Archive for June 12th, 2009

Legal aid issue delays murder trial

| 12/06/2009 | 9 Comments

(CNS): The questions surrounding the legal aid applications of the two men accused of the murder of Estella Scott Roberts are likely to delay the trial which was set for August.  Justice Leighton Pusey told Larry Ricketts and Kirkland Henry, who appeared before him today (10 June), to identify the QCs from Jamaica who they wished to engage and that the matter would be now be given the highest priority. Currently neither of the defendants have QCs, and while defence lawyer Ben Tonner has agreed to appear for Henry on the last few occasions, he has said he would not continue to act for him without lead counsel.

Last week the court heard that Henry’s application for Legal Aid to cover the cost of a QC from Jamaica had been refused and that Ricketts’ application was pending and he did not have any counsel to represent him as the local defence lawyer allocated to him, John Furniss, had come off record.

On Friday, 12 June, Justice Pusey said that the chief justice had seized the matter and the court would not be inflexible regarding the defence needs of the two men. Given that the men are now being reconsidered for legal aid, Tonner agreed to continue on for the time being for Henry but suggested the trial date would have to be rescheduled.

Justice Pusey acknowledged the difficulty with the current trial date, especially as Ricketts was still without representation, a matter which he said needed to be addressed as quickly as possible, but steps to find both men suitable counsel were now in train. It was agreed that the Crown and Tonner would confer with the listings office to set another date, but the original date would remain on record until a new time was set for the trial.

Both Ricketts and Henry have pleaded not guilty to the charges of murder and kidnapping and, in the case of Henry, rape of Estella Scott Roberts, a local activist and tireless advocate against gender violence, whose body was found in her burnt out car in the dykes area of Barkers in October of 2008.

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Gun man gets 20 years for drive-by shooting

| 12/06/2009 | 14 Comments

(CNS): Following the guilty verdict handed down on 31 May, 2008, 21 year old Lance Justin Myles was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment on Friday 12 June by Justice Leighton Pusey for attempted murder and 15 years (to run concurrently) for possession of an unlicensed firearm. The incident relates to a drive-by shooting which occurred in the School Road area of George Town in May 2008, in which the victim, Adolphus Myrie, was wounded.

In offering sentencing guidelines to the judge, crown counsel highlighted the seriousness of the offence of attempted murder, which was intent to kill, and presented other local cases where sentences in excess of twenty years have been handed down for the same offence.

During the sentencing hearing Myles’ defence, attorney Howard Hamilton, pointed out that Myles was still very young, and despite having been neglected by his father and having had no positive role model in his life, he had made attempts to better himself and had been holding down gainful employment beforehis arrest.

“This young man is at a crossroad. He is not yet lost and he can be saved. I ask the court to take a chance and not banish this young man forever,” Hamilton said, adding that while it was a serious offence the court had a wide discretion and could choose to balance justice with mercy to give the young offender some hope.

Handing down the sentence, Justice Pusey said, “It is not an easy thing to sentence a young man when so many of our young men are in places of restraint instead of contributing to society.” He said it was a shame in this instance where the offender had managed to get qualifications and find employment despite a troubled life, but he had to balance that against the seriousness of the offence. He said the punishment had to reflect that for society to understand that such offences are very serious.

He said Myles would serve 15 years for the firearms offence and 20 years for attempted murder torun concurrently and time served would be counted.

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Visitor who died after swimming named

| 12/06/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Police have now named the woman who died after swimming off Seven Mile Beach on Wednesday, 3 June. She was Goretti Tak Wai Wong, a Canadian National of Chinese descent. Wong, 62, of Ontario had been a cruise ship passenger aboard Liberty of the Seas and had been visiting Cayman with her husband. The victim had been swimming off Royal Palms when she became overly tired. Her husband assisted her back to shore with the help of a passing wave runner but unfortunately she passed out.

CPR was administered on shore and medics and police attended the scene. She was taken to hospital but unfortunately was pronounced dead. The RCIPS sends its condolences to the family and friends of Mrs Wong. The RCIPS will now prepare a file for the coroner.

