Archive for February 10th, 2012

Coke dealer jailed for 8 years

| 10/02/2012 | 47 Comments

(CNS): A Grand Court judge has handed down an eight year prison sentence to a 32-year-old man for his part in a conspiracy to supply ½ kilo of cocaine to what turned out to be undercover cops. Osman Bonilla pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply a class A drug, an offence which carries a maximum of ten years in prison. Justice Seymour Panton told the convicted man, who has a previous history of drug dealing, that there was hardly anything to be said in his favour other than his guilty plea, which saved the court time. The judge pointed out that, given the level of evidence, he would have had little chance of a not guilty verdict had the case gone to trial.

The judge said that, given the accused man’s previous record in conjunction with his admission of guilt, he believed that eight years was an appropriate sentence.

“He has displayed a particular weakness in respect of drug offences,” the judge stated as read out his sentencing judgement. He pointed to a five year sentence that Bonilla had received for dealing in 2004 and observed that he had "clearly not learnt his lesson yet.”

Bonilla was caught up in a long undercover operation by the RCIPS in which officers first bought drugs from him in a small quantity at Royal Palms as they posed as real estate developers visiting the island.

The officers had approached Bonilla and engaged him in conversation before asking if he was the guy for the ‘white stuff’.  Ironically, as he revealed that he was the person selling cocaine to the undercover officers, he asked them if they were cops.  The officers purchased one gram of cocaine at $50 and pretended to use it before telling the duped dealer that they would be back for more.

Over a period of weeks the police met with Bonilla on a number of other occasions buying increasing amounts from him before they expressed an interest in buying even greater quantities. Each of the meetings was recorded by the officers and the drugs bought were taken from the dealer, tested and bagged as evidence, the court had heard during Bonilla’s sentencinghearing, when the crown publicly outlined the case against him.

Eventually, Bonilla had introduced the officers to his co-conspirator, who is facing a separate legal hearing as he has pleaded not guilty. The undercover Drugs Task Force officers, Bonilla and the co-conspirator met in a West Bay Road restaurant in October 2010, where they discussed the sale of a half kilo of cocain,e which the police, still posing as real estate developers, said they intended to ship overseas.

Some two hours after the meeting and following a call with the co-conspirator, Bonilla called the police back with a price of $10,500 for the drugs, sealing his part in the conspiracy to deal. The two men were eventually arrested in November, along with a number of others who were believed to be involved in the drug dealing gang.

The judge praised the officers involved for the patient operation, which had started in August and lasted several months. The undercover drug operation was triggered by the belief that a group of dealers were selling class A drugs in Seven Mile Beach bars and their goal was to track down the main dealers.

“The police did an excellent job and ought to be commended,” the judge stated as he pointed out that Bonilla would not have fared well had he gone to trial because of the level and quality of the investigation.

When he was arrested and interviewed regarding his role in the conspiracy, Bonilla told the police that he was not a major dealer, which was why he had introduced the undercover officers to someone else when they began asking for large quantities.

“Big guys need to talk to big guys” he had said when the stakes were raised.

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Chocolate cake breakfast could help you lose weight

| 10/02/2012 | 0 Comments

choc cake.jpg(The Telegraph): It sounds too good to be true but new research says having dessert – along with the traditional fry up – burns off the pounds. Morning is the best time to consume sweetsbecause that's when the body's metabolism is most active – and we have the rest of the day to work off the calories, a new study shows. Eating cookies or chocolate as part of breakfast that includes proteins and carbs also helps stem the craving for sweets later. Researchers split 193 clinically obese, non-diabetic adults into two groups who consumed either a low-carb diet that included a 300-calorie breakfast or a balanced 600-calorie breakfast that included a chocolate cake dessert.

Halfway through the 32-week study both groups had lost an average of 33 lbs per person. But in the second half of the study the low-carb group regained an average of 22 lbs per person – while the dessert gorgers lost another 15 lbs each.

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Bermuda legislators agree to 17.5% pay cut

| 10/02/2012 | 14 Comments

BermudaHouseofAssembly.jpg(Royal Gazette): One Bermuda Alliance Leader Craig Cannonier yesterday insisted that Cabinet Ministers should bear the brunt of pay cuts. “The One Bermuda Alliance supports a pay cut for Ministers because they are the people in charge of the Government from policy to operations. It is Cabinet Ministers who run the Government, no one else,” Mr Cannonier said. “They are where the buck is supposed to stop.” His statement came hours after receiving a well publicised letter from Premier Paula Cox asking whether his party’s legislators would agree to a scheme which would see their take home pay drop by five percent.

