Archive for March 11th, 2013

Man robbed in GT stick-up

Man robbed in GT stick-up

| 11/03/2013 | 20 Comments

crime-scene-tape.jpg(CNS): A man was robbed at gunpoint outside his home in Tropical Gardens, George Town, in the early hours of Sunday morning, police said Monday.  According to the police report, at about 12.30am on 10 March, as the man got out of his car in his driveway in Tropical Manor he was approached by two masked men. One of the men was in possession of what appeared to be a firearm. The robbers threatened the man, stole his wallet containing a quantity of cash and then followed him into his home before making off. The suspects are described as both being between  5’4” and 5’5” in height with light complexion and deep Jamaican accents.

It is not yet known if any other property was stolen during the stick up but the man was not injured in the incident. The suspects are said to have been spotted standing under a nearby tree before the man arrived home.  Anyone who was in the area, or saw the suspects standing there before the robbery, is asked to call George Town CID on 949-4222, or Crime Stoppers 800-8477 (TIPS).


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No drunk driving urged ahead of minister’s hearing

No drunk driving urged ahead of minister’s hearing

| 11/03/2013 | 49 Comments

Minister Anglin explains the new graduation criteria (224x300).jpg(CNS): Government Information Services released a tip sheet on the dangers of drinking and driving on Monday as part of a March safety campaign to raise awareness about not using alcohol before getting behind the wheel. The tips come just one week ahead of when Education Minister and Deputy Premier Rolston Anglin is expected to return to court to hear what punishment will be meted out to him following his arrest and conviction for drunk-driving last year. Anglin originally denied being intoxicated behind the wheel when he was involved in an accident on the West Bay Road in May and arrested for DUI at the scene.

Anglin was with a mystery female passenger when his car veered off the road in the early hours of the morning and ended up in the bushes by the Avalon Condos on 23 May. When the trial opened in traffic court last November before magistrate Kirsty Ann Gunn, the crown claimed that the minister gave three different accounts of how the car smash which led to his arrest for DUI occurred. The court also heard how police officers who responded to theaccident report managed to ‘lose’ the mystery female witness who was a passenger in the car.

According to the prosecutor, Anglin recorded 0.136 in a roadside breathalyzer just before his arrest at around 3:45am.

Crown counsel Matthew Coles told the court, in a detailed opening statement relating to the case, that Anglin had given his first account sometime around 2:30 in the morning to the then Chief Inspector Angelique Howell, saying he had been involved in an accident after falling asleep at the wheel. The second account was to the sergeant who arrived at the smash, when he said he had swerved to avoid an on-coming vehicle. Then in his final account in his formal statement to police, Anglin said he had attempted to turn his car around as he had forgotten to buy dog food.

On his return to court following the adjournment of the trial after the firstday, Anglin changed his plea to guilty and is now expected to be sentenced on Tuesday 19 March.

Since then the minister has assumed the post of deputy premier after he and four of his former UDP colleagues sided with the opposition in a no confidence in government motion, which resulted in the ousting of McKeeva Bush from the office of premier following his arrest on suspicion of theft and corruption related offences in December.  As a result, Anglin now has a car and driver with his new job, at least until 22 May when Cayman goes to the polls to elect a new government.

Driving drunk is a criminal offence and goes on an individual’s permanent criminal record. It carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison, a $1,000 fine, and a loss of license for 12 months for a first offence.

According to the tip-sheet released by government officials Monday, alcohol slows reactions, creates a feeling of over-confidence, impairs judgment of speed and distance, and reduces the field of vision. Officials urged people to assign designated driver, walking to the restaurant or bar, calling a cab, or asking the bar or restaurant staff for help. They also encouraged people who see friends that have been drinking to follow the steps to keep them safe and keep the roads accident free.

