Shootings started over girl

| 26/10/2009

(CNS): The four fatal shootings which have taken place in Cayman since the arrival of the new police commissioner in June were not only connected but were triggered over a girl, David Baines has said. The spate of execution-like killings between rival gangs, which began with the shooting of Omar Samuels in McField Lane in July, were all connected and were linked  to a girlfriend of one gang member who had previously been involved with a member of an opposing gang. He said the death of four men and serious injury to at least one other were tit for tat shootings tied up with perceptions of gang “disrespect.”

Appearing as a guest on Rooster’s phone in show, Crosstalk, on Monday morning, Baines suggested that the four killings and shootings were a case of “you do one of ours, we’ll do one of yours”. He said that in a different generation it would probably have ended in a fist fight, even a fight involving knives, but now “regrettably they are using firearms”.

He said the tit for tat had started with the Samuels killing and included the fatal shooting of Marcus Ebanks and serious wounding of Adrian Powel, an innocent bystander, then the slaying of Carlo Webster in Next Level, and finally the shooting of Fabian Reid, who Baines said was killed while in a car that police believe the gunmen expected another gang member to be driving.

Baines said the young people involved in the gang rivalries at present are not necessarily defending turf in the terms of drug business as seen in other jurisdictions, but that this had more to do with groups of people who are connected by familial and geographical ties, which he said was indicated by the gang names, defendingwhat they saw as their turf over respect.

Answering questions raised by Sheldon Brown, who is serving a 22 year sentence in HMP Northward for attempted murder who called the show last week, Baines said he agreed that much of the dispute between the gangs was about attitude rather than organised crime. Baines, however, said that the gangs were still involved in serious crime, including drug and firearms importation, and he noted his concerns that the glamorisation of gang culture and perceptions of respect and disrespect played a part in what had become these tit for tat killings.

Speaking about the shooting in West Bay in which Marcus Ebanks was shot and killed and where 14 year old Adrian Powell was wounded and is now paralyzed from the waist down, Baines said the teenager was an innocent bystander. “There is nothing heroic, courageous or glamorous about a fourteen year old boy being targeted and shot by some lout who has nothing better to do and thinks it’s big to shoot someone,” he added. Baines, who said he had recently visited Powell in Miami, said he was not a gang member but was a young boy in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Baines also lamented the problem of witnesses refusing to come forward when these shootings had occurred. The case of the murder of Carlo Webster in the Next Level nightclub, he said, had been articulated very well by MLA for North Side Ezzard Miller, that it was shocking that 150 people think it is acceptable to watch an execution such as that and just walk away.

As a result, he explained that he was working on ways of enabling witnesses to give evidence while remaining anonymous using screens and voice changing technology as well as seeking legislative changes for judge alone trials to prevent jury tampering.

He said people were genuinely afraid of reprisals and feared attacks on their families if they gave evidence — because the community was so small it was easy to intimidate. He said he had heard numerous cases where people and families were truly frightened, where they were threatened with dead cats being nailed to people’s back doors and clear messages delivered threatening their lives.He said people feared that even those in custody would get their family or friends to extract revenge for them.

The commissioner said he was focusing on ways to protect people who came forward. He compared the situation to Northern Ireland, where witness and jury intimidation had led to judge only trials at the request of the prosecution rather than the defendant, as is normally the case.  The controversial Diplock trials, as they were known, were used in terrorism related trials firstly between the Irish para-military groups. However, these were then extended in 2005 to Islamic terrorist trials.

Baines said that he was doing all he could to ensure that the information coming into the RCIPS would be secure, but he wanted to go further to ensure convictions in the courts which would mean greater witness protection and the need to eliminate juries in some cases.

Answering questions about his own recent comments that some fifteen people were responsible for the shootings and why they had not been arrested, he explained that in order to arrest anyone it has to be lawful and the idea of rounding people up is not part of a democracy. Clarifying his comments about the so called “15 criminals”, he said the RCIPS had identified around 15 people whom he would describe as the trigger men, the “truly dangerous ones”, who seemed to be prepared to shoot and kill. But he said they had many other associates who werehelping them in the crimes, not least smuggling and moving the guns around.

