Archive for November 17th, 2014

CNB robbers say witness lied

| 17/11/2014 | 10 Comments

(CNS): Five men convicted of Cayman’s largest ever bank robbery appeared in the dock in the Court of Appeal Monday arguing that their conviction by a jury over 18 months ago is not safe. The gang was convicted of robbing around a half million dollars from the Cayman National Bank in Buckingham Square at gunpoint, largely on the evidence of Marlon Dillon, a ‘supergrass’ who was also convicted in the same crime. He pleaded guilty and, after his arrest hours after the daylight heist, agreed to give evidence against the men he said were his accomplices. But lawyers representing David Tamasa, Rennie Cole, Andre Burton, George Mignot and Ryan Edwards argued that Dillon had lied from the moment of his arrest and throughout the trial.

Describing Dillon’s evidence as flawed and contradictory, the lawyers listed a number of reasons why the convictions are unsafe.

The defence teams argued today before the panel of three judges that Dillon lied about who he had committed the robbery with. They also argued that the judge failed to give proper directions to the jury on a number of issues and that evidence relating to the WestStar robbery that also involved Dillon and for which he named most of the same men as participants should have been before the court during the trial.

Sighting the constantly changing testimony of the ‘supergrass’, as Dillon has been named by his own attorneys, and noting the contradictory statements, the lawyers said that Dillon was not a credible witness. They said every time he was confronted with the inconsistencies and obvious inaccuracies in his story he would change the narrative to suit the new circumstances.

One attorney even noted that the names Dillon was coming up with could very well have been as a result of suggestions from the police. The RCIPS was heavily criticised about the way they had handled Dillon from the start and what was described, and accepted by the crown prosecutors, as the unlawful pressure applied to him after his arrest to tell the investigators who his fellow robbers were.

Last week lawyers argued the case against the convictions of Tamasa and Burton, who were convicted of a robbery at the WestStar offices in George Town, where masked gunmen got away with over $8000 a month before the bank heist which took place in June 2012.

The appeal court judges have not yet made any decisions in that case and they continue to hear arguments in the CNB robbery tomorrow.

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Mercuryman triathlon will put athletes to the test

| 17/11/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Organisers of the 2015 Mercuryman race set for 15 January are expecting to attract some big names in the endurance sport world to Cayman for the event. The race is a half ironman distance triathlon, and the only one of its kind in Cayman. Top names in the triathlon world will be competing against Cayman’s own athletes in the gruelling event that will see contestants swim for 1.2 mile swim, cycle for 56 miles and then run for 3.1 miles. The three elements of the race all start and end in the area of the Reef Resort in East End. Organisers said are expecting Lisa Ribes, Pedro Gomes and Lesley Smith to return after competing last year along with a host of other big names in the sport.

These include Canadian triathlete Angela Naeth, a ten-time 70.3 Ironman Champion known for her prowess on the bike. Bree Wee 70.3 and Ironman champion from Hawaii, Leanda Cave, the 2012 Ironman Triathlon and Ironman 70.3 World Champion, the first woman in the history of the sport to win both titles in the same year, Kim Schwabenbauer a triathlon coach and dietitian who has several podium finishes in Ironman and has competed multiple times in the Ironman World Champion and Canadian triathlete Jennifer Lentzke who is new to the professional circuit has achieved multiple top 10 finishes in the 2014 season.

Trevor Murphy, Race Director, said this year’s event is set to be huge.

“Mercuryman triathlon has attracted some of the biggest names in the sport because we offer an excellent location in which to participate,” he said. “Triathletes can enjoy Cayman’s pleasant tropical climate, clear and warm waters, good roads for cycling and running and an all-round excellent destination which athletes and their families can enjoy during their post-race vacation.”

The 2015 Mercuryman event is being dubbed ‘Race for a Cause’ because organisers have pledged the bulk of the proceeds to be donated to the Estella Scotts Roberts Foundation, along with a donation to East End Primary School.

Murphy said it was important for the event to give back to the community.

“The 2015 Mercuryman promises to be one of the sporting highlights of the year for not only the Cayman Islands, but the Caribbean region, as well as internationally, which means we are able to spotlight the ESRF to a wide audience, an organisation that promotes gender equality and a life free of violence, for all, an extremely worthwhile cause,” he said. “In addition, the race will take place in East End of the Island, so we couldn’t think of a better recipient of some of the proceeds than East End Primary School, which has been a part of the event since its inception. The children volunteer on the run course interacting with the athletes and see first-hand the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. The organisers also visit the school each year.”

Murphy also noted that the race still need support from sponsors and encouraged them to take advantage of what he described as a “very visible, high profile sporting event”.

He added, “Valuable sponsorship opportunities are still available for organisations both local and international, to partner with one of the most unique and challenging endurance events on the Cayman sports calendar. Don’t miss your chance to promote and grow sport in the Cayman Islands and at the same time help to raise funds for organisations associated with children, gender equality and education.”
 

