Archive for September 14th, 2011

Police appeal for calm

| 14/09/2011 | 102 Comments

(CNS): The RCIPS has launched a murder enquiry following the shooting of 28-year-old Robert Mackford Bush (left) in West Bay last night (Tuesday 13 September) and officers are appealing for calm. Senior police officers confirmed that Bush was shot in the head while sitting in a blue Honda civic at around 11:20pm at the junction of  Capts Joe and Osbert Road in the Birch Tree Hill. Police say they are not ruling out the possibility that this was a gang related shooting but because the enquiry is still in its very early stages they are unable to speculate on the motive behind the first fatal shooting in twelve months.

At a press briefing Wednesday Chief Superintendent John Jones appealed for calm and asked the community to come forward with any information that could assist the police in ensuring the perpetrators of the crime are brought to justice as quickly as possible. He said that at the moment the police could not say that it was a retaliatory crime or what other crimes it may be linked to but he did confirm that the recent release over the last few months of several young men from prison was of concern to the RCIPS.

Although unable to offer many details about the shooting or any descriptions of the possible suspects, the police confirmed that a woman who was in the car when the victim was shot was also treated in hospital for injuries sustained at the same time, but could not say if she had been shot as well.

Officers were also unable to confirm speculation thatBush had been killed with a shotgun or how many times the victim was shot. However, Jones stated that he had received at least one wound to the head and had died at the scene. Jones further revealed that emergency services, including the Uniform Support Group, were on the scene within five minutes of the call being received from the woman who was with Bush in the car. He also said that specially trained firearms dogs had been deployed at the scene.

At this stage no arrests have been made and the police did not say if they were hunting for more than one gunman. They did  confirm that Bush was arrested and charged in July for an assault in connection with an incident which took place at a bar in Hell, West Bay, in July, for which the victim had been bailed.

Jones and DS Marlon Bodden said that police were now following up on the intelligence, which they hoped to convert into evidence.

The shooting took place in what is becoming a notorious spot for serious crime and very close to the yard where both Damion Ming and Tyrone Burrel were  killed last year  in gang related shootings.

“One would have thought by now, given the number of incidents in the area, that the community would be extremely alert and ready to pass on the information to police,” Bodden said as he pleaded with witnesses to come forward.  Jones said that in recent months police had seen an increase in the amount of information being given to the police and asked for that to continue, as both officers pointed out the need to get solid evidence in order to lead to a conviction.

Jones said the extra funds voted by government would help the police get into the faces of all of the suspects in the neighbourhood that are associated with gun crime and turn the intelligence into evidence. “The more resources we have, the more effectively we can target and bring them to court with solid evidence,” Jones added.

The last killing in Cayman was in October 2010, when Jack Forbes was beaten to death in a fight outside a liquor store in Bodden Town. One man has since been jailed after pleading guilty to mansluaghter in connection with the crime.

The last fatal shooting also took place in Birch Tree Hill in September 2010, when 20-year-old Tyrone Burrell was gunned down in the same yard in which Damion Ming was killed in March 2010. Leonard Ebanks is currently on trial this month in Grand Court accused of murdering Burrel.

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Facebook adds follow option with ‘Subscribe’

| 14/09/2011 | 0 Comments

(PC Magazine): Facebook on Wednesday unveiled the "Subscribe" button, which will allow you to subscribe to, or follow, people and read their public posts. The site also rolled out new options for how much information shows up in your news feed. The Subscribe button is intended to connect you with "interesting people you're not friends with—like journalists, artists and political figures," Blake Ross, director of product at Facebook, wrote in a blog post. If you see a Subscribe button on someone's profile, click it to receive updates from that person in your feed. You won't be "friends" with them or see private posts, but if they make something public, like a link to an article or new project, it'll show up in your feed. 

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Local activists get VOCAL about crime

| 14/09/2011 | 9 Comments

(CNS): With crime one of, if not the most pressing concern in the Cayman Islands community at present, a group of people have come together to form a new public grassroots organisation that takes the neighbourhood watch concept a step further. The organisers of VOCAL say the goal is to get people to be more aware about what is going on in their communities across the island and share information and help each other when needed. With the growing fear of crime gripping people on Grand Cayman,, VOCAL hopes to flourish into a locally based crime prevention group that has a local face and can bring communities together to help themselves not become victims of crime and offer meaningful solutions.

Organisers are asking people to simply e-mail the local volunteers about any concerns at all that may be crime related, such as suspicious cars in the street or anything that seems out of place. Acting as a crime-watch body for the whole island, people can e-mail the information which will then be shared with the local police where necessary or other agencies that may be able to address the issue.

VOCAL, which stands for Voice of Cayman Allegiance, is designed to support law enforcement agencies and also help the police communicate crime prevention to the public. Organisers said the goal was about passing on what would be considered non-emergency or non-immediate crime related information to a trusted local source as more volunteers are recruited from the districts across the islands.

