Archive for July 19th, 2013

Case stalls on critical point

| 19/07/2013 | 61 Comments

(CNS): Chief Justice Anthony Smellie pointed to the need for Tara Rivers' legal team to address both references to the issue of residency set out in Cayman's 2009 Constitution. Before the lunch break today, the CJ directed Sir Jeffery Jowell (left) to prepare to address what the constitution says about a candidate not being absent for more than 400 days in the seven years prior to nomination, as the issue had not been argued during the trial or in his submissions, but there was clear evidence in Tara Rivers' own afadavit that she was absent from Cayman for much more. Jowell claimed he did not need to address this point as the petitioner had not pleaded it, but the CJ disagreed and said there was evidence before the court that Rivers was not present and this was a central issue on which he would be forced to decide.

On the third day of the petition hearing on the challenge to the election of Tara Rivers to the district of West Bay at the national poll in May, Cayman's top judge said Jowell's position was that, because Rivers was still resident despite being absent, he did not need to address the concept of her absence for any number of days. However, CJ Smellie said that the sections of the constitution were conjunctive and directed Jowell to resolve whether or not the 400 day rule made it clear that residence for this purpose requires presence.

Unprepared to argue that point as a result of the time limitations on both legal teams over their submissions, Jowell said he would do what he could to address the issue but might require an adjournment.

The issue came up as Jowell was part way through his closing submissions, in which he had argued, based on tax law cases, that while Rivers was not physically in Cayman, this did not mean she was not resident.

However, earlier in his own submissionsAbraham Dabdoub, arguing for the petitioner John Hewitt, said Rivers could argue that a person may have more than one place of residence but that was not the issue.

"You can have five residences if you want. The issue here is absence of presence," he reasoned. Someone wishing to run for office, he said, must not have been absent for seven years except in the circumstances given by the constitution. "Any other interpretation would be a ridiculous one," Dabdoub contended, "and it would undermine the provisions and intentions of the constitution."

Check back to CNS later from more on the case, which continues in Court 2.

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Lions donate to help Brac chemotherapy patients

| 19/07/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Lions Club of Tropical Gardens have given the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority (HSA) with funds to cover the cost of three pumps for chemotherapy treatment and for the training of two nurses in Cayman Brac to administer chemotherapy. “Currently, chemotherapy patients in Cayman Brac must travel to George Town for their treatments,” said Lizzette Yearwood, Chief Executive Officer of the HSA. “Many times they are alone and unwell after their treatment and must travel back to Cayman Brac. This donation will help allow these treatments to take place in Cayman Brac, eliminating additional travel for the chemotherapy patients.” (Left: Elva Smith presents donation to chemotherapy nurse RN Cyndy Ebanks and Lizzette Yearwood)

Presenting the cheques last month, LCTG President Elva Smith said, “On behalf of the Lions Club of Tropical Gardens, it is with great pleasure that I present these two cheques to the Health Services Authority. This donation will help fulfill a need, benefiting both patients and the community."

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40 Blue Spot parkers nabbed

| 19/07/2013 | 72 Comments

(CNS): Following the launch of a grassroots campaign to stop healthy drivers from parking in spots reserved for those with disabilities, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service says that in the past two weeks 40 people have each been fined $100 for illegally parking in disabled bays. On Thursday morning, the police said they had joined forces with ‘The Blue Spot’ campaign to warn drivers who use the designated parking spots illegally that they will be targeted. However, the RCIPS noted that the campaign has highlighted the fact that many disabled people have not applied for a parking permit, which costs $5 and lasts up to five years. People with short-term disabilities can apply for a temporary permit, they said.

Disabled parking permits are issued by the Department of Vehicle and Driver's Licensing (DVDL) and allow the holders to use the many designated bays throughout the islands.

The warning from the RCIPS comes after one of their own was photographed getting back into her vehicle, having parked outside a coffee shop, blocking a disabled parking spot.

Inspector Adrian Barnett, of the RCIPS Traffic Management Unit, said, “The Blue Spot campaign has certainly helped raise the issue of people misusing the disabled parking bays, but it has also highlighted that many people who have disabilities don’t have permits. So, if you have a disability, and you need to access the disabled bays, then please make it a priority to get your permit. The last thing we want to do is issue a ticket to someone who is genuinely disabled and needs access to the bays. Help us to make sure that we target the right people by obtaining and displaying your permit now.”

