Archive for November 21st, 2013

Ex-cop acquitted of beating

Ex-cop acquitted of beating

| 21/11/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A former police officer who was convicted by a jury of malicious wounding and sentenced to six months in prison after badly beating a man during an early morning off-duty arrest more than four years ago has been cleared by the Court of Appeal. Rabe Welcome, who was fired from the RCIPS following his conviction last June, has had that conviction discharged after his successful appeal and the higher court refused the crown’s request for a retrial. The judges said the trial judge in his summing up to the jury did not make it clear that his guilt or otherwise was not just a matter of whether or not the defendant did or didn’t use reasonable force but whether he honestly believed it to be necessary, even if it was excessive.

Welcome was convicted in June 2012 and sentenced the following October. However, because he appealed the sentence he spent only a few days in jail as he was bailed pending the hearing.

The appeal was heard last week but the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal delivered its ruling Thursday afternoon, when the panel quashed the conviction on the point regarding the jury direction and delivered a not guilty verdict. An application by crown counsel Michael Snape for a retrial was immediately rejected by the president of the CICA, Sir John Chadwick, as he said it was not a case on which the court felt there should be anothertrial.

The appeal court explained that the issue was a question of whether or not Welcome believed at the time that he needed to use the force regardless of whether others would see it as reasonable or not. As a result, a more specific direction should have been given to the jury because the defendant should have been judged on his belief of what he was doing was necessary.

The appeal panel said that there was “real doubt” whether there was enough to alert the jury to the possibility that he had felt or honestly believed what he was doing was reasonable. The judges noted, however, that if they had not set the conviction aside, they would not have overturned the sentence as they did not think the six months was harsh or excessive.

Welcome had been convicted on charges relating to malicious wounding after he had broken the arm of Adolphus Myrie and caused him other injuries at the Red Bay Esso station during an early morning altercation and a subsequent arrest, when the then RCIPS officer was off-duty.

Following his conviction and at the time of sentencing Justice Alex Henderson pointed to the need in this case to deter police officers from using excessive force and to send a message that such abuse of power would not be tolerated.

The judge said that although Welcome had no previous convictions or disciplinary violations, had good character references and there was a low risk of re-offending, given the circumstances, he felt a custodial sentence was necessary and he handed down the six month term.

Welcome was arrested following the incident and suspended from duty for some three years until his trial in the summer of 2012, after which he was dismissed from his job.

The incident was caught on CCTV, and although there was a degree of provocation as Myrie had threatened Welcome and two other off duty officers with a machete, at the time Welcome actually beat Myrie he was unarmed.

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First three Employees of the Month announced

First three Employees of the Month announced

| 21/11/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Women have made a clean sweep of the first three Deputy Governor’s Employee of the Month awards for the government fiscal year that began on 1 July 2013. GIS reports that the women are from diverse backgrounds but the one common thread that bonds them is their dedication to duty and to uphold the core values expected of all civil servants. When Deputy Governor Franz Manderson presented the awards recently, each monthly winner received a plaque inscribed with their name and achievement. September’s award went to Detective Sergeant in the Family Support Unit of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, Doris Morris-Herrera (left).

Lauding the recipients for being role models to every civil servant, Manderson named Computer Services Helpdesk Support Administrator I, Tracey Gale, as his chosen employee for July. The honours for August have gone to Shift Commander and Health & Safety Officer at Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service, Julia King. 

Known for her humility and dedication to her job, Gale is hailed as having been instrumental to rebuilding government’s computer network infrastructure system.

Presenting Gale with her award, Manderson extolled her capability to “consistently go above and beyond the call of duty to provide the best service” to all government employees. “I understand that you always strive for the best, and seek opportunities to improve services,” he said.

He added, “Dating back to Hurricane Ivan and up to the recent deployment of a new Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server, your achievement of the department’s goals has been paramount to many successes in Computer Services and across the Cayman Islands Government. It is for these reasons that you were named the ‘Most Dedicated’.” DHCP provides improved access to Government network users.

Gale commented, “I am truly honoured to receive this unexpected award as well as the Chief Officer’s award for July.  It has been a real privilege to be nominated, but then to be chosen is something extremely special. I would like to thank the Deputy Governor and Chief Officer for this honour. I have to recognise my colleague Keisha Leslie as an exceptional teammate; together we make our little Helpdesk team work smoothly.”

August awardee King’s steadfast commitment to making a difference, doing the right thing, as well as making an impact on her staff, are cited as some of the qualities that underscored her selection.

Noting that King was named the “Most Committed” by her nominees, Manderson said she was chosen because of her commitment to doing the right thing, and making a positive impact on everyone she interacted with. Her services were all the more valuable because she holds both herself and others around her accountable for their contribution, he commented.

Despite facing serious obstacles in her work, he added that King’s commitment had not swerved over all her years in the prison service.

In response, King said, “I am deeply humbled to have first been nominated by the Prison Service for the Deputy Governor’s Award and secondly to have been selected for both the Chief Officer’s Award and the Deputy Governor’s Award for August. I am honoured to have been recognised and I want to thank themanagement team for the Prison Service for putting my name forward. 

