Archive for July 10th, 2014

Recovering alcoholic given chance by judge

| 10/07/2014 | 22 Comments

(CNS): A 38-year-old George Town man was given a chance to demonstrate that he can mend his ways before he is sentenced in connection with a domestic violence assault. Justice Alex Henderson made a decision on Thursday to postpone sentencing regarding the conviction for six months to allow the defendant time to prove he could change. Adrian Bodden, who had pleaded guilty to wounding after hitting his former girlfriend with a machete during a drunken fight, has a history of domestic abuse because of alcohol and drug misuse. However, having been clean for almost three months, his attorney argued that with no real rehab facilities in the jail, his recovery could be in jeopardy.

The court heard that Bodden has been making a serious effort to turn his life around and has given up drugs and booze and was attending anger management therapy with thehelp and support of his church. Bodden is a fulltime delivery driver and the court heard his employers speak very highly of him, and his probation officer had also asked for the courts to give him a chance.

The judge was, however, concerned that Bodden had a history of domestic abuse and violence caused by alcohol and was torn over the wishes of the victim, who had pointed to her desire to see her abuser incarcerated.

As a result Justice Henderson took the unusual decision of delaying the sentencing until January and to place Bodden on very strict bail conditions to help in his recovery and allow him a chance to show he could stay clean.

Placing Bodden, from Windsor Park, under a full time home curfew, allowing him only to leave for work, church and visiting his probation officer, the judge said he would be remanded in custody if he breached the conditions. He also ordered that Bodden could not be in possession of any kind of weapon, including knives except to eat with, or in possession of alcohol. In addition, he directed that he should be regularly tested by the probation service for both drugs and liquor.

“This is a chance for you to prove you are turning your life around and becoming a productive non-violent person,” Justice Henderson told Bodden as he laid down the strict conditions. “Any breach, and I will send you to jail,” he added as he explained that Bodden must comply one hundred percent with his order. “Do your job and stay indoors,” he said.

If he did, the judge assured Bodden that he would not send him to jail when he sentences him in January.

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English test re-sit refusal turns into court battle

| 10/07/2014 | 76 Comments

(CNS): A Filipino national who failed anEnglish test taken at the airport on the night he landed in Cayman almost two years ago has turned to the courts after the immigration department refused to let him re-sit the test. Manolo de la Pena Vallo arrived in Cayman in September 2012 on a temporary permit granted on condition he passed the language test. However, after traveling for some four days he missed the pass mark by 10%. When he and his would-be employer applied for a chance to take the test again, Vallo was denied a re-sit. Vallo and his potential boss, Paul Ramoon, claimed in their legal action that this move by immigration was "unfair and unreasonable" and put Ramoon's business at risk.

The Grand Court heard Thursday that Ramoon's workforce at his janitorial company had been rolled over and he was counting on the arrival of Vallo to help him stay afloat.

Vallo had worked in Cayman in 2005 and 2006 for almost two years for two different employers. He had passed a local driving test and held a license when he was here to drive Group 3 vehicles and his English was competent.

On arrival he was confident that he could pass the test and had agreed to do so at the airport, despite being tired after a very long journey and four days of travelling, including a delay in Bangkok, where he was detained by the authorities to check his travel documents. He claimed he was unaware that he would be able to take the test the next day or that it was a one-off opportunity which if he failed would see his permit refused.

When he scored only 65% on the test which requires a pass mark of 75%, he was allowed temporary entry. His employer then pressed for a re-sit but the immigration department’s deputy chief officer at the time, Samantha Bennett, told Ramoon and Vallo that the tests could be re-taken for spurious reason and the policy allows for a re-sit only in exceptional circumstances.

In his claim against the immigration department, heard before acting Grand Court Judge Nova Hall Thursday, local defence attorney and former immigration officer, Dennis Brady, argued that his client had been unfairly treated and that there was no risk to the country, government or anyone in allowing Vallo another shot. He said the immigration heads had not considered the totality of the circumstances when they shut down Vallo’s chance to try the test again. Brady said that Ramoon had been discriminated against as his business was in serious jeopardy, having lost his workforce to the seven year term limit only to face losing the first replacement worker as well.

It was also revealed that having anticipated starting work immediately on his arrival, Vallo did not have a return ticket to the Philippines.

Brady asked the court to stop the immigration department’s efforts to have Vallo deported and allow him to re-sit his test.

The chief immigration officer was represented by the Attorney General’s Chambers and the counsel argued that Vallo had been given a chance to take the test the next day but he chose not to do so and that he had also been informed that if he failed it the permit would not be granted. The government lawyer argued that the chief immigration officer has the right to revoke a permit and all permit applicants from non-English speaking countries are required to take a language test as part of the conditions

The lawyer argued that the long journey was no different from that taken by many other permit holders in the Cayman Islands and he was given a chance to rest. She said that Ramoon’s business troubles were an entirely separate issue from Vallo’s failure to pass the requisite test as she asked the judge to throw the case out.

