Archive for April 17th, 2013

CIBC FirstCaribbean cleans up

| 17/04/2013 | 0 Comments

clean-up.gif(CNS): CIBC FirstCaribbean and CIBC Bank & Trust broke the record this weekend for the highest ever number of representatives of one organisation to take part in the Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Earth Day Roadside Clean Up. 130 volunteers represented the bank, including employees and their families, for the 16th occasion of the annual event, which attracted 1500 volunteers altogether. 2013 is the fourth year that the bank has supported the clean up, both as a sponsor and a participant, with its volunteer numbers increasing every year. 

“We are pleased to support the Chamber’s Annual Earth Day Roadside Clean-Up initiative, and so proud of our members of staff and their families who step up each year to volunteer their time,” said Mark McIntyre, Managing Director of CIBC FirstCaribbean Cayman.  He added, “We look forward to this event every year, not only because we believe it is our corporate and social responsibility to keep our beautiful island clean but also because the event is a great team building effort for our bank family and of course an opportunity to socialise. We commend the Chamber of Commerce for promoting pride in our environment and encouraging the community to keep Cayman clean.”

“CIBC FirstCaribbean is an outstanding supporter of the Chamber’s Annual Roadside Clean Up as part of the island’s Earth Day activities,” said Wil Pineau, Chamber of Commerce CEO.  “This year’s group of 130 volunteers distinguished the firm as the largest single local participant in the campaign, and represented the third consecutive year that the organisation has achieved the highest total number of volunteers at the event.  This achievement demonstrates a remarkable level of corporate social responsibility in this community-based activity, and we thank CIBC FirstCaribbean for their continued support, and for leading by example.”

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DMS among top employers in the Cayman Islands.

| 17/04/2013 | 0 Comments

top-employer_0.gif(CNS): Caymanian business conglomerate DMS was recently voted one of the best places to work in Cayman, at the Best Places to Work awards held at Grand Cayman’s Ritz Carlton Resort. “Everyone at DMS is going to be so proud on Monday morning,” commented VP of People and Development at DMS, Samantha Nehra. She added, “It’s exhilarating to be acknowledged as one of the best places to work in Cayman. It’s so important for us to put Cayman on the map. Everyone knows it’s a great place to vacation, we need to spread the word that it’s also a great place to work. We will certainly be looking for a prominent place of honour for this award come Monday morning.”

Senior Vice-President, Karen Kersey, said, “We won third last year and we are proud of our progress to second place.  2014 will be our year and then we aim to keep it permanently. This is a great initiative for the businesses of Cayman to get involved in.  It helps to make sure you are prioritizing your most important asset, and keeps the group focused on creating an engaged workplace, and that’s what we all want.  We want to love where we go to work and feel passionate about what we do.”

The Top Employer Award was launched by the Cayman Islands Society of Human Resource Professionals in 2009. The competition is intended to recognize leading organisations that attract and retain employees, contribute to the community, and create an environment that exemplifies respect, fairness and pride in the workplace.

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Caymanian therapist joins The Wellness Centre

| 17/04/2013 | 0 Comments

Samantha-Sampang-McCoy---First-Caymanian-ABA-Therapist.gif(CNS): The Wellness Centre has its first Caymanian ABA therapist in the form of Samantha Sampang-McCoy, a past John Gray High School student who graduated in 2012 from the University of Toronto,  Canada with a Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology and Health Studies. Samantha recently joined the Autism Services Team and will be delivering ABA Therapy to children with autism spectrum disorders in clinical, home and school settings. Samantha started as a volunteer intern at The Wellness Centre, before deciding to pursue a specialism in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), under the direct supervision of Sloane Pharr, Board Certified Behavioural Analyst and supervisor of The Wellness Centre’s ABA services team.

Ms. Pharr commented, “We are thrilled to have finally trained our first Caymanian ABA therapist. This is exactly what our island needs. The availability of quality therapists to meet the needs of special children such as those diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders and be able to demonstrate and hone their therapeutic and evaluation skills on island.”

She continued, “It shouldn’t be up to employers or families to continue to bring therapists in from oversees when there are suitable, energetic, intelligent people here on island. Sam is the perfect example. She started as an intern, volunteering her time in exchange for experience and training opportunities and now she has successfully progressed from observing direct client work, to participating in our ABA training for Parents and Caregivers, to undergoing intensive instruction in Behavioural theory and the principles of ABA, to finally meeting criterion on applying her knowledge in supervised direct therapy”.

