Archive for April 23rd, 2012

Former bank employee found guilty of $29k theft

| 23/04/2012 | 31 Comments

(CNS): A George Town man and former employee of the Royal Bank of Canada was found guilty on Monday afternoon of stealing more than US$29,000 from a customer’s account when he forged the signatures of clients on documents. Erick Adam was convicted on two counts by a jury of four men and three women following a trial in which he was accused of creating a fictitious couple, whom he attempted to blame for the crime. The theft, which took place in September 2009, came to light when the account holders from whom Adam had stolen the cash came to the bank to look at their fixed term deposit account and discovered it was empty.

Adam, who is the son of Community Affairs Minister Mike Adam, was remanded in custody following the jury’s guilty verdict and has been scheduled for sentencing on 6 June.

The court heard during the trial in Grand Court last week that Adam, who was at the time a personal financial representative at the bank, was the one who had closed the account, ordered a bankers draft and cashed that draft on behalf of what the prosecution said was an invented couple. When Adam’s fraud came to light, the crown said he then claimed he was the victim of a scam and had mistakenly given money to a couple who had conned him.

The prosecution said Adam had planned and set up the theft a few days beforehand when he contacted a more senior member of staff to ask how he could close a fixed term account for a customer who wanted to come into the bank on the Monday and draw out their cash. On the Monday Adam then organised for a bankers draft for what the crown claimed was a fictitious customer and forged the signature of the real account holders’ daughter on the necessary paperwork.

When the real couple and holders of the account turned up to check on their money some eleven days later, Adam’s name was on the paperwork as the bank’s staff member who had closed the account. At that point the defendant had said it was time to alert the police as it was clear a fraud had taken place. Adam claimed he had made a major mistake as he had not photocopied the driver’s licence of the woman who had signed for and taken the money but he denied stealing the cash himself.

During the investigation Adam gave the police a description of the couple he said had taken the money and had offered to look at bank CCTV footage to identify them. However, it was discovered that there was no security camera footage for the day that the scam had taken place as there was something wrong with the CCTV.

As the investigation developed, the finger of suspicion turned on Adam as no one else in the bank had seen the couple and Adam appeared to have deliberately evaded the bank’s normal protocols in order to close the account, order a draft and then cash the draft, leading to the conclusion that it was him that had stolen the cash.

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Divers rescued from rough waters by marine unit

| 23/04/2012 | 13 Comments

rough-seas-1.jpg(CNS): Two recreational divers who got into difficulties in rough waters off the coast of Sunset House were brought to safety by two RCIPS Marine Unit wave runners on Sunday evening. Police said that at around 5: 15pm the marine and air support units were informed that two divers were in distress in the water. When the helicopter arrived on scene the team saw a man and a woman on the sea surface in high waves. The marine unit launched the wave runners from the Lobster Pot dock and headed to their location where the divers taken aboard. They were then transported to South Sound where they were met by ambulance personnel and were found to be in good health and needed no further assistance.

RCIPS issued a reminder to everyone to act responsibly when engaging in recreational activities in the water,especially when there are signs or warnings of inclement weather.

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Owner offers $1000 reward for missing fishing boat

| 23/04/2012 | 13 Comments

P7310039 (300x225).jpg(CNS) A 33ft boat was reportedly stolen from a dock in Mervin Street, Newlands at the weekend and the owner is offering a $1000 for its safe return. Brevon Elliott said that the boat, Risky Business, was stolen in the early hours of Saturday morning from its dock. He said the navy coloured vessel with a navy blue t-top and blue centre console has a light blue interior and has two 225hp Honda engines. Anyone with information about the stolen fishing boat is asked to contact the owner on  927-2655.

