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Memorial chair dedicated to Carol Winker

A permanent memorial has been dedicated in honour of the late Cayman Compass journalist Carol Winker.

A wooden-and-wicker chair with a plaque bearing her name was unveiled in Courtroom 1 at the formal opening of Grand Court on Wednesday.

The chair, which will remain in the same spot she sat in for years, bears the message ‘In memory and honour of Carol A. Winker journalist and court reporter extraordinaire who served the people of the Cayman Islands for 34 years’.

Winker, 79, died last November after a battle with cancer.

She was known for her court reporting, but Winker covered all types of stories for the Cayman Compass and could usually be seen riding her bicycle between court and the newsroom.

Chief Justice Anthony Smellie paid tribute to Winker and lauded her penchant for accuracy and fairness in her years of court reporting.

He pointed to the practice of attorneys often citing her articles in their arguments, which he said would later become affectionately known as the ‘Winker Law Reports’.

Smellie said Winker set a “standard” for all journalists who wanted to report on the courts, and they should follow her example.

Attorney General Samuel Bulgin, in his address at the opening, paid homage to Winker’s contribution, saying she was greatly admired by all for her credible court reporting.

In his speech, Director of Public Prosecutions Patrick Moran also paid tribute to Winker, as well as Justice Charles Quin who also died last year. David Collins, president of the Cayman Islands Legal Practitioners Association, in his speech said, “Ms. Winker made a significant contribution as a respected journalist, renowned for her reporting on Cayman’s courts.”

He also highlighted the passing of Quin and attorney Kirsten Houghton. “Ms. Houghton, Justice Quin, QC, and Ms. Winker were beloved members of the legal fraternity. They will be greatly missed,” Collins added.

Special mention was given to Sir Edward Zacca, former President of the Court of Appeal.
Bulgin said Zacca’s memory will live on through the law reports of Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and the Caribbean as a whole.

Carol Winker bio

Carol Winker, 79, was a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
She graduated from Messmer High School in 1958, and earned her bachelor’s degree from Mount Mary College in 1962. Later, attended Marquette University where she gained credits toward her master’s degree, which she earned from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

She then travelled to Belize and British Honduras for two years as a papal volunteer.

Afterward, she returned to the US and worked for the postal service before teaching at Lincoln High School in Milwaukee. She moved to the Cayman Islands in the mid-70s to continue her career in education as a peripatetic reading teacher.

She joined the Cayman Compass as a journalist in 1985.

Parrot amnesty yields 181 birds

At total of 181 Cayman parrots have been registered to date under the Department of Environment’s ongoing amnesty.

However, the DoE says there are more birds being kept as pets on island and they want owners to register the animals before the amnesty ends on 29 Feb.

“We are urging people to come forward. Just give us a call, contact the Department of Environment, send us an email; however you choose to do it. We will come out and register your bird, give it a health check and let you know if there’s anything additionally that you can do to keep your bird happy and healthy and give it the long life it deserves,” said Jane Haakonsson, DoE terrestrial research officer.

The six-month amnesty began on 1 Sept. So far, 170 birds have been registered on Grand Cayman and 11 on Cayman Brac.

Registration is key
As the DoE enters the homestretch of the programme, Haakonssoon said the aim is get as many birds as possible registered.

“If we have people after March 1 that come forward to us and say that they have a bird, we will probably deal with it on a case-by-case basis. In an ideal world, we would like to think we are getting most of the people now because, unfortunately, it will be illegal to keep a bird after February 29,” Haakonsson told the Cayman Compass.

She said the response to the amnesty has been “overwhelmingly good” and people are very keen to do the right thing, especially when it comes to doing a health assessment of the birds.

“You know everyone has been doing what they think is right with the birds and they want to do better and, oftentimes, we can give them really good advice as to how to care for the birds and pinpoint some issues that maybe need to be looked at. People are generally really appreciative of the care that we give,” she said.

Health checks are necessary

Each bird that is registered is given a free health assessment by the DoE team.

The terrestrial research officer said a majority of the registered birds were found to be overweight due to the food the birds are being fed, as well as because they do not expend energy to forage as they would in the wild.

