Archive for May 24th, 2011

UK judge to hear ex-CoP case

| 24/05/2011 | 52 Comments

(CNS): A law suit filed by former police commissioner Stuart Kernohan (near left) two years ago will be argued in front of a UK based judge in Cayman's Grand Court on Thursday. The attorney general, who is one of four defendants mentioned in the original writ filed by the ex-top cop in connection with his dismissal, has applied to strike out the suit. The hearing is currently listed in chambers and it is not clear if it will remain behind closed doors or if the case will be aired in the open. Kernohan has applied for damages against former governor Stuart Jack (far left), Martin Bridger, the former SIO of the discredited Operation Tempura investigation, as well as the police commissioner and the AG.

The tab for the cost of defending the suit filed by Kernohan will be paid for out of the public coffers if the application to strike out the writ is unsuccessful and any damages are also likely to come from public coffers.  With more than $6 milllion of tax payers money already spent on the controversial investigation which included three failed legal cases, this latest court room battle could add significantly to that sum if Kernohan, who was a senior officer at the peak of his police career, proves he was unlawfully dismissed.

The original writ against Martin Bridger, Stuart Jack, Samuel Bulgin and acting commissioner David George was filed by Kernohan on 25 May 2009 by local attorneys Campbells following the dismissal of Kernohan when he was on suspension during the notorious UK police investigation into alleged corruption in the RCIPS. Although no charges were ever brought against him during Operation Tempura, which was led by Bridger, the then commissioner was suspended in March 2008 along with the deputy commissioner, Rudy Dixon (who remains on paid leave three years later), and John Jones, who was eventually returned to his post as chief superintendent some 18 months after the investigation began.

During the time that Kernohan was on what was described by officials at the time as “required leave” he left the Cayman Islands to be with his sick father. While he was dealing with his father’s illness and eventual death, the ex-top cop was called back to Cayman by the then governor Stuart Jack but he did not return. As a result of what Jack said at the time was the ex-commissioner's “refusal to return” as he needed permission to leave the islands during the investigation, he was sacked.

At the time of filing the law suit Kernohan had said that there would be “extraordinary revelations” about the governor and high-ranking officials when he had his day in court to seek damages for what he said was his wrongful dismissal. He said that Bridger, the governor, the commissioner and the attorney general would “answer for their actions”. However, there is no guarantee that the hearing will now be played out in the public domain.  

The investigation regarding Kernohan was officially declared to be over in April 2009 by the then acting commissioner, Jim Smith, who revealed that no criminal charges would be filed against him. It was in the wake of that announcement that Kernohan filed his legal action.

In a public statement at the time the former commissioner said he had received a belated confirmation there was no wrong-doing on his part.

“I have waited too long a period to be exonerated and subjected to a process and actions from individuals who have severely damaged my reputation internationally and unfortunately that of the Cayman Islands. The individuals responsible for this fiasco will not walk away without being held rightfully accountable for what they have done,” he said in the statement at the time, adding that this would be done through a transparent judicial process.

As yet there has been no confirmation about the proceedings and whether they will be behind closed doors. The application by the AG's office to have the suit dismissed will be heard by Lord Justice Moses (Sir Alan Moses), a UK court of appeal judge who has been commissioned as an independent judge, and the hearing is listed for two days.

Continue Reading

Conservation still in question

| 24/05/2011 | 30 Comments

(CNS): Despite the pressing need for legislation to protect the country’s rapidly disappearing natural resources, the environment minister says that he is still reviewing the proposed National Conservation Law. He said that during the last year’s most recent public consultation exercise people were still referring to the law as “drastic and draconian”.  Mark Scotland said Monday that because he was not involved in the original drafting of the legislation he still needed time to consider the views of the public and the content of the law. The minster stated that he had to be comfortable with the new bill and ensure it struck the balance between allowing future development and protecting the environment.

Scotland spoke to CNS after delivering a short message at the DoE’s celebrations on Monday to mark twenty-five years of successful conservation in the marine environment. The director of the environment had noted, however, that her department would continue to push for that law in the same way they had fought for the marine conservation laws which had proved their worth.

Despite the opposition to the marine regulations and parks in the 1980s, the introduction had demonstrated how laws can protect and sustain natural resources. Gina Ebanks-Petrie said Cayman should be proud that “it took that bold step” as it still had a beautiful marine ecology in the face of even greater risks.