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Raising money for charity in a ’roundabout’ way

| 23/04/2012 | 0 Comments

IH_Roundabout_crop.jpg(CNS Business): Island Heritage Insurance Company has promised to donate $1 to charity for every car that drives past their adopted roundabout on the Esterley-Tibbetts Highway during their three-day “CharityDrive” on 24, 25 and 26 April. For the three days of CharityDrive, the National Roads Authority will provide traffic sensor counters to accurately record the number of cars using the roundabout between the hours of 7am and 7pm each day. Every car will trigger a dollar donation by Island Heritage. By simply using the roundabout, CI$1 will be donated by Island Heritage on your behalf to the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme on Day 1, Meals on Wheels Cayman Islands on Day 2 and the Cayman Islands Humane Society on Day 3. Read more on CNS Business

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Region faces epidemic of non-communicable disease

| 23/04/2012 | 0 Comments

(CNS): With two out of three deaths of people younger than 70 resulting from a chronic disease the Cayman Islands health minister said the region is facing an epidemic. Mark Scotland said that in Cayman the issue of non-communicable disease was at the top of the national health agenda. As a result of questions in the national census the minister said the country knows that the top three diagnosed illnesses here are high blood pressure, diabetes and asthma. Speaking at the 57th Annual Caribbean Health and Research Council/Caribbean Public Health Agency (CHRC/CARPHA) Scientific Conference – held in Cayman last week he said research was essential to addressing the problem.

“Relevant, current and localized statistics is a key ingredient of successful national prevention and treatment programmes and as such we are also embarking – with the help of PAHO – on a national health risk factor survey,” Scotland said.

He said a pillar of creating effective public health initiatives was research and the conference programme had a strong focus on lifestyle diseases.

“By 2020 – a mere decade from now – non-communicable diseases will account for 60 percent of the global burden of disease. We all know that this will strain national health systems severely with significant negative economic and social consequences,” he warned.

Over 150 delegates attended the scientific research conference which Scotland said would contribute a great deal to pro-active public health initiatives which serves to improve the health of the region’s citizens exponentially.
The conference which closed Saturday included keynote lectures, satellite meetings hosted by professional medical societies and training workshops. CHRC has successfully hosted its annual research conference since 1956, assigning a different host nation every year. However, this year is historical as it is the first time that the meeting was hosted by the Cayman Islands.

See minister’s statement below

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Sewage problem leaves hole in budget

| 23/04/2012 | 17 Comments

sewerage.JPG(CNS): Government's failure to sell off the Water Authority’s sewerage treatment system as planned for this financial year will increase the deficit it is likely to face at the end of the fiscal year. Government had already announced an expected deficit for 2011/12 at a recent Finance Committee meeting but continued problems with the tendering for the sewerage has delayed the sale and means that the $20 million government was expecting to come from the sale will cause a hole in the budget. The governor said on Friday evening that there was little chance of the divestment being made before the end of this financial year.

The civil service will now be under greater pressure to cut public spending to plug the growing deficit, given that government cannot borrow further cash and must comply with the parameters of the Financial Framework Agreement the premier signed with the UK. The agreement and the UK minister have also pointed to the need for good governance.

“There is a very clear process set out on the divestment ofassets and the first stage would be a clear business plan,” Governor Duncan Taylor said about the sewage treatment sale, which has already been subject to a tendering process but which was stopped as a result of queries raised by ministry officials, the Water Authority Board and the Central Tenders Committee (CTC).

The governor implied at a press briefing on Friday evening that the divestment of that asset or the Water Authority in general would have to be re-tendered. He said that any divestment of public sector assets had to be conducted under a specific process. The UK does not object to the principle of the Cayman government selling assets to raise revenue when there is a business case but it had to be in line with the commitments made in the framework.

Taylor also stated that how government would fill the hole this created would be a matter for the premier. He said the deputy governor was looking very hard at ways to cut public sector spending.

The government has been planning to sell off the public sewerage system since it was elected but there have been a number of issues and allegations of problems and irregularities surrounding the bids.

According to minutes released under the FOI law, government was recently still putting pressure on the board to divest the sewerage before the end of this financial year.  In his role as minister of finance, Mckeeva Bush had planned to raise close to $60 million from the sale of public assets in this financial year and the money from the Water Authority was earmarked for completing the school projects.

