Archive for January 7th, 2014

Misick charged with bribery

| 07/01/2014 | 8 Comments

(CNS) Updated: Following his extradition home to Turks and Caicos from Brazil, the beleaguered former premier, Michael Misick, has now been charged with conspiracy to bribe. Officials confirmed earlier Tuesday that Misick had arrived in TCI and was expected to be charged with a number of offences. The charges relate to the on-going probe in TCI triggered by the 2009 Commission of Inquiry, which found evidence of systemic corruption during Misick's tenure as the UK territory's leader. Misick’s bail application was initially rejected by a TCI magistrate, before being accepted on appeal by the Turks and Caicos chief justice. Misick was unable to meet bail conditions, officials said, so was remanded to the local jail.

Officals now plan to apply to add Misick's case to the Information against  his co-accused, who are scheduled to face trial in July.

Earlier today the TCI governor's office offered its thanks to the Brazilian authorities and welcomed Misick's return.

“The UK Government welcomes the arrival of former Premier Michael Misick in Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) to face a number of serious charges relating to corruption and maladministration during his time in office," a statement from the governor's office said.

“It is important for the people of TCI, a UK Overseas Territory, that the rule of law is respected and due process is followed. It will now be down to the TCI Courts to consider Michael Misick’s case as well as that of 14 others charged with similar offences.”

Misick was questioned by the Special Investigation and Prosecution Team, which was set up to investigate the corruption allegations back in 2010.

When Misick was implicated in the investigation he fled and was on the run for some time before he was arrested in Brazil over a year ago on an Interpol warrant.

The current TCI premier, Rufus Ewing, said he welcomed the return of Misick to the "home that he loves, and to his family and friends, who have all been praying for his safe return. Premier Misick will be processed and I trust that through the will of God, fairness and justice will prevail and the rule of law will be executed in a manner that is fair, respectful and transparent as it upholds his basic human rights," he added.

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Thirteen businesses targeted in burglary spree

| 07/01/2014 | 5 Comments

(CNS): Police have confirmed that nine businesses in the same plaza were all burgled some time during the night and morning of 4 and 5 January and further unsuccessful attempts were made to gain entry into four more premises. The burglary spree took place at the Grand Plaza, which is located on Howard Street in George Town. Police said they received a report from unit #29 at around 8am of a break-in but on arrival discovered it was not the only one. An RCIPS spokesperson said nine of the units had been broken into, with the perpetrators smashing the glass of the front doors. Attempts had also been made to gain entry to an additional four units by breaking the locks of the rear doors.

A quantity of cash was stolen was along with work-related clothing, police said. So far no arrests have been made in relation to the crime. 

Anyone with Information in regards to this incident is urged to call the George Town Police CID at 949-4222 or Crime Stoppers at 800-8477.

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7 cars damaged in cop chase

| 07/01/2014 | 35 Comments

(CNS) Updated: Hot on the heels of the pursuit and running down of suspects by the police commissioner on New Year’s Day, RCIPS officers were involved in another high speed pursuit Tuesday in which seven cars were damaged by the suspect. Police have arrested a 34-year-old man, who is now in custody at GT police station on suspicion of burglary, dangerous driving and a warrant for failing to appear in court. An RCIPS spokesperson said the suspect evaded the police through the George Town area during the high speed chase, which involved several police units and the helicopter, before he eventually ditched his vehicle in the Watler’s Road area. Photo Kathy Philips

Police said the perpetrator then “commandeered another vehicle at Delworth’s Gas Station” but did not say how he managed to do that.  The suspect then reportedly took off again in the stolen car.

During the high speed pursuit across George Town which it is understood to have begun around Shedden Road when officers spotted the wanted man, three police vehicles and four private vehicles were damaged, police stated. The officers pointed the finger at the suspect as the cause of the damage as a result of his attempts to evade capture by the authorities but did not say if any police vehicles hit any of the private cars.


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Caribbean Chikungunya cases climb to over 100

| 07/01/2014 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Following the recent news of an outbreak of Chikungunya in the region Cayman officials said that over one hundred cases in six Caribbean countries have now been confirmed. In an update from the health services authority Cayman’s Medical Officer of Health Dr Kiran Kumar said that from 6 December to 31 December 111 cases of Chikungunya were confirmed in Saint Martin, Saint Barthelemy, Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guiana.  “Local transmission of Chikungunya virus has been documented in five countries. One hundred and nine cases were of local transmission and two were imported,” Dr Kumar said.

This is the first time locally-acquired cases of Chikungunya have been detected in the Caribbean.  In the Americas, imported cases had previously been reported from Brazil, Canada, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and the United States of America. 
In this recent outbreak most of the cases are on the French side of Saint Martin where 89 cases have been confirmed with one on the Dutch side of the islands as well. Nine cases included one imported case have been reported in Saint Barthelemy, eight cases in Martinique, three in Guadeloupeand one imported case in French Guiana.

Chikungunya is a viral disease, carried mainly by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito and causes a dengue-like sickness. The symptoms appear between four to seven days after the bite of an infected mosquito.   Symptoms include a sudden high fever, severe pain in the wrists, ankles or knuckles, muscle pain, headache, nausea and rash.  Joint pain and stiffness are more common with Chikungunya than with dengue. The management of Chikungunya is symptomatic, similar to that of dengue. The majority of clinical signs and symptoms last three to 10 days, but joint pain may persist longer.  Severe cases requiring hospitalisation are rare.

There is no vaccine or treatment for Chikungunya, which has infected millions of people in Africa and Asia since the disease was first recorded in 1952.  India, countries in the Indian Ocean, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Indonesia are among the major countriescurrently with Chikungunya outbreaks.

