Archive for October 4th, 2010

Crown witness AWOL at trial

| 04/10/2010 | 8 Comments

(CNS): A trial for attempted murder due to start in the Grand Court on Monday morning was adjourned after the crown revealed its key witness and complainant in the case could not be located. The charges of attempted murder and possession of an unlicensed firearm against Justin Ramoon were also dropped and replaced with a single count of possession of an imitation firearm. The case relates to a brawl between the defendant and the complainant, allegedly involving a gun, which took place earlier this year. Ramoon has been in custody since February in relation to the original charges, which his attorney told the court the crown was never in a position to prove.

The court heard that Sven Connor, the complainant in the matter, was wanted by the police in other matters, which likely explained his absence.

Ben Tonner, who was representing Ramoon, asked for the case to proceed as his client had been in custody since February and had been anticipating the trial in order to clear his name. Tonner noted that the crown had indicated it was ready for trial at a preliminary enquiry back in August, which was now “plainly not the case”, he told the court.

The defence attorney said he had no objections to the prosecution’s request to change the charges on the indictment as it was not prejudicial to his client. However, what had been prejudicial was the fact that his client had been charged with a crime for the which the crown never had any evidence.

“My client has been in custody since February on a charge that the crown was never in a position to prove and it should not be charging people on evidence it hopes to get but on the evidence it has,’ Tonner said. He asked the court to proceed with the judge alone trial on Monday, as he said the crown’s situation was not likely to have improved by Wednesday.

The chief justice allowed the application by the prosecution for the adjournment but warned the crown that it had only until Wednesday to make its case as the defendant was in custody.

Brian Borden, who was also due to face trial on Monday in a case of wounding, was discharged after the crown offered no evidence in the case against him. The crown said the complainant no longer wished to proceed with the matter, which had occurred some three years ago.

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Car chase ends in drugs and firearms bust

| 04/10/2010 | 7 Comments

(CNS): Police found ganja and ammunition in the early hours of Sunday morning after searching a car and its occupants at the end of a high speed car chase from Rock Holeto McField Lane, the RCIPS said Monday. About 12.45am on Sunday, 3 October, the driver of a Honda Civic car refused to stop at a static police road check in Rock Hole, George Town. The car made off from police at high speed towards McField Lane. Police officers, in a marked police vehicle, began following the Civic. The officers used blue lights and sirens to signal the driver of the car to stop. The driver continued into Mary Street and then School Road, still travelling at excessive speed and overtaking other vehicles in an apparent attempt to evade the police.

As the vehicle approached the junction of School Road and McField Lane, the backlog of vehicular and pedestrian traffic caused the car to stop. Officers immediately approached the Civic and, as a result of subsequent searches of the individuals and the car, a quantity of ganja and a number of rounds of ammunition were recovered.

All three male occupants of the car, aged 21, 23 and 31 years, have been arrested on suspicion of possession and consumption of Ganja and firearms offences. They remain in police custody while enquiries are ongoing.

George Town District Commander, Chief Inspector Richard Barrow, said: “The static road check was part of our high visibility approach in the George Town area. These types of checks have two specific objectives; one is to provide a reassuring presence for the public and businesses, and the other is to detect offenders. I think it’s fair to say that this road check more than achieved those objectives. The officers carried out their duties in full compliance with the RCIPS pursuit policies. The safety of the public was, as always, of paramount importance. I commend the officers for the way they dealt with this incident.

“Our high visibility approach and random static road checks will continue throughout the George Town area. My warning to those who carry drugs, firearms or other weapons in their cars is that they, just like these three young men, will be caught.”

Anyone who has any information about the crime, or who witnessed the car travelling at speed in the Rock Hole / School Road area, is asked to contact George Town police station on 949-4222.

