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As already notified to many of you,
Grand Cayman was hit at about 6:20 pm local time on 14th December 2004
by an earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale. The epicentre
was about 30 kilometres south of George Town at a depth of 10
technical details see
It was reported to be the strongest earthquake to hit Grand Cayman
since 1900 and was also felt in Cancun, Mexico and Kingston, Jamaica.
Since then, the island has suffered further tremors, with a quake registering
4.4 recorded on 20th December located
55 km (34 miles) South East of George Town at a depth of 10 km (6 miles)
This seismic activity has lead to 'sink holes' appearing in a couple of places
- see the following reports for details:
One geologist explained that the most likely cause of the holes is that the
sand underwent a process called "liquefaction", in which the vibration of the
earthquake causes the water in the sand to "float" the sand and make it kind
of a slurry. If there are limestone rocks under the sand that contain openings
in them (very likely due to groundwater seepage through limestone), this
slurry could flow down into the opening, leaving a depression at the surface.
Seismologist Dr. Margaret Wiggins-Grandison from the University of the West
Indies Mona (Jamaica) campus visited Grand Cayman to loan a seismograph to record
the activity. Seismographs are due toe be installed in all three islands in the
new year. Dr Wiggins-Grandson explained that the Caribbean plate moves
eastward with respect to the North American plate at a velocity of about 20 mm/year.
Just south of Grand Cayman, the broader plate boundary
consists of two parallel branches separated by approximately 125 km.
Dr. Wiggins-Grandison reported that her equipment in Kingston recorded
20 minor aftershocks after the 14 December 2004 earthquake in Grand Cayman.
Dr. Wiggins-Grandison also explained that there is little danger of Cayman being hit by
a tsunami from this seismic activity due to the lateral movement of the plates;
tsunamis are usually caused where there is vertical displacement (as in the
major quake of Sumatra on 26th December). Also tsunami only become dangerous
when they travel over shallow waters; as the island has very little shallow water
there isn't time for the waves to grow and therefore cause widespread damage.
However, that doesn't mean that Cayman couldn't get hit be a tsunami. For a number
of years scientist have been warning of the potential cataclysmic tsunami that
could strike the Caribbean and East Coast of the US if a giant slab of
the dormant volcano Cumbre Vieja on La Palma, Canary Islands falls into the sea.
The scientists propose that the massive landslide would generate waves that would
be up to 50 metres (163 feet) high when they hit Florida and the Caribbean.
Dr. Simon Day of the Benfield Hazard Research Centre (
http://www.benfieldhrc.org/) at University College in
London) was quoted in the Cayman press supporting this hypothesis. He has
published a number of articles on the topic including
"Cumbre Vieja Volcano – Potential collapse and tsunami at La Palma, Canary Islands"
(available at http://www.benfieldhrc.org/SiteRoot/tsunamis/WardandDay.pdf
where he calculates the tsunami would hit the Easter seaboard of the US about eight or
nine hours after the landslide (tsunamis move at up to 500 mph across deep water), and would
rush up to 12 miles inland.
The Society of Tsunami Hazards ( http://sthjournal.org/)
however has published two academic papers on this subject. The first from 2001, "Modelling the La Palma Landslide Tsunami" (available at
http://epubs.lanl.gov/tsunami/ts193.pdf page 37 onward), and
the article "Evaluation of the threat of mega Tsunamis generation form postulated
massive slope failures of island stratovolcanoes on La Palma, Canary Islands, and on the
island of Hawaii" at
http://epubs.lanl.gov/tsunami/ts205.pdf (from page 13).
The first paper by Charles Madder says that any tsunami to hit the USA and the Caribbean would only be
3 metres (10 feet) high. The second study by George Pararas-Carayannis also believes that the waves would only
be small and casts doubt on the assumptions made about the geology and stability of Cumbre Vieja that
is behind Dr Day's and others theories.
I guess I'll leave you to draw your own conclusion!
The Cayman Islands National Recovery Fund (CINRF) have launched a ribbon appeal to
raise funds. His Excellency the Governor, Mr Bruce Dinwiddy, CMG, launched the
campaign by cutting a ribbon at the George Town Cruise Ship Terminal. After
buying the first one, Mr Dinwiddy encouraged cruise ship visitors to give
generously when buying theirs. The campaign was boosted by a US$10,000 donation
given by Mr Sam Bishop, director of WellStar Health System and a regular visitor to
One of the highlights of any Christmas in Cayman are the Christmas Lights along
South Sound Road. Unfortunately this year, as many of the properties were
badly damaged and are now unoccupied, the area was very dark.
Government announced that the reduction of 50% on building materials, furniture, appliances and
fixtures has been extended for an additional three months to the end of March 2005,
when the situation will be reviewed again. They have also decided to completely
waive duty on truck chassis needed to transport cargo containers. This is to
try to increase the turn-around time on handling containers. It is estimated that
1,000 containers are in the Port Authority storage facility, awaiting customers
to take delivery, with the equivalent of 800 arriving each week. About 1,500 containers
are on the islands being used as unauthorised storage (the containers are the
property of the shipping companies).
The United Nations team from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the
Caribbean (ECLAC) that visited Cayman in late November has put the total impact of the
disaster at CI$2.8 billion. This is more than the total damage done to Jamaica,
Bahamas, Grenada and Dominican Republic combined (US$2.2 billion) and is estimated at nearly $76,000
per person, the highest ever found by ECLAC.
Their reports also projected a drop in Cayman Islands’ Gross Domestic Product from
3.1% down to a negative growth rate 1.5% post-Ivan. They also expect inflation
to increase from 1.9% to 2.5%.
The Stingray Brewery has started production again, although full production won't
be achieved until January 2005. The brewery lost it's roof in the hurricane, and the
salt sea-water from the surge meant that all the pumps had to be replaced.
Brewmaster Andreas Moerl said all three beers were now available in bottles and
kegs, but many bars and restaurants don't have coolers or the space available to
store kegs and serve draft beer. Demand is low as they usually rely on
stay-over visitors to drink their beer, but Moerl hopes that residents will
start drinking the local brews. The brewery is still running it's recycling
programme; CI$2 credit for every case of empty bottles returned.
As expected Foster's Airport store re-opened on 14th December. It features a
slightly revamped layout, higher shelving to hold more product ranges, extended
deli and salad bars, and an extra express checkout.
Red Sail Sports have joined with photographer Anne Flinn Powell to produce a 2005
calendar of Cayman. The calendar was produced before Hurricane Ivan hit Cayman, and
features views above and below water as well as local recipes.
All net profits (after shipping) benefit the Cayman Islands Red Cross to
assist victims of Hurricane Ivan. The calendar costs US$12 (including standard mail postage,
add US$10 for FedEx delivery). For details see
Cayman Airways has launched weekly services to Boston and Chicago. The Boston
service departs Grand Cayman at 4:30pm on Friday arriving at 8:30pm, with the
return flight leaving Boston at 8:45am on Saturday arriving in Cayman at 1:05pm.
The Chicago service departs Grand Cayman at 4:30pm on Saturday arriving at 7:25pm,
with the return flight leaving Chicago at 7:45am on Sunday arriving in Cayman at 12:40pm.
One enterprising couple from Bodden Town are now in their temporary accommodation -
a mobile home that they bought on the internet through the auction site ebay.com.
Jamie and Tre Billingsley decided to follow this course after hearing
Hon McKeeva Bush on Talk Radio say that Government was allowing temporary
housing such as mobile homes on the Cayman Islands. Their 1990 built
27 foot trailer cost US$6,000, plus US$1,500 for shipping and and a refundable
bond duty of US$2,000. Unfortunately their mobile home was held up in the port
for two months until the licenses to permit temporary housing were in place.
The first ever World Class Cayman Splash & Dash staged by the Cayman
Islands Sports Development Company took place on Seven Mile Beach
in front of the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton this month. The
relay competition around an equilateral triangle course required the swimmers
to dive from the beach into the sea and navigate 50 metres out and then back
to the beach before tagging their land-based colleague who sprinted 50 metres
along the beach to the finish. The best two out of three sea-land relay race
pitted USA’s quadruple World 110m Hurdles champion Allen Johnson and World and
Olympic swimming medalist Nate Dusing of Team Green against Olympic gold medalist Neil Walker (USA)
and Kareem Streete-Thompson (Cayman Islands) of Team Gold. Each team won a heat,
(Gold in 1:10.50, and Green in 1:13.70)
and the third race ended in a dead-heat time of 1:11.40, meaning that under the rules of the
competition, the result would be decided by a further 50-metre sprint, won by
Johnson in 6.76 seconds, giving Johnson and Dusing the title of '2004 World Beach Sprint Kings'.
This event is scheduled to be run again in October 21-23, 2005. Johnson and
Dusing have confirmed that they will return to defend their title, but in a
revamped format that will pit the USA athletes against Cayman’s Kareem Streete-Thompson
and one of Cayman’s up and coming male swimmers and other countries 'surf & turf'
sprinters including Australia, Canada, Great Britain, South Africa and Brazil.
The event will also include the world's top female athletes fighting to earn
the title 'Queen of the Beach', and could include Cayman's Cydonie Mothersill
and other top athletes from around the world. The 2-3 day event will also
provide an opportunity for local and visiting youngsters to compete in
the 'Princess' and 'Prince' of the Beach age group categories.
Cabinet are to consider a proposal to build the Lost City of Atlantis in the
waters off the north coast of Cayman Brac. A 51-yeard old sculptor known as "Foots" has
completed fabricating phase 1 of his project consisting of eleven columns known
as the 'Inner Circle of Life' and a large 10,000–pound sundial. He is making the
items from a mixture of crushed rock, sand and cement and believes that they would
be impervious to water and would become an artificial reef in two to three years.
