Archive for November 19th, 2010

Judge sends teen to US bootcamp

| 19/11/2010 | 43 Comments

(CNS): A 16-year-old boywho pleaded guilty to possession of an unlicensed firearm is facing an alternative to prison after a judge revealed he wanted to send the troubled teen to a specialist wilderness programme in the US. Justice Smith said he believed the youngster should be given one more opportunity to change his behaviour and felt he would benefit from the specialist programme. The judge directed crown council to consult with the attorney general for a certificate of approval for the Second Nature Wilderness programme in Georgia, where he recommended the juvenile attend a programme before going on to a boarding school in Utah.

Explaining his decision for the order in the Grand Court on Friday morning, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the Cayman Islands, the judge said, “ It is my own view that we must give this youngster one more opportunity to make good on his life.”

Justice Smith said he felt the specialist rehabilitation programme could deal with his behaviour, anger management and substance abuse problems better than a probation order. He noted that although there may be no precedent in the jurisdiction for his choice of sentencing, the court should not be deterred from trying to find the most appropriate course of action.

The judge said he wished to see if the young offender “could be placed on the right track to make something of his life.” In his ruling Justice Smith noted that the young man had pleaded guilty and expressed a deep regret over the place he had found himself in and wanted an opportunity to change his lifestyle. He said that the young offender’s parents had identified the programme which the young man’s social worker had agreed would be of benefit to him.

The boy had been charged with the offence following his arrest during a police operation in West Bay in May of this year. The defendant was with a crowd of other young people in front of an open garage in the Mount Pleasant area who all fled when police approached the location. One officer chased the teenage boy and stated that he saw the young man throw an object into a yard. The object turned out to be a load semi-automatic hand gun, which the teen told police belonged to an older boy in the crowd.

The young defendant said after his arrest that it was the first time he had ever seen the firearm that day and he did not know it was loaded. He stated that he had been told to pick it up and hide the gun behind the property by the older boy when the police approached the garage and he was too afraid not to do as he had been asked

Although firearms offences carry a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years imprisonment when a guilty plea is entered under the 2005 Firearms Law, the judge said that as a juvenile that statute did not apply in this case.

Justice Smith indicated that he believed the youth justice law guided this case. The judge said that had the country’s legislators intended that the firearms law to over ride the law’s governing the prosecution of young offenders they would have indicated that in the legislation.

As a result the judge was free to impose a sentence under the youth justice law and said he felt that a rehabilitation order was the best way of dealing with the teen. Justice Smith adjourned the court for two weeks in order for the crown to inspect the centre in Georgia where the judge has indicated he would like to seen the young offender sent.

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Humane Society helps pets find homes for Christmas

| 19/11/2010 | 1 Comment

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Humane Society (CIHS) is holding an Adopt-A-Thon on Saturday 20 November starting at 12 pm. The non-profit organization has teamed with more than 3,500 shelters from around the world to participate in the annual ‘Iams Home 4 the Holidays’ pet adoption campaign, founded by Helen Woodward Animal Center and supported by pet food company, Iams. CIHS is participating in the campaign from now through 4 January 2011 to help place 1.5 million pets into homes.All dogs, cats, puppies and kittens adopted during Iams Home 4 the Holidays will be receiving a free Iams Adoption Kit. The kits are expected to arrive in the island in December.

Included in each kit are information tips to help the new parent and their furry friend get off on the right paw.

“With as many as 8 million homeless pets in the US and a significant amount here in the Cayman Islands it is important everyone get involved to help save an orphaned animal this holiday season,” said Twila Escalante. “We’re proud to be a part of this amazing campaign and are dedicated to helping reach our pet adoption goal so that as many homeless animals as possible can experience a happy life with their new, loving family. The team here at the Humane Society is specially trained and can help families choose the perfect pet for their personalities and lifestyles,” said Twila.

The Adopt-a-thon will be held at the CIHS Shelter on North Sound Road. CIHS staff and volunteers will be on hand throughout the afternoon to introduce animals to prospective owners, discuss animal welfare needs in the community and different ways individuals can help. All members of the community, whether current pet owners, people interested in owning a pet, those interested in volunteering, or individuals just curious about CIHS are invited to stop by. There will be special deals available on adoption fees, opportunities to meet and interact with the animals and volunteers available to help and assist.

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Winners crowned in karting league

| 19/11/2010 | 0 Comments

(Cayman Karting): Motorsport action down at the Cayman Karting track continues to come thick and fast. The Autumn Premier League has reached its penultimate week whilst the new Tag Heuer Corporate League begins in two weeks time. The Premier League was designed to test the best karters on island. Qualification required team members to able to drive sub-35 second laps and the six round league included a variety of new driving challenges. Particularly demanding were the two races which took place in purposely wet conditions, one each on the Regular and Reverse Tracks. (Photo – DARR Racing League Winners)