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TV station manager dies following surgery in US

| 04/10/2010 | 8 Comments

(CNS): CITN confirmed the death this weekend of the station manager Rick Alpert on Monday. Alpert who had recently returned from surgery in Miami dies early Saturday 2 October at the age of 60. Fifteen years ago, Rick joined CITN from Atlanta. An alumnus of the NYU film school and Emmy Awardwinning director and producer, officials from the local TV station said Alpert had left his mark on current and future broadcasters in the Cayman Islands. With a passion for broadcast, CITN said Alpert had advocated using the television medium to benefit the community. He is survived by his wife, four children, three grandchildren, his parents and sister.

Alpert was part of the creative team for the Young Caymanian Leadership Awards (YCLA), produced the post-Ivan “Raising the Roof” telethon which raised over $2 million for the National Recovery Fund, and organised Cayman 27’s annual poppy appeal and awareness campaign.

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Burglar caught thanks to cool-headed victim

| 04/10/2010 | 10 Comments

(CNS): A man was arrested last night for assault and burglary after a member of the household he had broken into called police while the incident was taking place. The RCIPS said that officers arrived within minutes and immediately detained the suspect. Just after midnight last night, police received a report that a man had broken into a house in Foremast Close, West Bay. The woman making the call stated that the burglar, who was still within the house, had pushed her mother to the floor and stolen her purse. Police immediately attended and arrested a 39-year-old man on suspicion of both burglary and assault. He remains in police custody.

The woman who had been assaulted did not require medical attention, but was left shaken by the ordeal.

Police said the calm response and quick actions of a burglary victim led to the speedy arrest. Acting Chief Inspector Frank Owens, the District Commander for West Bay, said: “The woman who reported the incident remained calm and controlled despite the very frightening circumstances. Her mother had just been assaulted but she was composed enough to make the call to 911; she knew it was important to let us know as quickly as possible what had happened to allow us to get resources to the scene. Officers arrived within minutes and immediately detained the suspect.”

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Attorneys say legal profession is corrupt

| 04/10/2010 | 5 Comments

(AP): A worldwide survey shows that lawyers in many countries think corruption has tainted their profession, with more than one in five saying they have been asked to take part in possibly shady transactions, according to results released Monday. The London-based International Bar Association said nearly half of the 642 lawyers in 95 countries it surveyed earlier this year say corruption affected lawyers in their countries — including all of the respondents surveyed in Pakistan, China and Guatemala. One in three of all lawyers surveyed said they had lost business to corrupt law firms or individuals.

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Lawyer’s ask for leniency for teen pizza robbers

| 04/10/2010 | 1 Comment

(CNS): The defence attorneys representing the four teenagers who pleaded guilty to robbing the Savannah branch of Domino’s Pizza in June this year asked the court to show mercy to their clients, who, they said, were all young and had made a foolish, if serious, mistake. At the sentencing hearing on Friday the crown said the maximum sentence for the most serious of robberies is life in prison. However, counsel guided the court towards a minimum custodial sentence of two years in this case. Lawyers for Addie Haylock, Julissa Avila, Anastasia Watson and Ariel McLaughlin said all four defendants were only 17 at the time, had admitted their guilt and cooperated with the police. They had all shown sincere remorse, apologising to the victims, their families and the community and had no previous convictions.