She said some of the birds also have respiratory issues that have been caused by dust and, in some cases, by other pets in the home.

Haakonsson said there are no plans to extend the amnesty as the window for registration was very carefully planned according to the wild population and reproduction in the wild.

No parrots have been seized under the amnesty. “That is not what the amnesty is about, it is about giving people a chance to legally keep their birds and I think that is very important to understand. The only time we have taken a bird out of its home was to give it veterinary treatment at the clinic,” she said.

| Residents who own parrots can contact the DoE at 949-8469 or email [email protected]

About the Cayman Parrot

The Cayman parrot is the common name for two parrot subspecies that are found only on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac.

Originally listed as a game bird, the Cayman parrot was given full protection under the Animals (Protection) Regulations, 1989.

Hazard Management prepared for disaster

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We at Hazard Management Cayman Islands would like to draw residents’ attention to the National Hazard Management Plan, which is located on the website http://www.caymanprepared.ky in the ‘Resources Section.’

We agree with Mr. [Roy] Bodden [Cayman Compass, 14 Jan. 2020] that more action needs to take place to face the climate change threat and sea level rise. The National Weather Service, HMCI and Department of Environment are all in agreement that climate change issue is real, and it is a significant threat.

In the letter, Mr. Bodden advocated for the establishment of at least one hurricane-resistant shelter in each district. There are currently 18 emergency shelters in Cayman, including a shelter in every district in Grand Cayman (see full list here: http://www.caymanprepared.ky/portal/page/portal/hmchome/shelter/list). Hazard Management is working to increase shelter capacity and two additional shelters will be coming online later in 2020.

Mr. Bodden also called for the establishment of civilian defence units trained to international Red Cross standards. We can confirm that a trained Red Cross National Intervention Team already exists and is ready to go operational when needed. Additionally, HMCI and Red Cross have been working to establish community Emergency Response Teams in the districts, and also to incorporate civic organisations in the disaster management structure to support recovery efforts.

Finally, Mr. Bodden proposed that a rapid response team of medical experts, counsellors, etc., be established to assist in the event of a large-scale national disaster. HMCI is leading the effort to create a rapid deployment team for the overseas territories which includes medical experts and other persons with relevant post-impact skills. This year, we can confirm that trained mental health counsellors will be available in the emergency shelters.

At HMCI, we appreciate Mr. Bodden taking the time to articulate his concerns and to propose sensible solutions to the threats we face. We also have great respect for Mr. Bodden’s work as an author of several insightful books, his service as the [president] of the [University College of the Cayman Islands], and for his contribution as a compassionate and dedicated representative of the people of Bodden Town and the Cayman Islands as a whole.

Simon Boxall
Hazard Management Cayman Islands

Cayman’s pre-season cricket tournament bowls into action

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The Bodden Town Eagle Rays, West Bay Loggerheads and George Town Hammerheads kicked off a special pre-season Twenty20 tournament held by Cayman Cricket on Saturday at the Jimmy Powell Oval in West Bay.

George Town Hammerheads won by 28 runs in their first game against Bodden Town Eagle Rays. Greg Strydom led the way for George Town, smashing seven sixes on his way to 62 from just 34 balls. Brian Corbin and Deno McInnis also chipped in with important contributions as the Hammerheads amassed a total of 163 for 9 in their 20 overs.

The Eagle Rays were pegged back in their response by some fine bowling from Alistair Ifill who took four wickets to restrict them to 135 for 7.In the second game of the day, the Bodden Town Eagle Rays made up for that disappointment, beating the West Bay Loggerheads by seven wickets.

While Loggerheads’ Patrick Heron shone with 32 runs from 22 balls, his team just could not get their innings going and finished 102 all out.Darren Cato led the charge for Bodden Town in response, with 69 from 51 balls, to take his team to a convincing victory with four overs to spare.

“The tournament is off to a fantastic start,” said Cayman Cricket vice president Ricardo Roach. “The batsmanship on display was phenomenal. It was nice to see a lot of old faces at the ground, as well. The outfield, pitch and crowd were all fantastic. Next weekend will definitely provide another exciting encounter.”

