Archive for March 17th, 2014

Waiting time for obstetrics two weeks, says minister

| 17/03/2014 | 15 Comments

(CNS):The waiting period for obstetric and gynaecological services is about two weeks, the minister for health Osbourne Bodden has said, which he says compares favourably to other jurisdictions. Following concerns raised by Ezzard Miller, North Side's MLA in the Legislative Assembly last month that women were being refused appointments and that the hospital clinic was being badly managed, Bodden released a statement Monday setting out the procedures relating to the clinic and noted that waiting time for specialist services are generally longer than others. Measures had been taken to bring them down, he said, but patient volume was driving the waiting times up.

“The waiting period for obstetric and gynaecological services is approximately two weeks. If a particular physician is requested the waiting time may be six to eight weeks, although most physicians will see extra patients in clinic, if the need is confirmed by the midwife,” the health minister said in a lengthy statement setting out procedures (posted below)
He said that at present the receptionist at the obstetrics clinic At George Hospital makes the appointment at the desk.

“If no appointment is available, if the appointment is being made for a new antenatal patient, or if the patient requests an earlier appointment, then the receptionist will refer the patient to the midwife for review.  If the midwife is with a patient in a clinic room or out on home visits, the receptionist will take the number and have the midwife return the call, the minister said as he explained the procedure.

There are three consultant obstetricians/gynaecologists and two registrars with ob/gyn experience, one of whom covers Faith Hospital. The physician service is complemented by midwifery services and clinics are scheduled every day except Monday and Thursday, which are surgery days. The minister pointed to fifteen clinic sessions each week with an ob/gyn on call for obstetric and gynaecological emergencies. However the minister said that in the case of a miscarriage which his parliamentary colleague had noted when he raised his concerns about the treatment constituents had received, Bodden said the referral to the emergency room was correct.

“ln the case of the person with a miscarriage being directed to the emergency room, this was the correct procedure in what was indeed an emergency situation,” the minister stated. “In most instances, these persons require blood work, ultrasound, and preparation for the operating room. The emergency room, with the ob/gyn on call, is the department best suited to handle this level of acute care, as the clinic is not prepared to deliver the rapid intervention required.”

Comparing Cayman’s two week wait times to the more than four weeks in Canada and the USA and the wide range of 8 days to several weeks in the UK, he said Caymanian patients were not alone in the length of wait times that people may face to access obstetricians and gynaecologists. 

Apologising on behalf of the HSA, for any inconvenience he said that the authority strives daily to improve customer care and service.

See full statement below
 

Continue Reading

Murder defendant to wait 2 years for day in court

| 17/03/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The crown has successfully argued that a second man charged with the murder of Robert Bush in West Bay in September 2011 should stand trial with the first man charged with the crime. As a result, David Tomassa will now stand in the dock in July alongside Brian Borden, who was originally charged in relation to the gang-related killing in August 2012 and has been in custody ever since. Bush was shot by two armed gunmen who opened fire on him as he sat in a car in the Birch Tree Hill area of the district, which triggered a tit-for-tat spate of murders across a nine day period, when four other young men were shot and killed and a fifth man received multiple gunshot wounds but survived.

Borden was charged and remanded in custody almost a year after the killings but it was more than two years after the killing that police charged Tomassa, in December last year.
A catalogue of legal issues with this case have led to numerous adjournments, leaving Borden on remand for an excessive amount of time without trial.

Following the last minute adjournment of Borden’s trial, which was due to start in January, as a result of the charges against Tomassa which resulted in a surge of eleventh hour disclosure relating to that case, prosecutors took the opportunity to apply for both men to face trial together. Meanwhile, defense attorneys for both Borden and Tomassa applied for the men to be tried separately.

Following legal arguments on Friday, the chief justice ruled Monday morning that the men would be tried together and date was fixed for July 2014, almost two years since Borden was taken into custody.

Although defence attorney Nick Hoffman, who is representing Borden, has applied for bail on numerous occasions for his client, he remains on remand at HMP Northward. Hoffman has also fought and lost a human rights case regarding what he argued was a breach of Borden’s presumptive right to bail on the basis of the crime he is charged with and not on the circumstances of the case.

Although it is not mandatory for murder suspects to be jailed while awaiting trial, it is exceptionally rare that a person charged with murder would be granted bail. This is based on the penalty of a mandatory whole life sentence, which the crown has always successfully argued makes any defendant in such cases an elevated flight risk, and as a result the suspects, regardless of the level of evidence, are almost never bailed.

Continue Reading

Problems in our schools

| 17/03/2014 | 45 Comments

Please allow me to air my concerns on a recent article entitled “Teachers in despair over kids”. As a Caymanian parent I have two boy children who have gone through our government schools. One graduated from John Gray High School and has been very successful, recently graduating with a Masters Degree. This particular child was well mannered and in the top 10% while attending, however, my main angst at the time was with the unfairness with which matters were treated.

No matter who the perpetrator was of any misbehavior, a child was not able to retaliate and if he/she did they were treated/punished the same. The victim didn’t have a voice. Unfairness seemed to be the theme.

