Tagging system investigated

| 26/07/2010

(CNS): The community’s trust in local electronic tagging of suspected and convicted offenders has been severely undermined and government officials are seeking to reassure the public that the system has now been reviewed. Following the revelations that the man shot and killed by a homeowner during an attempted robbery last week had been electronically tagged while on bail for other crimes, an expert spent the weekend in the Cayman Islands investigating the electronic monitoring system. George Drake, an independent expert with 25 years experience in the field, arrived on Friday and has been investigating installation and inspection procedures relating to the local tagging programme.

The Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs, which is responsible for the system, confirmed that, while the device attached to the deceased, Harryton Rivers, had been fitted correctly, it had clearly been tampered with.For security reasons government officials said they could not give details of how the tag had been removed. However, government did say that the procedures have been reviewed and modified to improve the integrity of the programme and thwart future tampering attempts.
Eric Bush, Acting Chief Officer for the Portfolio of Internal and External Affair said, “The Electronic Monitoring Programme is vital to combat crime and make our community safer. I have every confidence that the programme is being managed properly and, based on the information presented to me; I believe that the changes that are being made will strengthen that programme.”
After the revelation that Rivers had been tagged, the Emergency Communications and Electronic Monitoring Department, which has direct supervision of the system, launched an investigation into the circumstances as to why he was not wearing his ankle bracelet, which was later found by police at his house.
Drake was hired by the portfolio to determine what had happened and how the chance of a re-occurrence could be minimized. The expert collected evidence, conducted interviews and forensically examined the tracking device assigned to Rivers. The results of the examination concluded that the tracking device had initially been properly installed on Rivers by the Electronic Monitoring Centre.
Two days prior to the alleged burglary, the device had correctly triggered alerts to the Electronic Monitoring Centre. As a result RCIPS officers had been dispatched to its location where it was found still securely to Rivers’ ankle. Since then government officials said there had been no other alerts reported to the Electronic Monitoring Centre from Rivers.
It remains unclear how the device was removed without an alert being issued to the communication centre and officials say they will not be disclosing further information regarding the details of how the device was tampered with.
Despite wide speculation that this is not the first time that a device has been removed, Bush told CNS that the portfolio was not aware of anyone else removing the tag from their ankles. The 911 centre also confirmed that the man arrested in the wake of the robbery at Portofino’s in East End on Thursday was no longer part of the programme and was not tagged at the time of the alleged offence.
The tagging system has alerted officials to the movements of a number of clients who have even allegedly attempted to commit crime while wearing the devices.  
Rivers was shot and killed when he attempted to rob the home of a 66-year-old man and his 65 year old wife in Liguinea Circle, George Town in the early hours of Thursday, 22 July.
Rivers has been convicted of robbery in the past, including the robbery of a taxi driver whom he had threatened with a flare gun. Rivers is a Caymanian who received his status in 2003, according to the Immigration Law (2003 Revision) Grant of Caymanian status.
Police said Rivers was killed with a licensed handgun and a knife was found at the scene. They have made no further comment regarding the homeowner, who was the license holder and who has not been arrested, but said they would submit a file to the Attorney General’s Office for consideration.
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  1. solution says:

    We the public demand cold hard steal bars and if they cost too much you say…let us errect fences give these violent criminals tents and herd them like the animals they are outside in the rain, heat or hurricane and make them do hard manual labour.  Now I know someone is going to cry about human rights or say we can’t do it because it is against the law.  Well guess what laws are broken everyday and the last time I checked we were not in compliance with our financial laws regarding borrowing.  What Mssr. Bush needs to do in the same fashion he went to the UK on bended knee he needs to go to them again and explain our crime situation and give them two options:

    a) they agree to house some of these violent criminals

    b) we herd these animals like sheep as decribed above


  2. My country too says:

    It always seems to come back to "outside" influence. That some how Caymanians are different, and they are victims of foreign nationals because of what the society has become. Why can’t  certains Caymanians see that people are people.

    You give an unfortunate caymanian "a pass" because you know his circumstances and the expat is a villian just for being in the society.. maybe because you don’t know where he came from.

    It’s time to stop giving bad caymanians  "a pass" they are also the crimimals that bringing down this society.

    This young man of cayman descent had an opportunity to come to this island and improve his life and the community, he sadly did more harm than good and has lost his opportunity to make a positive difference in this world.

