Archive for December 8th, 2014

Premier dodges CoP issue

| 08/12/2014 | 43 Comments

(CNS): The country’s leader dodged the issue relating to the police commissioner Monday when he made his first public comment about David Baines presiding over the recruitment of a Jamaican police officer charged with murder. Speaking in the Legislative Assembly, Premier Alden McLaughlin said that he and the government were “very conscious of the concerns” relating to the commissioner’s performance and the callsby for him to be removed from office but called on his political colleagues to “exercise restraint”. The premier made no comment onwhether he believed the police boss should resign but admitted the revelation was shocking.

McLaughlin said the police commissioner is appointed by the governor and since she is away for another week following the trip to London for the Joint Ministerial Council, he asked the parliament to wait for him to talk with her about the issue and give her the chance to address the concerns.

In a short statement he referred to Bernie Bush’s proposal to bring a private member's motion calling for a declaration of no confidence in the commissioner from the Legislative Assembly. The premier said he had grave doubts about the constitutionality of such a motion but acknowledged it was an example of the strength of feeling in relation to Commissioner Baines.

“Despite the emotive nature of this matter, I urge all members of the House to exercise restraint in what is said and done in relation to this issue and to not act pre-emptively. If we act in haste we are likely to repent at our own expense,” he said, falling short of offering the commissioner his continued support. He did, however, acknowledge that the news that a now convicted murderer had been working in the RCIPS was “shocking”.

“The commissioner is appointed by the governor and does not fall under the remit of the elected government. Her Excellency is currently out of office and will not return until next Monday. I ask all members of this House to exercise patience to enable me to discuss this matter with Her Excellency the Governor and to give her the opportunity to address the concerns raised,” he added.

In a further statement to the Legislative Assembly, the premier, who is responsible for home affairs, pointed to several other uncomfortable issues in his ministry this week, including the suspension of the chief immigration officer, Linda Evans, and the director of immigration boards, Kimberly Davis. He also noted the revelation and resignation of an officer who was recruited to the prison service with an undeclared criminal record.

As well as the suspension of the two senior immigration officials, he noted that a third was facing charges in the court this summer. Although he did not name anyone, it is understood he was referring to Deputy Chief Immigration Officer Gary Wong, who is facing a drinking and driving charge.

“While I do not want to get into specifics, it has been noted that two top immigration department officials are on paid suspension and a third faces charges before our court system next year,” the premier said in his first public discussion of some of the issues facing his ministry.

He also noted that his own political assistant had been placed on required leave as a result of charges in the court. Although Kenneth Bryan is not a civil servant, the premier told the LA that he was following the example laid out by the civil service as there is no formal protocol for political appointees. 

Despite what he described as his great concern over the issues, he said that he was “satisfied that the appropriate actions have been taken in each instance” and said he expected thorough and efficient investigations.

McLaughlin said he wanted to assure the country that the Progressives-led Administration was doing all that it could to continue to restore and maintain the good name of the Cayman Islands.

“In so doing will dig deep when allegations are made of wrongdoing,” he said. ”Placing our employees on administrative leave in no way implies their guilt of any accusation. It is a formality to protect them and the integrity of each investigation. This government will continue to take seriously and investigate any and all reports of maladministration and misconduct. If we cannot restore the faith of all in the Cayman Islands, then we have failed to do what was mandated of us in the polls in May 2013.”

See related stories on CNS:

Officer resigns from jail

MLA aims to bring down CoP

Immigration boss suspended

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Passport problem not resolved

| 08/12/2014 | 15 Comments

(CNS): The UK’s planned implementation of the repatriation and centralization of passports for its territories has been delayed again, the premier told the Legislative Assembly Monday morning when he reported on his trip to London last week for the Joint Ministerial Council meeting. Alden McLaughlin said the date had been pushed back to May next year, and until the repatriation was complete, the local passport office would still manufacture Cayman passports from its current stock. But he warned that stocks are running out and may be finished by the time the UK implements the new system and said that the FCO had still not sorted out the issue of Cayman issuing its own emergency passports after repatriation.

The premier said there was nothing he could do about the UK’s he decision to repatriate and centralize all passports, including those for the overseas territories. He said it was made unilaterally by the Home Office without any consultation with Cayman or other overseas territories and long before the PPM took office.

“As I have reported before, we have been able to ensure that aspects of a BOTC passport, such as the name of the territory on the front remains,” he said. “We have also had robust talks with HMG regarding timeframes for the manufacturing of the new passports to ensure that this is done as fast as possible and also for the Cayman Passport Office to maintain control over the actual issuing of passports. And we also raised the concern regarding the need for Cayman and other OTs to be able to provide emergency passports when needed.

