Archive for August 8th, 2009

Australian Sex Party gets all-clear

| 08/08/2009 | 0 Comments

(Sydney Morning Herald): Sex and politics have officially come together, with the Australian Sex Party obtaining approval from the Australian Electoral Commission for registration as a political party. The commission, which announced the registration on its website, said it had received several objections. The party’s convenor and likely future candidate Fiona Patten said the approval was evidence the commission cared about free speech "and the democratic rights of various groups in the community". "One of the reasons for establishing the party was to provide a positive platform for sexual issues amongst the negative notions of sex that most politicians and political parties have," she said in a statement on Saturday.

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Suspect burglar escapes police

| 08/08/2009 | 15 Comments

(CNS): Although two men are currently in custody, having been arrested in the early hours of Friday morning (7 August), police said that a third man who was also arrested on suspicion of going equipped to steal escaped from them on arrival at Bodden Town Police Station but that  the search continues for him. Police noted that it was too early to draw any definite conclusions about other crimes but the arrests come in the wake of a spat of break-ins in both George Town and the Eastern districts.

The three men were originally arrested at the Moon Bay ApartmentComplex, Bodden Town Road after two officers responded to a report of suspicious behaviour in the vicinity of the condos at around 4.35am. Upon arrival the officers found an open vehicle with the keys in the ignition. The car and keys was secured and subsequently seized and a crowbar was also recovered from the scene. A short while later, a second report of suspicious activity was received for the same location and officers arrested three suspects.

Unfortunately, one of the trio escaped police custody when the three men who were reportedly not handcuffed, and the two police officers reached Bodden Town police station and efforts are underway to locate and re-arrest the man. The other two men, aged 19 and 34, remain in police custody at this time.

“This is a great example of how the police can work in partnership with the community to tackle crime,” said Acting Chief Superintendent Marlon Bodden. “The police can’t be on every street corner so we need additional eyes and ears in the community. If you see something in your neighbourhood which is unusual or seems out of place, let us know. We welcome the opportunity to look into reports of suspicious activity.”

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 flight cancelled by Honduran strikes

| 08/08/2009 | 7 Comments

(CNS): The National Flag Carrier Cayman airways said today (Saturday 8 August) that flight 824 scheduled to depart Grand Cayman at 9:00 am on Saturday morning for La Ceiba was cancelled when the Meteorological (Met) Office in La Ceiba failed to produce a weather reading for the destination. CAL said that according to unofficial reports, the La Ceiba Met Office staff was on strike.

“Without a weather reading, Cayman Airways is unable to dispatch flights to any destination, as required by law,” the airline sated. “Related authorities in La Ceiba have confirmed that all dispatch requirements will be met in order for Cayman Airways to conduct an extra section flight on Monday, August 10 departing Grand Cayman at 9:00 am.”

The airline said that all affected passengers from Saturday’s cancelled flight will be re-protected with that service.

The regular weekly flights to La Ceiba, CAL said, will be operated as scheduled thereafter. Passengers requiring more information are asked to call Cayman Airways reservations on 949-2311, your travel agent, or visit

Strike action has been taking place across the whole country as people call for the return of ousted President Manuel Zelaya. As the political stalemate drags on more than one month after the military coup, foreign diplomats have met with the defiant interim leaders in a bid to seek a negotiated end to the crisis.

Around 8,000 health workers went on strike this week, in a move affecting 28 hospitals and more than 1,000 health centres across the impoverished Central American nation.

Most of the country’s 50,000 teachers have maintained strikes since the June 28 ouster of Zelaya, which followed a dispute with courts, Congress and the military over his plans to change the constitution.



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AG won’t take up election ‘challenge’

| 08/08/2009 | 24 Comments

(CNS): Attorney General Samuel Bulgin has said that he will not exercise his power to challenge the Grand Court’s decision on the Bodden Town election controversy. According to a report on News 27, Bulgin, who is the only remaining person who can bring a fresh challenge against Mark Seymour and Dwayne Scotland, has said he has nothing to add on the matter. In a short statement to the TV station he said  the Attorney General’s Chambers does not wish to make any further comments beyond what was already stated on the 28 May 2009.

In that written statement he had acknowledged that his office was one of the parties that can take action, but doing so would be contrary to his duty to maintain neutrality in political matters. Bulgin said he had carefully considered the legal issues involved, as well as the public interest implications in the context of what he knows to be his constitutional responsibility.

