Archive for January 13th, 2010

Trial set for Samuels’ murder

Trial set for Samuels’ murder

| 13/01/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Three men are now set to face trial in the Grand Court on 10 May for the murder of Omar Samuels last July following their arraignment before Justice Charles Quin on Wednesday afternoon. Patrick McField (22), Osbourne Douglas (22) and Brandon Leslie (23) all pleaded not guilty when the indictment was read to them in open court. The charge relates to an incident on 5 July in McField Lane, George Town, when Samuels, who was shot in the leg, subsequently bled out and died from his injury. The shooting triggered what has been termed as a series of tit for tat gang murders that has claimed the lives of five young men in the last six months.

During the first hearing of the 2010 Grand Court session, Justice Quin heard a number of new cases and indictments sent up from summary court, including the arraignment of the three defendants, who were remanded in custody to Northward prison. He also heard the difficulties of three female defendants who had been committed to the Grand Court on conspiracy and perverting the cause of justice charges relating to the same murder case.

Defence attorney Ben Tonner, who was holding on behalf of other attorneys, explained to the judge that the women had been declined legal aid as the charges against them were not covered by the legal aid provisions set out for summary court. He asked Justice Quin to intervene as he said now their case was before the Grand Court there was provision under the legal aid rules to provide for their legal representation.

Tonner explained that one of the defendants had been remanded in custody and had lost her job as a result and was therefore in no position to cover her own legal expenses. “In my opinion, I can’t believe that these defendants have been denied legal aid given the circumstances,” he said, asking if the application could now be made to Justice Quin. The judge agreed and said he would ensure the issue was dealt with speedily.

The full details of the women’s connection to the murder case was not revealed in the mention, However, one of the defendants is the mother of Osbourne Douglas. The media had been ordered by the Chief Magistrate not to report on the Summary Court hearings related to the Samuels case because of questions regarding possible witness intimidation and threats to the defendants.

The charges against McField, Douglas and Leslie are the only ones that have been brought in connection to the five related shootings that occurred in 2009. No one has been charged by police in connection to the murders of Marcus Ebanks, Carlos Webster, Fabian Ried or Fabian Powell, the latest man to be found shot dead in the road near Welly’s Cool Spot only three days after Christmas.

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Cayman Red Cross responds to Haiti earthquake

Cayman Red Cross responds to Haiti earthquake

| 13/01/2010 | 6 Comments

Cayman Islands news, World news, Cayman Islands Red Cross, Haiti earthquake(CNS): Following the magnitude 7.3 earthquake that shook Haiti at minutes to 5pm yesterday, the Cayman Islands Red Cross (CIRC) will be taking tracing requests from Cayman residents who have family members living in Haiti. However, due to the near total devastation of communication equipment on the ground, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Haiti is currently focusing on getting messages from Haitians to family members abroad.

The CIRC will be monitoring the situation, and as soon as communication capacity is re-established it will be working to restore family links between Cayman residents and their families in Haiti. In the meantime, requests should be sent to or 916-1742. The information needed is the person(s) full name, last known address, last known phone number, last known place of employment (if possible), and the names of any next of kin also in Haiti.

The CIRC is also accepting monetary donations for the relief efforts. Persons wishing to donate funds can come directly to the Red Cross or make a deposit at Butterfield Bank under the Cayman Islands Red Cross Haiti Earthquake Appeal (02-201-035054-04).

Food, clothing and other relief supplies are *NOT* being sent at this time due to the logistic burden and security issues on the ground. Those wishing to help are urged to contact the Cayman Islands Red Cross at, 925-0681 or 949-6785 ext. 22.

Currently it is estimated that 1 in 3 persons have been affected by the earthquake, the worst to hit the nation in the past two centuries. The epicenter of the quake was located approximately 10 miles south-west of the capital city Port-au-Prince and hundreds of thousands may have died.

See BBC footage of the disaster

Cayman Islands Red Cross website

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CJ queries legal aid plans

CJ queries legal aid plans

| 13/01/2010 | 43 Comments

(CNS): Concerns over government plans to alter the way that the legal aid system is funded and administered was at the heart of the chief justice’s report this morning at the opening of the Grand Court. Anthony Smellie said that the provision of legal aid to those who needed it was fundamental to the administration of justice and that professional legal representation for those facing the full power of the state was a basic human right. The CJ also noted that he was pleased to see that the premier was present in the court to hear the concerns of the profession.

