Archive for January 14th, 2010

Diver finds clothes from one of missing men

| 14/01/2010 | 17 Comments

(CNS): The police confirmed this afternoon that a shirt belonging to Astor Range, one of the five people missing at sea since Sunday 10 January, was recovered earlier today during the ongoing search operations. About 12.40pm this afternoon (Thursday 14 January) police said a yellow shirt was recovered from the Rum Point Channel by a volunteer diver assisting in the RCIPS. The police also confirmed that hopes of finding any of the party alive had faded and the marine unit was now engaged in a ‘search and recovery mission.’

The shirt has now been identified by family members as belonging to 36-year-old Astor Range, one of the five people reported missing on Sunday night. Chief Inspector Courtney Myles isappealing to the local community for additional divers to assist with the search tomorrow, Friday 15 January, as weather conditions are forecast to improve.

As the fourth day of searching drew to a close police also said that hope of finding any of the group alive had faded. The RCIPS Marine Unit and a number of personal boats continued the search on Thursday 14 January but the operation is now being classified as a ‘search and recovery’ mission.

“Since the moment we were made aware that Raynell, Astor, Joshua, Jeamie and Michelle were missing we’ve conducted extensive sea, air and land searches in the hope of finding them alive and reuniting them with their families,” Chief Inspector Courtney Myles of the RCIPS Marine Unit said. “It’s now four days since that search began and we have to be realistic – we believe that based on the sea and weather conditions of late all hope of finding them alive has now faded. The thoughts of everyone in the RCIPS, and the many people who have assisted us in the searches, are with the families of the victims at this very harrowing time. RCIPS liaison officers will continue to provide support to the families in the coming days as they plan their respective memorial services.”

Myles explained however that the marine unit would not yet give up the search. “We are, however, continuing searches inside and outside of the reef area today in hope that we can bring some kind of closure to the families,” he added.

Anyone who is available to join in the search is asked to contact the incident control centre on 814-7811 from 6:30am.

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Judge to try Ricketts & Henry

| 14/01/2010 | 0 Comments

Cayman Islands News. Grand Cayman local news, court news, Estella Scott-Roberts murder(CNS): The two men accused of murdering Estella Scott-Roberts have both waved their right to a jury trial. Appearing before Justice Charles Quin on Thursday morning, Kirkland Henry and Larry Ricketts both told the open court that they had elected to have their case heard by judge alone. The trial of the two Jamaican nationals is set to start on Tuesday 26 January and is expected to last around four weeks. Following various delays and problems with representation and legal aid, both men now have lead counsel to present their defense in court, which is likely to draw extensive local attention.

The two men have both pleaded not guilty to the murder of the Cable and Wireless Executive and local community activist. Police also charged the two men with robbery and abduction and Henry was charged with rape. However, neither man has been indicted on those charges, which still have to be dealt with.

The discovery of Scott-Roberts’ body in her own burnt out car in the Barkers area of West Bay on Saturday, 11 October 2008, sent shock waves through the Cayman community. She was last seen alive on the night before, when she had dinner with friends at Deckers restaurant on the West Bay Road.

Ricketts, who reportedly worked as a carpenter, and Henry, a gardener, who were both residing in George Town at the time, were arrested by police on Monday, 27October 2008. The two men have been remanded in custody at HMP Northward since their arrest.

The two defendants had faced considerable difficulties regarding their legal representation. While Ben Tonner of Samson McGrath went on record for Henry at an early point in the case, he faced difficulties in obtaining a legal aid certificate for an overseas QC, which has since been resolved. Ricketts, however, was without any representation for some considerable time until Lee Freeman of Priestley’s went on record and has since managed to secure lead counsel for his client.

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Chicago White Sox help train Cayman’s Little League

| 14/01/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): It’s not too late for kids to sign up for the fifth Chicago White Sox camp at the Little League’s Field of Dreams on Friday, Saturday and Sunday 15 to 17 January, with start times of 4pm, 8:30am and 3pm respectively. Following a tradition that started after Hurricane Ivan, the Chicago White Sox Training Academy is again sending a mixture of coaches, trainers and marketing executives for the pre-season camp for local Little Leaguers that has proven to be inspirational instructional fun for a multitude of kids, as well as a free Coaches Clinic, offered to all, experienced or interested first-timers on Thursday, 14 January from 6 to 8pm.

Coming from Chicago are: Michael Huff, former MLB player (White Sox, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Indians) and current Vice President of Sports at the Bulls/Sox Academy overseeing all sports for company who run over 450 camps annually for boys and girls in basketball, fastpitch, and baseball; Dan Schaffer, Coordinator of Player Development; Travis Kerber, White Sox Academy Director – Tinley Park; Phil Fox, White Sox Academy Director – LaGrange, Marty Kobernus, Lead Elite Pitching Instructor; Kyle Kobernus, Academy Instructor, Strength and Conditioning; Marco Fajardo, – Academy Elite Hitting Instructor; James Nash, – Academy Instructor; and ‘Southpaw’ the popular Chicago White Sox Mascot

Little League have reduced the cost of the camp this year. For 5+6 year olds, there is a ‘Little Sluggers’ camp to introduce the basics of the game. The 7-18 year olds will be grouped by age and ability with an 8-1 student to coach ratio.

