Archive for October 21st, 2013

Naming & shaming begins

| 21/10/2013 | 94 Comments

(CNS): The National Pensions Office has begun posting the names and details of employers who are now in the court system as a result of being delinquent or not compliant with their obligations under the law regarding pensions. Many of the cases, however, have gone on for years and of the sixteen cases now posted only one actually has a trial date set. Most cases have been adjourned and new mention dates set but in several cases warrants have been issued for the failure of the bosses to turn up to court and face the charges.

So far officials have failed to prosecute any of the most seriously delinquent of the more than 1,100 employers who are accused of being in arrears or to have committed pension violations.

The sixteen entities posted on the website represent some of the worst violations that have gone on for many years. From gardening firms to gas stations and construction companies to security firms, the list covers a variety of employers and offences. Some employers are charged with multiple counts of failing to pay pensions, some with failing to supply information and others with simply not providing a pension plan at all.

The issue of serious pension delinquency has been an issue for years and the lack of enforcement has had much to do with the ballooning problem which has resulted in such high levels of delinquency.

Although the government is reviewing the entire law surrounding mandatory pensions for the private sector, the issue came to a head this month when the complaints commissioner revealed that government has implemented less than half of her recommendations from a three year old report and delinquency in that time had increased by 70%.

The list of named employers, the companies and charges are on the NPO website here and attached below.

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Crown admits issues with key witness in robbery trial

| 21/10/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Deputy Director of Public Prosecution Trevor Ward, QC, closed the crown’s case last week against four men accused of robbing the local TV company last May. Visiting judge, Justice Alistair Malcolm, heard that Ryan Edwards, Andre Burton, George Mignot and David Tamassa entered the offices of West Star TV and stole $8,269.36. Accepting that there were many inconsistencies in the evidence given by the key witness and co-accomplice, Marlon Dillon, Ward said he had still identified the robbers correctly. Dillon, who has pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods and to being involved as a driver, said he took the men to Schoolhouse Road near the TV company’s HQ, where they were picked up by another man in a red Mitsubishi RVR.

Dillon has claimed that he had no knowledge of the robbery until he returned to the island from Jamaica the day of the heist. Although telephone evidence contradicts him, Dillon has said that he received missed calls from Tamassa while waiting for his wife at the airport. He told the court that when he returned Tamassa's call, he was told to come to his home in West Bay urgently.

The crown submits that Dillon is telling the truth when he explained that after arriving at his friend's house he was introduced to the idea of robbing the television company. The court heard that Beau Clarke, who was the alleged driver of the red Mitsubishi RVR and who has been charged with involvement in the robbery separately, was friends with an employee who had told him to come in the afternoon before the armoured van comes to collect the day’s takings. There was no evidence to support this allegation against the worker and he was never charged in the case.

When asked if he would like to be involved and get a share of the proceeds, Dillon claimed that he declined and was asked for just a ride to go and pick up the switch vehicle, which was Edwards' white mobile car wash van, from George Town. Dillon was then followed by Clarke and Edwards to Schoolhouse Road, while traveling with Burton, Mignot and Tamassa as his passengers.

Edwards had made admissions to the police claiming that his co-defendants were not his accomplices. The Jamaican national claims that he committed the robbery with Dillon and two other men, who had already fled the island by canoe. However, after searches conducted at Burton's residence, a black glove similar to one used in the robbery was found. Swab results show that Tamassa's DNA was present on the glove.

Government CCTV footage played to the court showed that Dillon's red Chevrolet Equinox is visible on route to Schoolhouse Road with the red RVR and white panel van shortly behind. When they arrived at a nearby parking lot, Dillon said he did not see Edwards turn up and asked where he was. It was at this point that the witness was told that there had been a change of plan and he needed to wait in the parking lot for the defendants to return after the hold-up with the cash.

The man, who has been described as a robber with a conscience after his decision to turn crown witness, said he could not leave his friends stranded and felt compelled to wait, despite his indication that he did not want to be involved.

After becoming anxious in the parking lot, Dillon said he called Burton, who confirmed that they had finished and were on their way back to Schoolhouse Road. The witness has said that it was during the getaway that the men began talking about what had happened during the robbery.

Counsel must convince the judge that Dillon must have correctly identified the robbers in order to gain a guilty verdict. During his closing submission, Ward said Dillon could not have possibly been so accurate on the details of what transpired inside of the television company unless the robbers had told him, as he suggested in his evidence. The crown also told the judge that both Mignot and Burton were absent from work on the day in question.

However, Ward conceded that Dillon made various alterations to his statements and admitted that the crown was going to rely on a false account until the admissions made by Edwards prompted a further investigation. This investigation led to Dillon being charged with aiding and abetting a robbery and the arrest of Beau Clarke, who will be tried separately.