“We will agree to a five percent cut for MPs and Senators plus a one-year suspension of pension contributions if Cabinet Ministers agree to a ten percent pay cut and suspend their use of credit cards and expense accounts an area of personal spending that has been allowed to spiral out of control in recent years,“ Mr Cannonier said.

He reminded the public that his party had pledged from inception that it would reduce Cabinet salaries by ten percent, but that the Premier had rejected Ministerial pay cuts as an “empty gesture”.

“That refusal was not acceptable then and it became more unacceptable as Government cutbacks continued to pile up on the backs of working Bermudians … That being said, the move for a pay cut, no matter how late in the game, is fundamentally right for Bermuda in these tough times.”

In a similar deal to that offered to the Island’s public service workers, Government legislators have now agreed to a combined 17.5 percent decrease in pay.

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Miller denies dirty tricks

| 10/02/2012 | 87 Comments

_DEW0080.jpg(CNS): The independent member for North Side has denied running a dirty campaign against the premier and his government stating that all he wants is answers. Ezzard Miller stated that the only reason the premier believes it is dirty is because he doesn’t like the legitimate questions that are being asked. The MLA has also questioned the premier’s claims that he is facing excessive bureaucratic harassment stating that the premier is simply struggling to follow the legal processes and procedures which have been set down to protect the people. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

In the wake of claims by McKeeva Bush in iNEWS this week, Miller denied there was anything “dirty” about him asking questions.

“It’s not me who has placed him under investigation, it’s the governor and the judiciary that raised this,” the independent member stated referring to the ongoing police investigation into the premier and alleged financial irregularities. “I only asking for results,” he added.

Bush said that he was tired of the finger pointing and what he described as a “very dirty campaign” by the North Side member and “his cohorts“. He also complained bitterly again about what he said was bureaucratic harassment and interference, stating that he was “disgusted with it”.

This is not the first time the premier has complained of harassment, and CNS has submitted questions to Bush regarding the claims asking him to clarify whether it is the process and legal procedures that are standing in his way of kick-starting the economy or was he pointing the finger at civil servants and accusing them of deliberately blocking his policies, but there has been no response.

At the CBO conference in January the governor stated that if the government had evidence of this kind of interference then it needed to be brought to his attention so it could be investigated.

Miller said he did not believe there were any serious attempts by senior government workers to try and sabotage government’s efforts to boost the economy, nor were the processes preventing legitimate action.

“I don’t think there is any ‘bureaucratic harassment’ getting in his way. He just doesn’t like the processes and procedures,” Miller said. "My concern with the UDP government is the unwillingness to follow established procedure.”

He said it was wrong of the premier to imply there was some conspiracy against him trying to get the economy going when he was responsible for the economic stagnation.

“The problem is that the UDP administration keeps assassinating the real economic saviours,” the North Side member said. “If the GLF contract talks had not been terminated the company would have been working on the cruise port by now, creating jobs and injecting money into the economy.”

The opposition leader also recently stated that the government had contributed to the continued economic hardships as a result of the massive increase in the cost of doing business since they took office.

“The premier has jacked up the cost of doing business so much,” Alden McLaughlin told CNS. “If the government had taken office and just done nothing we would all have been better off now.”

He pointed to the fact that the financial services sector was beginning to recover but the industry was faced with the highest ever associated business costs.

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CUC profits boosted by warm weather

| 10/02/2012 | 0 Comments

cuc office.jpg(CNS): Grand Cayman’s power provider has reported an increase in profit as a result of the warm weather in the final quarter of lastyear giving CUC a 3% boost in its annual earnings for 2011. Capital expenditure resulting from significant problems with its generators last year, including a number of explosions that led to blackouts, were covered by insurance, and the company stated it had saved money in the last quarter on maintenance, transmission and distribution costs. Although the high fuel prices and the 35% increase in the fuel factor for the twelve months ended 31 December compared to last was passed on to customers, it did not play a part in the profit, the firm stated, as it announced its annual figures on Thursday. Read more on CNS Business

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