Archive for July 14th, 2014

Local meteorologist gets top job at weather service

| 14/07/2014 | 28 Comments

(CNS): Chief weather man John Tibbetts has been appointed as the National Weather Service (CINWS) Director General. With over 30 years of public service, Tibbetts has worked for the past 14 years as CINWS’ Operational Supervisor. His weather career began in 1984, when he was hired as an observer, responsible for monitoring and recording weather conditions. He then moved on to the post of operational weather forecaster, responsible for producing daily forecasts, as well as weather-related warnings for the public and the aviation industry. Promoted to Chief Meteorologist in 1999, he has since been responsible for the daily supervision of the weather service.

Stran Bodden, the chief officer in the tourism ministry under which the service falls, said Tibbetts’ promotion, which was effective from 1 July, demonstrated succession planning and a career characterised by outstanding service. The new weather boss has a science degree and was trained as an operational weather forecaster in the regional training centre at the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology in Barbados in 1986.

Tibbetts has been the service’s liaison with government officials and the media in times of severe weather threats, supplying current information so decision-makers could plan and mitigate the effects of the inclement weather. He also supplies the daily scientific analysis and interpretation of surface- and upper-air meteorological data; as well as producing weather forecasts and information for marine, aeronautical, public and private use.

Minister Moses Kirkconnell welcomed the appointment, saying that this demonstrates a model civil service career path, as well as government’s commitment to developing this vital national service

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Blencathra to apologise to House of Lords

| 14/07/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): The former director of the Cayman Island’s London office, Lord Blencathra, was found to have broken the rules by lobbying Parliament and MPs by the Commissioner for Standards in the UK’s House of Lords and has been ordered to apologise to the House for the inclusion in the first contract he signed with the Cayman Islands Government of a phrase that indicate that he was lobbying Parliament. The House of Lords Rules prohibit members from accepting or agreeing to accept payment or other reward in return for providing parliamentary advice or services.Read more on CNS Business

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Footbal fever at W.Bay summer camp

| 14/07/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Over 50 young people, from six to 17 years of age were enjoying football fever last week at sports department summer camp in West Bay. Against the backdrop of the World Cup the young footballers were trained under Coach Roy “Huta” Ebanks, and other coaches. As well as physical workouts, the boys and girls learned basic techniques including dribbling and juggling, while also enjoying football-related competitions, including mixed-team scrimmages.Younger participants also had a unique opportunity to train alongside players from teams such as Scholars, Elite and Future, as well as several members of the junior national teams.

The players also received wider training in the area of social development, including a talk by Youth Services Unit representative James Myles.

For more information on Department of Sports summer camps contact 949 7082

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Prison-court video link has mixed results

| 14/07/2014 | 12 Comments

(CNS): More than two and a half years after teleconferencing facilities were first introduced at HMP Northward, the authorities have begun using the video link when remand prisoners’ cases are mentioned in the court as they progress towards trials or sentencing hearings. However, the facility is having mixed results, the court heard Friday, when three cases were dealt with via video link between the prison and the Grand Court. While local defence attorneys noted that for adjournments or short mentions the video had some advantages, cases are rarely straight forward and the lawyers need to speak with their clients.

On Friday the prison authorities inexplicably transferred a female prisoner from Fairbanks in George Town, a five minute drive from the court, to Northward, a considerably longer journey, to use the video link. Lawyers raised their concerns that they are not able to speak with their clients before or after the hearings, which causes problems for them and they required that all three prisoners were produced for next week’s Grand Court mention list.

The judge noted that so far the video link had enjoyed rather “mixed results” after the custody cases were dealt with on the link.

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Woman pleads for mercy after machete rampage

| 14/07/2014 | 17 Comments

(CNS): A 39-year-old homeless woman pleaded guilty on Friday morning to a number of offences after a ‘topless rampage’ in George Town in May, when, half naked, she stole food from Café Sol and Burger King, smashed up a display cabinet and threatened people with a machete. During her sentencing hearing Debbie Ebanks, who suffers from mental health issues and long term drug abuse problems, begged the judge for another chance. Although Ebanks has been in Fairbanks women’s prison for the last two months and is receiving treatment, she has been bullied in the prison and was the victim of a nasty scalding at the hands of another inmate.