He said that the police were now actively pursuing the most dangerous individuals and several of them were in custody, but the others were being stopped and searched regularly. Baines explained that in order to arrest anyone officers needed to find evidence of a crime or illegal possession of a weapon. In the meantime, as they moved around, these people would be stopped. Until the recent murder of Reid, he said, the police had done a good job of getting in between the rival gangs and keeping them apart but had failed to prevent this most recent shooting.

“This is a democracy not a police state and we must operate within the law,” the commissioner added.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I know this is an old post but as far as we know Marcus was also an innocent bystander who was unfortunately a victim of mistaken identity. Just stating as the wording in the article might suggest that he is a part of this gang related violence and not just, as we have been told and proven, an innocent bystander.

  2. Anonymous says:

     Does it not seem odd to anyone else that a prisoner of HMP Northward is  allowed to make phone calls to a radio talk show?

    • Anonymous says:

      They get phone cards and are allowed telephone privileges.  I assume since the phone cards are their’s to use they can call whomever they choose.  I am not saying that they should be given the privileges to call but I am not the one in charge.

  3. Thankful says:

    Certainly Marcus Ebanks’ killing was an innocent bystander as well.  Which actually increases our pains that no one has been brought to justice. 

    I have heard nothing to address the increased and ever-present reality of the Jamaican/guest worker/transient persons committing crimes in our country.   Why not? Especially since the writings are on the wall. 

    Innocent bystander or not, Caymanians or not, we need people caught.  I heard nothing about better forensics and crime scenes investigations – better police processing or planned improvements; nothing about the task force that were talked about; nothing about intelligence. 

    Thanks for you insights on the matter Comm. Baines; However, please do not get caught in the blinders-on syndrome.


  4. Anonymous says:

    All of this is stupidness ppl tlkin bout this start over a gang and over woman no dis is  guns and drugs related so policeneeds 2 stop coverin up stuff……Sum of these same police or coverin up for their frens and lockin up innocent ppl bcuz they r afraid 2 lock up da killler and robbers bcuz they hav secrets for dem and if they go dwn da dirty cops will as well…..Cayman is gettn 2 slack!!!

    For da robbers dem hungry and cant get a job bcuz they were kick out of school for sum reason and cayman government dnt care wat they want 2 do after their pressured by mom n dad sayn bills need 2 b paid so they robb and kill for their bread and wheather u like 2 hear it r not its not goin to stop until government bill a training program for da least educated or find jobs for dem!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      This is all so stupid…these so called gangsters killing over ladies. Well this is my message to all them boys who watched TV one day or heard a song and then magically turned into a ganster. You gunna go and kill over a girl who obviously doesnt want to be with you..when you kill her new man she will find a next one while u rot in prison. Is it THAT worth it?? Does she have a college degree, does she pay ur bills, does she feed you, has she shown u the world, i dont think so. And if this is what you have settled for in a woman then i feel bad for you. Was it worth it, that now that u killed her new man , you wake up and have to live with men in a little cell for the rest of your life. But noooooo Cayman doesnt use its brain. Sumone dies and we blame or psychic police for not bein there to prevent crime. You should blame urselves,there is a caymanian disease called blame everyone but urselvesitis. Its OUR fault why these people are dying, its our fault why the young men and women on this island think they are more important than everyone. ha! To all those idiot gangsters, when you are cleaning the floor of some office in a few years or sitting in court, remember this ITS YOUR FAULT NOT THE RCIP. to all those who kill over woman, THE ONLY WOMAN TO KILL FOR IS YOUR MOTHER. Grow UP CAYMAN!

    • Anonymous says:

      I this serious?  A response like this sums it up really.  The robbers dem are not hungry dem are idiots who destroypeople’s lives to feed their drug fuelled, gangsta wannabe lives.  There are enough jobs for people who want them – start at the bottom and work your way up.  You cannot justify crime and blame it on others – no excuses.

  5. Anonymous says:

    This new Commissioner is a real comedian.

    The "girl" is only symbolism. 

    This is  far bigger than the dignity of a woman.




