Archive for April 3rd, 2014

Woman sues school after slipping on loose paving

| 03/04/2014 | 17 Comments

(CNS): A 56-year-old woman who broke her wrist and twisted her ankle when she slipped on loose paving on the grounds of a George Town school is suing the owners for damages. Viola Powery has filed suit against Triple C School as a result of the fall because she says the pathway on which she fell, where work was being carried out, was very badly lit and there are no warning signs or cones to indicate the hazard of loose paving stones. The incident happened in February 2011 and the woman is claiming medical costs of more than $18,000, plus damages as the court sees fit, interest and costs.

Powery states in her claim that at around 7:30pm she was at the school to attend a church function and had to make her way along a dark path. Given what she said was poor lighting and no warning cones or barriers around the area where work was being done on the pavement, she tripped and fell, causing her injuries. Powery claims that her accident was caused by the school’s breach in its duty of care to visitors by not lighting the pathway properly and not alerting people to the pavement hazard as it was under repair.

Although someone from the school had spoken to the woman and apologized to her for the fall and asked for the medical record so he could follow up, Powery said at the time of the request they were not available. 

It is not clear in the claim filed in the Grand Court by local attorney Clyde Allen on 26 February if Powery ever supplied the records and what, if any, action the school took after the incident some four years ago.

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US created ‘Cuban Twitter’ to stir unrest

| 03/04/2014 | 0 Comments

(BBC): The US created a text-message social network designed to foment unrest in Cuba, according to an investigation by the Associated Press news agency. ZunZuneo, dubbed a "Cuban Twitter", had 40,000 subscribers at its height in a country with limited web access. The project reportedly lasted from 2009-12 when the grant money ran out. The US is said to have concealed its links to the network through a series of shell companies and by funnelling messages through other countries. The BBC's Sarah Rainsford in the Cuban capital of Havana says there is a thirst for information on the island, which has no independent media. There has been no official Cuban government reaction to the story.

The scheme was reportedly operated by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), a federal international development organisation run under the aegis of the Department of State.

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Jeffers guilty of killing Ming

| 03/04/2014 | 34 Comments

(CNS): After another four-and-a-half hours of deliberation, the twelve jurors in the Raziel Jeffers case returned a verdict of guilty on Thursday for the murder of Damion Ming. The judge told Jeffers he believed he was a cruel, calculating cold blooded killer, as he handed down the mandatory life sentence. Thanking the jury for their service, as he noted the stresses on such a case, he told them that he entirely agreed with their verdict. Jeffers is already serving a full life sentence for the murder of Marcus Ebanks in July 2009. Both cases depended heavily on the evidence of the crown's key witness, Jeffers' former girlfriend, who said her lover had confessed his crime to her. Jeffers remained impassive as he stood in the dock and faced the judge before he was sent down.

Ming was gunned down in a yard in Birch Tree Hill Road on the night of 25 March 2010. He was hit twice and was believed to have crawled under the boat to take cover from the shooter where his body was found when the police arrived.

Although there were several people in the yard at the time he was shot there were no eye witnesses to the killer who was believed to have fired around eight shots. One man told police that he saw a man ride away on a bicycle immediately after the shots were fired.

Two months after the murder, Jeffers' former girlfriend went to the police and told UK officers that her ex-lover had confessed to this and other crimes. Her evidence appeared to tie in with the reports from the pathologist, the ballistics experts and the account given about the bike. In addition the crown also presented telephone evidence which too corroborated the account given by the witness as told to her by Jeffers.

Already convicted twice for murder, Jeffers may still face a further trial for a third killing as he has also been charged with the murder of Marcus Duran in what the crown say was a robbery gone wrong in Maliwinas Way, West Bay. Duran was believed to be a local numbers' man who was collecting cash from his clients in the illegal lottery when he was gunned down outside an apartment on 10 March 2010, just two weeks before Ming was killed.

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I’m a liar & a thief, says Joey

| 03/04/2014 | 98 Comments

(CNS): Joey Ebanks held his hands up in court Thursday when he said, via his attorney, that he was "a liar and a thief and a drug addict", and accepted responsibility for the theft of more than CI$140,000 in cash and goods from the Electricity Regulatory Authority and the Mac store. During the sentencing hearing the judge told Ebanks that it was inevitable that he would be going to jail as it was a breach of trust case, as he remanded the former ERA managing director in custody. Ben Tonner, Ebanks' lawyer, made no excuses for his client's crime because, he said, he had been told by Ebanks not to sugarcoat what he had done as he, and no one else, was responsible for the actions he had taken and the decisions he made.

