Archive for June 12th, 2013

Legal blunders could cost public purse dear

Legal blunders could cost public purse dear

| 12/06/2013 | 48 Comments

_DEW4857-web.jpg(CNS): Local activist Sandra Catron is seeking compensation from the local authorities following a judge’s conclusion that the search and seizure of property during her arrest in connection with insults on social media was unlawful because a justice of the peace had signed the warrant without having any idea what he was signing. However, despite a catalogue of blunders and misinformation, as well as the “flawed” warrant that was thrown out by Justice Alex Henderson in the case against Catron, she is still facing possible criminal proceedings, which may only add to any successful financial claim she could get.

In an inexplicable turn of events, as the crown seems unlikely to be able to secure a conviction given the judge’s findings, Catron will be representing herself in a preliminary enquiry later this month. The crown has made a decision to continue with the criminal proceedings against her, despite having had such a clear indication that the case regarding misuse of an IT network is doomed.

Along with the significant number of procedural errors, Catron has also complained about the way the senior crown counsel from the Attorney General’s Chambers has behaved towards her during the progress of the bizarre case. Catron is not a qualified lawyer as she has been unable to secure articles but she has nevertheless taken on the crown several times already and won over various petty charges. Now she is accused of harassing another person via Facebook and text messages, an accusation which she has denied.

During her arrest last year in connection with the allegations she was subjected to an invasive search of her car, home and office, which included the seizure of significant amounts of personal property. Catron said she was "flabbergasted at the tactics used during the search”, when officers rummaged through envelopes containing insignificant things such as her law school grades.

However, during a judicial review the court heard that the warrant used by officers was signed by a justice of the peace who admitted that he had no idea what he was signing or why, when asked to do so by the officers involved and was shown no evidence to support it.

Following that revelation, the court also heard from the JP that despite being required by law, he did not swear an oath. The judge, shocked by the JP’s admission, declared the searches and the warrant unlawful. Justice Henderson found a number of other faults with the warrant and the process to acquire it and pointed out in court that it was “blindingly obvious” that a warrant application given to a justice of the peace by a police officer must be done under oath. 

Catron is currently considering her compensation claim against the government after the judge had noted that the blunders could lead to damages but she has been hopeful that the crown would be willing to settle.  With the warrant declared unlawful, Catron was also hoping the crown would drop what she believes is an absurd case against her. However, the crown has confirmed this week that the preliminary enquiry hearing on 25 June will continue, even though the prosecutors had admitted the “fatal defect” regarding the warrant. 

During the judicial review the judge did not blame the justice of the peace but he did point the finger at the attorney general, as Henderson said any real consideration of Catron’s application for the judicial review regarding the search warrants would have seen the case dropped.

Aside from the problems with the warrant, Catron believes the investigation raises many other questions about police procedure and behaviour and the justice system in general.

“I find it appalling that a JP who has no legal training or understanding of basic offences can sign literally thousands of warrants over several decades. Undoubtedly there would have been many more that should have been found unlawful but were simply not challenged by anyone,” she said.

The irony was not lost on Catron that the presiding judge was himself the victim of an unlawful arrest and a questionable warrant in 2009 during the ill-fated Operation Tempura case. Justice Henderson was awarded $1.275 million from the public purse for costs and damages but it seemsthat no lessons were learned.

“No significant changes have been made since then,” Catron said, as she pointed to the continued failure by officers to follow proper procedure with warrants, which she believes should go before the courts. “The courts are there to put a buffer between the citizens of this country and the police but they are failing in this regard. People do not understand that even without a Bill of Rights there are many protections that are afforded under the law and the police have legal rules that they most also adhere to.”

Catron noted that the JP in her case, who was in his mid-eighties, admitted that never, in over two decades, had he ever questioned a warrant or refused to sign one when asked and he continues to sign search warrants for the RCIPS even now.

She said that during the recent judicial hearing it became very clear that the JP had no understanding of the charges, the crime, the warrant or anything, prompting the judge to ask how it was that the JP was signing such important legal documents. However, Catron said she thought it was pretty obvious why the RCIPS utilises JP’s such as this one.

CNS contacted the office of Deputy Governor Franz  about  the situation regarding JPs and  Manderson, who’s office has responsibility, said that on appointment, JP's receive training on the correct procedures for signing search warrants and other documents. The JP Association also provides training for its members, he noted, but made no comment about the revelations in the case. During the trial the JP admitted under oath that he only attended some training session at the beginning of his tenure and there were no mandatory training requirements in place.