    He could have been so much more…he made the wrong choices…stop blaming the system…this is and has always been about taking personal responsiblity for your actions.

    Always "us" and "them"…Wrong is Wrong regardless of who or where you came from.

    illegal Status Grant…Please this is my country too !







  3. Anonymous says:

    To all those people who are offended that it has been revealed that this person had received Cayman status during the gold rush hours, I have this to say:

    CNS is not pointing the fingers at "paper Caymanians". They are pointing out what most of us long new – that the Statuses were given away without any proper background checks, not even one little simple test or check. Tell me which other country awards nationality to a foreigner in that manner?!?! You can’t get a job or rent a place without references, a police certificate or a simple drug test.

    The fact that these statuses were given away blindly is now coming back to bite us all  – Expats AND Caymanians! We are all living on the same Island and are impacted by criminal activity in the same way. We shouldn’t have invited further thugs and criminals to our shores – we have plenty of those ourselves and trust me, if there would be a way, we all would gladly get rid of them.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree. My family lived, worked, went to school here for almost 20 years before my father became a Caymanian. I was here for almost 30 before I became Caymanian … we love this country and are here for the long haul and it hurts that some people who now call themselves "Caymanian" don’t have a clue about our country’s history, culture and heritage.

  4. Anonymous says:


    This issue is critical, suppose Rivers had shot and killed the householder and then creped back to his own location and re-installed his monitor. Now he would have a perfect alibi, sworn to, by the monitoring officers who would claim, he never was in the location.
    The public must be assured that this system is full proof or the criminals can use it against us. Either it works flawlessly or it should be scrapped.
    • Anonymous says:

      The bands are designed to be cut of in an emergency and some even have a dotted line showing where to cut.  There is a wire inside the band that would signal the monitoring station of any tampering or removal.  Easy enough to close the circuit with another wire, but he would have been busted on his next regular parole inspection, assuming those actually occur.


  5. Frequent Flyer says:

    So this kid got a status grant by a cabinet member WHILE he was still in prison?? Or within the same year…? If he was released in 2003 and received his status grant in 2003….

    So when the unnamed cabinet member was taking names, he himself didn’t bother to ask who or why. Just took the piece of paper and turned it in.  He will blame it on whoever should have been checking the police clearances…

    If THIS doesn’t wake you people up, I guess we’ll just have to wait until EVERYTHING sucks around here.

    Then you can listen to EVERYONE else saying I TOLD YOU SO.

    It’s enough to make me a believer in the conspiracy theories


    • Anonymous says:

      Most likely, this is just the tip of the iceberg! Surely there are many more criminals out there who got Cayman Status that way. Even worse, imagine all their "dependants" who can come along for the ride…….


      • Frequent Flyer says:

        FOR SURE if there is one there are more. 

        It spoils it for those that received theirs legitimately.

        This alone should cause you to question who you vote for to run your country and why.

        • Puzzeld says:

          Frequent Flyer

          It also makes a mockery of the system,there are some law abiding good people here and dont even have residency after 18 years 19 years, they await to hear there fate on appeal.Truly shocking.


  6. PaperCaymanian says:

    A quick online search revealed that Matha Stewart hacked her ankle monitor. I guess these things are really more of an honor system bracelet.If someone is willing to break into an occupied home then I think maybe they would be willing to "tamper" with a monitor.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Who is monitoring the system?  Someone needs to answer some questions!!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I agree that all persons granted status by Cabinet in 2003 had to supply a police clearance certificate.How did he avoid this?!

    • Anonymous says:

      The point is that they did not have to present a police clearance certificate. The complete lack of proper scrutiny was one of the biggest issues with the grants.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually, they did have to present certificates. Don’t you remember the lines to get them? However, many of the certificates wrongly failed to disclose convictions.

        • Anonymous says:

          Care to elaborate on that?

        • Anonymous says:

          Many people magically received Caymanian Status Letters without ever having applied for them.  Most were deserving "lifers" of Cayman, having been resident over 20 years, though this would indicate that there were others that were less than desirable in that batch!

  9. Anonymous says:

    "What CNS has now essentially done is now look to point fingers at those persons who received Grants of Status in 2003 and ensure that the rest of the population now assumes that everyone who is committing these offences are largely "Paper Caymanians".

