March 5, 2015

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Maduro says Venezuela detains U.S. citizens; announces moves against U.S

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro addresses the audience at the Diplomatic Centre in Port-of-SpainReuters By Diego Ore and Brian Ellsworth From Yahoo News

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Saturday his government had detained U.S. citizens, including a pilot, on suspicion of espionage, in a move likely to strain already tense relations between Washington and Caracas.

Maduro also said his government would order a reduction in the number of U.S. embassy staff in Caracas and prohibit some U.S. officials from entering Venezuela in retaliation for a similar U.S. measure last year. Venezuela would also require U.S. citizens to obtain visas before visiting, he told a rally.

The Venezuelan president, long at odds with Washington, has renewed accusations in recent weeks that the United States is seeking to topple him.

Maduro’s political opponents at home call this a smokescreen aimed at distracting from an increasingly severe economic crisis in the oil-exporting nation. Venezuela has been hard hit by the collapse of oil prices over the last nine months.

“We have captured some U.S. citizens in undercover activities, espionage, trying to win over people in towns along the Venezuelan coast,” Maduro said at a rally in Caracas adding one was a U.S. pilot detained in the volatile border state of Tachira.

“In Tachira we captured a pilot of a U.S. plane (who is) of Latin origin (carrying) all kinds of documentation,” Maduro said, without offering details.

He said U.S. politicians including former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney, and Senator Bob Menendez would be blocked from entering Venezuela.

Menendez in response said: “Being sanctioned by the Maduro regime will never deter me from speaking out against the ruin caused by his government.”

A spokesman for the U.S. embassy in Caracas said he was unable to comment, citing a lack of any official diplomatic communication with the Venezuelan government.

An official in U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration broadly dismissed the accusations from Caracas.

“The continued allegations that the United States is involved in efforts to destabilize the Venezuelan government are baseless and false,” the senior administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.


The head of a Venezuelan evangelical organization said on Friday a group of four missionaries had been called in for questioning after taking part in a medical assistance campaign in the coastal town of Ocumare de la Costa.

That pastor, Abdy Pereira, said on Saturday in a telephone interview that the four had left the country for Aruba after having been questioned for several days about alleged involvement in espionage.

“The government attempted to link them to (espionage activities) but there was no evidence that this was the case,” said Pereira.

The Communication Ministry did not answer calls seeking details about the identities of the missionaries or their whereabouts.

On the move to reduce the U.S. mission in Caracas, Maduro said he had ordered Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez to proceed immediately, based on Vienna convention rules, “to revise, reduce … and limit the number of officials in the U.S. embassy in Venezuela.”

It was not clear when embassy officials would have to leave.

Maduro added that Americans will now need visas to enter Venezuela and will have to pay the same visa fees that Venezuelans pay to get into the United States.

The president’s moves followed the arrest this month of Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma on conspiracy charges, a move Maduro said would stymie a U.S.-backed coup effort.

Maduro’s adversaries said the plot was a charade meant to distract from consumer goods shortages, soaring prices and Maduro’s tumbling popularity ratings.

Caracas and Washington have had tense diplomatic relations since the era of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez, who was briefly toppled in a 2002 coup that he said was orchestrated by the State Department.

The government of then U.S. President George W. Bush endorsed that coup before backtracking when Chavez returned to power.

(Reporting by Diego Ore, writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Bernard Orr, Frances Kerry and Michael Perry)

IMAGE: Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro addresses the audience at the Diplomatic Centre in Port-of-Spain, …

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Venezuela to limit US diplomats, require visas for Americans
afp-venezuela-to-limit-us-diplomats-require-visas-for-americansBy Sofia Miselem, AFP From Business Insider

Caracas (AFP) – President Nicolas Maduro plans to limit the US diplomatic presence in Venezuela and require American tourists to obtain visas, amid growing tensions between the two countries.

The leftist president said the measures, announced Saturday, aimed to “control” US meddling in Venezuelan affairs.

Maduro has intensified in recent months his allegations of coup and assassination plans — often purportedly backed by the United States — as he faces a deep economic crisis and a sharp drop in popularity.

“In order to protect our country… I have decided to implement a system of compulsory visas for all Americans entering Venezuela,” he told supporters.

Under the new measures, Venezuela will start charging tourists the same visa fees the United States asks of Venezuelans, though it was unclear when the plan would be implemented.

But the restrictions could also have an impact on business travelers seeking to invest in one of the biggest oil producers.

In his fiery speech outside the Miraflores presidential palace, Maduro noted that the Americans have 100 diplomatic staff in Caracas, compared to 17 Venezuelan diplomats in Washington.

