Archive for July 21st, 2014

Eastern district cops set to hear from public

| 21/07/2014 | 4 Comments

(CNS): The Bodden Town police boss has announced a series of police meetings in the eastern districts next month. As North Side and East End finally get dedicated police officers in the face of increasing property crime the Area Commander Districts will be holding community meetings at Bodden Town, North Side and East End between 5-7 August. Residents in the area are invited to come and discuss any issues their communities. Chief Inspector Brad Ebanks said the police will also share with the public what the RCIPS has been doing to address the problems and concerns about crime.

“We want to hear from you our community members," Ebanks said. "We will continue to work together with you in order to accomplish the same objectives, thus lessening crime and making our districts a safer place to live.”

The meetings are set for the following dates and times:

Bodden Town Civic Centre – Tuesday 5th August  7pm-9pm
North Side Civic Centre – Wednesday 6th of August  7pm-9pm
East End United Church Hall – Thursday 7th of August 7pm-9pm
 

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Migrants choose to return to Cuba

| 21/07/2014 | 0 Comments
(CNS): Immigration official say that five Cuban migrants opted to be repatriated to Cuba rather than continue their perilous journey. Officials said that two boats carrying a total of 10 men arrived in Cayman Brac waters on Sunday (20 July). They decided to abandon one of the boats and left in the other, but returned soon after to drop off the five who wanted to be sent back to Cuba. The five remaining in the boat then carried on their journey, while their compatriots await to transfer to Grand Cayman.

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Passport issue tops JMC meet

| 21/07/2014 | 59 Comments

(CNS): The UK's decision to repatriate its passport process is one of the specific areas of concern for most of the UK's overseas territories and was one of the main items on the agenda at the Overseas Territories Heads of Government pre-Joint Ministerial Council Meeting held in Cayman last week. With the exception of the Falkland Islands, where the decision has been made for its citizens to adopt a British passport and abandon their own unique territory passport, all of the other leaders, including Cayman's own premier, are concerned about this issue. At a press briefing following the two-day OT talking shop, Alden McLaughlin outlined a number of difficulties with the repatriation and said it didn't appear it would be resolved "anytime soon."

The annual gathering of OT leaders ahead of the yearly meeting with the UK, on home soil this time for Cayman and chaired by McLaughlin, provides an opportunity for the UK's territories leader to discuss their position on a range of priority issues relating to the UK's white-paper regarding its remaining colonies before they all meet with the UK minister and foreign office Mandarins in London in December.

Of the various issues causing concern, the move by the UK to bring all printing of British passports back to the UK appears to be a difficult one. In the final communique from the meeting, the leaders stated that a major aim was: "Ensuring the security and protection of our borders and the safety and welfare of our people, including access to all passports, specifically emergency travel, despite the UK’s new policy to repatriate the printing of all passports to the United Kingdom by the end of this year."

The passport issue not only raises concerns about cost but also the issue of travel to the United States, which is of particular concern to the regional territories and Cayman as it may require some British passport holders to get visas to travel to America.

The repatriation is scheduled to happen by the end of this year but given the recent challenges at the UK passport office, with long delays in the delivery of full passports, the UK government created a one year passport renewal to get past the delay for those with pending travel plans but these passports won't support the US visa waiver system known as ESTA, which means holders may have to go through the ordeal of applying for a US visa, which also takes months and will already have begun impacting Caymanians and other territory citizens.

McLaughlin was pessimistic about this "issue being resolved anytime soon”, as he warned that in order to meet the UK repatriation requirement and retain the country's name on Cayman passports, things would be problematic.

The overseas territory leaders pointed out that this problem was not of their making. At a press briefing last week Fabian Picardo from Gibraltar said it was a "unilateral decision taken by the UK" without consultation.

McLaughlin also explained that the way Cayman Islands passport holders' information will be sent to Britain has still not been sorted. He said he believed it would transmitted via the local passport office to the UK for processing and then once issued it would be sent back to Cayman.