Every few months, more items would be added to the city, until about 100 pieces
weighing more than 300 tons had been sunk. The proposed site is close to the
scuba and snorkel site Radar Reef, near the Stake Bay Ramp. "Foots" has already
started work on the next phase which would include an Archway to Atlantis and
eleven statues (Elders) representing people alive in the world today. "Foots"
also has plans for a 16-foot pyramid that he believes would be popular for
I guess that we have all received those spam e-mails from someone claiming to be a
prince, or handling the estate of someone who died without any surviving relatives
and seeking assistance in transferring money out of the country. These are
collectively known as the Nigerian or Nigerian 419 scam and should, of course, be ignored, or (if appropriate)
reported to your police.
The latest variant of the scam using fake Cayman Islands Monetary Authority
(CIMA) with a forged of the signature of Chief Secretary, Hon George A McCarthy
have been used to attempt to defraud a non-resident of US$118,886.33. CIMA have
also had reports of other individuals who have lost between US$5,000 and US$30,000.
(See the following resources for more on this scam: http://www.snopes.com/crime/fraud/nigeria.asp,
The Auditor General, Dan Duguay, has started an investigation into the awarding of the debris
removal contract awarded to MC Restoration. The company has now been given a
Local Companies Control License allowing it to operate in Cayman. Unfortunately,
Mr. Dugay's report may not be made public as the Legislative Assembly changed the
rules last year to give themselves the power to decide which reports can/cannot be
Election day has been set for 11th May 2005.
The Information and Communications Technology Authority (ICTA) has granted a license
to Infinity Broadband to develop and install a network based on fiber optics and
coaxial cabling to all residents and businesses of Grand Cayman. This will
give customers access to digital cable, high speed broadband Internet and
digital telephone lines. Randy Merren, Chief Executive Officer of Infinity Broadband
said that the service would deliver over 900 digital channels, digital video
recording, parental controls and pay-per-view. The introduction of fibre would allow the
introduction of digital telephony and Voice over Internet protocol (VOIP)
with cost savings up to 80% on traditional phone lines.
On some levels, normality has returned to Cayman. The curfew was finally lifted today (Thursday
There are up to four cruise
ships a day now visiting Grand Cayman (six are scheduled for 23rd December and
on some days in January 2005 seven ships are expected). The Turtle Farm is open and
has started its annual release program.
Overnight visitors have been allowed back to Grand Cayman since the 20th November -
in time for Thanksgiving holidaymakers. All hotel/condo properties are being
inspected before licences are re-issued and the accommodation is made available
for tourism. Many car rental companies have severely reduced fleet sizes;
Hertz only have 10 cars compared to their pre-Ivan fleet of 98, and Avis/CICO's
fleet is 60%-70% of it's pre-Ivan levels.
CUC expects all customers to be reconnected by 1st December. Cable & Wireless
expect to have all telephone services connected by the end of the year. Postal services are
back to normal, but the Seven Mile Beach Post Office is closed indefinitely because
of severe damage. Customers who have boxes at this post office now have to collect
their mail from the Airport Post Office during normal opening hours.
Fosters Airport store is expected to open 14th December and their shop in the
Strand is expected to reopen in January 2005. Fosters are expecting to open a
wholesale club, "Priced Right" in their warehouse that has housed their temporary
airport store in January 2005.
Cayman Airways has resumed flights to/from Fort Lauderdale with flights on
Fridays and Sundays. The airline has also launched a Saturday direct flight from
Miami to Cayman Brac. Return non-stop flights from Cayman Brac to Miami go on Mondays,
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The airline also has taken delivery of it's fifth
jet - a Boeing 737-300. The aircraft is expected to enter service in mid-December.
A $10 million contract has been awarded to MC Restoration of Florida for the removal
of the debris left by Hurricane Ivan. It is estimated that there is 300,000
cubic yards of debris to be removed. On top of this, there are up to 10,000 cars to
be disposed of, but interest has been expressed in shipping some of the cars to
Cuba and Honduras. However, there have been some protests that local companies
aren't involved in the debris removal project (which is likely to take up to
six months), and that the contract isn't for removal of the debris off-island.
The Chamber of Commerce's plans to hire a cruise ship for temporary accommodation
have sunk because they could not get guarantees to the 80% level of occupancy
required to make the not-for-profit project succeed. The Chamber's negotiations
had gone a long way. A cruise ship, the Ocean Countess, which had been used as
a floating hotel during the Athens Olympics had been selected. It would have
provided accommodation for over 1,000 people in 423 cabins. Rental prices
would have ranged form $55 to $149 per person per day inclusive of meals and
associated costs (utilities, tendering etc), but excluded any government tax.
A mooring had been identified, and discounted rates negotiated with island
suppliers of services that the vessel would have required. Government are now looking
at importing between 50 and 100 trailer homes and also buying low-cost 'prefabs' from Cuba.
Sales of the "I Survived Hurricane Ivan" T-shirts have raised over US$15,000 for
the National Recovery Fund.
Finally a few admissions that the outside world hasn't done as much as it could to
help Cayman recover. Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, visited the islands to see for himself the
recovery efforts and pledged 'Hopefully, if we can try and help push a little
bit more extra help coming this way, than so much the better.'. The British Government
39 tons of bottled water, water purification tablets for 40,000 people, 5,000
tarpaulins, 10,000 tetanus vaccinations and other supplies, but many in Cayman feel
that Britain has not contributed enough. This was also supported by comments from
an influential group of British politician from the opposition Conservative party;
Shadow Foreign Secretary and Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon
Michael Ancram MP, Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Mark Simmonds MP and Lord Ashcroft,
who visited Cayman earlier in the month. Mr Ancram described his tour as useful
and added that the nature of the disaster "had not been fully understood in the UK".
He noted "many people struck by the hurricane were not necessarily wealthy,
and were either under-insured or not insured at all". He would return to the UK
with a message of the widespread damage and the real level of distress on Cayman.
He said he would "be exploring what the possibilities are" for further aid.
A team from the United Nations Economic, Social and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)
has also visited to carry out an in-depth study of the impact of Hurricane Ivan
on society including social, tourism, business and public finance - including how
this may impact on Cayman's economy in the long term.
The financial effects of Hurricane Ivan are starting to be reported.
Cable & Wireless, in their half-yearly figures published in the UK, said that
Hurricane Ivan was likely to cost them between GB£25 million and GB£30 million
more than covered by their insurance cover for the damage caused in Cayman and Grenada.
The Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC) have said that total damage claims so far
amount to US$76 million. Bank of Butterfield have announced that their profits for
the third quarter of the year were US$4.7 million, down 20% from US$5.9 million
last year. The bank (who made a US$1 million donation to the Cayman Island
National Recovery Fund) also recoded US$600,000 in expenses on uninsured property, and
a US$1 million loss in its minor stakeholding in Island Heritage, a Cayman
insurance company. Bank sales in Cayman for the period increased 10.3% to
US$13.7 million. the bank is now examining the likely impact of Ivan on both
the local economy and its loan portfolio on the island of US$307 million, of
which almost 65% are secured mortgages with property insurance assigned to the bank.
A new set of stamps featuring the Cayman Blue Iguana (Cyclura lewisi) were
released on 18th November 2004. Stamps are available in denominations of 15c,
20c, 25c, 30c, 40c and 90c, and a souvenir sheetlet depicting the iguana in
two stages of it's life are available for CI$1.90. Fifty cents will be donated
to the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme for each souvenir sheetlet sold. For
further details contact the Philatelic Bureau at the George Town Post Office
or via e-mail at
Government has established a CI$5.5 million fund to assist with housing recovery.
Grants will be given to Caymanians or those who have status and have a household
income under CI$40,000 per year, are owner-occupiers of single dwelling units and
whose property was damaged by Hurricane Ivan and the damage is not covered by insurance.
According to the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA), local insurance
companies are indicating estimated losses in excess of $700 million. Over $60 million
has already been paid out in claims.
CIMA and Royal Cayman Islands Police (RCIP) have reported that $100 counterfeit
notes are in circulation. The counterfeit notes tend to have
serial numbers C/1 followed by the numbers 106 231 (or a variation of these numbers,)
or B/1 followed by the numbers 425 420 (or a variation of these numbers).
The fake notes tend to be smaller than the
genuine article, the window thread is transparent and not its usual metallic colour and
On the B series forgeries there is a CIMA watermark (that isn't on the genuine article),
and front of the note reads "Cayman Islands Currency Board" but the reverse
reads "Cayman Islands Monetary Authority".
On the C series forgeries, the schooner hologram appears blue, not iridescent
when tilted toward the light.
For details of what the bank notes should look like, see the Cayman Islands Monetary
Authority web page at
Price gouging (where suppliers up their prices to take advantage of a reduced market)
has been the subject of new legislation in Cayman following on from complaints
that landlords and others increased their prices after Hurricane Ivan.
The Price Control (Emergency Circumstances) Bill allows for fines of up to CI$100,000
if found guilty of imposing increases on the price of goods and services in the
period before and after a disaster. The legislation is not retrospective, and
won't cover unscrupulous landlords. The Chamber of Commerce have raised doubts
about the new legislation as it was rushed through with very little consultation
The opening of the new Ritz-Carlton has been postponed again. Even though it
didn't suffer any direct damage, delays have been caused in the supply of
materials, lack of power, etc. Hurricane Ivan hit five days before the
construction site was due to be handed over to Ritz-Carlton.
Jean Cohen, vice president and general manager said "we are taking our time
moving forward to ensure that our $400 million resort has not been
compromised in any way. We will welcome our guests to a world class facility
on the Caribbean's safest and most affluent island." The new opening date for
the hotel is October 2005, and June 2005 for the 69 luxury condo The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton.
Cayman's only private hospital, the Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital, is up for
sale. Owner Dr. Steve Tomlinson does not wish to continue with the hard work
required to keep the hospital running. Dr. Tomlinson said "A private hospital
in the Cayman Islands will only work if it has the full support of private
practitioners, but this has been lacking at the Chrissie Tomlinson."
The situation is still not good. The Cayman Islands Tourism Association issued
an update at the end of the month. Following inspections by the Department of
Tourism, 648 hotel rooms are available for tourist accommodation.