He cited the Vienna Convention’s principle of the equality of states concerning the size of respective diplomatic missions in ordering his Foreign Ministry to “reduce, adjust and limit the number of US officials” at the American embassy in Caracas.

– US ‘terrorists’ banned –

Additionally, Maduro singled out several US political figures as being unable to come to Venezuela because his government considers them “terrorists.”

“A group of US political leaders who have violated human rights in bombing” countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan “will not be able to enter Venezuela because they are terrorists,” Maduro said.

Maduro cited former president George W. Bush and his vice president Dick Cheney, as well as Hispanic American lawmakers Bob Menendez, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Marco Rubio.

Maduro said the visa decision was made after the capture of an American pilot of Latin American origin in the western state of Tachira suspected of carrying out “covert” espionage activities.

He did not provide additional details about the previously unreported arrest.

Maduro also warned that the US mission must alert and receive authorization from the local government for any meeting held by US diplomats in Venezuela.

In recent days, the Venezuelan president has hardened his speech against the US embassy in Caracas, accusing it of “interference and abuse,” and of meeting with the Venezuelan opposition.

On Monday, he demanded that the “damn Yankees” respect his homeland, and called on US President Barack Obama to “rectify” the “chaos” of Washington’s policy toward Venezuela.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has blasted the “egregious behavior” of Maduro’s government, vowing to quickly implement recent sanctions against the country.

The top US diplomat said Wednesday that the Maduro government had made a series of “wrong choices” in its handling of anti-government protests, as well as its clampdown on opposition leaders over claims of a US-backed coup plot.

Washington and Caracas have been at diplomatic odds since Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez came to power in 1999, repeatedly criticizing US “imperialist” policy.

They withdrew their ambassadors from each other’s country in 2010, and Venezuela has expelled several US diplomats under Maduro.

In December, the US imposed sanctions on senior Venezuelan officials accused of violating the rights of protesters during anti-government demonstrations at the start of 2014.

IMAGE: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro delivers a speech during a ceremony commemorating the 26th anniversary of El Caracazo, a deadly popular revolt, in Caracas on February 28, 2015 © AFP Federico Parra

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CIASA Announces 2015 CARIFTA National Junior Swim Team

CARIFTA Team IIGrand Cayman, Cayman Islands, 25 February 2015: The Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association (CIASA) today announced the Junior Swimming Team which will travel to Barbados to compete in the XXX 2015 CARIFTA 50 Metre Pool and Open Water Swimming Championships, 4-7th April 2015.

In addition to rigorous training and meeting minimum qualification times, to be considered for selection, a swimmer must meet the following eligibility criteria:

1. Be a registered member of CIASA in good standing;
2. Have signed the 2014/2015 CIASA Representative Swim Team Agreement;
3. Have signed and agreed to Representative Team Protocols; and
4. Be between the ages of 11 – 17 as of 31 December 2014.

Swimmers have been training hard, as evidenced by the large number of CIASA, National and Club records which fell last weekend at the Cayma Islands National Swimming Championships.

Now, with the final qualifying events behind them the task before CARIFTA Head Coach Bailey Weathers and club coaches David Pursley and Caleb Miller was not an easy one.

Based on a review of qualifying times, athletes’ compliance with training and eligibility requirements, coaches made a recommendation to CIASA and the Team Roster was agreed and ratified by the CIASA Board of Directors on 24 February 2015. Bailey Weathers, CIASA’s Technical Director commented: “This has been already been an exciting season for so many Cayman Islands swimmers. We have seen an incredible amount of improvement and success; and we are expecting more great swims as well at CARIFTA.”

Swimmers who will represent the Cayman Islands at the XXX 2015 CARIFTA Swimming Championships are:
– Girls 11-12: Sabine Ellison (CBAC), Alison Jackson (SSC), Emily Link (CBAC), Zororo
Mutomba (SSC), Ria Plunkett (SSC) and Holly Stradling (CBAC).
– Boys 11-12: Jordan Crooks (SSC) and Zachary Moore (SSC)
– Girls 13-14: Samantha Bailey (SSC), Stefanie Boothe (SSC), Sarah Jackson (SSC) and
Ella Plunkett (SSC)

– Boys 13-14: John Bodden (SSC), Matthew Somerville (CBAC) and Eddie Weber
– Girls 15-17: Lauren Hew (CBAC) and Catriona MacRae (SSC)
– Boys 15-17: Rory Barrett (CBAC), Jonathan Key (SSC), Iain McCallum (SSC) and Cole Morgan (SSC)

(Note: SSC – Stingray Swim Club and CBAC – Camana Bay Aquatic Club)

As is now the custom, the CARIFTA Squad will have a Training Camp which brings the athletes together as a team for pool training and team building. The Training Camp is in addition to the swimmers’ regular club training and focuses on common technical aspects of their swims such as starts, turns and relay changes.

