Archive for July 24th, 2014

Corrupt cop gets 3 years

| 24/07/2014 | 58 Comments
(CNS): A police officer accused of soliciting a bribe from a Filipino national in exchange for not prosecuting him regarding a suspected stolen cell phone has been handed a three year jail term. Justice Charles Quin handed down the custodial sentence Thursday to former police officer Elvis Kelsey Ebanks in connection with four charges of corruption and the first conviction of a public officer under the anti-corruption law. The judge said that it was difficult to find any mitigating factors in the case, in which Ebanks has shown no remorse and continues to claim the solicitation of the bribe was merely a loan offered by the complainant, a claim the judge said was "implausible'". 

In the wake of the sentence, a police spokesperson said the RCIPS will not tolerate corruption among its ranks and will pursue any allegation of corruption. 
Although Ebanks was remanded in custody to George Town police station, his attorney has appealed the conviction and is seeking bail on behalf of his client until that case can be heard. A hearing was scheduled for 9:15am in Chambers Friday.
Check back to CNS later for the full story and the judge's reasoning behind the sentence.

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CIOC sends 6 athletes and young reporter to China

| 24/07/2014 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Jamal Walton, Pearl Morgan, Polly Serpell Morgan Llyod, Florence Allan and Pablo Bertan will be flying the flag for the Cayman Islands when they compete for their country at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China next month. The Cayman Islands Olympic Committee which has just dispatched its largest even number of athletes to the commonwealth games in Glasgow said this youth team is twice the size of the team that represented Cayman at the 2010 as the level of local sports go from strength to strength. The games begin on 16 August and the athletes will compete in athletics, equestrian, gymnastics and sailing.

In athletics, Jamal Walton and Pearl Morgan compete in the 400 m and 200 m respectively while Rider, Polly Serpell will jump in the individual competition and Morgan Llyod, the youngest athlete at 15, will participate in the individual all-around gymnastics. The sailors, Florence Allan and Pablo Bertan will compete in the one person dingy.

Meanwhile, Jade Webster, a young journalist, has been selected to participate in the Young Reporters Programme for the games. Webster, representing the Americas, is one of 31 young people around the world selected to participate in the programme. The Young Reporters were selected by the Continental Associations of National Olympic Committees through a rigorous selection process.  Representing each of the five continents, they are between the ages of 18 and 24. 

Cayman's athletes will be in action from August 18, with Equestrian first up. All athletes and officials will be traveling to Nanjing early next month in time for the opening ceremony, which is scheduled to take place at 8:00 pm Beijing time, (7 am Cayman time) on 16 August at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre stadium. The team will attend all cultural and education programs until the closing ceremony on August 28th.

Swimmer Lauren Hew will not be attending the Youth Olympic Games, as she has not been selected by FINA, swimming's governing body. Hew achieved the B qualifying time standard in the 50m backstroke at the CARIFTA games earlier this year; however, with the large number of athletes that achieved A qualification times, this limits the number of B qualified athletes that can compete.

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Onchocerciasis Cayman

| 24/07/2014 | 61 Comments

Onchocerciasis or African River Blindness Disease is caused by parasitic flies biting humans and infecting them with worms that cause itching and eventually blindness. In some ways there is a similarity with our river of bureaucracy especially at the Customs department where increased complex regulations are frustrating economically overwhelmed business owners.

Many of those selfsame entrepreneurs must feel like biting off their voting finger with the continuing debacle of wedding dresses and a department seemingly intent on driving businesses into bankruptcy.

Until the business sector begins to press the government beyond mere calls for redress, those blinded by the parasitic flies buzzing around them will continue to display the commercial myopia that is driving small businesses especially to ruin.

The business community is the backbone of economic progress in these islands not overfed office holders feeding at the trough of over regulation instead of the healthy salad of simplification.

Unfortunately our commercial leaders are renowned for their conservatism and prefer whispers at cocktail parties over demand for a recall provision in the Constitution.

They are as powerless as their customers except CUC.

Barren Africa has substantially dealt with this disease by medication originally developed for canine heartworm.

To stand mute is to endorse idiocy.


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Dump fire continues controlled smolder

| 24/07/2014 | 24 Comments

(CNS): Although fire crews have the current George Town dump blaze under control the deep seated fire is still burning, officials have confirmed. The fire started at the landfill at the weekend Department of Environmental Health staff first noticed smoke on Saturday at around 10.30am in the solid waste area at the edge of the site. Fire crews and staff dug down some 200 feet to work on the fire and excavators were used to overturn debris. Since then teams from both DEH and the fire department have been working around the clock to contain the smoldering fire pouring on gallons of water. 