Shannon Seymour, Director of The Wellness Centre, said, “We are so proud to welcome Samantha to our growing team. She started as a volunteer intern eager to learn and demonstrate her knowledge. She has worked diligently and demonstrated exceptional professionalism; it has been very exciting to watch her growth. I would like to thank Sloane Pharr, our ABA Programme supervisor for all of her efforts in training Samantha and to our entire ABA team of therapists who welcomed Samantha and assisted in developing her skills. I encourage any interested Caymanians with a related university degree and previous experience in childcare and or working with special needs children to contactus to inquire about training opportunities.”

Samantha plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Applied Behaviour Analysis specializing in autism spectrum disorders in September, but will continue to work with The Wellness Centre during her study breaks.

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Man gets 10 years for possession of modified flare gun

| 17/04/2013 | 15 Comments

(CNS): A judge found no exceptional circumstances in the conviction of Marcus Manderson for possession of an unlicensed firearm, despite the fact that the weapon in question was a modified flare gun. The 25-year-old man from George Town was sentenced Tuesday to ten years in prison following his conviction by a jury in February. Although he had no previous convictions for violence and only two ganja offences on his record, because the jury found that the modified flare gun constituted a firearm the mandatory minimum sentence was imposed by Justice Charles Quin.

Manderson had been arrested in connection with the weapon when it was recovered by officers from the RCIPS in the early hours of 5 February last year in Windsor Park. Manderson was spotted by Uniform Support Group officers on patrol and when they called to him to stop he ran off. The police gave chase and two officers watched him throw a dark object into a yard before they caught up with him. Once cuffed, Manderson was led back to the place where he had thrown what they believed to be a gun and a search of the area recovered the modified flare gun.

Manderson had not only denied the gun was his, he had also argued that it was not a lethal weapon. Although there was no evidence that the gun had been fired or used in any crimes, the jury found that the gun was capable of firing a conventional bullet and seriously wounding or killing someone. During the trial the jurors heard that with certain modifications an officer from the RCIPS Firearms Unit was able to fire a bullet from the gun in a test situation, and although two expert firearms witnesses disagreed with each other over the definition of the flare gun as a lethal weapon, they believed it should be considered a real firearm.

During his sentencing hearing Manderson’s attorney argued that there were exceptional circumstances in the case, not least because a question mark still hung over whether or not the flare gun was able to harm anyone except the person shooting it, but the judge took the position that the jury had found that it was a lethal weapon. Justice Quin was not swayed by submissions that the firearm was a crudely modified flare gun with a copper barrel and rubber tubing that could not fire a conventional bullet without the ammunition also being modified or that it had never been used in the commission of a crime.

The young man’s bad start in life, as a result of his own father’s imprisonment since he wastwo years old, the fact that he was the sole breadwinner for his own child and his non-violent history did nothing to persuade the judge to depart from the statutory minimum.

Related article on CNS:

Flare gun was real weapon

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Dart to pour 4000+ tons of sand on West Bay Road

| 17/04/2013 | 88 Comments

Sand_Bucket.jpg(CNS): Following the closure of the West Bay Road, despite the lack of public disclosure of the agreement between the developer and government or the value for money report, Dart said Wednesday that it is preparing to start work on the Public Beach project. Having begun demolishing the old Courtyard Marriott building to make way for what is expected to be a new ten-storey hotel, Dart crews and sub-contractors are now preparing for the construction of beach sports playing areas. Work is scheduled to begin this month when 4,850 tons of sand will be poured on what used to be the West Bay Road, officials from the firm stated in a release.

“Originally underneath West Bay Road it was sand, so removing and replacing the road surface with high quality sand will allow the beach ridge to reclaim its natural line,” Ken Hydes from Dart Realty, who is project managing the park development said.

The sports areas form part of what will be a new 12-acre beach park being constructed by Dart Realty in preparation for handover to crown ownership as part of government’s deal with the developer, which is giving the group more crown land along the West Bay Road to create a beach front for the developer’s new resort as well as the land owned by the group reaching down to Yacht Drive, multiplying the value of that property, which Dart Realty purchased from US developer Stan Thomas.

Since closing the first section of the West Bay Road, the developer has completed a 100-space parking lot and a paved direct-access pedestrian path to the beach. The parking lot can be accessed from the new Governor's Way connecting Esterley Tibbetts Highway to West Bay Road. An access road through the park to the Calico Jack's parking lot is also open to traffic and includes a turning bay for tour buses.