This compares with a usual figure of over 2,200 rooms. 19% of the hotels are
currently open, and this will slowly increase to about 33% by the end of the year.
(The Hyatt will only have the 53 beach suites out of their 289 rooms open for Christmas).
In the condo sector, about a third will be open after 15th December 2004. Over 50% will
not be able to open until the first or second quarter of 2005.
In the watersports sector, nearly 40% of water ports operators are now open, a
nd this is expected to increase to nearly 75% by December.
48% on restaurants are now open, with another 18% expected to open by mid-December.
The Botanic Park is now expected to open in January 2005.
What these figures don't show is the effect that this is having on many people in Cayman.
As so many hotels, condos and restaurants are closed, many people have been layed off.
With no social security, life for many is very hard. Over 280 people are still making use
of hurricane shelters. 90 are homeless as their homes can’t be repaired and
most are uninsured.
To ease the recovery efforts, Government announced that the duty on imports
of reconstruction materials, equipment and replacement vehicles will be
reduced by 10% across the board for a nine month period. The discount will not
apply to first time purchases of vehicles.
The Chamber of Commerce has completed negotiations to facilitate the charter
of a cruise ship with accommodation for over 1,000. The Chamber says the
accommodation will be a temporary measure for a maximum period of five months and
will be used to house essential workers and those that have lost their accommodation.
The hours of overnight curfew have been shortened to 11:00 pm to 05:00 am. Bars
and shops have to close at 10:00pm.
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, will visit Cayman between 16th and 18th November
(and then move on to visit Grenada) to see how the the islands are recovering
from the devastation caused by Hurricane Ivan. Another recent visitor to the island,
FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, has sent a report to the FIFA Executive Committee
requesting US$310,000 in aid to help the island recover, including helping to
rebuild the Ed Busch Football Stadium that was destroyed. To see more of his comments,
check out http://www.trinidadexpress.com/index.pl/article_sports?id=44375612.
30 soldiers of the Bermuda Regiment have returned home after spending a month helping
with the clear up. Several soldiers commented that the most challenging aspect of
their duty was keeping people motivated. There is a report of their return at the
Bermuda Royal Gazette website at
Even though the elections have been postponed (until May 2005), it has been
decided that Wednesday 17th November will still be a public holiday as a
national day of recovery.
Remember Parmalat? Bank of America have filed a claim for damages against
some of Parmalat's top executives in an Italian court. Bank of America said
it was seeking compensation for losses "caused by the fraudulent behaviour"
allegedly committed by former Parmalat executives.
Also, Grant Thornton,
Parmalat's auditors, have requested that an injunction protecting the Italian
company from being sued in the US be lifted. Parmalat want the injunction lifted
"so we have the ability to counter-claim and seek discovery against Parmalat."
This is in response to a move by Parmalat's government-appointed administrators
filing lawsuits against Bank of America and Grant Thornton, accusing them of
helping the company's former managers to hide the true state of its finances.
Apart from Hurricane Ivan, there has been very little other news to report this month.
Top sustained wind speeds of over 200mph were recorded, with gusts of up to 245mph.
The official line is that there were probably two deaths caused by Hurricane Ivan.
Percival Sinclair Brown left a shelter during heavy winds, was badly injured
and died at the hospital. A second man died of a heart
attack shortly after the storm. A third man left his house to check on his boat
during the hurricane and hasn't been seen since.
95% of properties suffered damage, with 10% to 15% irreparable. In some areas
up to 80% of properties were destroyed. Some of the photos (see below) show just
the concrete base of what used to be homes or condo blocks. There are a few
photos that show the remains of Mariners Cove that was blown off it's base and
dumped in the middle of South Sound Road. According to
some reports, over 8,000 vehicles have been damaged and will need to be replaced. Government estimate
that it will take $80 million to repair all the damage to schools, and $15
million to repair the roads. The Cayman Islands Insurance Association are
estimating that losses will amount to between US$800 million and US$1.2 billion.
The Government has signed a US$975,000 contract with
James Lee Witt Group, a firm specialising in disaster preparedness and
management, for them to help manage the recovery effort. Local firms will be
used for all the reconstruction.
With the island in such a state, it isn't really surprising that this year's
Pirate's Week Festival has been cancelled. However, a National Day of
Thanksgiving is planned for 17 November in George Town. Elections have been
postponed to spring next year. The good news is that Cayman Brac and Little Cayman
are open and ready for business!
The infrastructure is still in a mess. Power won't be restored to all regions
until mid-November (see the map at
One of the first hotels to get power restored was Treasure Island, but that may
have been because the Canadian crew from Fortis Inc (a major shareholder in CUC Cayman)
were staying there! I'm told that the stench (caused by raw sewage, rotting
carcasses, etc) on the island is still very bad.
A curfew is still in effect from 10:00pm to 5:00am.
Most of the banks and financial institutions are up and running. Some schools
are staying shut as they are still being utilised as emergency shelters and the
majority are expected to open at the end of October. The Cayman Islands Law School
will restart in January. The Hyatt
have said that they will open their beachfront suites in December, but the main part
of the hotel won't open until June/July next year. The Westin is open, with the restaurants
due to open on 10th October. There is a page of information on when various resorts/condos
are due to reopen at http://caymanvacations.com/indexmenu.htm?general/ivan.htm&2.
The Canadian and US Governments are still advising visitors to stay away from Grand Cayman.
As Cayman fell apart after Ivan, a letter from Mr Timothy Adam, Chief Executive of Cable & Wireless
(Cayman Islands) Ltd appeared on the CaymanNetNews website (see the copy at
calling for military intervention. Within hours the article had been pulled,
with a note saying that Mr Adams gad asked for the letter to be removed. However,
in the next issue Tim Adams was then featured as the paper's Caymanian of the Week (see
By the following week, a personal letter by Tim Adams explaining his position was
being published. Tim had sent the original letter to high ranking officials in his company and
it was never intended that it should be leaked to the media. See his explanation at
Hurricane Ivan has to be seen as an economic disaster to Cayman, just as it was
recovering from 9/11. Many people have left the island, and those that remain have
an uncertain future. Not only are there 6,000 people homeless, but as there is
no tourism, many of the supporting industries don't need their staff. Many staff
have been laid-off, and may not return to full employment until the New Year.
CUC, Cayman Water, Cable & Wireless and the Water Authority have all said that
any charges for September will be added to bills in October. The banks have said
that they won't be expecting payments on mortgages until the New Year (but
interest will continue to accrue). For businesses trying to recover, their
staff may not have any accommodation - a sort of Catch-22 situation!
As the waters subside and the cleanup continues, who deserves praise for their efforts?
Plaudits go to CaymanNetNews
which was one of the only sources of information of what was happening on Grand Cayman
as the government web sites were knocked out. Similarly, Brac Informatics Centre
which continued operating throughout the worst of the storm and posted updates of
conditions in Cayman Brac. They are bound to see more businesses make use of
their secure computer hosting services. Cayman Airways,
for setting up all the flights to evacuate those of the island and start bringing
in relief effort. stormcarib.com
for the various message boards (see below) that helped friends and families far
and wide keep in touch with what was happening in Cayman. Cox Lumber and
Tortuga Rum Cakes
for swiftly making their facilities available for shipping relief supplies.
Dedicated to raising funds to aid in the rebuilding of the Cayman Islands.
Proceeds from the sales of a 2005 calendar "Always On My Mind" (for US$10 + shipping)
and the book "Spirit of Cayman - The Aftermarth of Ivan" (for US$36.50 + shipping
for a soft cover edition, US$91.50 + shipping for a hard cover edition) go to relief efforts.
A few days before Ivan hit, Cayman was also struck by an earth tremor that measured in at 6.0 on the
earthquake scale - fortunately it didn't cause any damage as the epicentre was
110 miles south of Grand Cayman at a depth of about 19 miles. Many residents
didn't even notice it. For details see
Hurricane Charley passed over the islands on 12th August, but without causing any
major damage. There was some damage to the government dock in Little Cayman and
a few trees uprooted (including some that had just been planted for the new Ritz).
Even though the hurricane season runs from June to November, with the peak from
mid-August to mid-October, Hurricane Charley is one of the earliest hurricanes to
pass so close to the Cayman Islands since Hurricane Allen in 1980.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reiterated it's
Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook. They forecast 12 to 15 tropical storms, with
six to eight becoming hurricanes, and two to four of these becoming major hurricanes
You can see NOAA's forecast for the season at
There may be a new hotel in the East End. Mandarin Oriental Hotel are considering
a site on the Queen's Highway east of Anchor Point.
Mourant du Feu & Jeune, a law firm based in Jersey, Channel Islands, has
announced plans to open offices in Cayman in the autumn. Their Cayman legal practice will
specialise in international financial business, including hedge funds,
capital markets, dervivatives, and private equity. They are also
seeking licences to allow them to offer a range of outsourced administration
Mourant already have offices in Jersey, Guernsey, Luxembourg, Seattle and the United Kingdom.
Their website is at http://www.mourant.com/
Cayman's Olympians are featured on a new set of stamps.
Butterfly stroke swimmer Heather Roffey is represented on the 15-cent stamp,
sprinter Cydonie Mothersill appears on the 40-cent stamp, long jumper Kareem Streete-Thompson is on
the 60-cent stamp and butterfly-stroke swimmers Andrew Mackay and Shaune Fraser feature on the 80-cent stamp.
For more information on these and other stamps, contact the Philatelic Bureau on
Unfortunately the team didn't win any medals. Heather Roffey finished 7th in
her preliminary Women's 200m Butterfly heat with a time of 2:19.34.
Andrew Mackay finished 2nd in his preliminary heat of the Men's 400m Individual
Medley with a time of 4:32.38 and 4th in his heat of the Men's 200m Individual
Medley with a time of 2:07.65.
Shaune Fraser finished 3rd equal in his opening heat of the Men's 200m Freestyle.
