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Cayman Islands Court of Appeal Puts Same-Sex Marriage Rights on Pause

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President of the Court of Appeal Sir John Goldring announced the stay pending the government’s appeal.

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands, Friday April 12, 2019
 On the same day two women were to
become the first same-sex couple in the Cayman Islands to get married, a Court
of Appeal stayed the High Court decision that would have made the wedding
possible.

The right given to same-sex couples to marry in the
British Overseas Territory has been suspended, pending the hearing of government’s
appeal against Chief Justice Anthony Smellie’s rewrite of the law to legalize
same-sex marriage.

The Court of Appeal handed down that decision on Wednesday, after government sought a stay to prevent the Chief Justice’s ruling – which was handed down in a challenge to the Marriage Law filed by Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden Bush after they were refused an application to wed in April 2018– from taking effect until its appeal is heard.

Vickie Bodden Bush (left) and Chantelle Day (right) had been scheduled to marry this week, reports say. (Credit: Cayman Compass)

President of the three-member panel, Sir John Goldring said the court accepted the point raised by attorney Reshma Sharma on behalf of the attorney general that there was a risk of creating a legal anomaly if same-sex couples were allowed to marry and the Chief Justice’s decision was later overturned on appeal.

He said the judges had read and considered Day’s
“moving and detailed” affidavit and was in “no doubt” of the prejudices she and
Bodden Bush faced. But, he said, there were cogent grounds for a stay to be put
in place.

The judge said the court was also conscious of the
administrative changes that may be required to give effect to Smellie’s
judgment.

“It is not without hesitation that we have
concluded that the interests of justice do require a stay in this case, pending
the decision of this court,” Justice Goldring said.

The court will hear government’s appeal at its next
sitting in August and make a decision on whether the Chief Justice’s ruling
should stand.

In his judgment delivered on April 1, the Chief
Justice ordered a rewrite of the Cayman Islands’ Marriage Law, saying that
preventing same-sex couples from accessing marriage and the suite of rights
that come with it was a clear violation of freedoms guaranteed in the
Constitution, including the right to a private and family life, the right to
freedom of conscience, and the right to freedom from discrimination.

The Chief Justice ordered that the clause in the
law that specifies marriage is reserved for heterosexual couples should be
amended to state that: “Marriage means the union between two people as one
another’s spouses.”

The government, in its appeal, maintains that the Chief
justice overstepped his powers by revising the Marriage Law directly, to create
what Sharma described as “a new species of marriage”.

But David McGrath, who was representing Day and
Bodden Bush, said government’s grounds for appeal were simply a rehash of
arguments that had been unsuccessful at trial. He said they were “totally without
merit” and had “no chance of success”, and it would be unfair to his clients to
deny them the “fruits of their judgment”.

Justice Goldring said the Alden McLaughlin-led administration did not have to prove that it had a realistic chance of success on appeal to be granted a stay. He said the government simply had to prove that it had an arguable case, which it did.

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How One Entrepreneur Weathered the Storm and is Building Back Bigger and Better

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ROSEAU, Dominica, Thursday May 23, 2019 – When Hurricane Maria, a deadly Category Five hurricane, devastated Dominica in 2017, the island coined a phrase Dominicans were determined to achieve – “Build Back Better”, and it’s at the heart of the Dominica Tours story.

In 1974,
Yvonne Armour Hill’s parents, recognized as pioneers in Dominica’s tourism
industry, founded Anchorage Limited, a tourism business which included a hotel,
a land-based tour company, and a whale watching and dive centre.

Dominica
Tours, which Armour Hill operated, coordinated the experiences of their guests.
But the hurricane destroyed three properties under the Dominica Tours umbrella,
making the tour company virtually obsolete.

Yvonne Armour Hill

Armour Hill, however, is not a quitter, and motivated by a desire to help get the entire island’s tourism industry back on its feet, she decided to rebrand and redevelop the company.

“Instead
of continuing to focus solely on our properties, we are now working on offering
a level of quality support to hoteliers and other providers in the tourism
industry to enhance the integrity of their products and services,” she said.
“And our focus is on promoting the Nature Isle experience.”

Even
after a natural disaster as destructive as Hurricane Maria was, Yvonne’s plan
works, because visitors to Dominica aren’t there merely for the hotels.

“We’re
the Nature Isle of the Caribbean,” Armour Hill said. “They come here to hike,
dive and experience the world’s only indigenous Kalinago territory, home to the
indigenous people of Dominica. We attract the fit and energetic, people who
want adventure and off the beaten track experiences in one of the Caribbean’s
most authentic and best kept secrets,” she said. “So, we still have a lot to
offer.”

As a
tourism and hospitality consultant, Armour Hill was well placed to provide
management support and training to hoteliers on the island. She’s been in the
industry for over 35 years, and has worked locally, regionally and
internationally, including as a consultant with the Caribbean Tourism Organization.

She
combined her industry knowledge and expertise with support from the Caribbean
Export Development Agency. Through their new Women Empowered Through Export
(WE-Xport) programme, which is designed to support Caribbean women in business
to start exporting, or increase the exports of their products and services, Armour
Hill, one experience at a time, is working to ensure Dominica is the number one
choice for nature lovers. With a firm reach in the French Caribbean islands of
Martinique and Guadeloupe and in France, she is focused on significantly
increasing the export of her services to Europe, North America and the African
Continent. And one untapped market she’s also focused on bringing in is the
diaspora – Dominicans living abroad.

“This
isn’t country specific,” she said, “But it’s definitely a market we should be
going after. We want them to revisit the natural beauty of their homeland.”