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Tougher standards in schools

| 12/06/2009 | 2 Comments

(BBC): Education inspectors are bringing in tougher standards for England’s schools which will require higher results for them to be rated good or outstanding. From September, schools that succeed will probably face an Ofsted inspection every five years instead of three – unless parents demand an earlier one. There will be a greater focus on those judged satisfactory or inadequate. Teachers’ leaders said a new emphasis on raw exam results would make things harder for schools in deprived areas. Ofsted chief inspector Christine Gilbert said: "We are introducing a tougher test on attainment."

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Kids get hooked on fishing

| 12/06/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A record total of 54 anglers in the children’s category took part in the Rotary Club of Cayman Brac’s annual fishing tournament on 6 June, in which children on the island are encouraged to ‘Get hooked on fishing and not on drugs’ – the theme of the event each year. Eulalee Bodden won US$1,000 and the trophy for catching the heaviest fish for the second year in a row. Sanya Scott, Curtis Connor and Noel Evan were awarded for bringing out the most children.

Rachel Dilbert, who won in the female youth category with a catch of 18.8lbs, and Nathan Walton, who won the boys’ section with a catch of 14.9lbs, both received two tickets from Cayman Airways. The youngest angler of the tournament went to 3-year-old Janae Scott, who won a bicycle.

According to President Alphanso Gayle, the main purpose of the event is for parents, guardians and organizations with boats to partner with Rotary members in taking as many children as possible fishing for the day. “Although it is not a competitive event, the girls undoubtedly out-classed the boys in the number of catches made on the day, in spite of the fact that the boy/girl ratio for those in attendance leaned more favorably towards the boys,” he said.

“The highlight of the event was witnessing the first timers catching their first fish; the expression on their faces was unforgettable for the adult anglers who were coaching them. This new adventurous idea was initiated by Past President Richard (Moss) and is our way of passing on the embedded tradition of fishing. We appreciate the kind gesture of Reef Divers in taking fourteen anglers and five adults to Little Cayman,” Gayle added.

In the adult category, there were fourteen anglers, who each paid US$100 to enter the tournament. The weighing of the fish took place at Panama Canal from 2:00 to 4:00pm.

“Everyone turned up on time and shared in the excitement and curiosity of who caught what,” the president said, adding that Rotary member Audley Scott was on hand checking the scale, recording information of each participant, while Gayle, himself, kept was busy placing the fishes on the scale. “While this was taking place most of the kids, being exhausted from the tournament, chose to take a dip to cool off and relax nearby. Also, while passing the time some kids were seen racing with their boats having fun. To top it off, someone turned up with a Jet Ski bike, which added more fun to the already exciting day.”

Gayle commended the committee chair, Past President Sandra Solomon, and her team for a job well done. He went on to say that this event has helped to bring back some level of normalcy to the way of life of these children and commended all the children for their determination, which made the day undoubtedly a success. He also thanked all the sponsors, noting that without their input Barracuda Bonanza would not have become a reality.

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Britain snubbed as Bermuda takes in Uighurs

| 12/06/2009 | 19 Comments

(Tines Online): Britain was left scrambling to assert the vestiges of its colonial authority yesterday after Bermuda welcomed in four former Guantánamo detainees under a secret deal with the United States. British officials knew nothing of the arrangement until the men, all ethnic Uighurs from western China, were already airborne en route from Guantánamo to the British island territory, better known as a haven for tourists and tax exiles than former terrorist suspects. Alarm bells sounded in London when Ewart Brown, the Bermudian Premier, welcomed the men as “landed in Bermuda in the short term, provided with the opportunity to become naturalised citizens and thereafter afforded the right to travel and leave Bermuda, potentially settling elsewhere”.