Kareem Streete-Thompson also only got as far as the prelimiary rounds, finishing
9th in his heat with a distance of 7.85 metres.
Cydonie Mothersill progressed through to the semi-finals in the Women's 200m and
finished fifth in her semi-final with a time of 22.76 seconds.
Another 600 people have received Status. Unlike the 2,850 that received
Stauts last year by a special action by the Cabinet, all of the new recipients
were vetted by the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board, a new
Statutory Board that came into being after the passing of the Immigration Law 2003.
There were about 1,200 applicants for the grants of Status, many from people that
had been on Cayman for over 10 years, and some for as many as 30 years.
The ban on the importation of US bone-in meats imposed in December 2003 following
a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or 'mad-cow disease') has been lifted.
Personal imports of meat up to 5kg for personal consumption will now be allowed
providing the original packaging is intact and the
packaging bears the USDA inspection legend.
The July tourism figures have been released at
For the first time, tourist air arrivals have exceeded those pre 9/11. The 2004 figure
was 33,118, compared to July 2001's figure of 32,255. This gave rise to hotel
occupancy rates of 63.9% - the highest July rate since 2000. Condo/apartment rates
were up 5% on last month at 45.2% - slightly lower than the same period last year.
However, the number of cruise
passengers was down to 122,967, a drop of over 5,000 on June 2004. This is the first
time this year that cruise arrivals have been down on the equivalent month last year;
the figure for July 2003 was 132,933.
A recent report by the US General Accounting Office (GAO) showed that Cayman is home
to over subsidiaries of over 150 top US corporations, including Intel, Oracle, and
Coca-Cola. Senator Carl Levin said
"Many (offshore subsidiaries) are little more than a post office box set up to
allow corporations to move profits to the low-or-no-tax havens rather than
reporting that income in the United States". Martin Sullivan, a former US
Treasury Department economist said his research showed that the Cayman Islands
is being used for US tax avoidance.
A spokesman for Intel admitted "I can only assume it’s for tax purposes" that
they use a subsidiary in Cayman to run plants in Ireland, which has a 12.5%
corporate income tax.
The National Trust for the Cayman Islands has now taken over ownership of a
17-acre parcel of land on Cayman Brac in the area known as "the Splits" on
Cayman Brac’s northwest Bluff. The land was donated to the Trust earlier this year
The Splits are a natural formation of large cracks in the Bluff which extend
below the water table, thereby creating a year-round source of water for
wildlife. Many rare and endemic birds and animals inhabit the area including
a nesting colony of "crab catchers" (Yellow-crowned Night Herons). Humidity
from the Splits sustains numerous species of plants including ferns,
bromeliads and orchids.
The Government has received three proposals to develop a cruise berthing dock in
George Town. The dock, for four cruise ships, would either be located in
between the finger cargo pier and the new cruise tender pier, or that it could
be created by extending the cruise tender pier. Cruise lines prefer ship
berthing facilities as most passenger accidents occur during loading and
off-loading of cruise tenders, making liability insurance difficult and expensive to get.
One of the cruise line officials that attended the port loan agreement signing
last year by The Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), said that a dock
for cruise ship passengers would benefit the local economy as passengers on
docked ships spend more because, with no waiting for cruise tenders, they
have more time in port. He also said that studies have shown that if
passengers go back to their ship by tender for some reason, they seldom
came back to shore. However, passengers returning to berthed vessels often
do return to shore, giving them more time to impact the local economy with spending.
Hon McKeeva Bush, as Chairman of the Port Authority will present the proposals to
the Port Authority Board. Mr Bush said "I’m hoping we can make a decision on
how to proceed by mid-August".
Cayman Airways have announced that they are leasing a Boeing 737-300 aircraft
in August, increasing their fleet to five aircraft. This new aircraft will
include a first class cabin. From October Cayman Airways will
be offering a weekly service to/from Boston departing Cayman on Friday afternoon
and returning from Boston on Saturday morning. From mid-November, the schedule
will change to departing Cayman on Saturday, returning on Sunday. They are offering
an introductory fare of US$299 round-trip to/from Grand Cayman, or US$349
to/from Cayman Brac or Little Cayman.
Cayman Airways are studying the possibility of routes to Panama, Costa Rica,
Honduras and Belize.
Leader of Government Business and Minister of Tourism, Hon McKeeva Bush announced
that an overseas investment group had inquired about buying nearly half of the
airlines’ shares. The investment group is now doing a feasibility study on the purchase.
Cayman has a new fish & chip restaurant. Tommy and Eleanor Bodden
are setting up a franchise of the US Arthur Treacher’s restaurants. They are located
in Bodden Place on the corner of Printer Way and Shedden Road. Another
franchise that is opening in Cayman soon is Curves International, the world’s
largest fitness centre franchise.
The beach replenishment exercise for the south end of Seven Mile Beach
is finally due to start next month. The sand is being imported from
the Turks and Caicos, and was selected as it most closely matches the local sand
in colour and texture. The sand will be used to restore the beach between
Royal Palms and a point south of Crescent Point. The whole replenishment
programme is expected to take about three months.
The ground-breaking facility for the dolphin attraction didn't take place at the
start of the month as planned as the developers still have to complete paperwork.
They envisage that construction will take about six months when they get the
final go-ahead. The dolphins that they intend to bring in are currently living
in a Dolphin Discovery facility in Mexico.
The Information and Communications Technology Authority (ICTA) has granted a
telecommunications licence to the Government, allowing the Government
to sell extra telecom infrastructure capacity to third parties. It will also
allow the resale of telephony, and to provide Internet services, but Government
will not be offering these services to the general public and therefore competing
with the other telecomms operators in the local market.
dms Broadcasting have announced that their new radio stations will be
HOT 104.1 FM, MIX 106.1 FM, and ISLAND 107.1 FM.
Style FM has hit the airwaves, offering adult contemporary music genres. Ocean 95
has stopped broadcasting in what the owners have called a "temporary cessation"
to allow the radio station to relocate and reorganise itself.
The ICTA has also granted a telecommunications license to CaymanOne allowing
them to provide cellular, Internet and fixed wireless services.
As reported last month, Donald 'Holt' Hunter has become the first Caymanian to
conquer the highest peak in each continent when he reached the summit of
Mt. McKinley in Alaska. Less than 100 people have completed the Seven Summit challenge.
The Maples Foundation, (a charitable organisation established by Maples and Calder),
has donated US$1.5 million to sponsor the George Town Library expansion programme.
The expansion project is expected to be completed by mid-2005.
The Ministry of Education, Human Resources and Culture has appointed the
country’s first cultural attachés.
Harris A. McCoy III will represent Cayman in the United Kingdom, and Bendel Hydes
will represent Cayman in the United States. Their roles will be to promote
Cayman culture and heritage
The Government has given St. Matthew’s University permission to expand its
graduate degree program to include a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine course. Plans
are advanced for a new School of Veterinary Medicine, and the first intake is
expected to start in January 2005.
There is a new weekly newspaper in Cayman. "Cayman Observer" is published by
the Tower Group and focuses primarily on Cayman business news.
The tourism arrival statistics for June have been released at
Stay-over visitors were up over 1,300 on May's figure to 26,890 and cruise ship
arrivals were up nearly 10,000 over May's figure to 128,390. Hotel occupancy fell
1% to 60.3%, but condo occupancy rates jumped over 8% to 41.8%, the highest June
figure since 2001.
According to a reports by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Cayman
was the third most popular cruise ship destination in the Caribbean last year.
Top of the list was The Bahamas with 2.97 million visitors. Cozumel, Mexico
was second with 2.7 million visitors. 1.8 million passengers visited Cayman.
According to Financial Secretary George McCarthy, bank assets in the Cayman
Islands now exceed US$1 trillion - I guess that this is a US trillion (12 zeros),
not an English trillion (18 zeros)!
Net2Phone and Cable & Wireless have signed a 3 year agreement enabling the
local telecommunications provider to offer a full suite of voice over IP services.
This is a bit of a turn around, as in 2000 Cable & Wireless won a court case
when they blocked access to Net2Phone's servers for residents in Cayman who were
trying to make cheap phone calls and therefore bypass C&W's services.
Cable & Wireless have also been ordered to increase their prices by the
Information and Communications Technology Authority (ICTA). The ICTA ruled that
rates for some mobile plans were still below cost and ordered C&W to
increase their rates for these plans by 60%. This follows on from
a challenge by Digicel that their rates were anti-competitive.
C&W are also facing new competition from Blue Sky Communications, who have
installed over forty blue international pay phones in high-tourist areas like
Seven Mile Beach, the Turtle Farm and George Town. The firm have plans to install a
further 50 pay phones over the coming months. The phones are available for collect
calls, credit-card and calling cards. Rates are based on AT&T Home Country rates.
Blue Sky have also installed two pay phones for local calls at the Marriott
Resort and Comfort Suites.
The ICTA have also issued a number of licences for new radio stations.
dms Broadcasting Ltd have licences to run three new radio stations, and Panorama
Productions to run one new station. Panorama Productions will be broadcasting
on 96.5FM, and will feature a wide range of contemporary, rhythm and blues,
popular and Caribbean music. Their new station expects to be broadcasting in
six to eight weeks.
The Cayman Islands Government and Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC) have
agreed to a plan to open up the electricity industry to completion and also
granted new licenses to CUC to operate for 20 more years in the Cayman Islands.
Under the agreement, residential consumers will see a 4.7% decrease in rates,
and large commercial users will see around a 2.3% decrease in rates.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of the Cayman Islands is separating its regulatory
responsibilities from its business service provisions. From 1st July the CAA will
concentrate on the regulatory aspects of the aviation industry in Cayman, as well
as the meteorological services. The newly formed Cayman Islands Airports
Authority will oversee operations at the Owen Roberts International Airport,
and the Gerrard Smith International Airport on Cayman Brac.
The Ritz-Carlton has started recruiting! They held a recruitment fair over the
weekend of 25th/26th June and are seeking to employ over 800 staff.