Special thanks is extended to the Cayman Islands Government and Maples for their support every year which has helped make the position of Technical Director possible, a position which is largely credited with the recent upsurge in swimming in Cayman, including both learn-to-swim and competitive swimming.

CIASA is pleased to be able to provide much of the funding for this trip, from funds raised at the recent Dine and Splash with Olympians, raffle ticket sales and the upcoming First Annual CIASA golf tournament to be held on 27th February. However, travel to Barbados is quite an expensive proposition and with such a large team travelling, the team and parents will also be pulling together to raise additional funds for the trip. In addition to travel expenses, there will be additional costs for accommodations, meals and gear, so please – when you see a swimmer approaching with a raffle ticket book in hand – be generous.

Michael Lockwood, CIASA President; a competitive swimmer in his youth and now a masters swimmer, was delighted with the announcement of the team. “The CARIFTA 2015 qualification times were announced in September 2014, with the qualification process being tweaked just a little to acknowledge the increasing number of swimmers achieving the faster qualification times. This year swimmers were required to achieve a minimum of two (2) qualification times; previously, only one (1) time was required. This extra requirement notwithstanding, we have seen some outstanding results and this year CIASA is proud to announce a team of 21 swimmers will attend CARIFTA XXX.”

With a potential maximum team size of 32 swimmers the Cayman Islands team of 21 swimmers is a testament to the swimmers hard work and dedication; and with veteran CARIFTA swimmers such as Lauren Hew, Catriona MacRae, Cole Morgan and Iain McCallum on the team the three first time competitors (rookies) will have good mentors in their team mates.

“I would like to congratulate all of our swimmers,” commented the Hon. Minister of Sport, Osbourne Bodden. “Swimming requires incredible commitment, discipline and focus … and many early hours at the pool. I also want to thank our athletes’ parents for the support and often referenced ‘swim taxi service’ which they provide. On behalf of the Ministry of Sports and the Cayman Islands Government we wish you all success in Barbados.”

The CARIFTA Team travelling to Barbados will include Head Coach Bailey Weathers, and a, still to be confirmed, Assistant Team Manager.

Cayman Islands Health Services Authority 4th Annual Women’s Health Conference

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 8.07.18 AMThree renowned doctors from Baptist Health International will be in the Cayman Islands for the 4th Annual Women’s Health Conference that will be held on Friday, March 6, 2015 at the Hibiscus Conference Centre located at the Cayman Islands Hospital. The three doctors are as follows:

· Ricard Estape, M.D. who will be presenting Gynecologic Cancers: Symptoms, Treatment, and Future Directions

· Julio E. Arronte, M.D. who will be presenting Challenges of Advanced Maternal Age and Pregnancy

· Michael H. Jacobs, M.D. who will be presenting Fertility Preservation: Oocyte Cryopreservation

Dr. Ricardo Estape is medical director of the Baptist Health Center for Robotic Surgery. He attended medical school at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and earned his degree from the University of Miami in Miami, Florida. Dr. Estape completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as his fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital Program in Miami, Florida. He then stayed on at the University of Miami as an attending until 2002. Dr. Estape was an Associate Professor in Gynecologic Oncology and became the Director of the Gynecologic Oncology Site Group for the Sylvester Cancer Center at the University of Miami until he went into private practice in South Miami in 2002.

Dr. Estape is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and also in Gynecologic Oncology. He is a member of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology, a fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, member of the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists, member of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons, the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical honor Society and many others. He has served as Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Chief of Robotic Surgery and Chief of the Blood Conservation Program at South Miami Hospital in Miami, Florida.

Dr. Estape is a world leader and pioneer in robotic surgery. He has performed more robotic surgeries than any other gynecologic oncologist or gynecologist in the world.

Julio E. Arronte, M.D. is a Board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist and chief of obstetrics and gynecology at West Kendall Baptist Hospital. He received his medical degree from Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre in Santiago, Dominican Republic. He completed his internship in internal medicine at Nassau University Medical Center –– an affiliate of the State University of New York at Stony Brook –– where he received the Outstanding Intern Award.

Following his internship, Dr. Arronte completed his residency, also at SUNY, in obstetrics and gynecology. During his residency, he served as Administrative Chief Resident and received the Outstanding Teaching in Residency Education award.