Inspector Barnett is also encouraging business owners who have provided disabled bays at their premises to ensure that they are clearly marked / painted.

Kent McTaggart, of The Blue Spot campaign, said, “We are really pleased to be partnering with the RCIPS in a joint effort to change the sensitivity of Cayman in regards to the use of the handicap spots.  We are proud and thankful to all of those who have taken active rolls in this effort, as it has rapidly shown results and there is a marked improvement in the number of handicap spaces that are open for those who are legal to use them. 

"We would urge every person who feels they have the need to utilise the handicap spots, but who do not have a handicap placard or DV license plate to discuss their situation with their health care provider and obtain the appropriate recommendation letter to allow them to get the placard from the Licensing Department.  We are working hard to keep these spaces available for those who need them, and we need those who are handicap to do their part and get the placard, we certainly do not want anyone who is in genuine need to be fined, and the only way to guarantee you will not be fined is to get the placard.”

The RCIPS said they would continue to work in partnership with The Blue Spot campaign throughout all districts in Grand Cayman and the Sister Islands to robustly enforce the legislation relative tothe designated disabled bays. Members of the public are encouraged to report any violators to their local police station. 

Visit The Blue Spot Facebook page, and email TheBlueSpot345@gmail.com with photos of inconsiderate drivers.

Related article:

Mother takes on inconsiderate ‘parkers’

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More Gold, more records for Cayman

| 19/07/2013 | 7 Comments

(CNS): Bermuda shot past the Cayman Islands during yesterday's events at the Island Games, landing in second place with 23 Gold medals, but Cayman powered through to keep fifth position. Today marks the last day of competition and while first place seems to be already decided, with the Isle of Man holding an unbeatable 32 Gold medas, 2nd and 3rd are very much up for grabs. As of 10:00 Friday morning, Guernsey is third with 19 Gold medals and Jersey fourth with 18. Cayman's team took the total medal count to 42, with 17 Gold, 19 Silver and 6 Bronze, and in keeping up with the high standards set at the start of the games, broke yet more records.

Lara Butler won two more medals on Thursday, Silver in Women's 50m Backstoke and an Islands Games record time of 2:16.45 in 200m Butterfly to win the Gold. Another record was destroyed by Cayman when the Men's 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay team clocked 3:20.65 on their way to the first place podium one again. Geoffrey Butler won Gold in Men's 400m Freestyle. Brett Fraser won Gold as well in the 50m Freestyle and Shaune Fraser claimed Bronze also in the 50m Freestyle.

Moving from the pool to the track, David Hamil earned a Silver medal in the 200m – Men's, and Amelia put up a time of 25.26 to Bermuda's Shianne Smith's 24.87 in the 200m -Women's to claim Silver. The Island Games record in this event is still held by Cayman's own Cydonie Mothersill, when she ran 23.27 back in 2007.

Andrew Petts proved to be on a completely different level than his competition in his Gold medal effort in the Sailboarding – Individual Event. Over 20 runs, Petts ended with a Net result of 27. The other never stood a chance as second and third finished with distant Net's of 54 and 55 and many finishing in the triple digits.

In the Automatic Ball Trap – Individual, Christopher Jackson shot up a score of 121 to take Silver, just 2 short of Gold medal winner Juan Manuel Bagur Bosch. It was a two man race as both were far ahead of the rest of the pack – Bronze place hitting 108 targets.

Bethany Dikau earned Silver in Women's SET Individual Vault, Cayman's first medal in Gymnastics at the Games. Samantha Widner took the Bronze medal in Ladies Golf.

Use the link below to stay tuned to the last day of the Natwest Islands Games – 2013.

http://www.natwestislandgames2013results.com/default.aspx

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Judge hands down lengthy sentence for violent attack

| 19/07/2013 | 15 Comments

(CNS): Justin Ramoon (21) was sentenced to seven years and nine months in prison Thursday, after being found guilty of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm to 20-year-old Andrew Lopez outside Archie's Bar on Shedden Road last August. Ramoon was convicted of stabbing him eight times to the left side of his body. Justice Malcolm Swift said in his ruling that he entirely agreed with the conviction by the jury. "I can find nothing that assists me to reduce the sentence for any mitigating reason," the judge said. Justice Swift arrived at this sentence after taking into account the time Ramoon had spent on remand as well as his time on curfew and electronic tag when he was bailed in February.