The Health Practice Law (2002) cam into effect at the beginning of the month. The
new law aims to improve the health of the people of the Cayman Islands. The
new law also sees the establishment a Health Practice Commission of four
professional councils; Medical and Dental Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council,
Pharmacy Council and Professions Allied with Medicine.
Donald Holton ‘Holt’ Hunter, Jr became the first Caymanian to reach the top of
Mount Everest on 24th May. Mr Hunter is now planning an expedition to Alaska
to climb Mount McKinley. When he has completed that climb, he will join a select
group of about 100 people to have conquered the highest peak in each of the
Swimmer Heather Roffey qualified for the 2004 Athens Olympics in the 800-metre
freestyle by recoring a time of 9:01.41 - a second inside the qualifying time
of 9:02.79. 17 year-old Heather is the first Cayman Islands' female swimmer to qualify for this
year's Olympics. She will join swimming team mates
Andrew MacKay and Shaun Fraser, and field participants Cydonie Mothersill and
Kareem Streete-Thompson at the Olympics.
Carla Yee-Sing, who works in Cayman as fitness trainer, won the title of
Miss Natural Universe in Barbados.
The latest inflation figures show that prices rose by 1.2% in first quarter of
the year over the same period last year. In total over 1,800 prices are checked
each quarter and these are split into eight categories. Of these, five showed increases
of over 2%; Education and medical services increased by 4.2%, Food was up by 3.2%,
Personal goods and services and household equipment up by 2.5%, Clothing up by 2.4%.
Transport and Communications was down 3.4% - mainly attributed to the liberalisation
of the telecommunications sector.
The Cayman Islands has it's first Complaints Commissioner.
Dr. John Epp's remit will be to investigate complaints received from members of
the public to ascertain whether injustice has been caused by improper,
unreasonable or inadequate administrative conduct on the part of any
Government Ministry, Portfolio, Government company, Statutory Board or Authority.
Dr Epp currently serves as Deputy Director and as a Senior Lecturer at the
Cayman Islands Law School. His appointment will be for five years.
I'm sometimes surprised at the number of major firms that are registered in the
Cayman Islands; Seagate and Garmin come to mind for starters. Another Cayman
company is also in the news - the Harbin Brewery. Harbin is one of the largest
brewers in China, and Anheuser-Busch had plans to take them over and privatise
the company. Unfortunately, there plans have been partly blocked. Assorting to
Dow Jones, a US fund company Castlerigg International Ltd has bought a 10.01%
stake in Harbin Brewery, but under Cayman Islands Companies Law, a shareholder
can only compulsorily private a listed company if it holds at least 90% of the firm.
The Reef Resort is the latest hotel to have Wi-Fi installed. You can now surf the
internet from your room for CI$12.95 for 24 hours.
The First Cayman Jazz Festival took place this month. The three day event culminated
in a final concert on Pageant Beach featuring Bob James, David Sanborn and Roberta Flack.
The Tourism statistics for May 2004 are out at
May saw over 25,500 stayover visitors (up from 20,909 in 2003), the highest May
figure since 2001. Over 118,500 cruise ship passengers visited, down from over
190,000 last month, but up nearly 8,000 on the same period last year. Hotels
recored an occupancy rate of over 61%, and condos/apartments recorded just over
One passenger on the cruise ship "Carnival Victory" found her holiday cut short
when the ship arrived in Cayman. The crew on the ship received a report of a bomb on board,
and so passengers were advised to stay in their cabins while a thorough search of
the ship was made. Nothing was found and once the search was completed, the
passengers were allowed to disembark. An inebriated Canadian woman admitted making
the bomb scare as a joke. She was escorted from the ship by Police and put on
an afternoon flight back to the US.
Work has started on the construction of a new abattoir on the agricultural
grounds in Lower Valley. When completed in September, the new facility will be
able to handle up to ten cattle a day. It is hoped that the new facility will
boost the local beef industry as there will then be facilities to butcher and handle
the meat in a hygenic way.
The Central Planning Authority (CPA) has given approval to the development of a
second part of Dart's "Waterfront Village". This US$47.5 million development will
be for approximately 85,000 square feet of office space, with associated parking,
and should be completed in the first quarter of 2006. The first US$15 million
phase of 70,000 square feet to include a six-screen cinema, retail shops and
office space should be completed in the fourth quarter of 2005.
More developments on the Cayman Islands Bar Association challenge to the mass
granting of status last year. It is understood that the Attorney General Sam Bulgin
has instructed local law firm Quin and Hampson to represent the Cayman Islands Government, and
that they in turn have instructed Nigel Pleming QC, one of London's leading
judicial review barristers.
A new environmental policy governing Stingray City, the Sand Bar and the entire
North Sound could soon be announced. Concern had been expressed that Stingray City,
one of the the island's top attractions, was being jeopardised by overcrowding
and lack of controls. In June 2003, the Department of the Environment (DoE)
created a working party with representatives from the Cayman Islands Tourism
Association (CITA), the Marine Conservation Board and other parties to study the
issue and make recommendations. It is thought that their report recommends
setting traffic limits to the Stingray City site, buoy systems and how
the stingrays should be treated. In the first step, the Port Authority
will re-instate the 'safety-ring' buoy system that was
established last year. Last year's trail failed because it wasn't clear who
was responsible for maintaining the buoy system. They will also employ two
staff to act as 'caretakers'.
The Minister of Tourism, Environment, Development and Commerce, the Hon McKeeva Bush
said that he was in favour of a swim-with-dolphin attraction for Cayman. His
comments were made in response to a letter from Don Foster,
the Chairman of the Marine Conservation Board (MCB), which is against a
captive dolphin program on environmental and tourism grounds.
Government announced that the plans for a cruise tender dock in West Bay at
the entrance of Northwest Point Road had been abandoned as they had
not been able to obtain the necessary land for the project.
However, two days later the Leader of Government Business, Hon McKeeva Bush, said
the project was back on as the landowner had agreed to sell. The dock facility
will allow high-speed tenders to take passengers from the ships in George Town
Harbour, thereby alleviating some of the overcrowding in George Town. The tenders
will take about 20 minutes to reach West Bay. The dock will be close to several
new attractions in the Boatswain Bay area; the expanded Turtle Farm, a
dolphin attraction, and an antique car museum.
Government has also asked the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to look at
options for expanding the airport facilities in Grand Cayman, including the
possibility of resiting the airport, possible to the Eastern District.
New Immigration Regulations came into effect on 18th May 2004. The regulations
define how the requirements of the law will be carried out by Government. Also
covered by the regulations are new forms and procedures for permits, fee schedules,
and the points system used to determine applications for permanent residency. Also,
all fees have to be submitted with work permit applications. This should mean that
once approval has been given, new employees can start working immediately.
Some of the new forms are available online at
The Community College of the Cayman Islands will soon have a new identity. In
the autumn, the college will become the University College of the Cayman
Islands, offering a range of four-year Bachelor of Science degree programs in
areas including marketing, accounting, management studies, finance and economics.
The Ministry of Education and the Community College are partners in this
initiative with the aim to provide more Caymanians with affordable education
and scholarship opportunities. Talks are under way with the New England
Institute of Technology (NEIT) on colaborations.
Cayman Airways have announced that, due to increases in fuel costs, they have put
up their fares by US$20 one way to the States, and US$40 return.
The April tourism statistics have been released at
As usual, April saw a fall-off from the March figure, with almost 34,000 air
arrivals (down from over 37,000 in March). However, this year's figure is the
best for April since 2001. Occupancy levels in hotels ran at 75.0% - the highest
recorded figure since March 2000. Apartment/condo occupancy was just under 53%,
representing the best April figure since 2001. On average, hotel visitors stayed
on the islands 5.1 days, the highest figure since July last year, and the highest
figure for April since 1997. Visitors to apartments/condos stayed an average 6.2 days -
this is down from 6.7 days last month and is also the lowest April figure since 2000.
Cruise passenger numbers dropped by over 40,000
from March to 190,631. However, this is the best April figure ever, up over 12,000
on the same period last year.
if it had been published on 1st April, you would have thought it was an April Fools.
The Chief Agriculture and Veterinary Officer has said that the number of wild chicken on
the island should be controlled and suggested that maybe a bounty should be offered.
This has lead to lots of suggestions; the government could raise funds by selling
chicken hunting permits, there could be different rewards for Caymanians and
non-Caymanians, a new body (the Chicken Control Authority) could be established,
thereby creating new jobs, tourist could be offered Chicken Safaris. Of course,
these proposals will only work if the bounty isn't chicken-feed!
The Cayman Islands did rather well in the Caribbean Free Trade Association
(CARIFTA) swimming championships held in the Bahamas this month. Cayman walked (swam?) away with
24 gold, 13 silver and nine bronze medals, putting them in second place behind
Trinidad & Tobago. 16-year-old Shaune Fraser posted an Olympic qualifying
time, and will join fellow Andrew Mackay (already qualified) as part of the
Cayman Island's team to the Games in Athens.
The Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association also announced
that an anonymous donor had given US$3 million towards the estimated
construction of CI$6 million for a new 50 metre olympic-sized swimming pool. There
are some conditions attached to the donation; the Cayman Islands Government
will have to: authorise the formation of an association to man and run the pool,
the leasing of adjacent land for a peppercorn rent, and to pay for the recurrent
running costs of the existing and new pools. If the additional funding is
received soon, the new pool could be ready in 2006.
More job losses in the banking sector. Ansbacher Caribbean Limited has announced
that it is moving it's banking and securities operations from Cayman to the
Bahamas, with a loss of 25 jobs over a three to nine month period. The bank's
trust business will remain in Cayman.
The Information and Communications Technology Authority (ICTA) has ruled that some
of Cable & Wireless' recent rate reductions on it's mobile service will have
to be revoked as they were offered below cost. C&W may also be fined
for anti-competitive practices. However C&W have now launched a legal challenge
and are seeking a judicial review of the ICTA's ruling.