Following addresses by the Cayman Bar Association and the Law Society supporting the attorney general’s motion to open the 2010 Grand Court session, which also raised concerns about the government’s decision to change the Legal Aid system, Smellie made it clear he beleived there was a danger that the current system could be replaced by something that was inferior and drive away the already limited pool of criminal defense attorneys.

Although the CJ discussed a number of other issues concerning the judiciary at present, from the pressure on the court system, the need for a new building to his own concerns about the rise in crime and the calls for more judge alone trials that risked disconnecting the public from the justice system, he focused a considerable part of his report on the plans to change legal aid.

He acknowledged the long held concerns of Finance Committee about the rising cost of legal aid but pointed to the 2008 Law Reform Commission’s report that had found that the current system represented good value for money and provided a high-calibre of representation. However, Smellie went on to say that the government’s decision to move towards a private system was of concern to everyone. He observed that Premier Mckeeva Bush had made a commitment to conduct an objective review but the judiciary and the attorneys involved in legal aid work were guaranteed payment on legal work under an ad hoc system and until the government changed the law, there was no guarantee for their future.

“In the face of the uncertainties now confronting the system, we are once again in danger of losing this small cadre of lawyers and so of having once more to contemplate the risks of injustice to defendants from lack of representation and delay – concerns which we thought had become a thing of the past,” Smellie added.

He urged the wider public as well as the judiciary to put forward their comments to the committee as he said failure to offer comment could result in the system being replaced by something that failed to meet the public’s basic justice needs or end up costing even more.

“We cannot afford to lose sight of what is at risk,” he said. “It is nothing less than the ability of the courts to ensure justice is done and done in a timely and efficient manner.”

He suggested that the drive to change the system did not come from the wider public or the legal community, and that while there can always be ways of improving how the system is managed, he said questions about equality and fairness of how legal aid was administered or who was given the work had never been raised.

"While there was always room for improvement in the administration of legal aid and, in an ideal world desirable that we had the ability to fund every deserving case, there certainly was no sense of general public dissatisfaction about the system.  Specifically, no complaint was ever made with the courts that the people most in need were being denied legal aid,” he said.

The CJ added that all who were in need had received help, as well as those facing the full force of the state charged with serious crime.

While he admitted there was room to encourage more pro-bono work it could not replace a properly state funded legal aid system.

Speaking to CNS after the Grand Court opening ceremony, the premier told CNS that while the Law Reform Commission may have said many things about legal aid over the years, so had the Legislative Assembly, which had raised its concerns over the increasing costs, and there was a need for change.

“When the chief justice said that the public was satisfied with the system, I think he needs to do some research about the vast expenditures that the people have questioned,” he added. He also noted the irony that he was under pressure to find the money to fund the court system when we now had more than 400 lawyers practicing in the jurisdiction that were able to retire early after earning millions of dollars but they were not prepared to give back.

Noting his own fundamental belief that the provision of legal aid must be separated from the courts, Bush said we must now wait and see what the committee finds.

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Day 3 of search for boaters

Day 3 of search for boaters

| 13/01/2010 | 0 Comments

Cayman Islands news , Grand Cayman local news, five missint at sea(CNS): The RCIPS Marine Unit is once again co-ordinating extensive air, land and sea searches in an effort to trace five people missing at sea since Sunday, 10 January, or their property, police said today (Wednesday 13 January). The police said a number of life vests, a jacket and a cap found by search teams yesterday did not belong to any of the missing people. A number of local divers have joined the search this morning and are now working alongside police divers to search the reef area. Unfortunately, because of the prevailing weather conditions the search is, for the moment, confined to the inside of the reef.

However, the situation will be monitored throughout the day and, as soon as it is safe for the divers to do so, they will move to the outer area of the reef.

Three Marine Unit boats (Tornado, Guardian and Niven D) have again been joined in the search by a number of private vessels. A boat manned by immigration officials is also actively taking part. The boats are engaged in searches around the reef. Rescue One, under the direction of the police air support co-ordinator, will undertake air sweeps of the area, and wave runners will be assisting with shoreline searches. Based on tide evaluation and analysis, police officers on foot and dog handlers will be concentrating their shore searches in the West Bay area. The shoreline searchers will be looking for anything washed up from the boat, such as personal property or clothing.

