Archive for August 22nd, 2011

CUC investigates 3 hour power cut in North Side

| 22/08/2011 | 2 Comments

(CNS): A power outage in North Side, Grand Cayman in the early hours of Monday morning remains a mystery the local electricity company has said as the cause of the interruption is still under investigation.  CUC said that at 2:30am Monday, around 600 customers from the Old Man Bay Playing Field to Rum Point in Cayman Kai were affected by the power cut. The power was off for around three hours as CUC was able to restore the supply at 5:24am. Offering apologies to its customers in the North Side area the power firm said it did not yet know what had caused the problem and the circuit is still under investigation.

“CUC regrets the inconvenience to customers in the affected areas,” the firm said, adding that customers experiencing power outages should call the Company’s 24-hour fault reporting number at 945-1CUC (1282).

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Full scale police op nets teen ganja smokers

| 22/08/2011 | 76 Comments

(CNS): A full scale police operation involving the helicopter, marine vessels, canine units, drug task force, special constables and regular officers netted just two teenagers for smoking ganja at Rum Point at the weekend. The RCIPS said that the operation led by officers from the Eastern Districts was to reassure residents and visitors, at the favourite weekend spot, that the police are focusing on stamping out crime inthe area. Marine vessels Niven D and Tornado patrolled the sea and officers on Marine Unit wave runners also interacted with the boaters that were anchored there to root out any criminal behaviour, the police said. However, just two teenagers aged 16 and 17 were arrested over ganja and a knife.

Police said that the teens ended up behind bars on Sunday afternoon for consumption and possession of ganja and one was also arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon — namely a buck knife.

The RCIPS said it is committed to carrying out more of these types of operations in the future and will be working with other agencies to create a national Marine safety strategy, looking at all types of safety on the sea and rooting out criminal behaviour.

Chief Inspector Martin Bodden Jr, Commander of the Eastern Districts, said the operation was about providing a visible police presence, “to make sure that everyone who was taking part in the customary gathering at Rum Point was safe,” and free from crime.

“We have received a number of reports recently about people being involved in low level criminality and causing annoyance to the hundreds of law abiding people who enjoy the regular weekend celebrations. This operation willserve as a warning to the minority who do flout the law that they will be arrested,” the senior cop stated.

Sergeant Leslie Laing, the officer in charge said these types of operations will continue in the future. “Already we have received many positive comments from those who were in the area at the time. They say it was good to see the officers at Rum Point and that the presence not only delivered results through the arrests, but made them feel reassured that officers were doing all that they could to keep Rum Point crime free,” the officer added.

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Facebook postings raise concern during Anglin trial

| 22/08/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Postings on the social networking site Facebook about witnesses in the trial of Devon Anglin for the murder of four year old Jeremiah Barnes became the subject of discussion in the courtroom on Monday morning before the proceedings resumed. Crown counsel Andrew Radcliff stated that the comments were inflammatory and in order to prevent an offence occurring, as they could fall foul of the law, he requested that the judge issue an order asking people to refrain from prejudicial comments while evidence was still being heard. Justice Howard Cooke, who is sitting alone, pointed out that he doesn’t look at the site and therefore the comments will have no effect on his deliberations but out of an abundance of caution he issued a statement.

“It has been brought to my attention by the crown that certain comments concerning the trial have been posted on Facebook. I have not seen them and it will not affect my consideration of the evidence in anyway,” he said. “However, it is clear that at a time when evidence is still being called in this case no comments must be made that might be thought capable of prejudicing any person in favour of or against any of the parties to the proceedings.”

The judge added that the comments were not directed at the press and were not intended to compromise the proper reporting of the proceedings.

As the trial moved into its second week the prosecution presented further witnesses in its case against 26 year old Devon Anglin from West Bay including one witness who was present at Batabano Plaza when the father of Jeremiah, Andy Barnes and Devon Anglin had exchanged angry words in January, two weeks before the shooting of his son at the gas station in Hell in February.

Barnes had testified that Devon had threatened to kill him and had shown him what appeared to be a hand gun. The witness said she was there on the afternoon in question and she had seen the men exchange angry words, but there was a large crowd many of whom were shouting. The witness said that she had seen something in Anglin’s hands but was not certain it was a gun. Although she had made a statement in February 2010 saying she assumed it was a gun as a result of the gestures made by Anglin she told the court that she had never said it was a gun as she had not seen a gun that day.

The crown also called the pump attendant from Hell gas station that was on duty on the night Jeremiah was shot and killed. He revealed how he had been standing at one of the gas station’s four pumps filling a customer’s car when he saw someone wearing a Halloween mask approach the forecourt.

As he reached Andy Barnes’ car, the attendant said the person then opened fire with a hand gun at the Barnes’ car. He said the individual fired two shot as the car was at the pump and another shot as the car pulled out of the gas station before the gun man ran off, he said seconds later he saw a car exit the gas station at speed. The attendant told the court that the person had his face covered and therefore he was unable to see any of the gunman’s features.

