristics of Least Developed Countries could be facilitating the cross-border transfer of illicit funds, discusses the underlying estimates of illicit flows, presents an analysis of the magnitude of such flows, and makes policy recommendations for the curtailment

In her opening remarks for the UNDP Conference yesterday, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said, “Illicit flows seriously impede LDCs’ efforts to raise resources for social and economic development. These flows are often absorbed into banks, tax havens, and offshore financial centres…”

Key findings of the report include illicit flows divert resources needed for poverty alleviation and economic development and that around US$197 billion flowed out of the 48 poorest developing countries and into mainly developed countries, on  a net basis over the period 1990-2008.

The full report is available for download on the UNDP website here

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Bush ‘sells Cayman insurance’ in Canada

Bush ‘sells Cayman insurance’ in Canada

| 12/05/2011 | 19 Comments

(CNS): The premier joined thirty other delegates from the Cayman Islands private sector as well as government officials to promote the country as a domicile for captives at the Risk and Insurance Management Society’s (RIMS) Conference. McKeeva Bush went to the insurance event straight after the royal wedding in London, where he met representatives from CIMA and the local insurance industry, who were exhibiting at what is described as the largest of any North American risk management conference. Officials said the conference facilitates meetings and generates potential new business for private sector insurance managers as well as CIMA.

Cayman has been an exhibitor for over 10 years at the conference, which presents an opportunity to meet with delegates of other jurisdictions and reinforce important relationships. The premier in his role as minister of finance said that the conference was a chance to sell Cayman’s insurance sector and talk about new developments in the jurisdiction.

“Throughout the years, the Cayman Islands presence at RIMS has enabled us to showcase our jurisdiction as the domicile of choice for captive insurance companies. But it also gives us an opportunity to speak about new developments in our insurance industry, which has been a market leader for many years,” Bush stated.

At the Cayman Islands reception, Bush addressed over 200 attendees on the Insurance Law, 2010, and increased regulatory powers as well as publicly thanking existing clients for placing their risk management needs in our the hands; the insurance managers for providing quality services that allow the Cayman Islands to compete and succeed globally, and CIMA for their commitment to the highest regulatory standards.

Monique MacDonald, IMAC Chair, said the conference and exhibition were well received. “Vancouver was a great venue for RIMS 2011 and exhibiting there provided us with the opportunity to meet risk managers and other delegates from various market segments. Conference attendees experienced a taste of the Cayman Islands with the ever-popular Tortuga Rum Cakes, as well as having an opportunity to meet with our representatives and discuss captive insurance business.”

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Endangered green turtle slaughtered with speargun

Endangered green turtle slaughtered with speargun

| 12/05/2011 | 47 Comments

(CNS): Poachers killed a large green turtle by shooting a speargun through its head. Leaving this endangered species with one less mature adult and lessening its chances of survival, the inept poachers apparently fled without their illegal catch. Acting on a call from the public, officers from the Police Joint Marine Unit made the gruesome discovery in the North Sound when they found a 300 – 400 lbs adult male green turtle speared through the head and badly cut by a boat prop. Department of Environment (DoE) Research and Enforcement Officers rushed to meet the police vessel in an effort to save the severely injured turtle, a DoE release stated.

However, the discovery which was made last week (Sunday, 8 May), came too late for the turtle which died en route to the dock.

According to DOE officers, the turtle had been shot with a speargun and also hit by the prop of a boat. Based on their examination of the injuries, DOE officers believe that poachers deliberately speared the turtle in the head and then hit it with their prop as they attempted to bring it onboard their boat. The poachers were likely disturbed while taking the turtle and fled the scene, leaving the turtle behind.

Turtle nesting populations in the Cayman Islands are endangered and the loss of rare mature turtles threatens their survival even further. Therefore DOE considers turtle poaching to be among the most serious of conservation offences. Past cases of turtle poaching have resulted in large fines, prison sentences and confiscation of vehicles and boats used in the commission of the offence. 

DOE officers confirmed that the speargun rod recovered from the turtle did not match any spears in the Cayman Islands Speargun License database – suggesting that the turtle was killed with an illegal, unlicensed spear. 

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to make a report to DOE Chief Conservation Officer Mark Orr (916-4271) or contact Crime Stoppers at 800–TIPS.