Dr. Arronte’s practice covers general obstetrics, gynecology and urogynecology. He is well versed in women’s health issues and specializes in minimally invasive surgery, where he uses the latest technology, including the da Vinci Robot, to perform advanced laparoscopies.

Dr. Arronte is a Diplomate of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. He is also a member of the American Urogynecologic Society, the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists and the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology.

Dr. Michael H. Jacobs is a reproductive endocrinologist and a member of the Baptist Health Quality Network. He is also medical director of the Fertility & IVF Center. Dr. Jacobs is a Diplomate Certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, subspecialty in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility.

Dr. Jacobs completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City in 1983, and his fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in 1988. Dr. Jacobs worked in private practice in Berkeley, California and served as Associate Medical Director of the Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco, California, prior to establishing the Fertility & IVF Center of Miami, in 1991.

Dr. Jacobs is member of numerous scientific societies such as the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the Society of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (SREI), the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART).

SOURCE: Baptist Health International, Baptist Health, South Florida

Oscars of the travel industry announce 2015 host of WTA Caribbean & North America

oscarsscvFrom eTN Global Travel Industry News

The “Oscars of the travel industry,” World Travel Awards (WTA) has announced Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa as being selected to host the World Travel Awards Caribbean & North America Gala Ceremony 2015.

Hundreds of industry leaders are expected to gather at the world-class resort for the event, which will take place on October 17, 2015.

Beaches Turks & Caicos is the perfect host for the ceremony, offering four magnificent villages, boasting the architecture and ambiance of Italy, France, the Caribbean and Key West; a 12-mile beach lapped by clear turquoise waters; and some of the industry’s leading event facilities in the Caribbean.

Announcing the decision, World Travel Awards President Graham Cooke said: “I am delighted World Travel Awards will be returning to Beaches Resorts, and in particular to Beaches Turks & Caicos. The team at the resort allowed us to host one of our most successful events ever when we last visited in 2012 and I look forward to being reunited with our friends there later in 2015.”

Beaches Resorts is no stranger to World Travel Awards, having been recognized as the World’s Leading All Inclusive Family Resort Brand for the past 17 years, while parent Sandals Resorts International claimed the title of World’s Leading All Inclusive Company for an unprecedented 19th time in 2014.

“It’s an honor to host the annual World Travel Awards once again,” said Gordon “Butch” Stewart, Chairman of Sandals Resorts International.

He added, “We are thrilled to welcome our friends and industry leaders to the beautiful Beaches Turks & Caicos where they will enjoy the Luxury Included experience, as well as our newest addition, the Key West Luxury Village.”

Nominations for the Caribbean & North America Gala Ceremony will close on February 28, while voting will open on March 2.

Hailed by the worldwide media for its role in identifying and rewarding excellence in the travel sector, World Travel Awards celebrates its 22nd anniversary in 2015 and is acknowledged as the ultimate travel accolade.

World Travel Awards Gala Ceremonies are widely regarded as the best networking opportunities in the travel industry, attended by government and industry leaders, luminaries, and international print and broadcast media.

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One car motor collision in Savannah, Grand Cayman

From RCIPS Tue, Feb 24, 2015 at 10:51 AM

Approximately 7:00am Tuesday 24 February 2015, uniform officers in Bodden Town, responded to a report of a motor collision on Shamrock Road, Savannah near the junction with Destiny Drive.

A 20 year old female driver and sole occupant of a Kia motor car, lost control of her vehicle on the left road shoulder before colliding with a tree. The vehicle overturned receiving major damages, the driver received slight injuries and was transported to the George Town Hospital by ambulance.

Matter is under investigation by Uniform Officers from the Bodden Town Police Station.

Cayman Islands Seafarers Association announce new board

Ivan Farrington OMHThe Cayman Islands Seafarers Association (CISA) is proud and pleased to announce the names of new President and Board of Directors for 2015:

Mr. Ivan Farrington, OMH is now the new President of the Cayman Islands Seafarers Association as of 17th February 2015.

Mr. Farrington’s long seafaring career began in 1952 with his first trip to Miskito Cay, Nicaragua catching turtles and his last official seafaring voyage being on SS Gulf Service in 1971. During that time he sailed the ships to all major ports in the world.

Mr. Farrington brings new and enthusiastic Leadership to the Cayman Islands Seafarers Association with his commitment to not only the completion of existing executive projects but to moving forward with new innovation projects and upholding Cayman Islands Seafarers Association protocols which will also recognize the arduous sacrifices upon the seas for the financial benefits earned, as well as to the commitment to our aging seafarers healthcare needs with our determination to continue to ensure best healthcare technology driven solution outcomes for our beloved Cayman Islands and the whole population.