Catron said that the entire situation has served to highlight a number of major issues with law enforcement and the system, including the way that she believes the office of the Attorney General has conducted itself. She pointed to their attempts to cancel hearing dates without her consent two weeks before the trial was set to begin.

In another instance Catron was instructed via email to stop “further preparation of the skeleton arguments at this time” as they were considering dropping the case, only to then say they were going ahead on the very eve of the written arguments being due. The activists also said that a judge had already warned the crown at a directions hearing that it should “seriously consider the case” before the JR.

“I was rather surprised at how the entire process was handled,” Catron said. "I did not understand that attorneys could have such little regard for court procedures, court time and a general disregard for the opposing side. I am seriously contemplating a formal complaint to the chief justice laying out all of the facts,” she added.

“This has been an extremely stressful time for me,” Catron told CNS. “In addition I was suspended from my job because of it and still I have nightmares about people bursting into my house after the experience of the invasive police search.” She said eight officers had been involved in the search and arrest for what she described as a ridiculous accusation about insults over ICTA.

“Until you have experienced being handcuffed in your own home and detained, it would be difficult to explain how that feels. I have been grateful to have friends who have been able to counsel me through this.”

However, Catron said this was not just about her pain and suffering but the comments by the JP could bring about a barrage of legal cases against the police and the crown.

“If a justice of the peace can stand up in a court of law and admit that in twenty-two years he has never once refused to sign a search warrant and admitted that he wasn't provided with information or evidence, this could open the flood gates,” Catron warned. “This is a very serious decision by the judge and, given the previous issues relating to Operation Tempura, the public needs an explanation why JPs who have no legal training or even basic understanding of offences are still signing search warrants.”

Catron now has the option available to her to commence a separate lawsuit by way of a Writ of Summons for how the search warrant was executed as that fell outside the scope of the Judicial Review application.

The potential liability for the public purse in this case is not the only example where police warrants and procedure has led to crown cases being thrown out of the courts. The revelations of repeated procedural failures are common occurrences in the local court system. In another case just last week, the case against Dr Frank McField for obstructing police was dismissed at the halfway point when it became apparent that the seizure of property by police from his restaurant was unlawful.

Despite claims by the RCIPS that management would be focusing on improving training so that officers follow correct and lawful police procedure, almost every Grand Court trial is marred by police or legal department failures and errors. In some cases police or prosecution failures have seen defendants accused of very serious and violent crimes, even murder, walk free because of those errors.

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Wheelchair racer pushes across US for dive charity

Wheelchair racer pushes across US for dive charity

| 12/06/2013 | 10 Comments

ryan.jpg(CNS): A young paralympian racer from the US is currently pushing his racing wheelchair across the United States of America on behalf of a dive charity for people with disabilities which uses Cayman as its exclusive destination. Ryan Chalmers began his journey on 6 April in Los Angeles and is due to arrive in Central Park, New York, on Saturday. Chalmers will have pushed some 3,200 miles over 71 days raising funds for an organization called Stay-Focused, a non-profit organization that offers SCUBA diving experiences only in the Cayman Islands to teens and young adults with disabilities.

Chalmers’ incredible feat, which is the equivalent of more than one marathon every day for more than two months, has attracted considerable attention and the world’s media is expected in Central Park Saturday morning to meet him.

The charity for which Chalmers is going to Herculean lengths launched its first programme in Grand Cayman in March 2004 with two young girls who use wheelchairs.  To date, Stay-Focused has run more than 25 programmes and over 100 physically- and intellectually-challenged teens and young adults have participated in the programme and at least 50 of them who first learned to dive in Cayman under this programme have returned to visit again, a spokesperson from the Department of Tourism stated.

The programme is made possible in the Cayman Islands as a result of the additional sponsorship and support provided to Stay-Focused by Red Sail Sports and the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, among others.

For more on Chamlers’ charity wheelchair push and the final leg of his journey log on to the Facebook page.

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Nominations sought for construction design gongs

Nominations sought for construction design gongs

| 12/06/2013 | 8 Comments

seagrape1.JPGCNS): Organisers of the Governor’s Award for Design and Construction Excellence in the Cayman Islands are urging people to make nominations for this year’s awards as soon as possible because the event is being brought forward. As the current governor, Duncan Taylor, is expected to depart Cayman in August, the ceremony to hand out the local biannual architectural gongs is being rescheduled for 25 July, several weeks earlier than planned. Nominations are being accepted for commercial, industrial and residential developments, houses and renovations completed in the Cayman Islands.