The crown reminded the court of the fear the two members of staff had on the day the three girls burst into the store disguised, carrying machetes and demanding cash as they declared they were committing a robbery. Using the machete to open the cash draw and discovering only coins, the teens had asked, “Where’s the cash?” They were pointed to a bank bag, which they grabbed, and ran from the store, fleeing in a white Rav 4 driven by Ariel McLaughlin.
The court heard how three of the youngsters, who were staying together in the same house, decided to commit the robbery that morning and emailed the fourth member inviting her to join in. Armed with machetes and theirfaces covered with caps and handkerchiefs, Haylock, Avila and Watson stole CI$366, a litre bottle of Coke and one of Sprite, while McLaughlin admitted joint enterprise as a result of driving the girls to the scene of the crime.
Although no one was hurt, the crown pointed to the aggravating circumstances of the robbery with the use of the machetes, as counsel directed the court to a custodial sentence. The prosecution said that a suspended or partially suspended sentence would be a departure from the chief justice’s guidelines.
In mitigation the lawyers noted the circumstances in which the youngsters had come together and become friends. Some of them shared a common connection to the six people lost at sea earlier this year. One of the young defendants had lost her brother, cousin and uncle in the incident and had been hard hit by the tragedy, social enquiry reports revealed.
The court also heard how one of the victims had suffered a "traumatic and challenging" childhood of abuse until she was 12 years old, when she was eventually placed under a protection order and taken into care. But shortly before the crime, as a result of being seventeen, the girl was abandoned by the care system and left to fend for herself.
Despite her circumstances, she had done well in school and now, like the other offenders, was a student at UCCI, where they all had been showing promise for the future. A long custodial sentence for any of them, the lawyers warned, could undermine their rehabilitation, which the defence attorney reminded the court was an important consideration of any punishment handed to young offenders.
The lawyers indicated that all four had shown considerable regret since the incident and were very well aware of the fact that what they thought was a “foolish prank” had turned out to have extremely serious consequences. For one of the young women the consequence could be even more serious than the term of imprisonment they all were likely to face. Having been awarded Caymanian status some three years via her mother, she could have her status revoked and face deportation and the subsequent separation from her home and family if she was to be given a sentence greater than 12 months.
All four defendants had submitted letters of apology, and according to social enquiry reports, were showing both remorse and sincere appreciation of the real fear suffered by the two staff members at the pizza parlour.  The defence team adopted a similar position and asked the court to consider suspending the sentences of the young offenders where possible in accordance with their age.
The judge presiding over the sentencing adjourned the hearing and remanded the teens in custody until 15 October, when he will pronounce sentence.  

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Government to protect elderly victims from abuse

| 04/10/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The minster with responsibility for community affairs said that government is taking steps to protect the community’s elderly. Government is establishing far-reaching polices to guard them from all forms of abuse and to hold family members more accountable, Mike Adam has said. In his message marking a special day for older people onFriday the minister said a key part of protecting the elderly was ensuring that the resources allocated for them went on their care as there were too many reports of seniors being victimized by dishonorable people who were pretending to assist them. He said while government was doing what it could family members were the first line of defence—and urged them to care for their older relatives.

Mike Adam’s message: International Day of Older Persons is observed across the globe on 1 October each year. In order to further honour our seniors, the Cayman Islands also designates October as Older Persons Month.  
This year as we celebrate the contribution that our seniors made to our communities, we are mindful of our immense responsibility to ensure the well-being of our older residents.
Indeed, this year’s theme, Older Persons in Economically Challenging Times,   comes against the backdrop of the financial recessions currently being encountered in many parts of the world. 
Seniors face decisions about their daily existence and long-term economic future just as everyone else does.
Undoubtedly their circumstances are made more difficult by the fact that many are no longer a part of the labour force and they must also deal with other issues associated with aging, such as health. 
Further, while some seniors still contribute in various areas of national life, there are numerous others who must rely on relatives and others to meet their physical, emotional, financial and social well-being.
Giventheir vulnerability and the difficult global economic conditions, we as a country and community must redouble our effort to care for, protect and empower our senior residents. 
 Through its agencies, my Ministry continues to assist our older residents who need financial and other forms of support, even as we strive to ensure that they enjoy proper living conditions.
We are always mindful that they deserve a quality existence during their senior years.
In keeping with this, Government will soon officially open the newly upgraded West Bay Golden Age Home which will eventually house 20 seniors and offer daycare facilities for other older persons within the community.
We will also continue to collaborate with private agencies such as the Pines to co-support those senior citizens who are in need of the quality care provided. It is against this background that we have given our wholehearted support to the current Pines expansion project.
Another important step we are taking to protect our seniors is to establish far-reaching polices to guard them from all forms of abuse and to hold family members more accountable.
A key part of senior safety involves ensuring that the resources allocated for their care, whether by government or others, are used for their intended purpose. Far too often we receive reports that seniors are being victimized by dishonorable persons who pretend to assist them. 
As I close let me remind you that servingour seniors is our collective responsibility. As government continues to do its part, family members must be the first line of defence—and then the community.
I accordingly urge family and community members to care for their older relatives and neighbours: Guide and protect them; assist in providing material needs; engage them as active members of the community. Last but not least, learn from their wisdom.
I take this opportunity to thank our seniors for the many sacrifices they made for our country and urge everyone else to personally add their thanks to my own.

