Archive for October 19th, 2008

Lawyers say search unlawful

| 19/10/2008 | 3 Comments

(CNS): On the first day of the Judicial Review regarding the arrest of Justice Alex Henderson and subsequent search of his home and office, his legal team from local law firm Campbells presented the case that the searches and seizure of his possessions, including his computers and cell phones, were all unlawful, since full and frank disclosure was not given to Carson Ebanks, the Justice of the Peace who signed the warrants.

According to a number of people present at the hearing, things did not go well for the special investigation team, led by Senior Investigating Officer Martin Bridger, which had sought the warrants and was described as being poorly prepared during the review.

The case  surrounds an alleged illegal entry into the offices of Cayman Net News in September 2007 by two of its emloyees.

A source connected to Henderson’s legal team said there were a number of fundamental legal problems relating to the search of Henderson’s home and office, given the refusal of Chief Justice Anthony Smellie to sign a warrant for searches regarding other people but in connection to the same case. This fact was not disclosed to Ebanks, it was said. 

“This was a clear case of judge shopping,” another source close to Henderson told CNS, explaining that the special investigation team had sought out a specific person to sign the warrant hoping he would have little knowledge of the case or any rulings previously made by the Chief Justice.

In a March 2008 ruling by the Chief Justice that was recently revealed to the media, he stated that the special investigators had not produced any evidence that Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan and Chief Superintendent John Jones had committed any crimes and refused Bridger a search warrant for the two men’s homes.

Henderson’s legal team said at the hearing on Friday 17 October that Ebanks was entirely unaware of the fact that Smellie had previously refused to give the special investigators these  warrants in relation to this particular investigation and had described their request as a fishing expedition. The lawyers questioned exactly what evidence had been shown to Ebanks to make him sign the warrant.

Ebanks, the Chief Officer in the Ministry for Public Works, is one of well over one hundred and fifty JPs in the Cayman Islands, many of whom are politicians or members of the civil service.  During the hearing, Sir Peter Cresswell, a retired UK Judge brought to Cayman especially to hear the review, said the special investigating team had to disclose what evidence they had presented to Ebanks to justify the search warrant by 4:00 pm Monday 20 October.

The hearing will resume on Tuesday morning, 21 October, but Henderson’s legal team said it was confident that the review would find the warrants unlawful. Henderson was awarded the review based on a number of points relating to Ebanks’ signature on the warrant.

The Justice’s legal team claims that Ebanks had no information, or insufficient information,  upon which he could be satisfied that there were reasonable grounds to suspect the judge of the offence of ‘misconduct in public office’. Ebanks was not informed of the decision "In the Matter of Operation Tempura” — Smellie’s decision regarding earlier warrants — and therefore  failed to take into account important matters that would have been relevant to his decision. The legal team also claim that Ebanks is not a competent Court of the Cayman Islands. Accordingly, the warrants do not comply with the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (2006 Revision).

In a recent statement to the media, however, Bridger claimed that he was entirely satisfied that the warrants were properly obtained. “An application for a search warrant is an application to the court, or a Justice of the Peace, to seek the use of an investigative power.  The purpose of that power is to search for evidence.  By its very nature, such an application is made without the need for the totality of the case being put before that court or Justice of the Peace,” he said.

He said the purpose of the warrant was to investigate and gather evidence and that no court can hope to make a meaningful evaluation of guilt or innocence, or the strength or otherwise, of a case at the time of such an application. “It should be borne in mind that the threshold for granting a search warrant is reasonable suspicion, not a prima facie case, or a realistic prospect of conviction,” he said. Bridger made no mention in his official statement whether or not Ebanks had been informed of Smellie’s earlier refusals. 

Throughout the investigation, Bridger has said he has consulted with and taken advice from independent legal advisors. However, the local legal community is now raising concerns that one of these advisors, a barrister from the UK has not been sworn to the Cayman Bar, and without a work permit has visited Cayman to work with Bridger and his team on at least three occasions.