These wet races proved a thorough examination of racing skill with the racing line drying out during the 70 lap race forcing the drivers to adapt to constantly changing track conditions. To focus minds a four spin-out rule meant that the any team leaving the track four times over the 20 laps qualifying or 70 lap race was disqualified. The league also included driving on the High Speed OuterLoop format of the track for the first time. This layout takes out the twisty inner section of the track and employs the pit lane to complete an outer loop. The new format was debuted in a time trial where each team drove the same kart in turn and tried to register the fastest lap on the new circuit.
To reflect the stricter standards of the Premier Leagues the Cayman Motorsports Association took over race supervision. Sixmarshals on the track ensured that high standards of driving were enforced. Bobby Hulse, CMA President, said “CMA was happy to play a part in making the Premier League a success. We hope to see karting as a teaching tool for the youth as well as a fun outlet for all.” Alasdair Foster of Cayman Karting replied, “We are very grateful to the CMA volunteers who came out to help prep the track and supervise the racing – they ensured a very professional level of competition. We are also extremely appreciative for the continued support from AI Rentals.”
The entrants in the Premier League included a number of corporate teams including Maples and Calder, Harneys and Premier Wines as well as several groups of friends who came together to form teams. Interestingly the league also saw two drivers go solo with one man teams. Stan Zholnin and Furius Whelan confounded sceptics by proving they were up to the endurance test of driving 90 laps in one session. Both drivers have produced some solid performances that leave them lying fourth and seventh in the league table.
One team has dominated the league and their four wins and one second place over the first five races allowed them to wrap up the title with a race to spare. DARR Racing consists of Daron Mclean, Alexander Conolly, Richard Crawshaw and Richard Johnson with reserve driver Jordan Seales. This has brought together a mixture of youth and experience: Daron is still studying, Alexander, Jordan and Richard Johnson all work at Butterfield Bank whilst Richard Crawshaw is an independent director. Daron proved once again to be the fastest driver on the regular track whilst Alexander was the fastest man and new record holder for the High Speed Outer Loop. The fastest man on the reverse track was however local racing legend Andy Bodden from the Caymaniacs team.

Holding on to second position is the constantly improving Harneys team of Kieron O’Rourke, Jenny Deacon, Nik Fox, Tim Clipstone and Steve Staatz. Jenny Deacon set a new fastest female lap time for the reverse track and the team will present a formidable challenge when the new corporate league begins. Behind them sitting in third is Team Valvoline comprising the considerable racing talents of Keith Tibbetts, Ajoni Ambersley, Michael Weatherford, Chad Phillips, Josh Rivers, Britney Nelson and Kelcey Huggins.
Next up at Cayman Karting is the Winter Corporate League which has been sponsored by TAG Heuer and Harbour Drive Jewellers. To add further incentive to the racing one member of the winning team will now receive a luxury TAG Heuer Formula 1 watch. Sign-up deadline is 29 November and the league will start on 6 December. Two weeks of racing will take place before a break for Christmas and the league will then continue until early March. New race formats for the TAG Heuer league will include a 100 lap endurance race, a night with two races where the grid for the second race will be the reverse of the first race’s finishing positions. There will also be a social night mid-league with food and music when a time trial on the Reverse High Speed Outer Loops will take place. This league will split mid-way through the season into two divisions so teams will be racing against similarly matched competition. Division One racers will, like their Premier league counterparts, have to face up to some races on a deliberately wet track. Further information is available on www.caymankarting.com.

 

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New chair for WP board

| 19/11/2010 | 65 Comments

(CNS): Government officials have confirmed a reshuffle on the country’s key immigration board after the departure of the chair and the removal of two members. Local attorney Sherri Bodden-Cowan, who currently heads the Immigration Review Team, has been appointed the new chair of the work permit board in the wake of the resignation of Lemuel Hurlston. McCarron Morris McLaughlin and Dorothy Davis have also been replaced as a result of conflicts which made them unable to continue, according to government sources. Gary Rutty and John Foster have taken up the two empty seats on what is considered to be one of the country’s most important boards.

The changes which were made during last week’s Cabinet meeting following recent comments by the country’s premier that he wanted to change the make up of the board, as he said decisions were being made that hindered the country’s economic development. Speaking in the Legislative Assembly earlier this month, McKeeva Bush warned that he intended to review the membership of the work permit board. “We are going to change the people on the board, whether they are government supporters or not,” he said. “The tail cannot wag the dog.”

The board in question is responsible for granting temporary and permanent work permits to all foreigners working on the islands as well as decisions regarding who is granted key employee status.

The newly appointed chair is no stranger to the complex and controversial issues surrounding work permits as well as and key employee status. Bodden-Cowan is not only chair of the current IRT but one of the major players in the formation of Cayman’s immigration policies over the last decade. She was one of the architects of the original 2003 immigration law which introduced the seven year work permit limit and has long been an advocate of a flexible immigration policy.

She has spoken frequently of the need to balance the demands of Cayman’s dynamic work force and the numbers of people who can rightly become eligible for Caymanian status.

Immigration has become one of the key elements in the current government’s goal to improve the country’s economic fortunes. Bush has said on a number of occasions that the country needs tobe more flexible when it comes to immigration and more welcoming to people from overseas who could help to generate wealth for Cayman. The premier has turned his attention in particular to the financial services sector where he is keen to see swifter decisions on staff to facilitate the industry’s growth.

Co-chair of the UDP, Bodden-Cowan has played a key role in piloting the new accreditation system, which is about to be rolled out for the financial sector and is being lauded as key to improving the efficiency of the work permit application process. She recently stated that the new system would not only offer employers a more efficient way of getting the people they needed but would offer better protection to local workers as well.

Bodden-Cowan is also a supporter of reducing the rollover period, which is currently twelve months but she has warned that government could face legal challenges if the break in stay for foreign workers is reduced too much. However, the premier recently announced he was considering reducing the rollover break to as little as one month based on advice he had received from UK counsel.

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