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Direct taxation has been ruled out for The Cayman Islands, according to a report from an independent economic commission published this week.

The Miller Report was commissioned by the Cayman Islands government at the request of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In the fourth quarter of 2009, the FCO requested that the Cayman government appoint an independent external commission to undertake a detailed economic assessment of the impact of changes in revenue sources. The report also examines changes in spending and public sector entitlements that would ensure the long term fiscal and economic health of the Cayman Islands. The Miller Commission's conclusion highlights the need to cut public sector spending and emphasizes that the introduction of direct taxation to the islands is not a viable option.

The Government is denying that it hired a US-based law firm Manatt, Phelps and Phillips to provide advice on existing treaty agreements between Jamaica and the US government.

In a statement last Thursday, Prime Minister Bruce Golding continued to distance his government from a contractual agreement with the law firm.

“Further to my statement in Parliament on Tuesday, I have made investigations to ascertain whether the government has had any connection with the US law firm, Manatt, Phelps and Phillips.

“He stated that this firm had represented the Government of Jamaica in various matters in the past and suggested that they could provide assistance in relation to treaty issues between Jamaica and the USA.

As United States-Jamaica relations continue to deteriorate the United States has commenced canceling visas of prominent Jamaicans.

The first visa cancelled was that of Mr. Wayne Chen the Chairman of the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), the corporate vehicle used by the Government of Jamaica to develop unused resources which lie in proximity to urban areas or which can be made into urban areas so as to stimulate economic development.

A symposium exploring homophobia in the Caribbean will be held at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) on April 8-10.

The three-day symposium, featuring presentations, speakers and debates, will be held on NSU’s campus in the Health Professions Division’sAssembly Building at 3200 South University Drive. The event is free and open to the public.

“Homophobia is a multifaceted phenomena that touches upon varying perceptions of nationalism, independence and civil rights,” said Jane Cross, director of the Caribbean law programs at NSU’s Shepard Broad Law Center and one of the organizers of the symposium. “Several Commonwealth Caribbean countries retain pre-independence sodomy laws, which remain in effect due to both constitutional provisions and social, cultural and religious attitudes. Over the last decade, discrimination and violence against gays have increasingly become a focus of human rights efforts in the region.”

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