Related article on CNS:

Anglin told 3 stories say cops

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TCI premier warns CS bosses about credit card abuse

TCI premier warns CS bosses about credit card abuse

| 11/03/2013 | 3 Comments

(CNS): Civil services bosses in the Turks and Caicos Islands have been warned that they will face jail if they misuse government credit cards. The TCI Cabinet has launched a pilot project relating to payment processes and from 1 April Permanent Secretaries will be given official credit cards for government related purchase. The TCI premier, Rufus Ewing aid the penalty for misuse of the cards would be jail as he announced the pilot project on Friday. The introduction of the credit cards is aimed at improving government efficiency when it comes to accessing services that are only payable via credit cards, the current premier stated.

Ad civil servants are using their personal credit cards to access services on behalf of the Government the cards have been introduced for Permanent Secretaries for a limited list of expenditures.

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Cops drop shoplifting case against former MLA

Cops drop shoplifting case against former MLA

| 11/03/2013 | 26 Comments

lydon best.jpg(CNS): Former Sister Islands MLA Lyndon Martin has been cleared of allegations of shoplifting charges on Cayman Brac following an investigation by local police. Martin told CNS that the accusations that he had stolen items worth a few dollars from a local Brac store were a malicious attempt to damage him. However, the former UDP politicianand Net News journalist, who was at the heart of the controversial Operation Tempura drama, still has another legal battle to fight as he has been charged with theft of more than $900 from the Creek and Spot Bay School PTA, an accusation he has also denied and for which he faces trial next month.

The former MLA, who arrested last April on suspicion of stealing $4.10 worth of goods from Tibbetts Enterprises, said he had cooperated fully with the RCIPS.

“Baseless allegations were made against me and were fully investigated. I cooperated with the police, as I understand that they have a job to do. The police did not find evidence to support levying any charges against me. I thank the police for their professionalism and I am happy that the system and justice has prevailed over malicious attempts to damage me," he added.

Martin also denies stealing $926 from the school association and will face summary court trial on the Brac on 25 April.

Martin told CNS that he has not yet made a decision whether or not he will be returning to the political hustings for the coming election but he has stood in every election since 2000.

He served as a backbench MLA in the UDP administration between 2001 and 2005 and then to lost to Moses Kirkconnell in the 2005 election. In 2009 he ran as an independent and again came in third place with just over 37% of the vote behind the now premier  Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, who came in behind Kirckonnell, who secured over 58% of the vote in his second time around.

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Local mystery novelist launches latest book

Local mystery novelist launches latest book

| 11/03/2013 | 0 Comments

Sapphire Trails_LR (268x400).jpg(CNS): Award-winning local author Marilyn Jax has released the third instalment in her Caswell/Lombard crime series and will be talking about the book, signing copies and discussing the series at a local launch next Tuesday.  Marilyn Jax served as a senior government enforcement investigator for close to two decades, and is a retired Certified Fraud Examiner. She is the international award-winning mystery author of The Find and Road to Omalos. Jax lives in Minnesota and Cayman and draws on her experience as an investigator for her story lines.

In this latest book Sapphire Trails, private investigators Caswell and Lombard visit friends in Montana but shortly after they arrive a cold-blooded murder takes place and they are pulled into the whirlwind investigation.

The free launch and book signing of Sapphire Trails will take place on Tuesday, 19 March at 7pm at Books & Books in Camana Bay.

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Judge suspends sentence for teenage fire-starter

Judge suspends sentence for teenage fire-starter

| 11/03/2013 | 3 Comments

(CNS): A teenage boy who admitted setting two fires while being held in the sub-standard jail cells at both West Bay and George Town lock-ups was sentenced to nine months in prison for two counts of arson Friday but, given the circumstances surrounding the case, the judge suspended the sentence and placed the young man on a two year probation order. The teen had set the two fires after he claimed he was mistreated and ignored by guards while held on remand on suspicion of burglary for some seven days in the now notorious conditions at the police stations when he was just sixteen.