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SPIT report heading for LA

| 12/06/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The details of exactly how much public money was spent by the Special Police Investigation Team (SPIT) under the leadership of SIO Martine Bridger is expected to be revealed at the end of next month when the auditor general passes his completed report to the LA. At that point, the report which Dan Duguay initiated in January of this year will become a public document and the Cayman people will be able to see how much was spent and where the cash went. 

Duguay said yesterday (11 June) that he has finished his research and written the report but is now awaiting the final response comments from the various parties involved. He said that when the report is published, before the end of July, it will give the public a comprehensive picture of the financial implications of Operation Tempura.

“The report has to be seen by several different entities for comment on its findings and when that is completed I will be able to table the report in the Legislative Assembly,” Duguay said, adding that he was not at liberty to discuss those findings until it had been seen by the members of the LA. “I can say the report looks only at expenditures, but it will give the public a good understanding of the financial implicationsof SPIT.”

Duguay announced his intention at the beginning of the year to conduct a value for money study of Operation Tempura and SPIT because he said the persistent questions surrounding the investigation relating to how much had been spent and on what deserved some answers. “While we may not be able to comment on what Operation Tempura is doing, we can comment on how much is being spent,” said Duguay.

Duguay’s primary goal is purely to asses if the Cayman people have received value for money with this investigation and not to assess whether or not SPIT should have been here or how they conducted their work other than on a financial basis.

Although exact figures are not known, estimates have been as high as $10 million, but so far the public purse has actually paid out more then CI$6 million, which includes $1.27 million in costs and damages resulting from the unlawful arrest of Grand Court Judge Justice Alex Henderson. CNS learned through a Freedom of Information request that on top of that Bridger and the CI government’s costs in the case to defend Henderson’s judicial review amounted to around $500,000.

Cayman also faces further expenditure that Duguay’s report will not assess, including the forthcoming court cases against Lyndon Martin and the suspended Deputy Police Commissioner Rudolph Dixon. Furthermore, there are at least two outstanding suits that have been filed by the former Commissioner Stuart Kernonhan and former Police Inspector Burmon Scott.

Scott was arrested by SPIT and held overnight in lock down in May of last year before being released without charge for exactly the same offence as Henderson, which was found to be unlawful by Sir Peter Cresswell (the presiding independent Justice for the Henderson case) because the offence of misconduct in a public office is not one for which aperson can be arrested in the Cayman Islands. If the AG contests Scott’s claim, which was filed last month, it is likely that Cayman will witness another expensive court room drama as a result of SPIT.

Kernohan, who was suspended from his post and then subsequently sacked, has also filed a claim for damages for his treatment against Governor Stuart Jack on behalf of the Government of the Cayman Islands, Martin Bridger, the Acting Commissioner of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, and the Attorney-General of the Cayman Islands.

Following the recent declaration by former Acting Commissioner James Smith that there was to be no action taken against Kernohan, Kernohan filed a claim last month and stated that extraordinary revelations – heretofore unknown to the Cayman Islands public – involving the governor and high-ranking elected officials, would be revealed in the courtroom. Kernohan is claiming wrongful dismissal, that placing him on required leave was unlawful and that not permitting him to leave the island without permission “amounted to false imprisonment”.

Chief Superintendent John Jones who was also placed on required leave for over a year has now been cleared and has had his contracted renewed. He is expected to return to work shortly following his recovery in the wake of surgery and it is as yet unclear if Jones will also be making any financial claims.

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Oil price leaps to year’s high

| 12/06/2009 | 1 Comment

(The Guardian): The price of oil burst through the $71 a barrel mark today amid revelations that proven reserves had fallen for the first time in 10 years and predictions that the price could eventually hit $250. The latest high – from lows of $30 only four months ago – came on the New York Mercantile Exchange, where the cost of July deliveries rose by $1.35 to $71.36. This comes on top of a $2 rise the day before as investors rushed into the market on the back of lower stockpile figures, higher demand estimates and speculation against further falls in the dollar. "I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re testing $80 in a week or two," said one analyst, while BP’s chief executive questioned whether $90 could be the "right" value.

