Archive for January 8th, 2013

Immigration pursues case of harbouring Cubans

| 08/01/2013 | 1 Comment

Immigration Enforcement_2.jpg(CNS): Although two Cuban refugees who escaped from the detention centre in George Town were recaptured within twenty-four hours, immigration officers are still investigating the potential harbouring of the two detainees, officials said Tuesday. The two men were found at a rental residence in West Bay during an Immigration operation early Friday evening and Deputy Chief Immigration Officer (Enforcement) Gary Wong thanked those involved for the information that led to their recovery but said he was seeking more details surrounding the matter.

On Thursday, 3 January, Wilfredo Alarcon and Francisco Rodrigues were found to be missing from the Immigration Detention Centre in George Town during the evening head-count. The details of those who illegally assisted them are still under investigation and the department reminds the public that anyone convicted in such a matter faces a penalty of five years imprisonment and up to CI$70,000 in fines.

The refugees were from a group of 25 migrants that had arrived in mid-2012 and were awaiting deportation back to Cuba. Another group of five migrants arrived on 27 December, bringing the total of Cuban migrants in the Cayman Islands to 30 – the largest group of Cubans for some years.

Anyone with further information on the escape or concealment of Alarcon and Rodriguez should contact 526-0480, 526-7937, 526-0433 or 949-8344.

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Taylor files FOI legal appeal

| 08/01/2013 | 56 Comments

Gov Taylor addresses (223x300).jpg(CNS): In an ironic twist, the Governor’s Office has become the first public authority to turn to the courts in an effort to overturn a decision by the Cayman Islands Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and prevent the release of documents into the public domain. Governor Duncan Taylor has filed an appeal for judicial review to reverse a decision by the commisssioner, Jennifer Dilbert, that his office should release a report regarding a complaint made by the former UK cop who headed up the controversial police corruption investigation, Operation Tempura. Dilbert has completed 26 hearings since the law came into force some three years ago but no one has previously challenged any of her decisions in the courts.

In this first appeal to the courts for judicial review, the governor, in an attempt to keep information secret, is requesting a hearing in order to quash Dilbert’s 24th decision, in which she concludes that the report be released. Claiming the commissioner has erred in law in the grounds he presented, Governor Taylor says she jumped to irrelevant and unjustified conclusions about an area of ambiguity in the local freedom of information law and was mistaken with regard to other elements of the legislation which she applied in her decision.

The legal document, which was filed at the eleventh hour following the 45 days the office had to release the documents in connection with the results of Dilbert’s hearing, the governor claims that the commissioner misinterpreted the law regarding potentially defamatory material, which the UK’s representative has claimed as one of the reasons for withholding the document.

The report, which was requested by John Evans, a former reporter with Cayman Net News, which was at the heart of the Operation Tempura investigation, centres on complaints made by Martin Bridger, who headed up the costly controversial investigation. He accused the authorities of cutting short his corruption probe, pointing the finger at the role played by the powers that be and in particular members of the judiciary. The complaint by Bridger was dismissed by the governor and the report requested by Evans outlines the reasons why.

Bridger was given a copy of the report but only on the basis that he kept the document secret, a position that Bridger has maintained, despite wanting the report released. Speaking to CNS Monday, he stated categorically that he would be doing what he could to join the legal action as an interested party defending the commissioner’s decision as he believes the document should be in the public domain.

Aside from attacking Dilbert’s findings regarding the defamatory issues, the governor has also strongly disputed her decision regarding the position of the Governor 's Office that the release of the documents would impact the effective conduct of public affairs. Dilbert found the report would not be damaging, while the governor said she had not considered the need to preserve the independence of the judiciary and the “sensitivity of dealing with complaints against the judiciary”.

It is not yet clear if it will be a judge who grants the judicial review, which is very likely, when the hearing will take place and more importantly if the case would be public given the content of the material that is in dispute. Questions also remain, as a result of the subject matter relating heavily to the local judiciary, as to which judge could hear the case without appearing to be conflicted.

Since Bridger was ejected from Cayman, which he has persistently claimed was before his investigation was complete, the fallout from the internal police and judicial probe has continued to rack up costs for the public purse as the authorities, and in particular the Governor’s Office and the FCO, continue to fight to keep as much of the detail of the discredited enquiry under wraps as possible.

Many questions about the investigation remain unanswered, despite a bill that is now estimated to exceed some $8 million but failed to deliver a singleconviction for corruption.
The fact that Bridger was believed to have his sights not just on Justice Alex Henderson, who was found to have been unlawfully arrested and awarded damages of over $1.2 million following a judicial review, but the chief justice as well has made the investigation particularly sensitive and controversial.

Despite the findings of the senior judiciary over Bridger’s actions, he has always insisted he acted lawfully throughout the investigation based on advice given to him by local legal advisors employed by the Governor’s Office, the Attorney General’s Chambers, as well as that given by Martin Polaine, an independent lawyer and business associate of Bridger who was eventually struck off as an attorney after he was found to have advised the senior former Scotland Yard cop in Cayman despite not being qualified to practice local law.

Many questions about Operation Tempura remain, as do a number of on-going legal cases, including that of former senior police officer Burman Scott, who was arrested under the same conditions as Justice Henderson and is believed to have been offered a compensation payment.