Dart said playground equipment has also arrived on site and is now being installed and it will be opened once the surrounding grass lawn is sufficiently established to withstand foot traffic  in late May.

Public Beach Park (600x361).jpg


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Local con man gets 4 years

| 17/04/2013 | 72 Comments

(CNS): A local small business man was given a four and a half year prison sentence Tuesday following his admission that he conned at least four customers out of almost $100,000 and wrote two bad cheques for his newspaper advertising bills. Derrick Thomas was described by Justice Charles Quin as the “consummate con man” and found few mitigating circumstances in the case against him for four counts of theft and one of obtaining services by deception. With a list of previous convictions for dishonesty and an eleventh hour guilty plea after two trial dates came and went, the judge offered only a small cut in the sentence for the defendant’s eventual admission to his crimes.

Thomas had started a geothermal air-conditioning company in 2008. However, according to his attorney, while he had started the business with good intentions, he soon realized that he was not able to manage the business nor did he have the skills required to install the units he was selling. As a result, he got in over his head and ended up conning several customers between April 2009 and January 2010.

His lawyer said his client had many “bright ideas, but when it came to the actual nuts and bolts of running a company, he is absolutely appalling”. In addition, the court heard that Thomas had trained as a chef after leaving ICCI with a diploma in restaurant management.

Thomas took more than $99,600 from customers but did not fit the air conditioning units as promised because, his defence attorney said, he did not have the skills and local sub-contractors were also untrained in the specialist equipment. Thomas also gave the Caymanian Compass two cheques for almost $3,000 for advertising, which bounced as he became increasingly indebted.

Despite his poor business skills, the judge raised his concerns that, according to the social enquiry report, Thomas was hoping to dig himself out of his problems and finance his family through more entrepreneurial schemes rather than taking a job for which he was qualified and earning a wage. He also expressed concern about his long history of offending, which included at least three separate dishonesty cases going back to 1998.

The judge said the social enquiry report also found that Thomas was an alcoholic, though the defendant denied the point and said he was a social drinker.  However, Justice Quin said he believed Thomas hid from his criminal activity through the drink.

The judge was not convinced by the defendant’s alleged remorse and said the details of the crimes revealed that, despite being aware that he could not fulfill his business promises and obligations, he continued to take cash from more customers.

“What makes this case more serious is that the defendant cheated four separate customers and showed no regard for the loss of the significant sums of money they incurred. The court takes into account the fact that the jobs the defendant promised to do and was paid to do were never done. Therefore the customers not only lost the money they had handed to the defendant but they had to pay other companies to do the job that they hired and paid the defendant to do.”

He pointed out that the defendant was in no position to pay anyone back. “The defendant has shown a callous disregard for these unsuspecting victims,” the judge stated in his sentencing ruling. “He made false representations, knowing that the jobs would never be completed. He is the consummate con man. There are few, if any, mitigating factors in this case and many aggravating features.”

Justice Quin handed down a five year sentence for each of the four cases of theft.  He gave only a 20% discount for each as a result of the very late pleas but ordered the prison terms to be served concurrently. However, in the case of the bad cheques given to the local newspaper, he imposed a further six months to run consecutively.

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Civil service boss plans training for new politicians

| 17/04/2013 | 11 Comments

flipchart.jpg(CNS): Deputy Governor Franz Manderson is preparing an orientation programme for new members returned to the Legislative Assembly after the May General Election. According to the minutes released by his office for last month's meeting of chief officers, Manderson has expressed his desire for a smooth transition for the new government and appears to be expecting a few novices to be returned. He told senior civil servants that an orientation programme for new MLAs and ministers is being developed by his office and the cabinet secretary. He said the briefs would be prepared to educate the new ministers on the subjects that they will be overseeing.

Plans for the political training programme were listed in the minutes from 18 March, which records only brief details of the top level senior management meeting.

See full document attached.


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Bullying cop faces law suit

| 17/04/2013 | 0 Comments

frank owens1.JPG(CNS): A young police constable has taken legal action against a senior police officer as a result of more than two years of bullying and two direct assaults. Due to the failure of Police Commissioner David Baines, the internal police complaints procedures and the director of public prosecutions (DPP) to take action, despite finding that an assault had occurred, PC Cardiff Robinson is suing Chief Inspector Frank Owens (left) as well as Baines for financial damages and a declaration that the police complaints procedure is bias. The suit states that the accusations of assaults and bullying by Owens are substantiated by witnesses as well as the DPP’s findings and supported by other complaints made about the senior officer.