  6. MRS says:

    Start with the schools. The schools are small enough to see what is happening with our youth. Place well trained (TOUGH) counselors, Gang Intelligence unit officers at our schools, and I don’t just mean the public schools. Nip it in the bud before it blossoms. Pull the gangs apart, create unity with the youth. Get the trouble makers out, if they need to be in a more structure environment place them there. In years gone by “trouble makers” were sent away to disciplinary schools. “Education Department” since we have no such school here in Cayman setup an alliance with a good disciplinary school in another country and pay the money upfront to better insure our good citizens of tomorrow.

    I assure you it starts in the school, at a very early age. I have heard horror stories of teachers standing around watching fights because they are tooscared to step in, even worst I recently heard a story of the security guards not stopping fights as they too were scared and waited for the police to arrive. How very sad.
    Any of you heard about cow itch? (No I’m not suggesting we use it.) the cow itch vine is innocent looking, so much so that I had no idea that it was what had started to grow up around my a/c unit until my Dad visited and said do you have any idea what this is? He went on to explain how lucky I was that the pods had not opened, and we then promptly “nipped it in the bud” cut it out of the yard.
    Cayman already some pods have broken open and cause distress, lets not wait for more. Many, many of the roots are in our schools, lets help these kids makebetter choices. Parents, get involved with your child before you are in deep grief. Stand behind the teachers and the authorities who are trying to point them in a better direction. Don’t tear down the institutions, stop causing the bitter disrespect the kids are growing up with for authority. The authorities are there to keep order, nothing but the Almighty is perfect but I am sure we can all see discipline is seriously lacking and for I one would suffer my child being severely disciplined a lot better than having them  kill themselves.
  7. Anonymous says:

    I have to say I listened to the Commissioner before 8am on Rooster this morning and was most impressed. He appeared to be confident, committed and clear in how he communicated what needs to be done and what he intends to do.

    Let’s get behind him and the RCIPS.

    Also, kudos to the talk show hosts for questioning him in a directbut common sense manner.


  8. Joe Average says:

    From what I read David Baines has got his eye on the ball.  He made some very insightful observations.  And we should listen.  Unfortunately, the police are dealing with some less-than-insightful personalities.  An understatement?  It is considering they’re capping each other over a "broken heart".  And they still believe respect comes from waggling a gun around.  You can deal with them occassionaly by talking quietly and going out into the community.  But sometimes what is needed is to slap them up the side of the head.  Just to get their attention.

  9. Anonymous says:

    She must be able walk on water…


    Hope it’s all settled and my condolences to the families and loved ones who suffer from this foolishness!

  10. Dan Dan says:


    I am of the impression that even though these so-called ‘gangs’ have been around for a long time that this is not the cause of the latest gun violence. Unfortunately I am unable to shed light on what the ‘true’ issues are, not because I have that information and am afraid to share it I just honestly don’t know.
    But if you are a local as I am or have even been here for a few years what this new commissioner is saying does not make sense to me simply because the young men killed are from all parts of Cayman and no two of them are from the same area or ‘gang’ so his ‘conclusion’ has left a lot of questions in my mind.
    These young men that grow up and learn to have a strong sense of self and where they come from is great but that is where we as adults have failed them in not showing them that you can be proud of your district but still and more importantly be an ambassador for your island.
    These same young men are out there on the roads everyday doing their own thing, the opportunities for them after High School are mediocre and downright laughable.
    These young men take in all that is going on in the US, as this seems to be where most of our influence is from, and go about their daily lives as such.
    If there is no hope, no opportunity, noone giving them a chance to prove they can rise above and make a change, Cayman will be by far worse than Jamaica, New York, London or any other crime filled parts of the world simply because we are such a small place.
    Parents, start doing your jobs again. Find out where your children are, have conversations with them, ask them how their day was, be genuinely interested in them as human beings and notice the change that comes just from by your attention.
    Police, stop assuming that they are all criminals and take the time to talk to them and know them…you might learn something! Don’t be afraid to do your jobs, talk to some of these young men parents, reach out into the community and offer advice and protection. Don’t just stand around and hope the wind blows information you can use chase it down!!
    *One Love*
    Dan Dan
    • What a mess! says:

      I agree with much of what you’ve said here.