However, when it comes to the terrestrial environment the continued delay on the NCL leaves the country’s land based resources, from Cayman's beautiful, unique but endangered orchids to the islands indigenous lizards and bats, among many other flora and fauna, in serious jeopardy.

The minister said that meetings were continuing and he was examining elements that he felt needed to remain in the law but was still looking at parts that may need to be removed in order to strike a balance between development and conservation.

There was no mention of bringing the legislation to the parliament in the governor’s Throne Speech, delivered in the LA on Monday morning, which sets out the broad goals of the government over the next twelve months. The governor spoke about plans to “formalise and strengthen partnerships and processes between the public and private sectors, with regard to environmental considerations” but he did not mention the NCL. He said there would be an undertaking by the ministry to ensure that “development projects are planned and designed with a full understanding of environmental impacts,” and that it would “encourage mitigation” in the project design, but he did not speak of enforcing environmental considerations by bringing the long awaited law.

Scotland denied that the omission from the Throne Speech meant the law would not be brought sometime before the end of the 2011/12 fiscal year.

“We are still reviewing the information that came back to us during the public consultation because it was such a mixed bag of opinion,” he said, adding that people continued to describe the current law as “drastic and draconian.”

“I did not compose this bill and I am still trying to bring the necessary balance which will satisfy me that we can conserve our natural resources but continue to facilitate sustainable development projects,” the minster added.

He said he wanted to be completely comfortable with any legislation that goes to the House and was still meeting with small groups and the DoE to discuss the law.

The law has been changed considerably since the original draft and the DoE has worked hard to make compromises but still create legislation that can actually protect the land environment with the same rigour as it has been able to protect the marine environment. However, with no date and lingering concerns from the ministry, the reality is that all of Cayman’s species remain under threat. Even the limited protection offered to blue iguanas and birds is of little comfort if the increasingly scarce habitats in which they live are not protected, experts say.

Continue Reading

Camping says Rapture now coming in October

| 24/05/2011 | 3 Comments

(The Guardian): Good news for Rapture lovers! The world is going to end after all – only it's going to take a little longer than predicted. Harold Camping, architect of Saturday's dramatic events in which Judgment Day came and went without so much as an earthquake, has revealed what went wrong. He took to his show on his network Family Radio to reveal the simple truth: the Apocalypse was imminent, he'djust got it out by five months. So now the world is going to end – really and truly this time – on 21 October. Camping was disarmingly honest about the impact the world's inconvenient continuance was having on him, after he predicted 200 million Christians would rise to heaven by 6pm on Saturday followed by the destruction of the Earth in a massive fireball.

"I can tell you when 21 May came and went it was a very difficult time for me – a very difficult time. I was truly wondering what is going on. In my mind, I went back through all the promises God had made. What in the world was happening. I really was praying and praying: 'Lord, what happened?'" 

Go to article

Continue Reading

UK barristers set up chambers in Cayman

| 24/05/2011 | 0 Comments

(The Lawyer): A duoof English barristers has established a set of chambers in the Cayman Islands in a first for the jurisdiction. Shân Warnock-Smith QC and Andrew De La Rosa have launched International Chancery and Trusts (ICT) Chambers in response to an increasingly international client base and work flow. The pair also remains associated with London set 5 Stone Buildings, where Warnock-Smith is a tenant and De La Rosa a door ¬tenant. Warnock-Smith and De La Rosa both specialise in trusts, private client and wealth management issues. Many clients using trusts investment ¬structures opt for Cayman as their preferred domicile and the jurisdictioncontinues to flourish despite the financial crisis.

“While London is, of course, the centre of excellence as far as legal services are concerned, as our clientele becomes even more mobile than they have before we started to conclude that we too needed to be more international than we have been,” Warnock-Smith said.

She said Cayman was the logical jurisdiction to establish ICT Chambers as it has been the most frequent international destination for both De La Rosa and Warnock-Smith in recent years. Last year Warnock-Smith acted English ¬counsel Court. on two notable disputes before the Cayman Grand routinely appear in Cayman courts as well as advising on Cayman-related cases in the English courts.

