Archive for February 18th, 2010

Rickets and Henry verdict delayed until Monday

Rickets and Henry verdict delayed until Monday

| 18/02/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The two men accused of murdering Estella Scott Roberts in October 2008 will have to wait three more days to find out if they will be spending the rest of their lives in prison or not. Chief Justice Anthony Smellie was scheduled to deliver his ruling and verdict tomorrow morning (Friday 19 February) but the hearing has now been rescheduled to Monday 22 February. Kirkland Henry and Larry Ricketts both pleaded not guilty to murder, but Henry has pleaded guilty to abduction rape and robbery in a trial which ended on 12 February.

At the close of the trial last week the chief justice, who was presiding over the case without a jury, heard Ricketts’ attorney claim his client was not there and that the confession he signed was fabricated by the police. By contrast, Henry’s attorney claimed that his client was there and witnessed Ricketts commit the murder.

In presenting its case, the crown stated that both men were there on the night of the crime and, while only one of them may have physically killed the deceased, their crime was a joint enterprise in which they were both equally culpable.

In a trial where the judge sits without a jury he is obliged to give a full explanation for his verdict in a ruling, setting out the legal and evidential reasons for his decision.

If the two men are convicted they will both be given a mandatory life sentence. If Ricketts is found not guilty he will walk away a free man. However, if Henry is found not guilty of murder he will be sentenced at a later date for the three crimes to which he has confessed and admitted his guilt.

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Public remain silent on child killing

Public remain silent on child killing

| 18/02/2010 | 95 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Headline News, murder of child in Cayman(CNS): Police have confirmed that four people have now been arrested in connection with the murder of four

-year-old Jeremiah Barnes, who was shot dead at a West Bay gas station on Monday evening. However, police said they have not received a single call from anyone in the community with information to assist in the ongoing investigation either to the police or the confidential tip line. A senior investigating officer on the case has warned the community that the police will not be able to charge anyone if they do not get the evidence directly from witnesses or information that can lead to evidence to build a case against the killers.

Police said that, despite the public outrage and calls from police and government for greater cooperation, not one single call has been received by the enquiry team. “People out there know who’s responsible,” said Detective Superintendent Marlon Bodden. “But despite the public outrage at this horrendous crime and the calls from community leaders, the RCIPS and the government for communities to help us bring the people responsible to account, not one single call has come into either our enquiry team or to the confidential tip line.”

Bodden added, “Without the much needed information from the public, family members of the people responsible, people who know the killers, people who have heard whispers about who might have been involved, we may struggle to bring this enquiry to a successful conclusion. Believe me, I don’t want to be the person who has to look into the eyes of Jeremiah’s mother and tell her that.”

Police said that while four arrests had been made in relation to the incident, the enquiry is far from over. “The fact we have these people in custody does not necessarily mean that charges will follow. Charges depend on having sufficient evidence and information available – so please come forward with whatever information you have,” DS Bodden urged and called on church leaders throughout the islands to encourage their congregations to help.

“If people do not feel comfortable talking to my enquiry team then we need to make sure that other options are available from them to tell us what they know,” he said. ”Tell your pastor in confidence and he will pass that information onto me.”

Head teachers are also asked to make sure that students have someone to talk to in the schools if they believe they have information which could assist. “Just talk to someone you trust and ask them to pass the information on,” the senior officer stated. “We particularly need information from people who were in the area of Hell service station West Bay around the time of the shooting – shortly after 8.00pm on Monday night. Whether you were on foot or in a car we need to find out if you have information which could assist us in the enquiry.”

Police have swamped the streets of George Town and West Bay since Monday night. Officers who are normally involved in other duties have joined their operational colleagues to man roadblocks, bolster the murder enquiry team and engage in activity to disrupt the activities of known offenders by stopping and searching them, and their vehicles, for weapons and ammunition. Many other vehicles have also been randomly stopped and checked as part of the operation, the police stated.

High visibility patrols involving armed officers have taken place at known hotspots and police said communities were reporting that the sight of armed officers had made them feel much safer and they welcome the increased police presence.

“This intensive activity already seems to be having an effect,” said Chief Superintendent John Jones. “The streets have been relatively quiet and we are seeing fewer of our known offenders out on the streets. But, when they have been seen they have been stopped and detained by our armed officers while we carry out searches. Hundreds of cars have been searched and we have made several arrests, mainly in relation to suspected drugs offences – but as yet no significant finds have been made in relation to firearms or ammunition."

CS Jones said there was no doubt that people know where the weapons are being hidden. “Tell us what you know and we take immediate, firm and decisive action to get these people and their guns off the streets of Cayman,” he added.

