Archive for November 7th, 2014

Stars line-up for annual story-telling festival

| 07/11/2014 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Although Cayman will be playing host to an array of international story-telling stars appearing in this year’s Gimistory, the festival will also be show casing an impressive line-up of local talent, Dexter Bodden, the Calypso Cowboy, Vinnie Rainwater, Jevaughnie Ebanks, Priscilla Pouchie and Matt Brown will also be singing songs and spinning yarns along with debut appearances from Martin Keeley and Colin Wilson. The local talent will be joined by Amina Blackwood-Meeks, (left) Ken Corsbie, Edgar Ortiz, Lord Relator and of course the Blacksage. Gimistory, began in 1998 and is now one of the most critically acclaimed storytelling festivals around the world.

The free family festival kicks off at West Bay public-beach at 7pm on 29 November then travels around the districts and the Sister Islands over the following week ending on 6 December at Smith Cove for the duppy night.

A multi-generational and multi-national community event, Gimistpry is unique and exceptionally entertaining. The evening performances are held outdoors and mostly on beaches enabling guests to bring their own chairs and blankets.Theusual menu of 'fry fish and frittas' will be supplemented this year with a wider selection of local food on sale.

Rita Estevanovich, the Programmes Manager at (CNCF) said that Gimistory is for everyone. 
“Stories, live music, seasoned tellers from near and far and eager young performers…each provides audiences with a memorable experience no matter what night you attend,” she said.

“ Where else can you hang out on a beach or in a cozy setting and take in free, high quality entertainment from a host of performers, free of cost, during the most deliciously cool time of year in Cayman? If you've never been, don't miss it this year – it's well worth coming out to if you want to kick back, relax and fill your belly with something good."

In addition to the performances in the evenings the tellers also visit many of the schools on the islands during the day to give kids a taste of old time Cayman.

“Gimistory is an event for all ages, taking us back to a time when people provided their own entertainment; a time when the imagination created images more colourful than any television screen and family and friends came together at dusk to share tall tale,." Lorna Bush, Cultural Heritage Specialist at CNCF added.

Major sponsors including Cayman Airways, Harneys, Ministry of Education, Ministry of District Affairs, Tropicana Tours, The Holiday Inn, Carib Sands and the ongoing support from the Ministry of Culture.

For more information on the festival, visitwww.artscayman.org/gimistory, email culture@candw.ky or call 949-5477 for updates. See flyer below for dates, times and locations

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Suspect and complainant missing on eve of trial

| 07/11/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A Canadian national who is accused of assault in connection with a domestic dispute has left the jurisdiction the court heard Friday, along with his wife who is the complainant. Ryan Batemen, who worked in the offshore financial offshore sector as a director in his own company  was due to stand trial in the Grand Court on Tuesday for assaulting his wife. However, Amelia Fosuhene, his defence attorney, made an application before Justice Quin during the weekly mention list to come off record after she said she believed the defendant would not appear. Fosuhene said she was aware that he had left Cayman with his family.

Given the circumstances the judge granted the application and issued a bench warrant for Bateman who is understood to have missed an earlier mention date before the court. Recognising the likely futility, nevertheless the crown prosecutor, Nicole Petite, asked for the warrant to be stayed until Tuesday just in case Batemen and his wife, who is the alleged victim in the case, and the prinicple witness on which the crown will be relying, did appear.

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Police charge suspect with summer burglary

| 07/11/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A 28-year-old George Town man has been charged by detectives from the George Town police station in connection with a break-in at the Compass Building which happened on 14 August. Police said the suspect was also charged with drug related offences and was expected to appear in Summary Court. Against the backdrop of a recent spree of commercial armed robberies, which have caused considerable public concern, the police are also facing a continuous problem with breaking and entering by repeat offenders.  
 

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Dready donates significant piece to gallery

| 07/11/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A piece of work entitled Cayman Panorama – Things That Exist Only in Fading Memory, by Shane “Dready” Aquart has been given to the gallery by the artist. A large panorama of Grand Cayman it features a series of Caymanian architectural icons that he has drawn from his memories, and stretch from West Bay to North Side as if the road were linear around East End. “It is about the Caymanian landscape of my memory past and present,” he said. Dready used to visit his father in Cayman as a boy in the 1970s before returning to live here in 1994. Dready is well known for his illustrative images and characters that are digitally produced by drawing using a computer.