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Local Rotarians launch service club for kids

| 04/10/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Rotary Central has launched Cayman’s first EarlyAct Club at Savannah Primary School where nineteen year five students have joined the group to learn about giving back to the community at an early age. Under the guidance of Emma Liggett-Cremer, one of the school’s Year 5 teachers, the club was launched last week and Rotarians hope it will be the first step towards engaging and developing young community minded leaders in the Cayman Islands. At the launch the kids considered the qualities that EarlyAct hopes to teach – caring, respect, empathy, responsibility, tolerance, citizenship, compassion, friendship and leadership. They also gave their ideas of how they might move forward with projects in school, in the community and in the wider world.

“This is certainly one of the most exciting initiatives of this year and we look forward to working with these young enthusiastic students as part of EarlyAct’s proven program,” said Wil Pineau, President of Rotary Central adding that he hoped in time there will be more EarlyAct clubs introduced throughout other schools in the Cayman Islands.
EarlyAct is a school-wide service club for elementary students from ages 5 to 13. It is typically sponsored by one of the local Rotary clubs in community of the school is located. The mission and operation of EarlyAct are closely linked to the ideals of Rotary and provide the foundation and natural succession into Interact.
“EarlyAct provides young students the opportunity for gaining an increased awareness and knowledge of their community and the world,” the EarlyAct website says. “At a young age, all students can easily be encouraged to be caring and helpful. Their minds are open to recognize the dignity and worth of each individual which builds respect for others.”

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Boss says businesses need to hire local youth

| 04/10/2010 | 4 Comments

(CNS): With unemployment reaching around ten percent among Caymanians one local business owners says he is doing what he can to recruit, train and pay local people a fair wage. Matthew Leslie the owner of Titan Security says local businesses are not giving Caymanians a fair enough chance and they need to create more opportunity for the country’s unemployed youngsters. At his company most of his 40 plus workers are Caymanians but with so many school leavers skipping higher education the job market is flooded. He receives hundreds of applications every week he said and is doing his best to give as many of them, as he can, a job.

He says with the right training and support employers can find the staff they need right here in Cayman and he is trying to set an example of how local bosses can recruit, train and employ locals instead of resorting to recruiting overseas.
“Our staff has a high percentage of employees between the ages of 18 and 35, but as a young Caymanian myself, how can I turn away a Caymanian coming in for a job that has a family to feed and needs a roof over their head?” he asked rhetorically. Leslie admits that he has gone well over his staff budget by hiring part timers for his office just to give people a chance at work. What Leslie aims to do when he takes on extra staff is encourage those working part time to look for other work or get into school and says if nothing else he tries to be a stepping stone for them.
As a people oriented business Leslie says Titan’s focus is not just on hiring but the training of the young people he takes on as some have little or no job experience. Within the next few weeks he said the company plans to undertake a major CPR/First Aid/ and AED course for all staff.  Training in Self Defence, Club Procedures, Management Skills, Conflict Resolution, Observation and Report Writing, Diversity Appreciation, Cayman Islands Law, and many other courses are provided for new staff. Although costly he hopes the employees will utilize the knowledge they gain during training.  
Aware that the industry has a reputation for paying very law salaries sometimes as little as $3.50 an hour not to mention questionable issues about people being asked to pay their own permits, Leslie says he is trying hard to fight against that reputation in the sector by paying a living wage (he believe he is one of the highest paying bosses in the business) and hiring locals as oppose to work permit holders, making sure they are well trained and ensuring the guards are not forced to work double shifts.
Despite the challenges of training inexperienced young local staff he says most just need the right training and guidance to turn them in to A-plus employees.
Admitting that the island would always need overseas workers Leslie said that the security industry could still change the view of young Caymanian workers by hiring them and giving them a proper chance. He said not enough young people are being given opportunities to secure jobs locally and he said without work many of them could give up and easily spiral into a life of crime.
 “As a business community, we can either help fix the problem or create a bigger economic mess. We will pay the price for it in the long run if we do not help provide jobs for our young people. If you are using the excuse that these young people do not have enough training well spend the money providing proper apprenticeship and training for them and you will end up saving more in the long run,” Leslie said.
Leslie said he was grateful to the businesses contracted with Titan Security because it was those businesses that helped him to keep employing Caymanians. Pushing his employment opportunity by word of mouth and Facebook, Leslie said he was confident that the company will see well over 100 staff within the next 12 months. He said he hoped to keep taking on young people training them, giving them a good salary and putting them in a job that is not only rewarding but fun at times too.
 “My guards love working the special events that we are contracted yearly to do. From Mardi Gras to Million Dollar Run and many others, we have become the company most Special Events come to for providing Security. Companies out there who support Titan Security are also supporting young Caymanians in the work force and that is a great thing to achieve,” Leslie added.
In an industry facing a number of challenges Leslie said he supported the security laws but had concerns that it would take time to get these new regulations right. However he explained the industry could do more to help itself and said he would like to see the formation of a Security Company Association to help regulate the industry and looked forward to the companies working together more. 
Having started with one single contract at Uncle Bill’s, Leslie’s oldest client he now protects over $140 million in local business assets. And while he admits his company like many others is not perfect he does his best to stay on top of the challenges of running a successful business and most important of all, in a an economic down turn, to create real jobs.