Questions regarding that issue by CNS to the RCIPS remain unanswered. The former deputy commissioner, Rudy Dixon, who was also arrested and charged under the same offence, which was found to be unlawful in the case of Henderson, was eventually tried and found not guilty by a jury and later given a payoff to depart the RCIPS.

Meanwhile, Stuart Kernohan, the police commissioner at the time of Operation Tempura, continues to pursue a wrongful dismissal claim against the Cayman government over the way he was treated after his suspension from duty because of his association with an alleged unlawful entry into the Net News offices.

Kernohan was suspended over a decision he made to allow employees of the newspaper, including Evans, to hunt for evidence of alleged corruption between the owner, the late Desmond Seales, and Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony Ennis, even though the former top cop had revealed the plans to both the governor at the time, Stuart Jack, and the regional security advisor, Larry Covington.

Although those corruption claims were dismissed very early in the Tempura investigation, Bridger continued to probe and claimed to have discovered other corruption issues relating to the police and the judiciary. While some officers are believed to have resigned or been dismissed as a result of that probe, no details, with the exception of the failed case against Dixon, have ever been revealed to the public, despite the fact that the Cayman tax payer has footed the bill for the entire fiasco. 

The release of the documents currently in question and the continued legal fights that the attorney general is pursuing against Bridger to prevent him using other documents in his own legal battles are believed to boil down to an FCO’s desire to avoid embarrassment about the bungled investigation.

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Jamaican court orders extradition of CI bank suspect

| 08/01/2013 | 4 Comments

(CNS): A 36-year-old man wanted by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service will soon be extradited from his native Jamaica after a judge issued a court order last week. Ryan Edwards, who is from the eastern parish of St Thomas, is wanted in connection with the Cayman National Bank robbery at Buckingham Square last June, in which an armed gang made off with hundreds of thousands of dollars in a daylight heist. Evidence was presented to the Half Way Tree Resident Magistrate's court implicating him in the bank robbery, which according to the Jamaican media, resulted in the extradition order.

The suspect will now be held in Jamaica until an extradition warrant is issued and Edwards will be brought to Cayman, where he is expected to be charged for his part in the heist. Several men have already been charged and await trial later this year.

According to the Jamaican police, Edwards was apprehended in August last year when the St Thomas police stopped two men in the parish in a parked Toyota Altis car. A search of the vehicle revealed a large sum of cash, including US$5,000 and CI$35,000.

Checks with the RCIPS found that several of the notes found in Edwards' possession matched those stolen during the CNB robbery in the Cayman Islands and that Edwards was a wanted man in Cayman after he fled the Cayman Islands to Jamaica by boat.

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Man stabbed in throat for $9

| 08/01/2013 | 48 Comments

boggy sands (230x300).jpg(CNS): Updated — In the third serious crime of the day, a victim was stabbed in the throat by a mugger off Boggy Sands Road in West Bay, close to the four way stop late Monday night. Police said that at about 10:40pm on 7 January a report was received that a 60-year-old man, who was around Town Hall Road near the junction of Boggy Sands, had been attacked by two men and robbed of around $9. The victim arrived at West Bay police station bleeding from his throat and reported the crime, which was beleived to have taken place at around 10:30pm. The man, who was on his bicycle at the time, was unable to give descriptions of the suspects or say where they went. 

He was assisted by police officers and taken to the hospital in George Town by ambulance, where he underwent emergency surgery and remains in a serious condition.

An RCIPS spokesperson said the matter was now under investigation by Det. Sergeant Morrison of the WB CID and police are still discussing the details of the crime with the victim.

Anyone who may have seen the man on his bike, seen the attack, has any other information or who was in the vicinity after 10pm Monday, 7 January, is asked to call West Bay CID at 949 3999 or Crimestoppers on 800 TIPS.

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2nd robbery at liquor store

| 08/01/2013 | 17 Comments

crime-scene-tape-706717.jpg(CNS): Reflections Liquor For Less at the Savannah Plaza on Hirst Road in Bodden Town was the second store on Grand Cayman to be robbed by armed men Monday evening. Police confirmed that the booze store was held up by two men at about 9:15pm on 7 January. The robbers were said to be armed with a machete and a gun but no shots were fired and there were no reported injuries before they fled from the store on foot. It is not clear what was stolen during the armed hold up and police are still at the scene of the robbery, which came just two hours after an armed jewel heist along the West Bay Road.

Anyone with information or who was in the vicinity of Reflections Liquor For Less after 8pm Monday evening is asked to call Bodden Town CID on 947 2220, 947 2240.or Crimestoppers on 800 TIPS.

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Armed jewel heist at Strand

| 08/01/2013 | 35 Comments

thumb2_GroundFloorRetailunitatTheStrandFORRENT_2_14_131646255046000.jpg(CNS): Four armed masked men reportedly held up a duty free store off the West Bay Road Monday evening in the first robbery of the New Year. The RCIPS said that the men, one of whom was brandishing a handgun, entered Kirk Freeport in the Strand at around 6:45pm on 7 January and made off with a large amount of jewellery. A police spokesperson said the robbers held up staff but no shots were fired before the men escaped with the valuables. The police are now on the hunt for the suspects but as yet no descriptions of theculprits or how they made their escape have been given.

Anyone with information or who was in the vicinity of the Strand after 5pm this afternoon is asked to call the George Town CID at 947-2220 or 947-2240 or Crimestoppers on 800 TIPS.

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