Archive for October 5th, 2009

Child death caused by heat, police say

| 05/10/2009 | 5 Comments

(CNS): A toddler died of hyperthermia caused by exposure to heat after she was left in the family car, the RCIPS has reported. Police say they are investigating the tragic death of 3 year old Grace Sperandeo, who died at her home in West Bay on 26 September. Cause of death was determined by Dr Bruce Hyma, a forensic pathologist from Miami-Dade who conducted a post mortem examination on Saturday.

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Police report a busy weekend

| 05/10/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS): In three separate incidences two men, aged 21 and 23, and a seventeen-year-old youth were arrested on suspicion of burglary. And a 37-year-old man on suspicion of threatening violence. In drug related offenses, a 17-year-old youth was arrested on suspicion of possession of and consumption of ganja. And in a separate incident, a 31-year-old man on suspicion of possession of and consumption of cocaine. Six men were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, one of whom, a 27-year-old man, was also arrested for driving whilst being disqualified and without insurance. A 30-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of driving whilst disqualified.

The RCIPS say the arrests were made through both planned operations and responsive patrols.

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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Economy still in decline

| 05/10/2009 | 73 Comments

(CNS): The financial secretary has warned that things will get worse in the local economy before they get better and has predicted decline in the 2009/10 GDP before it begins to grow in 2010/11. Kenneth Jefferson told the House on Friday that Cayman is looking at a GDP rate of -3.3% in 2009/10 followed by a 3% growth rate in 2010/11. Cayman’s government finance expert said that inflation would also continue its downward path, with the cost of living increasing by only 0.6% for this financial year. He also said Cayman would see an all time high unemployment rate of 5.5%, but predicted an improvement in jobless stats by 2010/11 with the rate dropping to 3.8%.

Jefferson told the Legislative Asembly that, despite the indications from the United States Federal Reserve that the recession is very likely over, with Cayman’s economy lagging behind that of its powerful neighbour, and locally the people are still feeling the worst of its impact.

“The global recession has broughtits share of challenges for these islands and the government alike," Jefferson stated. “Caymanians have faced job losses, inflation, salary reductions and many have had to dig deeper into their pockets in order to meet monthly household expenses.”

Against that backdrop, during his budget presentation Jefferson said government was focused on strengthening the local economy and practising responsible financial management that would bring the islands back to prosperity. “Although the government is combating the worst global recession of the century, it is focused and committed on rebounding from these difficult economic times,” he said.

The financial secretary said that this year’s budget would be in compliance with the PMFL because of both cuts in operating expenditure and revenue raising measures that are expected to realize a further $126.4 million for government over this financial year. Despite increasing revenue generation by a significant amount through fee increases, government will still be borrowing over $275 million to add to its existing debt, which will be used to fund existing capital projects, pay back temporary loans and start a  number of new capital projects.

According to the Annual Plan and Estimates, by fiscal year end (30 June 2010) government debt combined with that of statutory authorities will still stand at $714.4 million.  Despite the government’s efforts to reduce operating expenditure, when core government expenditure is combined with the costs of these public bodies, government will still spend close to $700 million of tax payer’s money.

In 2009/10, however, government said it will be looking for better management from authorities and government companies, and in some case statutory authorities will not only be expected to pay their own way but to give back to core government. Jefferson said that government would receive $42.4 million in cash withdrawals from these bodies in 2009/10.

In his presentation, Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush said that, over the years, government had invested heavily in statutory authorities with little or no expectation.  “Many of these organisations have not managed themselves in a way that maximises their financial performance and, as a result, we have seen this sector post significant losses,” Bush noted. “For the 2009/10 budget, this government has changed the approach and demanded that statutory authorities and government companies improve their financial management and performance.”

He said government would be requesting dividends from those with excess capital and noted that he would still be seeking to divest some of the bodies to the private sector.

Key authorities that have drained public finances over the years include the Turtle Farm and Cayman Airways, both of which government is interested in divesting , while the Water Authority is one of the more successful bodies from which government is likely to seek a dividend, and on that Bush has said he is not prepared to sell.

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Energy-from-waste powers US army

| 05/10/2009 | 1 Comment

(BBC): A system that generates energy from rubbish is being sent by defence firm Qinetiq to the US army. The PyTEC3 system heats mixed waste, releasing a gas that can be burned to produce five times more energy than is required to drive the system. Qinetiq say that the system, already in use on British navy ship HMS Ocean, has been "containerised" for US army use. The approach could see use in urban areas, reducing municipal waste volume by 95% while producing energy. The process hinges on pyrolysis, in which waste subjected to high temperatures releases combustible gases. In


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Dixon gets his day in court

| 05/10/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): In the wake of his arrest Rudolph Dixon vowed that he would have his day in court to defend the charges against him and on Friday that day finally came. Telling the court what happened on the night of 7 April 2004 and the subsequent events Dixon said it was absurd to suggest he had let Rudolph Evans go because they were close friends. Dixon made it clear the two men were not particularly acquainted outside of the job and that he had merely given advice to the inspector on duty that night based on what he now knew to be distorted information, but had not spoken to Evans and had never unlawfully told anyone to release the former senior cop.

