Archive for April 23rd, 2014

Cops charge 7MB street robbery suspect

| 23/04/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The man arrested on suspicion of robbery in connection with a street mugging at knife point in the Seven Mile Beach area has been charged but detectives are still looking for witnesses as well as the victim’s missing driver’s license and credit cards. The man was arrested, with the help of members of the public, following the attack on a 23-year-old woman, who was walking home from work near Royal Palms, on the West Bay Road. The man, who has not been named, was due in court Wednesday afternoon and George Town CID are appealing for anyone with information to come forward.

The police arrested the suspect after he was tracked down with the help of an off-duty customs officer and his friend who were driving by when they saw the victim in distress. The two men went in hunt of the potential mugger and tracked him down further along the West Bay Road on Helen Drive.

During the incident, which took place at about 10:45 pm on Easter Monday in the heart of Cayman’s tourist district, the woman received injuries to her wrist as the robber grabbed her handbag. Although some of the women’s possessions were recovered from Helen Drive, where the mugger was apprehended, several hundred dollars in cash as well as other personal items remain missing.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or who has found credit cards, a CI driver’s license or insurance cards in the area is asked to call DC Laura Ryding at 949-4222.

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Drama society pokes TV style fun at local life

| 23/04/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): With titles such as ‘Restaurant Rollover’, ‘Northward Ritz’ and ‘FOI’ audiences can hazard a guess where CayTube Live a sketch comedy show presented by the Cayman Drama Society at the Prospect Playhouse is going. Producers are promising some adult but clean comedy which cross over the boundaries of life for both locals and resident ex-pats in Cayman.  A small team of comedy writers, led by Michelle Morgan have developed dozens of sketches with TV connections written with a Cayman slant to them.  Described as akin to watching a very fast-paced TV show with parody commercials where someone else has the remote control and is channel hopping, the show opens on 1 May.

CayTube Live features a mix of both Caymanians and expats, with many familiar faces from the local theatre scene, as well as some new ones.  The cast includes Julissa Castillo, Malcolm Ellis, Jacoline Frank, Gwynneth Hamilton, Mary Anne Kosa, Peter Kosa, Michael McLaughlin, Soraya Moghadass, Wendy Moore, Michelle Morgan, Teri Quappe, Vijay Singhera, Martin Tedd and Dominic Wheaton.

Performances are on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings from May 1 to May 17 at 7:30 PM.  The lobby bar opens at least half an hour before the show. There will be nine performances, and tickets cost $25 for adults and $10 for young people.

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Winning local riders jump into regional contest

| 23/04/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Isabelle Smith (Left) and Hannah Fowler will be representing the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean Equestrian Association’s Show Jumping Competition (CEA JSJC) against Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica next month after taking the U16 and U14 titles respectively in the first ever Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation last weekend. The teen riders will now be training hard in the run up to the contest next month as they turn their attention from the recent grace and style of their successful dressage games for the speed and accuracy of the jump arena.

Six riders from the Equestrian Centre (EC) and one rider from Cayman Riding School (CRS) competed in the debut local contest which Sharon Hinds, newly-elected President of CIEF said was a great experience for horses and riders.

“It is also helpful for different stables to share the load of hosting the growing number of shows in the CIEF calendar. We really appreciate all the hard work that volunteers have put in to prepare this venue for its first CIEF show and we look forward to many more here in the future.”

Visiting horses from the EC settled in easily and seemed to take their new surroundings in their stride. The random draw settled the order of go for the three rounds of competition in each of the age categories, under 16 and under 14.

Three experienced riders from the EC competed in the Under 16 age category, Thea Millward, Polly Serpell and Isabelle Smith; in the Under 14 age category,  three seasoned riders from the EC, Madeliene Arquart,, Phoebe Serpell and Ashley van den Bol were joined by Hannah Fowler from CRS.

Given the new surroundings for the visiting horses, riders were asked to ride their own horses in the first round, switching onto their competitors’ horses for rounds 2 and 3.

Competition was tough as few rails fell in the opening round. Six of the seven riders jumped clear and took a clean sheet into the second round. The course changed for each round and in the second round the same six riders maintained their clean slate going into the final round.  Those who remain clean in the final round,have their times from all three rounds added, with the lowest overall time bagging first place.  At this stage riders always have to choose whether to gamble on the course to ‘shave’ time at the risk of forcing an error and bringing down a rail or two in the field.

Both Millward and Smith held their nerve in the final round to finish clear in the Under 16 category and Fowler, Phoebe Serpell and  van den Bol followed suit in the Under 14 category leaving spectators none the wiser as to who had clinched the top spots.

They didn’t have long to wait for the announcements. Smith took first place in the Under 16 category with a combined time of 128.15 seconds and will represent Cayman in that category in the CEA JSJC against Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica next month.  Millward finished second with 134.78 seconds and is the Reserve Team Member for the U16 and Polly Serpell finished third with 8 faults and a combined time of 133.20 seconds.

In the Under 14 category, Fowler took first place to win the trial in the younger age group with a combined time of 124.5 seconds. Phoebe Serpell was a close second with a time of 125.14 seconds and will be the Reserve Team Member for the U14s. In third place was  van den Bol with 133.8 seconds and in fourth place was Arquart with 4 faults and a combined time of 134.05 seconds.