CI Seafarers group photePhotographs: (supplied by CISA)
Mr. Ivan Farrington OMH, President CISA
Board Directors and Council Members 2015
President, Mr. Ivan Farrington OMH, Front Centre
(L to R)
Captain Owen Farrington, CRT Hon.(Council Member) Mr. Ransford Terry, (Council Member) Mr. Wenzil Burlington,(Council Member)( Mr. Herbert Martin,(Secretary) Mr. Neils Godfrey, (Council Member), Mr. Steve McField, BA (Hon) LLB(Hon) CMH (Vice President) Mr. George Ebanks, (Council Member) Mr. Leonard Ebanks, OBE, CMH, JP (Treasurer)

HSBC Malta announces €52m profit, down 42% from 2013

d20d61f3460299493d91212aa559a4f0d416e66a-1424681863-54eaeb87-620x348From the Times of Malta

HSBC Malta said today it made a pre-tax profit of €52m in 2014, down by €38m, or 42%, compared to the previous year.

Cost efficiency ratio was 57%, against 50% in 2013.

Return on equity for the year was 7.7%, compared with 13.9% in 2013.

The advance to deposit liquidity ratio improved from 73% to 67%.

Gross new loans of €710m increased by €113m or 19% on 2013. Net loans and advances to customers were €3,273m and remained in line with 2013.

Customer deposits increased by 8% to €4,867m as at December 31, 2014.

Net operating profits before loan impairment provisions and excluding significant notable items (available-for-sale investment sales, ECB Comprehensive Assessment costs and lower insurance technical provision releases) were 12% down on the prior year.

The bank said key contributors to the decline in profitability were a €19m increase in loan impairment charges resulting principally from lower valuations on legacy commercial properties, a €14m decrease in income associated with the challenging operating environment and lower non-recurring revenue items, and a €5m rise in costs primarily due to regulatory fees and additional compliance investment.

All three main business lines, Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Commercial Banking and Global Banking and Markets, were profitable during the year under review.

Mark Watkinson, Director and Chief Executive Officer at HSBC Bank Malta said: “2014 was a year of material challenges on a number of fronts. Operating conditions and a changing regulatory environment have each had their own significant impact. Nevertheless the underlying performance of the key business lines has shown resilience and I am confident that the prudent approach that we have taken will serve us well. HSBC has an excellent franchise in Malta and the hard work and dedication of the bank’s team during the past year needs to be recognised. Despite the difficult operating conditions, we continue to invest in the bank and to build a long-term sustainable business that will serve the best interest of our customers, our staff, our shareholders and the community in which we work.”

HSBC Life Assurance (Malta) reported a profit before tax of €9m compared with €13m in 2013. While new insurance business was 10% higher than the prior year, the result in 2014 was negatively impacted by downward yield curve movements and lower technical reserve releases.

A net gain of €2m was reported as a result of a repositioning of the investment portfolio compared to €4m in 2013.

Operating expenses of €98m were €5m or 6% higher compared with the previous year.

The Board is recommending a final gross dividend of 2.6 cents per share (1.7 cents net of tax). This will be paid on April 24 to shareholders who are on the bank’s register of shareholders on March 23. The Board is also recommending a bonus issue of one share for every nine shares held by shareholders on the bank’s share register at the close of business on 29 April 2015 and shares will be available for trading on 30 April 2015. As a result of the bonus issue, reserves of €11m will be capitalised and share capital will increase from €97m to €108m.

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HSBC left itself open to criminal charges, says Lord Macdonald

_80937464_025811563From BBC

HSBC left itself open to criminal charges in the UK over its Swiss tax-dodging scandal, ex-director of public prosecutions Lord Ken Macdonald says.

The QC said there were strong grounds to investigate the bank for “cheating” HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

He added that HMRC’s decision not to prosecute was “seriously flawed”.

Allegations emerged earlier this month that the bank had helped hundreds of people evade UK tax using hidden HSBC accounts in Geneva.

Also on Sunday, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander told the BBC the Liberal Democrats wanted to introduce new laws on tax evasion.

He told the Andrew Marr Show the party wanted to make those who facilitate any tax evasion, for example lawyers, accountants and banks, as culpable as those who evade tax themselves.

He said the party would “seek to pursue this [in government] over the next few weeks” but, if there was not enough time before the general election, the proposal would form a key part of the party’s manifesto.

‘Urgent investigation’
In a legal opinion prepared for consumer group SumOfUs, Lord Macdonald said: “It seems clear, from the evidence we have seen, that there exists credible evidence that HSBC Swiss and/or its employees have engaged over many years in systematic and profitable collusion in serious criminal activity against the exchequers of a number of countries.