“I choose a career in corrections 28 years ago in Nottingham, England and came to the Cayman Islands on a secondment 13 years ago.  I’ve never regretted my choice for a single day.  I’ve committed my life to community safety and rehabilitation of prisoners and I love my job!” 

Named the “Most Resilient and Flexible” by her employers, September award recipient Morris-Herrera’s proposal for a Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (M.A.S.H.) reflected her passion for protecting juveniles and enhancing family well-being, the Deputy Governor said, presenting her the award. The multi-agency proposal aims to enable all child protection agencies to share information to ensure the safety of at-risk children (including those abused) to prevent serious injuries or worse, death.

Equally passionate about improving service delivery, the police officer excelled at managing client expectations, he noted. In return k she received admiration, trust and respect.

Appreciating her abilities to give praise where due and her positive approach, Manderson underscored her professionalism and dedication to her job. This is demonstrated, he said, by her parting comment each time she leaves work: ‘I am only a call away.”

On receiving her awards, Morris-Herrera commented: “I am truly honoured to have been recognized with the Chief Officer’s and Deputy Governor’s monthly awards. It is my passion to ensure that the Family Support Unit serves the public with tact and diplomacy. I believe that embracing the benefits of a multi-agency approach would surely provide a better quality of life for the people we serve.”

The Employee of the Month is chosen from staff members who have been recognised by their organisation’s Chief Officers as the best service providers in any month. From among those awardees at the end of the current fiscal year, the Deputy Governor will choose a final winner to be the Employee of the Year for 2014.

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CIG to move financial year

CIG to move financial year

| 21/11/2013 | 15 Comments

(CNS): The government has made the decision to move its fiscal year, which currently runs from 1 July through to 30 June, to match the calendar year. Announced by Finance Minister Marco Archer when he delivered the PPM government’s future fiscal plans and related policies, the change will begin on 1 January 2016. Simultaneously, government will be introducing multi-year budgeting, which will see an 18 month budget delivered at the end of this fiscal year followed by a two year budget on 1 January 2016. Despite the complexities and expense of changing the fiscal year, Archer said it would bring numerous benefits. 

Delivering the Strategic Policy Statement (SPS) in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday morning, the finance minister said the beginning of 2016 was earliest possible opportunity to make the fiscal year change but it would bring several advantages.

Government collects the bulk of its revenue from the financial services sector between January and March, he noted, so government will start its year when money is coming in but it will know early on in the fiscal year if there is a fall-off in revenue, giving government more time to take action. Archer explained that currently, with the fiscal year beginning on 1 July, it is nine months into the year before it is known that there may be a problem in the area where it collects most of its earnings.

The minister pointed out that the transition would avoid the current problem of producing two sets of statistics for both the calendar year and the fiscal year, facilitating clearer public information on government finances and the economy.

Archer said that the changes would be reviewed frequently and systematically but the longer budgets will see government take a more medium term view of public finances, which he said was superior to the start-stop of the current single year budgets.

The minister announced the formation of a new committee to undertake a comprehensive review of the Public Management and Finance Law led by government back-bencher and chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Roy McTaggart. As well as focusing on core government, the PMFL review will also examine statutory authorities and government companies, he said.

The PMFL will need to be changed to switch the financial year, which will also see the issue of the local election cycle resolved. Although it would have been cheaper to change the election date, the political issue of an administration gaining or losing six months appears to have been insurmountable, leading to what will be a much greater undertaking on the part of government to change the fiscal year.

Check back to CNS for more on the SPS and the LA motion for debate on it moved by the premier.

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Public urged to comment on ToRs for cruise port EIA

Public urged to comment on ToRs for cruise port EIA

| 21/11/2013 | 13 Comments

CNS): Government officials in the Department of Environment say the public has until Friday 6 December to submit their thoughts, comments and concerns on the terms of reference (ToRs) that will guide any independent agency which will be contracted to undertake the Environmental Impact Assessment for the planned George Town Cruise berthing facilities. The EIA is a critical part of the process, as the strategic business case for the proposed project revealed a catalogue of potential environmental problems with the port. It is the EIA that will inform the government about whether or not the risks to critical environmental resources is worth what ever economic benefits the development of a cruise port would bring.

The government has stated on numerous occasions that if the risks are too great, especially to the jewel in Cayman’s crown – Seven Mile Beach, it would not go ahead with the project. As a result, the DoE is keen to ensure that the terms of reference cover the entirety of the potential impact of the project on Grand Cayman and that nothing is omitted.

DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie said she wanted the public to feel that all of their concerns would be examined during the EIA and to ensure that those concerns, if they were not already covered in the draft document, were included.

While a public meeting on Wednesday night gave people a chance to hear the presentation from the authors of the draft ToRs, Mott MacDonald Limited (MML), anyone who missed the meeting can still submit their comments and concerns over the next two weeks.