Justice Alexander Henderson said the defendant had already spent four months in custody since he was charged with these offences, which he suggested was sufficient punishment, before placing him on probation. The judge was swayed by the teen’s claim of being ignored as he had been left in the cell for some time after he set the second fire in George Town, evidenced by the damage the young man suffered to his lungs before he was rescued.

During the sentencing hearing the judge had raised some pointed questions about why a juvenile was being held in the police cells so long on suspicion of burglary without charge and what the European Court of Human rights would have to say about such a situation.

The court heard that the teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was held for two days in the cells in West Bay, and after being badly treated by officers and several failed attempts to get attention, he set the first fire using a lighter. The officers managed to remove the youngster from his cell and no one was hurt. He was then transferred to George Town, where, the court heard, he was kept for a further five days, but again without being charged.

During the first four days the youngster was held in the main cells with a guard permanently on duty there. However, on the fifth day the teen was segregated and moved into an isolated inner cell, where again he was unable to attract attention to ask for food or water. He then set a second fire but this time the blaze was more serious and by the time officers arrived they were unable to pull the youngster from the cell because of the smoke.

The teenager was eventually rescued by fire-fighters. Although officers suffered from smoke inhalation, the teenager received the worst injuries and was in critical care for some time after the fire.

Related articles:

Teen admits setting cell fire

Local cop cells condemned

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Officials believe dengue outbreak has run its course

Officials believe dengue outbreak has run its course

| 11/03/2013 | 7 Comments

Aedes-aegypti-2.jpg(CNS): Government health officials said that they believe the outbreak of dengue fever in Cayman which started early last year has come to an end.  No new cases have been reported over the last week and most of the results that have returned from the Caribbean Public Health Agency of recent weeks have been negative with only two case results now pending the public health department believes the seasonal outbreak is over. With this trend, and with the last positive case for this year having an onset date of January 25, it is considered that this season’s outbreak has come to an end, although cases may occur sporadically,” officials stated Monday.

Officials have received results from 137 suspected cases of the disease 43 of which were positive, 90 negative and 4 inconclusive with 2 results still pending from the last week of February.  Total cases investigated for dengue in 2012 were 94 and 37 of those were positive while this year 45 cases were  investigated with just six cases confirmed positive and two more results still waiting.

Of the 43 confirmed cases 31 had no travel history and the disease was acquired locally suggesting that Cayman is no longer free of the disease. 26 cases appear to have been transmitted in West Bay three in the capital of George Town and just two in Bodden Town.
Officials said the next update regarding the state of dengue in Cayman would be in April unless some unexpected activity occurs in relation to the transmission of the fever.

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Independents evade key issue

Independents evade key issue

| 11/03/2013 | 39 Comments

vote-for-me.gif(CNS): Only four of eleven new independent candidates who were asked by CNS how they would deliver on their campaign promises as just ‘one’ in a parliament of 18 attempted to address the question this week as the rivalry between the parties and the independents heats up. With both the UDP and the PPM pushing the party message over the last few weeks, CNS gave the independents a chance to explain how ‘one’ could make good on election promises. But with the exception of Roy McTaggart, Sharon Roulstone, Matthew Leslie and Dwene Ebanks, none of the other new candidates responded. However, veteran independent Ezzard Miller told CNS that independents can deliver for their constituents but they need to pursue policies that have broad public support.

After almost four years sitting in what he describes as his “southeast corner” in the Legislative Assembly, Miller has fought consistently for his North Side constituents and everything he has done has been with their backing.

As the only MLA with a district council, Miller has consulted with the electorate in his district on every policy, bill, amendment and motion put forward by government to see if they want him to support government business or not and has sought the backing of his council for all his own private members motions. Whenever he could, he said, he has also used his position in the Legislative Assembly to squeeze resources out of government or support for projects, such as the North Side dock and the CCTV in the district, which he coordinated. When there was no public money for projects, he raised cash in the private sector.