See related article:

Sewerage bids in re-review

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Mac still denies wrong-doing

| 23/04/2012 | 131 Comments

mac pointing 2.jpg(CNS): As pressure mounted over the weekend for McKeeva Bush to resign in the wake of revelations that he is the subject of three police investigations, the Cayman Islands premier was defiant about the accusations and said he would not step down. In a statement released by the premier’s press secretary, Charles Glidden, Bush said he had done nothing wrong and knew nothing about the enquiries.  “I have done nothing illegal, much to the disappointment of the opposition and those that see themselves as the premier, or as new government ministers,” he stated following a release from the RCIPS that said Bush was under investigation relating to an unlicensed shipment of dynamite and two enquiries were ongoing in regards to “financial irregularities.”

Bush said he had “no intention of resigning” and would “hold the course of continuing my government's efforts to restart the economy”. He said, “A key part of my job is to keep us on the course of financial responsibility, and to take back full sovereignty over all our financial affairs. That is what I was elected to do and what I will continue working towards.” 

The statement said the premier was seeking legal advice in connection with the comments made by the police and Governor Duncan Taylor, who first revealed that Bush was at the heart of further probes other that the original investigation into the letter he allegedly sent to Texan developer Stan Thomas in 2004 demanding payment of $350,000 in connection with land rezoning.

Members of the United Democratic Party were expected to meet on Monday evening but sources close to the party hierarchy stated that whilethere may discontent about the premier staying in office, it was unlikely that there would be significant pressure from inside the UDP for him to step down.

However, the opposition was calling for Bush’s resignation in the wake of the weekend revelations. The PPM members and others stated that it was untenable for him to remain in office. Arden McLean said he must step aside until the matters are resolved before causing “irreparable harm to the image and reputation of this country” and deterring the investors he was purporting to attract.

The opposition has also denied being involved in any international conspiracy which Bush is now claiming is the reason for what he called the “baseless allegations” being made against him, which he believes have originated from civil servants in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

See statement released by the premier's press secretary below.

Vote in the CNS poll: In light of revelations that McKeeva Bush is at the centre of 3 police investigations, should he step down as premier?

See related stories:

Mac faces 3 investigations

Bush subject of 2nd probe

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Rapist shows no remorse

| 23/04/2012 | 7 Comments

courts good.jpg(CNS): Chief Justice Anthony Smellie handed down a prison term of 14 years to a 46-year-old George Town man on Friday for the rape of his former lover over a two year period. Philip Rose was sentenced to a further 14 years for abduction, three years for assault and 12 months for stalking his victim on the phone, all of which were ordered to run concurrently. The country’s senior judge said that Rose had “shown no indication of remorse for his crimes” and continued to see himself as a victim of the relationship. The chief justice told the convicted man that his behaviour could not be tolerated and the crimes were no less serious because he had known his victim.

The judge pointed to the severe trauma, both emotional and physical, that his rape and abuse had caused his victim and said Rose had been motivated by a desire to dominate and control the woman with whom he previously had a relationship. He said that Rose had exploited the vulnerability of his victim, who had submitted to his will because of her fear of being discovered and losing her job.

“Rape is particularly unpleasant because of the intimate proximity of the abuse of an act which is a fundamental means of expressing love,” the judge said.

With few mitigating factors in Rose’s favour and little sign of remorse, Chief Justice Smellie stated that the crime had to attract a significant period of incarceration, despite claims that the convicted man suffered from claustrophobia.

Rose was found guilty of the crime in December last year after a judge alone trial during which the court heard the abuse and threats Rose made to his victim in messages left on her phone. The victim testified that Rose had systematically stalked, harassed, abused and sexually assaulted her over a period of more than two years.

During the trial the victim, a former executive of the Cayman Islands branch of a major bank, recounted a harrowing ordeal of abuse, in which she became trapped through fear and embarrassment.

She described being stalked “every minute of the day”, with Rose being “always just 10 metres away” controlling her entire life through fear and intimidation. He followed her to and from work and whenever she went out, repeatedly turning up and knocking on the window of her apartment; constantly calling and texting her cell phones and her office line and making abusive threats. She described how he had physically assaulted her, raped her on several occasions and had also abducted her over a holiday weekend where he repeatedly raped her.

Rose had denied the offences, accusing his victim of being an abusive, jealous and controlling woman who had contrived the allegations against him after he had rejected her.

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