Archive for September 28th, 2012

Borden pleads not guilty to gang related murder

| 28/09/2012 | 0 Comments

brian borden_0.jpg(CNS): Brian Borden from West Bay pleaded not guilty to the murder of Robert Mackford Bush (28) on 13 September last year. He also denied possession of an unlicensed firearm. Borden is accused of being one of two men who opened fire on Bush while he sat in his car at the junction of Birch Tree Hill Road and Capts Joe and Osbert Road in West Bay. The killing was believed to be gang related and triggered a tit-for-tat spate of killings, in which another three young men were to lose their lives in the local gang war. Borden will now stand trial for the killing on 18 February 2013.

The trial is expected to last two weeks and is heavily dependent on the evidence of one key witness who was involved in a bank robbery at Cayman National in Buckingham Square in June.

 

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Murder appeal verdict delayed till April ‘13

| 28/09/2012 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A West Bay man heard that the results of his appeal hearing against a conviction for murder will not be revealed until 8 April 2013. Local attorney, Richard Barton, told the Grand Court Friday morning that he had been informed by the registrar of the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal that the ruling in the case of Raziel Jeffers would not be delivered until next year. No reasons for the long wait were revealed but with two other murder cases pending on the outcome of this verdict the crown said it would now have to consider setting dates for those trials regardless.

Jeffers made his appeal in July regarding his conviction for the murder of Marcus Ebanks and the attempted murder of several other young men including Adryan Powell who was only 14 at the time and has since been confined to a wheel chair. Jeffers had been found guilty of being one of two masked gun men who opened fire indiscriminately on the group of young men who were sitting outside a yard in Bonaventure Lane one evening in July 2009.

In the appeal Jeffers’ attorneys focus on the possible bias of the trial judge, Justice Charles Quin, as he had also seen a police intelligence report describing their client as a dangerous and notorious gang member before the trial in which he sat alone without a jury. Secondly the lawyers focused on telephone records which failed to go before the court that demonstrated that the crown’s key witness, and former girlfriend of Jeffers, was not being truthful about her whereabouts and actions on the day of the murder.

While the defence is eager to hear the outcome of the case the crown has also been awaiting the result of the appeal as Jeffers is charged with two other counts of murder. He is accused of killing Marcus Duran and Damion Ming in two separate shootings that occurred in West Bay in in March 2010. In both these cases the crown is relying heavily on the testimony of the same witness and as a result the outcome of the appeal is directly linked to the progress of the other matters.

As a result however, of the now extended and unexpected wait on the appeal result, the crown said Friday it wanted to set trial dates for the two outstanding murders not least because of the escalating problem of the Grand court time table. Prosecuting counsel warned that unless dates were sought for the trials soon it could be 2014 before Jeffers was tried for either of the outstanding murder cases.

Justice Alex Henderson who was sitting for the Friday morning mentions in the Grand Court said it was “unwise to keep the cases in abeyance” and urged he crown to seek out a trial date for the outstanding matters. Jeffers was ordered to be brought back to court on 30 November when dates would be set and other house-keeping issues regarding legal aid addressed. 

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Mac needs UK help with EU

| 28/09/2012 | 45 Comments

(CNS): At a time when the premier’s relationship with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office is not at its best, McKeeva Bush has revealed that he is seeking the British government’s support for his lobbying to change what he says is a damaging article in an international treaty. The premier and leaders of other territories have concerns about Article 70 of the draft Overseas Association Decision (OAD) document of the European Union. The paper governs the relationship between the EU and the overseas territories and the new draft is said to be at an advanced stage. But Cayman and other territories with financial services interest hope they can stop the goal to converge financial services regimes in the territories with the EU.

Speaking at the 13th meeting of the Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA) in Greenland this week, the Cayman premier said there was a pressing need to change Article 70 of the draft Overseas Association Decision (OAD) document of the EU. Article 70 calls for the "convergence" with EU legislation of the financial services regimes of the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT).

A release from the premier’s office stated that this would require Cayman bringing its legislation relating to financial services in line with EU legislation.

Bush has reportedly opposed this measure since it was initially introduced in the draft OAD and is the reason why he travelled to the icy location this week. During his speech to the members of the European Commission he called for recognition that if this provision were enacted, it would seriously damage the financial services industry in Cayman and other OCTs.

"Cayman's current regulatory regime is compliant with robust international requirements, providing a strong foundation element to attract investment that is safe in our jurisdiction," Bush said. "Those investments in turn fuel growth of the world economy."

Bush and other leaders are now hoping that the UK government will offer support for changing the article, which, according to the premier’s office, it has promised to do, as the matter goes forward to the Council of the EU for finalization.