“The World Health Organization does not advise special screening at points of entry into the country with regards to this event. Nor does it currently recommend the application of any travel or trade restrictions,” said Dr Kumar.

The public health boss advised travelers to protect against mosquito bites while in endemic countries. Those who experience fever and severe joint pains after their return should consult a physician and advise of travel history, so that doctors can assess and test for Chikungunya. Such tests will be carried out at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Trinidad.


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Trust opens boardwalk in LC iguana territory

| 07/01/2014 | 1 Comment

CNS): The National Trust for the Cayman Islands has opened a new boardwalk on Little Cayman which offers visitors a glimpse of the island’s pristine coastal shrubland off Preston Bay. The boardwalk has been part of a multi-year project to ensure the land in the area was protected in perpetuity. The land on which the boardwalk is situated has extreme environmental significance, the trust said, as it is the largest communal nesting site for the endangered Sister Islands Rock Iguana, Cyclura caymanensis, on the western side of the island. Although the Sister Islands Rock Iguanas are usually very territorial, the female iguanas nest communally in five specific areas. The Preston Bay nesting site contains almost 40 percent of the total nests laid each year.

Signs placed along the boardwalk explain the terrain and its flora, detailing which plants were important to early settlers. Although coastal shrubland is increasingly scarce due to human development, the habitat is essential to the survival of a variety of endemic and native animal species.

Carla Reid, chairperson of the National Trust, explained that the boardwalk will serve as an important educational tool. “Many visitors come to the island and use this site for beach-combing and snorkeling and now we’ve been able to provide them with information about the iguanas and their habitat, as well as the turtles and sea birds that nest on the beach.”

The purchase of the land was made possible by a number of donations and took over a year to complete. Minimal land was cleared during the construction of the boardwalk and the raised platform will allow the iguanas to move unhindered.

The boardwalk was dedicated to long-time National Trust supporter and Little Cayman resident Gladys Howard when it was opened on Friday, 27 December. Betty Bua-Smith, chairperson of the Little Cayman District Committee of the trust, said that, although many people had contributed in a variety of ways to the completion of the boardwalk, Howard had been a driving force behind the project.

“The Little Cayman District Committee is proud of our accomplishments and that we are able to dedicate the iguana nesting site boardwalk to Ms. Howard,” Mrs. Bua-Smith said. “With the strong leadership of Ms. Howard we are honoured to see this dream fulfilled."

Howard gave a short speech before cutting the red ribbon and opening the boardwalk to the public. “This is really an amazing accomplishment on behalf of the National Trust and for the preservation that we hope to continue on this island,” she said.

Reid added that the project was a testament to the perseverance of the Little Cayman District Committee and the generosity of the community

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Catron calls for accountability from dog owners

| 07/01/2014 | 43 Comments

(CNS): Following the recent alleged attack on her pet Shih-poo by a neighbour’s dog, local activist Sandra Catron is suing the owner to recover the vet costs she incurred as a result. Catron said that dog owners have to be held accountable and that too many pets are being attacked by animals that are not properly cared for but absolutely nothing happens to the irresponsible owners. Catron claims her dog, Coco, has been attacked by the same dog, which is a terrier, on several occasions but the latest one has driven her to take legal action, not just for the money but to make people understand they must take responsibility for their pets.

“Numerous pet owners have contacted me since this story original went public indicating they are suffering at the hands of dangerous dogs as well and in some cases have lost their beloved pets to dog attacks, and no one is ever held to account. Enough is enough!” Catron told CNS after filing the suit last week.

“Pet owners need to understand that they are responsible for the care, welfare and behaviour of their pets. Ultimately, this responsibility extends to legal liability as well. If your dog causes someone injury or harm there’s a penalty for that. My dog sustained injuries and needed to be treated on an emergency basis for those and costs incurred,” she added.

Catron is no stranger to the courts, having fought several civil as well as criminal actions herself, despite not yet being a fully qualified lawyer, and has won on each occasion.

The strata at the Newlands residence where she lives is also pursuing legal action as the fencing at the condos has also been damaged by the rogue dog, despite warnings issued on numerous occasions.

“At some point people must be held accountable for their behaviour and it appears that some people will onlydo the right thing when subjected to a court order,” Catron said.

The latest alleged incident that drove Catron to the courts happened in December after several complaints had been made to the authorities, who had taken no action about the animal, which she says is genuinely dangerous. Catron described the recent attack as an “ambush” by the out-of-control dog.

The activist said that although the police have said they are continuing to investigate the case, the dog remains next door.

“I live in constant fear of another attack. I have to walk with bug spray for some form of protection now. I am very disappointed that there’s no injunction that would allow for a dangerous dog to be removed whilst the investigation continues,” Catron added.

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Bomb hoax suspect to undergo rehab programme

| 07/01/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Having spent several days in the withdrawal management unit at the Cayman Islands Hospital, the 53-year-old West Bay man accused of a bomb hoax involving two Seven Mile Beach resorts has checked into Caribbean Haven, the court heard Monday. James Bernie Williams has not yet formally answered the charges against him but following his arrest before Christmas he admitted calling in a hoax bomb warning to the emergency services. Williams, who is a former employee of Caribbean Club, which along with the Ritz Carlton was evacuated on Saturday 14 December as a result of the hoax, is said to have made a call to 911 saying there were two bombs about to be detonated.

The hoax caused havoc in the heart of the tourist district during peak season and diverted significant police resources before the resorts were given the all clear.

Arrested shortly afterwards, Williams blamed the act on his alcohol problems and has since voluntarily begun addressing the issue. Presiding Grand Court judge Justice Nova Hall bailed Williams to Caribbean Haven until his next appearance in the court on 24 January, when his attorney, John Furniss, said he expected Williams would be able to answer the charges.

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