The tournament is set to run until mid-February, just before the arrival of Northamptonshire County Cricket Club on island. The next games will be held Saturday, 18 Jan., at the Jimmy Powell Oval in West Bay.

Scholars ISC tops Roma Fusion in women’s football action

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Despite starting the match with only nine players, Scholars ISC women’s squad managed to hold their opponents scoreless in the first half, pulling out a 1-0 win with a full complement of 11 in the second 45 minutes.

Throughout the first half of the match with Roma Fusion on Sunday at Ed Bush Field in West Bay, several opportunities were squandered by both teams. However, by the second half, Scholars had their full squad of 11, though the team was without available substitutes on the day. Scholars’ Staysy Velasquez Bennett scored the winning goal off an assist 76 minutes into the game.

“We came to the game thinking that we would have our full 11. Unfortunately, we didn’t, but our coaches told us to stay composed and stay defensive,” said Scholars’ team captain Kaela Ebanks. “As the game progressed, we knew players were coming in late so we just had to keep the defence locked until we got those players and … with those players we got the results.”With only three teams playing in the CIFA Women’s League, this circuit is often overlooked, but Ebanks is optimistic that things will improve for women’s football in Cayman.

Scholars’ Kaela Ebanks and Fusion’s Brittany Bodden. Photo: Seaford Russell Jr.

“If I’m being completely honest, it needs to grow. We have three teams, which isn’t very good, because, as you can see, when two are playing, the next is in the stands watching. But in the long run, if we stick to the training and get some money put into the programme, we will get further; the girls are determined,” Ebanks said.”

2 remanded in sexual assault case

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Two men arrested in relation to a sexual assault on a woman were remanded into custody when they appeared in court this week.

The woman reported to police that she had been threatened with a firearm and forced to perform sexual acts on 30 Dec.

One of the men, age 26 of East End, appeared in court on Wednesday charged with two counts of rape, one count of wrongful confinement and one count of assault by penetration. He was remanded into custody. The case was transmitted to Grand Court and the defendant will appear before that court on 24 March.

The other man, age 29 of East End, was charged with possession of an imitation firearm with intent to commit an offence, wrongful confinement, threats to kill, and several counts of assault by penetration. He appeared in court on Tuesday and was remanded into custody.

Cullers remove 464 lionfish from reefs

Four teams took part in the latest lionfish culling tournament and caught more than 460 of the invasive species.

Many of the fish captured on Saturday and Sunday were cooked and served to participants, supporters and members of the public at Tillie’s Restaurant on Seven Mile Beach, after the lionfish were weighed and measured.

This was the 31st time the tournament, sponsored by Foster’s, has taken place. The first one was held in 2010.

A juvenile ruby cardinal fish is found inside one of the culled lionfish. Lionfish are detrimental to the health of coral reefs as they can ingest large quantities of other fish. – Photo: Katie O’Neill

This month’s cull had been postponed from November due to high winds and rough seas. Conditions over the weekend were also rough, organisers said, but the cullers took to the water nevertheless.

The tournament winner was the DiveTech team, whose members captured 315 of the total 464 fish caught.

The largest fish caught, by team iDive, was 310 millimetres (12.2 inches) long. The smallest, captured by Green Water, was 26mm (1.02 inches).

Sophie O’Hehir and Mark Orr from the Department of Environment weight and measure some of the culled lionfish.

Mark Orr, of the Department of Environment and Cayman United Lionfish League (CULL), told the Cayman Compass in an email, “The wide range of sizes and the variety of habitats, from shallow mangroves in the North Sound to 100+ feet on the West Wall, from which the lionfish were culled, shows that they are still a major threat to our marine life and reef eco system and that the CULL lionfish tournaments are an important part of controlling this invasive species.”

He added, “I would like to thank our dedicated cullers who braved the high winds during CULL #31 this past weekend and removed 464 invasive lionfish from Cayman’s reefs. The fish were brought in to the weigh station at Tillie’s Restaurant, on Saturday and Sunday, and measured and weighed with assistance from the DoE.

“The lionfish were over a wide range of sizes with the smallest lionfish being just 26mm and the longest 310mm. The chefs at Tillie’s then prepared the lionfish in several delicious ways, serving free samples to participants and members of the public who attended the weigh in.”