The other boy went through Red Bay Primary School, and surprisingly he was bullied by his teacher more than he was bullied by his peers! He graduated from primary school in despair and rather despondent. He no longer wanted to attend school because he was treated so badly by this teacher. When I asked him why, didn’t he tell me about what was happening to him for two years. He said that he thought that that was the way school was suppose to be. He was afraid that if he told me that the teacher would react to him in class in a malicious manner, which happened before to him and he had also seen it happen to others in his class. In fact, it was another child who told his parent how badly the teacher was treating his friend, my son, and in turn I was told by the parent.

I decided afterwards to make a report of this issue to someone/anyone in the Education Department. I went up the chain of command only for “the buck” to passed on to another. The only person I did not speak with was the minister of education at that time, as I quickly realized that there was no recourse for me as a parent.

No one wanted to take responsibility. No one wanted to hear my concern.

So who is to blame for our current situation that is obviously no top secret? It is not just one person. Raising and schooling a child is a concerted effort and involvesmany people, as I see it.

First, it is me the parent. However, I can only teach my child what I know or what I have been taught. There are many parents who need a mentor themselves to understand how to raise a child. However, too often people do not know their own needs and do not know that they should ask for assistance, whether it be from another parent or from someone else in the community of proven standing.

Second, the teacher at school shares this responsibility also. The title: TEACHER says it all … we are all teachers – and we all teach by example. BOTH sides need the support and governance of the Education Department, or system, for this relationship to work.

Third, children learn from each other. If the home life is not one of stability, children are quicker to listen or follow their peers than the parent(s) … and they act out accordingly.

What is playing out in our schools is only a reflection of deeper problems within the fabric of a society which is the home.

We have no one to blame but ourselves: every parent and every Caymanian in our Education Department/system.

We need to stop pointing the finger, calling others racists and blaming “imported” children – truth is we are no better or no different … we just love to blame. Blaming gets us nowhere and when everyone else has left this Island, we still have our own stuff to deal with regarding our children and how they are treated and allowed by grownups to be bullied by grownups and peers.

So, as a Caymanian parent I ask the question, “Who within our government is taking responsibility for our mess in our schools?” It didn’t start today. It has been allowed to grow all these years … everything has a gestation period. Everyone here does affect the matrix of our society, however, we do need to make our “inner and outer” voices match – not say one thing and live another.

We are to blame for our own island’s demise.

Stand up and demand more from our government and from ourselves. I am not asking for a debate here or more finger pointing, but merely for introspection and proactivity of HOW to RESOLVE the obvious “elephant” in Cayman’s own living room.

Continue Reading

Haines limbers up for first of six marathons

| 17/03/2014 | 4 Comments

(CNS): Local veteran marathon runner, Derek Haines who has now formally announced his intention to run six marathons this year is hoping to raise enough money to build a Hospice here in Cayman with inpatient care facilities. Launching the appeal at a special reception at Government House last, as Governor Helen Kilpatrick has become the official patron of the challenge, Haines begins the daunting task in just a few weeks time. Along with some 50,000 other runners he will hit the pavements of Paris on Sunday 6 April  followed exactly one week later by his second 26 plus mile run through the streets of London where Haile Gebrselassie has promised to set a world record pace.

Haines is receiving tremendous support from the community but his goal is to raise $1million and as a result the governor is urging the community to pledge what they can. Having only recently announced his intention to run the six marathons given the significant support Haines enjoys from the Cayman community he is almost a quarter of the way there.

"Support, thus far, is excellent with over CI$220K being pledged or given towards the target of CI$1M,” he said. “Also, John Doak has pledged his architectural services, David Kirkaldy has designed and produced the website and I have a great Rotarian support team in Chris Johnson (treasurer and trainer), Brian Hurley, Lucy Macfadyen and Rob Jamieson.”

Haines said that training is going well and with less than three weeks until the first run in Paris and the second a week later in London, the veteran marathon competitor said that his last long training run on Sunday saw him cover some 21 miles at 9 minute mile pace.
Following Paris and London Haines will have a couple of months to recover before he heads back to Europe for the Pamplona in Spain on 28 June where he will be running with his daughter Lizzy. Then Haines will be headed for the United States for the San Francisco marathon just a month later. Still awaiting confirmation for his participation in the New York marathon but if he gets accepted he will run that race on 2 November. Haines sixth long distance run will be on home turf in the Cayman marathon on 7 December.

“Every dollar donated to the challenge will go to the funding of the hospice as there will be no administrative costs or expenses,” Haines said. “I will be grateful for any support to the challenge that folks and companies can give."

Haines a long time member of the Rotary club of Grand Cayman is funding all of his travel and registration fees personally and the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman has ensured entry into the London race with a donation of $2.000 pounds sterling to British Hospice.

Over the years Haines has ran 36 marathons his personal best is 2 hours 59 minutes but now a tad over sixty years old he is not expecting to repeat that performance. Regardless of time charities have benefitted from the hundreds and thousands of dollars that he has raised pounding pavements around the world. He has raised over a quarter of a million dollars in the past four Cayman marathons and he is hopeful that the $1million target he has set for the hospice will be one he won’t miss.