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Local show-jumpers lose lead in Jamaica round

| 17/11/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Cayman’s riders lost the top spot in a regional show-jumping contest last weekend when borrowed horses proved challenging in the final leg in Jamaica. Nevertheless the team held on to second place alongside Barbados in the Caribbean Equestrian Association’s Junior Show Jumping Competition which was won by Jamaica. Cayman’s riders were in joint first with the hosts when they arrived in Kingston but refusals and falls eroded the Cayman rider’s chances of taking the title.  Phoebe Serpell represented Cayman in the Under 16 category and Chloe Fowler was the under 14 team representative who joined six other riders on the jumps.

Jamaica provided eight horses for the riders who had to ride each of the four horses in their category over a show jumping course. The four rides required of each rider were split over two days of competition.

The CEIF said that borrowed horse competitions are always challenging for riders and the host team has the advantage as the riders know the horses. But with each leg of the contest set in each of the competing countries country eachteam gets the opportunity to have the advantage .

On the first day of competition, in Kingston Serpell picked up eight faults in the first round and went clear in the second round. Her teammate, Fowler, fell from a challenging horse in her first round. Although unhurt, the fall resulted in an elimination attracting 25 faults. In her second round, Fowler hada clear round, the CEIF said in a release.

On day two, Fowler got two time faults in her first round, resulting in a total of six faults. Her second round was clear.  Serpell had a challenging horse in her first round who refused the fences twice, resulting in an elimination for Serpell attracting 25 faults. In her second round, she also went clear.

Jamaica led throughout the competition and when the points were totaled for round 4 of the competition, Jamaica was first, Barbados came in second with Trinidad third and Cayman in fourth place. Serpell placed 4th in the under 16 category and Fowler placed 3rd in the under 14 category.

However once added to the tallies for the entire competition Cayman iied for second with Barbados while Trinidad came in last.

Over the course of the year the Cayman Team has included five young riders. In the under 16s Isabelle Smith and Phoebe Serpell and in the under 14s Madeleine Aquart, Hannah and Chloe Fowler were jumping for their country. Thea Millward was a team reserve.
Mary Alberga, the National Coach, who accompanied the girls to Jamaica, said Serpel and Folwer are at the younger end of the age bracket in the categories they are competing.

“They both did well and I think they learned a lot. This kind of competition is great experience and we look forward to seeing these two talents grow in the competition in 2015. I am pleased that a number of different riders were able to represent Cayman this year and all five girls in the team during the year contributed to this win. It’s a good result and yet gives us something to work on for next year when we hope to retake the title,” she added.

The CIEF’s next show is on Sunday 23 November at 8am at the Equestrian Centre on Linford Pierson Highway. Riders will be competing in the first of four legs of the National Jumping Championship and jumping courses ranging from 0.6m to 1.2m high. Entry is free and refreshments are available for purchase.
 

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Bodden Town battle draw with South Sound Schools

| 17/11/2014 | 0 Comments

(CUC-PFL): It was another exciting day of games this past Saturday, November 15 in the 2014/2015 CUC Primary Football League (PFL) and Girls’ Primary Football League (GPFL). For the second week in a row, hosts Bodden Town Primary were again involved in a thriller in their Under 11 match-up with South Sound Schools. The visitors took the lead in the 19th minute when Jake Booker blasted in a close range effort. Bodden Town’s top marksman Jacobi Tugman and captain on the day Shaqkeem Williams were finding it difficult to break down the well-drilled South Sound Schools midfield and defence led by Will Dyer and Brandon Jackson.

In the second half, young Tugman finally found his goal scoring form and equalised in the 34th minute. A minute later, South Sound Schools took the lead again when Jake Booker scored his second of the day. South Sound’s Thiy-Ru Nixon made it 3-1 in the 53rd minute.
Jacobi Tugman pulled his team back into the match in the 54th minute after a dazzling solo run. Just when it seemed South Sound Schools would leave the former capital with a 3-2 victory, young Tugman completed his second hat-trick in the space of two weeks when he scored from a free kick in the final minute of the game.

With a total of six goals scored, it was the defenders from both schools who stood out. For Bodden Town Primary, Tennyson Bodden and goalkeeper Charles Ebanks had excellent games and for South Sound Schools, Brandon Jackson was his usual consistent self and goalkeeper Ryan Bennett made some wonderful saves to keep the Bodden Town scorers at bay.

In the Under 9 game between the two schools, Bodden Town Primary scored three goals in the first half in a 3-0 victory. Jaiden Bolt scored twice in the 13th and 18th minutes and Danahi Tatum added the third in the 20th minute.

