Archive for December, 2013

Christmas day power outage

| 25/12/2013 | 24 Comments

(CNS) Updated with CUC statement: Christmas lunch was in question for many families on Wednesday when power outages across George Town and parts of Bodden Town disrupted preparations and the holidayfestivities. CUC officials said various areas were affected across the capital and out as far as Savannah and Newlands. The power firm confirmed that power was restored by 11am to all customers after the blackout began at around 9am on Christmas morning. Crews worked to restore power  as quickly as possible, a CUC spokesperson said Wednesday afternoon, adding that the problem was due to a loss of some generation which caused outages to pockets of customers around the Island.

The firm said that a full investigation in the festive outage is now underway and CUC will issue more details on Friday.

See statement from CUC below

 

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Burglar wore ankle monitor

| 24/12/2013 | 24 Comments

(CNS): A man who had reportedly burgled a condo in the Prospect area was spotted breaking into a car at a condo complex in the area at around 8pm Monday night, sources have told CNS. However, he was disturbed by the owners of the complex and hid in some bushes, where he remained while they and other residents kept an eye on him until the police arrived. But when they got there, the suspect, who was seen wearing an ankle monitor, fled and eluded capture by jumping into a canal and swimming away. The officers and police dogs searched the streets adjacent to the canal for the suspect without finding him but the search revealed that a condo, the owners of which are currently off-island, had been “completely ramshackled”, according to one source.

The source told CNS that near to the car that the suspect was seen breaking into was a pile of items thought to be from the burgled condo and it was believed that the suspect was trying to steal a car to transport the stolen items.

The RCIPS has confirmed that police officers responded to a report of a burglary in Prospect last night and that the K-9 Unit was also deployed to assist in the search for the suspect, who remains at large. 

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Drunk drivers’ list continues to grow

| 23/12/2013 | 10 Comments

(CNS): Police have arrested 25 people over the last three weeks for drunk driving during the RCIPS’ annual road-safety campaign “Stay Alive”. Another 13 drivers have been arrested for driving whilst disqualified, driving withoutinsurance and driving without being licensed. Since 29 November officers have recorded 135 traffic violations, while 64 people have been fined for using their cell phones behind the wheel. In addition, 45 drivers were ticketed for speeding and 23 people prosecuted for failing to wear seatbelt. Meanwhile, at around 12:40am Monday in Bodden Town a driver managed to overturn his vehicle and ended up at George Town hospital being treated for minor injuries.

Police said they and the other emergency services responded to the smash, which involved just one vehicle, around 200 yards from the Bodden Town police station. The driver of a Hyundai Matrix travelling west onto Bodden Town Road lost control of the car, which caused it to flip on its side. He was taken to the hospital and police are now investigating

The annual holiday road safety campaign Stay Alive will continue until 5 January. Anyone who may have information about crime taking place within the Cayman Islands are asked to call any of the police stations or crime stoppers at 800-TIPS(8477).

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Cops raid illegal George Town booze joint

| 23/12/2013 | 23 Comments

(CNS): A 41-year-old man was arrested early Sunday morning for permitting his premises to be used for the sale of intoxicating liquor. Police raided what they described as premises on Shedden Road in the early hours of 22 December following reports that alcohol was being served illegally. In addition to his arrest two coolers containing liquor were confiscated along with a small quantity of cash. This is the second time in the last few weeks that the police have turned their attention to illegal booze sales as a similar operation was recently conducted off Sparky Drive where alcohol was being sold illegally at a late night session.

GT District Commander Chief Inspector Angelique Howell said this latest raid illustrated the RCIPS' commitment to targeting people who are carrying on these types of illegal activities within the Cayman Islands. The senior officer asked for members of the public to report any person or persons whom they know of committing these offences.

Anyone who may have information about crime taking place within the Cayman Islands are asked to call any of the police stations or crime stoppers at 800-TIPS(8477).

