Archive for October 6th, 2010

Trio say not guilty of murder

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(CNS): The three men accused of gunning down 25 year old Alrick Peddie (left) in broad daylight on Willie Farrington Drive, West Bay, in March this year all pleaded not guilty to murder when the charge was read to them at the opening of the Grand Court on Wednesday. Robert Crawford, aged 17, Jose Sanchez, aged 23, and Roger Bush, aged 35, will go on trial in June for the murder in the first case in which the police have used the new witness anonymity law. The three men were one of more than a dozen serious cases committed to the Grand Court this morning, including an 18-year-old girl charged with causing death by dangerous driving, and the father of a teen murder defendant accused of giving him a false alibi.

The teenager accused of shooting at a police officer following a car chase in the wake of a robbery at a Bodden Town gas station in June was also committed to the Grand Court for trial on 6 December. The indictment regarding the charges were not read to the 16-year-old boy, whose case was adjourned until 22 October in order for alterations to be made to those charges.
 
The teen robber was not the only under-age defendant committed to the Grand court in yesterday’s opening session. Three young people and one adult teen were also committed to the higher court regarding the robbery of a Gino’s pizza delivery man in West Bay, in which four pizzas and two sodas were stolen.
 
Teen driver, Brook Nowak, who recently voluntarily surrendered herself into custody regarding charges against her for causing death by dangerous driving and DUI, was also committed to the Grand Court. Novak has not yet entered her plea to the charges and her attorney, John Furniss, said there were details that had to be ironed out before his client would enter her plea. Novak is charged with causing the death of 24-year-old Filipino national Fedaranne Faustino in a fatal collision in August of this year.
 
A West Bay man whose 16-year-old son is one of several men now charged with the murder of Marcos Duran (29) in West Bay in March pleaded not guilty to perverting the course of justice. The court heard that the father is accused of providing a false alibi for his teenage boy when he was part of a police investigation into the killing in Maliwinas Way, West Bay. The boy also received a gunshot wound to his leg on the night that Duran was killed.
 
Norvel Barrett, who was recently arrested by police in connection with two armed robberies in George Town, also appeared but made no plea. Barrett is accused of robbing the Tortuga liquor store near Boilers Road and the Esso Station on Shedden Road.
 
A police officer who was one of three off duty members of the RCIPS involved in an arrest that resulted in the suspect receiving a broken arm also made an appearance but was not arraigned. Rabe Welcome is the only one of the three officers who is still facing charges of wounding in connection with the incident, which occurred at the Red Bay Esso in June 2009.
 
Of the various cases committed to the Grand Court Wednesday, only one defendant, who is on bail, failed to appear. A warrant was issued by the chief justice for the arrest of Matthew Whittaker, who is facing charges of rape.

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Otto becomes 15th named storm of season

| 06/10/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Updated Thursday 10am — Otto transitioned into a tropical storm from its sub-tropical status on Thursday morning as it meandered across the Atlantic. The fifteenth storm of the season was was located about 255 miles north east of Grand Turk Island and about 620 miles south-southwest of Bermuda at 10am local time. The storm is moving toward the north at a mere 2mph, and the National Hurricane Centre in Miami said the general motion is expected to continue tonight. The storm poses no threat to the Cayman Islands or any other land areas at this time and it is expected to turn toward the north-northeast and the northeast as it speeds up today or Friday Otto is expected to remain well to the east of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos islands.

The NHC said Otto could cause  heavy rain to the northern Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico during the next day or so.
 
Maximum sustained winds were last reported near 60 mph with higher gusts and additional strengthening is forecast over the next fee days before Otto becomes a hurricane by on Friday night or Saturday morning. Currently storm force winds extend outward up to 105 miles.
 

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Fisherman calls 911 for rescue

| 06/10/2010 | 12 Comments

(CNS): A 67-year-old man who was out fishing late last night (Tuesday 5 October) in a 12 foot aluminium boat was rescued by the Joint Marine Unit after he called 911 for help. The RCIPS said the elderly fisherman was approximately half a mile from Bodden Town dock when he realised that because of the strong winds and currents he was unable to paddle back to shore. He immediately raised the alarm by calling 911 from his cell phone at about 10.40pm. Officers from the Joint Marine Unit were deployed and mobile units from Bodden Town maintained visual contact with the boat until the arrival of Niven D.

A short time later Marine Unit staff located the boat some 3-4 miles from shore. The elderly man was brought aboard Niven D and his boat was towed to South Sound dock. The man was tired but did not require any medical attention.

“Yesterday was a busy day for the Joint Marine Unit,” said Inspector Bennard Ebanks, the officer in charge. “These two incidents – the three divers reported missing at midday and then this elderly man in difficulty last night – clearly underline the need for everyone who goes out to sea to take a radio and a cell phone with them. In both incidents yesterday the alarm was raised immediately and, as a result, we were able to bring everyone safely home!”