In his legal claim Robinson states that he has been bullied by Owens for over two years and also records two specific assaults that took place in front of witnesses, including one where the senior officer threw a large log book at the young PC’s head, as well as a verbal and very intimidating attack on the streets of George Town.

Although the junior officer filed complaints with the deputy commissioner and the Police Complaints Unit, nothing has been done about the issues. DPP Cheryll Richards found that there was evidence that Owens had committed common assault on Robinson, which is a criminal charge, but said it was not in the public interest to prosecute and advised the commissioner to deal with the incident internally. Following this ruling the young officer started on the road of civil action, resulting in the writ filed on 10 April.

As well as detailing the experiences of Robinson at the hands of what the suit implies is a very aggressive senior officer, the claim also details a catalogue of issues relating to the Professional Standards Unit, the internal department within the RCIPS that investigates complaints about the police, both from the public and RCIPS officers and staff. The unit has received considerable criticism from a number of quarters and Robinson points to findings by the Police Association.

“The Police Association, which represents the interests of serving officers up to the rank of Superintendent, has publicly criticized the PSU, pointing out that, regardless of the fact that an investigation has commenced by the PSU, which is often not independently conducted, the commissioner alone gets to decide whether an officer, especially a senior officer, is properly and independently investigated by the PSU, let alone punished for wrongdoing,” the statement of claim notes.

The document records that a number of complaints have been logged from officers as a result of incidents involving Owens and what is alleged to be his aggressive approach with younger or junior officers. Regardless of the complaints, including that of PC Robinson, as well as the findings of the DPP, no action has ever been taken against the senior officer. In addition, Robinson’s request to see the file relating to the findings of the DPP in connection with the assault has also been denied.

According to the suit, the most recent incident which Robinson complains about was the second assault on him at the hands of Owen, in addition to the general bullying, threats of dismissal and aggressive approach. The assault occurred in central George Town on 15 February last year, when Owens was on patrol in the capital during a high visibility policing operation in the face of rising crime.

Owens and Robinson got into a dispute about the Edward Street branch of Cayman National Bank, which Owens denied existed but was the branch where Robinson, as per his duties, had been making checks. When Owens, who is in charge of the capital’s police force, was faced with his error he became extremely angry and in “one swift movement, turned and quickly made two aggressive steps towards [PC Robinson] with his head pushed in towards his face an inch away from his nose with his finger also pointing into his face”, as he screamed at the officer, “Don’t try me, don’t try me Cardiff!” forcing the young PC to move his head to avoid spit from the senior cop's mouth hitting him in the face, " the claim states.

The incident was observed by several witnesses, all of whom say they are willing to testify at trial.

Although Robinson complained to the deputy commissioner and to the PSU more than eight months ago, nothing has happened. The DPP determined several months after the incident that it amounted to common assault but said it was not in the public interest to prosecute Owens and recommended an internal disciplinary process which, if it has taken place, has resulted in no disciplinary action.

The commissioner also publicly denied that the incident was an assault during a committee hearing at the Legislative Assembly and, as such, Robinson believes that his complaint has already been prejudiced. With no independent police complaints commission, despite local law makingprovision for it, Robinson claims there is no way he can get a fair hearing and, as a result of the breach of his human rights, he has taken direct legal action in the Grand Court.

Robinson states that he is afraid to be alone with Owens for fear he will trump up some charge to get him in trouble and has suffered severe anxiety as a result of the altercations with the senior officer. Robinson has sought counselling and was forced to take some leave because of the mounting trauma, the culmination of bullying inflicted on the young officer, who is understood to have an unblemished record and has been commended by the commissioner himself.  

The suit comes at a time when there are a number of internal issues in the RCIPS, including allegations about serving officers, other disputes and alleged assaults between the ranks and a number of question marks about morale. It was also filed at the same time as an application for judicial review by an officer who had served for 26 years and was dismissed without explanation four years before his mandatory retirement.

Related articles on CNS:

Senior cop under investigation

Senior cop stripped to PC

Sacked cop seeks court help get his job back

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Two hurt in violent burglary

| 17/04/2013 | 35 Comments

(CNS): Police from Bodden Town are on the hunt for a group of young burglars who invaded a remote home in Frank Sound last night and made off with cash and valuables after kicking and punching the residents. At about 11:45pm on Tuesday, 16 April, two men were at their home, which is situated off Frank Sound Road, when they were confronted by four intruders who had entered through an insecure downstairs window. The suspects grabbed the men and punched and kicked them before stealing a quantity of cash, some watches and a camera. The men raised the alarm with a neighbour and alerted police.