Week-long traffic diversion scheduled for Shamrock Road

A section of Shamrock Road, near the Chrissie Tomlinson roundabout, will be closed for a week, starting on Thursday, 16 Jan., while the Caribbean Utilities Company carries out roadworks.

Shamrock Road, between Mahogany Drive and the roundabout, will be closed to eastbound traffic daily from 9am to 2pm, until Wednesday, 22 Jan., according to police.

Motorists are advised to exercise caution when travelling in this area during these times.

‘Odd Meet’ opens Cayman track season

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The track season took off with an ‘Odd Meet’ on Saturday morning at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex that had spectators on the edge of their seats keeping up with all the events. Rather than competing in traditional runs like the 100-, 200- or 400-metre races, athletes ran 150, 300 and 600 metres.

“This is one of our calendar meets. It is the first meet of the season and the turnout has been tremendous,” said Cayman Islands Athletic Association president Lance Barnes. “We have a lot of young children here from the primary level, so it’s just a meet for the athletes who have been training during the off-season to see where they’re at, and the coaches are here as well so they can see their progression and they can take that and do more development from that.”

Several athletes are preparing for upcoming meets, like the 49th edition of the CARIFTA Games in Bermuda taking place in April. The odd meet saw 2019 CARIFTA bronze medalist Rachael Pascal qualify for the Javelin event again this year in Bermuda.

Barnes added that the association will be looking to offer more support to the track clubs for the upcoming season.“For the 2020 season, we are actually putting in more mechanisms and offering more resources to the coaches and athletes, so they can train and truly harness that talent. It is a very busy year; there’s a lot of competition overseas.”Odd Events Classic 2020 Results (1)

Sets Offenders tops as beach volleyball league opens

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The Corona Beach Volleyball League served up its first set of matches at Seven Mile Public Beach over the weekend. In the A division, team Sets Offenders beat JoAnna’s Talls and Smalls 21-15 in the final game of the day to lead the group.

Sets Offenders after winning on day one of the Corona League. Photo: Seaford Russell Jr.

“We won three games straight and then we played against Brad’s team [Hadouken] and they beat us, but in our last game, we won easily,” said Sets Offenders captain Vincent Gregotski. “In the semi-finals, we played very well and then … [we won] and now we have beers,” he added.

 

In the B Division, Looney Toons beat The Aces 21-13 to finish the weekend on top and gain a promotion to the A Division. Lastly, in the C Division, What’s Your Net Worth? narrowly defeated The Strays by 21-19, to claim first, and will be moving up a division.
In addition, Game Changers will be demoted to the B Division and F45 will also be moving down, to the C Division, after incurring five losses. What’s Your Net Worth will step up to B, filling the vacancy left by F45’s demotion.

Ripert to miss Cayman Cookout

The 12th annual Cayman Cookout kicks off on Thursday and, for the first time since the signature culinary event began, international chef Eric Ripert will not be in attendance.

Organisers confirmed Ripert, who usually hosts the event, will miss it this year. The Cayman Cookout features top global chefs, including José Andrés, Emeril Lagasse, Andrew Zimmern and Niki Nakayama, among others.

“Due to unforeseen circumstances, Chef Eric Ripert will unfortunately no longer be able to join us this week. Chef Ripert is deeply disappointed to miss out on all the fun and we all look forward to his triumphant return next year,” Marc Langevin, general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, told the Cayman Compass.

Chef Emeril Lagasse will be among international chefs headlining this year’s Cayman Cookout.

While Ripert will be missing the action, Langevin said, “The incredible and world-renowned guest chefs he has assembled for the 12th annual Cayman Cookout will be pitching in on his behalf and ensuring that all of the weekend’s events take place as planned.”

The Cookout events begin Thursday at 8am with ‘Yoga and Krug’, a beverage-tasting event at the Ritz-Carlton Haven cabanas, which will be followed by lionfish culling with Chef José Andrés and 1981 Brewing Company.

Langevin said some of the signature events sold out almost immediately, and a few of the lunches and dinners by the headlining chefs have also sold out.