Ramoon's defense attorney indicated to the judge today that he would be applying for an appeal of the conviction after the sentence was handed down.

In her submission, crown counsel Toyin Salako stated that during the attack Ramoon had made a comment which she believed related back to an incident that occurred only a week prior to the stabbing and helped suggest that Ramoon had a degree of premeditation.

After the first stab wound, Lopez claims that he heard Ramoon ask, "Where all your mouth is now?" before continuing with the attack.

Counsel noted a remark made by Justice Charles Quin that there had been an increase in violent crimes involving knives and weapons, and submitted that Ramoon had a previous conviction for the possession of a prohibited weapon, which also happened to be a knife.

During his closing arguments on Ramoon's behalf, Ben Tonner made submissions that there was no proof to support the claims that the weapon was a knife, or that he had gone out armed with the intention to hurt someone.

In his conclusion, however, Justice Swift determined that Ramoon had been "harbouring the grudge over the course of the week", in reference to the incident which is alleged to have happened at a well known spot called Jah T's. He added, "You saw him, you decided to (exact) revenge on him and did so from behind, without him realizing he was about to be attacked."

Justice Swift said he was able to come to the conclusion that Ramoon was a regular offender, being in possession of weapons while in public places. He mentioned that in light of his two previous weapons charges, this could be viewed as an aggravating feature.

The judge said he had arrived at the starting point of an eight year prison term but had deducted a total of 168 days that Ramoon spent in custody at the Northward Prison, as well as the time he spent electronically tagged while on bail.

Related articles on CNS by Ashleigh Hydes

Ramoon evades attempted murder rap for GBH

GT man begins 2nd trial in mutiple stabbing case

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11th group of young Caymanians graduate from P2S

| 19/07/2013 | 2 Comments

(CNS): The government programme which aims to prepare young people to enter the workforce has now helped over 220 Caymanians, following the graduation of 23 more earlier this month. At the graduation ceremony the new education minister, Tara Rivers, confirmed her support for the programme that started under her predecessor, Rolston Anglin, and is now in its third year. “The Passport2Success programme provides a great opportunity for young people who are eager to be their best as they enter the workforce. By helping them to develop professional skills as well as belief in themselves and their abilities, it offers a considerable competitive advantage,” Rivers said.

On average 85% of participants complete the programme, around 35% find work before graduation and 61% within a year of graduation, according to the education ministry. In the twelve months post-graduation, 18% of graduates also report furthering their education. 

Addressing the 23 newest graduates, sponsors, internship providers and family members, as well as the councillor for her ministry, Winston Connolly, and Chief Officer Mary Rodrigues, the minister said, “I confirm my support of the programme to continue and look forward to experiencing more of our young Caymanians succeed not only in the work place but in their personal lives.”

At the ceremony held at The Wharf Restaurant on Monday, 8 July, Programme Facilitator Hylton Grace said that although each cohort has unique dynamics, they consistently try to meet the various needs of their expanding clientele. “Cohort 11 was diverse and complex with varying backgrounds, yet they persevered and today we have a group of individuals who are determined and highly motivated to continue making positive changes in their lives.” 

This was the second group this year to complete the 12-week employment preparedness programme. The participants received practical hands-on training in occupational, personal and job-specific skills. Work placements also offered a chance to impress potential employers, and earn a monthly stipend, including potential performance related bonuses.

For more information regarding the P2S programme, as well as application forms and start dates for the next cohort, visit www.passport2success.ky or Passport2Success Cayman Islands on Facebook.

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LIME donates MiFi to budding court reporter

| 19/07/2013 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Local telecommunications provider LIME has given a helping hand to Cayman News Service’s trainee court reporter by giving her a personal mobile-broadband router (MiFi). Ashleigh Hydes first worked with CNS in 2010, when she was 15, as part of the education department’s “Worklink” programme for senior high school students and is now a part-time intern, learning the ropes of court reporting. Her new MiFi enables her to get connected wherever she is – an essential part of being a good journalist in the Internet Age. “It's very convenient because I can use it anywhere and not have to worry about signal strength or open connections while on the go,” Hydes said. “Thanks to LIME and their support, I'll be able to get my reporting done in a more timely manner.” (Left: Ashleigh Hydes receives her MiFi from LIME's Julie Hutton)

One of a number of “Worklink” students that have spent a week with CNS, Hydes immediately took an interest in the courtroom battles. Having worked with CNS over her summer holidays and now working part-time as an intern, she and has developed her skills to the point where she can cover long and involved trials from the first mention through to the sentencing.