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Local contractor to start Hurricane Hilton

Local contractor to start Hurricane Hilton

| 12/05/2011 | 171 Comments

(CNS): Phase 1 of the new emergency shelter on Cayman Brac’s Bluff will be built by Island Builders Co, which was awarded the contract following a tendering process through the Central Tenders Committee. The owner of the construction company, Dean Scott, officially signed the contract with Deputy Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, who is also minister of works and of District Administration, at a groundbreaking ceremony at the site on Wednesday evening. Scott told CNS that his bid of $285,000 to build the 27,000 square foot foundation was the lowest of five bids and he expected the work to begin shortly. (Left: Dean Scott with the deputy premier, chief officer Kearney Gomez and Deputy CO Tristan Hydes)

Speaking to the small gathering at the recently cleared site next to the Brac’s playing field, the deputy premier focused her remarks on berating her critics, especially the media and “the bloggers” for not understanding her vision for the future.

A lot of vision and foresight had been put into the shelter for the present and future needs of the Cayman Brac, she said. “When one studies history, one finds that great buildings were rarely appreciated until the person who had the vision had passed on and you read about it in the obituary,” O’Connor-Connolly said, adding that it did not matter if there were praises in her obituary, only that she had done as much as she could for her constituents.

The shelter was located next to the playing field, she said, because after a hurricane when people had lost their homes it was important “from a sociological standpoint” for them to have that social network and have somewhere for them to exercise.

Claiming that she was proud that the building had been referred to as the “Hilton”, she said that there was nothing that her people did not deserve. “After all, it’s you the people who pay the fees and revenues year after year, and some do so with much hardship,” she noted and said that when we fail to protect the people we have failed as visionaries.

“If I had to gauge what is right and wrong based on the blogs or the CNS or any other medium, I wouldn’t get out of my bed in the day, but there’s none of them who go out on Election Day to give me the mandate of what to do. It’s you the people of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman and I’ve canvassed enough of you to know what you want, and Cayman Brackers don’t hide their expressions.”

Noting the criticisms of her when, as minister in 1997, she had started the road building on the Bluff, she said that when the naysayers write her obituary they will not be able to say that “Juliana was dishonest, that Juliana was not conscientious, that Juliana put self before country and that Juliana never worked hard for her people.”

While stressing the purity of her own intentions – “For me, it’s not about the money” – she then plainly indicated that the motivation of the media was only greed and “a moment of glory” and they were not interested in publishing the truth.

“So you, Nicky, and the rest of the media, write on,” she said to the CNS reporter. “Make your monies at the expense of Juliana. It may cause tears, it may cause hurt, it may even cause embarrassment for those who don’t understand and who chose not to catch the vision but who decides that for short term gain and for the sale of a newspaper or for popularity to build based on tearing people down.”

When the next hurricane comes, she said, “it will be my satisfaction that my people will have one of the best facilities in the Caribbean, if not the world, to find safe harbour and shelter for them and their families.”

Professing that no one loved the news better than she did and that she was a great believer in freedom of the press, which fueled democracy and protected people from tyrants, she said that as a person who studied English and who graduated at the top of her class at university, she appreciated journalism “whose modus operandi is to educate the people so that they can make choices, not to influence the people by their own objective perspective.”

For more on the new Brac emergency shelter, read Hurricane Hilton happening

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DoE challenges young artists to create poster

DoE challenges young artists to create poster

| 12/05/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Department of Environment is encouraging young people to get artistic and join in the celebrations for the 25th Anniversary of the creation of the country’s marine parks. The DoE is holding a poster competition and students aged 16 years and younger are encouraged to express themselves and create a design that can be reproduced as a poster depicting the anniversary theme: ‘Marine Parks: Save Our Tomorrow – Today’. Recognizing that our marine resources were increasingly threatened, the Cayman Islands Government passed the Marine Parks Law in April 1986 – putting into place on all three islands a system of reserves which was hailed as cutting edge for its time.

Over the past 25 years there has been increasing international recognition of the ecological and economic importance of Marine Protected Areas.

“In the Cayman Islands, the success of our Marine Parks and our reputation for healthy reefs draws millions of visitors to support our economy. The Cayman Islands are home to priceless natural resources. Our coastal ecosystems (coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves) and abundant marine life are vital to our economy and quality of life,” said The DoE’s Senior Sustainable Development Officer, Joni Kirkconnell

The importance of the Marine Parks has also been recognized by companies that have made generous donations towards the Poster Competition.

“We’ve been fortunate to have some really great prizes donated by local companies,” Kirkconnel added. “Contestants of the Poster Competition have the opportunity to win prizes from Cayman Airways, Yamaha/Automotive Art, Guy Harvey, Cathy Church Photography, Cayman Islands Helicopters, Atlantis Submarine, Harbour House Marina, and Cayman Sea Elements”.