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Local fund experts to get inside scoop on Washington

| 04/10/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman financial services sector and its relationship with Washington Law makers will be one of a number of issues examined at “Cayman Fund Focus, 2010” on Friday. As the movers and shakers in the hedge fund sector gather at the Ritz for the one day conference Robert Herriott, will address such questions as the extent to which Cayman is on “the US political-process radar”. The conference will be examining evolving investment strategies in a shifting international regulatory environment and d hear from a number of local contributors as well as international experts.

Hosted by local legal firm Campbells the one-day conference at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman kicks off at 7:45am. Herriott from the US-based asset-management firm Constellation Investment Consulting will draw on both his personal and professional experience, as a Washington “insider”, to explore the dialogue between Cayman’s financial-services industry and Washington, D.C.  lawmakers. He will examine Washington’s political and legislative attitude to financial services and offshore jurisdictions, the practical impact on US policymakers of Cayman lobbying efforts; and insights into “Washington’s real agenda”.
The conference will also look at the broad regulatory environment in both in the US and the Cayman Islands, in the wake of recent political campaigns, a global recession and increasingly vociferous public attitudes toward offshore financial centres.
Keith Miller and Mitch Nichter, both from the international Los Angeles-based law firm Paul Hastings, will lead a 75-minute “Regulatory Roundup US”, discussing changes, both recent and imminent, in Washington policy and US legislation.
The session will be followed by “Regulatory Roundup, Cayman Islands”, a one-hour survey of the local environment. Led by CIMA’s Yolanda Banks-McCoy, head of investment and securities at the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA), the panel also comprises Donnacha O’Connor of Dublin’s Dillon Eustace; and John Wolf, Head of Campbells Corporate and Commercial Department. The discussion will be moderated by Gary Linford, co-founder of DMTC Group Limited and Ms McCoy’s predecessor at CIMA.
The Friday conference starts with breakfast and an introduction by Campbells Managing Partner Alistair Walters, followed by keynote speaker Cindy Scotland, CIMA managing director.
“We hope to provide all those attending — regulators, managers, investment specialists, accountants and legal advisers — a strong, comprehensive overview of shifting sentiment, social and political, both local and international, toward the financial-services industry,” Walters said.
“In such a dynamic, high-profile business, the shifts and swells in the landscape come fast and come relentlessly. It behoves all of us, institutions and clients alike, to understand what we are facing and where we are headed,” he said.
Other topics at the conference include perspectives from investors and service providers, and restructuring, liquidation and litigation issues.

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