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Scammers use UK lawyers ID for email fraud

| 12/06/2009 | 3 Comments

(CNS): In the wake of reports that e-mail scammers are using the identity of a genuine UK lawyer, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) is warning all residents to be on their guard against the emails in circulation purporting to be from these legal chambers in the UK as they are fraudulent. The emails claim to be from legal representatives,and following the usual e-mail scam approach, they inform the recipient that they may be related to a deceased person who has left a substantial amount of money unclaimed.

In one case, the scam artists are using the genuine identity of Jonathon Grace from Deans Court, London, and the legitimate law firm has issued a warning.  “It has come to our attention that the identity of Mr Jonathan Grace of Counsel is being used in one-mail scam, through which undesirables are attempting to extort money through offerings of fictional windfalls and inheritances,” the warning states. “Some of the scam e-mails have been cleverly created so thatthey appear to come from Mr Jonathan Grace at However, they do not originate from Deans Court Chambers and have been sent without the knowledge or authorisation of Mr Jonathan Grace.”

The RCIPS said other emails in circulation claim to come from Solomon Martins Law Chambers and anyone who receives an e-mail which talks of inheritances or windfalls is are urged to ignore it and delete it immediately.

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Constitution gets royal nod

| 12/06/2009 | 17 Comments

(CNS): According to a statement from the Governor’s Office, the draft Constitution was considered and approved by the Privy Council yesterday, 10 June, in the UK. This means that the draft Constitution, which received a ‘yes’ vote in the referendum last month, will now become the Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009. However, it will be several months, Governor Stuart Jack says, before he proclaims the ‘Appointed Day’ because of what he described as considerable work to be done to prepare the country for many of its requirements.

Following Privey Council approval, the next step is to place the order before the UK Parliament, which is set for 17 June, and after that Governor Jack will then be required to decide the ‘Appointed Day’ — the legal term for the start date.

On that day, the new Constitution will come into effect and the present Constitution will be repealed in its entirety. However, even when the appointed day arrives not all of the stipulations will be implemented immediately. During the negotiations, for example, it was agreed that the Bill of Rights would be phased in over a three year period.

Jack said that while everyone was anxious for the constitutional transition to take place as quickly as possible, as governor he must ensure that good governance is maintained and he would not set the ‘Appointed Day’ for several months, as a considerable amount of work would be required before the constitution could take effect.

“In selecting the ‘Appointed Day I must ensure that all essential tasks that are necessary for the smooth introduction of the new Constitution have been completed,” the governor said.  Failure to ensure this may leave us with damaging constitutional voids, which could become messy, complex or legally deficient.  While I am not yet in a position to set the Appointed Day I can say that it will not be for several months.

He said the priority tasks that will need to be completed before the start date include the creation and reorganisation of a number of government posts and offices; the amendment of a slate of existing laws; and the preparation of a number of new constitutional bodies that currently do not exist, such as the National Security Council, the Advisory Council on the Prerogative of Mercy, and the Judicial and Legal Services Commission.

 "After the Appointed Day a great deal of additional work will still have to take place to fully implement other parts of the Constitution,” the governor added. “None of us should underestimate the magnitude of the task before us, particularly in the lead-up to the start date.  The completion of all this work will require the full cooperation and coordination of government agencies, the Cabinet and the Legislative Assembly.

He said that aside from receiving technical advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, he has appointed a small team of civil servants under the Deputy Chief Secretary to identify the tasks that are absolutely essential before the new Constitution can be brought into effect, and to draft an implementation plan that will encompass everything that has to be done both before and after the start — work that was already well advanced.

Before deciding the date on which the new Constitution will come into effect I must seek views on the implementation plan from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Cabinet, which will need to agree certain actions. I will then make a public announcement,” Governor Jack explained.

He said that while there was a lot to be done to enjoy the benefits of the new Constitution, it was important that the administrative and legal gaps that would otherwise undermine its effective working were addressed. The governor also stated that regular reports on the progress towards implementation would be provided to Cabinet, and the public would be kept abreast of ongoing developments.

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