Both men went to the hospital and were released following treatment for the injuries they sustained at the hands of the burglars.

Detectives have now launched an investigation following the aggravated burglary. The four suspects all wore dark clothing and had their faces covered. They were described as being young people, all between 5’6” and 5’9” in height and of slim build.

Police are particularly keen to speak with anyone who may have seen vehicle activity in the Frank Sound Road or North Side area between 11:30 and 1:30am with four occupants on board. Anyone with information is asked to contact Bodden Town CID on 9472220 or 6492220, the RCIPS tip-line on 949-7777, or Crime Stoppers 800- 8477(TIPS).


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Sacked cop seeks court help to get his job back

| 17/04/2013 | 1 Comment

(CNS): A former member of the RCIPS who served for 26 years as a police officer has filed a legal action in the Grand Court seeking a judicial review of a decision by the police commissioner to sack him just four years ahead of his retirement, without any explanation or giving the officer a chance to defend his job. Senior Constable Osbert Smith claims he was an exceptional officer who was commended by his superiors and had an unblemished record. Yet without any discussion or notice, the top cop booted the veteran officer off the force under a section of the police law that refers to the removal of officers in the “public interest” and “to improve the efficiency of the service”.

As a result, the former officer is asking the courts to intervene and examine the case as he claims, in the legal document filed last week, that “the rules of natural justice required” Police Commissioner David Baines, the defendant in the action, to give Smith notice that he was considering retiring him early. In addition, Baines should have given the reasons why he felt retiring Smith early was in the public interest and why doingso would improve the efficiency of the service, and given him a proper opportunity to respond to the reasons and consider his response in a fair and unbiased manner.

According to the action filed by local attorney Charles Clifford, who is a former police officer, on behalf of Smith, it is a settled common law principle that a failure of procedural fairness is considered unlawful. The commissioner’s decision to retire Smith four years prior to when he would have otherwise been subjected to mandatory retirement, the suit claims, falls below the standard by which the lawfulness of the decisions of public authorities are judged.

“The Defendant's decision to retire the Applicant without providing reasons as to why he felt it was in the public interest" to do so and why he felt doing so would "improve the efficiency of the organization" was a decision that "no reasonable authority could ever have come to,” the legal document states.

The lawyer argued that if Smith had been a mediocre officer it would be difficult to challenge the decision, but the commissioner would still have had to provide the reasons why mediocrity led to the decision. However, in this case the officer was far from mediocre.

“The service the applicant tirelessly provided to the RCIPS for twenty-six years could not in any way be described as mediocre,” the document states. “Exceptional would seem to be a suitable description. The Applicant received various commendations over the years for the exceptional contribution he provided to the service, in one such commendation written to the Applicant, the Deputy Commissioner opines ‘You are a fine example of what RCIP represents and expects of its members.’  In another commendation letter a former Commissioner of Police expresses his gratitude to the Applicant for providing service over and beyond his assigned duties.”

Clifford lists more examples of the applicant's achievements during more than a quarter of a century of service with the police, including Smith being the first ever police constable selected to be the Driving Examiner, commendations from Chief Superintendent David Gooding for what he described as his sterling service to the district of North Side, successful convictions while serving in CID for murder and attempted murder, being the first PC to be assigned to the Internal Complaints Unit, as well as a commendation from former Magistrate Peter Jackson for his investigative skills in in relation to a fatal accident on the Airport Road.

Clifford also points to the fact that Smith’s employment contract was renewed biennially thirteen times since his employment commenced in September 1983, which, he writes, is an objective acknowledgment of the satisfaction of the standard of service he gave during his tenure.

“It is on this basis that it is respectfully submitted that no reasonable authority could have reached the conclusion that it would be in the public interest and would improve the efficiency of the organization to retire such a Police Officer early, particularly when there is no evidence whatsoever which suggests that the Applicant in any way lowered the high professional standard which he has held himself to since he commenced his tenure of service with the RCIPS,” Clifford argues on behalf of his client.

Smith claims the decision is unreasonable and should be quashed. He believes that he had a legitimate expectation that his contract would be renewed in September 2011 and there are no apparent rational grounds for retiring him early, so he should be immediately reinstated

While Smith does now have another job, he “remains ready, willing and indeed desires to return to the job which he clearly loves doing and has done exceptionally well for over a quarter of a century,” Clifford states in the application.

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