E-Technologies Cayman Islands has announced that they will be launching CaymanOne,
a new telecommunications network that will offer cheaper phone charges and
high-speed internet connections. They will be utilising Voice Over Internet Protocol
(VOIP) technology on fixed wireless broadband offering speeds up to 10Mbps for
residential customers, 100Mbps for businesses and a third generation CDMA
mobile network in conjunction with a sister company of T-Mobile. E-Technologies
will be investing over US $35 million during the next two years, which will
include a new fibre optic sable station and a new 15,000 square foot data centre.
They expect to employ up to 160 people during their roll-out in the Caribbean.
The Cayman Islands Grand Court has granted leave to the Caymanian Bar Association
to proceed with it's application for a judicial review of the wholesale granting
of Caymanian Status made by the cabinet last year.
There is mounting opposition to the introduction of a captive dolphin theme park
Keep It Wild Cayman! organised a social evening at the Sea Harvest Restaurant
and a presentation at John A Cumber Primary School in West Bay attended by
several international experts including
Marine Scientist Dr Naomi Rose of the Human Society of the United States,
Diana McCauley founder and CEO of the Jamaican Environmental Trust,
and Tanya Streeter, world-record breaking freediver. Ms Streeter is the
spokesperson for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society of the United Kingdom.
Keep It Wild Cayman! have also produced a T-Shirt ("Cayman Islands - Keep Dolphins Free") that
is on sale for CI$10 at Island Veterinary Services in the Eden Centre and Hobbies & Books.
The latest tourism figures for March 2004 are available at
Air arrivals were up over 5,000 on February at 37,248. This gives a first
quarter figure of nearly 95,000 - up on 2003 and 2002, but below the high of 104,519
for the first quarter of 2001. Cruise ship passengers for March were up at almost
231,000 - the highest March figure to date. So far there have been over 631,000
cruise ship visitors to Cayman this year. The figure for the first quarter of 2003
was 524,392. The increase in air arrivals had a knock-on effect on occupancy rates;
Hotels reported occupancy rates of 74.4% - the highest figure for March since 2000.
Apartment/condo occupancy rates were also up on last month (and on the same
period last year) to 57.9%
The Cayman Island's Post Office has announced that from 31st May 2004 it will
return all undeliverable mail to senders. Many of these items are addressed to
house numbers and street names, but as the Post Office doesn't deliver house-to-house
and only delivers to PO Box addresses at the various Post Office locations, with
the location being a suffix to the box number. A
correct address would be PO Box 0000 GT or PO Box 999 APO. The Post Office also advises
that "George Town" or "BWI" should not be used in addresses as these are no longer
used and could lead to mail being delivered to the wrong county.
The Mosquito Research and Control Unit (MRCU) is gearing up for an all-out assault
on mosquitos this year. They will be using a new product and plan to treat
13,000 acres as opposed to the usual 4,000 acres in previous years. The new product
will be deployed by air and ground to mosquito breeding areas.
AT&T stole some of Digicel's thunder by deciding to launch their mobile service
on the same day as Digicel 3rd March 2004. To challenge the new players in the
market, Cable & Wireless have cut the cost of their mobile service, claiming to
be up to 67% cheaper than Digicel or AT&T. However, these new rates are
subject to regulatory review by the Information and Communications Technology Authority (ICTA).
WestStar have announced that they
will be launching a new digital television service in the next few weeks. They
will be offering up to 72 television channels, 45 CD quality music channels,
Dolby stereo sound, and an on-screen programme guide. Extra packages will include
sports, movies, news and Spanish language channels. WestTel, WestStar's subsidiary
telecommunications company, has announced new lower rates for internet access from
1st April 2004.
The Department of Agriculture has given approval for Dolphin Discovery, a
dolphin experience to be located next to the Turtle Farm in West Bay. The
new tourist attraction will employ about 50 staff, including skilled trainers and
veterinary staff. The attraction will house eight bottlenosed dolphins. The owners
hope that they will be up and running within a year. However, the Humane Society
in the US has sent faxes to the Governor, Bruce Dinwiddy, the Minister of Tourism Hon. McKeeva
Bush, and several other Cayman leaders protesting against the proposed park on
both conservation and humane grounds. A local group, Keep It Wild Cayman has also
protested and has pointed out that none of the proposed schemes yet have
planning permission or the support of the majority of people who
live in Cayman. The protest gained publicity when a baby dolphin was
found in the South Sound area. Despite efforts by volunteers taking half-hour
shifts to keep the baby upright and shaded from the sun, the dolphin died the same day.
Local veterinarian Elisabeth Broussard carried out an autopsy on the baby and
concluded that the male dolphin was bout two or three months old and was either
Spotted or Spinner dolphin. The cause of death was probably starvation caused by
separation from its mother.
Seven Mile Beach may be restored to it's former glory in the coming months. West
Marine Ltd has won the contract for the 'Trial Nourishment Programme' to replace
sand between Crescent Point and Royal Palms. The project is costing the
Cayman Islands Government $750,000, and will see 19,000 tonnes of dredged sand
from the Turks and Caicos being brought in by barge. The sand has been chosen
to match the existing sand on Seven Mile Beach for colour and grain size. The work
is expected to take two months to complete.
Fluor Daniel Caribbean has been forced off the Ritz-Carlton site. Fluor maintain
that they have done nothing wrong and that the developers, Humphrey's Cayman,
are in breach of contract. Fluor had already issued a lawsuit earlier this year
in New York seeking damages for various breaches of contract. The
developers are in negotiation with the Cayman Islands Government to grant up to
1,000 work permits to enable them to complete the work on the project.
According to KYC News (Investigative News on Financial Fraud, Money Laundering and and White Collar Crime)
the Leader of Government Business, Hon. W. McKeeva Bush was mentioned in an
ongoing court case in Florida between Ritz-Carlton developer Michael Ryan and Richard Friend.
Mr Bush is alleged to have received payments of $345,000 between June 1999 and
July 2000. Mr Bush maintains that these were legitimate commissions and
expenses from his Real Estate business relating to Cambridge Realty and Windsor Development.
The Department of Tourism (DoT) may have managed to shoot itself in the foot over the
latest tie-in with Nickleodeon's animation character "SpongeBob SquarePants".
According to a report in New York's Wall Street Journal (WSJ), SpongeBob is a popular
icon in the gay community. When browsing Gay novelty shops in Manhattan, the WSJ
discovered shelves stocked with SpongeBob merchandise including lunchboxes,
key chains, crackers, spongy dolls with little brown pants. As far back as
December 2002 Entertainment Weekly was querying SpongeBob sexuality.
However, in response the DoT quoted Nickelodeon's Vice President of Corporate
Communications David Bittler, as saying: "SpongeBob SquarePants, a show about
an animated, fictional character, brings in more than $2 billion in retail
sales and is watched by 55 million viewers a month. With these kinds of
statistics, the show is a mainstream pop cultural icon embraced by kids of all
ages and their families." SpongeBob's creator, Stephen Hillenburg said
SpongeBob was not designed to be gay, but "kind of special" and
"I always think of [the characters] as being somewhat asexual".
Cayman Airways have announced that they will be operating two flights a week
from Grand Cayman to Orlando between 25 June 2004 until 9 August 2004. Flights
will operate on Mondays and Fridays.
Following on from the agreement that the Cayman Islands will comply with the
new EU Tax Directive on savings, the British the Board of the Inland Revenue
has designated the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange as a "recognised stock exchange".
The term "recognised stock exchange" occurs throughout various British tax acts
and tax regulations.
The Caymanian Bar Association (CBA) has now filed an application for leave to
apply for judicial review of last year's wholesale grants of Caymanian status
by the Cabinet. The CBA is seeking a ruling from the court that the Cabinet's
actions were unlawful and that an order should quash the grants of status made.
The CBA's action has lead to several members resigning membership of the CBA,
including Myers & Alberga.
A new Employment Bill was passed in the Legislative Assembly this month.
Some of the changes include a written contract for all employees, paternity
leave, changes in maternity benefits and a reduction in the standard working
week from 45 hours to 44 hours.
In other employment news, the Economics and Statistics Office (ESO) has published
the results of the last Annual Labour Force Survey taken in October 2003.
The figures show a slight decrease in the level of unemployment. Of a labour
force of 29,905, the number in employment was 28,827. This gives an
unemployment rate of 3.6%, down from 5.4% in 2002 and 7.5% in 2001.
The press release also estimates the population of the islands as 44,144, up on
the 2002 estimate of 43,004.
For full details see the press release at
The Civil Aviation Authority has signed a contract with Cayman Engineering Plus
Surveying to develop plans for a new airport on Little Cayman. The new site
airport will be located at the western end of the island, northeast of the
current Edward Bodden airfield. Construction of the first phase is expected
to start in September 2004.
The Cayman Islands Port Authority has signed loan agreements with the Royal
Bank of Canada and Scotiabank for US$26 million for the construction of
the the Royal Watler Cruise Terminal in George Town and a new West Bay Cruise
The Royal Watler Cruise Terminal, which will cost over US$17 million, will include
a 200 foot pier and various cruise facilities. The marine work of the project,
which is due to start this week, will be carried out by US based Misener Marine.
Part of their work will include reclaiming 3 acres of land. The new terminal is
expected to be completed in time for the peak 2004/05 cruise season at the end
of the year.
Details of the US$8 million facility in West Bay are still unclear. Land acquisition
for the new project was still continuing and the final size of the new terminal
will depend on the amount of land acquired.
Even though the loan has been signed by the Cayman Islands Port Authority, it will
be the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) who will repay the loan through
a US$1 levy on every passenger visiting the islands on one of the ships
operated by one of the Associations eleven members during the next 15 years.
Last year over 1.8 million cruise passengers visited Cayman, and the figure
for 2004 is expected to be over 2 million.
The latest tourism statistics have been published and are available at
There were over 32,000 air arrivals in February 2004, an increase of over 13% on
2003 and the highest February figure since 2001. There were nearly 193,000
cruise passengers arrivals during the month, up over 12% on the same period
last year. Hotels had an occupancy rate of over 70% and apartments/condos had
an occupancy rate of over 57%.
