Archive for January 20th, 2012

CJ finds Anglin guilty

| 20/01/2012 | 41 Comments

devon.JPG(CNS): Full story — Devon Anglin has been sentenced to life in prison following his conviction for the murder of Carlos Webster in the Next Level night club in September 2009. As the chief justice delivered his guilty verdict against the 25-year-old West Bay man he described it as a “senseless and unspeakable killing”. Webster was shot in the head at point blank range in the busy crowded nightclub but the crown relied heavily on the evidence of only two anonymous witnesses. This is the first time where the identity of the key prosecution witnesses was completely concealed and the case has depended heavily on their evidence.

In his ruling, which took more than two and half hours to deliver, Chief Justice Anthony Smellie said that the two anonymous witnesses, labelled throughout the trial as B and E, had no motive to lie about the defendant and ultimately what they saw. The judge said he was impressed with their evidence, despite some inconsistencies which he did not think undermined the key elements. He said that while witness B had made errors in recollection after the shooting, it was understandable given the traumatic incident and he believed his account before was truthful.

Witness B had testified to seeing the actual shooting and identified Anglin as the gunman, while the second witness identified Anglin as the man they saw leaving the club seconds after the three shots were fired tucking a hand gun into the waistband of his trousers. The judge stated that it was “fanciful” of the defence to suggest that even if the man he saw had been the defendant, the witness did not see him shoot anyone so therefore the shooter could have been someone else. Smellie stated that the witness had seen Anglin walked past merely seconds after the final shot was fired with the firearm in his hand.

In both instances the judge said he also found corroborating evidence from the CCTV, other witnesses and the forensics submitted in the case for elements of each of the independent witnesses’ testimonies.

He also rejected the defence criticism of the CCTV expert’s evidence, who gave detailed testimony to help with the identification of people in the club that night, including Anglin, Webster and the witnesses themselves.

“I am satisfied that the defendant is guilty of murder,” the judge stated, adding that he was therefore satisfied that Anglin had also attempted to murder Christopher Solomon, who was hit in the stomach that night, and that the defendant also had in his possession an unlicensed firearm.

Anglin remained silent and made no comment as the judge passed the mandatory life sentence but moved to leave the court room before the proceedings were complete.

Anglin’s defence attorney Lucy Organ noted that with the implementation of the bill of rights in November, the question of a tariff on the life sentence would arise later in the year, which would also impact the future sentence that the judge would impose for the conviction of her client on the attempted murder charge as wellas that of the possession of an unlicensed firearm.

In the aftermath of the verdict, Katina Anglin, the mother of the convicted man, said she and her son’s friends and family were all emotional in the wake of the decision and she would be issuing a statement shortly. However, she did state that her son, with the assistance of the legal team, would definitely be seeking an appeal as the inconsistencies which the judge referred to in the evidence of the anonymous witnesses were, she believed, serious and material to the whole case.

The lead investigator on the case, former chief inspector Peter Kennet, who has since retired from the RCIPS, said Anglinhad been “rightly convicted” of the “brutal assassination” of Carlos Webster.

“I hope this verdict can bring some closure for Carlo’s mother, Ms Leonides Williams,” Kennet said. He pointed to the use of the anonymous witnesses for the first time and said the system had clearly worked well. “It is an excellent tool in the fight against the prosecution of mindless, violent thugs. I would place on record my sincere thanks to those brave witnesses for supporting justice in Cayman and also to the other people that came forward to assist.”

There was a heavy police presence around Anglin’s friends who had come to the court to hear the verdict and they were at one point held in a car park close to the court by some five police cars, but it was not clear why.

A spokesperson from the RCIPS said that in the wake of the verdict, which came on the heels of the acquittal of Justin Manderson for the attempted murder of Andy Barnes on Thursday, the police were aware of the “heightened community tensions”.

“We have adjusted our patrol plans accordingly to maintain a high visibility presence and to provide some reassurance to the public,” the RCIPS stated.