Submissions for the Governor’s Award will be judged by a panel convened by the governor, which will decide whether and to what extent the design and construction of the nominated projects display the attributes of design excellence, creativity and innovation, sustainability and the environment, value, buildability and cultural response.

“The Governor’s Award programme is a great opportunity to raise the profile of organisations in the construction and development industry as well as acknowledging the hardwork and commitment of involved project teams,” a spokesperson for the organising committee said.

The governor will liaise with the Cayman Society of Architects, Surveyors and Engineers (CASE) and the Cayman Contractors Association (CCA) in promoting the awards, which were created to foster innovation, sustainability and excellence in the Cayman Islands construction industry.

The winners in each of the nominating categories will be announced at a function at the Governor’s Residence on Thursday, 25 July.

For more information on how to nominate a project is available at here or email

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Permafrost thaw could be critical to climate change

Permafrost thaw could be critical to climate change

| 12/06/2013 | 0 Comments

thawing arctic permafrost.jpg(CNS): A NASA team is currently probing deep into the frozen lands above the Arctic Circle. The scientists are measuring emissions of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane from thawing permafrost — signals that may hold a key to Earth's climate future.  The permafrost zones above the Arctic Circle in Alaska hold tons of carbon and methane trapped in ice but as the frozen ground melts as a result of global warming the gases are released into the atmosphere. The principal investigator of the Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment (CARVE), a five-year NASA-led field campaign studying how climate change is affecting the Arctic's carbon cycle. Said it was critical to understanding global climate.

"Climate change is already happening in the Arctic, faster than its ecosystems can adapt. Looking at the Arctic is like looking at the canary in the coal mine for the entire Earth system," said Charles Miller, a research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. in a release from the space agency.

Permafrost (perennially frozen) soils underlie much of the Arctic. Each summer, the top layers of these soils thaw. The thawed layer varies in depth from about 4 inches to several yardsin the southern boreal forests. This active soil layer at the surface provides the precarious foothold on which Arctic vegetation survives. The Arctic's extremely cold, wet conditions prevent dead plants and animals from decomposing, so each year another layer getsadded to the reservoirs of organic carbon sequestered just beneath the topsoil.

Over hundreds of millennia, Arctic permafrost soils have accumulated vast stores of organic carbon – an estimated 1,400 to 1,850 petagrams of it (a petagram is 2.2 trillion pounds, or 1 billion metric tons). That's about half of all the estimated organic carbon stored in Earth's soils, NASA researchers explained.

In comparison, about 350 petagrams of carbon have been emitted from all fossil-fuel combustion and human activities since 1850. Most of this carbon is located in thaw-vulnerable topsoils within 10 feet (3 meters) of the surface.

But, as scientists are learning, permafrost – and its stored carbon – may not be as permanent as its name implies. And that has them concerned.

"Permafrost soils are warming even faster than Arctic air temperatures – as much as 2.7 to 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit in just the past 30 years," Miller said. "As heat from Earth's surface penetrates into permafrost, it threatens to mobilize these organic carbon reservoirs and release them into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and methane, upsetting the Arctic's carbon balance and greatly exacerbating global warming."

Current climate models do not adequately account for the impact of climate change on permafrost and how its degradation may affect regional and global climate. Scientists want to know how much permafrost carbon may be vulnerable to release as Earth's climate warms, and how fast it may be released.

Now in its third year the CARVE  investigation is expanding understanding of how the Arctic's water and carbon cycles are linked to climate, as well as what effects fires and thawing permafrost are having on Arctic carbon emissions. CARVE is testing hypotheses that Arctic carbon reservoirs are vulnerable to climate warming, while delivering the first direct measurements and detailed regional maps of Arctic carbon dioxide and methane sources and demonstrating new remote sensing and modeling capabilities. About two dozen scientists from 12 institutions are participating.

"The Arctic is warming dramatically – two to three times faster than mid-latitude regions – yet we lack sustained observations and accurate climate models to know with confidence how the balance of carbon among living things will respond to climate change and related phenomena in the 21st century," Miller warns. "Changes in climate may trigger transformations that are simply not reversible within our lifetimes, potentially causing rapid changes in the Earth system that will require adaptations by people and ecosystems."