The First Cayman Jazz Fest is scheduled to take place between June 17th 2004 and
June 19th 2004 at Pageant Beach. Artists due to appear include Freddie Jackson,
Roberta Flack, Bebe Winas and David Calzado & Charanga Habanera.
February saw one of the worst spate of violence to hit the islands. Within
36 hours there were two fatal shootings in the Scranton area of George Town.
The second one took place in daylight when
the murderer chased his victim. A reward of $25,000 was offered for
information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those involved with the murders.
Four suspects have been arrested and charged, and the Police investigations continue,
with more arrests likely.
Two of those being held were on work-release from HM Northward Prison, one
serving a 14-year prison sentence for attempted murder and grievous bodily harm and the
other convicted of manslaughter and possession of a firearm. Under
the Prisoner Release Employment Scheme (PRES) under which the suspects were out
on work-release, inmates who are selected scheme are allowed to work in the
community from Monday to Saturday, but have to return to the prison every night by 6 pm.
The Government Information Service has issued a series of press releases to explain the new
Immigration Law that came into effect on 1st January 2004. The first,
The Right to be Caymanian
explains the five categories of people that have a right to be Caymanian,
including the ways that status can be granted.
Permanent Residency & Arrangements for Current Long-Term Residents
describes the four classes of people allowed to reside in Cayman.
Work Permits, Business Staffing Plans & Transitional Provisions
deals with the period for which a work permit can be granted and the 'term limit'
for work permit renewals. The final release,
Entry, Landing, Student Visas & Asylum Provisions
imposes responsibility for those entering Cayman with incorrect papers on the
carriers. There are also increased penalties for illegal landing and overstaying.
All students over 18 coming to the island to study and who are not a named dependent of
a resident will need their own student visa that will be required for the
duration of their course up to a maximum of four years. The asylum rules have been
extended to include unaccompanied minors. Those seeking asylum where it is deemed
that they can not return to the country of origin will be allowed to stay, and
those granted asylum will be allowed to work.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Island Airways have reached agreement on
the outstanding debt for landing fees. Island Airways have agreed to pay an
undisclosed sum to settle the whole debt and close the matter.
Agreement has been reached for Cingular Wireless to buy AT&T Wireless
Services Inc. one of the licencees to provide telecomms services in Cayman.
Cable & Wireless and Digicel have signed agreement signed the first-ever
Interconnection Agreement. The agreement covers the arrangements for the carriers
to connect to each other and exchange traffic. According to Tim Adam, Cable &
Wireless Chief Executive, "Cable & Wireless is also proud to have
concluded an agreement to share towers with Digicel in the Cayman Islands. This
type of agreement enables multiple cellular providers to use the same towers
where their networks require antennas to be located to provide good coverage
and minimises the number of towers needed across the Cayman Islands, which in
turn means more efficient use of these assets." Coverage for GSM users will be
improving over the coming months as new towers are built and as existing towers
are increased in height to allow for more sharing.
Cable & Wireless and
Research In Motion (RIM) have also announced plans to introduce the BlackBerry
wireless solution to the Cayman Islands for corporate and enterprise customers.
The Java-based BlackBerry 7280 integrates email phone, SMS, organizer, web and
corporate data applications in a single handheld. The high-resolution
screen displays crisp images with support for over 65,000 colours.
Digicel are launching their mobile service on 3rd March 2004, with a free
concert starring Grammy award winner Sean Paul and a large firework display.
Cayman has agreed to implement European Union's Saving Tax Directive (EUSD) from 1st January 2005,
after a vote in the Legislative Assembly. The directive allows the EU countries
to impose taxes on income earned from savings of EU citizens with accounts in Cayman.
This is a bit of a turn-around as the leader of Government Business,
Hon McKeeva Bush, had been maintaining that Cayman would only adopt the directive
in the UK Government were to compensate Cayman for any lost business because of the
implementation of the directive. Now, with Cayman adopting the directive, the
UK Government will move to expedite the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange's application for
recognition and the date would be agreed for discussions on a bilateral double taxation agreement.
Parmalat's former chief financial officer, Fausto Tonna, told investigators in
Italy that three banks, J P Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Citibank, knew of
the company's financial state before its collapse as far back as 2001.
One of the accused banks said "If the bank had known about Parmalat's collapse,
it certainly would have raised it a lot sooner." Another bank said that
Mr Tonna's allegations were "pretty absurd."
Michele Vietti, Italy's Deputy Minister of Justice, put part of the blame for
the company's failure on Parmalat's auditors, saying: "Consob and the Bank of
Italy were misled by the auditing companies that had certified the correctness
of the management and the balance sheet." Both auditing companies, Grant
Thornton SpA and the Italian branch of Deloitte, have denied any wrongdoing.
According to the UK Financial Times, when the Manhattan District Attorney
raided the offices of Zini & Associates, Parmalat's American law firm, on
New Year's Eve with a search and seizure order, investigators feared that the
law firm might have already removed many documents and files from its computer.
Some of the missing documents are thought to have related to Bonlat, the
Parmalat subsidiary based in the Cayman Islands and Parmalat executives in
Italy have since admitted destroying Bonlat files there. However, part of the
problem may have been due to problems in the DA's office. On 31st December it
had a search warrant only for the 21st floor of the two-floor offices at
460 Park Avenue. However, Zini's computer servers were on the floor below,
although people familiar with the probe said the DA had been able to access
the entire system during that visit. Nevertheless, the DA needed another
warrant to return to the 20th floor on 8th January, giving the law firm time
to remove more documents.
Parmalat USA Corp., a unit of Parmalat Finanziaria SpA, has filed for Chapter 11
bankruptcy protection in the Southern District of New York listing assets and
debts of at least $100 million each.
The Parmalat scandal has led to the reworking of the classic arcade game Pacman.
In Parman from
you control Calisto Tanzi munching money through a maze as he is being
chased by four policeman. Drinking a carton of milk, gives him the power to
overcome a policeman. Enjoy!
It may be worth reading the excellent article by Richard Rahn that appeared in
the Washington Times to remind yourselves that Cayman's financial institutions
are not all in the hands of criminals and undesirables! See
The Official Cayman Islands Street Atlas has been reduced to CI$15, down from
CI$29.95 and is available from bookstores, gas stations and supermarkets around the Islands.
The Hyatt has become the first resort to implement a Wi-Fi network for guests.
The network covers guest all of the resort; guest rooms, poolside, on the
beach and on the golf course, as well as meeting rooms. Charges are US$6 per
hour or US$17.99 per day. The network will be expanded to cover Rum Point
later in the year. Guests need to register with the Hyatt's front desk to
obtain a username and password.
Treasure Island Divers' has recently completed it's purchase of the Seaview Dive Centre.
Sponsored by the Sister Islands Tourism Association, the first annual
Brac Turtle Triathlon is due to take place on 18th April 2004. For details see
Cayman Brac Turtle Triathlon
A new Solicitor General has been appointed. The Attorney General from
Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic, Kurt De Freitas OBE QC, will take up his
new post in March 2004.
The Department of Tourism has announced a deal with Nickleodeon, the kids
television network. Part of the package includes the Cayman Islands as the sole
destination sponsor of Paramount Picture's film "Spongebob Squarepants: the movie", scheduled
for release in November 2004. Holidays to the Cayman Islands will feature as prizes on
other brands promoting the film, including Kellogg's cereals. The Cayman Islands will
also have the rights to use the "Spongebobs" character for promotions on and
off the islands.
A ground-breaking ceremony has been held to start the major expansion of the
Turtle Farm. The new facilities, not due to be fully completed until 2006,
will feature a new educational pavilion, a research centre, a Cayman craft street,
nature trail, snorkel lagoon and restaurants.
Cayman's first Arts Festival took place this month, and featured a wide range of
jazz and classical performances including the Islands' first performance of
Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. The festival was the first of its kind to be held
anywhere in the Caribbean.
The biannual Cayman Arts Festival is the brainchild of internationally acclaimed
pianists, Glen Inanga and Jennifer Micallef. Work on the 2006 Cayman Art Festival
has already started.
There are reports that Fluor Daniel (Caribbean) Ltd, the lead contractor for
the Ritz-Carlton project, will leave the site during March after Fluor Daniel
was issued with an official notice of contractor default on 17th February. Ritz-Carlton
still believe that they will open in time for Christmas 2004. They held a big
press conference in New York were they showcased some of the features of their resort;
The resort will feature 365 guestrooms and suites, the first La Prairie Spa in the
Caribbean, five dining venues including two restaurants by Eric Ripert of
top-ranking New York restaurant Le Bernardin, several bars and lounges,
an exclusive shopping arcade featuring premium brand boutiques, the
island's largest ballroom, a tennis center by Nick Bollettieri, a
Ritz Kids® program by Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ambassadors of the Environment,
and a Greg Norman-designed nine-hole golf course. For those in the money, perhaps
the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton will be more your cup of tea;
69 private ownership homes, are available with two, three and four-bedroom
plans ranging from 2,400 to 8,000 square feet. Residents enjoy all of the
facilities, services and amenities of the oceanfront resort, including two
lifetime golf memberships, as well as dedicated Residential Concierge service,
a Dial-a-Chef program for private dining and access to a unique Endless Service
program featuring customized home interior furnishings and design, use of a
top of the line Mercedes Benz or a selection of other European luxury cars
and crewed power boast and continual maintenance and refurbishment of owners' residences.
According to McKeeva Bush, by the time the resort opens it will have
generated $476 million to the local economy. "Once fully completed, The
Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman is expected to contribute over $1 billion to
Cayman's economy, a full 7% of GDP," Bush said.
Tourism had another improving month in January with over 25,000 stay-over visitors (the
highest January figure since 2001), and over 207,000 cruise passengers, almost
700 up on the number of arrivals for December 2003. Hotel occupancy rates were up
at over 57%, and apartment occupancy rates were also up at over 44%. For full
The Parmalat story rumbles on.