    The article does no such thing. No doubt you would prefer for the public to believe that the crimes are all being committed by Caymanians. There have been quite a number of posts to that effect. However, sensible people will have noted those who have been charged and convicted with these offences are of various nationalities including Caymanians.   

    • Anonymous says:

      CNS points the finger at the stupid and incompetent people who gave AWAY status without even checking any references etc. You can’t even get a job or rent a place without references and a police clearance certificate or a piss test, but you can assume nationality of another country!?!?!?!

      These incompeten actions are now coming back to bite us all. That’s what CNS is pointing out!

      • Ex Caymanian & Not by Choice and a West Bayer at THAT says:

         CNS this is exactly  why Expats can throw slurs about its "Caymanians" doing this & that, but when it comes down to it, it’s "Status Caymanians" not Caymanians by birth, Thanks CNS for this, we True Caymanians getting the bad rap when it’s those that get a chance at a Better life and don’t take full advantage but yet choose to bring their home country behavior here, so again thank you for identifying that Harryton Rivers  was not a born Caymanian, but a status holder, and like so many more that have been granted this Status, please continue to decipher whether those that are branded Caymanians are Status Holders or not, tired of my people being put down and degraded….

        To all those status holders you all don’t like this but tough, it’s about time a Media house report the real truth about those who are commiting these crimes…

        • Anonymous says:

          Nice try Ex Caymanian. But Mr Rivers was here from he was a little boy and most of us didn’t even know he had not actually been born here.. He was a Caymanian/Cuban who got "regularised" in the Gold Rush. He is no different from several prominent Caymanians who were not born here because their family was overseas at the time.

          But then, I suppose you think that Barack Obama and John McCain are not real Americans because they were not "born Americans".

  10. Anonymous says:

    To be honest, I agree with CNS for STATING THE FACTS. After all this is a media house isn’t it?

    I noticed that the police no longer say where someone is from, I wonder why?

    CNS, you are the only media organization telling it like it is!! Keep it up!!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    These guys lie and coverup so often i dont even know if to believe this report.

    So system been reviewed and the problem been fixed? errr ok, if you say so, time will tell, i for one have no faith in this system for the time being.

    ""Bush told CNS that the portfolio was not aware of anyone else removing the tag from their ankles""

    Of course they were not aware, they wern’t aware of the guy that got shot removing his tag untill they read about it on CNS/Cayman27 and decided to check his residence…..

  12. Anonymous says:

    I think that this makes perfect sense and I feel that any information about how these guys do what they do will further erode the ability to track them reliabily.   We wouldnt’ close down RCIP cause they made a boo boo, so why we would we close down monitoring cause their was a problem.   Let it go people…mistakes happen at least these people admit there mistakes instead of covering it up or blaming somebody else.



    • Pending says:

      Mistakes that end up  with people getting murdered or shot? No, I  think you will find thats a PROBLEM that needs to beaddressed BIG TIME.

      This is not the first case when someone with a device was involved in a serious crime as they arrested a person with the same device for Mings murder.

      Once is a mistake, twice is a problem.

      What will happen the 3rd time? Because things happen in 3’s. Are we going to turn a blind eye again? What happens if it is the homeowner and their family that end up getting shot by someone with one of these ankle bracelets? Will that be a mistake?

  13. Beachboi says:

    So we had to ONCE AGAIN fly in a "consultant / independent expert" to help us figure things out.  What a friggin disgrace.  These people must get back to where ever they came from and share their stories about all the stupid people there are in Cayman while having a glass of champagne and counting the thousands of dollars that they carried home.  We truly are stupid!!!  How is it that we invested….again thousands of dollars in the implementation of this system and we have to then hire someone for thousands more to tell us what to do when we make a mistake. 

    Someone was responsible for this breakdown in the monitoring of this system and that someone should be held responsible.   That someone got another someone killed!!!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      In regards to the post about how the failure of the electronic tag system got someone killed…I think that person got themselves killed when they violated someones home

      • Pending says:

        Or perhaps when Harry removed the tag from his ankle, the person who was supposed to be monitoring the system was asleep when the alarm went off,  instead of responding to that alarm, which may or may not have ended up in a botched burglary or the person getting killed.

