Archive for August 15th, 2011

Phone tap powers defined

| 15/08/2011 | 68 Comments

(CNS): Full story – Government has devised new rules under which the police can tap private phones lawfully. Published in the Cayman Islands Gazette Monday, the new regulations accompany the ICTA law (2010 Revision) and state that only the governor will have the power to sign a warrant for such action at the request of the police commissioner. According to officials, the regulations define a clause that has been in the law for some time which allows the governor to grant the police permission to listen in on phone calls and intercept messages during an investigation. The power to tap phones lies solely in the hands of the governor, not that of a judge, and any evidence gathered by law enforcement officials will not be admissible in court but used for intelligence purposes only.

The regulations, which were approved by Cabinet recently, set out what the Portfolio of Internal Affairs has said is limited circumstances under which the police will be given permission to listen in on those they believe are engaged in crime or other behaviour conceived as threatening the country’s well being.

The regulations allow the commissioner to ask the governor for a warrant to tap any phone under five different and wide-reaching circumstances, including in the interest of national security, to prevent or detect serious crime, or to avert imminent threat to human life – which in most cases would be considered criminal. However, the commissioner can also ask the governor for permission to listen to calls in connection with mutual assistance investigations and to safeguard the economic well-being of the country – which may not necessarily involve criminal activity.

The regulations state that the governor must be satisfied that the tapping is proportionate to the circumstances and that the information sought can’t be obtained in any other way. Although it is the governor who will sign the warrant, according to the new rules any request for phone tapping must be made via the police commissioner, even if it is the immigration, customs or prison services that are seeking permission to covertly listen in on specific phone conversations. 

Warrants will be valid for the time requested and the regulations state that the maximum time law enforcement officials can have for listening in is three months on each warrant. The rules allow for warrants to be renewed if the same circumstances remain.

While the law does not interfere with existing rights of prison management to listen in on prisoners’ calls made on prison phones, it does not stretch to conversations between inmates and their attorneys, which remain protected in law.

The regulations also provide for audits of any phone tapping warrants that are issued by the governor and the creation of a committee to undertake the audits. Made up of a justice of the peace, a retired judge or lawyer, the chief officer in the Portfolio of Internal Affairs, a law enforcement technical expert from outside the jurisdiction and a local IT expert from government, the members will all be appointed by Cabinet.

The committee will undertake an audit of any phone tapping that has taken place every six months to determine that the activity has been carried out in accordance with the regulations. The members will then submit a report to the governor based on their assessment of the tapping and the equipment used to listen in on conversations.

The introduction of the regulations has defined the lawful means by which law enforcement officials can take advantage of technology which may assist them in the fight against crime. Officials stated that the police have not been given a free hand in monitoring private communication but that the regulations have provided some checks and balances on how law enforcement can and cannot tap private calls.

The government has also stated that Cayman is not unique in having legislation to facilitate phone tapping and covert interception of telecommunications as numerous other jurisdictions allow the police to use technology in order to try and get one step ahead of the criminals.

See regulations here

See ICTA law below.

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Man falls off truck and is struck by passing car

| 15/08/2011 | 39 Comments

(CNS): A man is in serious but not life threatening condition after he fell off the back of an open truck on Linford Pierson Highway close to Randyke Gardens, and was then struck by a car yesterday evening. Police say it appears that the 22-year-old man had been sitting on the back of the open truck when the driver had pulled into the side of the road to allow an ambulance to pass. As the truck then moved back into the carriageway, he fell from the back of the vehicle, rolled across the road and was struck by a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction. The victim sustained serious injuries and was conveyed to the Cayman Islands Hospital.A 911 call about the incident was made about 7:40pm Sunday, 14 August. 

Police enquiries into the incident are on-going.

Anyone with information about the incident should call the RCIPS Traffic Management Unit on 9466254.

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Pregnant woman dies in crash

| 15/08/2011 | 40 Comments

(CNS): Update Monday 3:00pm – The driver of the vehicle that crashed last night, killing a 25-year-old pregnant woman and her unborn child, has been airlifted to Miami formedical treatment, police have said. The 24-year-old driver was one of three women who were injured and was later arrested on suspicion of DUI and causing death by dangerous driving. Another 24-year-old remains in the Cayman Islands Hospital in a serious condition and a 21-year-old has been discharged from hospital. According to the RCIPS, at approximately 7:08pm on Sunday, 14 August, the 911 emergency communications centre received a report that a car had crashed off the roadway in the vicinity of Sea View Road, East End, and that the occupants of the vehicle had been seriously injured.  (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

Police say it appears that the vehicle had been travelling along East End Road towards Bodden Town when it apparently went out of control, collided with a tree and came to rest in a bush area. There were four women in the car at the time of the crash.