The OAD is a legal instrument governing the EU and OTs relationship which is currently undergoing a revision process which will lead to a new OAD coming into effect in January 2014.

Related article:

Mac may reject some of FFR

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Dolphin experts heading to CI

| 28/09/2012 | 15 Comments

stinky.jpg(CNS): Two marine mammal experts from NOAA and a specialist vet from Seaworld will be heading to the Cayman Islands from the US next week for a short visit to assist the Department of Environment (DoE) with the problem of Cayman’s rogue lone dolphin. As a result, the team is asking everyone in Cayman to call in any sightings over the coming days of the young male that has been attracting considerable attention over the last few months. As the experts are here for such a short time and will want to monitor and survey the dolphin's health and behaviour closely, the DoE needs to ensure they keep track of ‘Stinky’, as he has since been named, ahead of the important visit.

The three experts are offering their time free of charge; rooms for their stay have been donated by the Grand Caymanian and flights provided by the DoT.

The experts' goal will be to ensure that the young male dolphin is not suffering any health problems and to check if his behaviour is in line with that of other lone young males. They will be observing his behaviour as he interacts with people and trying to gain some insight. Once the assessments are made, the DoE hopes that the visitng experts, along with other marine biology specialists the department has been talking to, will help come up with a long-term solution to the problem the rogue dolphin poses.

“We understand that at present we are taking the right course of action by asking people to stay away from the dolphin and get out of the water if they are approached by him,” Gina Ebanks-Petrie stated on Friday morning as the DoE announced the forthcoming arrival of the US experts. “We are seeking a long-term solution but we need to know more about the dolphin in the first instance.”

She said the DoE was not expecting that there would be a quick fix to the problem, so it was important to keep up the warnings to swimmers and divers to stay away from the dolphin so they do not reinforce its sometimes aggressive behaviour as it attempts to make sexual advances to almost anything that moves in the ocean.

Janice Blumenthal, a research officer with the DoE asked everyone on the water this weekend to be extra vigilant and let the DoE know where the dolphin is. She also asked for any pictures or footage that has been taken of him to be sent to the DoE.

“We are not advocating that people film him but if they already have the pictures or video they would be very useful for our US visitors," she said. Older footage of previous dolphin sightings would also be welcome, Blumenthal added, as she said the DoE has still not been able to confirm if ‘Stinky’, who was first sighted in June, is the same lone male dolphin that has been reported in the North Sound on and off for several years.

The DoE team said anyone that has video and pictures of dolphins in local waters should email them to doe@gov.ky and any sightings of the dolphin over the weekend can be called in on  949-8469

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Mistreatment of local stingray captured on camera

| 28/09/2012 | 63 Comments

qIy69 (269x300).jpg(CNS): Despite repeated warnings by officials about not lifting stingrays out of the water, another photograph has emerged showing a handler at the Sandbar raising one of the marine creatures completely out of the ocean behind what appears to be three terrified women. The picture taken at Cayman's famous tourism attraction has circulated around the world via the internet and shows further mistreatment of the local stingrays. In the wake of news that ten of the rays were being held captive at a local dolphinarium, the photograph shows that even in the Wildlife Interactive Zone, where they are meant to be protected, the creatures are still subject to mistreatment.

The director of the Department of Environment has warned yet again that lifting stingrays completely out of the water is not only illegal but harmful and distressing for them. “The Wildlife Interaction Zone regulations make it an offence to remove rays from the water. This is because rays are marine creatures which, like fish, breathe with the aid of gills while in the water – if they are out of the water they cannot breathe. It is cruel and creates a stressful situation for the animal which will cause health issues if it happens repeatedly,” Gina Ebanks-Petrie said.

Although no one has ever been prosecuted for lifting rays from the water at the WIZ, it happens more frequently than conservation experts would like as handlers attempt to entertain tourists. Although people are able to touch the rays when visiting the Sandbar at Stingray City, they are encouraged to do so while the creatures remain in the water.

This latest photograph is further illustration that the local rays need more support, and while the picture may have attracted global attention for Grand Cayman's Sandbar, it is a further indication of a pressing need to protect these valuable and unique creatures.

The photobomb, as it is being described, was posted on Reddit.com and has been picked up by the media around the world.

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Minister tells parents to keep kids’ hearts healthy

| 28/09/2012 | 7 Comments

girl_healthyeating.jpg(CNS): The country’s health minister has said that cutting adult rates of heart disease will be “nearly impossible” unless there is a focus on child health. In his World Heart Day message, Mark Scotland stated that the risk of for heart disease can increase during childhood due to unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, and exposure to smoking. “Since children have limited decision making control, we must take responsibility for the hearts of our children,” he said. “From parents and caregivers, to doctors and teachers, everyone involved in a child’s life must work together to promote heart healthy behaviors.”