Prosecuting counsel, Trevor Ward, QC, outlined the case against Ebanks to the court when he revealed that the former ERA boss had made false expense claims, cashed forged cheques and purchased 69 iPhones and 47 iPads with ERA funds and then fenced some of those to a local pawn shop via an un-named third party. The offending began with a false expense claim for a trip to Canada in November 2012 and ended in February 2013 when an audit exposed the catalogue of financial irregularities at Ebanks' hand.

The court heard that while the bulk of the cash was stolen from the public funds in the ERA accounts, the local Mac store is also still owed over $50,000 for iPads and iPhones because the forged cheques accepted by the store were not honored by the bank.

Although Ebanks had protested his innocence when he had first been charged, Tonner told the court that Ebanks had contacted him in Decemebr and came clean about his guilt and asked to change his plea. In January Ebanks returned to the court and entered the guilty pleas to all 17 counts. Since then Tonner said his client was a changed man and described Ebanks as a completely different person. He said that unlike many others that come before the courts, the sincerity of Ebanks' remorse could not be doubted. The attorney said that Ebanks wanted to apologize to the court, the community and his family.

Although Ebanks has expressed a genuine desire to make restitution to pay back what he stole, Tonner pointed out that it was, given his circumstances, now unrealistic because the money was gone, having been spent on his drug addiction. The crown conceded that there was no evidence that Ebanks had the money and as a result would not seek a compensation order.

Justice Charles Quin said that he wanted to consider his decision on sentencing and to take time to read the social enquiry report. But given the offence, Ebanks would be facing a custodial sentence. The judge remanded him in custody until Wednesday 16 April.

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Chamber plan would pedestrianise George Town

| 03/04/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): The Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce has suggested closing the centre of George Town to traffic for most of the day and at night as part of an action plan to revitalise the capital. Under the plan, cruise ship passengers could stroll safely around town, and at night restaurants could bring tables out to the roads so that people can stroll the streets looking for a bite to eat. Beggars would be escorted away, while folk dancers in costumes would be hired on cruise ships days to perform in Town Square. A farmers’ market and local crafts would be encouraged and the Chamber Council also envisage a ‘hop-on, hop-off’ free trolley service as well as increasing the amount of vegetation and shaded areas. Read more on CNS Business

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America defeats England for 2nd time in 250yrs

| 03/04/2014 | 3 Comments

(CTA): It was smiles all round at the end of a fiercely contested Cup of Nations organised by the Cayman Touch Association.  The Cayman Islands is a real melting pot of nationalities and teams (unofficially) representing the Cayman Islands. New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Americas, England, and Ireland played in two pools over two nights to determine which nation would have the bragging rights in this inaugural “international” competition.  With morecut and thrust than a UN debate on Weapons of Mass Destruction, these warring nations battled long and hard into the Friday Night lights at Camana Bay Sports Field.

Pool A contained Cayman Local'ish, the Americas (kindly sponsored by Atlas Insurance Management), South Africa and Ireland. Team Americas adopted an open immigration policy and were far more welcoming to foreign nationals than any Homeland Security Officer in Miami International Airport ever has been. Their team huddle was like a scene from Ellis Island circa 1905. With Canadians, Quebecois, an American and a herd of Sefrikans representing, the team talks had to be tri-lingual just to get over the salient points of “run forwards, pass backwards”. Not since Joss Ackland claimed “deeplermatik eemunitee” in Lethal Weapon 2 have the Nations of America and South Africa been so closely entwined.

This team looked strong on paper and proved even stronger on grass. They were certainly speaking the same language when it came to easy wins over Ireland and Cayman Local’ish but the highlight of this pool was their game against South Africa. Rivalries were fierce given the nature of the personnel but Team America won out 6-3 and South Africa were consigned to the Plate Tournament.