Justice Charles Quin said he would defer his sentencing decision regarding Ebanks’ case until next week in order to consider whether she could continue her treatment outside of the jail.

Defence attorney Fiona Robertson, from Samson McGRath, who is representing Ebanks, explained to the court that Ebanks has never been properly cared for regarding her mental health and drug abuse problems, as a result of her efforts to self-medicate. The lawyer said that the authorities had often used the prison system to hold Ebanks when she has been ill and charged her with crimes so they could treat her mental health condition.

Extremely remorseful for what she did, Ebanks explained to the court some of the long term issues she is dealing with and her efforts to get clean and give up not just the illegaldrugs and alcohol but also smoking.

She explained how she has been consistently in and out of prison or hospital for the last 15 years. She said, however, she is bullied in the prison because she is different and was finding it very difficult. Ebanks pleaded with the judge for a community-based punishment rather than a jail term as she said her uncle had offered her a place to live, a job and she was receiving support for her treatment.

Ebanks was hospitalized after she was scalded with hot water thrown on her by another prisoner. It is understood that Ebanks was in a state of distress at the time and the inmate had heated water in a microwave, which she threw at Ebanks to shut her up. The incident demonstrated once again the long noted problem that the women’s facility is inadequate to deal with inmates like Ebanks who are suffering genuine mental health problems.

“If we needed to hold someone completely separately, we can hold them on their own but what we can’t do is have somewhere quiet where we can deal with them,” Prison Director Neil Lavis said at the time as he admitted the prisons limitations. “We do end up with prisoners with mental health issues and we try to deal with them as best we can.”

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Woman charged with bribery

| 14/07/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A civilian who attempted to bribe an immigration officer in connection with a naturalization application has denied the allegation and will be the first civilian to go on trial for offences under the anti-corruption law. Paula Yates Rivers (a.k.a. Relova-Cruz) a resident of West Bay, pleaded not guilty through a Spanish interpreter on Friday morning when she appeared in Grand Court to answer the corruption charges. Rivers is accused of offering an immigration officer $100 to ensure smooth passage of her application for Caymanian status last June.

Although the anti-corruption law applies mostly to government workers, thelegislation can impact the broader public and Yates' case will be the first prosecution for offering a bribe. The Court recorded her denials and a trial date has been set for April next year for three days. Yates is represented by Prathna Bodden, from Samson and McGrath.

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Local group of new police recruits end basic training

| 14/07/2014 | 14 Comments

(CNS): As the RCIPS strives to maintain a significant portion of local officers in its rank and file, the largest group of Caymanians ever recruited into the local police will be graduating this week. The first part of their intensive theoretical and practical 12-week training in the classroom also  included on-the-job training with personal tutor constables. RCIPS Training Manager Andrew Harrison explained that following the graduation the new officers will return to their assigned stations and tutor constables for a further six-week assessment period starting 28 July before they hit the beat on their own.

After successful completion of this six weeks with their tutor officers, the new recruits will be deemed ‘fit for independent patrol’.  During this period as well as throughout the rest of their two year probationary period, the officers’ work will be continually monitored by RCIPS management, Harrison said.

The graduation ceremony will take place at the Harquail Theatre Thursday, 17 July.

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UK police forced to be polite and accountable

| 14/07/2014 | 9 Comments

(CNS): UK police officers have backed a new ethics code that could see them punished for being rude to the public. The Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers across the UK services, said it fully supported the code, which also includes warnings about the use of drugs or alcohol and having sex while on duty. The move comes as controversies such as ‘Plebgate’ and alleged corruption are said to have shaken public confidence, according to reports in the UK press. The code, which is based around nine core principles, will go before Parliament next week and will apply to civilian staff as well as officers.

Police would face disciplinary action and possible dismissal for breaching the code, which also urges officers to speak out about rule-breaking colleagues of all ranks. Based on accountability, fairness and honesty, the guidelines were drafted by the College of Policing to help improve the reputation of police services. It follows a warning issued by Home Secretary Theresa May when she said the police must either change or have reform forced upon them.

In a statement, the Police Federation said, "We fully support the code of ethics that further enhances the standards of professional behaviour, and sets out clearly exactly what principles and standards that the public and colleagues are entitled to expect from all within the policing profession."

If officers breach the code a range of sanctions are available from verbal warnings to formal investigations and ultimately being kicked out of the police service

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