The Cayman Islands joins countries all over the world in observance of World Heart Day on Saturday 29 September when cardiovascular disease prevention in women and children will be the main theme. It is an initiative of the World Heart Federation which was started in 2000. Its key message is that at least 80% of deaths from heart disease and stroke could be avoided if people gave up smoking, had a healthier diet and did more exercise.

See the minister’s full message below
 

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Scammers didn’t hack systems says LIME

| 28/09/2012 | 0 Comments

textscam.jpg(CNS): In the wake of a text message sent directly to LIME customers' telephones across Cayman on Wednesday declaring that everyone had won $500,000 from scammers in Thailand, the local phone company said its systems had not been compromised. Although it appeared that private numbers of LIME customers had been hacked, LIME said this was not the case as the message came through to the local system via a recognized carrier and was delivered to customers' numbers by the company.

“We want to assure all LIME customers that based on our analysis our systems were not hacked,” said a spokesperson for LIME. “The text message came in from a carrier via a route that we recognized and therefore we delivered it.”

The firm said that all of its number ranges are published on the ICTA website, which means it is very easy for hackers to use that information to generate a list of numbers.

“However, following on from Wednesday we are now looking at some additional technology for this route type that will be able to recognize when messages of this nature are being sent to multiple numbers so it can be stopped and examined before being forwarded on or deleted,” LIME said Thursday.

The scam text followed the lines of the usual IT con telling recipients they had won $500,000 and needed to send their details to an email address to claim their prize.

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Cayman adds HPV to child vaccine list

| 28/09/2012 | 14 Comments

HPV-Vaccine-Effective-in-Men_0.jpg(CNS): Following a pilot programme carried out in 2009 and 2010, government says that a cancer prevention vaccination will be integrated into Cayman’s childhood immunization programme starting in November of this year. Health Minister Mark Scotland announced Thursday a phased introduction of the Human Papillomavirus vaccine (HPV). The programme will be limited to girls only in the initial phase and it will be given as a course of three injections administered at set intervals over a 6-month period. The vaccine will be offered on a first come, first serve basis, while supplies last, government officials revealed.

The move was welcomed by Dr Sook Yin, Medical Director of the Cayman Islands Cancer Society, which has campaigned for a long time to get the vaccine onto the immunization schedule. The doctor said she was elated that the school-based element of the vaccine programme was moving forward, making the programme convenient for both students and parents. Parents or guardians must attend the appointment with their children at the clinics and give written consent for the vaccine to be administered.

A public awareness campaign about cervical cancer and the HPV vaccine will be undertaken by the Cayman Islands Cancer Society and the Public Health Department using a variety of outlets including media interviews, advertisements, public education presentations in schools, including Home School Associations and specially organized district awareness sessions.

Leaflets will also be available at these sessions as well as the Cayman Islands Cancer Society on Maple Road, all Health Services Authority facilities, doctor’s offices and libraries.

“It will be a phased programme initially held at the Public Health Clinic at the Cayman Islands Hospital, West Bay and Bodden Town health centres, Faith Hospital in Cayman Brac and all government high schools throughout the Cayman Islands,“ the minister of health said, as he commended the ongoing collaboration between the health authority and the Cayman Islands Cancer Society. “Our immunization programme continues to be very successful. I encourage young women and their parents or guardians to take advantage of this cervical cancer prevention vaccination,” Scotland added.

HPV causes cancer of the cervix, genital warts and some precancerous lesions of the cervix, vagina and vulva. The vaccine is of greatest benefit if it is administered before the onset of sexual activity; hence the target age group is 11 to 12 year old students. At this age, the antibody responseto vaccine is optimal. However, the vaccine will also be available to young women between the ages of 11 and 17 years at the various Health Services Authority facilities.

The education minister Rolston Anglin welcomed the programme but said the vaccine is not mandatory.

“The vaccination is being offered at school for your convenience. No child will be vaccinated without parental consent and you will have the opportunity to be present at the time of vaccination if you choose,” the minister added.

See fact sheet on HPV below.

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Bush must pass all FFR, says Miller

| 28/09/2012 | 12 Comments

Bush FC Chair_0.jpg(CNS): North Side MLA Ezzard Miller has said he believes the premier must pass the entire Framework for Fiscal Responsibility into law as he is not in a position to pick and choose what he likes from the document, which was signed by McKeeva Bush last November. Speaking to CNS in the wake of Wednesday's controversial announcement by the premier that not only had he not committed to a specific date for passing the FFR into law but he was also not necessarily agreeing to the ratification of the complete agreement, Miller said the premier would not have a choice in the issue.