        And regardless on whether the person entered the guys home, that still does not give someone the right to kill someone. We don’t live in Texas.

        I am sure when this goes to court we will get the facts.

        • Anonymous says:

          "And regardless on whether the person entered the guys home, that still does not give someone the right to kill someone. We don’t live in Texas."


          Are you crazy? Do you think this homeowner opened his window and let this criminal in just so he could shoot him? This homeowner feared for his life. I just pray you never find yourself in his shoes but then if you can post a comment like that maybe you do need to be just there and hope to God you will live to retract your statement.

    • Rev says:

      I know  with a Caymanian population of 30,000, it’s weird that we don’t have leading experts in every field of law enforcement.


      • Beachboi says:

        Rev, these tags have nothing whatsoever to do with law enforcement other than that they are used to track criminals.  They could also be used to trace iguanas!! 

        This is a technology issue and I am sure you would not argue that we do have enough experts on that in Cayman!!!  You totally missed the point!

        • Rev says:

          I’m sure the tags can be used for all sorts of thing, but the fact still remains that it isn’t used for anything else in Cayman, so the likely hood of Cayman having an experienced qulaified expert is very slim.

          Hence we they have to bring someone in from overseas.

          Now they could try and train an expert, but that will cost more than bringing one in, at least for a few visits. Plus the newly trained Caymanian is always at risk of leaving the job abd then all that money is wasted.

          That is why experts are flown in when Cayman with it’s small population doesn;t have one here

      • Very Rev says:

        It is amazing how there are always a handful who seem to think they are leading experts on law enforcement and seem keen to offer their services for free on CNS.

  14. TennisAce says:

     While it was good that this article was published, what CNS has now essentially done is now look to point fingers at those persons who received Grants of Status in 2003 and ensure that the rest of the population now assumes that everyone who is committing these offences are largely "Paper Caymanians". Nice going CNS.  Way to further divide the country into the Us vs Others mentality. 

    In situations such as these it would be good if the nationalities of persons were not known to the members of the public in order that relations between Caymanians (those who are born here), the ones who got Status by fair means or foul and Expats does not continue to crumble. 

    While  Rivers may have gotten Caymanian Status in 2003, one wonders where did he spend his formative years?  He is only 29 years old so there is no way he could have come from whatever country and obtained Status at that age. It must be that he is either of Caymanian descent or had family that were born Caymanians. 

    In these matters, it is incumbent upon the media to not try and point fingers in any direction. 

    CNS: The Compass has decided to make this a headline issue. There is, therefore, zero chance that it will not be discussed.

    • TennisAce says:

       So because the Compass has decided to make this an issue, CNS feels the need to follow suit?  I thought media were supposed to be objective and report the news.   When did CNS start to follow what the Compass did? I was always of the view that CNS prided itself on being the newsmakers in this country and in fact if my memory serves me correctly, at one point, you guys actually lauded  yourselves as Cayman’s source for news. 

      I love Cayman and I love the people and I would just prefer if the media facilitated a better relationship between Caymanians and expats rather than infer animosity between both groups. 

      • Anonymous says:

        "I thought media were supposed to be objective and report the news".

        Indeed. That is what CNS is doing and that is what you are objecting to. You want to give a different impression from what the facts reveal. Covering up is not being objective.   

      • more veggies please says:

         Is like you just wanna cause trouble man.

      • Leap of Faith says:

        TennisAce you are reaching.  CNS isnt following the Compass if they happen to report the facts of the same occurrence.  Something happened, the media got wind of it, they reported it to the public.  Done.  Are you saying that any story covered by the Compass cannot also be covered by CNS? 

        We have a right to know who the individual was and his background.  His previous criminal conviction of a similar nature goes directly to propensity to commit further crimes of the same nature.  The staus grant is a fact – he was grantedstatus in the same year of incarceration.  No-one said the two were related, its the public who have drawn inference.  If he had not been granted status, would the outcome have been different?  I cannot state with certainty.  If we were never told he had been granted status would it change the public’s opinion about what happened? I cannot state with certainty.  Whether you like it or not, people do have prejudices, they do stereotype and they do draw inference.  You cannot blame that on CNS.