Nova Hall said she would consider the arguments submitted in the case and deliver her decision before the end of the month.

Since Vallo entered Cayman and took the test at the airport, the immigration policy has been altered. All work permit applicants from non-English speaking countries are now required to take and pass a specific language test at designated centres in their home countries and acquire a regulated certificate before arriving in Cayman.

See details of case as filed in Grand Court below courtesy of OffshoreAlert.

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Washington now 2nd state to legalise ganja sales

| 10/07/2014 | 68 Comments

(CNS): Washington became the second American state to begin selling ganja legally for recreational use this week, joining Colorado, where the drug is on sale without prescription.  Prospective buyers lined up outside dispensaries Tuesday to become the first Washingtonians to legally buy marijuana. Although federal officials still consider pot to be a Schedule 1 narcotic, residents in Colorado and Washington voted in November 2012 to relax the national prohibition within state borders. Nearly half of the United States currently has provisions in place allowing for medicinal marijuana to be lawfully dispensed.

However, the state is expected to be facing an immediate shortage as state bureaucracy has been accused of holding up the licensing process impacting production and harvest.

While Washington State plans to eventually provide more than 300 retail licenses, this week began with just 24 businesses permitted to sell recreational marijuana. Of those, just a few were open on Tuesday.

"Supply is going to be tight as this market launches," said Brian Smith, communications director for the Liquor Control Board, the agency charged with regulating the nascent retail marijuana market. "This is an emerging market that doesn't exist anywhere in the world. It's a lot different than Colorado. And just like Colorado did when it first opened up, it had some shortages, but Washington's supply system is very robust and in a little bit of time all those suppliers will be feeding into the retail chain and there will be a lot."

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MacRae leads globetrotting Stingray Swimmers

| 10/07/2014 | 0 Comments

(SSC): Stingray swimmers wrapped up the 2013-2014 Swim Season with members competing in swim meets aroundthe globe: from Bridgetown, Barbados (Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships) to Aberdeen, Scotland (Scottish National Age Group Championships); to Sarasota, Florida (Shark Open) and St Petersburg, Florida (SPA Invitational). Catriona MacRae and Katie Klein represented the Cayman Islands at the CISC Open Water Swimming Championship in both the 5k and 10k events in Barbados. MacRae finished 4th overall in the 5k while Klein came close behind in 6th place.

Catriona shone brightest though in the 10k event where she finished 2nd overall and captured the gold medal for the 14-17 age group. The two also competed in the pool, where they were joined by Stingray Swim Club (SSC) Teammates Matthew and Chris Courtis who swim for Barbados. The Courtis brothers both swam incredibly well, with Matthew securing five podium finishes … one of which was Gold in 200 Fly; and Chris coming in just behind his brother with four podium finishes.

SCOTLAND: Alex Dakers competed in his first Scottish National Age Group Championship with a 100% PB strike rate at the pool in Aberdeen. Dakers swam the 100 breaststroke, 100 butterfly and 200 butterfly and raced especially well in the 200 breaststroke, chopping off 7 seconds for a time of 2:56.57. Dakers came 19th overall in the event.

SARASOTA, FL: Nine swimmers competed in the 2014 Shark Open in Sarasota – a heats and finals format swim meet. “Little” John Bodden led Stingray with massive PB's in every event, most notably clocking a 10 second PB in the 100 butterfly at 1:04.33. John narrowly missed qualifying for Southern Zones by .04 in the event. Ali Jackson also swam well, finishing first overall in the 50 backstroke and 2nd in the 50 breaststroke while Sam Bailey, Ella Plunkett, Sarah Jackson and Cole Morgan also all hit finals.

ST PETERSBURG, FL: Led by standout swims from Stingray’s Silver Group, the pack of 17 swimmers raced to loads of lifetime bests, top 5 finishes and records. Out the gates quickly were Sophie Hayman, Corey Westerborg, Danielle Seales and John Fleming who all recorded giant PB's in the 200 IM or Open 50 events. Seales dropped over 3 seconds in her 50 freestyle to clock a 36.5 while John Fleming bested his short course PB by over 5 seconds.

Westerborg cleaned up on his own times all weekend, with particularly sharp swims in the 50 butterfly where he dropped 2 seconds, clocking in at 36.9 and in the 100 freestyle where he chopped off over 6 seconds, also beating his best short course time in a time of 1:12.4. The 100 free being a new Stingray, National and CIASA record.

The Hayman sisters dominated many of their races with both Katie and Sophie looking especially strong in the freestyle events. And a big congratulations goes out to Krishna Adapa and Danielle Seales who both finished the meet with 100% personal bests over the weekend.
For more information on or to volunteer at the Stingray Swim Club visit www.caymanswiming.com
 

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