The case continues tomorrow with further crown witnesses.

 

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Police eliminate BBM users and narrow down enquiry

| 22/08/2011 | 9 Comments

(CNS): The police say that they have now visited and spoken to all of the people who communicated with missing person Kerran Baker on the last day that she was seen and have been able to close down the line of enquiry regarding that communication. CS John Jones said that while the information gleaned was limited, it has helped the police further narrow the lines of enquiry, which the RCIPS is now treating as though it were a criminal investigation. Jones said there while the police still have no specific evidence pointing to Kerran being the victim of a crime it was become apparent that this was very likely.

“We have no evidence that this is a criminal investigation but it is glaringly obvious that after three weeks with no sign of Kerran that we have to suspect something criminal has occurred.

He added that at the start of an enquiry investigators must remain open minded about what may be the reasons for a disappearance, but as time goes on the idea of Kerran's disappearance being voluntary slips away. He said the police have to recognise that it is far more likely that she may have been abducted and, in the worse case scenario, has been murdered.

“We are concerned about what may have happened and we are treating the case as a murder enquiry in terms of the disciplines of the investigation,” Jones added.

He said that while the police have to keep an open mind about any investigation, there comes at time when it is apparent, despite the lack of specific evidence, that a crime has likely been committed.

“If a criminal is behind this then they need to know we will not close the books on this. We will continue our enquiries," he said.

Speaking about the BBM line of enquiry, Jones explained that while it may not have given police any new solid leads, having spoken to around ten people it closed a line of enquiry. Jones noted how important this was as he said the police cannot leave any stone unturned.

He explained too that as lines of enquiry close officers are able to narrow down the investigation, giving them chance to focus on the remaining leads. He said some of the BBM contacts had sent Kerran messages on a group text, which is why they had not realized  and come forward. He said as far as the others were concerned, there was nothing sinister but it had helped the police track her communication. Jones said he could not go into any details about whether or not Kerran had sent any messages to anyone after 7pm.

The police are still examining CCTV and are eagerly awaiting forensic test results, Jones said, but most of the conventional investigation was complete and police had gathered certain elements of information which they could not necessarily reveal for fear of damaging the investigation

However, he admitted that over the weekend there were no further significant developments or break throughs in the case. “We still don't have any new information on where she is,” Jones stated, adding that the phone was also still missing.

Kerran Natale Baker (25), a Jamaican national also known as KerryAnn, has lived and worked in Cayman for the last two years at a doctor's surgery. She was last seen on CCTV footage at Foster’s Supermarket near the airport at 7pm on 30 July. Kerran was reported missing to the police on Sunday 31 July after a friend had visited her apartment and found half unpacked groceries on the counter in her apartment in Bodden Town alongside her handbag.

Her white car was discovered parked at Pedro St James around noon on Monday 1 August and the keys were found in the bushes around fifty feet away the following day.

Anyone who may have information on the whereabouts of Kerran is asked to call any of the local police stations, the crime hotline 949 7777, Wilmot Anthony Kerran’s father 321 4271 or Crime Stoppers at 800(TIPS) 8477.

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Opposition playing ‘dirty’

| 22/08/2011 | 152 Comments

(CNS): The country’s premier has hit out at the opposition benches, accusing them of playing ‘dirty politics’, following their recent public outcry over the way they say government is abusing its power. In a short emailed statement to CNS on Friday McKeeva Bush said that the opposition was "being unreasonable”. The premier stated that they were well aware of when the Legislative Assembly was meeting and that all business would be place on the order paper. Following revelations by the independent member and the PPM members that more than seven private members motions and some 30 questions are outstanding, the premier said the business of the House had been decided by the business committee. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

Bush chairs the committee on which two opposition members sit but the government has the majority of members.

The premeir said all the members of the committee were all well aware that the Legislative Assembly was scheduled to return on 7 September unless an emergency arose (such as a storm), a decision that was made more than three weeks ago. “The business committee, which I chair and which two members of the opposition sit on including Alden (the opposition leader), made the decision three weeks ago … and for all remaining business to be put on the order paper,” the premier stated.

However, Bush did not make it clear to CNS exactly what he meant by “all business” or if that included the no confidence motion, the 30 outstanding questions and the three motions filed by Ezzard Miller, which he has written to the speaker about calling for a special meeting to address them.

“The opposition is being unreasonable and employing dirty politics because they know when the House is meeting and that all business means all business,” he said. “That is what we decided in business committee.”

He said they way the government operates now is no different to the way other governments had to operate “because of the uncertainty of the times and conditions our islands have to operate in,” he said. “The PPM operated no different,” he said.

During last week’s press briefing the PPM and Miller claimed that the current administration was manipulating the Standing Orders that govern the Legislative Assembly and pushing out the opposition voice and essentially the voice of the people.