“However, there is still availability to attend some of the local favourites. These include ‘Andrew Zimmern Explores the Flavours of Cayman’, which is a wonderful outdoor lunch in our Great Lawn, featuring Cayman’s favourite restaurants and chefs; Bon Vivant Cook-Off Competition Brunch on Sunday, this year featuring two local professional chefs competing and hosted by the TODAY Show’s Al Roker; and ‘Rum and Robusto’ on Sunday, to name a few,” he said.

Chef José Andrés makes one of his spectacular entrances at last year’s Cayman Cookout. He will feature again at this year’s event which is going on this week. – Photo: Stephen Clarke

Langevin said the Cookout continues to evolve and, although it has grown in the number of events – more than 70 this weekend – he said organisers try to keep its essence which revolves around the intimacy of the events.

“We have added a lot more events around beverage and mixology, which include some unique reserve tastings. We also have more events off-site which highlight beautiful sites of our islands, like the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park and Cayman Brac. Of course, the wonderful line-up of our talented chefs and beverage experts are always a highlight and are ready to welcome guests with incredible events,” he added.

| Learn more at https://caymancookout.com.

Cook Carelin Maclaren renowned for native dishes

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You can hardly meet a more colourful character than Carelin Maclaren, a cook who has been exciting people’s palates for more than 50 years.

At 79, Maclaren, who has spent her life making her mark on Cayman’s food scene, is still offering patrons an unforgettable experience in native dining.

For anyone in Bodden Town looking to indulge in some good ‘ole time’ cooking, Maclaren’s Seaside Restaurant along Bodden Town Road is often the place to go.

Maclaren not only cooks, she also loves to sing, dance and chat, and her spare moments are spent socialising with family and friends, when she is not catering local events throughout Grand Cayman.

“Carelin makes the best steam rice on the whole island,” said Pedro Watler, a frequent customer to her restaurant. “Her crab, turtle and conch dishes are good, too,” he added.
However, that was not always the case, Maclaren said.

“I was not a very good cook, but I always wanted to become a chef,” she said, explaining she learned by watching others and reading cookbooks.

“My mother was a good cook in the home and I used to watch her prepare the food, especially when she was making her delicious fish rundown. My love for cooking and preparing local dishes started from there,” she said.

“I prepare fish rundown the same way she did, with lots of coconut milk, fish, dumplings, cassava, yam, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, bottlers, seasonings and lots of love.”

“I can cook but I can’t bake,” Maclaren added with a laugh. She claims her kids do all the baking in the home.

Her day at the restaurant starts at 8am and after a full day of cooking, serving and selling, she makes her way home to cook for the family.

A younger Carelin Maclaren, left, working at The Edge in Bodden Town, which was destoryed in 2004 by Hurrican Ivan.

Maclaren worked at several restaurants around Cayman before starting her own business. She cooked at Almond Tree Restaurant, once famous for its homemade biscuits and the best ‘dish of tea’ of the island; at Pedro Castle with the late Hartwell Wood; Cracked Conch in West Bay; Over the Edge in North Side; Country and Western on Crewe Road; and the Lighthouse Club in Breakers.

In later years, Maclaren moved to California with her husband Cam and did some cooking there. When she returned to Cayman, she worked at Foster’s Food Fair deli as a cook. Five years later, she started her own business in the Seaview building.

Because of her food, Maclaren said travel review website Trip Advisor rated her cuisine tops two years running, in 2014 and 2015.

A younger Carelin Maclaren entering the Miss Glamorous Granny Pageant

Growing up
Maclaren was born in Breakers, in a home across from the Lighthouse Club, on 1 Nov. 1940, to parents Adina and Waldo Webster, who had 13 children.

Growing up, Maclaren said, Breakers was a nice place. Everyone worked together and shared what they had. Her father slaughtered cows at Christmas time and everyone got a piece of fresh beef, along with ‘breadkind’. People fished a lot, she said.

She attended school in a little building across from the Lighthouse restaurant and her teachers at the time included the late Doris Levy and Haig Bodden.

Maclaren finished school at age 16. Her first job was cooking and cleaning house for Eileen Jackson in Spotts.

