Archive for April 19th, 2012

Bread roll swindler gets 6 yrs

| 19/04/2012 | 14 Comments

cinnamon-rolls-ck-1622511-l.jpg(CNS): A 47-year-old baker has been sentenced to six years in prison over a two year swindle in which he defrauded a supermarket and his business partner in a massive bread roll con of over $300,000. Dave Bryan, who was found guilty of the fraud, was handed a five year sentence for the con perpetrated on Fosters and further 12 months for a loan he attempted to fraudulently obtain from the CIDB by forging his partner’s signature. The judge ordered that sentence to run consecutively and gave Bryan a further 12 months over a guilty plea for a charge of cheque kiting to run concurrently with the other terms.

As he read his ruling to the court, Justice Charles Quin said that there were few mitigating factors in Bryan’s favour but several aggravating ones because so many other people, including his business partner at the Cayman Bakery, the employees there, employees at Fosters and his own step daughter, had suffered as a result of the convicted man’s crime.

He described the story of Bryan’s offences as a “shocking picture of deception” and added that it was harder to imagine “a more cynical and protracted” crime in which he callously breached the trust that so many people had in him.

The judge pointed to Bryan’s attempts, once the fraud came to light, to blame other people, which resulted in a manager at Foster’s losing his job after 27 years and the delivery man at the bakery business being deported back to Jamaica after just a few weeks, having moved his life to Cayman.

Justice Quin said that Bernie Bush, the partner in the Cayman Baker with Bryan, had not only narrowly escaped bankruptcy but lost the bakery business, which also resulted in the staff there all losing their jobs. Bryan showed “a callous disregard for other people’s lives” with the crime and caused untold harm to the people involved, the judge wrote in his ruling.

The defendant had prevailed on the good nature of staff at Fosters, who had trusted him and unwittingly assisted Bryan in the perpetration of the fraud, in which he had falsified invoices and documents relating to bread, cinnamon rolls and Easter buns, Justice Quin added.

Over a two year period the investigation found that Bryan had delivered only a fraction of the goods for which the bakery invoiced the supermarket and which in turn Foster’s had paid.

Bryan himself had also suffered in the wake of his massive fraud that spanned a two year period, which was noted by the judge. Bryan’s marriage broke down shortly after his arrest, his step daughter had to leave university because she had been dependent on Bryan for funding her studies, his son was unable to graduate, he had lost the family home as he was unable to pay the mortgage after he was remanded in custody and his pending application for PR was doomed.

However, the judge found that in light of the economy, the sentence for a crime involving a breach of trust as had occurred in this case had to be a deterrent and noted the numerous aggravating factors of the case, as he handed down the six year term of imprisonment.

Bryan's attorney, Marseta Facey-Clarke, said in the wake of the ruling that she would be appealing both the conviction and the sentence on behalf of her client.

See related stories:

Bread roll swindler guilty

Fosters duped in bread roll con

 

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28 Cubans sail into difficulty in Brac waters

| 19/04/2012 | 4 Comments

Cubans on Brac April 18 12 (2) (255x300).jpg(CNS): A packed boat of Cuban migrants got into trouble in waters just off Cayman Brac yesterday and officials say the 27 adult men and one woman on board are now with officers fromthe immigration department. A government release said that the boat which developed problems with its rudder and began running low on fuel late Wednesday afternoon. “Immigration officers from Grand Cayman are presently in Cayman Brac assisting with processing and other reception formalities,” the release stated. “All persons will remain in government housing on Cayman Brac until they can be escorted to Grand Cayman. Government has also notified all relevant and authorized persons who will be assisting with the care and security of the migrants.”

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Arden cleared over CUC bills

| 19/04/2012 | 56 Comments

005.JPG(CNS):  Full story – The opposition member for East End has been cleared by the Anti-corruption Commission (ACC) of any wrongdoing in connection with a dispute he had with CUC over power bills when he was minister with responsibility for electricity. Following accusations made by Premier McKeeva Bush and complaints to the commission, Arden McLean said he was proactive in clearing his name and called on the premier to do the same thing regarding the police investigation into his financial affairs that has dragged on for more than two years. With a letter from Police Commissioner David Baines in his possession, McLean called on Bush to show the country his letter of exoneration if, as he says, his “heart was pure and hands clean”.

