Archive for September 2nd, 2009

Have you seen this man?

| 02/09/2009 | 49 Comments

(CNS): The RCIPS has released the photo of Royce Leon Cornwall, who is wanted in connection with a number of serious offences involving firearms, and is asking the public to help them find him. Police say 28-year-old Cornwall is thought to still be in the Cayman Islands and may be receiving assistance from friends. Members of the public are advised not to approach Cornwall if they see him, but report any sightings to police immediately. Chief Inspector Peter Kennett said, “We want to locate this man as soon as possible and would welcome any assistance from the public.”

Kennett also took the opportunity to remind people that it is a criminal offence to harbour or assist an offender and asked anyone with information about his whereabouts to contact police without delay.

On speaking about the decision to release Cornwall’s picture to the public, the Police Commissioner David Baines said that the RCIPS will useall means necessary to apprehend suspected criminals.

Anyone with information on Cornwall’s whereabouts should inform the police immediately. 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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Traffic diversion in Bodden Town

| 02/09/2009 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Vehicles travelling towards George Town from the Eastern Districts are currently being diverted onto the bypass next to the police station following a two vehicle collision which occurred in the vicinity of Bodden Town Primary School. Police say a number of people sustained injuries in the collision. 4 people with minor injuries have been taken to hospital. Police are currently on the scene. Drivers are asked to approach the area with caution and follow all diversion signs in place.

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RCIPS leak an accident

| 02/09/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Following the conclusion on Tuesday morning of the Crown’s opening statement, the jury heard from Lyndon Martin’s defence attorney Trevor Burke, QC, for the first time. He pointed out that, despite the Crown’s claims, Martin had believed the allegations to be true when he made them. In a long day of testimony the court heard from the Crown’s first witness that sensitive police information had been accidentally revealed to the press due to an error in e-mail distribution by the RCIPS press office. The court also heard that the Cayman Net News desk editor was unable to reveal who had altered news articles before publication.

After several hours in which prosecuting attorney Andrew Radcliffe, QC, had described to the jury why the allegations Martin made against Deputy Police Commissioner Ennis could not be true, in a short response his attorney Burke pointed out this was not what the jury was asked to decide. Burke said it was not necessary for the jury to determine that Ennis was or was not the “moleor the source” of a leak to Cayman Net News. He said they only had to decide whether or not the defendant believed it to be possible.

“When Lyndon Martin made the complaints to the RCIPS he genuinely believed that Ennis was the source of the information coming to Net News,” Burke pointed out to the court.

Following his short comment, the first Crown prosecution witness, Deborah Denis, the press liaison officer for the RCIPS, took the stand and related the circumstances under which police Gold Command meeting minutes (senior police) had been accidently released to the media.

How the police were handling complaints about a judge’s weapons cache in his bedroom and meetings with the auditor general, among other issues, had been covered in the minutes, which were emailed in error to individual members of the press. Denis explained how it had happened and that it was an administrative mistake over which she was mortified and had offered to resign – an offer which was rejected.

She gave details of who had accidently received the emails and how she had immediately recalled the Gold Command minutes and then attempted to contact as many people as possible to explain what had happened. She revealed that Lyndon Martin had not received a copy but said the minutes had gone to a general email at Cayman Net News, to which the Crown suggested Martin had access.

 The defence asked Denis how the minutes were laid out and also asked if someone had not seen the email but just printed pages of the minutes, what they would see. She confirmed that they would not see a date or title or who was at the meeting.

Moving on to stories in Cayman Net News about the purchase of the police helicopter, Denis told the court that she had engaged in an email conversation with John ,a reporter at Net News, over a story he had written about it. Denis said Evans told her it had been changed by his boss, Desmond Seales,after he had filed the article for editing. He said a line had been added to the story to say that Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan was going to be the pilot of the helicopter, which Evans said he had been unable to confirm and did not believe was true. Denis said that Evans told her he believed the story had been changed because of information coming to his ”boss” (Desmond Seales) from inside the RCIPS.

Denis then told the jury that the police commissioner had asked her to find out who was the source of the false information being given to Net News over the helicopter.  She explained that when she met John Evans for another matter a few days after the email conversation, the issue came up and she asked him who it was. She said he had told her it was Anthony Ennis. She confirmed that all of this had taken place in August.

The defence noted that Kernohan was therefore already aware of suspicions regarding Ennis and Seales from another source other than Lyndon Martin. The second witness of the day was Paul Charles, the desk editor at Net News, who revealed that although he had copy edited John Evans’ piece about the helicopter, he had not made any changes. The court heard that Charles did not know how the line about Kernohan flying it had got there or who wrote it into the story, despite the fact his job was desk editor.

When Burke questioned him about his knowledge of the workings of Cayman Net News, where he had worked for almost five years, he could not answer many questions. Asked if his boss Desmond Seales had a printer in his office, Charles said he did not know. Asked if Seales had several phones, one of which was an internet phone, Charles said he did not know for sure what the phones were. Asked who edited the pieces after him, he said he did not know nor, he said, did he know where his boss kept sensitive information, although he did acknowledge he did seem to have sensitive information from sources.

Charles confirmed that Seales had a number of sources which he ordinarily kept to himself, but that when he was in dispute with the former tourism minister, Charles Clifford, over his bill to Cayman Airways Ltd  (CAL), Seales had exposed Clifford as being the source of a leak when he was a civil servant, which ultimately led to a scandal and the Tucker enquiry. Charles also confirmed that a disparaging story had been run in Cayman Net News about the CEO of CAL after he had pressed Seales to pay his bills to the airline.  

