Archive for April 7th, 2014

Getaway car rider evades jail

| 07/04/2014 | 19 Comments

(CNS): A teenager originally charged with armed robbery was released from jail last week and given a two year probation order, having been convicted of handling stolen goods, despite being apprehended in the getaway vehicle that fled the scene of a robbery. Ordain Lloyd Ebanks was one of four men pursued in a high profile police chase involving the RCIPS helicopter and patrol car following a daylight heist at Chisholm’s supermarket in North Side last September. However, prosecutors went on to drop the armed robbery charges and accepted a plea from the 18-year-old for handling after he admitted touching a packet of cigarettes, which he threw out of car window during the chase.

The plea caused controversy in the court room however, when the original Grand Court judge in the case refused to accept the lesser plea because of previous information supplied by the crown regarding the case as a finding of fact that Ebanks was by no means an innocent by-stander who just happened to get a lift with the robbery getaway driver. Ebanks claimed he only learned about the crime when handed a packet of stolen cigarettes in the vehicle and when he learned they were stolen he threw them out of the car.

During the sentencing of the main protagonist in the daylight hold-up, Courtney Bryan, Justice Charles Quin heard that Ebanks was one of two men who entered the North Side store less than fifteen minutes before the robbery and that he had purchased a patty –  described as “casing the joint” in the judge’s sentencing ruling.

A few weeks later when he was presented with Ebanks’ plea for a far lesser offence and claims that he was no longer being charged with having anything to do with the planning or execution of the armed heist, Justice Quin raised his concerns. The judge pointed out that there could not be two different sets of facts about the same event and took the crown to task over the change. He later made the decision to pass the case to another member of the judiciary as he said he was conflicted over the crown’s renewed position.

As a result it was left to Justice Alex Henderson to deal with the sentencing of the lesser offence, and despite the suspicions he raised about Ebanks’ possible greater involvement, he gave the teenager a two year probations order to include a twelve month curfew between 10pm and 6am. Ebanks had already served six months in HMP Northward on remand. He is now the third person convicted and sentenced in the case, in which four men were arrested.

Bryan, who was considered the ring leader and the man who entered the store and stole cash, jewellery, a phone and cigarettes in what was considered a violent robbery, armed with an imitation handgun, received a four year jail term. Then 29-year-old Ian Fernado Ellington received a two year sentence after he was convicted of accessory after the fact as a result of being the getaway drive.

Although he too had originally been charged with robbery, as the crown suspected he was the second man in the store with Ebanks, prosecutors were later to offer no evidence that he did any more than pick up the robbers without knowing what they had done or being part of the plan.  However, he was at the wheel during the high profile chase, which was recorded on the RCIPS Air Support Unit video.

Just one of the four people arrested now remains to be dealt with and he is the youngest member of the four arrested in East End when the pursuit finally ended. The 16-year-old admitted his part in the robbery following the arrest but has always denied having a gun.

However, the crown is continuing to pursue that case against the youngster and as a result he will face trial later this month on that one count.

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Former fire bosses called out of retirement

| 07/04/2014 | 39 Comments

(CNS): Two former top fire officers are putting their retirement on hold in order to re-take the helm of the Cayman Islands Fire Service in order to help government stabilize the critical emergency department in the face of more problems. Officials gave little away in a release on Monday about the continuing issues at the CIFS but confirmed that Rosworth McLaughlin is now on extended sick leave. As a result Roy Grant will come back to act as chief fire officer and Kirkland Nixon (left) as strategic advisor for the next three months as government continues to find a new fire boss and fill the vacancies caused by public service cuts.

“During this time, issues of poor communication, command and control as well as strategic planning will all be areas of priority,” said Ministry of Home Affairs Chief Officer Eric Bush, adding that it would give government “time to stabilize” the service.

The former bosses have been called out of retirement in the wake of a review of the Cayman Islands Fire Service conducted in January by Peter Holland, the Chief Fire and Rescue Advisor for England. His report is due in the coming weeks but officials have not yet stated when it will be released to the public.

Craig McCoy, who has served in the Fire Service for 35 years, is also retiring but the date for his departure from an already depleted crew has not been revealed.