When last seen Raynell Wood was wearing a grey long-sleeved t-shirt and blue surfer type shorts. Astor Range was wearing a white t-shirt and Joshua Gilman was wearing a green and brown shirt, navy blue and green jacket. He also wore silver earrings and a large silver chain. At this time police do not have descriptions of the clothing worn by either Michelle Wood or Jeamie Avila.

Police officers have been keeping in close contact with the families and have been ensuring that they are kept fully informed of all developments and search plans and they are given all the support they need at this difficult time.

LIME, which assisted the police very early in the search by identifying the time that cell phones belonging to members of the missing group had stopped working, are continuing to support the operation by supplying fuel for the wave runners and food for those taking part in the searches.

Chief Inspector Courtney Myles of the RCIPS Marine Unit said, “We are grateful to the number of local people who are, day after day, turning out to help us in the search. Once again the real community spirit which exists in Cayman has shown that everyone is keen to help and provide whatever support they can. We are committed to using all available resources to find out what has happened to Raynell, Astor, Joshua, Jeamie and young Michelle. It is an extremely difficult time for all of the families involved in this tragedy and, as each day passes, we are working with them to prepare them for every possible outcome. We, in the search teams, do remain hopeful that we will be able to bring their loved ones home to them, but it’s now three days into the search and, as I said yesterday, we do have to be realistic.

“Once again I would appeal to anyone who wants to assist us in the search to contact the incident command centre. It’s great that so many people want to help, but it’s absolutely vital that they make us aware of who they are so that we make the most effective and efficient use of the resources we have available.”

Anyone with information or who wants to assist in the search should contact the incident command centre on 814 -7811.

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Appointments made to three new commissions

Appointments made to three new commissions

| 13/01/2010 | 20 Comments

(CNS): Pastor Al Ebanks (left), the head of the Cayman Ministers Association committee that helped negotiate the new Constitution and stood in strong opposition to an unqualified bill of rights, has been appointed Chairman of the Constitutional Commission. Chairing the new Human Rights Commission is former Attorney General Richard Coles, while Karin Thompson, a local attorney and member of the Sexual Harassment and Stalking Taskforce, will chair the Commission for Standards in Public Life, according to a release from the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs.

The Constitutional Commission is a three-person commission established under section 118 of the new Constitution. Also appointed by Acting Governor Donovan Ebanks along with Pastor Al are community activist and former Deputy Clerk of the Courts Julene Banks and CEO of the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce Wil Pineau.

Under the Constitution, this commission has a threefold remit of advising government on questions concerning constitutional status and development, promoting public understanding and awareness of the constitution and its values, and publishing reports, papers and other documents on any constitutional matters affecting the Cayman Islands. In broad terms, this commission may be said to combine the functions of an advisory body with those of a think tank on constitutional matters, the portfolio explained.

The five-member Human Rights Commission replaces the Human Rights Committee and is established under section 116 of the constitution. The newly appointed members are Richard Coles (Chairman), who was attorney general for the Cayman Islands from 1992 to 1999; local attorneys Sara Collins (who was chair of the Human Right Committee) and Alistair Walters; Cathy Frazier, a member of the Planning the Future for Persons with Disabilities Steering Committee, and the Reverend Nicholas Sykes, a member of Negotiating Team for the Constitutional Negotiations.

The primary responsibility of the commission is to promote understanding and observance of human rights in the Cayman Islands. This remit includes educating the public about the Bill of Rights, Freedoms and Responsibilities (Part 1 of the constitution), most of which are scheduled to come into effect on 6 November 2012. The Human Rights Commission has powers to establish mechanisms to hear and investigate public complaints about potential breaches of human rights, to provide a forum for mediation or conciliation, to give advice and guidance to enquirers of all kinds in relation to their human rights, and to publish reports on its own initiative on human rights issues.

Appointments to the Constitutional Commission and the Human Rights Commission will be for renewable terms of between two to four years, with members serving for different periods, so that new appointments or re-appointments can take place in a staggered fashion.

Five people have been appointed to serve on the Commission for Standards in Public Life: along with the chair Karin Thompson, Managing Partner for KPMG, Roy McTaggart; Pastor Winston Rose, a former member of the Public Service Commission; former Chief Education Officer Nyda-Mae Flatley; and local architect, Hedley Robinson.