Police, Fire Service and ambulance personnel attended the location and found three women at the scene. They were informed that a fourth woman had been taken from the crash and conveyed to the Cayman Islands Hospital, George Town, by passers-by.

When officers carried out a search of the bushes at the location, they found a pregnant woman lying a few feet away from the car. She was lying face down and was unresponsive. Another woman, who was found just outside the vehicle, was responsive, police said. The third woman was trapped inside the car.

All three were taken by ambulance to the Cayman Islands Hospital. On arrival the pregnant woman was pronounced dead, and doctors’ efforts to save her unborn child were unsuccessful. The three other woman who were in the vehicle at the time of the collision remain in hospital in serious condition.

Police enquiries into the crash are on-going.

The RCIPS extends condolences to the family of the deceased woman and have assigned a Family Liaison Officer.

Anyone who has any information about the crash should call the RCIPS Traffic Management Unit at 946-6254 or any police station within the Cayman Islands.

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‘Landfill won’t impact BT’

| 15/08/2011 | 57 Comments

(CNS): The health minister and Bodden Town representative has told his constituents that moving the landfill to their district will not have a negative impact on their community. Mark Scotland said there would be a vegetation buffer around the site, that it would be properly engineered and covered unless in use, and the estimated two dozen runs of garbage trucks into the district would not affect the roads. Speaking at a public meeting on Thursday night in the district regarding the deal between government and the country’s biggest developer, the Dart Group, Scotland offered his backing to the project and told his constituents that they would not be negatively impacted by the new waste management site.

Although there has been no major co-ordinated opposition to the government’s news that the landfill would be relocated to the district as part of the ForCayman investment alliance,some members of the public questioned the possible negative impact on their neighbourhoods from the smell, the noise, the aesthetics and the rise in traffic levels from the trucks bringing garbage, as well the potential increase in garbage fees.

However, Scotland said the roads in Bodden Town would be able to handle the increase in traffic, which he said would be around 24 truck loads a day plus some hundred or so private vehicles. He said the site itself would not cause any problems to the community as it would be a properly lined and engineered waste management site that would be covered for most of the time and only parts would be exposed when garbage was being processed. He said there would be some 300 feet of natural buffer around the plant that would be a modern site and not just an open face dump like the one in George Town.

He said that various studies which had taken place in the past, when the idea of moving the country’s landfill first arose, indicated that the site which has now been acquired by Dart is one of the best possible locations for the new landfill. Scotland said that although it is close to the central wetlands, Dart is paying for a properly lined and engineered site, limiting leeching in the first instance. If leeching did occurr, a properly engineered site would catch the run off before it seeped into the surrounding environment, as was the case with the current landfill, the minister noted.

The developer has purchased and paid for the land in Bodden Town for the new site as part of the deal. Dart will also be paying for the construction and engineering of the new site, which it will then hand over to government to operate once it is completed. In exchange, Dart has been given the existing landfill in George Town, which is adjacent to its land at Camana Bay. The developer will then be capping and remediating the existing dump, which will eventually become public space. The developer has stated that the remediation will stop the leeching and runoff from the site into the North Sound.

Scotland said there would be a minimum amount of garbage going into the new landfill by comparison to the existing one, as the waste management site would be an eco-park that would involve re-use and recycling and other modern garbage management techniques, such as composting, which would reduce the amount of actually rubbish piling up. The minister and local representative also noted that there would be more meetings in the community over the coming weeks where information about the new waste-management would be given to the community.

The minister was supported by his Cabinet colleagues over the decision to relocate the landfill in the Bodden Town district, especially Rolstin Anglin, who said if his district had the room he would have been advocating for the landfill to go to West Bay. He said it was important for people to realize that on a small island space was limited. Furthermore, he said, the country had to understand that this was not a case of moving the dump but creating a modern waste management facility and it was time for people to “stop arguing over fire ants”, as he offered his support to the move.