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Thousands march against violence

| 19/10/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Over 2000 people were estimated to have joined the Silent Witness March on Saturday, held on both Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac, which was dedicated to Estella Scott-Roberts who was murdered on 10 October. As a tireless advocate against gender violence and abuse, literally thousands of people from the Cayman community came together to show their support for the same causes to remember her and pay tribute to her commitment and voice their opposition to violence.

The annual event was organized by the Business and Professional Women’s Club (BPWC), but this was the biggest ever showing on Grand Cayman and an emotional day for many. Starting from the Glass House on Elgin Avenue, the throng of people eventually settled outside the Legislative Assembly to hear tributes to Scott-Roberts and her work and the continued need to address violence in the community.

Women, men , girls boys, the elderly and babies rubbed shoulders as representatives from the Human Rights Committee, the Crisis Centre, The Women’s Resource Centre, the BPW Club and government expressed the need for the community to pull together to stop violence against women.

Len Layman who was one of the founding members of the Cayman Crisis Centre along side Scott-Roberts and the Chairperson of the Board of Directors pleaded for her work not to have been in vain and said every person in the community had a duty to help stop the violence in the islands. He said despite all that has been done, gender and domestic violence still takes place in Cayman and collectively we are not doing enough to stop it. He added that it was up to the Cayman community to come together and finish the work that Scott-Roberts had started.

Cindy Blekaitis in an emotional speech begged parents to talk to their children about healthy relationships and to positively promote equality as she said prevention was the key. She begged everyone to continue coming to the annual silent witness march every year to demonstrate that the community would no longer tolerate violence and abuse.

The Minister with responsibility for Gender Affairs, Anthony Eden, made an impassioned speech about Scott-Roberts’ work and the need to address the cultural issues that led to domestic and gender based violence and abuse. He also stated the government would be taking a close look at current policy and legislation to address an issue he said was everyone’s problem.

On Cayman Brac, the Silent Witness March was held for the first time and about 150 people walked from the District Administration Building to the Stake Bay Church and back. As well as honouring Estella in the speeches following the march, there were also tributes for past President and Secretary of the Brac branch of the BPWC, Claudette Upton-Keeley, who worked for many causes including the fight against domestic violence, andwho also died unexpectedly last weekend.


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Vigils for Estella

| 19/10/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): As the country mourned after the murder of Estella Scott-Roberts on Friday night, 10 October, a candle-lit vigil was held a week later, on Friday evening, 17 October, on both Grand Cayman, where she lived and worked, and Cayman Brac, where she was raised. At both events, there were tears and tributes from friends and colleagues for someone who was never afraid to speak out, especially to combat violence against women. (Photo by Lennon Christian)

Around 300 people on Grand Cayman turned up at the Lions Centre, where some of the speakers reflected on their own personal stories of gender violence. On Cayman Brac, where many of the 150 or so people gathered outside the Cable and Wireless office at Stake Bay had known Estella all her life, there was an especial sense of the loss of “one of the Brac’s own”.

In a statement by Business and Professional Women’s Club (BPWC) President, Velma Powery-Hewitt, read by Dawn McLean-Sawney, she challenged all Brackers to make a firm commitment to resolve issues without violence and stand with the BPWC against domestic violence. Specifically, she challenged men to honour Estella and “take an active and vocal role in the Brac community to assist the young boys and men there.”

The statement read, “We must keep her light of hope alive, especially in the areas where she worked so tirelessly. We must be united so that her work can continue…One person can make a difference, and Estella gave us the perfect example of the ‘power of one’.”

(Photo: at the Lions Centre by Judy Singh)

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Fat people don’t enjoy eating

| 19/10/2008 | 0 Comments

(The Independent): The mystery of why some people stay slim while others get fat may be partly explained by differences betweenthe way individuals’ brains measure the pleasure of eating. Overweight people may actually find fatty or sugary food less satisfying than thin people, which leads them to overeating as a way of compensating for the relative lack of enjoyment. Go to article

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A new dawn for Caymanian academia

| 19/10/2008 | 1 Comment

(CNS): The cream of Cayman’s intelligentsia gathered at UCCI last week to celebrate the publication of the second volume of the University College of the Cayman Islands’ academic journal, enticingly known as JUCCI. Marking a new era for intelligent debate and discourse in Cayman, it offers academics a place for peer review and recognition for their research. Guest speaker Mary Rodrigues, Chief Officer for the Portfolio of the Civil Service, dared people to be read.