Among the other issues discussed by the OT leaders was economic diversification, the principles of good governance in the administration of all the territories and the rights their citizens people to self-determination, as well as environmental concerns. In addition, the financial services sector and the thorny issue of an open register of beneficial ownership of offshore companies was also on the agenda. 

Read full communiqué

Read related story on CNS Business: 

Overseas territories jittery over register

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Jail for mental health patient

| 21/07/2014 | 27 Comments

(CNS):  While lamenting the lack of a proper treatment facility for prisoners suffering from mental illness, on Friday Justice Quin sentenced Debbie Ebanks to 12 months in prison after she pleaded guilty last week to robbery and related offences stemming from an incident in May when, half-naked, she threatened people with a machete, stole food from Café del Sol and Burger King, and smashed a display cabinet. However, in an unusual move, the judge decided the sentence would be partially suspended if and when Ebanks became suitable for release based on the recommendation of a mental health team and her probation officer.

The justice, defence attorney Fiona Robertson and crown counsel Elizabeth Lees all agreed that Ebanks, 39, was in need of treatment for her dual diagnosis of mental illness and drug addiction, but there are no suitable facilities to care for her in Cayman.

Justice Quin said everyone understands Ebanks is bright and intelligent and doing her best to give up cocaine, and that “everyone wants to see Ms Ebanks out and cured”. He referred to the pre-sentencing report of psychiatrist Dr Marc Lockhart, which said that she would be best served by uninterrupted treatment with a partially suspended sentence, with time in prison also to help treat her drug abuse.

“The concern is the use of the machete. Ms Ebanks could be a risk to others and a risk to herself. To Ms Ebanks’ credit, she accepts her guilt but has a serious drug problem,” Justice Quin said. “It’s clear the doctors feel a period of incarceration with medical treatment would be beneficial.”

In arguing for her client, Robertson said there was a complete lack of proper facilities to treat people like Ebanks. Calling the situation “deplorable and more like a Third World country”, the attorney said that incarceration does not work for Ebanks and that her client would want immediate release so she could be treated in the community. “She feels continued incarceration adds to her difficulty.”

Robertson pointed out that Ebanks had been attacked three times in prison – she has been in Fairbanks for the last two months – and has now been placed on lockdown for her own protection. “She is the victim. Instead of getting help, she is getting harsher treatment than anyone.”

She added that because society has failed, Ebanks has been placed in Fairbanks, that there is no proper separation facility for prisoners suffering from mental illness.

Ebanks’ uncle, Reginald Delapenha, who spoke at the sentencing, said he was committed to assisting any way he could and agreed she should stay under care. But, while he understood the need for incarceration, “as a society we obviously haven’t provided a suitable environment” for treatment of the mentally ill.

“This is a problem the community has struggled with for a while. Clearly, there is not a great priority in addressing this,” Delapenha said.

Ebanks, who is homeless, addressed the judge, pleading not to be sent back to Fairbanks and describing some of the hardships she has faced over the last 15 years, including living in abandoned cars.

Justice Quin referred to the professionals involved in her case, telling Ebanks, “These people are really trying to help you. Nobody wants to see you incarcerated; they want to see you get better.” He added that the 12-month sentence was appropriate for the offence, and accepted Dr Lockhart’s “strong” recommendation for her treatment.

“It is quite clear that there is a desperate need for a mental health facility. It is not fair, not right, not human that people can’t get that treatment. Today’s hearing demonstrates a chronic need.”

Justice Quin said that he would be happy to review Ebanks’ case at any stage to assess if she were suitable for release, adding that it was regrettable that he was constrained by the legislation to the facilities that are available.

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The corporate plantation

| 21/07/2014 | 132 Comments

I have lived away from the Cayman Islands since mid-October 2013, but arriving home on 11 July 2014 produced mixed feelings in me. On one hand I was happy to be on the Caymanian soil I love but on the other hand I was afraid because I have not yet learnt to manage anger within me with regards our social, economic and political realities. It is clear to me that foreign capitalist and the Caymanian merchant class, especially the newer generation of professionals, are protecting what I will term a corporate plantation society.