Cayman Local’ish, boasting a fine crop of outstanding local young men and women rugby players, played a fast and loose form of touch that overpowered both South Africa and Ireland, beating both by the odd try. They came a cropper against the highly experienced Americas team though and had to settle for second place in the Pool which guaranteed a semi-final place against the winners of Pool B.

In Pool B England took on and took over its colonies with vital wins against New Zealand, Australia and Cayman Iguanas. Dressed like a cross between a Banksy graffiti art installation and an ambulance, this team wore the cross of St. George with pride. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II would have been proud of their efforts especially as they had by far and away the oldest squad on show. Epitomized by dogged defence and stiff upper lips, the English found a real Dunkirk spirit to fend off the marauding hordes of New Zealand and Australia defeating both by narrow margins before squashing the hopes of the Cayman Iguanas like roadkill. The Cayman Iguanas, valiantly lead by Captain Guy Major, were largely new to the sport but made great strides over the course of the three games and will be better for the experience.

In the battle for the second place in Pool B Australia beat Australia Brac a.k.a. New Zealand 3-2. With a rivalry that is as old as whenever Captain Cook discovered them both, we were ensured a feisty affair.

In the semi-finals England took on Cayman Local’ish and put on their best performance of the tournament. Showing great organization and discipline mixed with the speed and fitness of MVP Neal Ainscow, they defeated the Locals 7-1 – a real case of “age before beauty” in this game!

The second semi saw Team America wallop Australia 6-1. The score line, if not the result, was a shock as pre-tournament predictions saw both of these teams parading for the Final. Led by Neal Montgomery and Riley Mullen, this “Little and Littler” of touch rugby proved too much for the Aussies who seemed to have gone off quicker than a raw prawn.

In the Plate Final, South Africa took on New Zealand in a re-run of the 1995 Rugby World Cup Final. South Africa narrowly won that one in the last minutes amidst Kiwi whining about the squad be deliberately poisoned by some dodgy food and a mysterious woman called Suzie.  Nineteen years on and this match was also extremely tight with history repeated itself as South Africa sealed the win in the dying minutes, breaking New Zealand hearts once more.

Although the braai (barbecue) was fully operational during the course of the tournament there has been no suggestion “Suzie” was serving! And so South Africa, who had such high hopes at the start of the tournament  walked away with just the Plate, presumably to be used to hold the huge boerewors sausage shared by the team in celebration.

On to the Grand Final. Team America versus England.  Both teams had gone through the competition undefeated and their conflicting styles would make for an excellent final. It was a billed as a rematch of that 1776 classic encounter between the two countries which pitted The Patriots against The Red Coats. America won that day and although revenge was very much on the agenda for England it proved a victory too far as Team America sealed the win by the slenderest of margins.

Any neutral observer would have looked at the two player rosters and assumed an easy victory for America but England showed real backbone and dominated possession for large periods. America had all the speed and showed great covering defence which caused England to run down some blind alleys rather than risk the wide open spaces.

In attack, America used typical surge and purge tactics to try and break the resolute English line even berating the referee at times. In the end it was a length-of-pitch interception try from Chris Brussow that proved the difference and gave his side the 3-2 victory. And so Team America made it two wins out of two in 250 years over the English. No tea was thrown into Boston harbourbut several champagne corks were popped in celebration. Neal Ainscow of England won the tournament MVP award and he was outstanding. No doubt the rest of the English will also get MBEs for their noble efforts in defeat for Queen and Country.

Post tournament quotes from the Captains:

Jyoti Choi (Australia): “Ah look mate, fair dinkum! Stone the crows the comp was as tough as a crocs hide and the defeat to the Poms was a kick in the canastas but we all ended up having a bonza time, especially when we beat the bru’s from NZ.”

Alex Pineau: (Cayman Local’ish): "Next year bobo! Nobody's safe! Cayman is going to take it!"

Justin Colgan (Ireland): “They say if you’re lucky enough to be Irish, you’re lucky enough! However all the luck of the Irish must have been used up in the 6 Nations … to be sure to be sure”!

Dave Acutt (South Africa): We played great rugby and introduced the Irish to some Mzansi boerewors and tjops – it was a lekker jol. Most importantly, we relived the 1995 World Cup by beating New Zealand in the (Plate) Final.”

Adam Huckle (England): “To paraphrase the great Cecil Rhodes, “Despite our narrow loss, remember that you are an Englishman, and have consequently won first prize in the lottery of life.”