Opening the evening’s discussisons, Rodrigues presented her own paper, "The importance of Research and Publication in the life of a University".She said the celebration of the life of the mind was in too short supply in Cayman, and because of that the publication itself was as symbolically important as anything inside it. She said the publication was an opportunity to advance our own fields in our own journal. “Often the writing may be frightening and shocking and provocative,” she added, and called on authors to be challenging as well as challenged as they reached out for the nobility of truth.

Drawing a diverse crowd, the launch at the Sir Vassal Johnson Hall on the UCCI campus was bitter sweet as the Journal’s editor, Claudette Upton, passed away on Saturday, 10 October. Her loss was deeply felt by the entire faculty and those involved with the production of this impressive publication. As Roy Bodden, former Education Minister, author and faculty member, paid tribute to her incredible talents, the quality of the Journal itself speaks volumes with regards to Upton’s contribution. Describing her as truly irreplaceable, he said she was very pleased with this journal. “She managed to dispense with arrogance of authors and made them better for it,” he added.

During the evening, four faculty members presented challenging and diverse presentations based on some of the papers in the Journal as well as future work. They were each challenged by a relevant discussant and faced questions from the audience. The topics were provocative and controversial, covering subjects such as the challenge of youth, Caymanian identities, the recruitment of teachers, and teaching evolution in a Christian community, which was presented by Acting President Dr Brian Chapell. Each presentation gave a taste of what’s to come in Cayman and elevated the current debate substantially on a number of very topical issues, from the problem of male violence and defining what it is to be Caymanian to the possibility of practicing Christians embracing human origins from Darwin’s perspective.

Bodden raised some challenging concepts when he discussed Chris Williams’ paper, which he said would add to the growing corpus of material exploring Caymanian identity. He said defining who is Caymanian becomes more difficult and problematic from the mere fact that Caymanian society is totally imported.

The Journal itself offers readers more food for thought encompassing the wider Caribbean. The theme for the second volume, The Caribbean: Issues, Challenges, Perspectives, brings together comprehensive and scholarly papers on a range of pressing contemporary problems for the region. Through, science, literature, history and even criminology studies, the volume articulates many of the societal issues faced by both Cayman and the wider Caribbean, all of which need to be examined and explored in order to create the possibility of solutions for the community as a whole.

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European push for tax haven policy change

| 19/10/2008 | 0 Comments

(Bloomberg): President George W. Bush will host a summit on the global financial crisis, an administration official said, adding that a formal announcement will be made later today. The conference will be held soon, and the agenda will include ideas on how to prevent future crises in a way that preserves the free-market system, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Go to article

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New look Foster’s coming to West Bay

| 19/10/2008 | 3 Comments

(CNS): The Grand Opening of Foster’s Food Fair IGA’s newly renovated and expanded store at Republix Plaza in West Bay will take place at 10:00 am on 22 October. The first phase of this new shop covers over 20,000 square feet which the firm said will meet the growing demands of the population of West Bay.

The second phase of the expansion is expected to be completed in December and will add another 8,000 square feet bringing the total floor to slightly larger than 28,000 square feet. Foster’s said that shoppers visiting the new Republix Plaza store will notice many of the same amenities they have come to expect from Foster’s Food Fair IGA stores.

The new Republix store will have expanded fresh meat, seafood, dairy, produce, grocery, personal care, general merchandise, hot deli food bar, pasta and breakfast bars and 12 cash registers for fast and easy check-out. In addition Republix Plaza will also offer a Cayman National Bank ATM, Western Union services and wireless mobile top-up services for Cable and Wireless and Digicel.

The Republix Plaza Store décor will be similar to that of the Airport Center, the Strand and Countryside Shopping Village stores and will maintain a similar layout. In addition the new store will continue the tradition of promoting local photographers with photographs taken by Courtney Platt, Patrick Broderick and Sheree Ebanks.