According to a report in the Financial Times, sources close to the investigation say
that Parmalat used the Cayman Islands to raise more than US$1 billion in funds
in addition to the US$5 billion that Bonalat claimed it had in a bank account.
The sources also said that Parmalat had ten related companies in Cayman, and several
raised money, including the mutual fund Epicurum.
Other people familiar with the investigation said it was unclear how much of the
US$1 billion of funds raised in Cayman was real or fake.
The Cayman Island's Government investigation continues to check if people or
companies in Cayman connected to Parmalat had committed fraud or other financial
irregularities, but so far has found no problems.
According to the Financial Times report, local law firms and banks that had
dealings with the Parmalat subsidiaries reported suspicious activity reports
to local regulators, and details had been passed to Italian and US authorities.
However, a Reuter's report quoted a spokeswoman for the Cayman Islands Financial
Secretary as saying that they were not aware that anybody in the Cayman Islands
government had to date shared information with Italian magistrates.
The Cayman Grand Court on 23rd December 2003 placed a Parmalat subsidiary, Parmalat
Capital Finance Ltd (the parent company on Bonalat), and two bond-issuing
special purpose entities (Food Holdings Ltd and Dairy Holdings Ltd) that raised
US$320 million, in provisional liquidation.
Parmalat's problems where highlighted last month when Bank of America revealed
that an account said to be held by Bonalat and worth US$5 billion did not exist. Bank
of America told Grant Thornton, Bonlat's auditor, that a document showing the
holding of cash and securities was a fake. The US$5 billion had been consolidated into
Parmalat's accounts for 2002.
However, Parmalat's situation is worse that that as there is an estimated
US$13 billion, missing from their balance sheets, and there are other assets
that could be fictional or financially exaggerated.
Deloitte denies any wrongdoing in its audit of Parmalat.
So far a number of senior officers associated with Parmalat have been arrested including
Fausto Tonna, Luciano del Soldato (the dairy group's two former chief finance officers),
Giovanni Bonici (head of Parmalat's Venezuelan operations), Paola Zinni (one of the
partners in a New-York based law firm advising Parmalat).
No charges have been brought against any of the individuals in prison.
In a Reuters reports from New York, a federal bankruptcy judge approved a
motion to put three filings by creditors of Parmalat under one judge. One group
of creditors representing bondholders holding debts in some of Parmalat's
Cayman Islands subsidiaries, filed a motion under Section 204 of the US
bankruptcy code aimed at protecting US creditors from moves against Parmalat's
assets. The 304 filing, if accepted by the bankruptcy court, "would prevent the
preferential distribution of assets to certain creditors to the disadvantage of others."
In separate banking news, Bank of America has announced that 20 staff
will be loosing their jobs in March 2004 as the bank consolidates some of it's
back office operations. Those areas affected include finance, accounting,
IT and HR. Front-office operations will continue to operate normally.
Cable & Wireless has chosen Nortel Networks to supply equipment for a new
network to provide voice, data and Internet services over one infrastructure.
A Voice over IP network would allow for the consolidation of services such as
e-mail, mobile, mobile, home and work phones onto one number or address.
The contract is valued at US$17 million over two years.
Another legal firm merger has been announced. Bermuda law firm Appleby
Spurling & Kempe (AS&K) is merging with the Cayman law firm
Hunter & Hunter (H&H). The new firm, to be called Appleby Spurling
Hunter, will have 100 lawyers and 435 staff in offices throughout Bermuda,
the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Hong Kong and London. The
merger will take place on 1st April 2004 and the senior posts in the new firm will
be held by the current managing partner and CEO from AS&K. According to
Peter Bubenzer, the managing partner of the new firm, the offices will
continue to be run by the existing staff, the Bermuda office being "100
percent Bermudian" while the Cayman operation would be held "in accordance
with Cayman immigration requirements". There are expected to be no redundancies.
Partners of AS&amk;K and H&H voted unanimously for the merger last year.
Volunteers from Sunrise Rotary have carried out a clean-up of the Mastic Trail.
The group have cleared back the undergrowth and some engineers have repaired the
bridge. The tidy-up has enhanced the path through the woodlands that have a
wider range or flora and fauna than anywhere else in the Islands.
A leading British barrister, David Pannick QC, has written an opinion paper for the
Caymanian Bar Association (CBA), that some of the 2,850 people who were granted status,
were done so illegally. "In my opinion, there are strongly arguable grounds
(on the limited information available) for contending that the Cabinet has
acted unlawfully." He added "There appear to be good prospects of obtaining a
declaration that the Cabinet has acted unlawfully and possibly also obtaining
a quashing order in relation to all or some of the grants of Status." However,
he continued "I am concerned that our prospects of obtaining a quashing order
may well be adversely affected by the passage of time. It is vital that any
proceeding be commenced as soon as possible."
In the past the Cabinet has granted status only to a limited number of former judges,
attorneys general, governors, etc who were illegible to apply under the usual rules
as they had not been resident in the islands for the required 10 years.
When Mr Pannick wrote his opinion before the final granting of 450 statuses, e
noted that as 1,400 grants of Status were made on one day, Cabinet may have
not assessed all the factors relating to the applicants. Some of those granted
had been resident for as little as 15 months, and some were not resident at all,
and there was no evidence of discussion with the Immigration Department as to
if any long-term residents had applied for status. According to press reports,
two people who had been charged with overstaying were granted status.
Even though the Immigration Law allowed Cabinet to grant Status for
"special reason", that should not cover those simply because they failed to qualify
under the standard Immigration Department rules for granting status.
"He must have some special personal characteristic which is believed to justify
the award of Status.". "Section 20 (d) cannot lawfully be used as a general means of
supplementing section 22 (Status grants by the Immigration Board) so as to
accord Status to groups or categories of persons who fail to qualify under section 22."
With regard to whom might have a recognised standing to bring a legal action
to the court against the Status grants, Mr Pannick believes that the CBA, as
an established organisation with one of its functions being to protect the
public interest, could do so. He also feels that the best prospect of
resisting objections to standing would be if there would be co-claimants in
the proceeding, for example a group of concerned Caymanians and another
group of long-term residents who are applying for Status through the Immigration Board.
The Caymanian Bar Association voted 15-9 in favour of a resolution to proceed
with a Judicial Review, leading to five of it's members resigning in protest. They
are now seeking funding for their proposed legal action.
The Holiday Inn is no more! it has changed it's name to the Courtyard Marriott.
Management say that the hotel hasn't been sold and that staff and guests aren't
affected. According to General Manager Simon Austion, the only change guests
will notice is the change on name badges and the sign on West Bay Road. He said
that the change had been made purely for marketing purposes.
The 231-room hotel is owned by the company Columbia Sussex, which also owns the
343-room Westin Casuarina, and used to own the Marriott Beach Resort.
The Hyatt Beach Regency Suites are being put up for sale. The 44 one-bedroom
suites start US$600,000, will be part of a permanent income pool. The owners
will have rights to use the suites for up to ten weeks per year. During the rest
of the year, the condos will be rented, with owners expected to earn a net
return of between 5% and 6%. The two-bed apartments will start at
US$850,000, with the owners having the option of being in the rental pool,
using the suite for their own private use, or a combination of the two.
United Telecommunications Ltd (UniTel), one of the licencees to provide telecommunications,
has announced that it plans to start recruiting soon, as it gets ready to
enter the market providing a range of voice, data and Internet products.
Digicel has announced that it plans to be operating services in the next two
Air Jamaica has decided to re-introduce jets on it's route from Montego Bay to
Grand Cayman. The service will now be run by Air Jamaica, rather than Air Jamaica
Express, that used the small 37-seat Dash 8 aircraft. The service, using
Airbus A321 jets with 188 seats, will run every day except Wednesdays.
Island Air's dispute with the Cayman Island's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)
took another turn towards the end of the month. The CAA placed a lien order on
the airline's largest plane - a 19 seater Twin Otter, thereby stopping them from
moving or using the aircraft, and returning it to the leasing company.
The CAA claim that Island Air owe over CI$1.1 million in unpaid landing fees,
but Island Air claim that Government officials agreed to waive the landing fees.
Legal action is still outstanding to resolve the case. Mervyn Cumber, Island
Air's Managing Director, said that they would be discontinuing flying a
scheduled service to the sister islands and that Island Air "was being driven
out of business by Cayman Airways" since they started to offer cheap flights to
the sister islands, also using Twin Otter aircraft.
Once again government has extended the discount on stamp duty and infrastructure
and building permit fees, this time with no end data - just "pending further notice".
Government is in the process of establishing it's own health insurance scheme
for civil servants.
The Port Authority has announced that buoys have been ordered and will be installed
at Stingray City in the next few weeks. This is after a number of watersports
operators expressed concern about safety and overcrowding at the popular tourist
site. The buoys will be placed in a ring around the attraction, with the centre
a no-go area for boats. At the moment, it is unclear who will be responsible
for maintain the buoys. A similar experiment last year failed when neither
the Port Authority or the Department of Environment would accept responsibility
for maintain the moorings.
The final tourism statistics for 2003 have been released at
December saw over 30,000 air arrivals - a 6% increase on December 2002, but still
down on the 35,800 visitors in December 2000. It is the second highest number of
visitors since the dramatic drop-off post 9/11. For the whole year, there were over
293,000 air visitors, but this is the lowest figure for a number of years and
down over 9,000 on last year. Hotels had an average occupancy rate of 54.5% for
December, and 51.2% for the whole year - up 0.6% on the rate for 2002.
Apartments had an occupancy rate of 42.9% in December and a yearly average of 37.7%,
down from 40.2% for 2002.
Needless to say, cruise passenger arrivals were up yet again, with nearly 207,000
passengers spilling onto Cayman's streets in December 2003. The figure for
December 2002 was just over 173,000. In total, 1,818,979 cruise passengers
visited Cayman in 2003, up over 15% on 2002.