In later years, she moved to Pedro Castle restaurant, working for the late Hartwell Wood.
“Things were hard those days for everyone,” she said. “Eva Forbes gave me a piece of cloth and I made my first dress from it. I went to school with bare feet and skipped along the hot road to go home for lunch. After school, the chores were done before we retired for bed.”

Love of cooking
Her many years behind the stove have not diminished her joy for her craft. Maclaren “loves to cook everything”, she said, adding, “Cooking gives me inspiration. When I cook, I cook with love. It’s what makes my food taste so good, and people love my food.”

 

Fish rundown

Coconut milk

Onion

Breadfruit

Cassava

Pumpkin

Plantain

Bottler

Yam

Sweet potatoes

Scotch bonnet pepper

Season pepper

Black pepper

Lime

Flour and
cornmeal

Salt

Season fish with black pepper salt, onion, scotch bonnet and season pepper. Set aside. Mix flour and cornmeal with a pinch of salt and water, combine to make small dumplings, set aside.

Place other ingredients in a large pot and cover with coconut milk. Place season fish on top, cover and let simmer until produce is cooked.

Add  dumplings to pot 12 minutes before removing from stove.

Supports National Trust’s opposition to cruise port

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Those of us who became life members of the National Trust for the Cayman Islands in the 1980s are grateful today for the Trust’s stance to officially oppose the divisive initiative of government to construct two huge concrete piers in Hog Sty Bay to accommodate tourists from mega cruise ships in the present and future.

The National Trust’s mandate has always been to preserve and protect the natural environment and maritime heritage of these three islands.

[It’s] a boon to the country that the Trust is supporting the extraordinary sea and land environment of the Cayman Islands; not a ‘boondoggle’ in league with cruise ship owners, operators from afar, and the people who would discharge too many thousands of tourists into George Town’s already too-crowded streets.

Nan Socolow

Too many boats going to Stingray City

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My family of five has booked its 11th trip to Grand Cayman this June. I often thought of taking the children back out to Stingray City. It is with both sadness and regret that we have not gone out to Stingray City for six years now, and may never go again.

The experiences I have read from recent visitors have been devastating. Too many boats, too many people, disrespect for the rays by rough handling and exposing them out of the water. It’s heartbreaking to hear rays are being injured by boat traffic … this vacation highlight may soon disappear.

One sunny day, some years ago, Captain Marvin sat with us outside his home after we returned from a Stingray City outing. We could see and hear how proud he was of his efforts and business to take nature-loving and adventure-seeking people out to a place unlike any other in the world.

The men he employed (Charlie and Glen) were fun and very nice. They respected nature, they enjoyed their job. It was amazing, and we had the privilege of going three times with our children while they were young. We often thought to go back to see if ‘Freckles’ was still about. However, between the crowds and boat traffic, I feel it would take away some of the best memories we have on the island.

Hopefully the government will do more than just suspend new Stingray City/Sandbar licences; 209 authorised operators are still too many. If the complaints were made with the current number of licences, wouldn’t it make sense to not only freeze new applicants, but reduce the number of current operators?

It sounds to me as if this number is heavily contributing to the problem. Unfortunately, these are the things that need to be addressed immediately to keep Stingray City a healthy environment for everybody. We can only hope it will be.

Jennifer Arney
Chicago, USA

Port deputy director steps down

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The Port Authority’s deputy director James Parsons has retired from the role.

The announcement comes 18 months after he was cleared of wrongdoing following an internal government inquiry into allegations of sexual harassment.

An Internal Audit Service report in July said the complaints against Parsons lacked merit and were found to be unsubstantiated.

Though the report did not specifically name Parsons, he was identified in various media reports and sources have confirmed to the Cayman Compass that the unsubstantiated allegations were levelled at him.

In a brief statement Monday, the Port Authority confirmed his retirement, effective 24 Dec.

“The Board and Management extends its appreciation to Mr. Parsons for his many years of dedicated service at the Port Authority,” the statement said.

Parsons had been on leave for an extended period prior to his retirement.

The Internal Audit Service in its July 2018 report raised issues around the Port Authority’s handling of sensitive complaints, but found no substance to the allegations themselves.