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Cayman’s Red Cross deputy shortlisted for award

| 21/10/2013 | 23 Comments

(CNS): An outspoken activist who has been the force behind the local campaign to raise AIDS awareness has been shortlisted for a Commonwealth award. Carolina Ferreira, the Cayman Islands Red Cross’ Deputy Director and HIV & AIDS Programme Manager, has been announced as one of the five regional finalists for the Commonwealth Youth Worker Award. The Youth Worker Awards are part of Youth Work Week 2013, which will run from 4 to 10 November. Youth Work Week raises awareness of the valuable role youth work plays in empowering and supporting young people. This is the first year that this award is being offered outside of the United Kingdom. 

“We are incredibly proud of the work which we do as an organization and of the caliber of the service and programmes that we deliver to our community,” said Branch Director, Jondo Obi. “There are seven members of staff, who manage nearly 200 volunteers, five programmes, countless projects, and are on call to respond to any disaster. Carolina has been with the organization for ten years, and to have her work recognized is tremendous,” she added in a release from the Red Cross.

Ferreira began volunteering with the Cayman Islands Red Cross in 1997, and would assist the organisation whenever she was home on school breaks. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree from Haverford College in 2000 and went on to join the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children’s (MSPCC) foster and adoptive parent programme “Kid’s Net”.

Immediately upon returning home to Grand Cayman in 2002 she began working with the then CIRC Programme Coordinator to implement an HIV and AIDS Peer Education programme at the high school. By 2003, Ferreira was hired by the organization as the HIV and AIDS Programme Manager, tasked with ongoing development and expansion of the “Together We Can” (TWC) Peer Education Programme.

“The brilliant thing about Peer Education is the fact that it is not contained to a specific moment, or class, or semester,” Ferreira explained. “In training Peer Educators you train infiltrators who can take knowledge, facts and the truth to their peers and beyond. There is no way to measure the impact of one well trained peer educator because the knowledge they gain is with them for life and for them to share it with others- friends, family, partners, children- at any time. TWC aims at empowering youth with knowledge, getting them to think about their options, values and their choices, and helping to make informed decisions even before they are put in those hard situations,” she added.

During the summer of 2006, Ferreira successfully completed a month long workshop at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland in “Leadership in Strategic Health Communication”. The knowledge and confidence she gained from that workshop played a key role in the expansion of the HIV and AIDS Department to include social marketing campaigns, such as the “HIV+…until proven negative” campaign, which featured Peer Educators from the TWC programme and highlighted a broad range of HIV related issues, from testing to discrimination. This campaign was hailed as an example of a “best practice” within the Caribbean region at the Red Cross Youth Network meeting in Guyana in 2008.

Over the course of the past decade Ferreira has become a known advocate for youth and youth related issues. Eloquent and unafraid of tackling taboo subjects, she continues to challenge norms and push boundaries that perpetuate the individual’s and community’s vulnerabilities.

Ferreira is competing against finalists from Jamaica, Guyana, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago. The Caribbean winner will be chosen to represent the region at the awards ceremony in London on October 30th, where s/he will compete for the Youth Worker Award against regional winners from Asia, Africa and the Pacific.

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Police called to Brac bullying incident

| 21/10/2013 | 30 Comments

(CNS):  A 4-year-old child in a Reception class at a Cayman Brac primary school was hit by an adult on school premises Thursday following a squabble between children as they crossed the school yard escorted by teachers at the end of the school day. Police were called to the school to investigate the incident as well as later escalations and threats made on social media sites. Education officials said that as the children were crossing the school grounds one Reception class student hit another and as a result the elder sister (18) of the victim who was waiting at the gate went on to the school grounds and hit the other child.

The police were called and are also understood to be investigating other threats that have passed between the various families concerned on Facebook. It is understood that the children were removed from the school on Friday for their safety.

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Cops press anti-bullying message in primary school

| 21/10/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): More than 200 primary school kids heard from local cops last week when the West Bay Neighbourhood police visited Sir John A Cumber Primary School to talk about standing up to bullying. PCs Sharon Baillie and Leslie Franklin delivered 11 presentations during the week in the classrooms covering the dangers and repercussions of bullying, tips on how to spot bullying behaviour and advice about how to report bullying. PC Baillie said she was delighted with the feedback from the students. “They were all very receptive to the presentations and we had some very interactive discussions about the issue,” she said.

“It’s important for the RCIPS to be involved with the schools to promote these serious messages and make sure that the students know that they can turn to a parent, a teacher or a police officer if they need to talk about bullying or make a report. We intend to take these presentations into other schools in the district over the next few weeks,” the officer added.

Elysia Murray, SJACPS School Counselor, said the school appreciated the time that the community police officers have invested

“Officers Baillie and Franklin were able to reinforce a number of the principles already taught to our students and highlight elements, such as respect and tolerance, which are only two of ourPrimary Years Program Attitudes which form part of our daily conversations as an International Baccalaureate institution,” she said. “The Officers also presented the repercussions of bullying from a police perspective which we believe will positively impact our students and force them to think twice before participating in bullying behaviour.”