“The issue of emergency passport issuance is, however, still outstanding. I made strong representation to the Home Office and the FCO that this must be treated as a priority,” he added.

McLaughlin said the Home Office acknowledged the need and has agreed to send a small number of officials involved with the repatriation project to Cayman early next year. The premier said that he had also requested that the issue is added to the agenda at a meeting the CIG will have with the FCO early in the New Year.

Among the other issues dealt with was the beneficial ownership register. McLaughlin said all of the territories had stood firm and there will be no centralized public territories register relating to the offshore sector any time soon. (See full story on this issue on CNS Business tomorrow).

Many other issues, from environment to public finances, were also on the agenda and the premier said much of the discussions were useful, though the OTs and the UK did not always agree. Though in the end he said there was more agreement than not and a final joint communiqué was produced.

“Regardless of what some may think, the relationship between the OTs, CDs and the UK remains mutually beneficial. The UK benefits in many ways from the relationship, including in meeting its environmental obligations, as the OTs have some of the most bio-diverse environments around, in fact accounting for more than 90% of such bio-diversity found within the UK and its Territories. And similarly, the OTs, including Cayman, also benefit from historic and constitutional arrangements,” he said.

Reviewing the week-long trip, McLaughlin said members would see from the communiqué, which was laid on the table at the Legislative Assembly, that many areas were covered during the week of discussions and side meetings, including acknowledging the obligations of the UK to its territories, the protection of children, enhancing the economies of the OTs, matters concerning the environment, required major projects, security and crime and other matters.

He said the 2014-15 roadmap includes working jointly to raise international standards to tackle money laundering, tax evasion, illicit finance and corruption. It also implores the UK government to explore with international partners how territories can engage directly to commission technical and policy supports to introduce renewable energy sources. Another roadmap mandate was the ratification of multilateral environmental agreements.

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Retrial in child killing case set for summer

| 08/12/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A West Bay man will be tried for the second time this summer for the murder of a 4-year-old child in February 2010. On Friday morning Devon Anglin (29) entered not guilty pleas for the second time to the murder of Jeremiah Barnes, the attempted murder of Andy Barnes and possession of an unlicensed firearm, as a new three week trial was fixed for July. Jeremiah was killed while sitting in the back of his family’s car whena masked gunman opened fire at a gas station on Hell Road. The crown claimed the gunman was Devon Anglin, who was trying to shoot gang rival Andy Barnes, the child’s father, but he was acquitted following a judge alone trial in August 2011.

The crown waited over 18 months to learn that its appeal to overturn that decision had succeeded. The appeal court decision was delivered last month, when the president announced that the crown’s appeal was allowed, as the judge had erred in his review of the evidence.

As a result, the higher court ordered a retrial. Anglin appeared in court on Friday and when the charges were read he again denied being the gunman who had opened fire on the Barnes’ car as it was parked on the forecourt of the West Bay station.

When Anglin returns to the dock for the re-trial, it will be more than five years since the incident but the case depends heavily on the eye-witness evidence of both Andy Barnes and his wife, Dorlisa Barnes, both of whom said that Anglin was the man they saw shoot them, along with CCTV footage taken from the gas station.

The judge had, however, rejected both of the Barnes’ evidence and instead favoured the witness evidence given by a gas pump attendant, which conflicted with the evidence given by Barnes and that of the CCTV. 

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First round of PFL playoffs take centre stage

| 08/12/2014 | 0 Comments

CUC-PFL): The first round of the 2014/2015 CUC Primary Football League (PFL) Playoffs concluded this past Saturday at the Annex Field with eight games in the Under 9 and Under 11 Champions Cups. In the PFL Under 9 Champions Cup, it was Cayman International 2 vs. Prospect Primary 2; Sir John A. Cumber 3 vs. Red Bay Primary 0; Savannah Primary 5 vs. NorthEast Schools 0 and defending Under 9 Champions Cayman Prep 6 vs. St. Ignatius Prep 0. In the Under 11 Champions Cup, it was Truth For Youth 1 vs. NorthEast Schools 1; Triple C 3 vs. Sir John A. Cumber 1; Red Bay Primary 2 vs. St. Ignatius Prep 1 and defending Under 11 Champions Cayman Prep 2 vs. Savannah Primary 2.

