Health officials from the United Nations have reportednearly 3 million dengue fever cases in the Americas so far for 2019. This is the most dengue cases ever reported. According to the most recent update, 2,950,824 total cases have been reported, including nearly 27,000 cases of severe dengue and 1,342 deaths. In all of 2018, 561,000 dengue cases and 340 deaths were reported. According to the World Health Organisation,dengue is one of the top 10 threats to global health, with cases of the viral disease climbing rapidly around the world in recent decades. The last record-breaking year for the Americas was 2015, when there were more than 2.4 million cases.

The government of St Maarten has signed a grant agreement with the World Bank for the reconstruction of the Princess Juliana International Airport. The Terminal Reconstruction Project will cost US$72 million and aims to restore full service at the airport, which suffered extensive damage with the passage of hurricane Irma in September of 2017. The project is a tripartite initiative that includes a $72 million grant from the St. Maarten Recovery and Reconstruction Trust Fund. This fund is financed by the government of the Netherlands and managed by the World Bank. The other two parts of the financing agreement are $50 million from the European Investment Bank and $7 million from the PJIA Operating Company. World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean, Tahseen Sayed, said“the project aims to restore the airport terminal to its pre-hurricane capacity of 2.5 million passengers per year. It also uses ‘building back better principles’ to strengthen resilience to future extreme weather events, thereby supporting continuity of services for an airport that is a critical link for regional transportation.” Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, said“Tourism is the backbone of St. Maarten’s economy, so restoring the full capacity of the airport is of vital importance to the economic recovery and development of our country.” The St. Maarten Recovery and Reconstruction Trust Fund provides grant financing and technical support, in line with the country’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan and its goals of restoring economic, community and governance infrastructure, as well as improving public services.

Alessandro Sax joins NCB with 12 years’ experience in wealth management, gained in Canada and the Cayman Islands.

NCB Financial Group subsidiary, NCB Capital Markets (Cayman) Limited, has announced the appointment of Alessandro Sax as a portfolio manager in the company’s Cayman Islands office boosting the firm’s offshore wealth management offering. Sax joins NCB with 12 years’ experience in wealth management, gained in Canada and the Cayman Islands, working for top-tier Canadian and international asset managers. He is a CFA charter holder – the gold standard in international investment designations. He has spent the last three years based in the Cayman Islands working for a Canadian banking institution, where he specialised in discretionary portfolio management and wealth creation for private clients, cash management for large companies, and advising institutional clients on tactical asset allocation. Phillip Harrison, Managing Director of NCB in Cayman, commented: “Alessandro is a highly experienced CFA who has an excellent track-record working with private clients and their families to help create and preserve wealth. “For NCB Group’s high net worth clients in Jamaica and elsewhere in the region, we can offer a first-rate offshore investment platform, based in the Caribbean’s leading international finance centre. Alessandro and the team are focused on preserving clients’ wealth over the long-term by only investing in the highest quality investments. We are delighted to bring someone of Alessandro’s calibre to the NCB team and look forward to introducing him to current and future clients in the coming months.” Sax added: “The opportunity to join a dynamic, regional institution like NCB was too good to pass up. I am looking forward to bringing our chairman, Michael Lee Chin’s, approach to wealth creation to our offshore investment clients. He and I both believe that wealth should be invested in a manner that is aligned with the principles followed by successful wealth creators themselves. When clients come to NCB, they’ll have the unique opportunity to be investing right alongside Michael. We focus on capital preservation over the long term, owning high-quality businesses bought at attractive valuations, while providing complete transparency to our clients.” He is an active member of the Cayman Islands CFA Society and a regular speaker at finance and investment-related events internationally as well as in the Cayman Islands.

Minister of Financial Services and Home Affairs, Tara Rivers has commended the government for its prudent management of the local economy. This statement was made on the second day of the Cayman Captive Forum, which took place at the The Ritz-Carlton from December 3-5. In her address, Rivers said that the Cayman government, in partnership with the Insurance Managers Association of Cayman (IMAC), is committed to ensuring that the regulatory environment will continue to be conducive to the island remaining a leading financial services jurisdiction. In reference to Financial services’ contribution to GDP, Rivers noted that the sector accounts for around half of Cayman's $4.3 billion GDP, with the inclusion of accounting and legal firms, which are counted as non financial services. Financial services companies alone contribute approximately $1.3 billion, or 30% of Cayman's GDP. Rivers commended the government’s management of the local economy, pointing out that Cayman has enjoyed a six-year budget surplus that amounted to $183.3 million in 2018. Rivers also revealed that last year the government paid down $30 million in debt. Rivers welcomed the OECD labelling Cayman as “not harmful” earlier in 2019, and stressed that everyone who conducts business in Cayman has a role to play in promoting and upholding the country’s global reputation and image.

Since the start of the year, the Cayman Islands has sent 150 samples to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to be investigated for dengue. Since the last update on November 22, 2019, 20 additional results have been received from CARPHA - confirming three new cases of dengue in Cayman. This brings the total number of confirmed dengue results (since the first locally transmitted case in October 2019), to 17locally-transmitted and nine imported cases. These three new cases had no travel history, which suggests that these persons acquired dengue within the Cayman Islands. To date, confirmed cases have been distributed between East End, George Town, West Bay and Bodden Town. Of that number, 34 persons were admitted to the Cayman Islands Hospital and Health City, Cayman Islands showing clinical symptoms that might potentially be dengue. The Public Health Department’s Surveillance Unit continues to deploy enhanced surveillance measures, working closely with government and private sector physicians to review reports of suspected dengue. For more information, contact the Public Health Department on 244-2648. For advice on mosquito control, contact MRCU on 949-2557 in Grand Cayman, or 948-2223 on Cayman Brac; and Department of Environmental Health on 949-6696 in Grand Cayman, or 948-2321 in Cayman Brac.

The Cayman Islands had been in constitutional discussions with the United Kingdom since last year because of concerns about unilateral actions of the UK Parliament in seeking to legislate for Overseas Territories. The Cayman Islands sought these discussionsbecause of a breach of convention and possible constitutional overreachin May 2018 whenthe House of Commons legislated for the British Overseas Territories in the area of domestic policy. Responsibility for domestic policy has been devolved to the territories under the terms of their respective Constitution Orders made by Her Majesty in Privy Council. The Cayman Islands sought safeguards that confirm that the Cayman Islands Government has autonomous capacity in respect of domestic affairs, and that the UK will not seek in the future to legislate, directly or indirectly for the Cayman Islands without, at a minimum, consultation with the Cayman Islands Government. Because the Constitutional Reforms have been agreed by the UK and the Cayman Islands Government and Opposition, the UK deemed it unnecessary to hold a referendum on the important but uncontroversial changes. While the content of the package of reforms have been agreed by the United Kingdom, the Cayman Islands Government and the Opposition, both the Government and the Opposition believe it is important that the people of the Cayman Islands get the opportunity to scrutinize the planned changes and to ask any questions they may have. The key documents can be found are available by clicking the links at the foot of the page. Questions and comments can be submitted by email