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Governor and Premier urge people to think of others

| 23/12/2013 | 16 Comments

(CNS): Both the premier and the governor were urging people to take time this holiday to think of those that need help in their Christmas messages. Premier Alden McLaughlin said his Christmas wish was that everyone in the Cayman Islands could live year-round with consideration, good will and caring for each other as he urged people to enjoy time with their families and to visit those who are hurting or in need this Christmas season. Governor Helen Kilpatrick asked people to look out for their neighbours who are sick or elderly, and to speak up for children who are at risk.

See the Christmas messages below.

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Former worker confesses to bomb hoax

| 23/12/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A 53 year old former employee at the Caribbean Club admitted being the man who caused a full scale evacuation of two Seven Mile Beach Resorts when he appeared in court Friday. James Bernie Williams from West Bay who once worked at the Caribbean Club told the court that he was drinking when he made the call to 911 saying there were two bombs about to be detonated at both the Caribbean Club and the Ritz Carlton. Almost a thousand people were evacuated from both of the resorts on Saturday 14 December some of whom were in Cayman for a wedding.  Police closed roads and diverted traffic for several hours until they were able to ascertain that there were no bombs at either location.

Williams’ case was transmitted to Grand Court where he was bailed to appear in the New Year. As a result of his alcohol problems the court ordered him to stay away from booze as part of his bail conditions and to attend a programme at the hospital he was also barred from going within 50 yards of either the Caribbean Club or Ritz-Carlton.

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FOI tangled in pension issue

| 22/12/2013 | 15 Comments

(CNS): Jennifer Dilbert’s final ruling on a freedom of information dispute after five years as the information commisssioner has turned out to be one of the most complex cases she has dealt with. Publishing her 32nd decision on Thursday afternoon, Dilbert described it as a “particularly difficult hearing”. This was down to a catalogue of reasons, including ther fact that the public authority did not follow the law and because it was inextricably linked with a much wider complaint being made by the applicant about the failure of the National Pensions Office to uphold the law when a high profile private sector employer allowed at least one employee to make his own pension investment outside the statutory requirements.

Despite concluding that the ministry involved and the former National Pensions Office had correctly withheld records and redacted others because they contained the personal details of a third party, the request nevertheless threw up a myriad of procedural issues. The incredibly complex hearing also resulted in the information commissioner ordering the applicant to make a fresh request for what were believed to be more missing documents and others in dispute as it was virtually impossible for Dilbert’s office to untangle the mess.

The commissioner said the administrative confusion was compounded by both sides in the dispute as well as the late arrival of the legal department in the matter and a list of records in question that did not match those the information commissioner’s office was dealing with. 

“I believe that it has been frustrating for the Applicant, who has felt that the NPO and the ministry were often not in compliance with the FOI Law, and that there have been unacceptable delays,” Dilbert said about the hearing. “At the same time, the public authorities have made a huge effort, albeit sometimes after delays, to provide the Applicant with a multitude of records.”

She noted that as a result of her office’s intervention almost 18 months ago when the applicant made the appeal to the ICO, many more documents had been released than at the start of the appeal. Dilbert noted that regardless of the much wider dispute, she had to focus on the FOI Law and the legal exemptions claimed and could not consider any other factors.

“While there have been delays and other difficulties with respect to the public authorities’ compliance,” she said, there was “no egregious or wilful failures to comply with the FOI Law" in the case.

“Given the huge amount of time and resources that have been expended on this matter to date, I am not prepared to continue with these appeals in the current form,” she said. “Section 39 of the FOI Law states that the Commissioner may hear, investigate and rule on appeals filed under this Law, and I am hereby exercising my authority to decline to hear or rule on these current appeals,” she added.

Dilbert explained that records being requested were overlapping with some already received by the applicant and in others the exemptions were similar to those applied to the requests in this decision. She also said there was significant confusion between the parties as to what has been already provided, what has been internally reviewed, and what records remain outstanding.