“These are issues which must be approached with prudence and caution,” he said in the May statement. “After considering not only the allegations but the law and the public interest, I take the view that although the Constitution provides that an application to the Grand Court to have an elected Member disqualified from sitting may be made by the Attorney General, among other described parties, that in the current circumstances this is not an action that I should take.” 

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Murder accessory gets 3.5yrs

| 08/08/2009 | 11 Comments

(CNS): The man who was the principal witness in the Crown’s case against 32 year old William McLaughlin-Martinez for the murder of Brian Rankine has been sentenced to three and half years in prison for Accessory After the Fact of Murder. Jason Hinds, a Jamaican national who will likely be deported after serving his sentence, admitted to being with McLaughlin on the night of the murder and witnessing the brutal machete attack. Hinds pleaded guilty to the offence and had told police about his involvement and how he assisted McLaughlin to dispose of evidence following the murder, which took place in McField Lane, George Town, in May 2008.

Appearing before Justice Alex Henderson on Friday 7 August, 27-year-old Hinds could have received as much as a life sentence for his role in assisting McLaughlin in covering up the murder, but his guilty plea and co-operation with the police in mitigation resulted in a lesser custodial period. During McLaughlin-Martinez’s Grand Court trial for murder, the jury heard how Hinds had driven the murderer around that evening in their works van. Hinds had described the vicious murder and said McLaughlin-Martinez went “crazy” as he attacked Rankine with a machete. “I saw him start chopping. He was chopping very fast, chopping like he was crazy and not hisself (sic),” the court had heard.

McLaughlin was found guilty and sentenced to the mandatory life imprisonment on 20 July following a trial in which Hinds was the prosecution’s key witness against him.

Hinds said during the trial that he had sat in the van while the crime took place, but said he had made an attempt to pull McLaughlin from Rankin. However, Hinds left the scene with McLaughlin leaving Rankine for dead and made no attempt to contact the police or the emergency services. Hinds admitted incourt that he then continued to drive McLaughlin around to dispose of various pieces of evidence, and although there were a number of opportunities when he could have driven away and gone to the police, he did not so because he said he was too scared and believed McLaughlin could turn on him. After driving McLaughlin home, where he witness him throw his boots in the bushes, Hinds returned to his own home, where he says he slept fitfully before waking in the morning and burying his own clothes.

“I was terrified,” he told the court, and said that he was too afraid to do anything. However, he said that once he was arrested, he had told the police what had happened and confessed his role in the murder.

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Lawmakers’ global-warming trip hit tourist hot spots

| 08/08/2009 | 0 Comments

(Wall Street Journal): When 10 members of Congress wanted to study climate change, they did more than just dip their toes into the subject: They went diving and snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef. They also rode a cable car through the Australian rain forest, visited a penguin rookery and flew to the South Pole. The 11-day trip — with six spouses traveling along as well — took place over New Year’s 2008. Details are only now coming to light as part of a Wall Street Journal analysis piecing together the specifics of the excursion. It’s tough to calculate the travel bills racked up by members of Congress, but one thing’s for sure: They use a lot of airplanes.

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Lawyer makes move to LA

| 08/08/2009 | 2 Comments

(CNS): A local lawyer used to using the laws will now be part of the proces of making them as she takes up the post of Clerk of the Legislative Assembly following the retirement of Wendy Lauer. Deputy Chief Secretary Franz Manderson has announced the appointment of. Zena Merren-Chin who started her new job on Monday, 3 August. Prior to moving into private practice Merren-Chin began her public service career in 1986 as a constable in the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS). Within four years, she was pursuing legal studies and eventually became an associate attorney with Appleby where she has been for the last ten years.

Her private sector experience ranges from litigation on employment, personal injury, debt collection and family law, to probate and administration applications. Before joining Appleby, however, she served as Deputy Clerk of Courts where she was responsibile for the Criminal Registry (Summary and Grand Courts), the Coroner’s Court and the Juvenile and Youth Court.

Her connection to the courts system was forged while a Cayman Islands Law School student when she was articled to the Clerk of Courts, in addition to being seconded to other government departments.

Merren-Chin currently maintains positions on several committees and boards, including the Legal Befrienders, the Immigration Status and Permanent Residence Board, the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre and the Civil Service Association’s Co-operative Credit Union.

Manderson said he was delighted to welcome Merren-Chin back to the civil service. “She is uniquely qualified for this post and I wish her every success,” Manderson added.

Merren-Chin said that being a part of Cayman’s legislative process was going to be an exciting chapter in her career.  “I am looking forward to all of the aspects of the position of Clerk of the LA,” she added.


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