Application forms for the competition can be downloaded from the DoE website at or Mrs. Kirkconnell can send forms if requests are emailed to Entries will be displayed at the Marine Parks Open House Monday May 23rd at the George Town Public Library. The deadline for entries is May 20th. For additional information on the competition or other Anniversary events the public can contact Joni Kirkconnell at the Department of Environment. 

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Defence lawyer implies officials corrupt

Defence lawyer implies officials corrupt

| 12/05/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The attorney representing MLA Dwayne Seymour told a jury on Wednesday that Cayman authorities had chosen to protect a man who was committing adultery with his client’s wife but had chosen to prosecute Seymour for trying to protect his family. In his closing speech during Seymour’s trial for perverting the course of justice, defence lawyer Steve McField expressed his outrage that the crown had conspired against a hard working, successful Caymanian to facilitate a foreigner to "run around" with his wife. In stark contrast to the crown’s position, McField focused heavily on the morality of the case, saying his client had a right to protect his family and his wife, who, he said, was Seymour’s “sacred vessel”. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

As the two attorneys closed their case on Wednesday afternoon they presented their arguments not only to the usual courtroom audience, which included the defendant’s friends and family, but the premier, a cabinet minister, a backbench colleague in the Legislative Assembly and a former PPM representative.

John Masters, the crown counsel, said the case was not about Melanie Seymour’s relationship with Garrone Yap or the morality of that but it was about perverting the course of justice and whether or not Seymour had used his influence to try and stop a man for giving evidence in a police enquiry.

He told the five men and two women that the security guard who had heard Seymour say, “Security, ya don’t see nothing” had no reason to lie. However, he questioned Seymour’s credibility and said he had been proven to have lied as well as being manipulative and evasive during the trial.

“When I said he had lied he said it was an outrage,” Masters stated, referring to his cross examination of the witness.  “It’s not a lie, it’s a scheme, he told us — and that’s your MLA,” Masters added.

He said the report he gave to the police on the night of the fight “contained some truth, lots of embellishment and many lies.”  He told the jury that if they believed the security guard then it was simple, Seymour was guilty as charged as he had denied ever saying the words. Masters said Seymour did not claim that the guard had misheard or misunderstood but denied using the words because it was clear what their intent was.

He reminded the jury that the law applies to everyone equally and if they were sure Seymour had said those words but they refused to convict, the course of justice would break down.

When McField took to his feet, he told the jury to use their “good ol’ fashioned Caymanian commonsense” and said as a Christian nation Cayman had higher morals and should not stand for the injustice committed by Yap on his client.

He said the personal trainer from Miami, was taunting Seymour with the affair with his wife living in his house, using the car that Seymour had paid for, and given such circumstances, he said that his client had done far less than many other men would do.

McField said Seymour had a right to confront Yap. “I wonder what any of you would have done if you heard your wife was committing adultery with another man?” he asked the jury rhetorically.  McField said the scheme cooked up by Seymour and Minzett was nothing compared to the action that other men may have taken.

The attorney was outraged by suggestions that his client had used his position as an MLA to get information from the airport to find out where Yap was staying or that there was anything sinister in his attempts to get the room key to find his wife.

He said Seymour did not say the words on the indictment, which was what the case was about, nor did he try to get Yaparrested. McField said if he had that kind of power, his client wouldn’t be sitting in the dock. He implied if it were possible the premier would have ensured that Seymour did not face charges.

McField also pointed to the country’s national hero, saying that if Jim Bodden were alive he would never have stood for what was happing to his client. “He would have made sure (Yap) was arrested,” McField exclaimed.

But the attorney told the jury that this was where Caymanians had got to, where the police and the crown colluded to protect a foreign witness, to allow him to have an affair with Melanie Seymour while they put his client in the dock.

“It is because he is a foreigner that he gets all this protection,” he added about Yap. “And we have to put up with all that.” He described Yap as an opportunist who seized upon this young successful, Caymanian family and found “the weakness” in Seymour’s wife who, he said, “had fallen for Yaps lies.”

He said Yap had told blatant lies in the court to bolster the prosecution’s case, although McField said he did not blame the crown’s attorney. He had been “dealt the cards he had to work with” by the police, who were out to destroy his client.

McField said there was no factual basis for the charges and despite the seriousness of the offence they were also frivolous. The crown’s case, he said, was like a “loaf of bread which doesn’t have any yeast in it so it won’t rise.”

He said the crown did not show intent, had not proved anything against his client and that the jury should not rely on the witness statement of the security guard. McField said the guard’s evidence should be treated with suspicion because he had lied and colluded with the police, despite the lawyer not having put that proposition to the witness when he was on the stand.