On the occasions when he has managed to get motions through, it was as a result of the consensus he had managed to create with his LA colleagues based on the power of public support. However, independents needed support for their policies from others to even get a motion on the order paper as it needs a seconder, he noted.

“It is harder for independents to build consensus and it is not possible once elected to operate in your own silo and expect to get anything done. You need to work with others and develop alliances on issues that have wide public support,” he warned the potential independents for this election. He said that without the public buy-in to policies and proposals, it was not be possible to gain the necessary support to bring a motion, and then it was an uphill battle to get the majority needed.

Miller has brought a number of motions to the House, many of which were voted down by the previous government majority. Although some were accepted as motions, they were still not implemented by government. Miller has consistently offered alternatives wherever he has objected to government proposals and has been a staunch voice for his constituents but has not often been able to change the path that government has followed.

Acknowledging that parties are in a better position to deliver, he said, that does not necessarily mean that they will do so. The UDP, he noted, made many campaign promises that were not fulfilled, despite their majority.

With around 15 independent candidates at this point making their political debut on the hustings this election, few of them have been able to say how they foresee the role they will play in the LA ifelected and how they plan to keep their campaign promises once they have a seat.

Roy McTaggart was the only candidate who has been formally endorsed by C4C  to respond to the question of how one can deliver on a promise in a parliament of 18 unless they have already canvassed support for those promises from a potential nine other candidates.

He said parties have, in the past, issued manifestos purporting to take a stand on a range of issues but were not held accountable for their broken promises. “Until now, the only way to correct this ineptitude and effect change was to vote out an entire party,” he said. “There is, for the first time, a stream of highly qualified independents that have aligned themselves based on a single vision so as to form a seamless government once elected.”

He said that their accomplishments and involvement in the financial sector presented an opportunity not just to lead but to take Cayman to new heights. “The only way we will achieve the type of government Cayman deserves is for the electorate and the media to stop believing that a particular party is the answer.  Power blocks with tunnel vision are the antithesis of success.”

Confident that the electorate would get it right, he said those who are returned could move forward with “transparency, honesty and integrity in future dealings”, but he did not address the specific issue of how his own policies that he will be revealing on the campaign trail would be delivered.

Sharon Roulstone, who is expected to be endorsed by C4C, said she did not believe parties were the only groups that couldn deliver. “This election will be different than any we have had in the last twelve years,” she said. “The electorate is not content with just numbers any more, they are not convinced there is 'safety in numbers' just because a particular party may be running a full slate of candidates.”

Roulstone said the electorate is hungry for leaders with a demonstrated track record in business with integrity who will put the interests of the people of Cayman above self. “In this election, quality over quantity is what will determine the outcome and the electorate will be looking for quality in their candidates irrespective of whether they are independent or are a member of a party.  The days of voting 'straight' are over, there is no question our next government will be a coalition.”

She said the common thread that binds the many professionals who have walked away from good paying jobs to enter the political fray is their selflessness. “They do not need a manifesto promising that they are going to put their country first,” she said.  “Their actions to date have already demonstrated that they are putting their country above self by entering the race in the first place and this has not been lost on the electorate,” she added.

Meanwhile, Matthew Leslie, who has put forward a ‘10 in 10 Plan’, was unclear on how he could deliver his policy promise but pointed out that the election result in George Town was going to be very hard to predict. “As an independent candidate I am willing to work in unison with anyone elected as we should all be coming in here with one goal to better Cayman and its people,” said Leslie, a former key figure in the Young United Democratic Party.

“So far, the 10 in 10 Plan I have brought forward lists 10 topics that most candidates, if elected, should take a common interest in, issues that 'common sense fixes' could easily solve.  There is no self gain in any of them, and I think if we all keep in mind that being elected is not for self-interest, we should be able to tackle the 10 in 10 Plan and accomplish them.”