Other PFL results in Group B included Prospect Primary 2 vs. Red Bay Primary 1 (Under 9); Prospect Primary 0 vs. Red Bay Primary 3 (Under 11); Cayman Prep 6 vs. Triple C 0 (Under 11); Cayman Prep 2 vs. Triple C 1 (Under 11) and NorthEast Schools 7 vs. Cayman Brac 1 (Under 11).In Group B games in the CUC Girls’ Primary Football League (GPFL) it was Prospect Primary 5 vs. Red Bay Primary 0 and Cayman Prep 6 vs. Triple C 0.

In Group A of the PFL, it was Savannah Primary 6 vs. Truth For Youth 0 (Under 9); Savannah Primary 2 vs. Truth For Youth 0 (Under 11); George Town Primary 2 vs. Cayman International School 4 (Under 9) and George Town 0 vs. Cayman International School 4 (Under 11).
In the lone GPFL Group A game it was George Town Primary 0 vs. Cayman International School 2. The 2014/2015 CUC PFL and GPFL regular season continues on Saturday, November 22 with games at St. Ignatius Prep, Cayman Prep, Triple C, Prospect Primary, the Old Man Bay Field in North Side and the Annex Field.
 

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Scepticism raised over government’s accounts

| 17/11/2014 | 20 Comments

(CNS): The pat on the back that government was giving itself last week over improvements in the public accounts have not convinced everyone that it is close to addressing the mammoth decade-long failure to account for how it spends tax payers' money. The president of the Chamber of Commerce and the independent member for North Side have both indicated some doubt that the Cayman Islands Government is out of the woods yet, adding to the broader skepticism in the community about the issue, as evidenced by the comments on CNS, social media and other public forum.

For the first time since the introduction of the Public Management and Finance Law in 2004, the Ministry of Community Affairs and the Ministry of Tourism managed to avoid an adverse opinion or disclaimer. For a decade these and other core government entities’ accounts have been almost un-auditable and the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) has had to disclaim them or give adverse opinions spelling out the catalogue of problems about why the accounts cannot be trusted.

However not everyone has been overly impressed.

Johann Moxam, the president of the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce, said that after ten years the revelations that all 41 government entities managed to submit their accounts within the deadline set out in the law and that two managed to get unqualified opinions was some progress but it was only a small step.

"It means the civil servants in those two entities, the Ministry of Community Affairs and the Portfolio of the Civil Service are doing their jobs properly and demonstrating improved accountability, which can be congratulated,” Moxam told CNS. “This is a small step in the right direction. But let's be candid, the Cayman Islands Government has a long road ahead in order to achieve full compliance with the PMFL.”

He said that the goal must be the timely completion of all financial statements submitted without any qualified or adverse opinions by the auditor general and his team.

“A new standard for accountability must be set and the Chamber Council supports every effort by the Ministry of Finance and the Cayman Islands Government to achieve tangible success. Every government needs unqualified and timely financial statements submitted so that they can make informed decisions regarding how to budget, forecast revenues and plan its expenses. We look forward to receiving good news of real progress,” Moxam added.

Ezzard Miller tried in vain when he was chair of the Public Accounts Committee, the legislative body that government bean counters are supposed to report to, to impose sanctions on government accountants who were failing to produce the records. He said he was happy to see that the two entities had finally managed to take the step but said someone still had to take the responsibility to get things right across the board.

“I am hoping that the bragging and the boasting will not reduce the pressure to get it done,” he said. “I think it is really premature and not that much to brag about if only two out of more than 40 have managed to get it right. Perhaps had it been the other way round government may have had something to really brag about.”

Miller noted that the government announcement came outside the normal process of the reports as it should have come via the auditor to the PAC and he wondered if government was grasping the potential good news ahead of what will be more bad news from the auditor once his work was done.

CNS has contacted the OAG for comment regarding the government’s claims that two ministries for the first time in ten years managed to get one qualified and one unqualified audit after years of disclaimers. We are awaiting a response and confirmation that he has written to the deputy governor lauding the progress.

See related story on CNS: CIG-brags-clean-audits

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Police encourage community watches to tackle crime

| 17/11/2014 | 4 Comments

(CNS): Chief Inspector Brad Ebanks, the RCIPS commander for the Eastern Districts, is urging people to come together to form Neighbourhood watches to help in the fight against crime. Most recently Senior Police Constable Clifford Garcia, and PCs Cornelius Pompey and  Brian Jameson attended a meeting with the newly formed Silver Thatch Residential Community in Northward, Bodden Town, where community members, coordinated by Terry Nathan, have come together to form the crime fighting watch. The officers delivered a presentation on crime prevention and demonstrated property marking. 

CI Ebanks commended the residents for their commitment, in partnership with the RCIPS.

Residents are asked to contact their nearest police station to arrange similar Neighbourhood Watch meetings.