The former Cabinet member who served as minister with responsibility for CUC during the previous administration had been accused by Bush of using his position to avoid paying power bills. McLeanhad, however, always stated that the bills were paid late because of a legitimate dispute with the power company over the amounts.

The East End member said that as soon as Bush announced that he had reported the issue to the Anti-corruption Commission, he contacted the police and CUC in order to cooperate fully with the investigation. He gave permission to release all of his records with CUC, saving the commission from having to get a court order, and made all the relevant information available to the investigating officer.

“I had no hesitation in taking these steps as I had and have absolutely nothing to hide,” McLean said on Wednesday as he demanded the premier do likewise. He accused Bush of making the “spurious and desperate allegations” against him in order to deflect attention from the premier’s own investigation by the police into financial irregularities.

“Rather than trumping up allegations against honest servants of the people to deflect attention from his own criminal investigation for financial irregularities, the premier should provide a full, satisfactory explanation of the matters that led to the … investigation he has been under for two years now.”

McLean called on Bush to follow his example of transparency and submit himself for questioning as he, Mclean, had done and provide the relevant records to the investigators. 

“Anyone with ‘clean hands and a pure heart’ should be eager to demonstrate his innocence to the world,” he said and called on the premier to reveal the details of the now infamous letter to Stan Thomas, which has been described as a real estate bill by the premier, sent to the Texan developer who once owned land in the Safe Haven area.

Police Commissioner David Baines, who chairs the ACC, wrote to the former minister yesterday clearing him of any wrongdoing after what he described as a full investigation. Baines wrote that there was no evidence to “substantiate that he had committed any offence” while in office under any legislation and there was no “justification for any further investigation”. He thanked McLean for cooperating with the case, which is now closed.

So far, there has been no such clearance regarding the Bush investigation.

The authorities have continued to state that the investigation is ongoing. It is not yet clear if the case has reached the independent office of the director of public prosecutions, who would, based on any evidence against the premier, have the final say in any decision by the Anti-corruption Commission to prosecute.

At a recent Chamber meeting the police commissioner revealed that he had some difficulties with current corruption investigations because the anti-corruption legislation was not retroactive. He did not indicate whether this related to the investigation into Bush but the Thomas ‘invoice’ was sent, according to the fax stamp, in October 2004, before the anti-corruption legislation was implemented.

See letters between McLean and CUC, and Baines and McLean below.

See the letter at the heart of the Bush investigation here.

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All invited for free Earth Day visit at national garden

| 19/04/2012 | 0 Comments

botanic_0.JPG(CNS): The Queen Elizabeth 11 Botanic Park is inviting everyone who lives in Cayman to celebrate Earth Day on Saturday, 22 April with free admission all day, from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. as well as enjoying the beautiful grounds visitors will have a chance to do something for the earth through efforts being promoted at the park, or buy plants from the large variety of seedlings at the nursery to plant a tree, either in their own yards or at the park. “This is a good opportunity to plant a tree in honour of a cherished loved one or a special occasion and at the same time contribute to our greening efforts at the Park or in our neighbourhoods,” said John Lawrus, the General Manager at the Botanic Park.

“I would encourage everyone to take advantage of free admission on Earth Day and come out in support of our efforts. It is also a great way to enjoy the day with family and friends in one of the most naturally beautiful settings on our islands,” he added.

The Botanic Park is also participating in the international Earth Day Network's A Billion Acts of Green campaign, an environmental service effort that seeks to register one billion actions taken on behalf of the environment that reduce carbon emissions and support sustainability, ahead of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), to be held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012.

“The Botanic Park will seek to register its Earth Day activities as one of the ‘Billion Acts of Green’ and that is why we are encouraging all residents to come out in large numbers. By doing so, we in the Cayman Islands can show our commitment to reducing carbon emissions and supporting the earth’s sustainability,” Lawrus said.

Gilbert Connolly, Chief Executive Officer of the Tourism Attraction Board, which manages the Botanic Park, also encouraged residents to attend and participate in Earth Day activities.