Established under sections 117 and 121 of the Constitution, this commission has a broad remit but also specific responsibilities. Its overall function is to promote “the highest standards of integrity and competence in public life in order to ensure the prevention of corruption or conflicts of interest”. As such, it is entrusted with the specific responsibility for developing and maintaining up-to-date registers of interest for those employed in public life. In conjunction with its primary role of promoting standards in public life, it has powers to monitor compliance with such standards and to investigate breaches of them. In addition, it has powers to review and strengthen procedures for awarding public contracts and making public appointments. In broad terms, it acts as a watchdog, it responds to citizens’ concerns, and it promotes public trust in public servants and elected members. Under the constitution, its commissioners serve a four year term.

Administrative support for these three new commissions will be provided by a joint Commissions Secretariat, consisting of a Manager and up to five staff. The Secretariat is being established under the aegis of the Deputy Governor’s Office. A “joint services” approach to supporting the new commissions is considered prudent in the current fiscal climate.

The Commissions Secretariat will also support a fourth commission, the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, which will advise the governor on all judicial and legal appointments and will develop a code of conduct for the judiciary and a procedure for dealing with complaints. It is anticipated that appointments to the Judicial and Legal Services Commission will be made within the next two to three months.

The portfolio saidthese commissions would broaden citizen involvement in constitutional governance and strengthen our democratic way of life. For more on the commissions, see Institutions Supporting Democracy.

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Protest the South Sound development

Protest the South Sound development

| 13/01/2010 | 8 Comments

I read with amazement on Sunday night an article detailing the re-emergence of the Emerald Sound development in South Sound. Perhaps I should have expected to see this project again, given the track record of indiscriminate physical development in Cayman and our government’s historical disregard for any factor beyond the short term economic.

I did, however, expect better from the developers following the outpouring of sentiment and objection from the people of South Sound and generally of Cayman in April 2007 when this project first became public.

The South Sound Community Centre was literally overflowing with people, desperate to do something, anything, to ensure that this travesty did not occur. In the crowd there was equal representation from just about every group in the community—South Sounders whose families have lived there for 10 generations, those from more Northern origins who made it their home in the 1970s and ‘80s, the newly arrived, and everyone in-between. Our objections varied from matters of community safety to unjustifiable environmental impacts, but all were equally forceful in our expression that we as individuals and as a collective strongly believed that this development was not in the best interest of the community, and that we would absolutely fight against this development.

I write from the UK where I am completing my studies, tempted to get on the next flight home, to encourage you, South Sounders, Caymanians, members of the Cayman community, to please again let your thoughts on this project be known.

We are tired of and exhausted from seeing our beautiful island ransacked into a concrete jungle, with no consideration given to us or our children, or any current or future inhabitants of these islands. Over 55% of canal lots in Grand Cayman still sit vacant—why then do these developers believe that there is genuine demand, beyond speculative, for more high-end residential lots? The majority of the mangrove wetlands of the western half of the island have been destroyed. Culturally, we have increasingly fewer reminders left of the simple yet precious aesthetic of scenic and architectural Cayman at its best.

On Seven Mile Beach we prepare to bid the Beach Club a heavy-hearted farewell as the latest in a long list of small, rustic hotels exchanged for seven storey, million-dollar money makers. Other losses include Fort George, Dr Roy’s House, Old Galleon Beach, the original Holiday Inn, the freshwater pond in South Sound, the original Seven Mile Beach road which ran closer to the beach with unobstructed views of the ocean.

South Sound Road is one of these community treasures we still have. It is a place where we go for jogs and walk our dogs, a place where we played as children on the beach or in the mangroves. And we love it exactly as it is and was: unpolished, rough around the edges, natural, breathtaking. We do not want St Tropez in South Sound, as the spokesperson for this development has told us it will be. Legitimate concern has been raised about the flooding of neighbouring properties that this development may cause, not to mention the possible scenarios of water surge in a hurricane or tropical storm or the bridge collapsing and thus cutting off access for inhabitants.

Reasons to object:
1) The majority of the community very strongly oppose the development
2) Environmental destruction of the Sound from dredging (the surrounding coral reef system, the young marine life for who the Sound acts as a nursery, water quality and clarity, coastal erosion)
3) The canal and the cutting of the road would bring open water further inland, increasing exposure of all inland properties in the area to tidal inundation in storms and hurricanes
4) Safety concerns for resident boaters in the Sound with forced increase in traffic through the channel, which is dangerous to navigate
5) The aesthetic appeal and cultural landscape of South Sound will be forever changed. Do we want SouthSound to look like St Tropez or to remain a Caymanian gem?