While the former leader of government business, Kurt Tibbetts, acknowledged that there are always circumstances when a government is forced to act outside of the normal Standing Orders – hence they can be changed  — he said no government has ever abused that power as much as the current administration.

However, Bush said he is acting legitimately and dismissed the opposition claims. He accused CNS of being nothing “more than an opposition mouthpiece,” which was “never … able to give a fair report. That is obvious even to blind Bartemus!” he declared.

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Crown turns to experts in case against Anglin

| 22/08/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Following evidence from two teenage girls that placed Devon Anglin in the same car as the one at the murder scene close to the time of the shooting, the crown turned to expert witnesses in their case against him for the murder of Jeremiah Barnes, as the first week of the trial drew to a close. Andrew Radcliffe QC presented forensic evidence on Thursday when the UK gunshot residue expert who had examined both the car and Anglin’s clothes was called to the stand. However, although the expert confirm that residue was found in the car and on Anglin’s clothes, he also revealed that the evidence couldhave been contaminated. 

He told the court that there was a moderate amount of gunshot residue (GSR) in the grey Honda Accord from the murder scene consistent with someone who had fired a weapon being in it. He said he had also found a moderate level of GSR on Anglin’s jeans, shoes and belt but he revealed that this could have been contaminated. He said that when he received the package containing Anglin’s clothes from Cayman he found gunshot residue on the outside.

He explained that it was possible that the officers from the uniform support group who arrested Anglin could very easily be contaminated with GSR as a result of firing weapons in the recent past, touching weapons that had been fired,  or wearing body armour which had been in contact with GSR, all as a result of their work.

Evidence given on Friday from a CCTV expert explained the science behind the distortions in this type of video tape but through enhancement he interpreted what was on the tape for the court. He said that there were a number of distortions which were a result of the natural compression of the imagery but was able to state with certainty that the gunman was holding the weapon in his left hand. He also stated that at first glance what appears to be a full face mask on the gunman is a distortion, as in reality he was wearing a bandana up to the bridge of his nose.

The expert revealed through comparisons of pictures of Anglin’s clothes on the day of his arrest, as well as CCTV footage when he came to court earlier on the day of the shooting, with those worn by the gunman, the boxer shorts and shoes could be the same. He said he could find “no distinguishable features” between them but he could not say with certainty they were the very the same pair of shoes of boxers. He also said that he believed that the hairline of the gunman and the defendant Devon Anglin were consistent with each other, but again he could not state with certainty that they were one and the same man.

The trial continues on Monday when the crown will be calling its remaining witnesses. With much of the evidence in the case given by witnesses not in dispute, the crown is expected to close its case against 26-year-old Anglin early next week. 

The defence will then have the opportunity to answer the crown’s case with witnesses of its own. It is not yet known if Anglin will be taking the witness stand.

Although all defendants still have the right not to take the stand in a trial, the local criminal evidence act was changed last year, before Anglin was charged with this crime, and now states that a judge or jury are legally able to draw an adverse inference if a defendant chooses not to speak in their own defence.

Correction and Clarificaiton: CNS would like to point out that the final paragraph contains incorrect information Anglin was in fact arrested and charged a few weeks before  law was changed.

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Irene becomes first hurricane of Atlantic 2011 season

| 22/08/2011 | 0 Comments

CNS): The ninth tropical storm of the season became its first hurricane at around 4am local time on Sunday morning off the north coast of Puerto Rico. Irene emerged as a tropical storm on Saturday afternoon around 190 miles east of Dominica and at the time forecasters from the NHC had Cayman Brac in the storms sights. Since then however forecasters have altered the predicated path of Hurricane Irene across the northern coastlines of Hispaniola and Cuba then heading towards Florida. At 6am local time the storm was around 55 miles WNW of San Juan headed for the Dominican Republic at around 14mph.

The National Hurricane Centre reports that the hurricane is packing winds of 75mph making it a category one and forecasters predict more strengthening. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 15 miles from the centre and tropical-storm-force winds extend around 150 miles mainly northwest and northeast of the centre.

The Cayman Islands weather service confirmed that the season’s first hurricane poses no immediate threat to the Cayman Islands. However, it will continue to monitor Irene as it moves across the North-eastern Caribbean.

Today’s local weather calls for partly sunny skies with a 20% chance of afternoon showers and possible thunder.  Temperatures will rise to the low 90’s with a heat index of 117 degrees Fahrenheit. Winds will be east to northeast 5 to 10 knots. Seas will be slight with wave heights of 1 to 3 feet. Tonight there will be few clouds with less than a 20% chance of showers and possible thunder. Temperatures will fall to the low 80’s.  Winds will be east to northeast 5 to 10. Seas will be slight with wave heights of 1 to 3 feet.

The outlook is for generally fair conditions with light winds backing towards the north by Tuesday afternoon becoming north-westerly by Wednesday morning.

Monitor the hurricane on the NHC website here
 

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