Archive for April 15th, 2009

Possible link in shootings

| 15/04/2009 | 8 Comments

(CNS): Police are investigating the possibility of a link between two shooting incidents in George Town that occurred within a 12-hour period, for which three people have been arrested. No injuries occurred in either incident. The first incident occurred at around 8:30 pm Tuesday night, 14 April. Police were alerted to a report of shots being fired in the Maple Road area. The second incident occurred at around 7:30 am Wednesday morning,15 April, when police received reports of shots fired in the Myles Road area of George Town.

In both incidents, police responded to the scene and found evidence that shots had been fired in the area but no-one had been injured. The scenes were secured and processed by scenes of crime officers.

“We are taking these incidents extremely seriously,” said Acting Chief Superintendent Marlon Bodden. “We are thankful that no-one was injured in either incident and are putting all our available resources into bringing those involved to justice.” Bodden confirmed that the police are investigating the possibility that these two incidents could be linked, but stressed that it is early days and officers must keep an open mind.

Three people have been arrested in connection with these incidents. They remain in police custody at this time.

Anyone with information about these incidents is urged to contact George Town CID
on 949-4222. All information received will be treated in the strictest of confidence. People
can also call Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS). All persons calling Crime Stoppers
remain anonymous, and are eligible for a reward of up to $1000, should their information
lead to an arrest or recovery of property/drugs.

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Saudis ‘to regulate’ child brides

| 15/04/2009 | 1 Comment

(BBC): Saudi Arabia says it plans to start regulating the marriage of young girls, amid controversy over a union between a 60-year-old man and a girl of eight. A court in Unaiza upheld the marriage on condition the groom does not have sex with her until she reaches puberty. Justice Minister Muhammad Issa said his ministry wanted to put an end to the "arbitrary" way in which parents and guardians can marry off underage girls. But he did not suggest the practice would be abolished. Human-rights groups oppose such marriages, which they say are often motivated by poverty.

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Butterfield supports First Baptist art programme

| 15/04/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Butterfield Bank (Cayman) Limited recently presented the First Baptist Christian School with a sponsorship of $5,000 toward the FRCS’s art programme, which ranges from music to drama. Butterfield is an avid supporter of arts in the Cayman Islands. “Arts and music are an integral part of a child’s learning and education, and we are pleased to support this programme at our local school,” said Butterfield’s Rebecca Ebanks.

“All children at the school are given time for drawing, painting and construction, using a wide variety of techniques and materials. This encourages them to be aware of the visual environment and their relationship to it,” said Dr Linda Cross, Principal of FBCS. “We are very grateful to Butterfield for their sponsorship of our art programme, which will help fund the purchase of new art equipment.”

Photo: Dr. Linda Cross (centre left) and Butterfield’s Rebecca Ebanks with two of FRCS’s young students receive Butterfield’s sponsorship.

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Reef Report on restoration

| 15/04/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Florida Aquarium’s Reef Restoration Project and educational programs will be the topic at the second Reef Report presented by the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) and hosted by the Cracked Conch. The presentation, entitled “Growing Reefs One Piece at a Time”, will take place on Thursday April at 7:30pm, following a welcome and complimentary beverage reception at 7:00 pm. The guest speaker will be Craig A. Watson, the Vice President of Research and Conservation for the Florida Aquarium’s Board of Directors.

Watson also has an affiliation with the University of Florida, and has been developing a relationship with the Veterinary Department at St. Matthews University and CCMI.

Guests at the Reef Report will also be updated on the 2009/2010 educational initiatives that have been undertaken by CCMI, including Ocean Literacy, a program to increase the overall understanding of the important links between our lives and the water that surrounds us all.

Anyone interested in attending the lecture should contact Kellie at 949-1938 or . For more information on CCMI, please see

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Six Rotary essay finalists

| 15/04/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Rotary Club of Grand Cayman have announced today the six finalists of their essay competition, entitled Adventures in Citizenship. The competition, now in its forth year, promotes the interest and understanding of local citizenship. The contest was open to all high school juniors in both public and private schools in the Cayman Islands. This year, entries were received from John Gray High School, Cayman Brac High School, Triple C High, Cayman Prep, St Ignatius, and Cayman International, representing all high schoolsin the Cayman Islands.

Finalists for the 2009 Adventures in Citizenship essay contest, in alphabetical order, are:

Jordyn Taylor Williams St Ignatius Catholic School
Malcolm Hurlstone Cayman Brac High School
Max Parton Cayman Prep School
Melanie Bush Cayman International School
Shantal Martika Miller Triple C School
Sheyla Torres John Gray High School

All six finalists are invited to various government functions to learn and understand protocol and procedures, including lunch with Governor Stuart Jack, a meeting with Secretary to the Cabinet, visit with the Chief Justice, tour of the Legislative Assembly by the Speaker, and watching the weekly Cabinet press conference.

An overall grand prize winner will be announced on Thursday, 24 April, at the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman’s weekly luncheon meeting at The Westin Casaurina Resort. At that time, the six finalist will receive an electronic copy of the Encycolpdia Encarta compliments of Massive Equipment Rentals and the overall winner of the Adventures in Citizenship essay competition will be presented with a laptop computer courtesy of Royal Bank of Canada.

For more information on the Adventures in Citizenship program, please contact Isy Obi at

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RCIPS Commissioner candidates line up

| 15/04/2009 | 43 Comments

(CNS): Update 5:00 pm: A staff member of the Public Affairs office of the Savannah-Chatham Metro Police has confirmed that their Police Chief Michael Berkow (left) is in the running for the position of Police Commissioner in the Cayman Islands, though she told CNS, when asked to confirm that he had applied for the job, that rather he had been approached by someone from the Cayman Islands, but declined to say who that person was. In 2005, the former head of the Los Angeles Police Department’s internal affairs unit faced a sexual harassment law suit by female LAPD officer Ya-May Christle, and while the suit was dismissed, she was awarded $1 million in damages from the LAPD for retaliating against her for bringing the suit.