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Careless driver avoids jail

| 17/11/2014 | 46 Comments

(CNS): A woman who pleaded guilty to careless driving after she hit a pedestrian on the East-West Arterial some three years ago was given 240 hours of community service and a six month driving ban last week. Patrice Frederick was driving a Mazda Atenza when she struck Annette Andrade as she walked along the roadside with a friend at around 6pm on 6 January 2011. The women sustained life threatening injuries, including a cracked skull, fractured ribs, shoulder and wrist, as well as a serious road rash and lacerations. It was not clear how Frederick came to hit the victim, who was exercising in the designated lane for pedestrians and cyclists, as no cause was ever identified.

When the police arrived at the scene, Frederick told them she did not know what had happened and that all she had heard was the bang. There was no mechanical fault, the driver had not been drinking, nor was there any evidence of speeding, and the accident reconstruction expert determined that it was driver error.

Minutes before she struck the pedestrian, Frederic was using her phone but the record showed that she had ended that call well before the impact.

It was more than a year, however, before the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions indicted Frederick for dangerous driving on 21 March 2012, based on the allegation that she was on the phone at or about the time she hit the walker.

Having admitted striking the pedestrian but denying being on the phone at the time she ran down Andrade, Frederic offered to plead guilty to careless driving – a lesser offence. This was rejected by the crown, however, and a date was set for trial.

But following a review of the file earlier this year, Toyin Salako noted the records showing when Frederic had ended her call, which was some minutes before she struck the pedestrian, and as a result accepted the plea to careless driving in August. Frederick admitted that she failed to “pay sufficient attention to the roadway” but has said she can only speculate about what had distracted her. 

During his sentencing ruling, the judge pointed out that had the investigating officers taken the time to examine the phone records sooner the case could have been disposed of two years ago.

Justice Charles Quin said that in previous cases he had highlighted the need for investigating officers to liaise closely with prosecutors.

“I understand that it was only after crown counsel Toyin Salako took over conduct of this case this summer that this vital telephone evidence was carefully examined. The court appreciates that the RCIPS officers have many difficult tasks. However, this delay could have been avoided if the investigating officers and crown counsel with conduct of the case had given more careful and consistent attention to the important telephone evidence in the investigation,” he stated.

Considering the remorse and the fact that Frederick had accepted full responsibility for the collision, given her clean driving record, no criminal record at all, and the fact that Andrade’s medical expenses were all covered, the court opted for a community service-based sentence. It was accepted that the only aggravating circumstances of the case were the very serious injuries suffered by Andrade.

As a result Frederick was directed to serve 240 hours during the next 12 months as directed by the probation officer. She was also given a six month driving ban.

Justice Quin pointed out that in recent years there had been an increase in careless and dangerous driving cases, as he warned drivers to take more care at the wheel.

“It is absolutely imperative that motorists ensure that cyclist, runners and, as in this case, pedestrians can use the road in the sure knowledge that they will be safe,” the judge said.

Editors Note: At the request of the court CNS has been asked to point out to readers that a conviction of Careless Driving is very different from Dangerous Driving. In accordance with the UK sentencing guidelines which have been adopted by the local Court of Appeal, "Where the level of carelessness is low and there are no aggravating factors even the fact that death was caused by careless driving is not sufficient to justify a prison sentence."

The maximum sentence under the traffic law is a fine of $1000 or imprisonment for six months and a maximum ban of twelve months. 

 

 

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Bodden Town captain eyes up competition

| 17/11/2014 | 0 Comments

(CIFA): Despite watching ten-man Singapore U-23 lose the opener of the Ocean Football Confederation (OFC) President’s Cup, Bodden Town FC Captain Ramon Sealy is not taking their opponent lightly. Bodden Town open their campaign, Wednesday at the Trusts Arena against Singapore, so Sealy and his team arrived early, watched closely and took notes, as their Group A counterparts kicked off the tournament. At the end of ninety minutes, Auckland City FC cruised to a 4-0 victory over the Singapore, who played the majority of the match with ten men. In his post match observation Sealy said, “The early red really affected Singapore, allowing Auckland to move the ball and keep possession well.”

Sealy, a graduate of the University of West Florida gave credit to Singapore’s resilience in the face of adversity. “It’s hard work going down to ten men early, but I still feel like Singapore will be a difficult team to face.”

Sealy who has represented the Cayman Islands internationally in football and cricket believes the conditions are perfect for his team to perform. “We have to work hard, knock the ball around and not worry about what the other team is doing. Working hard, communicating with each other and focusing on our task will help us be victorious.”

With less than 48 hours to go before their opening match, the Bodden Town players expressed excitement with the opportunity to compete in front an appreciative crowd at the world class Trusts Arena. “It’s a tremendous honour for me and the Bodden Town team to be here,” Sealy said. “The field at the stadium is of absolute quality. The field allows for us to knock the ball well which plays to our style.”

Bodden Town tackles Singapore and Auckland FC in Group A.

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