Archive for March 30th, 2011

Three car pile-up results in two DUI arrests

| 30/03/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Police have arrested two men on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol following another early morning collision in the harbour front area of George Town. A three-car collision occurred at about 2.10am this morning, Wednesday, 30 March on North Church Street when one of the drivers veered into the opposite lane. Police said that investigations had revealed that the smash happened after the driver of a Honda Accord travelling north on Church Street lost control of his vehicle, entered the south bound lane and collided into two oncoming vehicles causing extensive damage to all three vehicles. Officers from Traffic Management and other units responded to the scene. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

One of the two drivers arrested was treated for a broken leg while the two other persons involved in the collision, a male and a female, received minor injuries.

Traffic Management said officers are still continuing with the investigation into the cause of the crash.
 

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Kidnappers given 10 years

| 30/03/2011 | 24 Comments

(CNS): Following the guilty verdict delivered to Honduran nationals Allan Kelly and Charles Webster on Wednesday morning on six counts relating to the kidnapping of Tyson Tatum, the judge handed down a ten year sentence in the afternoon to both men for the crimes. He also ordered that Wespie Mullins, the third man involved in the abduction conspiracy who had both pleaded guilty and given evidence against the other men, serve five years. The judge had rejected the defendants’ claims that they had committed the offence under duress and found that the crown had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt. The three men were part of a conspiracy to kidnap the victim for a ransom of $500,000 last March, which the judge said was masterminded by Richard Hurlstone, who absconded from the jurisdiction while on bail.

The case was the first ever abduction for ransom in the Cayman Islands and when handing down the sentences to the guilty men, Justice Harrison said there was a need to be more resolute to stamp out such crime so it would not spread.

"This sort of behaviour can only be met with a heavy sentence," he added, before listing the sentences for each of the six counts against Kelly and Webster and the four against Mullins, all of which he said would run concurrently.

All three men had conspired to abduct, keep in confinement and assault Tyson Tatum and blackmail his mother Angelique Tatum who the men had called to make the ransom demands during the ultimately foiled kidnapping.

During the trial the court heard how Tatum was lured to an address in North Side in March 2010 by Webster who was posing as a customer wanting work done on some wave-runners. When the victim arrived at the property, where Mullins was the caretaker, the three men attacked Tatum and eventually bound and gagged him before tying him to a chair.

During the more than 24 hours or so that he was held by his kidnappers the men attempted to extract a ransom of $500,000 from his mother who had despite the kidnappers warnings reported the crime to the police. The three men eventually left Tyson alone in the house, and although bound and gagged and tied to a chair he still seized the opportunity to escape.

All three men, as well as Hulrstone, the man believed to be the ringleader were arrested soon after the bungled kidnapping and Mullins entered an early guilty plea. Hurlstone who was given bail absconded before the trial and is now believed to be in Honduras. Kelly and Webster both pleaded not guilty to the crimes claiming that they were forced into the conspiracy by Mullins whom they said had threatened their lives and the lives of their families. The judge however, said he did not believe that Webster and Kelly had acted under duress and dismissed their claims as a result of the evidence he had heard during the trial and the fact that the defence of duress was entered by the men very late in the proceedings against them.

When he sentenced the kidnappers, Justice Harrison told the court that the offences warranted a severe punishment as they had planned the crime, used force, demanded a significant sum of money and threatened to kill the victim. “The crime was committed purely out of greed,” the judge said. “The victim in this case was treated with brutality and terrified.” Justice Harrison went on to say that the trauma he experienced will take a long time to be erased and that his mother was put through the agonising, anxiety during the abduction.

Giving both Kelly and Webster ten year sentences for the abduction he also handed down six years for the count of blackmail, ten years for keeping in confinement, three years for assault five for the robbery of Tatum’s jewellery and a further two years for threatening to kill their victim. The judge said the sentences would be served concurrently and the year that the men have already served on remand would be counted.

Meanwhile, Mullins was given a discount for his very early plea, his full disclosure of the crime and his cooperation with the prosecution and giving evidence against his co-conspirators. He was given five years for his part in the abduction, five for the keeping in confinement, three years for the blackmail and two years for his part in the assault. Mullins was also told that the sentences would be served concurrently and that his time on remand would also count.
 

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Bronx Zoo’s missing cobra ‘speaks out’ on Twitter

| 30/03/2011 | 0 Comments

(BBC): A tongue-in-cheek Twitter user giving "updates" on a missing deadly Egyptian cobra now has some 35,000 followers. The 20in (50cm) venomous snake escaped from New York City’s Bronx Zoo on Friday, and is yet to be found. In one tweet, BronxZoosCobra says: "On top of the Empire State Building! All the people look like little mice down there. Delicious little mice." In its Twitter account, The Bronx Zoo – whichhas some 6,000 followers – admits it is currently "the snake’s game". The identity of the person behind BronxZoosCobra’s tweets has not been revealed.