“The corporate and wholesale nature of HSBC’s Swiss’ apparent involvement in what amounts to grave cross border crime makes it all the more obvious that the relevant evidence, once it came the attention of HMRC, should have been the subject of urgent and sustained criminal investigation.”

Despite the evidence being in the hands of HMRC for nearly five years, no action has so far been taken against the bank.

Top HMRC officials have been lambasted by MPs on the Public Accounts Committee for their “pathetic” response to the evidence.

Last week, the Financial Conduct Authority said it would look into the scandal, while the Bank of England and the Serious Fraud Office have indicated they may do the same.

HSBC published a full-page apology in several Sunday newspapers last week for the past behaviour of its private bank in Geneva, and reports suggest it could make another apology this week.

The bank publishes its full-year results on Monday morning.

IMAGE: An HSBC branch in Switzerland

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Baby Show at 48th Annual Agricultural Show 2015

Facebook Ag Show40 Babies participated in the Baby Show at the 48th Annual Agricultural Show 2015.

0 — 9 months
1. Naomi Ebanks
2. Deanna Downs
3. Dylan McCoy

10 — 18 months
1. Knox Powell
2. Braydan Parsons Beckett
3. Luke McTaggart

19 — 24 months
1. Kahlie Henry
2. Miranda Hughes-Hallet
3. Mikael Matthew McLaughlin

25 — 36 months
1. Jordan Holness
2. Alexis Diaz
3. Alyssa Brown

37 – 48 months
1. Aniya Myers
2. Anthony McLaughlin
3. Joel Powell







Cayman Islands utility provider announces fall in profits

CUCCUC Announces Unaudited Fourth Quarter and Twelve Month Results for the Period
Ended December 31, 2014

Caribbean Utilities Company, Ltd. is listed for trading in United States dollars on the Toronto

Stock Exchange.

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands- Caribbean Utilities Company, Ltd. (TSX: CUP.U) (“CUC” or “the Company”) announced today its unaudited results for the Fourth Quarter and Twelve Months ended December 31, 2014 (all figures in United States dollars).

Net earnings for the three months ended December 31, 2014 (“Fourth Quarter 2014”) were $5. 4 million, a $0.4 million decrease when compared to $5.8 million for the three months ended December 31, 2013 (“Fourth Quarter 2013”). This decrease is attributable to a weather-driven 3% decline in kiloWatt-hour (“kWh”) sales, additional temporary generation costs and higher consumer services expenses in the Fourth Quarter 2014. These items were partially offset by lower maintenance costs for the Fourth Quarter 2014 when compared to the Fourth Quarter 2013.

Net earnings for the twelve months ended December 31, 2014 were $20.8 million, a $0.4 million increase from net earnings of $20.4 million for the twelve months ended December 31, 2013. This increase is attributable to a 2% kWh sales growth, lower depreciation and maintenance expenses and higher other income. These items were partially offset by higher consumer services expenses, driven by a one-time adjustment to increase the Company’s allowance for doubtful accounts during
the twelve months ended December 31, 2014.

For the Fourth Quarter 2014, kWh sales were 135.8 million, a decrease of 4.5 million kWh, or 3%, when compared to 140.3 million for the Fourth Quarter 2013. Sales were negatively impacted by cooler weather conditions that affected customer air conditioning usage. The average monthly temperature for the Fourth Quarter 2014 was 3.3 degrees Fahrenheit lower than the average monthly temperature experienced during the Fourth Quarter 2013.

For the twelve months ended December 31, 2014, kWh sales were 564.2 million, an increase of 8.5 million kWh, or 2%, when compared to 555.7 million kWh for the year ended December 31,

2013. Annual sales were positively impacted by a 2% growth in customer numbers. Total customers as at December 31, 2014 were 27,784, compared to 27,364 customers as at December 31, 2013.

After the adjustment for dividends on the preference shares of the Company, earnings on Class A Ordinary Shares for the Fourth Quarter 2014 were $4.8 million, or $0.16 per Class A Ordinary Share, as compared to $5.2 million, or $0.18 per Class A Ordinary Share for the Fourth Quarter
2013. After the adjustment for dividends on the preference shares of the Company, earnings on Class A Ordinary Shares for the twelve months ended December 31, 2014 were $19.9 million, or $0.68 per Class A Ordinary Share as compared to $19.5 million, or $0.68 per Class A Ordinary Share for the twelve months ended December 31, 2013. The weighted average Class A Ordinary Shares outstanding were 29,130,536 and 28,891,552 for the twelve months ended December 31, 2014 and December 31, 2013, respectively.