      Trouble is though, that parents and other gaurdians cannot pass onto their children what they themselves do not have. Parents, Political Leaders, Church Leaders and others would have to first admit they do not have all the answers…and in many cases admit that they have in many ways failed the youth of today. Cayman has spent decades selling out…for short term gain for long term pain…and the pain has now begun.

      Sad!…but true. Things na lookin well!

    • Anonymous says:

      You are right. The Commissioner has come up with an explanation of sorts to appease the public.

      Thank you for noting that there are root causes to what we are seeing with crime and violence. These need to be addressed.

      In the 10 point plan to combat crime on the radio news – I heard nothing about EMPLOYMENT, or about REHABILITATION, or about VOCATIONAL TRAINING.

      Our young men need to be on the right track, and these are the only things that will help them.

      It is the only way to prevent increased crime. Punishment does not deter those who are going to commit future crimes. It has been proven time and time again in study after study.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well thanks for your thoughts and disagreeing with the commissioner about who they are and the reasons behind these tit for tat killings. You seem to know a little too much about each of these criminals that is shooting or being shot to be merely an observer.

      How do you know where and with whom they hang out? Just because somebody moves out of West Bay doesn’t mean they stop hanging out in a west bay gang. Just because somebody is shot in Newlands doesn’t mean they are in a ‘Newlands gang’.

      You seem to know far more than the police so I’m presuming you are involved in the violence in some way? Is it your gang that is doing the shooting? is it your son doing the shooting? or perhaps it is your daughter sleeping around the gang members?

      If people like you spoke up to help the police and spoke up in your communities and within your family circles to let the thugs know that it is not ok to go about shooting and being thugs, then we could begin to fight the gang culture that has become instilled in Cayman youth.

      Unfortunately it is not the lack of opportunity for Caymanians leaving high school, there has always been massive opportunites that no other kid in any high school in the world could expect. The trouble is, the government has not provided an acceptable level of education to get the kind of jobs that these kids believe they are entitled to. Years of laziness, greed and bad parenting has led to a generation of thugs that won’t be seen dead doing manual jobs or starting from the bottom of an organisation and working their way up. They believe their qualification of being Caymanian entitled them to skip the lower ranks and start any job as a CEO.

      I agree with your ideas on community policing and parents actually being parents but for a lost generation it is too late. Brutal policing and ridiculously harsh punishments for all violent crimes is the only way to solve this in the short term and get some of these thugs off the streets for a long time. Whilst the thugs are in prison they should be locked up 24 hours and certainly have no access to the outside world as the thugs continue to breed with young single mums and create a new batch of up and coming thugs.


  11. Candy says:

    It reminds me –

    Jesus looking down from the cross upon those who tortured and crucified him, saying:
    “Father, forgive them! For they know not what they do”
    Caymanians, how can you ever “arrest” the young when your churches are dead and your people are caught up in all manner of sins and self-centeredness???
    How can you discipline the young by force and imprisonment when no one was there to ever take them by the arms and sit them down, and teach them about who they really are and the meaning of life???
    Police action makes no sense when there are no “teachable” preventative measures in place! We have lost our souls along the way! Who can save us, but ourselves!
    Tears roll down from the Prophets eyes, as he sees the blind leaders of the Cayman Islands leading the blind to perdition. Yet Ivan appears to have not helped us at all to change our ways and methods; for what storm has ever changed the human heart of “me, me, and me…”
    • Anonymous says:

       Brilliant comment. You’re right. Don’t arrest them, let them carry on shooting people. Enough of your smug moralising thanks.

      • Anonymous says:

        I believe you missed the point and then finished it off with a swift uppercut.

        The lady was merely lamenting the lack of spiritual leadership in these islands and she was saying that if someone was willing to provide such love and guidance to these troubled individuals, then we would not have as many problems as we do.

        True morality never caused abortion, murder, fornication, drunkeness, drug abuse and murder and all other manner of evil which has pervaded our world since day 1.

        Do not confuse a call for morality with hypocrisy as the two are actually diametrically opposed.

        Perhaps you should help the lady to her feet?