“Ashleigh’s natural ability for this type of reporting, which can be very demanding, was apparent even when she was in high school, and since then she has just got better and better, as readers will have noticed from her by-lined articles,” said CNS reporter Wendy Ledger. “I’m very pleased by how far she has come. She is already an enormous help to me, and if she sticks with it, she will be an excellent court reporter.”

Julie Hutton, LIME's Head of Marketing & Sales, said the company was happy to encourage a young Caymanian on a career path that few local people choose.

“We're delighted to provide Ashleigh with a MiFi to assist her with reporting for Cayman News Service during her internship,” she said. “Being able to connect and send information straight away will be a great help to her, as we know news happens 24 hours a day and connectivity is crucial.”

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Rollie not giving up on politics

| 19/07/2013 | 69 Comments

(CNS): Despite the disappointing general election result in May, Rolston Anglin, who served twelve consecutive years in the Legislative Assembly during three terms as a representative for West Bay, said he is not throwing in the political towel just yet. While Anglin remains confident that he can return to the private sector and enjoy some time outside the political arena, he admitted that there was a strong likelihood his name would be on the ballot in 2017 and, given the increasing likelihood of a bye-election in the district before then, he said he had not ruled out the possibility of returning tothe hustings even sooner.

The former education minister, who admitted that being in public service and politics is still what he loves to do, believes he has a solid track record to be proud of. Anglin said that he had not just talked about 'country first' but he had demonstratively put country first when he entered the LA in 2000 at just 28 years old and at the height of his career as an auditor. 

“Before it became in vogue to put country first, I already did it,” Anglin told CNS. “I walked away at 28 years old and put my money where my mouth is and gave my country the very best years. I missed the time when I would have been working to partner.”

However, Anglin has no regrets as he says it was what he wanted to do and that he will very likely try to do it again.

Following the split inside the united Democratic Party after Bush’s arrest in December Anglin was the deputy premier in the minority government that held the reins of power until the election. He joined with West Bay running mate Cline Glidden, Juliana O’Connor Connolly, Mark Scotland and Dwayne Seymour, who had all been Cabinet members in the interim government, to run in the 2013 ballot as the People’s National Alliance. But with the exception of O’Connor-Connolly, who has now joined the PPM and is the speaker of the House, they all lost their seats.

Reflecting on the May 2013 ballot, he said he realized why he lost. He had thought that more of his former UDP supporters were going to vote for him, but he believes that his relatively recent connection to the UDP blocked him from picking up the clear opposition vote to his former political leader, McKeeva Bush.

“When you have experienced being the second elected member for 12 years and having worked hard and put up robust campaign, you hope people will vote purely on your record,” he said. “But we came to the table late and split from a party which had come through a deep internal split. I hoped I could have kept the UDP supporters and thought more would have voted for those of us that had left the UDP.”

Ironically, in light of the comments he made on the hustings about political parties losing support, Anglin now believes the election result emphasised that party or organised group politics in the major districts is here to stay. While the Coalition for Cayman did not call themselves a party, they had acted as such and demonstrated that the electorate is still wedded to party politics.

“I understand how the vote went. It is democracy but you need to be part of big ticket otherwise you won't get in,” he added.

He said he was pleased to see the calibre of young professionals that are now getting involved in the political scene, claiming he was at the forefront of that. When he entered the LA in 2000 as the second elected member for West Bay, Anglin said he brought a different voice and skill set. Since then, he has much to be pleased about regarding his contribution to public service, he said.

“I believe I made a positive difference and feel proud of the past twelve years. Look at the strategic education plan. It wasn't pie in sky; it was an holistic look and filled the gaps with solid polices. I also implemented policies that underpin it and make it achievable.”

Although the changes in the area of labour did not progress as quickly as he would have liked, he said he was hopeful that the new government would pick up on the improvements he had started.

Since May, Anglin has been spending time with friends and family and turning his attention to the things he has neglected over the twelve years that he devoted to politics.

He is now preparing to try his hands at new areas in the private sector, and despite being in government during the years when his peers were developing their careers and making partner, Anglin believes his legislative experience will be far more of a help than a hindrance.

He claimed his experience in government as a backbencher, in opposition and then in government as a minister, which is not unlike managing a company, was invaluable. “I've always been 'all in' or 'all out', so having immersed myself in the legislative agenda over the last twelve years, I have given it my all,” he said.