Donations can be made by accessing the dedicated website at six4hospice.com

Continue Reading

Teachers in despair over kids

| 17/03/2014 | 193 Comments

(CNS):Although complaints of departing teachers were reported in the local press recently after exit interviews were released by the education department, many of those who remain are equally despondent. Staff and parents who spoke to CNS earlier this year, on the condition that they would not be identified, listed a catalogue of issues backing up the comments made in the exit transcripts, which CNS has posted below. The main problem identified by educators was the levels of violence among children at both Clifton Hunter and John Gray high schools. Fights are commonplace, with dozens of incidents taking place every day. One teacher reported 23 fights in the first three days of February at the school where they work.

CNS requested the documents, which were released by the education department following an FOI request by the Caymanian Compass, as the paper opted not to let the public see those documents and did not post them on their website. After several weeks the education department finally released the documents Friday and we have posted them in their entirety below this story. Revealing a catalogue of problems, the teachers who are still here are still dealing with the same issues and more on a daily basis.

The standards of behaviour, very poor attention and significant problems of violence appear to be the rule rather than the exception. Teachers believe that there are very high levels of neglect in the wider community, with children being commonly physically and emotionally abused, resulting in the over-sexualized and violent behaviour that is manifest in the classroom environment.

Despite the obvious problems, many educators believe that what efforts, if any, are being made by management to address the problem are nowhere near sufficient. While some children do manage to get through the system and pass their exams, they are doing so against a backdrop of violence and bullying.

The exit interviews illustrate the numerous problems that educators in Cayman schools face and they are making it increasingly difficult for government to recruit talented teachers, compounding the problem. One teacher told CNS that these exit interviews were only “the tip of the iceberg” and that the situation was getting worse all the time.

CNS has posted the transcripts below so the community can see for themselves the problems facing the teachers who remain and why so many new teachers are leaving after just one school year. They document a catalogue of bad behaviour, violence, abuse and drug use on school property, while teachers try to survive the day after being “thrown to the wolves”, which was how one teacher described their experience teaching in Cayman.

See exit interview transcripts below.

Continue Reading

RCIPS silent on CoP probe

| 17/03/2014 | 18 Comments

(CNS): Almost twelve weeks after the Cayman Islands commissioner of police, driving his own car, ran over a fleeing suspect and caused significant injury, there are still no results from the internal police enquiry. The RCIPS has remained silent regarding the investigation into whether or not CoP David Baines used excessive force when he arrested robbery suspect Jonathan Ramoon, using his car to stop him. Although CNS has seen documentation stating that Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis is conducting the enquiry, he has denied being in charge of the probe. Meanwhile, neither Ramoon nor any of his family members have been contacted regarding the status of the enquiry.

There are also other indications that the police did not follow the letter of the law from the start of the enquiry.

In a response to a freedom of information request made by CNS about the protocols surrounding procedure when any police officer is involved in a road incident of any kind, the RCIPS said that since and including New Year’s Day two police officers have been involved in collisions. However, only one was submitted to a breath test, even though the law requires all drivers must be tested for alcohol if they are driving and involved in an accident of any kind where someone is injured. 

The police said that of the two officers involved in crashes since the start of 2014, including New Year’s Day, only one was tested and only one suspended. Sources told CNS that the officer who was tested produced a negative result, but it is that officer who is suspended from duty and not the commissioner, who has remained in post since the ongoing enquiry began and who, it is understood, did not take a breath test after he ran over the fleeing suspect.

Ramoon, who remained in hospital for several weeks as a result of serious injuries to both legs, hip, upper body and arm, was eventually brought before the courts on a gurney. But neither he nor any of his family members have been given any indication about the results of the probe into the arrest.

In an incredible coincidence, the commissioner was parked nearby at the time of the robbery at Diamond’s International. Baines has stated that he was off duty and waiting to meet a friend who was on a cruise ship, which is why he was right by the jewellery store.

Having seen the suspects fleeing from the store, he went after them, crashing into the getaway car. The men then got out and began running away on foot, but the commissioner continued after them in his car, pinning two up against a fence and running completely over the third. It took emergency services some two hours to free Ramoon, who is still in a wheelchair. The incident, for which the commissioner was lauded a hero by the community, came just hours after the announcement that he had received an MBE for his services to local policing, having been in the job just a few years.

One of the men allegedly involved in the heist was a major police suspect in a number of crimes and it is understood the RCIPS were keeping close tabs on him. All three men remain in custody but as a result of a number of legal issues, they have yet to officially answer the charges against them.

Despite requests for an update, police officials have also remained very quiet regarding the independent enquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Police Constable Raphael Williams (45). His body was found hanging in the woods in East End the weekend after he was released from custody following his arrest in connection with corruption allegations. 

Baines is said to have ordered an independent review of the circumstances surrounding that arrest and the subsequent death of the officer, which was undertaken by officers from the Bermuda Police Service, who came to Cayman in January. Those officers have already left Cayman but so far the details of their findings remain under wraps.

Continue Reading