“We apologise to innocent members of our community who have been caught up in the increased police activity over the past few days. People have had their journeys delayed for a few minutes but I know by the positive comments we’ve had that the law abiding members of the Cayman Islands communities fully appreciate the need for us to be carrying out this activity.’

He said police made no apology to the people targeted in the operation. “This is the price you have to pay for the lifestyle you lead,” Jones told those on the wrong side of the law. “We will keep stopping you and we will search you, your associates and your cars at every opportunity and at all hours of the day and night.”

The issue of window tints was also raised by the senior officer, who revealed that police will be seizing cars which have been adapted by people to prevent police officers and other members of the public seeing into the vehicles. “Vehicles with heavily tinted windows pose a real safety issue for our officers and other people. If we can’t see into the cars we can’t see how many people are in there or what, if any, weapons they might have. These cars will be taken off the streets to avoid any possibility of people armed with guns being hidden behind blacked out windows while they drive around our streets.”

Officers from all police departments right across the RCIPS are now involved in the ongoing operation. Operations, Traffic Management, CID, Family Support Unit, Professional Standard, Training School staff, DTF, K9 units, Marine staff, and armed officers have all been out in force, police said.

Anyone with information about the murder of Jeremiah can contact the murder incident room at West Bay police station either by calling the team direct on 926-1773, or by calling the station on 949-3999 and asking to be transferred to the enquiry team. Alternatively call Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS).

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Bostock begs community to use crime-stoppers hotline

Bostock begs community to use crime-stoppers hotline

| 18/02/2010 | 12 Comments

Cayman Islands news, Grand Cayman local news, Cayman Crime Stoppers(CNS): The president of the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce is beseeching the community to come forward and give information about violent crime through the anonymity of the crime-stoppers hotline if they are afraid to go directly to the police. Stuart Bostock said in light of the recent tragedy in which four year old Jeremiah Barnes was shot dead by a gun man at West Bay gas station the community had to come forward and they could use 800 TIPS (8477) to give any information they have regarding this or any other crime. 

Chamber President, Stuart Bostock said “This is obviously a terrible event that has shocked everyone in our community. This is not the time to point fingers this is the time to look at the part we all play in ridding our Island of this surge of violent crime. I beseech community members to speak out against these crimes. The Crime Stoppers tip line is the perfect vehicle to give information without the possibility of anyone finding out. No one will ever ask your name or be able to trace your whereabouts.  It is totally anonymous.”

In a recent Crime & CCTV Presentation organised by the Chamber of Commerce as part of the Be Informed series, the Commissioner of Police, David Baines raised the problem of the community’s reluctance to come forward with information that could be vital to investigations and arrests.

Bostock said that the RCIPS support the Cayman Crime Stoppers programme and encourage members of the public to use the confidential system in order to put their mind at rest when fearful of reprisals.

 “A failure of the public to bring forth information will surely bring failure to the RCIPS as they endeavour to keep crime under control and consequently failure for our society as a whole,” Crime Stoppers Chairman, Eric Bush added.

Cayman Crime Stoppers was formed in 1993 by the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce to provide a vital service, which helps protect the community from crime. Working in close partnership with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, the community and the media, it has become one of the most effective crime solving tools available to local law enforcement agencies. Cayman Crime Stoppers provides a safe and secure means for anybody with information about a crime to share it freely whilst protecting their identity. It could also earn them a reward of up to $1,000.

Cayman Crime Stoppers is one of some 1200 Crime Stoppers programmes in 20 countries. Since its inception in the United States in 1976, Crime Stoppers has been responsible for over 700,000 arrests, over a million cleared cases, the recovery of nearly two billion dollars of property and drug seizures worth a staggering seven billion dollars. About 83 million dollars have been paid in rewards through Crime Stoppers Programmes across the globe.

Cayman Crime Stoppers is a non-profit civilian run organisation and is also a recognized regional member of Crime Stoppers International. The board is community based consisting of civilian leaders within the Cayman Islands and one law enforcement coordinator who assists with the dissemination of information received by the Cayman Crime Stoppers anonymous call-center operated in Miami, Florida.

If you have any information about a crime, call Cayman Crime Stoppers at 800-8477, that one call could save a life.

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New Zealand sets sights on Cayman’s fund business

New Zealand sets sights on Cayman’s fund business

| 18/02/2010 | 10 Comments

(CNS): Following a number of reports over the last few months of offshore business leaving the Cayman Islands for other jurisdictions, according to an article in Bloomberg’s publication Business Week, New Zealand is about to enter the fund business and hopes to attract business from offshore centres such as the Cayman Islands.  Cayman’s government has spoken at length over the past few months about increasing global competition from existing players but the antipodean nation presents a whole new front. New Zealand officials say they hope to exploit the country’s time zone to attract business.