In the semi finals of the Girls’ Primary Football League (GPFL), Sir John A. Cumber Primary defeated Cayman Prep 2-1 and St. Ignatius Prep scored in the final two minutes of their game with NorthEast Schools to register a 1-0 win and a place in this Saturday’s final.

Play in the second round of the Playoffs takes place this Saturday, December 13 with games in the Under 9 and Under 11 Consolation and Champions Cups along with the final and third-placed games in the GPFL.
In the PFL Under 9 Consolation Cup, Truth For Youth will play Bodden Town Primary at 9:00 am and George Town Primary take on Triple C at 10:00 am.

In the Under 9 Champions Cup, it’s Cayman International School vs. Cayman Prep (9:00 am); St. Ignatius Prep vs. Prospect Primary (10:00 am); Savannah Primary vs. Red Bay Primary (11:00 am) and Sir John A. Cumber Primary vs. NorthEast Schools (11:00 am).

In the Under 11 Consolation Cup, Cayman International School face South Sound Schools at 12:15 pm and George Town Primary play Bodden Town Primary at 1:30 pm.

In the Under 11 Champions Cup, it’s Truth For Youth vs. Cayman Prep (12:15 pm); Sir John A. Cumber vs. NorthEast Schools (1:30 pm); St. Ignatius Prep vs. Triple C (2:45 pm) and Savannah Primary vs. Red Bay Primary (2:45 pm).

In the GPFL, Sir John A. Cumber face St. Ignatius Prep in the final and Cayman Prep will battle NorthEast Schools for third place at 4:00 pm.
Special thanks to our young officials Shakur Welcome, Matthew Suberan and Collin Redden for handling all the first round games.

Games this Saturday, December 13 will mark the final set of Playoff games before the Christmas break. Games resume on Saturday, January 10.  Fans of ‘the powerful game’ are invited to the Annex Field this Saturday for another extremely exciting day of youth football action.

 

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Judge throws out weak drug case following re-trial

| 08/12/2014 | 14 Comments

(CNS): A Jamaican national who had been previously convicted, in his absence, of drug trafficking was acquitted Wednesday due to lack of evidence. Danien Cecil Henry was found guilty of drug trafficking in 2009 in Summary Court. After he was recaptured in 2013 following his escape from George Town police station, he began serving an 11 year sentence. But after applying for and achieving a successful appeal in the Grand Court, the verdict was overturned and a new trial ordered, which took place last week. The retrial ended in a not guilty verdict half way through, when Justice Malcolm Swift threw out the case and directed the jury to acquit, following a no case submission.

Henry (33) was accused of supplying more than 20 cocaine pellets in 2008 to a witness who had swallowed and transported them to the Cayman Islands from Jamaica. The witness, Dean Bayley, was later arrested and gave evidence against Henry. Bayley admitted smuggling the drugs but claimed Henry talked him into carrying more than 66 grams of cocaine. He was sentenced to three-and-a-half years following his guilty plea.

Justice Swift threw out the crown's case, which was based entirely on Bayley’s word with no corroborating evidence.  The court heard that the evidence was full of inconsistencies and described by Swift as “not satisfactory” in order to justly convict Henry.

The defence attorney in the case, Guy Dillaway-Parry, had suggested the case against Henry was in the first place unjustifiable because there was no supporting evidence, as he pointing to major weaknesses in the police investigation.

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Lawyer claims nothing new in cold case

| 08/12/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): As Courtney Griffiths QCsummarised the case for Leonard Ebanks, who has denied killing Swiss Banker Frederic Bise, the lawyer said nothing had changed in the evidence regarding the case since the original investigation, when the police believed then there was insufficient evidence against his client. The only thing that was different now, Griffiths told the court on Friday, was that his client had in the interim been tried and convicted of another murder. Griffiths said there was not a single shred of new evidence against Ebanks in this case that the cops did not have in 2010, when he was not even arrested because the evidence was so scant. But now, on the same evidence, his client was charged with a murder he had nothing to do with.

As a result of Ebanks' early conviction for the fatal shooting of Tyrone Burrell in September 2010 largely being based on an alleged confession he made to a helper who worked in the yard where Burrell was killed, the lawyer said that the crown knew that the jury would hear about his existing conviction. He said that Ebanks was forced to talk about that killing when he took the stand in this case, and as a result the police knew he would be an easy target.

Although the crown had insisted there was no conspiracy to try and frame an innocent man, Griffiths said there was not a shred of real evidence against his client. The entire case is based on the contradictory and inconsistence evidence given by the helper, who claimed Ebanks confessed to her on several occasions, and a former girlfriend, who said he had confessed to her once. 