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McLaughlin welcomes visiting premier from Curaco

| 21/10/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Premier Alden McLaughlin welcomed a regional leader this morning when Curacao’s Prime Minister Ivar Asjes came to the Cayman Islands. The two leaders met privately at the Legislative Assembly Building where they discussed tourism, budgets, economic diversification and the challenges of being Overseas Territories. Curacao became an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands in October 2010 in a change of constitutional status, which dissolved the Netherlands Antilles.  Asjes is the fourth and current Prime Minister of Curacao, having taken over office in June this year.

McLaughlin learned that Curacao has one mega pier for berthing large cruise ships and that a second pier is being contemplated, officials stated. He told Asjes about the efforts on Grand Cayman to put in a berthing pier through proper tendering and public/private partnerships.  Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell joined the pair to share tourism ideas and the way Curacao has been able to waive certain visa requirements to entice tourism.


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White collar $700k theft case further delayed

| 21/10/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): There is still no new trial date for a former corporate manager and board director who was arrested and charged more than two years ago for allegedly stealing over $700,000 from Conimbriga Investments Ltd and Finab Ltd. Fernando Mendez' case was adjourned on 4 October due to difficulties that the defence is having obtaining the relevant computerized documents involved in the complex alleged fraud. Mendez, who is on bail,  is alleged to have stolen the money over an 18 month period going back to June 2009. The former company director and corporate manager pleaded not guilty to three counts of theft and two of false accounting almost two years ago. 

He is alleged to have stolen close to three quarter of a million dollars and attempted to cover it up but the case has continued to drag on in an already backlogged Grand Court system, where trials for those on bail are being constantly pushed back to accommodate trials for those incarcerated.

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Accused North Side robbers split on guilt

| 21/10/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Two men pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of robbery and possession of an imitation firearm in connection with an armed hold up at Chisholm's Supermarket in North Side last month. The men, who were captured after a police chase directed by the RCIPS helicopter, are accused of stealing jewellery, eleven packs of cigarettes, a cell phone and CI$300 during the stick-up at the local district store. Odain Ebanks and Ian Ellington will face trial in February but their co-defendant Courtney Bryan has pleaded guilty to the robbery and a sentencing hearing has been set for 5 December.  A fourth young man, who is only 16 years old and so cannot be named, has not yet entered a plea relating to his alleged part in the robbery.

The teenager’s defence attorney, Prathna Bodden, said that certain admissions had been made by the juvenile defendant to the police and she now needed to see some documents which had not yet been disclosed before she could proceed any further with her client’s case.

The four men were apprehended by unarmed police following a chase into East End after their getaway car was picked up by the helicopter and a district patrol car went in pursuit of the vehicle. The men were reportedly armed at the time of the robbery but no weapons were recovered when the police roundedup the four alleged robbers.

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Local man dies following morning swim

| 21/10/2013 | 6 Comments

(CNS) Updated Monday 2:35pm: Police have now named the twenty-year-old local man who died Sunday morning after he was pulled from the ocean. He was Damian Rose of West Bay. Police said that the young man was in the sea at the Public Beach on the West Bay Road with two of his relatives when he got into difficulties at around 7am Sunday. Police and paramedics attended the scene and CPR was administered before the man was transported to the Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town, where he was pronounced dead at around 8am. An RCIPS spokesperson said that police from West Bay are now investigating the circumstances surrounding the young man’s death.


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Football boss to help cops with youth project

| 21/10/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): As the CONCACAF regional sports development conference is set to open in Grand Cayman tomorrow, the regional head of the association and CIFA’s own football boss Jeff Webb has agreed to help with a group of young local footballers from Windsor Park.  At a recent RCIPS community meeting Chief Inspector Angelique Howell heard about the positive projects residents in Windsor Park want to get off the ground. One such project was the football team which is managed by Kim McLean. The team needed equipment, such as bibs and footballs. Following the meeting the RCIPS contacted CONCACAF who agreed to provide sponsorship to assist the young footballers.

Earlier this month PC Emrol Smith was able to hand over a cheque for $469.58 to McLean at the Winners Circle Sports Store on Smith Road. Assistant Manager Nicole Dixon who said she will be helping Mclean to get the best value for the sponsorship funds when he buys the equipment.

“This project underlines the commitment of the George Town Neighbourhood Officers to work with key partners to help communities develop and nurture their young people,” said Angelique Howell who has often spoken about long term crime preventions projects being the only way that Cayman will curb the rising crime levels. “Back in late September we promised that the RCIPS would do what it could to help the Windsor Park community get their projects up and running – this cheque presentation proves that we are doing just that.”

Anyone who wants to find out more about Neighbourhood policing should contact their local police station


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