Dr Maysson Sallam, the assistant director of the department of environmental health, notes that since the last such incident, deep wells have been placed around the landfill site allowing fire crews to access a continuous source of water and mange this and any other fire more efficiently.

The department has bought new water pumps which the assistant director said will be arriving on Island shortly. The department has also ordered other much-needed landfill equipment to helpoptimise operations.  In addition, the department has in the interim rented two excavators that it can use to turn over the waste to help identify the source of heat.

While the fire continues senior DEH and fire officers with equipment are making regular visits to the scene. Osbourne Bodden, who has responsibility for the dump is currently in Scotland at the Commonwealth Games, however, he visited the landfill on Sunday 19 July but has made little comment about the situation. Bodden did however, urge the public to have patience as government moves through the necessary processes to find a sustainable solution for the waste management issue

The ministry has stated that it is making headway with the integrated solid waste management solution and a number of bids to develop the Cayman Islands first solid waste management strategy, an outline business case, and to provide procurement support for a solid waste management system, have been received and are being reviewed,.


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East Ender charged with firearms crime

| 24/07/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Police have charged a 29-year-old man from East End with firearms offences following an unspecified incident on 2 July. An RCIPS spokesperson said the man was charged by Bodden Town detectives with possession of an unlicensed firearm, intentional harassment, alarm and distress following an event in the district which the police have not yet explained. CNS has submitted questions to the RCIPS requesting more information but at this stage the police remain tight lipped. There is no indication if a gun was recovered,whether it was fired or what the charges relate to. The man was schedule to appear in Summary Court Thursday afternoon.

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Cops charge WB man 2 years after 7MB burglary

| 24/07/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A 28-year-old man from West Bay has been charged with a burglary that occurred more than two years ago at Treasure Island Resort, on the West Bay Road in the heart of the Seven Mile Beach tourist corridor. Police said the May 2012 crime was a difficult enquiry that demonstrated that the police would persevere to bring offenders to justices. Detective Inspector Kathy Marshall, officer in charge of the RCIPS Burglary Team, said, “This was a protracted and complex enquiry that has finally reached a positive outcome. Officers will continue to be relentless in their pursuit of arresting and charging burglary offenders," she added.


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Real estate agent charged with $51k theft

| 24/07/2014 | 3 Comments

(CNS): A 74 year old local man has been charged with stealing CI$51,600 during a real estate transaction in relation to his firm. Although the police did not say when the crime occurred an RCIPs spokesperson said that he was charged yesterday and is now due to appear in summary court next Tuesday after being released on police bail. The Financial Crime Unit said that at the time of the offense the man who is understood to be Caymanian was the Owner/Broker of his own real estate company, which was domiciled in the Cayman Islands. CNS has requested further details from the police and is awaiting a response.


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Witness saw gunmen coming

| 24/07/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Testifying via video link from another jurisdiction in the trial of Brian Borden and David Tomasa for the murder of Robert Macford Bush, Mayra Ebanks, who was in the car when her boyfriend was shot dead, said she knew Borden well. The crown's witness said she had met him at high school in 2004 or 2005 and they had had an “occasional relationship’ but it did not last long and had ended amicably. She told the court how on the night of the killing she had seen the two masked gunmen before they shot her boyfriend and had urged her lover to drive away, yelling, "Drive! Drive! Drive!" but in his confusion he lost control of the car and drove into the wall, leaving him a sitting target for his assailants, who fired into the car before running away.

Taking the witness stand on Monday and Wednesday this week, Ebanks told the court that she heard Bush coming to pick her up before she saw him arrive at the junction of Capts Joe and Osbert Road and Birch Tree Hill Road in West Bay a few minutes before his murder, as he was in the habit of playing music very loudly in his car.

He “barely turned into” Capts Joe and Osbert Rd, she said, and she walked around the back of his blue Honda Civic to get in. As she passed the back door she saw two people across the street, almost in front of her friend Tishara Webster’s driveway, walking towards them. It looked as if one of them had a machete in his hand, Ebanks recalled.

When Ebanks got to her door, she told the court, she looked over the roof of the car and saw that the two men were crossing the entrance of the church yard and at that point they started running. Now, she said, she could see that it was not a machete but a shotgun. The two men had shirts tied around their faces, and she said she could not see who they were but one was wearing red, long sleeved shirt and camouflage pants and the other was wearing a camouflage jacket.

Ebanks said she got into the car as fast as she could and started yelling to Bush that he should “Drive! Drive! Drive!” But Bush’s reaction was slow because he was cleaning a CD while he changed the music. “He looked at me like, what’s happening?” she said, and turned around to look for himself. Then he started to drive away but lost control of the car and drove into a wall. He tried to drive offbut could not move, Ebanks said. “That’s when I heard the shot.”