The auditors wrote, “The complaint in its original form lacks merit and is found to be unsubstantiated. The review did however yield a subset of legitimate behavioural issues which need to be addressed. This subset of issues does not constitute sexual harassment….

“The lack of employee awareness regarding the manner in which to raise and communicate issues of a sensitive and personal nature coupled with management’s failure to address such issues have contributed to an unhealthy work environment.”

At the time, the Port Authority accepted the findings of the audit and committed to a series of measures, including staff ‘sensitivity training’ to address some of the issues raised.

Police name deceased snorkeller

Police on Tuesday named the snorkeller who died off George Town on Saturday as 72-year-old Jack Joseph Pardo from North Carolina, USA.

The man, a visitor to Cayman, got into difficulties while snorkelling in the sea off North Church Street around 3:30pm, according to an earlier police report on the incident.

Emergency Services attended the scene and transported the man to the Cayman Islands Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Bins sit ready for old Christmas trees

The Department of Environmental Health is inviting the public to deposit discarded natural Christmas trees at bins at three locations throughout Grand Cayman.

The DEH has placed bins at the Cricket Grounds, Spotts Dock and the George Town landfill’s 24-hour drop-off site.

The trees will be mulched at the landfill and will then be taken to the Cricket Grounds for public collection on Saturday, 25 Jan. starting at 8am.

Members of the public can take the mulch on a first-come, first-served basis.

A new decade ahead: What should investors expect in 2020 and beyond?

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Global stock markets were on fire in 2019, adding more than $17 trillion in total value, according to Deutsche Bank calculations. This means the value of global equities is now more than $85 trillion and is fast approaching $90 trillion. The large climb for the world markets has been largely dominated by the US. Its rally has been broad with major stock indices making huge gains, thanks in large part to the success of key technology stocks. The S&P 500 finished with an increase of 28.9% for the year, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 22%.

Apple and Advanced Micro Devices were the biggest winners in the US’s two major stock market indices. Apple led the way for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, gaining over 85%. For the S&P 500, it was Advanced Micro Devices that took the crown, rising more than 145% since the start of January 2019 for the biggest gain in that benchmark.

This certainly has been an incredible year and decade for the stock market, the longest bull market on record. But should investors expect the same into the new decade?

A look at what moved the markets in 2019 may provide some intuition as to whether the same drivers will be sustainable to lift the markets higher into 2020 and beyond.

The year started with the impetus of strong US consumer demand, amplified with record low levels of unemployment (50-year low of 3.5%) and worldwide monetary policy pivoting from tightening to easing. The pace of rate cuts accelerated during the year globally, leaving 2019 characterised by a rapid pace of pre-emptive rate cuts in response to the prospect that global growth will slow to the weakest level since the global financial crisis. Later developments saw the effects of the US-China trade war and Brexit in the UK.

As part of the US-China trade agreement, Beijing agreed to buy $200 billion of US products over the next two years from the manufacturing, energy, agriculture and services sectors. In return, the US will reduce tariffs on Chinese goods. About $380 billion of Chinese goods will still be taxed in an effort to force Beijing to negotiate a broader trade agreement.

The skinny trade deal further de-escalates the nearly two-year trade war that has hurt growth in the world’s two largest economies. China’s economy grew at a 6% rate in the third quarter, its weakest since recordkeeping began in 1993. Economic expansion in the US slowed to 2.1% in the July-to-September period, down from 3.1% at the beginning of the year.

The UK prime minister stunned political pundits by leading his Conservative Party to score one of the country’s most dramatic electoral victories in decades. The result is a vindication of Johnson’s strategy to campaign on a single promise to “get Brexit done”. This has given some clarity to Brexit with a date for the UK’s departure from the EU currently set for 31 January 2020.

The future is always uncertain or rather unknown and no one can profess to have the crystal ball to predict it. That said, a retrospective analysis should assist in formulating forward-looking opinions.

Wall Street’s forecasts for 2020 make for fairly glum reading. But the real horror show lies in the smattering of long-term forecasts, which indicate that the coming decade could be as terrible for investors as the last one has been terrific. After the pain of 2018, 2019 has been a welcome healing process for investors. Pretty much everything has notched up robust gains, helped by the dovish tilt of central banks, and, more recently, hopes that the global economic slowdown has been halted.