While some may prefer to not see the project go through at all, I do recognize the right of the owner of the land to benefit from their property, and this is entirely possible to do in a way that would be acceptable to the community. If the developer meets the community halfway and removes the marina element of the development (ie no canals and instead creates a non-canal/non-marina luxury South Sound property development), does not significantly alter the main South Sound road and creates the development in a tasteful and discrete way which does not alter the current look of South Sound road, they would find little to no objections with their development.

Despite our fatigue from past heartbreaks, I plead with you, with us, as a community: Let us speak out and put an end to this indiscriminate destruction of our home.

There will be a meeting tomorrow night, Thursday 14 January, about this development at the South Sound Community Centre, starting at 7pm.

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Rooster axes Walling’s afternoon chat

Rooster axes Walling’s afternoon chat

| 13/01/2010 | 73 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman local news, radio talk show(CNS): After less than two months on the air, the afternoon version of the radio phone-in show, Crosstalk, has been axed. Hosted by former DER director and political candidate Walling Whittaker, the show had promised solutions and not just complaints. However, the programme had little time to solve anything and radio officials confirmed the cutting of the show for commercial reasons. Austin Harris, the host of the morning’s version of the show, told CNS that the advertising revenue was not measuring up.

“Rooster 101.9FM operates to make a profit from the services and programmes it provides, and often in business when a profit is not immediately achievable we seek to recover, at minimum, the costs of providing such services,” Harris said.

Rooster did not say whether existing revenue had declined or whether the show had simply been given a very short window of opportunity to increase revenue. Harris said, however, that the advertising revenue from Crosstalk PM simply did not meet the criteria of covering costs or making a profit and was no longer economically feasible, despite having only aired for around eight weeks.

“In this recession, businesses have to be creative and seek to maximize its revenue from all available resources,” Harris added. “Our decision to present an afternoon talk show, built on the success of our morning program, was largely a speculative venture on behalf of Hurley’s Entertainment.  We believe it may still work again in the future. However, in this economy it did not.  The decision therefore to cancel the Crosstalk PM talk segment was simply a business decision, in the best interest of Rooster 101.9FM.”

Although Harris said it was a speculative venture, at the time of its announcement the radio station appeared to have considerable expectations for the show. Randy Merren, owner of Hurleys Entertainment, said whatever lack of experience Whittaker had as a broadcaster he made up for with his knowledge of government, politics and business in Cayman.

Whittaker had said his afternoon show would be different, as he would be focusing on resolving problems.  "I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to expand social commentary and explore contemporary issues from a different perspective," said Whittaker at the time of the announcement. "Crosstalk PM will not only examine current issues but more importantly we will also try to look for solutions to problems." 

The show was broadcast in the slot previously taken by the Big Kahuna but Hurley’s did not comment on whether the local comedian would return to the airwaves.

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MP pushes for overseas territories to be remembered

MP pushes for overseas territories to be remembered

| 13/01/2010 | 1 Comment

(BBC): A UK MP is making efforts to ensure crown dependencies and overseas territories are represented at the Cenotaph each Remembrance Sunday. The move calls for people from those areas who have served in the forces to be acknowledged in the service. Andrew Rosindell said they should be recognised in exactly the same way as those they fought alongside. The UK Ministry of Justice said it would give proper consideration to any representations made. Each year the Queen lays a wreath at the Cenotaph on behalf of the whole nation. Mr Rosindell, vice-chairman of the British Channel Islands All-Parliamentary Group, said: "

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Martin faces critical evidence

Martin faces critical evidence

| 13/01/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Confronted with phone records that directly contradicted his earlier testimony, the man on trial for the murder of Sabrina Schirn had no explanation when his case resumed on Tuesday morning.  During the prosecution’s cross examination, Solicitor General Cheryll Richards asked Randy Martin how he could possibly have met Schirn at the farm at 10:38 on the morning of March 11, as he claimed, when 12 seconds earlier the records proved that she was in the Savannah-Bodden Town area, and Martin had no answers.

During careful and detailed cross examination, Richards questioned the plausibility of Martin’s account and accused him of lying and fabricating his testimony to detract away from the fact that he was responsible for the killing of Schirn. She suggested he had carefully planned the murder and that his evidence made no sense.

From his claims that Schirn made a phone call to another man while they were sharing an intimate moment to the three phone calls he said were made between them as he supposedly made his rapid getaway back his post at the farm, Richards said he was making things up to try and explain away evidence which pointed to his guilt. The solicitor general said Martin’s explanation would not be possible based on the records.

