Miller demands answers in explosives case

| 18/09/2012

rr21 (252x300).jpg(CNS): The independent MLA for North Side is demanding answers regarding the investigation into the premier’s memo sent to the collector of customs in connection with a recent case of illegally imported explosives. Ezzard Miller said the people of Cayman are being let down by the authorities, who are allowing the issue to be swept under the carpet because of the office held by McKeeva Bush. The outspoken MLA said that since the company was recently convicted, there is no question that an offense occurred and the letter sent by the premier asking for the release of those explosives must be considered as an attempt to pervert the course of justice.

“We have seen recently how the director of public prosecution’s office has arrested and charged people on the flimsiest of evidence in connection with several firearms cases,” he said. “The courts have decided against them, throwing the cases out or acquitting those involved. Here we have a ‘smoking gun’ in the memo sent by the premier and nothing at all has happened. Police don’t normally wait until they are 100% certain of a conviction before they arrest an individual. Why is it different in this case?” Miller asked rhetorically.

The MLA was referring to the recent controversial case in which Midland Acres admitted importing explosive materials and blasting caps without the correct permits. The owner of the company, Suresh Prasad, pleaded guilty on its behalf to four counts and was fined a total of $1,300 by a magistrate last month. However, before Prasad was arrested and charged the premier had written to the collector of customs requesting the release of the seized materials.

In the wake of that conviction, Miller said, the premier’s involvement now had to be addressed in the courts. He said the law should apply to everyone equally, regardless of high office, and it was plain for everyone to see the premier’s memo to the collector of customs was sufficient for an arrest as it was an attempt to circumvent the law.

“The authorities need to let the courts decide this issue and if they clear the premier of any wrongdoing, then so be it, but this suspicion and uncertainty is adding to the instability of the country that the current incompetent UDP administration has already created,” Miller added. 

According to Police Commissioner David Baines, the premier’s efforts to have the explosives released forms part of a third investigation that the RCIPS is currently conducting into the premier. The first is into a land deal that Bush was involved in with developer Stan Thomas in 2004 and the second has merely been described as other “financial irregularities".

Miller said that whatever the situation with the other investigations, the premier must be called to answer for his part in this case and explain why he felt he was above the law. He said the premier, as the minister responsible for customs, had to realize that the importation was illegal.

So far, the only public comment the premier hasmade about this case in particular was that he was trying to help a friend.

At the time of sentencing in the Midland Acres case, Magistrate Valdis Foldats recognized that the firm had been transparent about the importation of the materials and had not deliberately attempted to evade the law, but he said that explosives are inherently dangerous and, as such, the law and regulations concerning the importation of such materials were there to protect the public. He said anyone dealing with explosives should ensure they do so properly.

When the explosives were seized by authorities and the premier wrote to the collector of customs asking for the release, the NRA director, Brian Tomlinson, whose department was holding the materials, passed the issue over to the RCIPS but shortly afterwards he was fired from his job.

Related articles:

Dynamite request in question (14 May 2012)

Government road boss fired (9 July 2012)

Explosive import fine $1300 (29 August 2012)

Correspondence regarding the explosives attached.

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Category: Crime

Comments (13)

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  1. FIREMAN says:

    If indeed a certain person was a shareholder in Midland Acres it would only be a matter of interest, though it could explain certain things that took place. I believe that the shareholders would have no criminal liability for what appears to have been attempted – only the “Company” and it’s directors can be prosecuted as they are responsible for what activities Midland undertook. As a “For Example” analogy – the shareholders of BP could not be personally responsible for any liabilities arising from the expulsion of their drilling rig, subsequent oil leaks, and the consequential pollution of the Gulf Coast.

    • Anonymous says:

      Would it change your view if a shareholder attempted to aid and abet the illegal importation from which he/she would benefit? 

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why wasn't the total shareholding of Midland Acres disclosed. What gave them the right to remain anonymous?

    I think Brian Tomlinson is eligible for a an Award for Bravery and should have an bronze statute of him in town replacing the one of Jim Bodden. I am ashamed to be Caymanian where corruption is considered the norm. Our ancestors must be rolling over in their grave and worst yet, it's all in the name of being Christians. May God help us.

  3. the truth says:

    The Truth of the matter is that Cayman has become Peter Pan's Never Never Land when it comes to the TRUTH! I don't believe in fairy tales and its about time you start putting the squeeze on the DDP Ezzard and all other sound minded politicians. The Police and the DPP's office are obviously perverting the course of Justice and they are free to do so due to the Attorney General's lack of interest in giving the Anti Corruption Board some proper legislature that has stiff penalties (like the 10YR MINIMUM tariff you so anxiously seek to give young men). FYI – the Attorney General wrote our constitution and made his post technically unremovable, where as other figures in Public Office like the "Auditor General" (man of true honor and integrity) can be replaced once his contract is finished. This I assure you was not missed by the umpteen politicians we have appointed to watch over our best interest but still it was allowed to be pasted in law ( we're screwed with no greese)! This is why nothing can be done about the brazen disregard for public opinion or the laws that govern the "little people" of this country.

    The day the Truth goes into office, will be a day in which those who have chosen to trample over us, shrug off our concerns, biasly prosecute us, will truley reap what the have sown! Its time for fresh blood to be elected because in my opinion, though some continue to fight the good fight (Ezzard, Arden,Alden, Frank) you lack the intellect and cunningness which is now required to deal with the machine of corruption that is grinding us down!

    • Anonymous says:

      I think you will find that the FCO wrote the Constitution, and the varoius church ministers had more say in its eventual form. I also remember Foolio getting in on the act at the 11th hour……

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard needs to give it up! Mac don't offer us the publuic answers on anything so what makes him so special to demand Keke tells him the truth? Mac already thinks Ezzy is bullying him and always trying to road block his plans. Pot & kettle

    • Anonymous says:

      A man in McKeeva's position should not have to be demanded to tell the truth.

    • Anonymous says:

      he is an independent member of the L.A. representing the people of these Islands to hold the govt. to account. Is that clear enough for you?

  5. Anonymous says:

    UDP has a really big rug…..and an EQUALLY BIG BROOM

    • SSM345 says:

      I would really like to know if the gentleman paid his fine, or someone else did…..

      • Dred says:

        Probably the company OR that certain someone

      • Far Canal says:

        I'm sure the fine was paid by agreement amongst all the various owners of Midland Acres who I assume would not want anyone knowing their vested interest involvement.