It's important to accurately characterize the soils and state of the land surfaces. There's a strong correlation between soil characteristics and release of carbon dioxide and methane. Historically, the cold, wet soils of Arctic ecosystems have stored more carbon than they have released. If climate change causes the Arctic to get warmer and drier, scientists expect most of the carbon to be released as carbon dioxide. If it gets warmer and wetter, most will be in the form of methane.

The distinction is critical. Molecule per molecule, methane is 22 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide on a 100-year timescale, and 105 times more potent on a 20-year timescale. If just one percent of the permafrost carbon released over a short time period is methane, it will have the same greenhouse impact as the 99 percent that is released as carbon dioxide.

Characterizing this methane to carbon dioxide ratio is a major CARVE objective. The CARVE science team is busy analyzing data from its first full year of science flights. What they're finding, Miller said, is both amazing and potentially troubling.

"Some of the methane and carbon dioxide concentrations we've measured have been large, and we're seeing very different patterns from what models suggest," Miller said. "Wesaw large, regional-scale episodic bursts of higher-than-normal carbon dioxide and methane in interior Alaska and across the North Slope during the spring thaw, and they lasted until after the fall refreeze. To cite another example, in July 2012 we saw methane levels over swamps in the Innoko Wilderness that were 650 parts per billion higher than normal background levels. That's similar to what you might find in a large city."

Ultimately, the scientists hope their observations will indicate whether an irreversible permafrost tipping point may be near at hand. While scientists don't yet believe the Arctic has reached that tipping point, no one knows for sure. "We hope CARVE may be able to find that 'smoking gun,' if one exists," Miller added.


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Trimming the fat (literally)

Trimming the fat (literally)

| 12/06/2013 | 40 Comments

While I follow the current heated debate whether the size of civil servants can be reduced or what austerity measures can be implemented to save the government a buck or two, I must say that among all things that come to mind, the continuous 100% health care coverage for all civil servantsAND their dependents is what bugs me the most.

The reason this bugs me is not because I want to be spiteful, but over the last few years I have noticed that there seems to be an increasing trend among civil servants who are – let’s call it out of shape!

In this day and age, everyone knows that there are a many, many health issues which are directly linked to the poor lifestyle choices one makes (overeating, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, lack of exercise, etc). This has been discussed so many times I think I can hold back on another lecture in this regard.

In real life (meaning for people working in the private sector or being self employed) the cost of  healthcare coverage is dictated by such things as whether one smokes, whether one is overweight or whether one partakes in any sports considered to be dangerous. Strangely, none of those factors appear to be issues when it comes to healthcare coverage for civil servants (which is fully funded by the government – hence the people of these Islands), despite it having been well documented that the cost of treating obesity-related ailments, for example, are sky high.

As a non civil servant, I feel that am being taking to the cleaner twice when it comes to healthcare cost. Firstly, healthcare cost is on the rise for everyone because there are way too many people who continue to make poor lifestyle choices, which then lead to certain ailments; those ailments are costly to treat and this leads to increased healthcare cost for everyone. Secondly, as a resident of these Islands, I am also paying indirectly towards the healthcare coverage for all civil servants, no matter if they chose to eat, drink or smoke themselves to near death.

If the premier decides that he cannot reduce the size of the civil service for whatever reason, so be it, and I am not discussing this here. However, I believe that the premier needs to also consider that it is not fair for the general public to continue to fund the healthcare coverage and the cost of treatment for people who themselves don’t seem to want to make an effort to try and stay healthy.

Now is a good time to look at the healthcare policies in place for civil servants, and consider whether civil servants who are clinically obese, who are smokers or who partake in dangerous sports should pay at least 50% of their own healthcare cost and a percentage towards their treatment. Also, civil servants should be paying a portion of the healthcare coverage for their dependents – this is pretty much the norm anywhere else. Perhaps then more civil servants would make an effort to live a healthier life style.

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Cop who Tasered blind man may be charged

Cop who Tasered blind man may be charged

| 12/06/2013 | 0 Comments

(BBC): The police watchdog has passed a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) after a blind man was Tasered by police in Lancashire. Colin Farmer, 63, was stunned by a police officer who was looking for a man walking through Chorley with a samurai sword on 12 October last year. The officer is claimed to have mistaken Farmer's white stick for the sword. An IPCC spokesman said the CPS will now decide whether there is enough evidence for criminal charges to be brought. Tasers are designed to temporarily paralyse a target by delivering electric shocks of up to 50,000 volts. Farmer, who is registered blind and has suffered two strokes, was walking to a pub to meet friends at the time of the incident.