Advertised on the White Sox web page, with a link to Cayman’s Department of Tourism, this year for the first time there are five 8-10 year old ballplayers travelling from the Chicago area to participate. A supporting crew of wives and girlfriends joined the entourage and will be enjoying a few activities (Stingray City) compliments of Cayman Little League.

Still free for kids, Cayman Little League’s 20th season is starting this month, with a full complement of seven divisions: T-ball, Pony, A, AA, AAA, Jr + Sr Girls. The ‘season’ ends in all divisions May 29 with the traditional All-Star Games and Awards.

For more information on the camp or season, contact Daryn Lansdell 916-5643, or email


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H1N1 vaccine delayed

| 14/01/2010 | 0 Comments

Cayman Islands news, Cayman Islands Health News, H1N1 vaccine(CNS): The arrival of the H1N1 vaccine has been delayed due to a strike at vaccine manufacturer Sanofi’s warehouse in France, Medical Officer of Health Dr Kiran Kumar has confirmed. “We are disappointed by the delay, but hope that the vaccine will be shipped next week,” Dr. Kumar said. “As soon as it arrives, we will advise the public where and when they can be vaccinated,” he added.The Panenza vaccine, produced by Sanofi Pasteur in France and approved by the World Health Organisation and the European Union, will be available to everyone at the Cayman Islands Hospital, all district health centres, Faith Hospital in Cayman Brac and the Little Cayman Clinic.

“Because we will be receiving a shipment of 10,000 doses, the H1N1 vaccination programme will be open to everyone. However, In keeping with international guidelines, we strongly recommend vaccination of the priority groups,” Dr. Kumar explained.

As such public health officials are calling for the following groups to be vaccinated: health care workers and support staff to ensure there is no disruption to health care services, pregnant women in any trimester, children and adults with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, and those with chronic respiratory, cardiac (excluding hypertension), renal, liver and neurological disease.

To ensure easy access to the vaccine, the Public Health Department will hold a special vaccination clinic for pregnant women, and are also considering open clinics at supermarkets and other public places. No appointments will be necessary and the vaccine will be offered on a first come first serve basis. The vaccine will also be provided at no cost to private practitioners, and those interested in offering the vaccine to their patients, should contact the Public Health Department, Dr. Kumar asked.

According to the Medical Officer of Health the pandemic H1N1 influenza virus is still circulating and is causing illness and hospitalizations globally. "Many people are still susceptible to this virus and would benefit from vaccination. We will have a very good supply of the H1N1 vaccine and encourage all residents to get the vaccine.”

Minister of Health, the Hon. Mark Scotland spoke out in strong support of Public Health’s efforts to ensure that all residents are immunized. “With H1N1flu declining in many countries I am concerned that people may become complacent, thinking that this is all over. We have a window of opportunity to limit the impacts of the pandemic flu, and I urge people to take advantage of the vaccination programme when the vaccine arrives. Vaccinations provide a chance for people to protect themselves and reduce the risk of serious complications,” the minister said.

Public health statistics show that the Islands are still dealing with a higher than usual flu activity and that the pandemic flu is still the predominant strain doing the rounds. “Although we are only testing severe and other selected cases, the fact that twenty cases tested positive for H1N1 during the past six weeks shows that the pandemic flu is still the leading flu in Cayman right now,” Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kiran Kumar said. “While the amount of flu cases have declined, we are counting about 150 cases per week, compared to a ‘normal’ flu season, when we deal with an average of 80 – 100 per week.”

Since the start of the H1N1 pandemic in June last year, Cayman has reported 129 confirmed H1N1 flu cases. Since December twenty cases (11 children and 9 adults) were confirmed, 9 of which were reported in January. “We have found that young people are the most affected by H1N1 and asked that parents and schools continue to take the necessary precautions such as keeping sick children at home,” Dr. Kumar urged.

For 2009, public health officials recorded a totalof 7,200 flu cases in its surveillance programme – well above the 4,200 cases of 2008. “This excessive number is definitely related to the H1N1 pandemic,” Dr. Kumar noted. He however estimates that about 6,000 persons may have acquired the H1N1 infection in the Cayman Islands.