Go to article

Continue Reading

Jamaican air strikes disrupt local flights

| 24/05/2011 | 17 Comments

(CNS): Update – Cayman Airways says that flights disrupted by industrial action by Air Traffic Controllers in Jamaica were rescheduled and have now all left the Cayman Islands and service has resumed. Despite being ordered back to work by the courts, workers remained off the job Monday. Several flights were impacted but Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) managers were said to be staffing the towers in the afternoon. The action by the air traffic staff is believed to be as a result of pay. The strike led to delays and cancelations of flights into Kingston and the tourist resort town of Montego Bay, as well as a backlog of hundreds of passengers trying to get in and out of the island's two major international airports.

The adjusted flight numbers and times for CAL as a result of the industrial action are as follows:

KX 2620 departs Grand Cayman at 1.55pm and arrives in Montego Bay at 2.45pm.
KX 2621 departs Montego Bay at 3.35pm and arrives in Grand Cayman at 4.25pm.
KX 2614 departs Grand Cayman at 3.00pm and arrives in Kingston at 2.45pm.
KX 2615 departs Kingston at 5.00pm and arrives in Grand Cayman at 6.00pm.

Passengers should contact Cayman Airways as necessary on 949 2311.

Continue Reading

Perez faces murder retrial

| 24/05/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The man who was acquitted in July last year for the killing of Martin Gareau faced trial for the same crime again Monday, three years after the Canadian’s beaten body was found in his Beach Bay home. Josue Carillo Perez was found not guilty of the crime in a judge alone trial. However, the decision was overturned by the Cayman Islands Appeal Court based on the judgement delivered by Justice Anderson. As a result Perez found himself in the dock for the second time charged with murder. Opening for the crown, prosecuting counsel Trevor Ward presented the same case against the Honduran national based on the discovery of two finger prints on the door frame at the murder scene.

Perez has persistently denied the murder and stated that he had been to Gareau’s home only a few weeks before to attend a BBQ, which would explain the presence of his prints which he had given to the police voluntarily before becoming a suspect.

Ward, in his opening address to the judge, emphasised that forensic experts suggest the prints were made in the victim’s blood when it was still wet, placing Perez at the scene at the time of the killing. He said that this print evidence, coupled with other circumstantial evidence, would allow the judge to draw the reasonable inference that Perez was the murderer. 

Gareau’s body was discovered early in the morning of Tuesday 20 May 2008 by his cousins when he had failed to show up for work after the holiday weekend. Gareau was last known to be alive on the previous Sunday lunchtime when he had spoken with one of the cousins on the phone about attending a family event that evening. However, Gareau did not turn up to the party and was never spoken to or seen alive again.

The pathologist had confirmed that Gareau had been killed sometime between 24-72 hours before his body was found, fitting in with the crown’s theory that Perez killed him sometime Sunday afternoon. Gareau had suffered multiple traumas from both blunt and sharp instruments and he had been beaten over the head, which experts said was the cause of death.

Meanwhile, in another ongoing murder trial, the crown’s case against 18-year-old Jordon Manderson for the murder of Ecuadorian national Marcus Duran went into its second week. The crown presented telecommunications evidence that it says places Manderson in the area at the time of the fatal shooting and ties him to Razail Jeffers, who the crown says was the mastermind behind the robbery gone wrong, as well as Craig Johnson, who it believes picked-up Manderson, who was shot in the leg, from the crime scene.

Various witness evidence was also read to the court by Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl Richards, having being agreed by the defence. This included statements from people who knew Duran, police testimony and expert witnesses. The report by the pathologist revealed that Duran had received three gunshot wounds. The fatal bullet had gone straight through his head and fragments were recovered at the scene. The second was through the eye and the bullet was removed by the pathologist, and the third was through the victim’s hand.

The crown will be presenting DNA evidence as well as calling police witnesses that were involved in the interviews when Manderson was arrested and the senior investigating officers as the trial continues this week. The defence is expected to answer before the end of this week. The trial continues in court 5 Tuesday morning as a result of video evidence being presented by the crown.

Continue Reading

Digicel accuses LIME of ‘grossly misleading’ 4G claim

| 24/05/2011 | 22 Comments

(CNS): In the wake of LIME’s recent announcement that it will be the first telecommunication’s company to bring 4G technology to the Caribbean its regional competitor has accused the firm of misleading messages. In a letter to the Jamaican Observer, Monday, Mark Linehan CEO, of Digicel stated thatthis claim to be the first was not the case. He said LIME would be using HSPA+ technology for the services it is calling 4G but it is not the first to deploy this technology. He said the technology was previously described as 3G+ when launched by Digicel but it has since been reclassified by the ITU.