At the end of this consultation and discussion period, which has included stakeholder meetings, the ToRs will be reviewed and redrafted to include anything that could have been overlooked, the DoE director explained. Based on the public consultation, the redrafted ToRS will be drawn up in collaboration with the government’s Environmental Advisory Board, which includes representatives from departments of Environment, Planning, Tourism, the Port Authority, the National Museum and the National Roads Authority.

The final terms of reference will then be submitted to government, which will begin the competitive process to find an independent agency to conduct the assessment based on these terms, which is why they are so important and need to be comprehensive. The draft ToRs, which the public can now examine, are based on the findings of the strategic business case that was undertaken by local consultants, PricewaterhouseCoopers, who had commissioned MML.

Despite government’s enthusiasm for a cruise berthing facility, there are very real concerns that the environmental risk may well outweigh the anticipated benefit to cruise tourism, which is still only a part of the local tourism product and one that many still believe has a detrimental impact on overseas tourism.

The Department of Tourism has worked exceptionally hard over the last few years to successfully attract record breaking overnight visitor numbers, but there are concerns that a surge in cruise ship visitors in George Town may undermine the success of stay-over tourism, which has a much wider economic benefit and a far lower environmental impact.

Nevertheless, the PPM government campaigned during the May 2013 on a commitment to developing two piers in George Town, with only limited upland development and supported by the cruise lines. The government has also committed to follow an open and transparent procurement process via competitive tendering which meets international best practice.

The EIA comes ahead of the request for proposals, which will go out to potential developers and cruise-lines partners as the project will be determined by the environmental findings.

If the risks are too great the project may be halted. However, if the EIA finds that the environmental risks can be mitigated, then whoever wins the bid project will be expected to follow those findings to address the potential risks identified.

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Ritz gets government safety check with OSH course

Ritz gets government safety check with OSH course

| 21/11/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Government officials delivered a two day workshop at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel this week for managers and supervisors on occupational safety and health (OSH) in the workplace. Delivered by the Department of Labour and Pensions, the workshop reviews management of safety and health in the workplace environment, worksite analysis, construction safety, hazard prevention and control, as well as employee safety and health training. Presenter, Gene Hydes, Senior Labour Officer for the DLP said the course focused on the identification and prevention of hazards in the workplace. 

Hydes is a member of the International Association of Safety Professionals, an associate member of the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), and one of the few safety auditors and accident investigation technicians in the Cayman Islands. “The Ritz Carlton recognised the benefits of this initiative and got on board very quickly,” said Hydes.

The DLP has been offering OSH workshops as an early step towards a nation-wide training and certification programme. Its intention is to reduce work related injuries, improve productivity, engage management’s commitment to safety, as well as promote training and employee involvement in hazard prevention and control.

General Manager of the Ritz Carlton, Marc Langevin added, “The amenities and luxuries of our hotel don’t exist unless we have a strong foundation of safety for our guests and employees.  This workshop has reinforced that position at every level of our organization.”
For more information on the OSH training contact Gene Hydes at 244-4008 or email

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Invasive iguanas spread to Cayman Brac

Invasive iguanas spread to Cayman Brac

| 21/11/2013 | 54 Comments

(CNS): People on Cayman Brac are being asked to report all sightings of the invasive green iguanas to the Department of Environment (DoE) as soon as they spot the pesky reptile and to try and keep track of their whereabouts until an official arrives. Last weekend, a member of the public saw a hatchling in the Spot Bay area, near the path to Long Bay, and all sightings like these must be reported as the iguanas can spread very quickly. They pose a threat to the indigenous population of rock iguanas and lizards, as well as other wildlife. The green iguana is now prolific on Grand Cayman and the DoE is hoping to prevent the same problem on the Brac.

“Green iguanas are very invasive and pose a serious threat to the island’s wildlife because of their size, feeding habits, and high reproduction rates," said DoE Research Officer, Jessica Harvey. "It is therefore extremely important to stop the growth of the green iguana population in Cayman Brac.”

When a sighting occurs, Brac residents are advised to contact the local DoE officers, Erbin Tibbetts or Robert Walton immediately. Call 926-0136 or 926-2342 or email or Where possible, the person reporting the sighting should try to keep sight of the iguana until a DoE officer arrives. If both DoE officers are unavailable, people are instead asked to contact Bonnie Scott Edwards on the Iguana Hotline at 917-7744. (Right: green iguana hatchling)

Anyone who spots a green iguana is also asked to record the description of the location and time of the sighting, the iguana’s approximate size, and whether or not it has a bead tag on its neck.

The DoE said that green iguanas should not to be confused with green anoles, or rock iguanas. Anoles are bright green and significantly smaller than iguanas, with a long, narrow snout. Also, they do not have spines on their crest, or a large, single-cheek scale.
Rock iguanas vary in colour between grey and brown and have different types of shading. They have black feet and smaller, more evenly spaced spines along their crest than the green iguana. They also do not have a single-cheek scale.

Green iguanas are easy to identify by the heavy black banding on their tails, as well as their large, single-cheek scale, and long, straggly crest spines.

Anyone who is uncertain as to what species he or she has spotted should send a photo via phone to or

For more information, please contact the DoE at or call 949-8469.

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