He said the electric shock forced him to drop his stick and fall to the ground. Mr Farmer was taken to hospital for treatment and later discharged.

A man carrying a samurai sword was later arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly.

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Election cycle needs to change

Election cycle needs to change

| 12/06/2013 | 17 Comments

(CNS): As the new PPM governmentfaces a race against the clock to bring an emergency appropriations bill to the Legislative Assembly before the end of June just a few weeks after being elected to office, the premier acknowledged last week that government needs to change the election month back to November. Alden McLaughlin said that having the fiscal year start on 1 July with a May election cycle presented difficulties for a new government and a decision would have to be made about changing the election time because that was far cheaper than trying to change the financial year. However, while cheaper, it will not be without controversy since the choice is between the current administration adding six months to their term or cutting it short by six months.

Cayman’s elections were previously held in November, which is why government has a July to June fiscal year rather than following the calendar. However, because of the devastating and unexpected arrival of Hurricane Ivan in 2004, just two months ahead of the General Election, the UDP administration at the time postponed the national poll until May 2005 under an agreement that it would be changed at a later date.

However, after the PPM won that election the UDP, then in opposition, objected to an addition to that government’s term of six months to November 2009. The PPM government was also reluctant to cut short its term in office. However, given economic fallout of the international fiscal crisis, had it gone to the polls in November 2008, there may have been a very different outcome.

Despite being the political party to benefit from the extended period in office to May 2005, the last UDP administration also refused to cut its time in office short and, as a result, Cayman went through its thirdMay election, continuing the conflict with the fiscal year.

Speaking on Radio Cayman’s TalkToday show last week, the premier said changing the election date was a discussion the new government needed to explore. He noted the controversy that would surround the decision but said that the logistics pointed to moving that date rather than the fiscal calendar.

“That is a discussion I want us to have,” he said. “The fiscal year was moved to match election cycle, which used to be November, and then Ivan changed that and put election back,” he said. He pointed out that the UDP had got the extra six months but it would still be controversial as the question would be should this administration get three and a half years or four and a half years.

“It is controversial but I want to explore that early,” he added.

Ezzard Miller, the independent member for North Side who had brought a motion to the Legislative Assembly during the last administration, also called on government to act as soon as possible and re-synchronize the election calendar with the fiscal one. He pointed out that it would be stupid to go through the process of changing the financial year, so it had to be the election and it was petty for each of the administrations to continue arguing over six months.

Miller said he did not care whether the new government got more or less and he would support a vote either way, as the important thing is that it is changed. He said he would be raising the issue again in the country’s parliament as soon as possible. He added that if the current government does a good job then it should not be worried about losing six months.

The North Side independent MLA pointed to a number of problems created by the conflict in the calendar that would be resolved by the election’s return to November. He said this would give any new administration time to put together a strategic policy statement and properly prepare a full budget.

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CNCF hosts 5th Travelling Caribbean Film Showcase

CNCF hosts 5th Travelling Caribbean Film Showcase

| 12/06/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Films from all across the Caribbean region will be showcased in Cayman later this month as the Cayman National Cultural Foundation plays host to the 5th Travelling Caribbean Film Showcase from 18 – 29 June. Twenty one films have been selected from Cuba, Haiti, Belize, Venezuela, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands among others which included animated movies for children to fascinating documentaries and love stories, as well as controversial films on what some might consider taboo subjects. The annual film festival represents filmmakers from the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa and its diaspora.

It provides audiences with access to a wide selection of films not readily available online, in theatres or in stores and tickets for the various movies are now on sale.

Tickets cost $5 per day for adults or $20 for 5 night pass while kids aged 12 and under can enter free. The CNCF also has group discounts or two week festival passes available. To purchase tickets email with your phone number or call 949-5477. 

For more information go to


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FDA wait brings US cancer doctor to Cayman

FDA wait brings US cancer doctor to Cayman

| 12/06/2013 | 28 Comments

wagner.JPG(CNS): A US-based doctor and biomedical researcher who has developed a radiation and chemotherapy-free cancer treatment has opened a clinic in the Cayman Islands because, he says, the wait for the Food and Drug Administration’s approval is years away. Thomas Wagner, PhD, said Cayman was the best available option while the FDA decides if his treatment regimen will be accepted for use in the United States. Describing his treatment as a lifesaver which can benefit patients now, the doctor told a South Carolina newspaper that it involves injecting patients with a vaccine made from their own tumour cells.