President and CEO, Mr. Richard Hew, says, “In spite of the decrease in earnings and kilowatt hour sales, the Fourth Quarter 2014 recorded overall positive results for the Company. The announcement of CUC’s winning of the bid for firm generation as well as progress being made by one of the renewable energy providers to develop a 5 megawatts solar power plant, are highlights of the period under review. The Company remains focussed on delivering a cost-effective, safe and reliable service to its customers while at the same time improving efficiency and managing costs.”

During the Fourth Quarter 2014, the Electricity Regulatory Authority (“ERA”) announced that CUC was the successful bidder for new generation capacity. The Company will develop and operate a new 39.7 megawatts (“MW”) diesel power plant including two 18.5 MW diesel generating units and a 2.7 MW waste heat recovery steam turbine. The project cost is estimated at $85 million and the plant will be commissioned no later than June 2016.

Mr. Hew added, “Over the next year, the Company will see significant activity associated with the development of the new diesel power plant and the waste heat recovery steam turbine. Upon completion, the plant will boast the most fuel efficient generation ever installed by CUC which will bring increased reliability and lower cost to our consumers.”

As a result of the Company’s successful bid to supply additional generation, in November 2014 the ERA issued a new Generation license to the Company which replaces the Generation Licence granted in April 2008. The 2014 Generation license will expire in November 2039. The terms and conditions of the new Generation Licence are not materially different from the terms and conditions of the 2008 Generation Licence.

During the Fourth Quarter 2014, the ERA approved CUC’s 2015-2019 Capital Investment Plan (“CIP”) in the amount of $234 million, including generation expansion costs. The ERA also approved the Company’s new Customer Service Code (“CSC”). The CSC sets out the terms and conditions of the supply of electricity to the Company’s customers, as well as the standards for the level of service which CUC is required to provide to its customers. The new CSC provides for an increase in various customer service fees and the application of a Finance Charge which will be levied on overdue customer accounts beyond 60 days. This charge took effect on January 1, 2015.

The Company’s average price per imperial gallon (“IG”) of fuel for the Fourth Quarter 2014 decreased to $4.17 from $4.70 for the Fourth Quarter 2013. The Company’s average price per IG of fuel for the twelve months ended December 31, 2014 decreased to $4.56 from $4.74 for the twelve months ended December 31, 2013.

With the price of fuel continuing to trend downwards, customers are expected to see a reduction in their utility bills in early 2015. The average Fuel Cost Charge rate per kWh charged to consumers for the Fourth Quarter 2014 was $0.28, a 3% decrease when compared to $0.29 per kWh for the Fourth Quarter 2013. Additional reductions to the fuel cost charge rate per kWh are expected to occur due to a 33% decrease in the customs duties levied on diesel fuel imports by the Cayman Islands Government which went into effect on January 1, 2015. CUC passes through
100% of fuel costs to consumers on a two-month lag basis without mark-up.

CUC believes that there are economic and environmental benefits to be derived from renewable energy sources. One of the potential renewable energy providers, International Electric Power (“IEP”), applied for and received from the Cayman Islands Planning Department permission to start the development of a 5MW solar power plant. A draft Power Purchase Agreement between CUC and IEP is now before the ERA for review.

CUC’s Fourth Quarter Report for the period ended December 31, 2014 is attached to this release and incorporated by reference.
This report contains a detailed discussion of CUC’s unaudited 2014 Fourth Quarter results, the Cayman Islands economy, liquidity and capital resources, capital expenditures and the business risks facing the Company. The release and Fourth Quarter Report can be accessed at (Investor Relations/Press Releases) and at

CUC provides electricity to Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, under an Electricity Generation Licence expiring in 2039 and an exclusive Electricity Transmission and Distribution Licence expiring in 2028. Further information is available at

Certain statements in the report, other than statements of historical fact, are forward-looking statements concerning anticipated future events, results, circumstances, performance or expectations with respect to the Company and its operations, including its strategy and financial performance and condition.Forward looking statements include statements that are predictive in nature, depend upon future events or conditions, or include words such as “expects”, “anticipates”, “plan”, “believes”, “estimates”, “intends”, “targets”, “projects”, “forecasts”, “schedule”, or negative versions thereof and other similar expressions, or future or conditional verbs such as “may”, “will”, “should”, “would” and “could”. Forward looking statements are based on underlying assumptions and management’s beliefs, estimates and opinions, and are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties surrounding future expectations generally that may cause actual results to vary from plans, targets and estimates. Some of the important risks and uncertainties that could affect forward looking statements are described in the section labeled “Business Risks” and include but are not limited to operational, general economic, market and business conditions, regulatory developments and weather. CUC cautions readers that actual results may vary significantly from those expected should certain risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect. Forward-looking statements are provided for the purpose of providing information about management’s current expectations and plans relating to the future. Readers are cautioned that such information may not be appropriate for other purposes. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise except as required by law.