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Family member says she tried to stop fishing trip

| 14/01/2010 | 12 Comments

(CNS): Joshua Gilman’s mother has said that she couldn’t believe her son, who is one of the party of five missing at sea, actually went out on the fishing trip given the weather. Speaking in an exclusive interview with News 27, Claudette Bodden tells how, when she heard that he was planning to go to Honduras in that boat, she had tried to persuade her son not to go. She said Gilman had helped fix the boat but it was not seaworthy and she had told him the trip was not worth his life. Despite extensive searches there is still no sign of the five people who have been missing since Sunday.

See full video interview with News 27

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AG calls for forensic lab

| 14/01/2010 | 19 Comments

(CNS): Discussing the many and diverse problems associated with the continuing rising levels of crime in the Cayman Islands, Attorney General Samuel Bulgin said the jurisdiction needs its own facilities to deal with forensic evidence to reduce the reliance on eye witnesses and to improve the quality of police investigations. Speaking at the opening of the 2010 Grand Court, he also confirmed that the Legal Department is currently examining legislation to enable witnesses to testify anonymously and to introduce judge alone trials for some offences.

With crime at the forefront of the community’s mind, the attorney general reiterated his position that Cayman needs its own facility to deal with physical evidence, even if it meant the island goes it alone instead of partnering with another Caribbean overseas territories.

“Those of us who have been around long enough can speak to the recurring problems faced by police investigators, prosecutors and courts in cases where good forensic capabilities would have made a difference,” he said. “In a number of significant cases the Legal Department has been unable to recommend prosecution simply because that vital link that would have been provided by the forensic evidence was missing.”

He recalled a tragic incident in Cayman Brac some years ago when a lady died, allegedly run over but no charges could be proffered because, among other things, there was insufficient evidence to independently verify which vehicle was involved and whether there was human hair or tissue or whether it was animal hair or some other type of fibre on the undercarriage of the vehicles.  

“That determination may have been possible if at the time we had a local laboratory with experts in DNA, tissue analysis, tyre marks, and other such disciplines.”

The AG also noted the problems in recent and ongoing cases, and while there had been improvements with the opening of the DNA facility at the Health Services Authority, Cayman needed a dedicated local facility to include more than just DNA testing  —  one that embraced all disciplines. Bulgin explained it would eliminate the need for collecting, packaging, and storing exhibits for long periods to transport to another country and risk compromising their integrity or raise questions about the chain of custody. With the police commissioner wanting to look at cold cases, the AG observed he would have little success without technical and forensic services.

Bulgin also spoke about the serious problems concerning witnesses. “This is a very small jurisdiction and it is understandable that there will be reluctance on the part of some witnesses to testify for different reasons, including intimidation,” he said adding that juries were also reluctant to convict because of fear. He said government was considering legislation to provide anonymity for witnesses in relation to certain cases where there is likely to be witness intimidation to try some offences by judge alone removing the right of a defendent to opt for a trial by a jury. Bulgin also stated that ways the country could expand the jury pool by including those that are now exempted was also under consideration.

He said, however, there was a need for “people power”; despite the fear and the heinousness nature of the crimes the police needed the help of the community. “Unless someone is willing to come forward and give evidence these crimes may never be solved,” Bulgin stated. “Every one of these people committing these offences goes home to a relative or friend who invariably knows that he has done something unlawful. It is incumbent upon them to report it to the police. To knowingly harbour a person who has committed an offence is legally and morally wrong.”

He also expressed his concern over the worrying trend of young girls acting as co-conspirators with and facilitators of suspected criminals. “It shows that there is a clear need to re-visit the findings of the crime study report and to action its recommendations, in particular in respect of young persons at risk,” the AG said. “I can’t help but observe that the social decay we are experiencing seems in large part to be as a result of the lack of self-esteem in some of our young people.”

Bulgin also spoke about the commissioner’s plans for tighter border control with information pointing to firearms coming into the Islands concealed in cargo. He said customs needed scanning equipment and called for greater vigilance. “In short, more resources need to be concentrated in this area,” he added.

The AG also addressed the role of the local prosecutors and the police to exercise greater diligence consistent with the increasing complexity and heinousness of the offences are being committed.

“We need to do more to assure the public,” he said. “Despite the overwhelming workload, we as prosecutors need to pay greater details to files and to be more diligent in our preparations. Police officers, who I must note are equally overwhelmed, need to pay greater attention to details, pursue more leads; ask the additional follow-up questions during interviews. They need to provide the Legal Department with, and the Department needs to request, every single piece of information even if apparently irrelevant. And finally there needs to be greater synergy between the various police units on the one hand and with Legal on the other hand.”

He said it would be wrong to lower the bar on the standard of evidence but to continue work hard to get it right and not threaten civil liberties. “The nature of our system of justice is that persons are innocent until the evidence is of a standard to establish guilt,” the AG said. “We are going through turbulence but unfortunately we cannot simply fasten our seat belts and sit back, we need to let our collective views be heard and all hands need to help. If Cayman goes down in the turbulence we will all be counted among the casualties.”

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