Armour
Hill is undoubtedly brimming over with ideas to help rebuild and expand
Dominica’s tourism industry, but its long-term success will be dependent on
creating a model that is sustainable. To achieve this, she has established
Ayahora, a registered non-profit, designed to support the development of
inspirational leadership institutes, which are focused on pre-primary,
Montessori education and adult skills training. The foundation promotes
sustainable development principles and practices through the delivery and
support of quality, environmentally sensitive, culturally relevant educational
programmes and initiatives.

“Ayahora’s
work will support the development of the tourism industry by helping to mould
responsible, thoughtful, good-spirited, productive global citizens,” Armour
Hill shared. “So the foundation really is looking to address the needs of the
industry in terms of the skills, and in trying to inculcate from a very early
age, sustainable development principles and practices, so that in 15, 20 years,
we have a workforce that totally and truly understands what Dominica, the
Nature Isle is trying to do.”

Armour
Hill’s plans for Dominica Tours and Ayahora exemplify Dominica’s determination
to build back better, and are a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit.

“When you suffer such devastation and loss, you have to ask yourself what’s the lesson to be learned; how can I turn this to my advantage,” Armour Hill said. “You have a choice. You can either wallow and not move on, or you can make a choice for survival.” (Caribbean Export)

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Jamaican Financial Services Provider Buying Stake in Company That’s Replacing Sagicor

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KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday May
23, 2019
– Jamaica-based
integrated financial services provider Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB)
Group Limited will own at least 20 per cent of the new entity that will be
formed when Sagicor Financial Corporation (SFC) is taken over by a
Canadian-based special purpose acquisition corporation.

A
statement from JMMB said it is investing a minimum of US$200 million to have a
stake in Alignvest Acquisition II Corporation which is set to acquire all SFC’s
shares.

Upon completion
of Alignvest’s acquisition of SFC, the two will collapse into a new single
entity, New Sagicor.

“JMMB’s
acquisition of a minority stake in New Sagicor is a major investment, and will
give JMMB a unique opportunity to participate in the future growth of a market
leader in the Caribbean insurance and asset management sectors,” the Jamaican
company, a leading broker-dealer with operations in Trinidad and Tobago and the
Dominican Republic, said.

New
Sagicor will become an associated company of JMMB Group and, as part of the
agreement; JMMB will have the right to nominate two eligible and qualified
directors to serve on the board of directors of New Sagicor. Those nominees are
initially expected to be Keith Duncan, the Group CEO of JMMB, and Archibald
Campbell, the chairman of the board of directors of JMMB Group.

Additionally,
subject to certain exclusions, JMMB will receive participation rights in future
offerings of common shares for New Sagicor, or securities convertible or
exchangeable for common shares of New Sagicor, for up to five years following
the closing of the transaction, once it continues to own at least 20 per cent
of the common shares in New Sagicor.

Duncan
said JMMB was excited about the prospects of what its stake in Alignvest will
present for JMMB.

“As a
pioneering financial institution, we are always seeking out opportunities that
will add value to our stakeholders. In that vein, we are confident that having
such a stake in a regional market leader, will auger well for the future growth
and financial performance of the JMMB Group,” he said.

President
and Chief Executive Officer of SFC Dodridge Miller said JMMB’s planned
investment was “a significant vote of confidence in the strategic direction of
Sagicor, and a strong conviction of our ability to continue to grow the company
while delivering attractive returns to shareholders”.

The closing of JMMB’s subscription is conditional on the completion of the transaction and the approval of the Toronto Stock Exchange on which Alignvest is listed.

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The Philippines Eyeing Investments in Guyana’s Sugar and Energy Sectors

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President David Granger being greeted by the new Philippine Ambassador to Guyana, Marichu Mauro.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Thursday May
23, 2019
– The Philippines’
new Ambassador to Guyana, Marichu Mauro, says her government will be looking at
possible investments in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nation’s sugar and
energy sectors.

Presenting
her letter of credence to President David Granger yesterday, she explained that
the move is part of her government’s efforts to improve bilateral relations
with Guyana, especially in the area of investments.

“The
Philippines’ sugar producers will look at possible investments in the Skeldon
Sugar Estate. This is something we can further explore….My Government admires
Guyana’s expertise in hydro electrical technology and its ability to include
local communities and other stakeholders in its development. So, we are very
interested in pursuing a corporation project in hydroelectric and hydropower
technology with Guyana,” Ambassador Mauro said.

She added
that a company in the Philippines, International Container Terminal Services,
has also expressed interest in investing in Guyana.

“We hope
it would be successful in establishing another connection between the two
countries,” the diplomat said.

On multilateral
affairs, the Ambassador said her government looks forward to working closely
with Guyana in achieving the countries’ common aspiration and shared interest
through our cooperation within the United Nations (UN) and the Non-Aligned
Movement.

President
David Granger said Guyana is grateful for the expertise of the more than 100
Filipinos working in Guyana, in a wide range of fields including education,
forestry and health. He also looks forward to continued cooperation with the
country, particularly in the areas of agriculture, commerce, environment,
fisheries and marine development.

Granger
added that the countries share a common interest in the peaceful settlement of
disputes and in ensuring respect for settled territorial and maritime
boundaries.

“Guyana
and the Philippines have founded their relations on the bases of mutual respect
for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, mutual non-interference
in each other’s internal affairs, cooperation for mutual benefit, respect for
treaties and international law and the maintenance of regional peace and
security,” the President said.

Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Guyana were established in September 2008.

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