Despite the fundamentals of their stories being similar and the women allegedly were not known to each other, Griffiths pointed out that the women could very easily have colluded in their stories as they live just yards apart. Ebanks’ ex-girlfriend went to the police on the night he left her to go back to his wife and the helper made herstatement of an alleged confession only after she had already become a paid protected witness.

With no other eye witnesses, no forensic evidence, a considerable amount of speculation by the crown on what actually happened to Bise after he left Kelly’s bar with Chad Anglin in the early morning hours of 8 February, Griffiths told the jury that they should not convict his client as he wasn’t there and knew nothing about the murder.

He pressed home the fact that even when the cold case team took over the investigation and conducted what was supposedly a thorough investigation, after allegations that the first one was “unsatisfactory”, he said no new evidence came to light. He pointed out that one police officer had dismissed the allegations made by Ebanks’ former lover as possibly malicious.

The lawyer noted that even with the second alleged confession evidence from the helper two years later, police said evidence was still insufficient to charge Ebanks.

Griffiths noted that a criminal trial is not a “beauty contest” and he was not asking the jury to like his client, who was an admitted drug addict and criminal. But he pointed out that the verdict they returned had to be based on the evidence and the only true verdict was one of not guilty.

Justice Charles Quin, the presiding judge in the case, will be summing up the evidence for the jury Monday morning and directing them in the law. Ebanks has been charged with murder but the jury will also be offered the alternative count of aiding and abetting.

Chad Anglin has already been convicted of killing the Swiss banker after he was seen on CCTV with the victim at Kelly’s bar in West Bay and seen by witnesses leaving the bar with Bise. Anglin’s DNA was also found at the victim's house on cigarette butts and his car.

The crown claims that Ebanks assisted Anglin to murder Bise with a concrete block, possible in the Barkers area. The crown says the men then drove around West Bay with the body in the back of the vehicle before the car was returned to the house in Mount Pleasant, where Bise was living, and set it alight.

Although the crown did not set out a clear and precise motive, it has claimed that Bise, who was gay and living and increasingly risky lifestyle, had entered into a sex for money arrangement with Anglin and Ebanks on the night he was killed.

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Premier’s political assistant charged in cop altercation

| 08/12/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Kenneth Bryan, the premier’s political assistant, was charged by the RCIPS on Friday as a result of an argument he had with a police officer in a nightclub parking lot after he tried to prevent the officer from arresting the wrong man. Bryan, who has denied the allegations, is understood to have intervened in a dispute between an off duty female police officer and a former boyfriend after she had sought Bryan’s help. A number of other people also became involved but when the police arrived Bryan saw that they were jumping to the wrong conclusions. In an effort to set things straight, Bryan himself ended up on the wrong side of the law and was arrested.

Despite what appears to have been a misunderstanding, because Bryan engaged in a verbal altercation with the police officer, he is being charged with assaulting police and using threatening and abusive language.

The incident occurred in the parking lot of Dream Night Club on the West Bay Road at around 9:55pm on Saturday 11 October. Bryan will appear in Summary Court on 12 January.

Bryan, who now works in the premier's office, is a former TV reporter with Cayman27 news. He resigned from the station, however, when he ran for office on the PPM ticket in George Town. Bryan remains at work and has not been placed on required leave.

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Haines makes history

| 08/12/2014 | 36 Comments

(CNS): When Derek Haines crossed the finish line of the Cayman Islands marathon on Sunday morning in three hours, 58 minutes and 25 seconds, he not only made history, he had also made over one million dollars to build an in-patient facility for Cayman Hospice. Despite being the man who pounded pavements for over 157 miles in six different countries in less than one year, Haines described the end of the challenge as a “fantastic community effort”. With the total post-race tally at CI$1,030,200, Haines said there was more to come and the project would now get underway in the New Year. “I am very grateful to everyone for being so supportive of this challenge. That certainly boosted me when I had bad times during races,” Haines said.

Despite wide community support for his incredible sporting feat at a mere 66 years old, the veteran runner had to work hard with his Rotary colleagues in the last week to generate the last $100,000. But as he crossed the line Sunday with his wife and daughter Lizzie, who, along with his running mate Cynthia Hew, also ran this race with her dad, the marathon man knew he had done it.

Having started the challenge in Paris in April, Haines then ran marathons in London, Pamplona, San Francisco and Dublin before the home turf race, where thousands came out to watch him cross the line.

Anyone wishing to make further donations can do so at six4hospice.com

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