“The computer doesn’t draw it for me,” he explained. “I draw it using the computer tools as pencil and paint brush. Some things like painting big blocks of colour are simpler on the computer, but other things like creating nuances and contours are harder.“The true joy is that once you have drawn an image and saved it to the computer you never have to draw that image again.”

The work now forms part of the National Gallery’s Permanent Collection for generations to view and enjoy. Natalie Urquhart, Director of the National Gallery said the goal is to develop and strengthen the collection by creating opportunities for acquisition and commission of artwork while ensuring its care and conservation.

 

 

 

“We are thrilled to have Dready’s Panorama as part of the collection. The work is historically significant and captures our nostalgic vision of Grand Cayman through his singular style,” she said.

In 2013 the work was exhibited in the Dart Auditorium/Community Gallery as a 119 ft. x 7 ft. installation. It wrapped the walls and captured the imagination of many art lovers and students who visited The National Gallery.

At the same time that the larger work was created, Aquart made the 6.5 foot long replica which is now part of the National Gallery’s Permanent Collection. “From the very beginning this piece of art was inside the National Gallery and so it has stayed there – it is where it belongs.”

For more information about the National Gallery’s Permanent Collection and how you can support the programme email info@nationalgallery.org.ky or call (345) 945 8111.

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Informer pays high price

| 07/11/2014 | 52 Comments

(CNS): When Marlon Dillon was given a three year sentence Thursday for his part in the largest armed bank robbery in Cayman and a second robbery at WestStar, as a result of what was described as sustained assistance in other crimes, the court heard that Dillon had paid a high price. Described as an exceptional case, for thelast two and a half years the man has been kept in the most inhumane conditions and in solitary confinement. Unable to have visitors as his family were whisked away into witness protection, Dillon is emaciated, sick and traumatised by his experiences, yet he never asked for anything in return and committed to helping the authorities.

During the sentencing hearing that took place last month Dillon wept openly in the court, as the conditions he was being held in were revealed via video footage and still images, as his lawyer detailed his two year incarceration in a cell with no natural light. Dillon was detained in such appalling conditions as the authorities needed to protect him in order to have him testify in three different trails.

Along with the conviction of what were described as a dangerous gang of robbers involved in the CNB bank heist, in which half a million dollars was stolen, as well as the WestStar robbery, in which around $9000 was taken, Dillon assisted in the conviction of Brian Borden, a man believed to be a very dangerous criminal by police, for the killing of Mackford Bush in a gang related shooting. In both those cases he appeared in open court and testified in front of the men he was informing on.

Dillon has also assisted the police in advancing other armed robbery cases and crimes as he revealed everything he knew to the authorities. Despite all this, other than the agreement to protect him and his family from those who would now want to kill him, he has not asked for a deal regarding his sentence in exchange for his evidence.

However, despite enduring the most despicable conditions and at times being held in a cage, as Dillon leaves his solitary confinement his witness protection is in jeopardy. With a recorded conviction Dillon may not be able to join his family overseas as he will not be able to get the necessary travel papers.

During his sentencing ruling Justice Charles Quin had highlighted the invaluable assistance that Dillon had offered and gave the substantial discount on what would likely have been at least an eight year sentence and pointed out that it was to demonstrate to criminals that it is worth their while to help law enforcement when they are caught.

He noted how much Dillon had suffered, as the conditions he had been held were far worse than those prisoners would expect even in Northward. The police commissioner and the UK prison inspectorate has also described the cell where Dillon was kept for the best part of two and a half years as not fit for human habitation.

Dillon’s decision to tell the police everything was also spurred by his remorse, according to the probation and his defence attorneys. Despite being advised on numerous occasions that he did not have to do what he was doing, given the great risk, Dillon persisted with his extensive and sustained cooperation.

Prior to the crimes, which took place over a five week period in 2011, Dillon had no criminal history at all. He was a 28 year old married man who was living a quiet lawful life. But at some point he was sucked into a criminal gang. He acted as the getaway driver in the West Star heist and was paid just $400 but he was then cajoled into taking part in the now infamous bank robbery at CNB.