Also on the shortlist  is female Detective Superintendent with the British Transport Police Ellie Bird; Richard Cullen, Head of the Probation Area Co-ordination Unit in the Home Office; and Cheshire’s Assistant Chief Constable David Baines, to whom CNS offers a sincere apology as he is not the Baines facing an enquiry over a potential wrongful murder conviction as stated earlier.

Along side these candidates is the current Acting Commissioner James Smith, who failed to secure the position when he interviewed in 2005, and Richard Brunstrom, the Chief Constable of North Wales.

Following the revelations yesterday by CNS that Brunstrom, who has been dubbed the “Mad Mullah of the Traffic Taliban” because of his campaign against speeding motorists, had made the list, it has now been revealed that Berkow who is currently serving with the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan (Georgia) Police faced a law suit by a long serving female officer from the LAPD.

Ya-May Christle had served seventeen years when she claimed she was demoted after complaining that Berkow had been giving female officers preferential treatment in exchange for sexual favours. The suit was dismissed by Superior Court Judge Haley Fromholz, who said he did not find enough evidence that the Berkow, who was a deputy chief at the time, had discriminated against five officers.

Depositions given to the court, which were opened after the Los Angeles Times filed a motion to request that the sealed document be made public, revealed that Berkow had been involved with a fellow female sergeant officer but had denied that he promoted her or was directly involved in her supervision.

In the deposition, Michael Berkow, who is married, said he met Sgt. Andrea Balter in 2003 and had sex with her over the next three years. Until January 2005, she worked for theinternal affairs division as an advocate, a kind of internal prosecutor handling police misconduct cases, including those involving inappropriate sexual relationships.

Christie, though the sexual harassment suit was dismissed, was awarded more than $1 million in damages after a jury found that the LAPD retaliated against her for complaining about Berkow. They rejected Christie’s claims that she was the victim of racial discrimination and that her protections under the Peace Officers Bill of Rights were infringed upon.

Aside from this most recent claim, Berkow has reportedly been named in at least six suits.

Meanwhile, besides sending Christmas cards to crime suspects reminding them that the police are watching, David Baines is a scuba diver  and is not the UK police officer also named David Baines who is at the centre of a growing controversy of an old murder case as reported in The Times on 26 February. 

Ellie Bird, who has 26 years service and is Vice President of the British Association for Women in Policing, has worked in uniform, detective and headquarters roles as well as Operations Superintendent on London Underground. Bird who was reportedly placed on the list after a Canadian candidate allegedly dropped out also has experience in policing child abuse and domestic violence investigations, as well as public protection and serious crime. In a recent article for international women’s day she noted there was still a long way to go regarding gender abuse. “Many people still believe discrimination, physical, mental and sexual abuses are no longer significant issues affecting millions of women across the world – clearly we still need to educate,” she said.

Richard Cullen a former Chief Superintendent with the Metropolitan Police and now serving as Head of the Probation Area Co-ordination Unit in the Home Office, learned to dive in 2007 for a charity event. He has also been something of a TV personality following his involvement in a BBC documentary which aimed to discover who killed Rasputin. An academic, Cullen previously  served as the director of training and development at the UK police training college in Hendon and has trained officers overseas, including Russia. He has written a number of publications regarding frontline leadership.

Given that the Acting Commissioner is only on contract until June and most senior officers would require a notice period of two months, it is anticipated that an announcement as to who will be taking up the top cop job with the RCIPS will be made very soon. The vacancy for the senior RCIPS post came in the wake of the suspension of three senior police officers followed by the dismissal of Commissioner Stuart Kernohan. Acting Commissioner Smith was the third man in post since March 2008 when it was revealed that a Special Police Investigation Team (SPIT) from Scotland Yard was in the Cayman Islands investigating alleged corruption in the RCIPS and the judiciary.

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Chamber opens debate

| 15/04/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS):  With candidates on the campaign trail so far only presenting their own positions, the real debate finally begins this week when the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce starts its candidates’ forum in East End this evening. Throughout April, Wil Pineau, the Chamber CEO, will chair the forums in each of the districts where questions submitted by the electorate will be placed before the candidates, forcing them to address the issues that concern the voters. (Left Sandra Catron and Gilbert McLean face off at the 2005 forum)

Candidates will be encouraged to discuss the national, business and district concerns in front of the local audiences and face the real questions in a debate format, giving votersthe opportunity to decide for themselves who has the answers and who does not. Pineau said that this is the sixth election where the Chamber has offered this public service and it is the only platform where candidates are engaged in an open debate with each other.

“This is the only opportunity where the electorate gets to hear the different positions of the candidates from the same platform during the campaign,” he said. “We encourage the candidates to respond to each other’s answers and debate the questions that are put before them. Every single candidate has been invited and we hope that they will all attend.”

Closely guarding the questions that will be put before the candidates during this year’s eleven forum events, Pineau explained that at each of the district meetings the questions will differ slightly as there are specific issues relevant in each of the different constituencies.   

The forums will be broadcast live and everyone is invited along to hear the candidates make their case for the people’s vote. In the past, the chamber debates have thrown some interesting topics into the arena for discussion, from trade unions to the impact of the status grants on Cayman society. At the 2005 most of the candidates welcomed the forums and said they had forced them to think on their feet.

They have also placed on the record some interesting opinions from familiar political candidates.  In George Town, for example, Ellio Solomon, who was at the time was campaigning as an independent, said that the United Democratic Party government, the party of which he is now a member, had “unfortunately sacrificed democracy".

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