    • Anonymous says:

      Alden is wrong in the Compass article. Section 28 of the Immigration Law clearly provides that cabinet status grants (like all other grants) are revocable provided certain conditions are met. These include the commission of an offense which was either made possible or facilitated by the grant.

      There were likely grounds for Cabinet (as "grantor") to revoke Harryton’s status. They simply never did. It seems both political Parties love to continue the false impression that grants are irrevocable so that no-one can critisise them for failing to revoke even in appropriate circumstances. It is another example of a refusal by even the highest to follow provisions in legislation intended to protect us all.

      The fact that Harryton was purportedly granted status in the first place is clearly of concern. I would love to see the clean police clearance certificate he (and all other) cabinet recipients were required to produce to obtain their grant. I would also like to see the receipt evidencing the payment required to make the grant effective. FOI anyone?



      • Anonymous says:

        The 2003 Cabinet grants were purportedly made pursuant to section 20(d) of the Immigration Law (2003 Revision). The equivalent to section 28 of the Immigration Law (2009 Revision) was section 26 which referrred only to grants under section 22 and section 18 (and not section 20) so that Cabinet grants were indeed not revocable. Section 28 of the Immigration Law (2009 Revision) appears to reverse that position. The question is whether it is retroactive to grants made before that provision was enacted and this will be a matter for the interpretation of the courts.   

        • Anonymous says:

          Actually, by the 2004 revision they were clearly revocable. Concerns as to retroactivity can have no basis if the offence is committed after any change in law.  

          Further, you ignore the issue of whether a grant is void anyway, for example if a fraudulently obtained or manifestly false police clearance was offered, or indeed, if the certificate was never paid for. 

          • Anon says:

            I was merely explaining how it was that the Cabinet grants on their face were were indeed irrevocable according to the law in force at the time they were made. The various arguments why the grants may have been void in law (some of which formed the basis for the CBAs legal challenge) are a separate issue. Something can only be revocable if it validly exists, i.e. it is not adjudged to be void.

            As regards the issue of retrospectivity, clearly you have a different opinion as to the way this might operate. My understanding is that restrospectivity is obectionable where a law subsequently alters the legal effect of an act or omission, in particular if it takes away or impairs a vested right. The legal effect of the Cabinet grants were that they were irrevocable on the basis of the commission of a criminal offence (or at all). Once those grants were accepted and paid for they became vested rights. The effect of the amendment to the law was purportedly to make them revocable on the basis of the commission of a criminal offence, and therefore arguably impairs a vested right.  You are seeing the past action or event as the referring to the commission of a crime and therefore the objection to retroactivity would not apply to any crime committed after the law was amended. Your position may be arguable.   

            Since there was no 2004 revision of the Immigration Law, perhaps you are referring to the Immigration Law, 2003 which came into effect on 1st Jan. 2004.   

    • Anonymous says:

      TennisAce, this is not a matter that should be covered up. The Compass article makes explicitly clear why it is in the public interest to be aware of the background of this individual. 

       "Known also as ‘Harrington’, Rivers-Valdespino had been in trouble with the law from an early age.  In October 2000, at the age of 19, he was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison for the robbery of a taxi driver that occurred in July 2000. He had pointed an imitation firearm – a flare gun – at the victim during the robbery, which was the first known case of a taxi driver being robbed in the Cayman Islands.

      Records indicated Rivers-Valdespino initially went to prison on remand for the crime in August 2000 and was not released from prison until July 2003.  The first batch of Cabinet grants of status started in July 2003 and went on through the end of that year.

      On the alphabetical list published in the Cayman Islands Gazette on 31 December, 2003, of people who received status by way of Cabinet grants, Rivers-Valdespino was number 2,171 of 2,850.  Rivers was born in Cuba but had family links to the Cayman Islands".

      It demonstrates that the status grants were indeed undertaken recklessly without any consideration to the best interests of these Islands and were therefore illegal. Even the simplest of background checks would have revealed that the individual was a convicted criminal who had just been released from prison. It is absolutely reprehensible that this did not happen  One wonders how many more fall into that category. 

      This is not an anti-foreigner issue. You seem to think that by saying that person must have had Caymanian connections that this somehow makes it less objectionable. It does not.  

    • more veggies please says:

      Only a naive person would make that assumption. Stating the facts is not the problem, it is these types of assumptions that cripple societal interactions & cause finger pointing – not the media.