Brad Stephenson (New Zealand): “Everyone seemed to think the tourney was pretty choice!”

Riley Mullen (Americas): [quoting General Patton] “Americans love to fight. All Americans love the sting of battle.”

The Canadians just said “Eh!” and then apologized,

Lizzy Ard, spokesperson for the Cayman Iguanas said: “The Cayman Iguanas pulled together a young and pacey team that showed a lot of talent but unfortunately a lack of experience led to a reptile dysfunction on the night. We really enjoyed it and progressed as the games went on so next time we won’t be so green and should blue away the opposition."

Here are the team MVP’s as nominated by their own Captains. Well done one and all!

CAYMAN LOCAL’ISH – Kia McFee
SOUTH AFRICA – Mike Smith
ENGLAND – Neal Ainscow;
AUSTRALIA – Mike McGrath
IRELAND – Dave Brosnan
AMERICAS – Neil Montgomery
NEW ZEALAND – Lewis Chong
CAYMAN IGUANAS – Theo Edman

OVERALL TOURNAMENT MVP – Neal Ainscow (England)
 

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Ritz masseur released from indecent assault charge

| 03/04/2014 | 16 Comments

Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman(CNS): A Jamaican national who was working at the luxury spa facility at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman walked away from court last Friday a free man with his name finally cleared after a complainant failed to turn up for the trial for the second time. Damian Dwayne Henry pleaded not guilty to charges of indecent assault last August in relation to an alleged incident in February but the chief justice released Henry last Friday when he refused the crown’s application to adjourn the case for a third attempt when his accuser, who was visiting Cayman at the time of the alleged assault, had not shown up. Given Henry’s position, the charges hanging over his head were even more serious and had prevented him from working in his chosen profession.

Chief Justice Anthony Smellie made it clear that having made such serious allegations, the complainant had an obligation to appear in person but she had shown very little interest in attending or giving the court any idea of when she may be able to attend in the future.

The woman, the court heard, is a vet who lives in Missouri and had told the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions that her work commitments prevented her from attending in December ahead of the first trial and the court agreed to an adjournment despite the eleventh hour application. 

The public purse had to bear the costs of Henry’s travel bill because the crown had left it so late to check their witness’s availability, even though the trial date was set in August. Justice Charles Quin, however, had warned that the crown would not get another chance when he reset the trialfor March.

When the witness failed to show again, the case was adjourned for one day so the crown could make contact but the complainant again cited work issues as preventing her attendance. The crown applied for another adjournment, even though the complainant had not responded to the court’s requests for a date when she may be able to come, but the judge declined the application.

He said that she had shown a “remarkable lack of interest” in the case when it would have been expected that with such a serious allegation she would have shown a keen interest as he discharged Henry.

Related article on CNS:

Last-minute-trial-cancellation-runs-costs

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Local rider clocks up qualifying scores for CAC

| 03/04/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Cayman’s elite dressage rider, Jessica McTaggart-Giuzio, was aiming to achieve a score of 62% or more in the Prix St Georges Test when she entered the Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation’s CDN/National Dressage Show. The goal was to take one step closer to qualify for the Central American and Caribbean Games. Riding, Ray of Light she achieved a score of 65.987% exceeding her goal and the qualifying score required. McTaggart-Giuzio now has the two scores needed to apply for a certificate of capability, which is proof to the CAC Games organizers that she is good enough to compete and ride for Cayman at the games.

McTaggart-Giuzio has competed competently at games before and at the even bigger Pan-Am Games, both times on her current horse, Ray of Light. Once this certificate is submitted, she must wait to see if she is in the top six qualifiers in the region. If she is, McTaggart-Giuzio will head for Velacruz, Mexico in November to represent the Cayman Islands in the Dressage Competition.

“I am always incredibly proud to represent the Cayman Islands in competitions overseas,” said McTaggart-Giuzio. “I recognize that this is a great responsibility and a wonderful privilege. Cayman Dressage is really making a mark in the Caribbean and it is a delight to be an ambassador overseas, not only for the sport of dressage, but also for the Cayman Islands generally.”

“I’ve worked really hard to achieve my two qualifying scores but the hard work doesn’t end here. I’ll be working constantly now until the Games arrive so that I can build on what I have achieved so far and aim even higher than the results I achieved in my first CAC Games four years ago.”