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Buccaneers storm into Waterford Final

| 30/03/2011 | 0 Comments

(CRFU): The Krys Global Buccaneers earned a spot in the Waterford Trophy final with a thrilling win over the DHL Storm on 26 March.Having finished in 3rd place in the Alex Alexander Memorial Cup season the DHL Storm were looking to bounce back in the knockout cup competition and stay in with a chance of earning a 2nd trophy this season. It wasn’t to be, however, and the DHL Storm season ended on a low note for the team touted by many as favourites to win a first ever treble after having dismantled the John Doak Architecture Iguanas in the Heineken Charity Shield match early in the season. The Storm controlled proceedings for the first 20 minutes of the game and kept the Buccaneers pinned into their own half of the field. (Photo by Caroline Deegan)

The early hard work paid off with the Storm scoring first but the Buccaneers shrugged off the early big match jitters and ended an error strewn first quarter by marching up the field and scoring in the corner through former Buccaneer Captain Mick Kehoe.

The try was unconverted and lead to a spell of missed kicks for the Buccaneers, which handed the Storm a lifeline as their control of the ball was being increasingly taken away by the Buccaneer pack, who were dominating the lineout and scrum.

As the clock ticked down the match heated up. A further unconverted DHL Storm try and penalty gave the Storm a slender lead for the 2nd time in the game with only 7 minutes left on the clock. Yet again, however, an unfazed Buccaneer squad moved up field to allow kicker Morgan Hayward to end his kicking woes. A well placed penalty kick took back the lead and with a Sam Sage try the game was won by the Buccaneers 24-15.

The Buccaneers now face off against the 2011 League champions the John Doak Architecture Iguanas and look to end the Iguana dreams of winning their first ever double.

All games are available to watch free on www.caymanrugbytv.com

Next games: April 2, 2011 at the Cayman Rugby Club

Waterford Trophy Final
John Doak Architecture Iguanas vs. Krys Global Buccaneers at 4pm.
 

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Rapper’s Cayman departure planned, says publicist

| 30/03/2011 | 20 Comments

(CNS): International media reports that rapper Foxy Brown was kicked off a Royal Caribbean cruise ship in the Cayman Islands last week are untrue. Black Star Communications said that Brown was always scheduled to leave the ship and fly back to the States once it arrived in Grand Cayman. Reports that the rap star was thrown off the cruise stemmed from comments made by radio host Tom Joyner, who was hosting the  Fantastic Voyage Cruise, a specialist annual trip for listeners to his show. Joyner said Brown, who was one of the celebrity performers, was booted off  because of an altercation aboard ship with a nail salon attendant. However, the radio personality admitted yesterday that Brown was not put off the ship.

The Cayman Islands Immigration Department confirmed that rap star Foxy Brown left from Owen Roberts Airport last week after arriving in George Town on the cruise ship Voyager of the Seas.

"We reported that Foxy got put off – she did not get put off – she did not get put off. That was incorrect," Joyner said on his show yesterday. "She was scheduled to get off when she got off." Joyner’s co-host Sybil Wilkes went on to say that stories of a nail salon altercation with Foxy and staff also were untrue. "A lot of was reported was blown out of proportion," Wilkes said.

Brown had responded to Joyner via Twitter previously tweeting, "I tore the stage down! That’s the thanks I get?? U wait til’ I leave the ship and then 2 days later your on the air …”

Brown, whose real name is Inga Marchand, has been in trouble before, however, over a manicure. In 2008 she was charged with misdemeanour assault for allegedly attacking workers in a New York nail salon after arguing with them over the bill.

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Dart to lease beach bar till new resort opens

| 30/03/2011 | 33 Comments

(CNS): Following the recent purchase by Dart Realty of more than one hundred acres of land from Stan Thomas along the West Bay Road, including the former Courtyard Marriott site, the firm says it will be more than 18 months before the new resort planned for the site opens. As a result, Blossom Estates Ltd, a new company formed by Dart which now owns the former Marriott, will be leasing the site’s beach bar. The Gecko Bar, which is sandwiched between Calico Jacks and Tiki Beach, will be available to a local operator to run on a one year lease. The opportunity to submit proposals ends today but the developer said it is already examining nine different potential ideas for the bar submitted at a recent open house.

Dart says it is committed to redeveloping the hotel and is currently undergoing feasibility studies. The firm has denied signing any official MOU with government in connection with the proposed development, but the premier has said that his government is prepared to move the road for the developer so the new hotel will be a beach front resort.

In the meantime, the developer says the first step is to clean up the site and a liquidation sale of the remaining furniture, fixtures and equipment will be held this weekend. But with 18 months before the new hotel will be a reality, Jackie Doak, Chief Operating Officer for Dart Realty, said the beach bar offers a great opportunity for a short term business to utilize the beautiful location on Seven Mile Beach and address the dilapidated site.

“Anyone walking the stretch of Seven Mile Beach between Calico Jacks and Tiki Beach will have noticed the dilapidated state of the Gecko Bar … The property closed after Hurricane Paloma hit in 2008 and since then it has become an increasing eyesore and public safety hazard,” she said. “We anticipate being able to commit to a year term at a minimum for the interim use as eventually the beach bar will once again become one of the amenities of the future hotel operations.”