In West Bay, Dwene Ebanks, the first independent to declare outside of the C4C ticket, said his election would be an endorsement from the community that they agreed that the  magnitude of West Bay's issues were bigger than the smallness of party politics.

Ebanks said, “I will roll-up my sleeves and leverage the political-power they entrusted me with to help the community first.” He acknowledged the numbers issue and said he had made contacts to this end.

“However, my hope and belief in the collective wisdom of the Caymanian people on 22 May is that they will elect candidates that better reflects their goals and aspirations versus any one political leader. The mixed dynamics would mean beautiful things for the Caymanian people and especially for West Bayers. The power of one in a parliament of 18 then becomes equal – all things considered,’ he said.

CNS contacted candidates on Friday, including the seven C4C candidates who had declared by then and four other independents that have given their contact details to CNS. Although we are aware of three other candidates who have declared their intention to run, they have not yet supplied their details to this news site and therefore we were unable to contact them.

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Dump activist plans to run on C4C ticket in BT

Dump activist plans to run on C4C ticket in BT

| 11/03/2013 | 69 Comments

gregg anderson (261x400).jpg(CNS): One of the leaders of the Coalition to Keep Bodden Town Dump Free has announced his intention to fight for a seat in the May election for his district. Gregg Anderson, who has been campaigning for months against the ForCayman Investment Alliance, which includes the closure of the West Bay Road and a proposal to move the George Town landfill to Bodden Town, will be attempting to take his fight to the Legislative Assembly on the Coalition for Cayman ticket. He is asking people to end divisiveness in the country by voting for an independent candidate. Anderson says he is a 10th generation Caymanian, Certified Management Consultant and entrepreneur who has watched the economic, environmental and social decline of Cayman for the past decade.

“Having witnessed this, I simply cannot sit back any longer and allow the party politics and the related divisiveness to continue to tear our country apart,” he said.

If Anderson achieves the C4C nod he will be the first person to run on the group’s platform in the district of Bodden Town and may be the first candidate to test the theory of whether or not a coalition of people with differing goals can work together. While Anderson is vehemently opposed to the dump move, not all of those in the C4C share his enthusiasm for stopping that proposal. However, Anderson was emphatic when he told CNS Monday that he would not change.  "If elected, I will continue to oppose any effort to move the dump to my district," he said.

Anderson said Cayman needed “exceptional leadership with grassroots passion” and pointed to a community more fractured than ever before. “We are faced with serious challenges that only astute and well-qualified candidates can address. Most of what our country faces today has come at the hands of partisan and party politics. I firmly believe that an independent candidate can better represent constituents because they are not subject to an entrenched party agenda,” he added.

He said previous governments have pursued or supported large projects that may have delivered short-term growth but have left us with huge debts. He said he was advocating for a line-by-line budget review that would cut wastage and “foster efficiency”. He said he wanted to promote the renegotiation of the interest rate of the country’s existing long-term debt as well as “lean management principles”.

“I will seek an acceleration of the existing e-government initiative to further reduce bureaucratic wastage and also ease the cost of doing business with government for enterprises. Strong economic management and macro-economic stability must always be a key priority for the government and Caymanian people. I will insist that government follows proper procurement procedures and that due process, good governance and transparency be used as the guiding principles in key decision-making,” Anderson stated in his announcement for office.

Anderson also wants to see an amendment to the constitution to include a recall mechanism for political representatives that don’t perform.

“Included on my platform is 'Caymanian Enfranchisement', an initiative aimed at ensuring our immigration laws are revamped and enforced such that no qualified Caymanian is covertly prevented from filling a position that they can ably perform in. I will also advocate for amendments to our Trade & Business Licensing Law to better facilitate and not impede small business development,” he said.

However, Anderson did not indicate who among the C4C supported his campaign promises or how, if elected, he proposed to deliver.

See full announcement press release below.