But while he was excited about the prospect of trying his hand at something new for now, he is a politician and he will be back, he said.

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US experts battle it out

| 19/07/2013 | 78 Comments

(CNS): Two legal expert witnesses went head-to-head Thursday when they gave their evidence regarding American law, and in particular the issue of allegiance to the United States, on the second day of the petition hearing challenging the election of Tara Rivers to the district of West Bay at the national poll in May. The chief justice heard from Professor David Cole and Professor David Rowe (left), who gave contradictory expert opinions on whether the possession and use of a United States passport constituted an acknowledgment of allegiance to that country – a narrow, but important point, on which Rivers’ possession of a US passport and her right to run for office depends.

Despite taking up most of the day, the arguments between the two men were fundamental. Rivers’ US legal expert, Professor Cole, contended that since a landmark case in the 1970's, which held that those born in the US were no longer required to swear an oath of allegiance in order to get a passport, the possession and use of it is no longer an acknowledgement of allegiance over and above the allegiance that is owed by any person born in the US.

However, the legal expert who gave evidence for John Hewitt, the petitioner in the case and husband of Velma Hewitt, the UDP candidate who came in fifth place in the West Bay district, took a contrary position. Professor Rowe said that after the 1972 case, the oath was replaced by a declaration that is on a passport application form. Anyone applying for a passport fills in the form and, as a result, the act of allegiance is now inferred through that rather than an explicit swearing of an oath, as was the case in the past.

The experts were called to the stand following the completion of the cross-examination of Rivers by Abraham Dabdoub, the leading council for the petitioner, on Thursday morning. She continued to press home the point that she believed her absence from Cayman did not prevent her from being resident, despite the points raised emphatically by the attorney over the “absence of her presence” from Cayman for most of the seven years prior to the 2013 election.

Cole was the first of the US experts to take the stand, and although he gave evidence for several hours, what he said during his time on the stand amounted to a relatively simple point. Cole took the position that, contrary to other case law, a person who is a US citizen as a result of being born in America does not make any act of allegiance by applying for and using a US passport that could be described as exceeding the existing allegiance that all US citizens owe merely by being born there. 

He explained that the landmark legal case of Woodrow in 1972 found that there were no lawful grounds to require a person to swear an oath before they got a passport and that it was unconstitutional to make them do so before they could acquire one as it undermined their freedom to travel. 

From then on, anyone born in the US no longer needed to make any acknowledgement or subjective promises regarding allegiance, Cole claimed. He said they now merely sign a declaration, which is a list of facts, and get their passport. As a result, Cole said he believed there was no additional allegiance and no own act of acknowledgment of any kind.

Cole also argued against the findings of numerous case law and precedent put to him by Dabdoub and suggested that the judges were wrong or had misunderstood the law, not just cases in Jamaica but in the US Supreme Court as well.

When Professor Rowe entered the witness box, he disagreed with the fundamental position adopted by Cole and said the declaration was the inferred act of acknowledgement.

He noted the two way street of allegiance, which is that the US government promises to protect its citizens, a benefit those who take out a US passport enjoy when they are travelling overseas. He pointed out that had Rivers encountered any problems while travelling overseas on her US passport, as she has done frequently, she would have had the protection of the US embassy in any of those countries, as she has an allegiance to the US government and it has an obligation to her.

The professor stressed that the Woodrow case was about an oath, which was merely replaced by a declaration. Rowe claimed that by applying for a passport, Rivers, like every other US Citizen, is acknowledging the allegiance she has as an American when she signs the form and makes the declaration. He said that there was no whimsical position of having a US passport as a matter of convenience, and while Professor Cole’s position was an “interesting and sophisticated opinion”, it was not one supported in case law.

Following a full day of combative arguments in the courtroom over the critical issue of whether or not having a US passport constitutes an act of acknowledgement to a foreign power and therefore disqualifies Rivers from being elected or not, the court adjourned around 5:30pm Thursday.

With the case going over its allotted two days and both leading counsel from overseas jurisdictions due to leave Cayman tomorrow, the chief justice directed the lawyers to return to court Friday at 9am in order to make their closing submissions on the issues of residency and the US passport before lunch.

Chief Justice Anthony Smellie made it clear that if he found Rivers was not eligible for election to office following the closure of the case, he would hear submissions on the second part of the petition and the remedy in a separate hearing.

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