The shooters stood by the driver’s side of the car and from where she was she could not see their heads. After shooting Bush, they ran off across the road.

Under cross-examination by Borden’s defence lawyer, Trevor Burke, QC, Ebanks refuted the suggestion that Jordan Manderson and David Ebanks, who were in the area of the murder, had been wearing clothes very similar to what she had described the killers as wearing (which would suggest that they could in fact be the shooters) as she said there were significant differences in their apparel.

A few minutes before the murder Mayra Ebanks had had a BBM exchange with the two of them on David Ebanks’ Blackberry, telling them that she was on her way to meet Robert Bush (a key part of the crown’s case against Borden). The two of them had passed her while she was on the phone to Bush, waiting for him, and had gone into Watler’s yard, and the defence noted that after the murder, when people had come to see what had happened, they were not there.

Burke asked Mayra Ebanks about the day before the murder, when Bush had picked her up from the same spot but had then driven into Watler’s yard to pick up some Rizlas, and had returned to get some Bacardi.

While there he had spoken to Manderson, the man who had previously told Ebanks that although some of the Birch Tree Hill gang wanted to hurt him, he told her that “as long as he was around that wouldn’t happen because they have to come to me for their things.” Ebanks said she had tried to record this conversation to let Robert hear, because she was worried, but said the conversation between the two men had seemed freindly.

Burke suggested that it might have appeared disrespectful for Bush, a member of the Logwood group, to come to a gathering in Birch Tree Hill. The defence also suggested that Manderson wanted to have a relationship with Ebanks, but she said that although he had come onto her a few times, she had told him that he was too young for her.

Ebanks was also asked about three photos that had been taken in late 2010 with her camera in which Brian Borden inspects a handgun and in one photo points it at the camera. She was adamant that they had been taken at her cousin’s house, even when the defence suggested that they had been taken at her home in Cinder Lane and that she had, in fact, given the gun to Borden to look at.

In the days following the murder, Mayra Ebanks admitted that she had told various people that she thought one of the killers was Andrew Baptise, who was himself shot to death shortly afterwards. 

Burke noted that an earlier boyfriend of Ebanks, Mark Jefferson, had been shot to death while she was seeing him. Carlos Webster had been shot to death while she was living with him. And now Robert Bush had been shot and killed while he was seeing her.

See ralated stories on CNS:

WB shooting trial begins

Borden obsessed, witness says

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Butler opens for team CI, Fraser makes fly semis

| 24/07/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Geoffrey Butler opened Team Cayman's Commonwealth games participation on Thursday morning in Glasgow. Although Butler didn't qualify for the final in his heat  with a time of just 4.06.78 in the mens 400m freestyle, Brett Fraser was second in his 50m butterfly heat securing a place in the semis this evening with a time of 24: 01. The swimmers were the first athletes to compete from a team of 27 sportsmen and women who were led into the Celtic Stadium on Wednesday evening my Cayman's veteran cyclist Michele Smith. Cayman will be pinning its hopes of medals on its track and field stars as well as the swimmers who are also eyeing the Scottish games podium.

Laura Butler clocked up a time of 1:05:69 to come home 7th in her 50m butterfly heat while Alex McCallum was well off the pace in the mens 100m backstroke heats with a time of 1:01:22. The Butlers will also be looking to improve their rankings as they continue the competition this week.

Almost 5000 athletes from 71 nations took part in the opening ceremony on Wednesday evening which was broadcast to over a billion viewers across the commonwealth. A truly Scottish affair with shortbread, tartan, the Loch Ness monster and of course Rod Stewart the weather was the biggest surprise for the athletes as Glasgow basked in glorious sunshine.

For more on the Commonwealth Games and Team Cayman log on to  or the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee Facebookpage.       

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Fire officers continue close watch on GT dump

| 24/07/2014 | 6 Comments

(CNS): Although fire service officials believe they have tackled the latest deep seated blaze on the George Town landfill which started at the weekend the fire chief has said he and his men will be keeping a close eye on the dump to ensure there is no repeat of the incident earlier this year when the dump burned for days. Chief Fire Officer, Roy Grant has said that hundreds of gallons of water have been pumped onto what was a deep seated fire which combusted spontaneously on Saturday. He said the watch would continue in what he described as a "battle" for his men that they appeared to have won on this occasion.

“But we gotta keep a watch on it because it was a spontaneous combustion, deep seated fire, we may have got that one but nothing says later on we that we couldn’t have another one,” the fire boss said, in a TV  interview with Cayman27. “What we need to try to do is to try to make sure it does not become what it was in the early part of the year. Try to manage it, try to keep it under control. It’s like fighting a battle, you win some you lose some but yourtry to win them all."

He also offered thanks on behalf of the public to his fire officers and others who helped to manage this recent blaze.

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