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Change of Head of Governor’s Office

The new Head of the Governor’s Office, Christine Rowlands smiling.Head of the Governor’s Office, Matthew Forbes OBE, his wife Lydia and son Will, will leave the Cayman Islands on 28 August, at the end of a 4 year tour of duty on our Islands. Matthew will be returning to London on a home posting.

During his time as the Head of the Governor’s Office Matthew has worked closely with a wide range of Cayman Islands Government officials and other stakeholders to help deliver significant outcomes, which have benefitted everyone on our Islands.

Matthew played an instrumental role supporting Cayman in securing two helicopters for the RCIPS Air Operations Unit, including the negotiation of an MOU with the UK for the first helicopter, for which the UK contributed 25% of the funds. The helicopters have since been used both on Island in law enforcement exercises but have also been deployed overseas following hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 and last year to Abaco following Hurricane Dorian. Matthew played a key role behind the scenes in these deployments.

Matthew has worked closely with HMCI on Disaster Management issues throughout his time on Island and deployed to the British Virgin Islands with the RCIPS to assist the Governor there after Hurricane Irma in 2017. Matthew studied part-time for a MSC in Risk Crisis and Disaster Management whilst in Cayman, giving him highly valuable expertise in this area.

Matthew was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Cayman Islands Regiment, working closely with the Ministry of Defence in London and the Commander of the Regiment Lt Col Watson, to make fast progress after the visit by the then Minister for the Armed Forces, Mark Lancaster, last October. Last weekend saw 51 reservists and 5 Officers pass out at the Truman Bodden Stadium. It was a major achievement to get this far during a global pandemic, and much of that was down to Matthew’s organisational abilities…. Read More


OfReg Launches Internet Speed Test

Graphic of an umbrella that reads "consumer protection" and "internet speed test"

OfReg has, this week, launched an independent speed test system, to support and further enhance the internet infrastructure in the Cayman Islands.

The OfReg Speed Test ensures residents and businesses are provided with the reliable, consistent internet speeds for which they are paying and gives them recourse to file a complaint, if not.
 
The OfReg Speed Test is a third-party tool, located at a data centre in Miami, through which 90% of the internet traffic for the Caribbean flows. Customers and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) alike can use the portal at https://ofregspeedtest.ky/ to ensure they are receiving (or delivering) the contracted bandwidth, latency and quality of service.

The tool provides users with metrics related to upload and download speeds, as well as results for ping (how fast you can request/receive data) and jitter (the variation in response times), which measure the quality of an internet connection.
 
If the speed test indicates an ISP has fallen short of what was contracted, persons can file a complaint with OfReg, using the address complaints@ofreg.ky.

Joey Ricard, of high-level technology developers Klizo Solutions, built the OfReg Speed Test system and says: “We all require good internet speeds to properly function and perform in our jobs. Never has this been more apparent than during the COVID-19 pandemic, with so many people transitioning to remote work.”

He adds: “This speed test allows the end user to see the real speed of internet they are receiving, but the system also collates the results into a database, showing real time information about speed and consistency across multiple tests. We also have a traceroute feature that shows a map of how the data is flowing from various locations across the Cayman Islands to the Miami-based server.”

Executive Director ICT at OfReg Alee Fa’amoe explains: “Sometimes internet issues exist outside the control of the ISPs, but there is occasionally intentional slowing to regulate online traffic. This can have costly and frustrating consequences for the consumer, who receives a sub-standard internet service.”

Mr Fa’amoe stresses: “The new speed test will allow us to identify when these actions occur, which will help us protect consumers from ISPs who are failing to deliver what customers and businesses are paying for. Having a complete view of our network, from the end-user perspective, puts the customer at the centre of our actions as we investigate issues and resolve measures in a proactive fashion.”


Registry Counter Partially Reopens to the Public

As of Monday, 24 August, General Registry will resume certain services for the public at its Government Administration Building counter.

From Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm, the public will again be able to visit General Registry’s counter, in person, to: (a) File records on the Public Records register such as deed polls, bills of sales, and debentures; (b) register newborns; and (c) collect birth, death, and marriage certificates ordered online.

In line with current COVID-19 protocols, persons visiting the counter are to maintain social distancing of six feet between persons not of the same household, and to wear masks at all times.

Birth, death and marriage certificates must still be ordered and paid for online via www.vitals.ky and persons will be notified via email when the certificates are ready for collection at the counter.

Queries related to these activities can be emailed to cigenreg@gov.ky.

For general information during business hours, persons can call 946-7922 or 244-3405.


DEH Secures New Fleet and Undergoes Rebranding Effort

3 business professionals lined up outside a Department of Environmental Health truck.

Image of trucks lined up on a dirt road.

The Department of Environmental Health logo, deh.gov.ky, 949-6696.

Cayman Islands Government logo on a car door.

Five trucks lined up in a row on a dirt road

During the COVID-19 lockdown the Department of Environmental Health (DEH) added a number of vehicles to their fleet including:

  • 1 Water truck for the landfill that is used keep down the dust in and around the landfill.
  • 1 Grapple truck that is used for the collection of bulk waste and derelict vehicle around the island.
  • 2 Roll on roll off trucks that are used for the collection of commercial waste.
  • 2 Front end loader trucks that are used for the collection of commercial waste from 527 locations across the island.
  • 5 rear loader trucks for the collection of residential waste.

Ready for a fresh start, DEH teamed up with their communications experts to create a new logo better aligned with the department’s direction, and core values as well as various subjects for which it is responsible.

The department’s role is to protect the public from environmental health related hazards through: strategic management of food hygiene and safety, laboratory services, district sanitation and rodent control, engineering and developmental control, solid and hazardous wastes including waste collection, recycling and disposal; as well as public education and promotion programmes. It also manages the landfill and waste to energy programmes.

“With this logo I wanted to show how multi-faceted DEH really is, while at the same time reflecting their 5 year strategic plan and future growth. And of course something that really speaks to their “green” goals. I was happy to design a logo that does just that and of which they are super proud,” said Tina Ebanks, Graphic Design Coordinator at GIS – who also led the charge on Covid-19 branding and graphics.

“We feel the new logo helped shine a light on what DEH is all about. The facelift really helps breathe new life into our brand and the fleet looks amazing. The logo denotes cleanliness, our clean clear waters, sunshine and brilliance” said Director of Environmental Health Richard Simms.

“This is really an exciting time for DEH and I am so proud of all their hard-work and was very happy to see them continue to improve their services despite all the challenges that came with the lockdown. This re-brand is deserved and impressive,” said Hon Dwayne Seymour, J.P., Minister of Health, Culture, Environment and Housing.

The rebrand included a new simplified logo, an updated color palette, new contemporary typeface, with an improved website experience in the works for 2021.

The cost to DEH for the addition to their fleet is as follows:

(4) 25 yard Residential Rear Loader Garbage trucks (Freightliner)) – CI$897,871.00 actual spend; (CI$224,467.64 ea x 4)
(1) Small 11 yard Residential Rear Loader Garbage trucks (Freightliner) – CI$160,032.85
(2) 40 yard Front End Loader Garbage Trucks (Macs) – CI$558,522.05 (CI$279,261.03 ea x 2)
(1) Grapple Truck (Medium sized) – CI$226,083.13
(2) Roll on/ Roll off [Hook Lifts] – CI$351,666.25; (CI$178,833.13 ea x 2)
(1) Side loader Garbage truck – (this will be returned to the supplier because of wrong specifications delivered at no cost the Cayman Islands Government.)


CAL’s second Max 8 completes maintenance flight

Photo of a Cayman Airways airplane on a runway.

Photo of a Cayman Airways airplane parked on a runway.

Photo of an airplane taking off of a runway.

Photo of a Cayman Airways airplane parked on a runway.

Photo of a plane flying in a blue sky.

