Archive for April 26th, 2013

Prisoners post on Facebook

| 26/04/2013 | 0 Comments

inmate_0.jpg(CNS): Updated Monday — At least two prisoners currently serving time in HMP Northward, one of whom cannot be named because of an unrelated court order restricting media coverage on him, have managed to get access to a smartphone and the internet to post pictures on Facebook of themselves and fellow inmates in their jail cells. The pictures taken at HMP Northward on what is thought to be smartphone devices have been uploaded to the social media site this month, along with comments and general posts made by the prisoners within the last few weeks. One of the prisoners is showing a gang sign, while another appears to smoking a spliff (below). Local authorities admitted Friday that the pictures represent a systemic failure of security.

CNS cannot name one of the inmates or detail the serious offences which have landed him in jail because of the court order surrounding the prisoner. At this point we are also unable to link the Facebook page in question or show the incriminating pictures, as that could land this reporter in jail. However, there are several pictures on the page of the prisoner and his cell mate showing gang signs and tattoos and other pictures of semi-automatic weapons that have been photographed at some other location. A local television remote control in the picture indicates that they were taken in Cayman.

prisoner.JPGThe first pictures emerged in the public domain on Friday afternoon but since then more pictures have come to light and there are indications that several inmates, both remand and serving prisoners, appear to be using the social media pages regularly. John Miller, who is already convicted of a number of offences, posted a new profile picture on Thursday in his cell at Northward.

The Portfolio of Internal Affairs was quick to respond to the issue and the serious implications.

Eric Bush, the chief officer in the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs, stated that cellular smartphone devises were not allowed in the secured areas of the prison but, as was highlighted in the recent report on the prison, there were a number of serious weaknesses in the local prison system, especially security.

“I can confirm that cellular phones and smartphone devises have been discovered and confiscated in the prison system over the last 18 months,” said Bush, who stated that he would be supply the exact figures in the near future.

“The picture in question shows a systemic failure of proper security measures but also a failure in adequate rehabilitation,” Bush added. “We have had a recent inspection by a prison security expert and he has identified a number of areas to improve on.”

The senior public servant explained that, in the wake of the inspection, which was funded by the Governor's Office, plans were in progress to implement the recommendations.  “These are all matters we are looking to address and will be the priority for the new prison director, who will be taking up post in early June,” Bush stated.

Other sources close to the prison told CNS that the prison system is currently seriously underfunded and the pressing need for prison reform in Cayman has been persistently neglected by local politicians. The problems facing the prison system, despite its best efforts to begin serious rehabilitation and the professionalization of the staff, is rarely spoken about by politicians. It has not featured at all on the campaign trail but will be an important issue for the next government to tackle.

Once the court order has been lifted following court hearings, which are expected to be dealt with in the coming weeks, CNS will post the other pictures in question, name the prisoner and the related offences.

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Candidate forums return but Bush absent from list

| 26/04/2013 | 46 Comments

mac good.jpg(CNS): Following a week’s break Cayman’s Chamber of Commerce will resume its district candidate forums on Monday night in the capital. Jonathan Piercy and Rayal Bodden from the UDP will be facing off against PPM candidates Marco Archer and Joseph Hew along with C4C4 candidate Jacqueline Haynes and independent candidate Dr Frank McField. Although the Progressive’s leader, Alden McLaughlin will be making an appearance on the Chamber platform on Tuesday night when the forum will be in George Town for the second night running the UDP leader McKeeva Bush is absent from the West Bay list for the final forum on Thursday night.

With Cline Glidden who is running on the PNA ticket, PPM candidates Ray Farrington and Capt. Bryan Ebanks as well as C4C candidate Tara Rivers in attendance the appearance of Bush could have made for a lively forum. However, the UDP leader will be one of just a handful of candidates that have not appeared on the forum platform.