McField also told the jury that they had to be one hundred percent sure that he was guilty before they could convict his client — more sure than they had ever been about anything. However, the law states that a jury must be sure beyond reasonable doubt.

As he wound up the unorthodox closing argument, the lawyer told the jury to send Seymour home as he was an innocent victim who had been through a terrible ordeal. “He sits in the dock for trying to protect his family, his home, his castle and his wife, his sacred vessel,” McField added.

As the jury left the court expecting to return Thursday morning for the judge’s direction before deliberation, Crown counsel indicted that he would need to make an application to the judge before that, which will be revealed in the absence of the jury this morning in Grand Court five at 10am.

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A few good men wanted for local NGO

A few good men wanted for local NGO

| 12/05/2011 | 3 Comments

(CNS): With a worrying number of young boys needing strong male role model in their lives, the executive director of Big Brothers and Big Sisters is putting a call out to men across the islands to lend their support to the programme. Marilyn Conolly explained that mentoring really works and turns young people, who could very easily spiral into the criminal justice system, around. However, although a considerable number of women have stepped up to the plate to participate in the programme she said she has had difficulty recruiting men.

“I am appealing to men out there to come on board,” she said. “This really works it makes a tremendous difference and we see real results among the young people that we manage to find mentors for.”
Connolly said she understood people have busy lives but she said all it requires is a few hours a week to not only impact a child’s life now but to transform their potential for future as well.

The director said that Big Brothers Big Sisters positively impacts children’s lives and really works.

The BBS offers  school-based mentoring and community-based mentoring programmes for children aged between 5 and 14 years old. Connolly explained that mentors don’t have to be perfect or qualified counsellors or a foster parent for the children, the goal is for them to just be a friend to a child who needs one and to share some fun.

Mentors can spend one hour on a Wednesday to visit you’re their little brother at school or two hours on a weekend to hang out with your Little Brother and need to commit to mentoring for one year.
Any men Interested in joining the programme can Contact Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Cayman Islands at 945-6315 or

The NGO is also selling tickets for a special champagne brunch at Abacus, Camana Bay on Sunday 22 May to raise money for the charity. For more information call 623 8282 or


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Travel alert issued on European measles outbreaks

Travel alert issued on European measles outbreaks

| 12/05/2011 | 2 Comments

CNS): The Public Health Department has issued an alert to travellers to and from Europe as a result of a measles outbreak across the continent. The measles outbreak has been reported in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Serbia Bulgaria and Turkey. Officials said there was no need to be alarmed anyone returning from Europe is asked to see a doctor immediately if they feel unwell. There have been no measles cases in the Cayman Islands since 1990 and local immunization coverage against the that and mumps is around 90% among 15 months old and about 97 percent by the time they reach school entry age.

“Although there is no need to bealarmed at this stage, we ask that anyone returning from Europe experiencing a sudden high fever accompanied by a rash to seek medical attention immediately. They should also give their travel history to the attending physician for necessary investigation,” said Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kiran Kumar.
British health officials also continue to see cases of measles this year, with 53 cases confirmed in England and Wales. Several of these have been traced back to people travelling to mainland Europe. Outside of the continent, India has also reported a measles outbreak.

“If you are travelling to any of the affected European countries, safeguard yourself and your family by ensuring that you and your children’s immunizations against measles are up-to-date,” advised Dr. Kumar. "Unprotected children are at the greatest risk of contracting this virus, should a case be imported. It is the duty of parents and guardians to ensure that their children are protected."

The Public Health Department has advised healthcare workers in the private and public sectors of the PAHO alert and will continue to monitor the situation.

Endemic measles has been eliminated in the Americas, with the last case reported in 2002. The Caribbean itself, this year celebrated its twentieth year without an indigenous case of the measles. Measles is however, still common in many developing countries particularly in Africa and Asia and people visiting these regions should pay attention to possible symptoms.

“Regionally, while there has been great progress, once again I emphasise that measles can be reintroduced as we have many residents and visitors travelling to and from the affected areas and we should therefore remain vigilant,” Dr. Kumar noted.

Measles is caused by a virus which normally grows in the cells that line the back of the throat and lungs. Measles is a human disease and is not known to occur in animals.

The first sign of measles is usually a high fever which begins about 10 to 12 days after exposure to the virus from a measles case. A runny nose, cough along with red and watery eyes and small white spots inside the cheeks can develop in the initial stage followed by a rash on the face and upper neck eventually reaching the hands and feet.
Close contact with other people for seven days following onset of rash must be avoided. 

Anyone returning from the region with a presentation of symptoms is urged to contact the Public Health Department on 244-2648 or 244-2621, or Faith Hospital on 948-2243.


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