According to Business Week, the Asia-Pacific region doesn’t have a hub for investment funds, opening the way for New Zealand to make its pitch as their legal home and also the site for fund accounting and administration. There hasn’t been a need for a regional centre because the industry has lacked critical mass in the region until recently, Commerce Minister Simon Power said.

“The domicile activities would also strengthen New Zealand’s funds-management industry and capital markets and broaden the skill base of associated professional services,” he added.

 The proposal was put forward in December by the Capital Market Development Taskforce, which was reviewing ways to make the nation’s markets more efficient and more attractive to investors. Government officials are working with some taskforce members to prepare an implementation plan by May 31, Power said.

Preliminary analysis is that some changes to tax and regulation may be needed, he said. Tax changes would aim to treat managed funds the same as other sectors of the economy, only taxing income earned in New Zealand or by New Zealand residents, he said.

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Falklands oil argy-bargy sparks 1982 re-run

Falklands oil argy-bargy sparks 1982 re-run

| 18/02/2010 | 1 Comment

(The Sun): A power-packed Navy warship has sailed to the South Atlantic in a re-run of the 1982 Falklands conflict. Type 42 destroyer HMS York was last night in waters off the islands’ capital Port Stanley – spearheading a new British task force in the escalating oilfield drilling row with Argentina. The survey vessel HMS Scott has also headed to the windswept isles and is alongside the warship. The giant oil supply tanker RFA Wave Ruler will be there soon. And the three new arrivals, previously sailing elsewhere in the vast Atlantic, will make up a four-strong seaborne force with the Falklands’ permanent patrol vessel HMS Clyde.

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PPM files motion on crime

PPM files motion on crime

| 18/02/2010 | 62 Comments

(CNS): The country’s opposition party has filed a motion in the Legislative Assembly calling on the government to develop a crime prevention strategy that encompasses all the law enforcement agencies, including customs and immigration as well as the police, to combat the unprecedented crime problem at a coordinated, national level.Although the motion was presented to the House the morning after the tragic murder of four-year-old Jeremiah Barnes, who was shot dead by gunmen in West Bay, the PPM said the motion had been planned for several weeks. The death of this child, however, has emphasised the urgency of a properly co-ordinated crime policy, Alden McLaughlin said.

The rising level of crime and the failure of agencies to seemingly work in tandem to prevent the importation of drugs and guns fuelled the recent rise in violent crime, many people believe. McLaughlin told CNS that the People’s Progressive Movement opposition party have been discussing the issue among its membership and the wider public for several weeks and had planned to file a motion in time to be debated during the next session of the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday 24 February.

“We are shocked and deeply saddened by this murder,” said McLaughlin on behalf of the PPM. “It is terrible and hard to conceive of a more innocent victim, but many of us have been saying that it was inevitable, because of the trend, that an innocent victim would soon be caught up in this violence. “

He noted, however, that the motion was not dreamed up by the opposition as a result of this one, albeit tragic, incident but because it was quite apparent that the country’s current means of tackling crime have failed.

“There seems to be a consensus in the wider community that we need to coordinate the strategies for fighting crime with all the law enforcement agencies,” he added. “The present situation is not working, and we are not blaming the new commissioner or the wider RCIPS but there is no coordinated national direction to tackle what is essentially an epidemic.”

McLaughlin said he recognised that there would be a need for further funding, but border control and creating an overall crime fighting policy that encompassed the frontline agencies was critical if Cayman was get to grips with the serious crime problem.

The opposition motion noted the widespread alarm and concern in the local community about safety and security and asks the current government to consider the appointment of a National Crime Prevention Strategy Group to develop a National Crime Prevention Strategy, comprised of a cross-section of business and community leaders, law enforcement and other civil service personnel and legislators from both sides of the House.

The PPM is also calling for the strategy group to present its ideas to the Legislative Assembly within 6 weeks of appointment and for government to appoint a Director of National Security who would report to the National Security Council and implement the overall crime strategy and co-ordination of the crime prevention, investigative and enforcement work of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, the Immigration Department, the Customs Department and their liaison with global and regional counterparts.

McLaughlin told CNS that the crime problem was bigger than the police commissioner and the RCIPS and had to widen its net. The opposition MLA for George Town and former Cabinet minister also noted that the premier’s absence from the country at a time like this was less than ideal.

“Given the issues faced by the country right now, I am wondering if this is the time for him to be on a jaunt to the ski slopes of Whistler,” McLaughlin added. “At a time when government is urging restraint on public spending it is probably not the best decision to spend ten days away with a government delegation to the games.”

The opposition said that they have filed three other motions for debate in the next session of the Legislative Assembly, which starts on Wednesday 24 February.

The PPM is also holding a National Council meeting at South Sound community centre at 7:30pm on Monday 22 February to discuss crime and other key issues.

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