“The most effective way to continue the process of getting access to further records, would be for the Applicant to carefully examine all the records that have been provided, consider the exemptions that have been applied by the NPO and upheld by me, and make a new FOI request for any outstanding records,” Dilbert ruled. “Thiswould include clearly identifying any records that are referred to elsewhere in records already received. These requests could then work their way through the processes in a timely and organised manner.”

In recent weeks, as her tenure drew to a close, Dilbert has pointed to the increasing complexity of the hearings that she is dealing with, which is illustrated by this particular decision. In every case, however, it seems that either poor record keeping or lengthy delays and procrastination on the part of public authorities is compounding the problems, which the ICO is left to try and unravel while applying the FOI law.

Related article:

Officials aim to end collusion

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Prison quizzes inmate over drug smuggling allegations

| 22/12/2013 | 9 Comments

(CNS): Officials from HMP Northward said that an enquiry has been conducted at the prison regarding allegations made by an inmate in Summary Court last week. Leighton Rankine had pointed the finger at prison officers as the source of the ganja he was charged with possessing and for which he received an additional 30 days on top of his existing 13 year sentence. When quizzed by the magistrate about the drug, which was found on his possession during a hospital visit, Rankine said that the drugs were smuggled in by guards. Following media report about what was said in court the prison said it had questioned the inmate regarding his allegations but Rankine had not been able to support them.

“Prison administration conducted an inquiry into the allegations made in court that prison officers are trafficking drugs into Northward Prison,” HMP officials said in a short statement released Friday. “Mr Leighton Rankine was interviewed at Northward Prison on Friday, 20 December 2013 and became uncooperative and unable to the support the statement made in Summary Court on Tuesday.”

Rankine is currently serving time in connection with a shooting in a car park close to a West Bay night club in February 2012. Following a trial in June he was convicted of assault, wounding with intent, unlawful use of a firearm and the possession of an unlicensed firearm.

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Cops net three drunks behind the wheel

| 21/12/2013 | 17 Comments

(CNS): Five police road blocks across Grand Cayman on Fridaynight and Saturday morning saw three people arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. As part of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service’s efforts to crack down on crime and traffic violations those three drivers were arrested and numerous other  people were issued tickets for various traffic infractions as police stopped drivers at the various road block locations. As the Stay Alive festive safety campaign continues a police spokesperson said the RCIPS is determined to reduce road fatalities and serious accidents by targeting bad driving.

 “It is obvious that there are persons out there that blatantly have no regard for the laws of the Cayman Islands. As such, we the RCIPS, encourage the public to report any crime or traffic violation they observe. We can't be everywhere, so we rely on you the public to be our eyes and ears,” the spokesperson added.

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2nd charge in WB killing

| 20/12/2013 | 0 Comments
(CNS): Police have charged a second man with the murder of Robert Mackford Bush who was gunned down in West Bay in 2011. An RCIPS spokesperson stated that officers had charged a 34 year old Jamaican man with murder at 11.32am today. Police said Friday that they expected the man who is in police custody to appear in court at a later date. They did not name the man or detail when he was arrested. Brian Borden from West Bay has already been charged with the killing and pleaded not guilty. He is awaiting trial which is scheduled for January. However, Borden has been in custody for more than 18 months since his arrest in September 2012 and is still waiting for a decision from the Chief Justice challenging his incarceration under the bill of rights.

 
Bush was killed at the junction of Capts Joe and Osbert Road in the Birch Tree Hill, in September 2011 when two masked gunmen were said to have open fire on him as he sat in a parked car.
The killing which was said to be gang related triggered a series of tit for tat shootings over a ten day period in West Bay, George Town and East End in which five young men lost their lives and another was badly injured.
 
Earlier this year Bush's father was also gunned down and killed outside his home in Daisy Lane West Bay. The body of Irwin Bush was found outside his door at around 10pm on the night of Sunday 15 September almost two years to the date after his son's murder. Although the police made several arrests in the case no has been charged in connection with his death. 

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