Staff shortages, missing overtime pay, poor communication, mis-management and worn out personal safety kit are just some of the issues plaguing the service that were revealed when the UK experts visited Cayman earlier this year

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Land bust up on hospital support project

| 07/04/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): Owners of a company formed to buy the land for supporting facilities at the Cayman Islands Health City in East End have fallen out. Health City Development Ltd was formed in May 2012 between the Shetty hospital project partners, Gene Thompson and Harri Chandi, with OJ Buigas from a real estate firm based in Florida, who now says he has no confidence in Thompson as director and the parties have disagreed over cash. Buigas has applied to the court to wind up the company, accusing Thompson of overstating the value of the land. The petition comes against the backdrop of an empty hospital, which has been open for more than five weeks but doesn’t have any patients. Read more on CNS Business

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Daylight doorstep robbery

| 07/04/2014 | 20 Comments

(CNS): Police are on the lookout for two robbery suspects following a daylight doorstep robbery on Monday. At around 9.15 on Monday morning (7 April) a male resident of Lakeside Villas, George Town off theEasterly Tibbetts Highway was robbed as he was returning to his apartment by two masked men. An RCIPS spokesperson said the victim was forced inside his home where CI$1,200 cash was taken from him. The victim was not physically injured before the two suspects, who were said to speak with Caymanians accents and armed with a machete and a knife, made off on foot towards the Courts Road area.

Police said the first man was about 6’ 2” tall, medium build, with a dark brown complexion, and he was dressed in long blue jeans and a white t-shirt over a long, black-sleeved shirt, and wore black gloves. He wore a black hoodie over his head, had on brown tennis shoes and was armed with a machete.  The second suspect was said to be around 5’ 8” tall, slim build, wearing long blue jeans, a blue t-shirt with black sleeves. He also wore a black hoodie over his head and was armed with a knife.
 
Officers from George Town CID attended the report and are following up with the investigation and anyone with information is asked to contact Acting Detective Sergeant Taylor at the George Town CID 949-4222 or those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 800-8477(Tips).

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Commission to protect mental health detainees

| 07/04/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Almost a year after the Mental Health Commission Law was tabled and passed in the Legislative Assembly in May last year, government officials revealed Monday that the body appointed in December met for the first time in February. The law deals with those involuntarily detained – taken against their will and the Commission is meant to ensure that the rights of those people are protected and detention in their best interest and to manage the appeal process under the Law for wrongly detained. The Commission consists of stakeholders from various sectors representing legal, as well as lay advocates and health care practitioners with training in mental health.

Osbourne Bodden, the minister responsible for health said the commission was created to protect the rights of mental health patients and their families. “This represents a first for the Cayman Islands and I am very pleased to have the available expertise and knowledge serve as members of the Commission,” he said as he thanked the members.

The Commission will focus on key issues and make recommendation to government, service providers and other stakeholders on ways to improve the local mental health system. Other functions of the Commission include, but are not limited to, hearing appeals, periodic review of the detained patient, advocacy, research and training programmes to reduce stigma and discrimination, and advising the Minister for Health.

The commission is chaired by Dr Marc Lockhart, with deputy chairs Taylor Burrowes Nixon, and Olivaire Watler. Members include Janett Flynn, Senior Policy Advisor for the Health Ministry, Dr Blanca Bolea, Julene Banks, Faylene Ebanks-Suckoo, Pastor Dale Forbes, Sophia Walker and Kimberly Voaden.

For further information contact the Mental Health Commission at mhc@gov.ky or Janett Flynn at 244-2374.

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Ban on fighting and dangerous dogs remains

| 07/04/2014 | 19 Comments

(CNS): Government has not lifted the ban on most breeds of dangerous or fighting dogs but has reviewed the regulations and created a new prohibited list, which appears to have caused some confusion in the local community. With the exception of Rottweilers, which are no longer restricted, the regulations still list Pitt Bulls, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brazileiro Japanese Tosa and the related breeds, as well as any other dog bred for fighting. Officials have also produced a detailed list to accompany the regulations, which includes more than 30 breeds that are prohibited. Officials said the changes are to make the regulations consistent with the norm internationally when it comes to dog controls.

Along with the amendments, which were approved by Cabinet last month and maintain the ban on what officials describe as the ‘big four’ breeds universally recognized and regulated as dangerous dogs, the changes to the type of dogs bred and used for dog fighting has been published to guide the public.

“It is recognized that there is a varied and often changing group of breeds that are bred and used for dog fighting and that these dogs also represent a real concern for public safety and safety to other animals and pets,” officials said. “Against this regulatory framework, the department has prepared a more comprehensive list of those dogs which under Section 2 would be prohibited and which would continue to not be allowed to be imported in the Cayman Islands.”