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Cops name Brac plane crash victims

| 20/01/2012 | 14 Comments

plane.JPG(CNS): The police say that the two men killed in the light aircraft crash on Cayman Brac in November were Jose Santos Castaneda Castrejon, age 35 years (Mexican), and Fernando Duran Garcia, age 56 years (Colombian ). However police have revealed no other details regarding the mysterious crash, such as where the plane was headed or where it had come from. The aircraft crashed on the Bluff on Sunday 13 November last year but a police spokesperson said the incident was still under investigation and other law enforcement agencies were assisting in the investigation. “We are not yet in receipt of the UK investigators report,” the RCIPS stated.

“The RCIPS is also in a position to confirm that personal items, including some cash, were found within the aircraft. As we have previously stated, no illegal drugs, guns or other contraband was recovered. Some containers containing a liquid was found onboard the aircraft. The contents of those containers is being analysed,” the spokesperson added.

Post mortem examinations confirmed the men died due to blunt force trauma and both bodies have been repatriated to their home countries following consultation with their respective Embassies. The police said the repatriation of the bodies was at no cost the Cayman Islands government.

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Man shot near Countryside plaza

| 20/01/2012 | 15 Comments

cop at hospital.jpg(CNS): Update 5:55pm — A man has been admitted to hospital suffering from possible gunshot wounds, police have confirmed. He has told police that the incident happened on Hirst Road near the Countryside shopping plaza  at approximately 2.30pm today. He said he flagged down a dark blue small Hyundai vehicle which was driven by a male with dreadlocks. This person took him to the Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town, where he arrived at around 3:00pm today and is currently being treated for what are described as superficial injuries to his back. So far the RCIPS has not received any reportsof gunshots in or around the vicinity of Countryside. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

Police say they would like the driver of the Hyundai to contact them as soon as possible on 949-4222.

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Cayman Finance & CIG rebuke ABC News

| 20/01/2012 | 0 Comments

Mitt.jpg(CNS Business): Responding to a report on a major US television network news station on the use of offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands by Mitt Romney and the corporation he once ran, Cayman Finance said it displayed a total misunderstanding of the role of the Cayman Islands’ tax neutral framework. The Cayman government has also issued a statement calling allegations in the report of improper secrecy in its dealings as an offshore jurisdiction "unfounded". The report on ABC News, which referred to the Cayman Islands as “a notorious Caribbean tax haven, where secrecy is the rule”, said the Republican front-runner for nomination to run for president used “tax loopholes available only to the super rich”, which resulted in a 15% tax rate, much lower than most Americans. Read more on CNS Business

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Nostalgic moments from national archive

| 20/01/2012 | 11 Comments

XG DI 10379 (1).jpg(CNS): A new exhibition presented by the National Archive (CINA), at the old George Town library, is bringing to light images from the old school days to mark this year’s National Heroes Day theme of education. While one room schoolhouses may be a thing of the past the exhibition is sure to trigger lots of nostalgia for these humble beginnings. On heroes day those pioneers of Cayman’s education system who taught with little to no resources will be honoured and recognised.

(Right click on photo to view larger image)

Back to the Old Schoolhouse will be open from Monday, 23 January from 12:00pm – 3:00pm, and Tuesday 24 – Friday, 27 January from 10:00am to 4:30pm.

The display will include images of old schoolhouses in George Town, Savannah, Cayman Brac and West Bay and fondly remembered teachers, like Ms Izzy & Teacher Redley.
This wonder down memory lane provides a snapshot of what school days were like in the late 1800s to 1900s. Materials on exhibit include composition and text books, attendance certificates, the 1920 Education Law, photographs and oral history transcripts which brings both the written and spoken word to life to depict a vivid picture

Government officials said that too provide an authentic feel for the classroom, the National Trust provided items mainly from the Savannah Schoolhouse – such as student desks, chairs, inkwells, Royal Readers, a school uniform, and a slate. Other artefacts include a biblical slate, a gig, thatch basket and various readers on loan from the National Museum. Artist Gordon Solomon also painted a mural recreating the concept of a one room schoolhouse based on images from CINA’s Photographic Collections. 

