Archive for January, 2015

Cuban drowns in local rough seas

| 04/01/2015 | 2 Comments

(CNS): A Cuban migrant drowned Saturday evening in rough seas off the coast of South Sound when the makeshift boat he and three other men were in capsized. Police said that they had received a report on Saturday evening that an 18 ft. vessel was floating near Sand Quay Island, South Sound and four people were in the water. Members of the public helped the men and brought them ashore but one of the migrants was unconscious. A doctor who was at the scene rendered CPR but he was unable to revive the man. The four were said to be on their way to Honduras and had attempted to seek safe harbour when they encountered the rough seas and their vessel was overturned by a strong wave.

Officials stated that the three survivors are currently in the care of the Immigration Department and the circumstances surrounding the death of the Cuban migrant, identified as Manuel Marino, is currently under investigation by the Marine Dept. of the RCIPS.

The men were reportedly got to shore clinging to two inner tubes with the help of local surfers before they were taken into the custody of immigration officials. Sources also say the local police had been watching the wooden sailboat during the day but took no part in the rescue.

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Police open murder enquiry

| 03/01/2015 | 15 Comments

(CNS): The West Bay man shot outside a local bar Saturday morning has died and police have opened their first murder enquiry of the year just three days in. Victor Oliver Yates (22), who was found by police outside Super C’s on Watercourse Road early this morning, died at the George Town hospital from his injuries. Police have not revealed any details but are asking anyone with information to contact them as soon as possible at the West Bay Police Station on 949-3999. Police examined the crime scene for several hours Saturday and a number of shell casing markers were spotted outside of the restaurant. Uniformed officers also searched the grassy area at the rear of the restaurant adjacent to Boatswain Bay Road.

The police, who were called to the bar at around 3:45 following a report of a man being injured, said Yates was found on the ground with at least one gunshot wound. He was taken to George Town hospital but died there later Saturday morning.

Officers have not said what sort of firearm they suspect was used, how many bullets were fired, how many gunmen were involved or if they believe the crime is gang related. They are however seeking the assistance of the public who can also call the anonymous tip line CRIME STOPPERS on 800- 8477. A police spokesperson said a Family Liaison Officer has been assigned to the bereaved family.

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Driver killed in Brac crash

| 03/01/2015 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Cayman saw its first road fatality of the New Year late Friday night when a car ran off the road and reportedly exploded in the vicinity of Songbird Drive and Ashton Reid Drive on Cayman Brac. Police are now appealing for witnesses to the crash that happened at around 11:40pm, when the male driver in the Honda Logo car, which was travelling south, lost control and swerved off the road. The vehicle struck a wooden fence post and reportedly burst into flames shortly after. Fire crews called to the scene extinguished the blaze but the body of the man, who is understood to be a resident of the Brac from Honduras, was found behind the steering wheel. Police have not yet identified the driver.

Investigators from Grand Cayman have been flown to the Brac to assist in the investigation but anyone who may have witnessed the accident is asked to contact the Cayman Brac Police Station at 948-0331 or CRIME STOPPERS at 800-8477 (TIPS)

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Cop’s gun seized at airport

| 02/01/2015 | 33 Comments

(CNS): A serving police officer whose gun was seized at the airport as he went through security has not been arrested and is still on active duty, the police have confirmed. Inspector Lauriston Burton, who is a licensed firearms holders, was stopped by customs back in October when his gun was spotted in his carry-on bag. Burton claimed to have the firearm in error and was allowed to continue his journey without any arrest. Police have said an enquiry has been underway for the last three months but Burton has not been charged and remains on full active duty. In contrast, on several occasions last year visitors with gun license, mistakenly travelling with ammunition, were arrested, charged and fined as a consequence.

According to Marlon Bodden, a former senior police officer who now heads up the enforcement arm of the customs department, when the gun and ammunition were spotted as the bag was x-rayed, it was seized. But Burton, originally from Jamaica, was not arrested and was allowed to continue his journey.

The officer told customs staff that he had intended to drop the gun and ammunition with a named person on his licence for safe keeping during his absence from home but forgot.

“This being the case, HM Customs made the decision, in consultation with the RCIPS, that this matter is best dealt with administratively. The firearm was retained by HM Customs and the matter referred to the RCIPS for further investigation,” Bodden stated. He added that Burton then continued his journey while customs took the weapon and the bullets.

The police confirmed with CNS this week that Burton’s firearms licence has been suspended and an investigation is being conducted into the circumstances surrounding the officer’s possession of the weapon at the airport.

“Once completed, the file will be forwarded to the director of public prosecutions,” an RCIPS spokesperson said. “The officer remains on full operational duty.”

This is a contrast to a number of arrests at the airport during 2014 where visitors to Cayman were arrested, charged, processed through the courts and fined heavily for their errors and lapse of memory. On four occasions licensed firearms holders from the US have been fined between $1000 -$3000, have been held in custody and had to hire lawyers or extend their stay to face the consequences of their carelessness in the local courts.

A magistrate last summer told an American visitor in such a predicament that Cayman has a “harsh regime because we’ve decided we don’t want guns here.” Raising his concerns about casual approaches to lethal weapons, he added, “It boggles the mind that people have ammunition in backpacks and don’t even know it.”

Nevertheless, Burton seems to have so far been given a pass. After three months of investigation, aside from the suspension of his private firearms licence, there have been no other consequences for the serving police officer.

The latest revelation from the police comes in the wake of the shocking revelation that an RCIPS police officer had been recruited to the service while being under investigation for murder. After being on required leave for two years, he was recalled back to work by Police Commissioner David Baines around ten months before his trial in Jamaica, where he was convicted.

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