The RCIPS would remind boaters that they should adhere to small craft warnings and that the Sand bar has been closed today.
 

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Civil service still under review

| 06/10/2010 | 17 Comments

(CNS): The overall review of the country’s public sector, which is being conducted by the Deputy Governor’s Office, continued this month with the start of the second phase on Monday. The first phase of the review, which was a condition of the approval given by the UK for the Cayman Islands Government to borrow outside the parameters of the Public Management and Finance Law, began last year and has now been completed, Chief Officer Franz Manderson has confirmed. However, so far only four government departments have been examined: Public Works, Prisons, CINICO and the Department of Tourism. A report has been completed, and although it is not yet a public document, Manderson stated that there were plans to release the report covering the first phase.

The review of the entire public sector was originally supposed to be completed by the end of 2009 as it was one of the conditions made by the former overseas territories minister, Chris Bryant, when he agreed to allow government to borrow to balance the budget at the end of the 2008/09 fiscal year. The December deadline was, according to government officials, extended to March. However, only four government entities have been examined, despite being six months past the second deadline. The review is still seen by the CIG as part of the conditions regarding the borrowing requirement, Manderson stated in an email to CNS this week.
 
When, in May of this year, the new UK coalition government approved the premier’s three year plan to address the country’s deficit and long term spending problems, a reduction in public spending was part of that commitment and the civil service review was said to be the tool that would direct the cuts.
 
The CIG said in its long term national financial plan that public expenditure would fall from the $532 million for core government in 2009 to just over $462 million by 2013 — eliminating the country’s deficit. Bush told the Legislative Assembly in June that the country’s fiscal recovery would be achieved by expenditure control as well as growth stimulated by increasing economic activity.
 
The three-year plan points to major public sector reform and government said it planned to use the results of the internal civil service review to cut operating expenses. Government said it was committed to this  “major public sector reform”, which would include the implementation of many of the recommendations of the Miller Commission report and, in particular, “a sustainable reduction in government’s operational expenditures” and improving efficiencies. Government said it would implement the recommendations resulting from the review of various civil service departments.
 
“The Government will … be incorporating the results of the civil service review into the overall implementation plan,” the report reads. “The objective of formalising the public sector reform process is to ensure that the targeted reform benefits which will impact this three year plan are achieved for this plan as well as over the medium to long term.”
 
However, it is now not clear how many more departments within the civil service will be reviewed or when the results of the review which government intends to use as a guide to cut spending will be completed.
 

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Seven Mile Beach gets smelly

| 06/10/2010 | 31 Comments

(CNS): Visitors and residents along Cayman’s famous Seven Mile Beach are complaining of a very unpleasant smell as well as the spoilt view due to a build-up of seaweed and algae. The recent bad weather has dumped a significant amount of sea debris on the white sands, which is now rotting and causing something of a stink. The Department of Environment (DoE) pointed out that it is a normal and natural phenomenon due to the recent storm, which has done a great job of cleaning up the local reefs but has certainly left the white sands of Seven Mile a little worse for wear. However, as it’s turtle nesting season the DoE is asking people  to contact the department to avoid disturbing nests and eroding the beach if they plan on cleaning up

With no single government agency responsible for keeping the islands beaches clean, the problem of algae and seaweed build-up is not uncommon in the wake of stormy weather and high seas. However, using heavy equipment on the beach can be an even bigger environmental problem as a result of beach erosion as well as the risk to turtles.
 
DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie said she recognised the beaches did need to be cleaned but explained that anyone using heavy equipment needed to be very careful because of the turtles and also noted that the use of such machinery on the beach actually requires planning permission. The best way of dealing with this smelly issue was hands on, she said.
 
“It might be the hardest but the best and most effective way of cleaning up the seaweed is manually and bagging it up,” Ebanks- Petrie said, noting that it makes great fertilizer. The director pointed out that cleaning the area by hand would not only ensure that turtle nests were not disturbed but would also prevent beach erosion. When heavy equipment is used on the beach to clean it up, sand is always lost, the director observed.
 
Recognising the need to get the beach back to its usual attractive and considerably less smelly state, Ebanks-Petrie said that there was a need for a coordinated government policy towards the beaches, which are a public resource, and to deal with the situation when it arises in the wake of every spell of bad weather.
 
“This situation is not new; it happens every time there is stormy weather and we face the problem of people wanting to use machinery on the beach,” she said. “We really need a proper coordinated and approved policy of how it should be managed among the relevant agencies to avoid beach erosion and endangering nests.”
 
As is generally the case when sea debris is washed up after high seas, when the wind changes direction it is washed away again, and on Wednesday morning nature had already begun taking care of the problem. However, anyone wanting information about conducting beach cleaning can contact the DoE on 949-8469 or email:  doe@gov.ky

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