For more information about the exhibit, please contact Carol Mascarenhas at the Cayman Islands National Archive at 949-9809 or send an email to CINA@gov.ky

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Mac complains about process

| 20/01/2012 | 69 Comments

_DEW2462_0.jpg(CNS): The premier has complained that it will cost government around a quarter of a million dollars on consultants to tell him that the ForCayman Alliance deal is good for the country. In his annual speech at the Cayman Business Outlook conference on Thursday McKeeva Bush said that he was having to spend $250,000 to get advice regarding the deal with the islands' biggest developer which he said even a “blindfolded man could see” was the right thing to do. Referring to the requirements under the framework agreement signed with the UK Bush said to “satisfy process” government has to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to find out what he already knew. (Photo Dennie WarrenJr)

Talking about the issues regarding the proposed agreement with Dart which involves swaps of land, cash, development project and future investment in return for crown land and various regulatory changes as well as duty concessions, he said he didn’t need someone to tell him it was a good deal. All he was giving away, he said, was part of some future potential revenue which government would not get without the deal anyway and the road that “you can’t see the sea from.”

Deriding the need to follow process Bush went on to complain that the demands of good governance were sometimes too onerous as they got in the way of getting things done, as he claimed to be a person who likes to work and do things not talk about them.

Bush spoke about the pressures from the onshore world and the eyes on Cayman and acknowledged the need for transparency everywhere including in government but he said the issue of good governance, which was a theme for the CBO conference this year was too much when it becomes a stumbling block as the process gets in the way of action. He said he was being stopped from doing the important things he wanted to do because of it.

In a speech that lacked the premier’s usual fire and which was more reflective than forward looking, he spoke about Cayman’s historic success despite the odds and improbabilities for such a small island.

In particular he spoke about the financial services maintaining its position in the world and the need to fight those jealous of its success. He spoke of the need to attract a physical presence in order to silence the critics so they could not do the jurisdiction “so much harm” as he said if there was only a “name plate here” then Cayman would still face criticism. He said the country had been “bad” in the 1970s but it wasn’t like that now and he wanted to encourage people to have a stake here.

He also asked the financial services firms to train and employ Caymanians, to give them a chance to gain the knowledge and not to always look for permits he said they would get what they needed but employers had to embrace local workers.

Bush said that his government had tackled immigration and while he had gotten “stick for it” such as introducing some changes like ten year permits, he had done it. He claimed that his government from the onset had tackled tough things and had lost support for it but he said despite what people may think it wasn’t about winning the votes.

“It is not about winning the next election,” he said “My thing  is…If I can set government finances on a proper course and make sure the accounts are up to date… if we can get that done and (address) the budget …we  won't wipe (the deficit) out but it will bebetter …”

He toldthe audience that the people could vote him out of office but his government would have met its responsibility if he could balance the budget and keep down our borrowings.

 

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Employment programme designed for single moms

| 20/01/2012 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The government’s training scheme for the unemployed designed to help those struggling to find work has begun the first class which diverts from the original model helping school and college leavers. On Monday a twenty week Passport2Success programme (P2P designed for single mothers started at the ICCI. Given the additional challenges faced by women with children looking for work the course has been adapted to meet their needs. Organisers said the As a part of the programme the women will be on the job two days per week beginning in week four and the curriculum will be  providing an emphasis on acquisition of tangible skills that they can use to secure employment.

The employment initiative is collaboration between government and private sector and organisers say there are plays to create other specially designed programmes for other groups that are struggling to find jobs and can benefit from the skills taught on the course.

On this programme the mothers will be helped with parenting advice as well as employability skills and keys to workplace success, organisers said.

“Single mothers carry an incredible responsibility for the parenting of children and running of households in our community,” Shannon Seymour of the Wellness Centre stated. “Ensuring that those single mothers who want to gain employment are given the skills and opportunities they need to be successful is critical. Supporting single mothers who want to provide their children with a positive role model of independence and self-sufficiency is something we at The Wellness Centre are very proud to be a part of.”

Speaking at the orientation, Rolston Anglin, education minister, urged each of the women to not do this course for their children but do it for themselves.

“The programme is successful because of its participants,” he said. “Each of you is here to take a risk to change and seemingly provide a change for your kids. We look forward to what you will achieve through this programme.”

For more information about Passport2Success as well as application forms and dates for the start of the next programme, visit www.passport2success.ky.

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