“The Botanic Park is one of the most beautiful and diverse in the region and is, in fact, the only one in the Caribbean to be Green Globe certified. This demonstrates the Board’s commitment to operating and maintaining an eco-friendly attraction of the highest quality and I implore all Caymanians and residents to support the Park by visiting on Earth Day and as often as possible throughout the year. The Botanic Park is a national treasure we can all enjoy and be proud of,” Connolly said.

Residents are required to present an ID showing proof of residency for admission on Earth Day
 

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Man killed in WB road smash

| 19/04/2012 | 0 Comments

(CNS):  Update – A man was killed and a second seriously injured in the early hours of Thursday morning when a Honda Civic traveling on the West Bay Road towards George Town left the road and overturned close to the Coral Stone Club. The driver and passenger were both thrown from the vehicle, police said, and were taken to the Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town, where the 33-year-old passenger was pronounced dead. The 28-year-old man is being treated for serious injuries and has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and suspicion of DUI. Police closed the road from Safe Haven to Canal Point in order to investigate the smash but they have now confirmed the road has opened.

Anyone who witnessed the road crash is asked to contact Inspector Adrian Barnett at the RCIPS Traffic Dept on 946-6254.
 

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MP calls for Blencathra parliamentary inquiry

| 19/04/2012 | 0 Comments

lord bottom.jpg(CNS Business): The Cayman Islands representative in London, Lord Blencathra, may face an investigation into whether he has breached parliamentary regulations by accepting a paid position to lobby for Cayman’s financial services industry while also sitting in the House of Lords. Following revelations in the UK about Lord Blencathra’s dual roles, Labour MP Paul Flynn accused the Tory peer of abusing the system and has referred him to the Committee for Standards in Public Life. The Cayman Islands Government has defended their representative, maintaining that no rules were breached and that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office knew about the appointment. A spokesman for Lord Blencathra called Flynn "a far left Labour MP who is very hostile to the Cayman Islands". Read more on CNS Business

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The vision thing

| 19/04/2012 | 6 Comments

Oh no, not another attack on politicians. Why? One is reluctant to write yet another negative rant about our elected leaders because: (A) They obviously don’t care about taking constructive criticism; (B) Anything written risks being redundant because everybody else in the Cayman Islands is already pointing out their failures; and (C) What more is left to say about these men and women who “serve” for their gain at the people’s expense?

There is something left to be said, however. Forget, for the moment, the usual suspects of alleged corruption, confirmed incompetence and obvious pettiness. Let’s consider the vision thing. Yes, “vision” is often rightly seen as one more meaningless cliché in the politician’s arsenal. What works better than spouting empty words and promises about a future that never arrives? Mindless drones lap it up all the way to the polling booths, and our politicians know it. Even the most loyal supporters tend not to actually believe that their favorite politician will ever do anything substantial that is remotely linked to anything described as “long-term vision for the future of Cayman”. But let’s not dismiss the importance of vision for the country just because it’s a meaningless concept in the hearts and minds of voters and politicians. It turns out that it really is important.

If Cayman’s leaders had vision beyond, say, at least the next election, just imagine how much better off the Cayman Islands might be right now. Education, infrastructure, policing, tourism, the financial industry, art, music, the natural environment, and employment for Caymanians would collectively be in a much better state right now. This is not a wild comment without basis. If our leaders of the last 50 years had consistently considered Cayman’s best interest long-term, decades forward, there can be no doubt that virtually every aspect of Caymanian society would be better off today. Anyone who disagrees must either be a politician or have one in his pocket.

The politicians are unlikely to change, of course. They never will if they don’t have to. They will be happy to continue making tiny short-term promises that seduce half-interested voters. It’s too easy for them to fill their speeches with empty nonsense about our long-term future, if they mention it at all, because they know no one will hold them to any of it. The only thing that will force this unique breed of Caymanians to change their ways is for voters to demand better. The people have to ask politicians where Cayman is heading and where it will be in 50 years—and then demand more than fake smiles and hollow answers.

The questions are simple: Where do you want to lead us and how exactly will you take us there? If a politician fails to answer in detail, then he or she doesn’t deserve your vote. Simple as that.  

 

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