CIEF is actively seeking corporate sponsors to assist with staging this weekend-long event and anyone interested in sponsoring the event should contact caymansecretarygeneral@gmail.com or 916 4312.

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Witness wanted cash to talk

| 23/04/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The integrity of the crown’s key witness in its case against a local police officer accused of blackmail was brought into question during the ongoing trial Tuesday when it was revealed he had asked for money in exchange for his evidence to pay for flights. Filipino national Len Ferrares had told police that Elvis Ebanks, who is currently suspended from his job with the RCIPS, asked him for a bribe of $500 not to prosecute him over the alleged theft of a cell phone at the Auto-spa. However, the court heard that Ferrares had asked for money to testify in court. The jury also heard that although Ebanks was not armed or violent when he was arrested in connection with the crime, three officers dragged him from his car and one had kicked him to the ground.

After the crown successfully managed to present the evidence from Ferrares, whose first language is Tagalog, on its third attempt as a result of translation difficulties,the crown turned to the evidence from the various officers involved in the case.

The court heard from two officers at the scene of the arrest that Ebanks was kicked by one of them, not because he was armed, dangerous or violent but because he was “non-compliant”.

Six officers were involved in the arrest of Ebanks, a serving officer at the time, on the side of the East-West arterial in November 2012 after he had allegedly collected the bribe from Ferrares in a set up with marked cash. The officers insisted that Ebanks refused to get out of the car and held his body rigid, preventing them from cuffing him. As a result, three officers physically dragged the man from the car onto his knees and across the tarmac, while another officer said he used a “deflection strike” to get Ebanks to lie down.

He admitted, however, that the deflection strike consisted of kicking the defendant to the ground.

During the police evidence, the reluctance of Ferrares to give evidence was highlighted and questions over the witness’s integrity were raised. It was already clear from earlier testimony that Ferrares had been working at the Auto-spa on some type of casual basis without a permit, as his official work permit was held by a local janitorial firm. The claim by Ferrares that he had found rather than stolen the phone was also brought into question during his evidence. However, the integrity and truthfulness of the prosecution's witness came under greater scrutiny when a police officer confirmed he had asked for money.

Under cross-examination, a UK officer from the Anti-corruption Unit at the time of the investigation said Ferrares had asked forpayment to come to court and give evidence, but the police had made it clear to him that the RCIPS would not offer any financial inducement for his evidence. However, the senior officer, who was recruited to Cayman as a result of his experience and specialist skills from Britain, admitted that he had made no note of the conversations.

Despite the sensitivity of the issue and best practice, he said he didn’t record the request by Ferrares for cash. He also admitted making no note of his conversation with the head of the Anti-corruption Unit, Richard Oliver, another UK officer who was recruited to Cayman during Operation Tempura, or any conversation he had with Ferrares telling him that the RCIPS would not pay for evidence.

Ebanks has denied blackmail but said he had taken the money as it was urged upon him by Ferrares as a short term loan. The attorney representing Ebanks has suggested that Ferrares made up the allegations to prevent him from being deported.

The trial continues this week in Grand Court One.

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Bermuda hints at legalisation of medical ganja

| 23/04/2014 | 46 Comments

(CNS): As politicians in the Cayman Islands continue to keep their heads well and truly buried in the sand over the question of medical marijuana, Bermuda's National Security Minister, Michael Dunkley, has announced plans by the Cabinet to address the issue of drug law reform and take a look at local policy for medicinal use. The government said it will be examining a new report as the minister has acknowledged the successful use of the drug in various treatments and in pain relief. The Cannabis Reform Collaborative (CRC), set up last year to prepare the report, has now also begun an electronic survey to canvass public opinion on the island regarding marijuana.

“It’s time to take a look at the medical use of marijuana and time to take a look at our policies. I leave it at that at this point,” said in an article in the Royal Gazette. “There are a lot of different aspects involved, whether it’s the medical process of cannabis or the stop list — some people go as far as legalisation. I want to use opportunities for medical marijuana use — we all have a heart when we are looking at people suffering and how cannabis can be utilised in treatment and pain relief.

“If we are going to make changes on how we handle it, we have to make sure we make these decisions to protect these people and protect their health.”

Despite being a conservative society, the announcement from the fellow overseas territory and similar economy reveals that Bermuda is way ahead of Cayman on the issue.

Here local MLAs have even refused to comment on record at all about the issue, despite the rising significant support in the local population not just for medical use but for licensed recreational use as well. Cannabis Cayman, which was founded by Burns Connolly to begin the discussion about medical use, is widely supported by the public but is being completed ignored by legislators.

With Jamaica pressing a head with potential export plans and massive changes in attitude towards the drug, many believe it is now a matter of when, but the sooner Cayman joins in the debate the better it will benefit from the potential massive future economic gains that will be associated with what will become a major new industry.

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CIMA turns to past boss to tackle insurance gap

| 23/04/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): Following the recent revelation that the head of insurance at the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) had been on sick leave formore than six months the regulator is replacing him with the department’s former boss. Gordon Rowell has been let go as officials said in a release that his employment with the authority has formally ended. Although CIMA has not confirmed the details it is understood he was dismissed. Morag Nicol will return to the post which she held during 2006/07 tomorrow (Thursday 24 April) for three months until a replacement for Rowell can be found. Read more on CNS Business

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