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C4C claims to lead polls

C4C claims to lead polls

| 11/03/2013 | 110 Comments

cforc.jpg(CNS): A telephone straw poll commissioned by the Coalition for Cayman of 242 registered voters across Cayman asking which candidates they will be more likely to vote for indicated that the C4C was the most popular team in this election. C4C said that, according to the results of the poll by Cherry Communications, a political survey and market research operation in Florida, only 18% of the voters who answered the question said they would vote for a UDP candidate, while 33% said they would vote PPM and a whopping 49% said they would vote for a candidate endorsed by C4C. However, the leader of the opposition said the group was “grasping at straws” with the survey.

The poll was conducted between 25 February and 2 March, with answer categories rotated in order to assure objective results, C4C officials told CNS. The results are based on 242 completed surveys from a random pool of registered voters in the Cayman Islands. C4C said those who took part were asked if they would be more likely to support candidates from the United Democratic Party, People’s Progressive Movement or independent candidates endorsed by Coalition for Cayman.

With almost half of those surveyed saying they would vote for a C4C candidate, officials from the coalition said its people hold a sizeable lead over the two parties. It is not clear whether the voters were asked about other independents not endorsed by C4C.

“The research shows that Caymanians want new, independent-minded leadership from outside of the political parties,” a spokesperson for the advocacy group stated. “Based on their most recent attacks of Coalition for Cayman, it is clear that the political parties know they are in trouble, and they will be looking for ways to retain power. Independent candidates have the confidence of the people, so it will be critically important to know the backgrounds of each of these Independents and whether or not they are really party politicians in disguise.”

The C4C claimed that its endorsement would make a difference because they will only endorse those who will put country first, a mantra adopted by the group, which still gives little away about the policy position of the C4C members if they are elected to office. In addition, it is not clear which candidates were mentioned in the survey, since at the time it was conducted, only Roy McTaggart and Winston Connolly had been formally endorsed by C4C. Jackee Haynes was also endorsed but not until after the survey.

Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin told CNS that the C4C simply does not have the grassroots support it needs to win seats at the coming election and accused the group of hypocrisy. “If C4C is truthfully supporting 'independent candidates', let the candidates speak for themselves or else stop trying to fool Caymanians that they are not a party.  They can't have it both ways,” he said. “The recent so called research … demonstrates that they are hypocritical and grasping at straws.”

He also pointed out that the C4C cannot form a government with only seven candidates. “With18 seats in the Legislative Assembly, a government can only be formed by a group or team comprising at least 10 members.  To date, C4C has only supported seven candidates — five in George Town and two in West Bay. How then does C4C explain how they will form a government with so few candidates running for office?” he asked.

At present, only three candidates have been endorsed by the group. Sharon Roulstone and Jude Scott, a founder of the organisation, both of whom are running in George Town, said they are seeking endorsement. Indications were also given by the two West Bay candidates, Mervin Smith and Tara Rivers, who were on the C4C platform when it launched in November last year, that they too want C4C support.

In the meantime, late Sunday evening Gregg Anderson, one of the leaders for the Coalition to Keep Bodden Town Dump Free, declared his intention to run for office in that district and to seek support from C4C.

However, even if all of those who are expecting to get coalition support are returned on 23 May, the C4C would still only have eight seats and would need two more MLAs to form a government. 

Alden McLaughlin said the Progressives has a team of 14 candidates in 4 districts who are all well versed in what matters to Caymanians, residents and investors. “We have seen the failures of the last four years and will work to bring good jobs back to Cayman, build our economy, root out corruption, restore confidence in government and make us all proud of the country we live in,” he said.

This is the first poll conducted by a political group where the results have been released publicly. While both of the political parties are also understood to have conducted various telephone surveys over the last few months in relation to their own positions, neither has released the details.

Pre-election polls are a massive feature of other democratic elections but they are still in their infancy in Cayman, with sources saying that people are very reluctant to take part, which means sample numbers are often too small to give a truly reflective preview of the way the electorate is swinging.

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