Taking the witness stand on Friday morning as his defence team began their response to the crown’s case, the Deputy Commissioner Rudolph Dixon noted that throughout his career of 31 years, many of them spent in senior roles, a number of his friends and family had fallen foul of the drink driving laws but he had never interfered to make charges go away or protect any of them from the ultimate punishment of the courts. He said it was therefore ridiculous to suggest he would do it for someone he was considerably less connected.

“It is a million miles from the truth,” Dixon told the court as he revealed what had happened on the night he received a call from Inspector Burman Scott for advice on an arrest. Dixon said he was told an officer had been directed to arrest the suspected DUI driver by someone else rather than forming his own opinion and as a result he had offered Scott advice based on an old case. In the face of the crown’s position that Evans and Dixon were close friends and Dixon had let Evans go as part of the old boy network, the deputy commissioner said that he and Evans had almost never socialised together. He explained that thought they shared the same fishing hobby in the more than thirty years he had known Evans they had gone fishing together only once and that was many years ago. Dixon recalled the fact that his closest fishing pal had in fact lost his license because of DUI, forcing Dixon to collect him every time they went out but even then he had still not stepped in to save him.

It was also revealed that his arrest may well have considerably more to do with the Operation Tempura investigation that has been realised. Although Dixon’s arrest was always billed as an entirely separate investigation it is apparent that when Dixon was arrested regarding this charge and another which has since been dropped, the Special Police Investigation Team (SPIT) from Operation Tempura persisted in questioning him regarding that wider investigation as well as the issues for which he was arrested. Dixon confirmed that prior to his arrest he had already been thoroughly questioned for many hours by SPIT regarding that investigation but when he was arrested SPIT returned to those same matters despite Dixon having already answered their questions.

He also explained why SPIT had found the Graham Summers report regarding the night in question along with other documents in his office in black bin or garbage liner, something which had been raised by the prosecution as suspicious. Dixon said following Ivan in September 2004 and the destruction of the Tower Building where he and other senior officers had been based, he had salvaged as much as possible from those offices and hauled it across to the central police station where it remained until he went to the new head quarters at Elizabethan Square. By this time Buel Braggs had resigned as Commissioner and Dixon had been appointed as actingCommissioner, so he had taken not just his own, but Bragg’s paperwork as well still in the black bags. He said in the years following he had worked his way through what was originally bags and bags of material but when SPIT searched his office he said there were perhaps two left that were yet to be sorted.

Focusing on the night itself, Dixon explained he was at home in bed when he received the call from George Town police station, something he noted was not altogether uncommon as officers would call senior officers for assistance or advise. Dixon said that he spoke to Inspector Scott and PC Boxwell who Dixon understood had arrested Evans at the direction of the plain clothes English officer but that he had never spoken to Evans at anytime.

He said he gathered from both Scott and Boxwell that neither of them believed that Evans was in fact drunk and Boxwell was not comfortable having made the arrest. Dixon said he explained that he was not surprised as it was reminiscent of an old case where an officer had been directed to arrest a drunk driver rather than arresting him on his own suspicions which had failed in the courts because when an officer makes an arrest he must be convinced himself that the suspect could have broken the law.

He said given Scott’s reluctance to phone the English officer involved and his own knowledge of the previous case Dixon agreed to call Summers and explain that Evans was to be released. He said the English officer had been reluctant to accept his explanation that he could not direct another officer to arrest a suspect. “I kept telling him an off-duty officer cannot direct another officer to arrest a suspect, but he wasn’t listening and kept saying Evans was drunk,” Dixon added.

He said that he had discussed the matter the next morning with his colleague Derek Haines and he had received Summer’s report a few weeks later, something which was discussed with Braggs and Scott in Braggs‘office. He said he had never tried to cover up the advice he gave and still believed, given the information he had received on the night, it was sound.

He noted that since the court case had begun and he had listened to the conflicting testimony given by the officers on duty that night and Summers’ whole story, when he was called that evening he was not given the whole picture and that perhaps they had “hoodwinked” him as to the real circumstances of the night’s events.

During cross examination by Crown prosecuting attorney Andrew Radcliff Dixon told the court several times over that he had not spoken to Evans and had not told anyone to release the former cop but had offered advice to Scott that given what he had told him he could release the former senior officer if he chose. “The call wasfor advice and that’s what I gave,” Dixon said.

He also categorically denied trying to minimize any relationship he had with Evans as he said they simply were not close friends, noting the absurdity that he would commit an unlawful act to try to help someone evade a charge that he was merely acquainted with.  “I did reach the rank of Deputy Commissioner of police, credit me with some intelligence,” Dixon told Radcliff.

The cross examination will resume in court five on Monday morning.

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