This, however, means more demanding valuations for new investors. The price-to-earnings ratio for US stocks constructed by Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Shiller, which adjusts for economic cycles, has climbed back to 30, roughly twice its long-term average. Meanwhile, over $11.5 trillion of bonds are trading at negative yields.

Morgan Stanley estimates that a classic investor portfolio, made up of 60% US equities and 40% bonds, will return just 4.1% annually over the next decade, a performance so muted it has rarely been worse in the past seven decades. A European 60-40 portfolio is expected to return a mere 3.9% a year.

Market expected returns have looked low before, only to be ‘bailed out’ by central banks’ easing policy which has pushed prices up ever higher. But that practice just pulls future returns into the present, some analysts say. While this may have ensured that the past decade was wonderful for investors, prospective returns now look far skinnier. Moreover, interest rates cannot move much lower, taking away one of the biggest fillips enjoyed by financial markets over the past three decades.

Global demographics are changing, with baby boomers retiring in increasing numbers and sapping economies of their vim. Open trade and globalisation are also in retreat. Corporate taxes are likely to rise, and minimum wage increases are dominating the political agenda. This may be good for many people, but is likely to hurt market returns.

The big question for 2020 is whether there are any pockets that look at least somewhat attractive. Or if the US-China trade deal along with clarity on Brexit will be able to boost global growth. Without certainty for a growth stimulus, many investors are piling into unlisted investments such as private equity and real estate in search of positive returns. On the public markets, emerging market equities, UK equities and dollar-denominated emerging-market debt, despite the idiosyncratic risks, are becoming relatively attractive.

Richard Maparura, CFA, is a portfolio manager at Butterfield.

Sources:  Financial Times, BBC News, Fox Business, CNBC

Disclaimer: The views expressed are the opinions of the writer and whilst believed reliable may differ from the views of Butterfield Bank (Cayman) Limited.  The Bank accepts no liability for errors or actions taken on the basis of this information.

France blacklists BVI, Bahamas

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France has added the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla and the Seychelles to its list of non-cooperative territories in tax matters.

The updated tax blacklist was released on 7 Jan. by Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and Minister of Public Action and Accounts Gérald Darmanin and follows the publication of a similar updated list by the Netherlands.

France has blamed the jurisdictions’ deficiencies in the exchange of tax information for the listing, stating that French tax authorities were unable to obtain the requested information.

Panama remained on the list for the same reasons, given that the dialogue with the country over pending information request and better bilateral cooperation had not progressed sufficiently, the ministries said in a joint press release. Similar discussions with the other countries and territories are still ongoing.

Bahamas Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest

Bahamas Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest, however, said his government was “in the blind” about the reasons for the tax blacklisting. “Actually, we are waiting for a response from them to our specific inquiries about the criteria and the issues they have identified as the reasons for this listing. Once we have that information, we will certainly address it,” he said, according to a Bahamas Tribune article.

BVI Premier Andrew Fahie said in a statement that his territory continues to cooperate with France on an ongoing basis to meet treaty obligations. “However, there appears to be a misunderstanding and possible miscommunication on certain matters which we are working with our French partners to resolve,” Premier Fahie said. “For the duration of our relationship, we have diligently followed the processes laid out in the BVI-France Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) and will continue to do so. Thus, it is unfortunate that we were included on the French list while working through French requests.”

BVI Premier Andrew Fahie

The list is part of France’s Anti-Fraud Law, adopted in October 2018, and the fight against tax evasion. It incorporates the jurisdictions on the EU tax blacklist and now includes 13 jurisdictions.

Brunei, Guatemala, the Marshall Islands, Nauru and Niue were removed from the list after signing the OECD Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters.

Companies with a link to listed countries may be subject to a 75% withholding tax on interest and dividends, stricter information filing on transfer pricing, and do not have access to the tax benefits such as the French parent-subsidiary regime.

The list includes Anguilla, the Bahamas, Fiji, Guam, the British Virgin Islands, the US Virgin Islands, Oman, Panama, Samoa, American Samoa, the Seychelles, Trinidad and Tobago and Vanuatu.

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