At the CAC Games in Puerto Rico in 2010, McTaggart-Giuzio finished a respectable 14th out of 34. This time around, McTaggart-Giuzio’s preparation for the CAC Games has been boosted by her long-time coach, Cindy Thaxton, of High Point Farm, Atlanta, visiting the Cayman Islands numerous times to assist with coaching and training.

Thaxton, a U.S.D.F. Certified Dressage Instructor and L Graduate judge, is owner-operator at High Point Farm, Watkinsville, Georgia. She has been coaching McTaggart-Giuzio for many years and has extended this in the past few years to coaching other members of the Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation.

 

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Local dad promotes fatherhood with new book

| 03/04/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Once close to falling into the downward spiral of gang related crime, Alton Williams turned his own life around and is now seeking to help other fathers like himself become phenomenal dads with a new book, which links to a local programme designed to help men in their role as parents. Coming from a home like many modern families with no father in the picture, he made some poor decisions, which led to suspension from school and his arrest for gang related activity. Today he is a proud father, university student and now author, who is passionate about helping men be the fathers they should be.

Williams will be selling his book and promoting his 90 day challenge programme which helps fathers get fit and healthy while at the same time building a fit and healthy relationship with their kids, at the Family Life Centre in George town this weekend (5 April).

For more information on the challenge visit the IPC Challenge website.

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Educator creates Caymanianized reading scheme

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(CNS): As educators struggle to improve the standards of literacy among local students a Caymanian speech and language pathologist has created a localised phonetics based reading programme that she says is achieving significant results. Vinnette Mae Glidden, the creator of 'I Read For Life', said that while her programme is intended for use anywhere in the world to teach reading in English, this is the first of its kind that references things Caymanian. The programme includes Caymanian and Caribbean places, animals and culture interwoven into the material. Alongside its local credentials Glidden said it can improve reading in a matter of weeks.

The programme has its own workbooks and materials, which can be used with students of varying abilities, from those who have a learning disability such as dyslexia to the average student who just needs to read better and faster. It is also designed for all ages, including adults. Phonetics based, the emphasis is on the relationship between the spoken sound and the letter-symbol  – a single letter or group of letters.

Glidden explains her approach and why it works. “If young children see a picture of a cat they will readily associate the picture of the cat with the sound meow; they will actually say ‘meow’. If they can do that, then they are capable of seeing a picture of a letter-symbol, learn to associate the corresponding speech sound and say the sound. Once you learn how to decode the symbols into sounds, you can read the most unfamiliar words,” she said. 

The programme has five levels, beginning with the pre-reader level, where letters are presented as pictures, and progressing through to level four which teached the speech sound/letter-symbol relationships, reading and writing skills, comprehension, grammar and punctuation.

“'The I Read For Life' approach takes the anxiety and fear out of learning and puts fun into learning to read,” Glidden added. The programme materials include fun exercises in workbooks, flashcards, a storybook with pictures to color and a concentration card game that children play with the enthusiasm of dominoes players. 

The programme was conceived in 1995 and has now emerged into a concrete methodology and Glidden says it can be taught to a number of children with various performance levels and ages together at the same time. Glidden said she has used the 'I Read For Life' method to help many children over the years in her tutoring service, which she now offers at the 'I Read For Life' Center inthe Barnett Building in George Town..

Carolyn Bodden who enrolled her nephew in the 'I Read For Life' tutoring service said, “Since attending 'I Read For Life', (he) has come from incorrectly sounding his letters – resulting in very poor reading  and spelling skills – to learning the correct sounds for letters. His reading and spelling is a work in progress but I smile every time he writes or texts me messages that are correct sentences,” she said.

Many of Glidden’s former students are now college students and successful young people in the community.

One of those former students is Ted Green. He said of the 'I Read For Life' programme, “As one of the first students, I can attest to its ability to transform lives." He added, “The 'I Read For Life' program took me from a shy six-year-old who could hardly read, to the confident young accountant and entrepreneur I am today. I have a special gratitude to Mrs. Vinnette Glidden for giving me the tools to succeed.”

More information about 'I Read For Life' can be found at www.ireadforlife.ky.  

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