“Digicel launched HSPA+ technology in Bermuda and the French West Indies last year (under the banner 3G+). The reason we called it 3G+ is that, at the time, HSPA+ was not considered a 4G technology. However, HSPA+ has since been reclassified by the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) to be counted as 4G,” Linehan wrote in his letter to the Jamaican press.

He said that Digicel already delivers 4G technology – using HSPA+ technology and WiMAX both classified as 4G technologies by the ITU – in the Caribbean and specifically in the Cayman Islands and Jamaica and was the "first" to do so.

The Jamaican Digicel boss said it was gearing up to launch the same technology across the Dutch Caribbean in a matter of weeks and to other markets in the near future.

“LIME's announcement actually raises more questions than answers as to its commitment to the customers of the Caribbean. Here is a company that is making a big deal out of upgrading its outdated 2G networks to EDGE. Meanwhile, Digicel has been delivering EDGE services across all of its 32 markets across the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific since 2008,” Linehan added about his firm’s rival.

Digicel had already invested $85 million in rolling out HSPA+ and WiMAX services across the region, he said in the correspondence. Last week Cayman’s LIME boss Tony Ritch said that his company would be investing around $80million to roll out what is said was 4G technology.

Describing the service as lightening fast, Ritch claimed LIME was the first in the Caribbean to launch the service. In response to queries on CNS about the technology and whether phones in existing use would work on the new network LIME confirmed that it would not be deploying CDM and admitted that the technology was based on HSPA+.

CNS contacted LIME for comment in connection with the letter from Lineham but the firm said it did not wish to comment at this time.

See full letter here

Continue Reading

Mosquito plane taking off following first rains

| 24/05/2011 | 17 Comments

(CNS): Following the first heavy rainfall of this year's wet season at the weekend government officials said the Mosquito Research and Control Unit (MRCU) will be carrying out aerial control operations against the aedes aegypti starting this week. The programme will be focusing on Grand Cayman's two main population centers, central George Town and West Bay in order to keep down the numbers of the mosquito which carries the dengue virus and tends to breed in urban environments .Depending on the weather conditions operations are expected to begin early Friday evening with initial flights focusing on the George Town area. Flights will continue for several weeks at around 6 pm every night.

Experts at the MRCU said that the aedes aegypti mosquito’s numbers are expected to increase with the start of the rains and while dengue is not endemic in the Cayman Islands the population of this mosquito needs to be minimized as there is always the possibility of travellers introducing the virus into the islands.

The public can help the MRCU in its control efforts against this type of mosquito by keeping yards free from any containers where rainwater can accumulate. The aedes aegypti mosquito is commonly found breeding in water drums, buckets, discarded car tyres and any other vessel capable of holdingwater.

Any questions or concerns about aedes aegypti can be directed to Dr Alan Wheeler (alan.wheeler@gov.ky) or by phoning the Mosquito Research & Control Unit (949 2557).

Continue Reading

Miller calls meeting in wake of EE port announcement

| 24/05/2011 | 33 Comments

(CNS): Following Monday’s Throne Speech in which the governor said government would be going ahead with the development of a cargo facility in East End, the independent member for North Side has called a public meeting for tomorrow evening (Tuesday 24 May). In the presentation to the Legislative Assembly this morning Duncan Taylor said the East End Sea Port would be one of the projects included in government’s development plans for this financial year. Despite the dangers pointed out in the Environmental Impact Assessment, which has been posted online, and the significant risks that the report points out, the project appears to have been given the green light.

Miller told CNS last week in the wake of the publication of the EIA by the developer, Joseph Imparato, that it was quiet clear that the development posed considerable risk to the natural, marine and social environment of both East End and North Side. Given the significant dangers revealed in the EIA without any real necessity or genuine justification, Miller had said that it was clear the project should be rejected.

However, with the statement by the governor this morning that the proposed cargo facility was now on government’s project agenda, Miller is calling on all North Siders and interested parties to attend a meeting at 8pm Tuesday evening to discuss the announcement and, importantly, the content of the EIA.

The meeting will take place at 8pm at the North Side Civic Centre.

Continue Reading