Cayman has a growing problem with a host of dangerous dogs. There are mounting reports of attacks on pets and people by ferocious dogs that are not muzzled, chained up or that have broken free from their restraints that are in some cases banned breeds. However, there appears to be no recent reports of dog fighting or much anecdotal evidence to suggest that the activity is taking place here. Nevertheless, issues of neglect, cruelty and abuse of animals has led to growing numbers of vicious dogs on the loose. (See related story on CNS)

Although, many dogs can be dangerous, some dogs on the previously prohibited list have been removed, officials stated. The amendments to the regulations have resulted in bans being lifted on the Mallanois, Rottweiler, Chinese Shar-Pei and some Mastiff breeds, like the Neapolitan Mastiff.

The Department of Agriculture also said it is working with its ministry on a comprehensive revision of the Animals Law. CNS understands that this revision of the animal’s law is one of several factors behind the four-month delay in the implementation of the National Conservation Law.  In the interim, however, the regulations regarding dangerous dogs have been posted online and a banned list published for the public on request from the agriculture department and posted below.

“These revisions are designed to address and improve a range of areas including dog control, licensing, regulation of animal facilities and most importantly the mechanisms for enforcement which would allow for more efficient, effective and timely enforcement of the Law and its associated regulations,” officials said in a statement released last week to clarify some local press reports that had suggested bans had been lifted.

Anyone importing dogs or cats into the Cayman Islands must contact the Department of Agriculture to get a copy of the current conditions for importation and individuals should not rely on third parties, officials said, as conditions change frequently and information may become outdated.

“It is very important for persons to read the conditions carefully, discuss them with their veterinarians and ensure that they understand the requirements and timelines involved. Import conditions relate not only to the types of animals that can be imported but also, and very importantly, to the health requirements that must be met to prevent the introduction of animal diseases and pests  into the Cayman Islands,” the DoA added in the statement.

For more information please tel.(345)947-3090, email: ciagriculture@gov.ky, fax: (345)947-6501, or send an enquiry by regular mail to P.O. Box 459, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, KY1-1106.

Please see full statement, the new regulations and the list of banned breeds below.

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Cops to celebrate own service at gala awards

| 07/04/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): As part of the front line fight when crime is on the increase police officers often become the target of criticism as a result of the frustrations in the community over what is perceived as the breakdown of law and order. However, at the 4th national police awards next month those that are going above and beyond the call of duty will be recognised for the work they are doing to keep up the battle against crime and keep people safe. Awards include police officer of the year, support staff member of the year, special constable of the year, the diversity award and the police welfare award.

The Outstanding Service Awards Gala takes place on Friday, May 9, 2014 at The Ritz-Carlton in Grand Cayman.  Designed and created by the Police Commissioner and the Welfare Committee the objectives are to foster good working relationships, as well as reward and recognize officers and maintain morale within the organization.

After receiving an unprecedented number of nominations this year, six awards will be presented at the awards gala. The selection of officers and support staff for the individual categories will be judged at the district and departmental levels coupled with combining of the Uniform and CID Specialist units. The final selection panel will be comprised of the Commissioner of Police or his designate, the Human Resource Manager, a member of the Special Constabulary and a Welfare Committee Member. The panel will then make recommendations to the Governor for final approval.

The awards also include a community category where a civilian is celebrated for their contribution to the crime fight.

The RCIPS Outstanding Service Awards Gala, which receives no government funds is the primary fundraiser for the Police Welfare Fund. This fund came into being in 1969 following the death of an officer in a road accident, which left the officer’s children in financial distress and without formal support. While the original focus of the Police Welfare Fund was to assist children of policeofficers who died while employed with the RCIPS, today the fund has expanded to cover a wider range of circumstances. 

These include providing financial assistance to families and spouses of police members unable to continue service because of a medical condition, injury, or death in the line of duty , rewarding meritorious acts in the line of duty, maintaining police group life insurance, sponsoring sport and recreation activities aimed at promoting the general health and well-being of RCIPS members and scholarships for children of police officers

Organisers are also seeking sponsors for the event and anyone who can help or to purchase tickets for the gala can contact Julia Simmons at julia.simmons@cfp.ky or at 815-0027. Ticket prices start at $150 per ticket or $1,500 for a table of ten.