On Tuesday August 18, 2020, Cayman Airways Limited (CAL) successfully completed a scheduled maintenance flight for its second Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, VP-CIX. The flight was a necessary part of the airline’s maintenance program for its Max 8 fleet, as specified by the Manufacturer, and lasted approximately one hour from take-off to landing at Owen Roberts International Airport (ORIA) on Grand Cayman.

Approved by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands (CAACI), the flight was conducted at approximately 41,000 feet, looping between Grand Cayman and the Sister Islands, with Captain Steven Coe and Captain Perry Panton in command. Cayman Airways and Boeing engineers were monitoring the aircraft’s operating data remotely throughout the flight, and the aircraft completed the flight with flying colours.

VP-CIX has not conducted any commercial flights since its March 2019 delivery due to the global grounding of the aircraft type shortly after its arrival in Cayman. The aircraft will soon be ferried to Victorville, CA, to have some required Boeing modifications accomplished prior to the anticipated un-grounding of Max 8 aircraft later, in accordance with the manufacturer’s Return To Service (RTS) plans, which will be subject to final approval by various regulatory authorities across the world.


Police Hold Crime Prevention Workshop for Security Officers, 19 August

Photo of The RCIPS Community Policing Unit and Security Officers at National Security Services Limited.The RCIPS Community Policing Unit delivered the first Crime Prevention Workshop for 2020 to Security Officers at National Security Services Limited last week. The workshop spanned five days and was facilitated by Sergeant Cornelius Pompey and Constable Christopher Donaldson. The workshop was divided into three main categories: the role of security officers, crime prevention through environmental design and robbery awareness.

Sergeant Pompey, who initiated the workshop, says the intent is to conduct the workshop again for other local businesses and community groups. “The workshop provides participants with pertinent information and training to enable them to manage their personal safety needs, to safeguard life and property, and to better equip them with information that is vital to their day-to-day lives,” says PS Pompey.

“The RCIPS was able to raise the awareness of crime prevention though this five-day training and I look forward to continuing this with other entities,” added PC Donaldson, echoing PS Pompey’s sentiments.

Acting Superintendent Brad Ebanks for Uniform and Specialist Operations, offered his appreciation to the Community Policing Unit for taking this initiative to a higher level. Speaking at the short ceremony, he urged the participants to be vigilant at all times. “Unfortunately, crime does happen and the police cannot combat this alone. Your training over the past week will further assist you in your professional development, and we are confident that building this partnership will assist the RCIPS in the reduction and detection of crime in our islands,” A/Supt Ebanks said.

Managing Director of National Security Services Limited, Wayne Bellefonte, thanked the police for the knowledge imparted to his employees. “I am extremely grateful for this training and look forward to a unified approach between the RCIPS and the Security Officers in fighting crime in these islands.”

The Community Policing Unit will be involved in similar workshops in the near future with various security services and businesses. If you are interested in organising a Crime Prevention Workshop for your business, contact PS Pompey at 917-8044, or contact your local community officer.


HSA advises the public to continue testing for COVID-19 with launch of new online booking system

Photo of a sign outside stating "COVID testing clinic, (appointment only)" with an arrow pointing towards the clinic.

Photo of a doctor giving a patient a COVID nasal swab test.

Photo of a doctor drawing blood from a patient.

 

The Health Services Authority (HSA) has launched an online appointment booking tool for the public to schedule their free COVID-19 screening test with results delivered by secure email directly to the patient. Testing is by appointment only and must be made 48 hours in advance.

A dedicated COVID-19 testing clinic is now located at the George Town General Practice Clinic.

“With the economy reopening and people interacting more regularly it is vital that we continue to screen for COVID-19 so we can safeguard our community,” said Dr. Eryka Simmons, Clinical Head of General Practice Services at the HSA. “We want to ensure that all members of the public have access to COVID-19 screening so we have been streamlining and improving our processes to make it easier and more convenient for people to book an appointment.