Burke asked Charles if he had discussed his appearance as a witness in this case with Seales, and he answered he had not. Questioned about his status, he confirmed he still worked at Cayman Net News and was on a work permit, and when asked by Burke if he depended on Seales for that he agreed.

Following Charles came John Evans,  a former reporter at Net News and a key witness as he also entered the offices of Net News on the evening in September 2007 in an attempt to find the evidence that Martin alleged existed of Ennis and Seales’ corrupt relationship. Evans began his evidence by explaining the geography of the Net News offices before the court was adjourned. Evans will take the stand again at 10 o’clock this morning.

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London’s mayor condemns hedge fund plans

| 02/09/2009 | 21 Comments

(BBC): EU plans to regulate hedge funds are a "blatant attack" on London’s role as an international financial centre, the mayor of the city has said. Boris Johnson added that suspicions ministers in Paris and Berlin were using the proposals to deliberately target London were "not unfounded". Mr Johnson fears plans to require hedge funds to be more open will drive many to relocate outside the EU. He visits Brussels later to lobby for a draft European directive to be changed. Hedge funds use sophisticated, complex investing strategies to make returns, even when markets are falling. Under the EU plans, they would be required to be more open and their ability to borrow would be limited.

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Bankruptcy threat brings concept of taxes to Cayman

| 02/09/2009 | 82 Comments

(The Guardian): The white sands of SevenMile Beach on Grand Cayman have long caressed the toes of the world’s wealthiest financiers, who flock to this balmy spit to avoid the taxman’s prying eyes. But the world’s biggest hedge-fund venue and fifth-biggest bank centre is now threatened, as the government heads for bankruptcy — unable to pay its own staff and facing the prospect of introducing taxes as income from the world’s shrunken financial system collapses. The situation is about to get worse after the British government, last week refused to bail out the Caribbean idyll.

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Erika peters out off coast of Leeward Islands

| 02/09/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS): A disorganized Tropical Storm which had formed in the Atlantic on Tuesday evening was weakening this morning (Wednesday 2  September) as it approached the Leeward Islands, the National Hurricane Centre said. Forecasters stated that sustained winds have decreased to near 45 mph and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 120 miles mainly to the northeast of the centre. The NHC said that while little change in strength is expected today some re-strengthening is possible tomorrow.

At 8:00am AST the centre of tropical storm Erika was located about 160 miles east-southeast of the Leeward Islands moving at near 7 mph though the NHC said it was likely to speed up as it passes near or over the Leeward Islands during the next day or so. Erika is expected to produce total rainfall of two to four inches over the northern Leeward Islands during the next couple of days with possible isolated maximum amounts of 6 inches.

Currently the storm is predicted to head towards the Bahamas and poses no current threat to the Cayman Islands.

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Jack exerts power over PAC

| 02/09/2009 | 20 Comments

(CNS): In the wake of announcements by Ezzard Miller, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman, that he has proposed changes to the Standing Orders governing the release of the auditor general’s reports, Governor Stuart Jack has made it clear that those changes require his approval. Jack said that while he welcomed the work being done under Miller, he looked forward to receiving the PAC’s proposals for change. Meanwhile, Miller told CNS that he was “tickled” that the governor was now taking an interest in the work of the committee.

In his blog featured on the governor’s office website, Jack writes that the PAC and the auditor general’s reports provide important checks and balances, so their prompt and unfettered publication is fundamental to good governance. He writes that he welcomes efforts to tidy up the process of releasing the reports and the process by which PAC examines them in a timely fashion. The governor acknowledges that the Standing Orders of the LA over the issue do not seem clear and need reviewing. Jack also notes that under the Constitution, both old and new, any changes to the Standing Orders of the Legislative Assembly require his approval. The governor went on to say that he had suffered some reservations about the possible changes.

“One aspect of this did, however, worry me a bit,” he blogged. “There were suggestions that AG reports no longer be published as soon as he delivers them to the LA, but only at the same time as the PAC issues its report on the same subject.”  Jack said the immediate publication of AG reports had been a major improvement in transparency and accountability of government, only adopted in 2006.

“I would not want any further change to suggest that transparency is being reduced and therefore give rise to any – hopefully baseless – fears on the part of the public that politicians might be tempted to delay a report for reasons of political convenience,” the governor stated. He added that while it was for the PAC to determine its own working methods, any major changes would require his say so. “Auditor general reports are fundamental pillars of good governance in the Cayman Islands, and therefore this is a legitimate matter for a Governor to take a close interest in,” he said.

On hearing about the governor’s blog, Miller explained to CNS that he had asked the elected government to consider his proposals to formalise the way reports are processed, which he noted did indeed require a change to standing orders and he was very pleased that the governor was keeping up with issues concerning the committee.

“The governor has the constitutional authority to accept or reject anything that I propose, in my opinion, to improve the situation with PAC. I am tickled that the governor has taken a new found interest in the functions of the Public Accounts Committee,” he added.

During his recent presentations to the Legislative Assembly about his proposed changes Miller had indicated that he had been threatened by the governor with regard to his authority on changes to Standing Orders. The PAC chair and independent MLA for North Side had in turn made it clear that he was less than impressed with the governor’s previous position on PAC. He noted Jack’s reluctance to force the previous PAC to address the serious delay in the production of government accounts, especially given how important the governor said that good governance was to the Cayman Islands.

The governor wrote on his blog that he looked forward to receiving the PAC’s proposals for the changes to the Standing Orders governing AG reports.

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