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UN refugee expert to visit Cayman

| 07/04/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS):The issue of migration in the Caribbean will be the subject of a free presentation by an expert from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees who is on special visit to Cayman this week. Dr Buti Kale has worked with UNHCR since 1992 and has been invited to Cayman by the local branch of the Red Cross. He has held assignments in Burundi, Tanzania, the US, Canada, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Côte d’Ivoire. However, Kale will be focusing on how migrant and refugee issues impacts us here in Cayman as one the recipient in particular of numerous Cuban refugees every year and as a host to thousands of migrant workers.

The presentation will take place on Thursday evening at 6pm @ the Cayman Islands Red Cross offices on Huldah Avenue in George Town.

Dr Kale is a resource person for the UN Early Warning and Preventive Measures Capacity Building Course, run by the United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC), and has trained UN, Government and NGO officials in several countries, including Senegal, Papua New Guinea, Cameroon and South Africa. He worked closely with several peacekeeping missions in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Angola, Côte d’Ivoire and Haiti. He also trains officials from Governments, Inter-American system and NGOs on asylum, refugee and statelessness issues. Kale has worked with Governments, the UN and NGOs on the preparation of contingency plans.

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Local author takes kids’ books to London fair

| 07/04/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Caymanian children’s author, illustrator and storyteller, Rabia Abdul-Hakim aka “Lady Rabia”, will be participating in the London Book Fair this week with her Caymanian children’s series of books, Kaa Kaa & Tokyo. With over 1,000 overseas companies, representing 50 countries and 25 international pavilions, the fair is a one of the largest events in the publishing world. From publishing giants to small independent houses it is also the global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels. The local author is hoping to make her mark and described it as an exciting opportunity.

“The ‘K & T’ brand is very unique because though the series is culturally-inspired it has tremendous universal appeal, which makes it ideal for global distribution,” said Abdul-Hakim.

“This is an exciting opportunity to explore prospects for all my projects and to collaborate with global industry representatives.”

The author and illustrator said she has scheduled meetings with publishing houses, agents and PR companies.
 

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Minister calls on people to recycle despite limits

| 07/04/2014 | 36 Comments

(CNS): Although there is no recycling collection in the Cayman Islands and only very limited services offered by government to the public as an alternative to placing things in the garbage, the minister is calling on residents to up the amount of rubbish they recycle in celebration of Earth Day this month. Despite the very limited opportunities from government for people to recycle, Bodden who took responsibility for environmental health last June claimed to be a keen advocate for more recycling here. “Recycling is one of the key elements of responsible waste management,” he said. 

“Recycling, along with other initiatives involving the reduction, reuse and recovery of waste products, enables every one of us in the Cayman Islands to do our part to ensure better waste management for our islands,” added the minister responsible for rubbish.

DEH Director Roydell Carter also encouraged  everyone in the Cayman Islands to support the “Go Green” initiatives and activities being planned to celebrate Earth Day in April most of which are being organised by local NGOs or private sector companies.

Pointing to simple things such as placing litter in receptacles provided in public spaces, and neighbourhood clean-ups Carter said these were some of the things that everyone can do to help take care of the environment in the Cayman Islands.  However, most of the initiatives require residents to take their rubbish to designated places.

Despite the obvious benefits of recycling from the reduction in the size of the dump to reducing our carbon footprint Cayman remains woefully behind other western developed countries when it comes to recycling services. The DEH recycles only aluminium cans, used motor oil and cooking oil, scrap metals, batteries, as well as natural Christmas trees. Other recycling including some composting is undertaken by private companies.

Even in the face of the poor recycling services offered by government and the absence of any collection service, Carter said many residents and visitors support the existing recycling programmes. “The department has received tremendous cooperation and we have recently expanded to recycling small batteries,” he said.

For residents willing to go the extra mile and join the recycling effort officials said used motor oil should be in clean plastic containers and taken to the designated landfill drop-off area; used cans can be dropped off at the big DEH blue bins marked ”aluminium cans only” located at supermarkets, and schools, and  using the private enterprise recycling efforts for their plastic and glass refuse. Smaller DEH blue recycling containers are located at all public parks and West Bay Road condominiums.

Some receptacles for plastics and glass provided by private recycling companies are also located at some of the supermarkets. Glass and aluminium receptacles are also located at Camana Bay.

22 April  is designated Earth Day and worldwide, people are being encouraged to take part in any activity that benefits Planet Earth. Recycling supporters can start a recycling programme at work or school, as well as encourage friends and neighbours to recycle.

For further information on recycling, contact Tania Johnson at 743-5952 or through email at recycle@gov.ky or visiting the DEH website at www.deh.gov.ky. See details of the CITA Green Challenge and other Earth Day activities below.

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