The term corporate plantation society is being used to depict structured human relationships similar to those created during the period of chattel slavery in the Caribbean and the United States of America four hundred years ago.

The only difference in the two systems is that the first relied upon the production of agricultural products, mainly sugar and cotton, and the latter on the management of a financial system designed to rob the middle class and poor citizens of the metropolitan states of their collective resources, i.e. taxes and other benefits. This structured relationship, especially between former slave colonies and their former colonizers, has enriched members of our community who have found a knowledge and class base relationship with the old order.

What is disappointing to me is that our political as well as our social and economic and improvements for those less educated and racially and culturally different will now depend not on local politicians but on what happens in the struggles for improvement in the metropolitan countries that recognize the human distortions now caused by financial capitalism's destruction of the middle class and a return to the enslavement of persons of African descent within the penal systems of these countries and their former colonies.

The continuing enslavement of black and brown people in America and England, as well as their former and present colonies like the Cayman Islands, is obvious to those who have eyes to see. But for a vote of ignorance, our political leaders refuse to admit the magnitude of our challenges that have been brought about by the establishment of our country as a financial plantation.

The middle class, or at least those of us that may have become part of a middle class, are losing ground every day as we are replaced by foreign nationals from the metropolitan countries, many of whom were members of their own middle class but have been forced to escape to find prosperity among us. And of course they are being favored and promoted in Cayman and can afford to buy or will be given credit to buy the properties and business taken away by the banks from us by the financial administrators, all of whom are not Caymanians.

Roy Bodden's thesis, for which he should have long been rewarded with a PhD, told us what the end would be but he, like me and others, had to lay aside the truth in order to survive with a little dignity in our native islands. But the truth of Mr Bodden's thesis was that if our capitalist development was not managed well by national educated elite then it would enrichthe foreigner and impoverish locals.

The local managers of our economy had been our local merchant class, which saw the survival of its power and prestige asbeing connected to the class and colour social structuring of our society. Therefore they married foreigners when they could not find persons equal to them in the sense of being of the same class and colour. Black educated Caymanians like me married white or foreign spouses, thereby lending support to the myth of 'whiting' as a sign of the lack of racism in our society.

This particular method of eliminating the racial nature of colonial and post-colonial societies (see for example Brazil) has been encouraged and glorified in many new world societies but it does not eliminate the use of colour nor does it remove the use of race to define and oppress those not whitened or those without the prerequisite class characteristic like education.

Whitening began hundreds of years ago in Cayman and continues today, actively supported and maintained by educated non-white people in Cayman who publicly disapprove of any political mention of the negative role racial or colour considerations play in structuring our society.

But Cayman is not less colour conscious simply because we have more interracial marriages or dating. In fact, it is more prejudiced. One must only look at the last election results in the Cayman Islands (especially in the District of George Town) to understand our acceptance of class and color as characteristics for trustworthiness and respectability.

It is therefore difficult for me to remember a time when native George Towners would not have been upset if no visibly black working class person was elected to the Assembly in a general election. To understand what happened to the racial political consciousness of George Town voters in 2013, it is necessary to recognized how black persons who did not swear total allegiance to white corporate Cayman were mistrusted and marginalized. The white Masonic opposition school in the political theatre of Jamaica and England were very much responsible for the 2013 election strategy, which denied even Ms Lucille Seymour a seat and discouraged Dr the Honorable Lindford Pearson from trying to re-enter George Town politics.

Caymanians, and in particular the George Town people, many of whom are now dark skinned and of Jamaican decent, must now ask why Premier Alden McLaughlin's Masonic handlers do not want multi-constituencies. My guess is that black people vote in large numbers for persons not considered black but white people, especially expat whites, will not vote for blacks that are not truly brainwashed into supporting an upper class notion of respectability and transparency outside of the Masonic Temple.

Unfortunately there will not be equality in voting until we understand that not being black in complexion does not make us socially white. And politics in Cayman will not address the challenges those at the bottom of the educational, economic and colour spectrum face until colour and class is a consideration by the new black Caymanian and not just the Masonic Lodge.

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