For more details and to listen to previous forums visit the Chamber web site here:

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Football body in talks to locate HQ in Cayman

| 26/04/2013 | 14 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Government has signed an MOU with the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) to give formal approval to discussions between the two parties over the possible re-location of the HQ to Cayman. With local Jeff Webb currently president of the body government hopes that if can attract the confederation to set up shop in this jurisdiction which will, the sports minister said, offer tremendous opportunities for Cayman. This could also see the Cayman Islands host some of CONCACAF’s conferences and congresses and even some sports tournaments with the potential to attract hundreds of delegates and competitors.

Cayman will also get international media exposure and hopefully more access to football scholarships for young local players boosting the domestic game.

Mark Scotland said that there are already some Caymanians now employed here by the confederation working with Webb and here would be more if the body was to set up shop here. He said the MOU will present an excellent opportunity for Cayman to try and capitalize on the connection with the regional sports body.

Scotland said that government did not really have to offer any major concessions to the confederation but some security regarding staff and flexibility with work-permits for international staff that need to come and go as a result of the nature of the organisation.

Scotland said CONCACAF wasn’t asking for much and it was Cayman that was keen to persuade them that this is the right location for the HQ which is currently in New York. The minister explained government intended to encourage the move as much as possible and the MOU mostly related to the actual establishment of the federation here, adding that it was an agreement to begin talks but to have the headquarters here would be a tremendous boost for sports tourism and Cayman in general.

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UDP candidate forgot to pay fine for jury no-show

| 26/04/2013 | 74 Comments

37_Detailphoto.jpg(CNS): George Town United Democratic Party candidate and local business man, Renard Moxam, was ordered to pay a $500 fine in full this morning by the acting justice, Nova Hall. Moxam had been summoned to appear in the Grand Court on Friday morning after he failed to pay a fine handed down to him for not appearing for jury duty during the current session. Moxam, who entered the Grand Court dock after his party's leader, McKeeva Bush, following the adjournment of his theft case, was represented by Steve McField. The attorney apologised on behalf of his client and told the court that Moxam’s failure to pay was an oversight.

The attorney said that his client had been engaged in campaigning for the 22 May general election and he had simply forgotten to pay the outstanding $500 fine handed down by Justice Charles Quin, which is standard procedure when jurors don’t turn up to fulfill their civic duty without a lawful excuse.

Justice Nova Hall said she was willing to set aside the matter with no further action provided Moxam paid the court immediately in full.

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Mac case adjourns till June

| 26/04/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The case against McKeeva Bush, the former Cayman Islands premier, was adjourned Friday morning until 28 June, clearing the way for the UDP leader to concentrate on the election campaign and his bid to return to office. Bush made his first appearance in the Grand Court in relation to the 11 counts of theft and abuse of office charges against him. But his time in the dock was fleeting as his attorney, Michael Alberga, had arranged with the crown for the adjournment, when he is expected to enter pleas. Bush was accompanied by several UDP supporters in the court as well as Steve McField, who is part of the UDP leader’s team.

Although the veteran politician is facing a list of serious charges, which relate to the alleged theft of around $50,000 of public money, much of which was withdrawn on a government credit card from ATMs in a United States casino, he has vehemently denied any wrongdoing. He remains at the helm of the UDP and is hoping to be returned on 23 May as premier of the Cayman Islands once again.

If Bush is able to win at least ten seats, he will resume the job of premier, despite being ousted from office last December after his former UDP colleagues supported a no confidence motion brought by Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin.

However, even if the UDP does not secure ten seats, Bush could still regain his former job if his party secures the largest number of seats of any one group and he can persuade any of the former UDP members, several of whom are running as independents or with the newly formed People’s National Alliance, to support him.

Although Bush is facing criminal charges, there are no legal impediments to any candidate who has not been convicted to stand for office. Therefore, because Bush has not been found guilty of any crimes, he can continue to run and could be returned as either a back bench MLA or to high office once again.