Had Dillon not testified against his fellow criminals however, the police would have struggled to get the gang of armed robbers behind bars as their convictions were based almost entirely on Dillon’s testimony, which was corroborated by other circumstantial evidence. He also directed police in the extradition from Jamaica of one of the bank robbers who was caught and arrested there with around $40,000 from the robbery in his car, helping the crown to secure the wider convictions of the gang.

As the judge handed down the three year sentence to Dillon, paving the way for his imminent release, Dillon once again demonstrated his remorse as he expressed his apologies to the court and the people of the Cayman Islands. Admitting that this all came about because he had been hanging with the wrong people, he said hewas deeply sorry for what he had done.

He vowed to do everything he could to live a valuable life and choose the right path forward.
In light of his apology, the judge expressed his hope that he would be reunited with his family, as he noted the heavy price the defendant had paid for what he said was “a crazy five weeks and you have paid heavily for those five weeks.”

As Dillon prepares to leave his solitary confinement and arrangements are now made for his removal from the jurisdiction, the offenders he helped to convict are appealing those convictions. David Tamasa, Andre Burton, Ryan Edwards, will argue against their convictions in the West Star case beginning Tuesday in Court One. Then, starting Monday 17 November the three men will be joined by Rennie Cole and George Mignott as all five argue against their conviction and sentence in the CNB robbery.

See related story on CNS:  Supergrass-go-free

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Lawyer battles for WB road

| 07/11/2014 | 69 Comments

(CNS): Anthony Akiwumi battled for several hours on Wednesday to keep alive hopes that the West Bay Road could be reclaimed for the people of Cayman. Grilled by a panel of three judges during an appeal hearing the local attorney argued that the timeline technicality that had seen the legal action filed by four West Bay ladies rejected in the lower court before the merits of the case were considered, was wrong. He said the judge shouldn’t have begun his calculation on the date that the NRA agreement was signed in December 2011 as that was a closed door –deal the details of which were not made public until after road was formally closed.

Given the clandestine nature of the entire deal government made with Dart and the lack of a clear starting point the lawyer argued it was unfair of the courts not to consider their case on its merits.

The women represent a much wider group of local people that believe the manner in which the government, at the time, entered into an agreement to close theroad was wrong. They say that at the very least there should have been public consultation as this historic road had been in use formally for at least two generations and there is historical evidence that it was used as a public highway for over 100 years.

While not taking issue with the construction of the by-pass or the development of the hotel or other property, their position is that the road should not have been closed and that other measures could have been adopted to link the new hotel to the beach.

The legal action the woman took in the courts, on numerous grounds, was however, rejected on the basis that the judge took the view that the decision that the woman are taking action actions was the NRA deal signed in December 2011 so when they filed their action in February 2013 they were out of time.

However, they have argued that it is not possible to use December as a starting point as the deal at that point was believed to be contingent on other factors not least the value for money report by PWC. And more importantly no one had seen the document to know exactly what the terms of the deal were.

The appeal court heard that government was legally bound by the agreement from the get go. While it could have withdrawn from the agreement during the review period it would have been obligated to Dart to cover all of its costs. But once the review period was over government was locked in despite that the value for money report or the deal itself had been made public. The ladies found themselves between a rock and a hard place during the appeal, as the panel of judges pressed Akiwumi to say what was the trigger point for the poor government decision that they say has breached their rights, if not December 2011, as it had not been spelt out in the pleadings.

The local attorney was also forced to argue the crown’s appeal against the findings by the court that the ladies could bring the action as they did as oppose to a judicial review pointing to the specific and rather unique sections of the Cayman Islands constitution that convey government with a responsibility to act fairly and lawfully in its actions which goes beyond the rights of the public to challenge government decisions via judicial review.

The arguments between the parties over the technicalities of the women’s case rather than the merits took more than five hours and the panel said it would reserve its decision until 21 November at the end of the winter court of appeal session.

Should the decision be in the ladies favour they will be given the chance to press the merits of their case in the Grand Court. If not having funded this appeal action with their own resources and donations it may now be the end of the road.

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