There were, however, several concerns raised about the potential environmental impact and some audience members pointed out that as the minister and their representative had still not brought the National Conservation Law to the Legislative Assembly, despite a commitment to do so, there were no guarantees that the natural environment was not in danger.

During the meeting members of government and the Dart management team went through the broad elements of the deal that has been partially agreed between government and Dart, which includes land swaps, cash donations and the movement of the West Bay Road, as well as the relocation of the landfill. This is the second public meeting about the deal, as the first was in West Bay. The panel took almost three hours to outline the agreement before they opened the floor to the public to ask questions about the proposals.

The premier revealed that negotiations were still going on as the main agreement has not yet been signed. He noted that although many elements of the deal have already been agreed there were still other parts to be discussed. McKeeva Bush said he was hoping to get more out of the ForCayman Alliance, as he outlined some of the benefits that he said would go directly to the people, such as the mortgage arears programme. He also said there was money which would go towards the expansion of the district’s primary schools, along with help for adult education and apprentice programmes for the young unemployed.

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Trial opens in child murder

| 15/08/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A 25-year-old West Bay man faced five counts in relation to the killing of 4-year-old Jeremiah Barnes in February 2010 as the prosecution opened its case Friday afternoon. Devon Anglin is charged with the fatal shooting of the child as well as the attempted murder of Andy Barnes, who, the crown says, was the intended target. The third count is for possession of an unlicensed firearm and two other counts relate to an incident in January 2010, when the prosecution claims Anglin had previously threatened to kill Barnes at a West Bay shopping plaza. Opening for the prosecution, Andrew Radcliffe QC told the court the crown’s case was based on both eyewitness and circumstantial evidence.

During his opening statement to Justice Cooke, who is trying the case alone, Radcliffe said that Devon Anglin had arrived at the Esso gas station in West Bay on the evening of 15 February a few minutes before 8pm in a grey vehicle, which was driven into the station and parked behind the gas station shop.

CCTV footage shown to the judge shows a fully masked man fire several times at the white car, which was at the gas station pumps and was being driven by Barnes. The vehicle contained his two sons and the children’s mother, Dorlisa Ebanks. The 4-year-old child was killed when one of the bullets fired by the gunman missed his father by inches but passed through the head rest of the driver’s seat and hit Jeremiah, who was sitting directly behind the driver’s seat, in the head.

Radcliffe said that both Barnes and Ebanks will testify that they recognised Anglin as the gunman, despite the mask, from his distinctive eyes and walk. The QC representing the director of public prosecutions said that a CCTV expert will explain to the court that the images are distorted and that the killer was not completely masked as appears at first glance in the video.

The prosecutor stated that Anglin was seen in the grey car without a shirt shortly after the shooting by other witnesses who would be called to the stand during the trial. Radcliffe said the crown would present other circumstantial evidence, including gunshot residue found on Anglin’s clothes, which were taken from him later that night when he was arrested, all of which, he said, point to the defendant being the killer.

The previous incident in which the crown says Anglin had threatened to kill Barnes, while implying he was armed, took place two weeks before the murder of Jeremiah. This also supports the case, the crown said, that the defendant had intended to kill Barnes over what the QC claimed were matters of disloyalty after the two men who were once friends had become enemies.

The trial, which is being heard without a jury, will continue Monday when the crown is expected to call Jeremiah’s parents to the stand.

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Teens escape attempted murder charges

| 15/08/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Two teenage boys who had been charged with attempted murder following a foiled robbery in Grand Harbour in May this year have had the charges against them reduced following an expert report. The teens are now charged with possession of an imitation firearm and the crown has dropped the attempted murder charge as a result of evidence from a firearms expert. Jonathan Welcome (17) and Jordon Powell (18) failed to rob Blackbeard’s liquor store after staff refused to give them money and they were then confronted by members of the public outside the store. It was originally claimed by the prosecution that one of the boys had attempted to fire the shotgun, which was reportedly loaded, during the struggle.

However, the gun did not go off and by all indications from the change in charges it appears the weapon was not capable of firing.

The incident had generated considerable publicity after the men outside the store had reportedly struggled with the young would-be robbers and disarmed them. The boys had then reportedly used pepper spray and then made their escape. Charles Ebanks, Edward Azan and Ray MacGuire chased down the teenagers and held them until police arrived at the scene and were lauded after the event as local heroes. 