All persons screened will receive results via email within approximately 24 hours starting week commencing 17th August. As an added benefit, all persons being screened are also enrolled into the free MyHSA Patient Portal which provides 24 hour secure access to your health information as well as other convenient features.”

While the Cayman Islands has not recorded a positive COVID-19 test result since 13 July, HSA is advising the public of the importance of continuous testing to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19 cases and maintaining an open economy.

“We encourage people to be prudent and proactive by continuing to practice the international COVID-19 prevention measures such as social distancing, washing their hands, wearing masks, as well as taking advantage of the tests available that screens for the virus and its antibodies,” said Dr. Simmons.

The HSA uses the polymerise chain reaction (PCR) test for COVID-19 screenings, which is able to detect if someone is presently infected by the COVID-19 virus and the immunoglobulin (IgG) test that determines whether a person has had COVID-19 in the past and now has antibodies against the virus.

Both tests are available to members of the public at the HSA, free of cost. Anyone may register to be tested for COVID-19 or IgG antibodies as part of the ongoing national screening programme.

The HSA is also offering onsite IgG antibody testing to organisations with at least 20 persons.

“You could have had COVID-19 and not be aware of it because not everyone who gets the virus shows symptoms. The antibody test will give health officials a better idea of how common the virus has been in Cayman and will provide valuable information for informed decisions,” explained Dr. Simmons.

To self-register for the COVID-19 screening, persons can book an appointment directly online at www.hsa.ky/Appointment/. To register for antibody testing contact antibodyscreening@hsa.ky.


Ministry Provides Update on Financial Services at Economic Forum

Photo of Financial Services Minister Tara Rivers, smiling in front of the Cayman Islands flag.The Ministry of Financial Services participated in the 2020 Chamber of Commerce Economic Forum and updated members of the Cayman Islands business community on recent developments within Cayman’s financial services sector on Friday, 14 August.

Financial Services Minister Tara Rivers addressed attendees of the virtual conference on the theme of “Opportunities for Growth”.

She also participated on a panel, joined by Michelle Bahadur, the Director for the Department of Financial Services Policy and Legislation within the Ministry, on future financial services considerations for Cayman. Representatives from the Strategic Economic Advisory Council, the Blockchain Association of the Cayman Islands and Cayman Finance also were on the panel.

In her remarks, Minister Rivers spoke on the progress being made to commence the operational aspects of the jurisdiction’s virtual assets service providers (VASPs) regime.

‘The Ministry, with input from the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA), is currently working on regulations to operationalise the VASPs regime. CIMA is also working on an action plan to address the implementation of the VASP-related laws and its various regulations. The implementation plan will focus on resourcing and building a risk-appropriate supervisory framework. An industry consultation on these enhancements will commence shortly,’ Minister Rivers said.

Minister Rivers went on to announce Government’s intention to create a new regime governing corporate restructuring.

‘The Ministry is making great strides in finalising commercial enhancements to the Companies Law. These enhancements, which will introduce a new Restructuring Officer regime, have been met with strong support and agreement from industry, the judiciary and CIMA, acting in their respective roles. We expect to bring forward the amendments by the end of this year,’ she said.

Aside from virtual assets and corporate restructuring, Minister Rivers spoke on sustainable finance from a Cayman context; progress made to address the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes; and the Financial Action Task Force re-rating of Cayman’s anti-money laundering, countering the financing of terrorism and counter proliferation financing regime.

She also spoke about the effectiveness of local and international engagement with key stakeholders, which, for example, has influenced the reporting on the Cayman Islands in the US State Department’s International Narcotics Control Strategy Reports.

This year’s Economic Forum featured presentations by the Deputy Premier and the Minister for District Administration, Tourism and Transport, the Hon. Moses Kirkconnell; the Minister for Finance and Economic Development, Roy McTaggart; and the Minister for Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure, Joey Hew. Caribbean economist Marla Dukharan was the keynote speaker.