  12. noname says:

    This woman must be made out of gold…
    What a mess….

  13. Anonymous says:

    We need police patrol(walking, driving, riding)  in our neighbourhoods.  Please do not wait for a neighbourhood to become a problem before making police presence obvious, keep those good areas, good by patrolling, not at convenient hours, but those late night and early morning hours when a lot of the crime is happening.  Many residents are not sleeping they are keeping watch as we do not feel safe and we do not see any police watching out for us. 

    RCIPS-stop people, ask questions, search them, enquire where they live, where they work-just do it in a professional manner-so who cares if they get annoyed?They must be hiding something, otherwise they will congratulate you for doing your job.


    • Young.KY.female says:

      I have been pleasantly surprised in their increased presence during the past week.  This weekend I witnessed various officers actually ON duty; outside of nightclubs, at roadblocks and patrolling.  One car was stopped along side the road with an officer checking the surroundings (not sure if this was in response to a call or not) and I also noticed a patrol car with high beams on slowly passing through a neighborhood (also, not certain if this was in response to a call or not).

      They’ve had a lot to deal within the last year or so and the past 6 months especially and although I was quick to critisize them then, they are definitely taking action now.  It will take some time to get it right – increase their presence and authority enough to make criminals think twice before acting therefore preventing crime rather than solving it and to really understand what their jobs mean to this community. 

      They’re no where near where they need to be yet, but I’m happy to say that I’m impressed with what they have started – a start that is still better late than never.

  14. Lachlan MacTavish says:

    Hopefully this will put to rest the belief that Cayman has….."groups"….not gangs. We have had gangs for years. The gang mentality and "respeck..disrespeck" attitude here in California is horrendous to the point of being ridiculous. The local society and police allowed gangs to grow to the point where they control whole sections of towns and cities. Cayman is small and hopefully the gang influence can be stopped and altered before it gets bigger.

    Give the Commissioner resources and support to get the job done. Call tip lines….report offenders….help get back control of your neighborhoods. 

    • Anonymous says:



      The damn RCIPS has aready got all the resources it needs for such a small place. We’ve been throwing money at them since Thursfield’s day and every Commissioner pleads he needs more. It’s BETTER policing we need not MORE.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ridiculous for any one to think that the RCIP gets enough funding, money spent on a few new vessels is not even close to what the RCIP needs in terms of resources. I worked for the RCIP in the past and now working for a police service elsewhere and the resources that I have come to cherish here, are far but far beyond what my brothers and sisters in the RCIP have. The resouces that I am talking about are what get the job done and what keep officers safe on the job.

        I understand that you might be frustrated, however, those guys are doing their best with what they have, which is very little.

        • Anonymous says:

          Tuesday 0:29:

          No it’s not very little. Five or six-the record is seven- police cars sitting outside Bodden Town Police Station is a disgraceful waste of funds. Been happening for ages. Some of us look every day as we drive past you know – after all we are the tax payers. Gotta slap dem dominoes down.

          As I said -BETTER policing not MORE policing.

          • Anonymous says:

            Again, I understand the frustration, however, the reason and or senarios for that many police vehicles sitting outside the BT station, may be endless. When I refer to funding and resourses, there is a bigger picture to it than you or any other layperson, that’s not involved in the business of policing, would ever immagine. The behind- the- scene resourses are some of the most important and expensive ones, the ones that the RCIP need for the safety of its officers………these resouses are non-existant. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Lachlan, I’m from So. Calif., and I don’t agree that the gang attitude about ‘disrespect,’ is to the point of being ridiculous. I think it’s downright scary.

      You’re right, gangs do control towns and cities, schools, employment….. This makes it even more scary. I also think that these groups should not be labeled as ‘gangs.’ This will only make the situation worse by empowering these individuals.

      Again, when you single out individuals, label individuals…it will surely come back to haunt you.



  15. Hmmmph says:



    Tis all.

    • Lachlan MacTavish says:

       13:08………explain ????????

      • Hmmmph says:

        As in its ridiculous that 4 young men have lost their lives over something like this.


        I’m guessing you thought maybe my post was a response to yours, but its not, its an independent comment.