The two young men now face charges of attempted robbery, possession of an imitation firearm, and possession of a prohibited weapon in connection with pepper spray that one of the teens was carrying.

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UCCI takes step towards local observatory

| 15/08/2011 | 14 Comments

(CNS): The University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI) Observatory Project, ‘Reach for the Stars’, broke ground on Thursday, 11 August, taking the university a step closer to having the region’s second largest telescope on campus. The fully-computerised 12.5” f/4.8 Newtonian reflector, built by Dr. William Hrudey of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, is expected to stimulate and encourage local interest in science and astronomy. Dr Hrudey spent around six years constructing the telescope to donate to UCCI. Due to its size, the telescope requires a proper home and a committee consisting of UCCI President Roy Bodden, faculty members from UCCI, an architect, a former planning inspector and Hrudey was formed to take on the creation of an observatory.

With the support of Cayman’s corporate community, led by Dart Foundation and Greenlight Re, the project is progressing at a steady pace and soon UCCI students and the wider community will be able to have access to the telescope, which can be used to view the sun as well as the night skies.

“I think this is an exciting time for Cayman and UCCI. A great deal of work has gone into this project thus far and it is rewarding to see it approaching fruition,” said Dr Hrudey on the day ground was broken for the telescope's new home.

He underscored the importance of making the observatory available to both school children and adults, and that school tours could be conducted during the day and early evening, while courses on astronomy and telescope-making could be offered after hours.

“An Annual Science Week programme will be established wherein noted academics will be invited to Cayman to speak in the school and give public evening lectures to promote the study of science. We also hope to establish links with other universities and perhaps even offer sabbatical programmes in the future,” Dr Hrudey said.

The president said he was elated about the project and that it would place UCCI on the cutting edge of science teaching. “I believe that the challenges of the 21st century will be solved by science and technology, so I am pleased that these subject areas are being established firmly in courses at the University College,” he said. “I would like to express sincere appreciation to Dr Hrudey, all the sponsors and, of course, theRotary Club of Grand Cayman and I wish to reassure the public that this is their observatory as well, and we look forward to welcoming them here in the very near future.”

The largest telescope in the region is in the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. It is also the world’s largest radio telescope.

See details of Dr Hrurdy’s telescope and the plans for the observatory below.

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Keeping nurses in Caribbean a challenge says expert

| 15/08/2011 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Chairperson for the Regional Nursing Body (RNB) and Chief Nursing Officer for Jamaica, Dr. Leila McWhinney-Dehaney said that Caribbean governments need to implement retention strategies to keep nurses in the region. “Incentives such as improved working conditions, better salaries, and friendly, comfortable practice environments would bring out the best in our professionals,” she said last week at the 38th Annual General Meeting of the RNB held in Cayman. “Access to training for specialist nursing positions like critical care and nephrology, as well as bachelor and master’s degree programmes all benefits which – if packaged properly – will help convince our nurses to opt for employment at home.”

The Cayman Islands Chief Nursing Officer Hazel Brown said steps were being taken regionally to implement at least one such incentive. She said the assembly would be looking at nursing education and regional progress to introduce bachelor-level programmes. The nursing curriculum is to be reviewed and discussions continue with the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), which now has responsibility for the regional nursing registration exams. 

Quoting a World Bank report during his address at the meeting Cayman’s health minister, Mark Scotland said only 25 percent of nurses in the English-speaking Caribbean work in their own countries.

“One of the most worrying trends concerns the continuing worldwide shortage of nurses,” he said. “It is important that we address such issues with urgency, for related activities and developments may well hinge upon how many nurses are likely to be available over the next three decades.”

Scotland explained that steps were already being taken to introduce a bachelor’s degree in nursing at the University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI).

The regional meeting attracted delegates from Antigua, Barbados, Belize, Haiti, Jamaica, Surinam, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago. Dr. Rudolph Cummins represented the CARICOM Secretariat, while local representatives from the Cayman Islands Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Cayman Islands Nursing Association also attended. 

The RNB was conceptualized in 1959 and inaugurated in 1972 within the Caribbean Community Secretariat. It comprises all chief nursing officers of CARICOM member states. The body’s purpose is to update and advise health ministries on matters relating to health and nursing, and to improve areas of nursing education and service within the Caribbean. It has been an important regional force in advancing education, practice, research and policy agenda, relative to nursing and midwifery.  
 

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