CUC Base Rate Increase Deferred to 2021 due to COVID-19

In accordance with the Rate Cap Adjustment Mechanism (“RCAM”) contained in Caribbean Utilities Company, Ltd.(CUC’s) Transmission & Distribution (“T&D”) Licence issued in April 2008, CUC was allowed to increase its base rates by 6.6% effective June 1st 2020. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Company and the Utility Regulation and Competition Office (“OfReg”) have agreed to defer the rate increase and recovery of related lost revenues until January 2021.

As a result, customers will continue to see low electricity rates through 2020 and only a marginal increase in the energy charge component of their bills for January 2021 electricity consumption billed in early February 2021. With their July billings (distributed in early August), customers would have experienced a 37% reduction in the Fuel Cost Charge since the beginning of the year which represents a $48.60 or 20% monthly bill reduction on the average residential consumption of 1,000 kiloWatt hours(kWh).

As per Condition 25 of the T&D Licence, the RCAM is based on a formula, which incorporates readily available external data to determine a relevant Inflation Factor or Price Level Index. This consists of a weighted average of 60% of the change in the Cayman Islands Consumer Price Index (“CI CPI”) and 40% of the change in the United States of America Consumer Price Index (“US CPI”), (with both indices adjusted to remove the effects of prices of food and fuel) as reported by independent authorities for the 2019 calendar year.

The COVID-19 shelter-in-place order has had, and continues to have, a significant impact on the Grand Cayman economy and the related decreased energy demand has affected CUC’s financial performance as reflected in the recently released financial results for the three months ended June 30, 2020 (“Second Quarter 2020” or “Q2 2020”).

Electricity sales for Q2 2020 were 4% lower than sales for the same period in 2019. CUC’s earnings were also 43% or $3.4 million lower when compared to same period in 2019.

For the six months ended June 30, 2020, CUC invested US$30 million in capital expenditures in order to ensure reliability of the grid.

President and CEO of CUC, Mr. Richard Hew, stated that, “We are pleased to reach an agreement with OfReg to defer any customer rate increase until 2021. CUC is well aware that if effected in accordance with our Licences, an increase of base rates in June may have been difficult for many of our customers to bear, thus the submission to OfReg to delay the implementation date. CUC’s ability to absorb lost revenues while facing increasing costs speaks to the financial stability of the Company at the outset of this pandemic. The ability to recover revenues in the future is necessary to maintain that financial stability and to meet the Company’s ongoing obligations to invest in infrastructure and provide a safe, reliable and sustainable electricity service.”

CUC will continue to assist customers with reducing their bills through energy conservation and by offering extended payment plan options to those in need until the end of next month.

For more information about the terms of the CUC T&D Licence, the Rate Cap Adjustment Mechanism, the Energy Smart programme or the Utility Regulation and Competition Office (OfReg), please visit the CUC or the OfReg websites at www.cuc-cayman.com or www.ofreg.ky


CIMPA Announces 2020 Scholarship Recipient

The Cayman Islands Marketing Professionals Association (CIMPA) is pleased to announce Rosita Ritch as the second annual recipient of its CI$5,000 scholarship to support local students with an interest in marketing or other related field.

CIMPA Chair Julian Foster says the non-profit is proud to support Ms. Ritch’s educational goals.

“Rosita’s drive to succeed, academic performance and demonstrated commitment to marketing made her application stand out,” he says. “

Having recently completed her associate’s at the University College of the Cayman Islands, Rosita is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Business Management (Marketing). Eventually she hopes to achieve a master’s in Business Communication and Marketing. 
 
Now in its second year, the CIMPA scholarship was established to help cultivate the next generation of leaders in the marketing industry and related fields. To eliminate any potential for bias, all applications were submitted anonymously to the Scholarship Evaluation Committee for scoring.

“Once again, our Committee was impressed by the high standard of the applications received. Particularly given the impacts of COVID-19 and the uncertainty many students are facing,” Mr Foster says.

The 2021 CIMPA Scholarship application period will open next year in May.