Fosters said the exterior of the building will see a new main entrance to the supermarket relocating to the western portion of the newly expanded section. With this, additions and revisions are also being made to the parking lot with the increase of more spaces and the relocation of the main drive entrance also being moved to the western portion of the parcel of land.

Foster’s Food Fair IGA opened its first store on 10 December 1980 with less than 6,000 square feet of retail space and fewer than a dozen employees, today it has grown to 5 stores with more than 116,000 square feet of retail space and over 500 employees.

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Tea and memories at Government House

| 19/10/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Described as an opportunity to show how much we value and respect our senior citizens, seventy of Cayman’s older residents journeyed down memory lane and reflected on times gone by with H.E the Governor Stuart Jack last week at Government House during a tea party held in their honour which included a performance by Olive Miller (left).

The Governor welcomed each of his guests, thanking them for attending despite the rainy weather. Olive Miller, who represents the elderly on the United Nations International Day of Older Persons Planning Committee, explained that the guest list changes each year.

“We want to make sure that everyone gets a chance to come,” she said. “Some are from Cayman Brac and in those cases, relatives who may not have seen them for years also get a chance to catch up.”

In true tea party tradition, attendees participated in a theme song, written annually by Miller, before the feasting and socialising began. This year’s song, set to the tune of Jingle Bells, reflected on “things now rare”, “happy days”, and “some things we don’t miss.”

The Governor’s Tea Party is one of the many activities scheduled in observance of Older Persons Month. Also on hand to share in the festivities were Ministry of Health and Human Services Chief Officer Diane Montoya, and Department of Children and Family Services Director Deanna Lookloy.


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Cayman Protector rescues sick seaman

| 19/10/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Acting on information received from the United States Coastguard the joint Customs and Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) Marine Unit assisted with the transfer of a sick seaman to the George Town Hospital Friday morning (17 October). Marine officers responded to a request for assistance with a sick crew member onboard the ‘Tonya Jane’, a 75-foot shrimp trawler that was located 10 miles north west of Grand Cayman.

The Cayman Protector left the Cayman Islands Yacht Club at 9:30am with a doctor and an emergency services staff member from George Town Hospital.

Police said that at 9:57am Protector came alongside the vessel, which had three crew members, one of which appeared to be critically ill due to dehydration. The man had reportedly been unable to keep down any food and had not eaten in 4 to 5 days.  The 28-year-old man from Florida was transported to the George Town harbour where he was met by ambulance and taken to the George Town Hospital. He was discharged later that day following assessment.

Anyone with information about crime taking place in the Cayman Islands should contact their local police station or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS). All persons calling crime stoppers remain anonymous, and are eligible for a reward of up to $1000, should their information lead to an arrest or recovery of property/drugs.


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CAL cuts Tampa jobs

| 19/10/2008 | 2 Comments

(CNS): The National Flag Carrier, Cayman Airways, is cutting jobs in Tampa, Florida, and outsourcing the passenger service function. The Cayman Islands and Miami are now the only gateways employing CAL desk staff. From 1 November passenger service at Tampa will be handled by Airport Services International Group (ASIG).

According to the airline, this will bring Tampa in line with the operational models of other CAL gateways where the passenger service function is outsourced. Currently, the Cayman Airways passenger functions in Jamaica, New York, and Havana are outsourced, with one full time CAL employee serving as station manager.

Cayman Airways CEO Designate Olson Anderson said that outsourcing the passenger service function at the Tampa station makes good business sense at this particular time. He said the Cayman and Miami stations would continue to have full time Cayman Airways staff because of the frequency of flights.

Anderson added that ASIG would become the service provider for Cayman Airways in Tampa, and has offered employment opportunities to the current Tampa employees. A meeting was held recently with all Tampa employees.

“Cayman Airways has had a strong relationship with ASIG in Tampa since the start of service to that gateway in the 1980’s, and we assure staff and customers that the same look and feel of the Cayman Airways brand will be maintained in Tampa, as well as our commitment to superior customer service, during and after the seamless transition,” said Anderson.

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