“Dart is committed to being a strategic partner to the Cayman Islands and assisting the government with the short term economic turnaround as well as playing a significant role in the long term economic sustainability of the country,” said Doak. “The addition of a new beachfrontbar and restaurant and ultimately a new hotel will enhance the overall tourism experience for visitors to the Cayman Islands, and create jobs and other opportunities for Caymanians and other residents.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about the Gecko Bar Request for Proposals or the Liquidation Sale can contact Naomi Mitten at 640-3644 or Naomi.Mitten@drcl.ky. The liquidation sale starts at 8am Saturday and continues Sunday.

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Law not enforced against hustling taxi drivers

| 30/03/2011 | 46 Comments

(CNS): Local taxi drivers who are following the rules and regulations at the cruise terminals say they are losing out to drivers who are breaking the law and no one is enforcing the laws to stop them from bullying their way to more business. Joseph Woods, the Manager of Cruise Operations and Security for the Port Authority, told Cayman 27 that since he joined the authority some eight years ago, drivers have never complied with the law to only pick up passengers from the designated taxi queue by the North Terminal. Woods said the Port Authority doesn’t control the areas outside the port side and it is the RCIPS and the Public Transport Unit that should be enforcing the law. 

The law says that from 6am to 6pm taxis working between Fort Street and Boilers Road, the cruise ship area, are only supposed to pick up customers in the queue by North Terminal and not from anywhere else in the zone. However, the drivers that are following the rules say they lose out on business to taxis flagrantly breaking the rules and randomly picking up and hustling for passengers in the area without taking their turn in the queues. They claim drivers breaking the law are being rewarded with bigger takings than those toeing the line.

Taxi drivers said they have formed several associations over the years to address the issue but they have failed to curb the illegal soliciting.

Adrian Barnett of Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Traffic Management told the TV news station that officers do patrol the area and work alongside the Public Transport Unit to penalise people who break the law but try to handle the issue outside the courts.

However, the local drivers said they don’t see police or public transport officials enforcing the regulations and laws and now more drivers are hustling on the streets than using the taxi stand.

Go to Cayman 27 video

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Access denied to LA register

| 30/03/2011 | 48 Comments

(CNS): A member of the public has filed a complaint with the governor after he was refused access to the register which records the business interests of the members of the Legislative Assembly. Despite making an appointment on the telephone with the LA office to see the Register of Interests, which is a public document, the voter was denied his right when he arrived at the Assembly building, having travelled from East End last Friday. The man was told by LA staff on arrival that he would not be able to look at the register as it was “being updated”. Shocked by the refusal, McCarron McLaughlin was not prepared to take the dismissal lying down and contacted both the Governor’s Office and the information commissioner to formally complain.

According to the law, any member of the public who makes a request to see the Register of Interests should be allowed to do so. An appointment usually has to be made because viewing of the register has to be supervised in order to prevent people from taking sheets from it or copying the contents with a camera, but once an appointment is confirmed the requester is at liberty to scrutinise the contents.

Each member of the LA files a list of the businesses they own and the various directorships and shareholdings they have in commercial entities, as well as the property they own over and above their normal residence. The register is designed to prevent conflicts of interests and allows the public to judge if their representatives may face conflicts of interests over their business and public service.

McCarron McLaughlin told CNS he was very surprised that, after making a firm appointment, he was refused access to the register, despite claims that it was being updated. “I could not understand why I couldn’t see the register ‘as is’,” McLaughlin said, adding that while he was no legal scholar he believed it was against the law to deny a person their right to see the register. “I feel if my appointment was accepted they have no reason to stop me from seeing the register.”

Section 3(3) of the Register of Interest Law 1996 states, “The register shall be open for public inspection at the office of the [LA] at all times during normal business hours.” Even if the staff were updating the register it should not have interfered with McLaughlin’s right to see it.

The register itself is merely a ring-binder with sheets containing the details that each of the members have disclosed prior to each election and, as is required during their period of office, when their business circumstances, property ownership, share-holdings or directorships change.

The updating of the register should not involve any removal of previous information about a member. As a result, there appears to be no reason why any member of the public who has a confirmed appointment to see the register should be refused access.

The Commission for Standards in Public Life revealed the difficulties it had also encountered in its efforts to see the register in particular entries. In its first report the CSPL pointed out that it was unable to verify if there were any perceived conflicts of interest or anomalies in relation to any of the declarations made by members in the past or present, as mandated by the register of interests law (ROIL), or if the register was compliant with the law.

The news of the denial comes in the wake of revelations by the independent member for North Side that the legislative committee which is supposed to oversee the register, chaired by Ellio Solomon, has never met since its formation almost two years ago. Despite being obliged under the law to have produced at the very least one report, the committee members have never come together to discuss a report, never mind write one, making the committee in breach of the ROIL.

This latest refusal by the LA to allow McLaughlin to see the register fuels speculation, headded, that government is, despite claims, frustrating the mechanisms which allow for openness and transparency in government. McLaughlin submitted his complaint on Friday but has not yet heard from the Governor’s Office; however, the ICO has contacted him and has already begun investigating the refusal.

CNS Contacted the LA to ask why McLaughlin was refused but no one from the Assembly has responded to our enquiries.

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