The current judicial backlog will mean that Bush is unlikely to go on trial for the offences he is charged, if it gets that far, until at the earliest the summer of 2014 and will only be required to step down if he is found guilty.

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Elections’ office tells candidates to play fair

| 26/04/2013 | 8 Comments

desperate politicians (273x300).jpg(CNS): Elections officials are urging good sportsmanship among all of the candidates during the campaign in the wake of vandalized signs and accusations for defamation on the radio. In a release on Friday warning candidates to “keep the debate clean,” the office didn’t mention the Joey Ebanks show specifically but warned candidates to refrain from using political broadcasts or any other means to engage in scandalous or defamatory statements against others. A complaint against Ebanks has been filled with the office which is understood to be looking at the broadcasts Ebanks has made recently on his drive-time show.

“While healthy debate and dialogue on election issues are an important part of the democratic process, and a manifestation of the right to freedom of expression, officials remind candidates to refrain from using political broadcasts or any other means to engage in scandalous or defamatory statements against others,’ the officials stated, adding that candidates could be fined or jailed if they are not careful about what they say.

“The Elections Law also considers political broadcasts/announcements that are blasphemous, obscene, indecent, profane, or scandalous to be illegal. Candidates who engage in such practices are liable on summary conviction to a fine of five hundred dollars, or to imprisonment for six months for each illegal practice,” the office warned.
The officials also pointed out that where the rules are not observed candidates are vulnerable to private legal action being taken against them but the Elections Office can also exercise its own powers to investigate such matters under the Elections Law.

Ezzard Miller has filled complaints against his district opponent with the governor, the police, the ICTA management and board as well as the election’s office following a string of allegations that Ebanks has been making about Miller on the radio show and on Facebook. In addition the would-be politician, who is using shock-jock tactics threatening to expose corruption and scandal on the shoe, is also facing a number of civil legal threats including one from the governor and a second from the chair of the judicial services commission.

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Police arrest woman in connection with Brac stabbing

| 26/04/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Police said that a 24-year-old woman who was arrested on 24 April in the West End area of Cayman Brac on suspicion of wounding has now been released on police bail while enquiries continue into an incident which occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning (20 April). The woman was arrested over the stabbing of a 28-year-old man. Police received a report  on Saturday that a man with stab wounds was in the Dantzler Crescent Road area. Police and ambulance attended the scene and the victim was taken to Faith Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The victim remained in hospital Saturday. 

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Mystery packages removed

| 26/04/2013 | 14 Comments

(CNS): Updated 2pm – The Airport Post Office in Dorcy Drive, George Town was evacuated this morning because of suspicious packages that turned up in the post. The substance inside the packages has now been removed for testing, police have confirmed, and staff have been decontaminated. An RCIPS spokesperson said the substance, which was found within a mail bag at the post office earlier today, will be tested by the Department of Environmental Health but did not state what type of material it is beleived to be. The emergency services were alerted at about 11:40 this morning, when staff reported finding a suspicious substance within a mail bag at the location.

"Emergency services attended the scene and, in line with normal protocols, staff members were evacuated and the premises closed until an assessment could take place," the RCIPS said.

The mail bag, and the letters and packages contained within it, have been quarantined. In addition, staff members were decontaminated at the scene. No one was injured and there was no requirement for anyone to attend hospital.

The post office has now reopened but the customs department is still closed, so customers will not be able to collect packages. Police said that enquiries into the incident are continuing.

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Government revenue misses targets with fee delay

| 26/04/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): The failure of government and the private sector to be able to pull together new corporate governance standards in time to collect newly proposed fees on hedge fund directors is partly to blame for government’s revenue predictions now falling short of the anticipated $80million surplus as had been required by the UK in this year’s budget. Speaking about the issues on Thursday at the Cabinet press briefing Rolston Anglin said that some of the $30million of revenue the government hoped to earn, but didn’t, was dependent on the fees that will eventually come from the hedge fund industry and new regulations. Read more on this and other new stories on CNS Business

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