The organisers are currently in the process of recruiting a volunteer force that can assist their communities to stay safe in a number of different ways. From helping a woman alone in the middle of the night with a flat tire to watching homes when people are on vacation, the idea is to bring the community together to create environments that are unattractive to criminals.

“VOCAL is an Independent, not-for-profit, community-based anti-crime programme designed to provide citizens with a means to anonymously share preventative tips, suspicious incidents and criminal activity with each other,” one of the organisers spearheading the group said. The programme is open to neighbourhood watch groups and everyone who wants to fight crime is invited to respond and participate

People are asked to e-mail information, requests, or concerns, to:  Vocal345@hotmail.com where they can also register for email updates or offer their services as a potential  VOCAL district representative.

Organisers stressed that it is not an emergency response hotline and all urgent matters should be referred to the police or other emergency services but messages to VOCAL representative will be dealt with within 24 hours.

See VOCAL report form below:

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Man shot dead in West Bay

| 14/09/2011 | 64 Comments

(CNS):  A man from West Bay was shot in the head and killed at the junction of Capts Joe and Osbert Road in the Birch Tree Hill area of the district last night, police have now confirmed. The man who is the first murder victim of 2011 and cannot be named until the next of kin have been informed was shot in the face while sitting in a blue Honda Civic at around 11:20pm. He is understood to have received several other gun shot injuries. When police arrived at the scene the man was already dead. A woman was also taken to hospital in connection with the same incident during which she appears to have been shot with a pellet gun.  (Photo Dennie WarrenJr)

It is not yet clear how many gunmen were involved and police have not circulated any descriptions of the shooters.

The first homicide of the year comes the day after the country's parliament voted to increase the police budget by more than $4milllion in order to get to grips with gang and gun crime.

See "Polcie appeal for calm" for the latest informaiton in the killing.

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Baines issues corruption alert

| 14/09/2011 | 29 Comments

(CNS): People working in both public and private organisations will have to take a long hard look at how they operate when it comes to the Anti-Corruption Law 2008 (ACL). Although this law came into effect in January 2010, it is only now gaining teeth, Police Commissioner David Baines said Tuesday. Chair of the Anti-Corruption Commission, the body charged with the oversight and implementation of the ACL, Baines said the law highlighted possible conflicts in how business has been conducted in Cayman. He said it was an offence for those involved in any decision-making as a public entity to engage in private activity for their own personal benefit without declaring such activity.

Speaking at the first formal presentation of the law at a seminar held by the Cayman Islands Compliance Association at the Westin Casuarina Resort, Baines issued his warning.

“This forms an absolute offence under a first reading of the law,” he confirmed, adding that activities and discussions currently taking place around the auditor general’s role and central tendering were highlighting conduct which “needed further explanation” under the ACL.

Individuals who work for government and government bodies, such as the police service, customs and immigration in particular, will have to be very aware of the law, especially when it comes to the misuse of information, Baines said. He added that complaints brought to the commission and their first arrest under the law highlighted the issue of a “widespread abuse and access to confidential information”. He urged the audience to ensure that data controls within their own organisations were adequate as well as the codes of conduct and disciplinary measures in place for people who misuse information.

Baines went on to discuss a particular case whereby one of his own staff members had been arrested for the solicitation of information of another government body (immigration) for personal gain.

The consequences of the arrest and subsequent investigation caused something of a shake-up within Cayman’s law enforcement agencies as people realised “the almost endemic misuse of information” which, Baines said, “is now starting to change as people have clearly understood that if you misuse information you can be arrested and be imprisoned and lose your job.”

The country’s top police officer outlined that under the ACL there have been 26 complaints alleging some form of corruption so far, two of which were found not to contravene the ACL but were referred to other agencies, such as the complaints commissioner, for further investigation, five were investigated and found not to contravene the law, six cases were pending further information, leaving 13 cases still ongoing, with the one arrest.

Baines said the Anti-Corruption Commission, now assisted by one of the government’s senior crown counsel, John Masters, has been conservative in gearing up its operations up until this point because it wanted to ensure that it was fully conversant with the law. As with any new law, he confirmed, especially one drafted from legislation from other jurisdictions, the commission wanted to ensure that appropriate protocols were in place to protect the commission and therefore ensure success in any prosecutions.

As the law has been put into practice and the Anti-Corruption Commission begins to hold regular meetings, various issues have been highlighted, Baines said. Members of the Anti-Corruption Commission generally wore two hats as public officers, namely himself as commissioner of police and other members, which include the complaints commissioner and the auditor general. In particular, he talked about the difficulty in deciding who would take on the lead role within the commission.

Another issue was that the law repeals certain provisions of the Penal Code, which already dealt with corrupt practices. However the ACL is not retrospective, therefore any issues which took place before January 2010 that might have been pursued under the old law are not covered under this new legislation. They can still be looked at under common law, but that was not ideal, Baines said.

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