“I can’t explain, I don’t understand this,” Martin told the court as the details of the phone records and the cell locations were shown to him.

Pressing him about his behaviour after the 11 March, Richard asked him why he did not call Schirn, between whom he said there was nothing but love, once he knew she was missing. As he claimed he had no reason to do so as they had arranged to meet, Richards exclaimed that he did not call Schirn because he already knew she was dead.

She queried why, if his account was true, instead of assisting the police by telling them he had seen her on the 11 March and left her alive that he had lied about even knowing her.

Claiming that he had already been singled out as a suspect because of rumours in the prison even before the police came, Martin said he did not want to say anything until he knew what was happening. Richards, however, said it was evidence of a guilty mind.

Faced with the contradicting evidence regarding the phone records, Martin still denied his involvement in the crime and insisted he had no reason to hurt Schirn.

Richards said the phone records indicated that she arrived in High Rock at around 10:59 and between then and 11:27, when her phone suddenly went off the air, was when he was with Sabrina, which, she said, matched with the evidence given by one of the prison officers that he was absent from the farm for some time.

Richards suggested he met Schirn not where he claimed but where her body was found, and after killing her he placed the glove he had acquired from an inmate and drove her car to where it was later discovered. Throwing away the glove and the car keys he took off his shirt and then made his way back to the farm, following what she said was a planned murder.

Martin continued to repeat, “No ma’am, nothing like that ever occurred,” and that he had “no reason to kill Sabrina,” as Richards probed his account of the morning in question.

Returning to what the prosecution said was his motive, that he believed Sabrina Schirn was the woman involved in the shooting of his brother Fernando Martin, he continued to deny this and said he had always known which Sabrina it was that had been involved and he knew it was not Sabrina Schirn.   

In redirection David Evans QC, his defence attorney, asked Martin why he knew that Sabrina Schirn was not involved. Martin said he had statements from the Sheldon Brown trial regarding the involvement of a Sabrina Powell and that he had always known it was that girl and not Schirn.

Following his counsel’s re-examination, Justice Charles Quinn, who is trying Martin without a jury, asked him a number of questions regarding the calls that Martin claimed were made between him and Sabrina after they parted, as he said he hurried back to the farm. The judge also asked how Schirn had come to make a phone call while they were, as Martin had said, having sex. The judge also asked Martin about the tools he used and where they were kept on the farm.

The defence then told the court that it would not be calling further witnesses and therefore counsel would be moving to closing statements on Thursday morning.

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Prison farm to be transformed into weather radar

Prison farm to be transformed into weather radar

| 13/01/2010 | 8 Comments

Cayman Islands news, Grand Cayman local news, Cayman weather radar station(CNS): Wilderness Farm in East End, formerly home to the prison agricultural facility, has been earmarked as the site for the new Doppler weather radar station planned for Cayman. The prison farm was closed last year following the discovery of the body of Sabrina Schirn nearby and the subsequent arrest of an inmate on the farm detail for her murder. Revealed as a security risk in a special government report and more so with the mounting revelations in the current trial of Randy Martin for Schirn’s killing, the farm could now be transformed to play a crucial part in the Caribbean’s early warning weather system.

Plans to site the specialist radar station in the Cayman Islands were announced in July last year and a specialist committee has been seeking a suitable location for several months. The two-acre site earmarked at the Wilderness Farm was one of seven locations considered for housing the radar, John Tibbetts, Deputy Head of the Met Office, said.

“This was deemed the best site; we looked at accessibility, power supply in the area; elevation; the fact that the site was inland, and also that it was far away from homes,” he added, pointing out that locations near the sea were avoided as the ocean movement tended to corrupt radar readings.

The station will serve the northern Caribbean, filling a hole in regional radar coverage, and will be linked to other radar stations in Belize, Barbados, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago.  “This means that Cayman will get more accurate, timely and up-to-date information when a severe weather system is in our area, and as such our population can better prepare,” he noted.

The proposed location comprises two acres of the current farm, and pending a survey completion and site report,  it is proving to be a promising choice.

In March 2009, the Cayman Islands Airport Authority and the European Commission signed a €4.16 million contract providing Cayman with grant funding to construct the early warning radar.

Speaking at a media briefing at the time, the then Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush and Works Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly both cited the importance of the radar in boosting the islands’ early warning capability. They also announced that government would provide €500,000 as an in-kind contribution.

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