The outspoken MLA accused the premier of contradicting himself as it was Bush who announced to the Legislative Assembly that the FFR must become law by the 30 September as a condition of the budget approval last month.

“Someone needs to remind Mr Bush that his signature is not on page three of the fiscal agreement but at the end of it and he needs to understand what that means,” Miller stated.

He pointed out that Bush's reluctance to sign the document was late in the day, given that the former FCO minister Henry Bellingham, the FCO director Colin Roberts and Cayman Governor Duncan Taylor had all stated that the agreement was binding from the point Bush signed the document last year.

“Once again, the premier has placed the entire Cayman Islands in an embarrassing situation with the UK. It has to be remembered too that this document, which the premier signed under duress, was as a result of his government's failure to meet any of the UK's previous requests to get the country's finances in order and the continued mismanagement of public funds by this government,” Miller added.

The premier’s claim that more time was needed for discussion with the private sector over the details of the FFR was, Miller said, ”ludicrous” and “disingenuous", considering the legislation that is consistently pushed through the parliament with little or no consultation.

"Everyone has known about the FFR for almost a year and very few people disagree with document, given that it is designed to improve the management of government funds,” he said. “Everyone in the LA supports it and few, if anyone, in the private sector have complained as it should lead to more prudent public spending, something the private sector has been clamouring for.”

The North Side MLA said that Bush's continued reluctance was related to his fears that the major private-public development projects with Dart and CHEC could be undermined by the FFR.

“Clearly Bush sees this agreement as a threat to the ForCayman Investment Alliance with the Dart Group and his plans to develop the cruise berthing in George Town with CHEC. Having read the agreement I cannot see how either proposal would comply with it,” Miller added.

The premier's revelations that he had told the new FCO minister that he would not be bringing the bill for the FFR to the LA until 5 November and may not pass the entire document has elicited no response from the governor. A spokesperson from his office indicated Thursday that Taylor would not be making any comment on the issue. CNS has also contacted the FCO about the premier's announcement and the UK's position regarding the conditions attached to the budget approval and is awaiting a response.

Related articles:

CIG has 4 years sort debt (November 2011) – documents attached

Mac may reject some of FFR (September 2012)

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Senior cop stripped to PC

| 28/09/2012 | 37 Comments

(CNS): A former in inspector with the RCIPS has been stripped of his rank and reverted to a police constable following an internal police investigation, sources tell CNS. The police have confirmed that the officer was the subject of two disciplinary hearings but have refused to reveal the details of the offences that brought the former senior officer before the RCIPS' own tribunal. The commissioner's office told CNS that the officer in question was found not guilty of the offences in one of the matters before the tribunal but guilty in the other.

“We are unable to discuss the findings and/or sanctions rendered as it is likely the referenced officer will be exercising his right of appeal,” an RCIPS spokesperson stated.

Although no details of the allegations have been revealed by the commissioner, CNS has learned that the officer has been demoted back to the basic rank, indicating the severity of the offence or breach of rules. The RCIPS also denied that the internal disciplinary hearing was related in any way to a case handled by the inspector regarding a former police officer charged with unlawfully possessing police property, which is now a matter before the courts.

The confirmation regarding this recent disciplinary action comes in the wake of news concerning an ongoing internal investigation into an alleged assault by a chief inspector on a junior ranking officer which the DPP had declined to prosecute, having declared it was not in the public interests to do so.

Constable Cardiff Robinson has since filed legal action in Grand Court seeking judicial review for disclosure of the file and the ruling of the director of public prosecutions (DPP) in which she chose not to pursue criminal charges and her reasons for that decision ahead of possible civil action against the police. Robinson filed an incident report in February regarding an alleged assault against him by a senior police officer, Chief inspector Frank Owens, who is in charge of George Town police station.

The complaint was passed by the RCIPS to the DPP, who advised several months later that a criminal charge was made out against Owens but a decision had been madenot to prosecute on the grounds of public interest immunity and recommended that the matter be handled internally

The issue of the RCIPS policing themselves has been a cause for concern in the wider public for some time but it is also something that the Police Association has alsoqueried.
In the Robinson case a spokesperson for the association told CNS that they were concerned about the internal enquiry as they questioned who in police management was not already conflicted or compromised in some way in connection with the case.

The concern of the Police Association is that there can be no one who is in a position to fairly oversee the investigation. More than a dozen complaints have been made to the association against the same senior officer, who has not been suspended from duty and currently remains in charge of one of the largest group of officers in the RCIPS.

The police representative body also has concerns which have reportedly been raised with the commissioner that its membership already has issues about the levels of inequality within the service.

“Our wider membership has been concerned for some time about the inequality that exits in the RCIPS when it comes to the treatment of some officers over others,” the association told CNS.

Related article:

Senior cop under investigation

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