Change in leadership announced for the Cayman Islands Dept. of Ed. Services

Lyneth Monteith_DESOn Thursday 19th February, 2015 Acting Chief Officer, Mr. Christen Suckoo formally announced a change in leadership at the Department of Education Services which will take place 1st March, 2015.

Moving on after serving over 20 years in the Cayman Islands education system, Mrs. Shirley Wahler served at Cayman Brac High School from 1998 to 2007 and served as lecturer, librarian, registrar and head of general studies at the Community College of the Cayman Islands prior to that time. She became Chief Education Officer for the Department of Education Services in 2007 and led the reorganization of the secondary school system in 2010.

Remarking on her career within the Cayman Islands Ministry of Education, Mrs. Wahler said “I have been very fortunate to contribute and shape many changes that have taken place over the years in the education system of the Cayman Islands.”Shirley Wahler_DES

Mr. Suckoo said, “I wish to thank Mrs. Wahler for her dedication to the education system. I wish her all the best as she takes on new challenges in Saint Helena.”

Ms. Lyneth Monteith, current Principal at John Gray High School (JGHS), will take on the role of Acting Chief Education Officer. Ms. Monteith has a long history in the Cayman Islands Education System. She has spent the past 34 years as an educator with 26 of those in leadership positions across middle and high school. This has enabled her to gain experience at different levels of the system from classroom teacher through to senior leadership.

During this time she has worked in teams on curriculum development, local text book writing and various system changes. Worthy of mention is the change to the Schools within Schools System and all through high schools. In the case of the latter she was a part of the team responsible for leading the planning and implementation of this project.

Her involvement with education reform extends to being a member of working parties on national initiatives such as the National Strategic Plan, leadership training for Principals and Deputies and providing strategic advice on national policies and implementing same in her role as a Principal. Her ability to strategically plan for school improvement has resulted in the selection of courses of study on the curriculum which caters to the student’s needs. Additionally, her strategic planning has enabled staff to develop and hone their skills towards successful career advancement.

As the Principal of the largest high school on the island, her strategic visionary focus has led to improvements in academic progress in the school. Under her leadership the school’s external examination results have improved. Prior to 2010, the results for students achieving 5 level 2 passes were in the low two figure range. Today all JGHS students are entered for level two courses and the results, which improved by 7% in 2011, have continued to steadily improve. In 2014, the school was on target for the predicted percentage of 5 level 2 passes (including English and Mathematics), an achievement which has never occurred in previous years.

Ms. Monteith holds a Bachelor of Education from Leeds University, a Masters of Arts in Educational Management from Bath University and a National Educational Leadership Certification (NELP). She has also taken part in continued professional development and has certifications in project management, change management, and restorative justice.

Acting Chief Officer Suckoo stated, “I am looking forward to working with Ms. Monteith to build upon the strengths of the education system and tackle the areas of weakness that remain. Ms. Monteith has led John Gray through numerous improvements and although there is still more work to be done, I feel that Ms. Monteith has the experience and professional knowledge that place her in contention to lead the education system.”

He went on to say, “I believe people sometimes underestimate the amount of hard work and dedication that goes into supporting over 1000 teenagers to develop academically, socially, emotionally and physically. This is not an easy task but one that Ms. Monteith and her team at John Gray High School have continuously strived for.”

“Ms. Monteith has demonstrated the ability to be strategic, visionary and plan long term for improvement. She is well versed in the systemic needs and has demonstrated the ability to effectively lead towards continued growth of the education system in these islands. Her appointment to Acting Chief Education Officer is an important part of succession planning in the Ministry of Education as at the end of her acting role she, along with others in the education system, will have gained the necessary experience to be a viable candidate when the post is advertised” said Mr. Suckoo.

Ms. Monteith said “I very much look forward to the challenges of this position, but more importantly, I look forward to the opportunities to contribute to improvements and effect positive change in education services.”

Over the next few months Deputy Principal, Matthew Holmes will be leading John Gray High School and he will continue to be supported by Ms. Monteith and Senior School Improvement Officer, Roger Morris, from the Department of Education Services.

“The Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs wishes to thank Mrs. Wahler for her years of service and wishes her well in her future endeavors.” said Hon. Winston Connolly, Temporary Minister of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs. “We also welcome the announcement of the Acting Chief Education Officer, Lyneth Monteith and look forward to working together for future improvements in education services,” he said.