Although the clinic’s arrival was noted by the former health minister earlier this year, there has been no official information about the treatment released to the general local media in the Cayman Islands.

However, Wagner spoke with the GSA Business, a bi-weekly newspaper in his native South Carolina about the treatment.

“Every human being is different and every cancer is different,” Wagner said. “If we take every molecule that is in a patient’s tumour and use that complete molecular profile to activate their immune system, that is the best you can get.” He added that “cancer starts in all of us about 10 times a day” and is naturally treated by some bodily process. Wagner said drugs interfere with that natural treatment, while his method enhances it.

Wagner, who has served as a scientific adviser to the World Health Organization, to Congress and to the Reagan administration, described his treatment as providing a better quality of life than other invasive treatments. “It is my belief that the future of medicine will not involve small molecules put in pills or injected into a patient,” he said.

The Perseus PCI (Personalized Cancer Immunotherapeutics) clinic is based at the Smith Road Centre in George Town, and Dr Sook Yin is the clinic’s treating physician for patient care plans. Each patient plan is being coordinated by a team of US-based and licensed doctors who are also licensed to practice in the Cayman Islands.

Wagner is said to be a pioneer in cell-based therapies. In the early 1980s he co-founded Diagnostic Hybrids, which makes and markets cellular and molecular diagnostic kits used for respiratory and other diseases. He is a founder of the Ohio Edison Biotechnology Institute and formerly directed the Greenville Health System’s Oncology Research Institute and Clemson University’s Biomedical Institute. He currently is a director of the Orbis Health Solutions medical research firm in Greenville, a funding partner of Perseus.

The clinic has started scheduling treatments for patients, including some from the doctor’s Greenville area, and his US supporters believe that, despite the lack of FDA approval, his treatment method should be available to patients now as an alternative to sickening chemotherapy and radiation and other immunotherapy treatments that do not only use a patient’s own cells.

Wagner said he “thought long and hard” about how to best make the treatment an option for patients now and decided on the Cayman Islands clinic.

“It’s not a question of escaping the United States or anything like that,” Wagner said, adding he had complied with local regulations and law. He predicted that results from treating patients at the clinic will show his immunotherapy method should be allowed there.

Although insurance won’t cover treatment at the clinic or the out-of-country travel costs for US patients, which could range from $40,000 to $100,000, Wagner said that this is still half the cost of some other cancer treatments and his method doesn’t use drugs and isn’t embraced by powerful pharmaceutical companies. Wagner added that his non-pharmaceutical method “doesn’t fit most business models” and is at odds with a corporate mind-set that steers the course of cancer treatment financially.

Wagner said eligibility for clinical trials is limited to “people who have failed everything else. If they die from this they are going to die anyway.” He said 14% of the patients who have participated in his treatments are still alive.

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Former minister seeks public apology from cops

Former minister seeks public apology from cops

| 12/06/2013 | 41 Comments

dr frank.jpg(CNS): Following the dismissal of charges against him last week, Dr Frank McField, a former Cabinet minister and recent political candidate in the general election, is seeking compensation and a public apology for his treatment at the hands of the police. McField was charged with resisting arrest and obstructing police following an incident at his restaurant in George Town in May last year, when officers from the RCIPS had tried to seize equipment being used to play music after midnight on a Sunday. Following McField’s own submissions, as he acted in his own defence, the magistrate dismissed the charges when she agreed with the former politician and playwright that there was no case to answer.

Following the dismissal, McField wrote to commissioner David Baines pointing out that the trial, which took place while he was campaigning for office, undermined his efforts because the issue of candidates facing the courts while running for office was an election issue.

The former minister wrote to the top cop last week stating, “Much was said and made of the fact that several candidates in our recent elections had cases pending before the courts,” he wrote. “I was one of those candidates who had to suffer the humiliation and disadvantage of campaigning while on bail. However, my case never needed to come before a court because it was obvious even to the Pope’s dog that the seizure of some of my possessions, and my arrest and detainment was unlawful.”

On the night in question, a private party was being held at the premises, which does not have a liquor license in any event, and at around 1:30am officers entered the restaurant and attempted to seize the music equipment. When the manager of the premises, Silvana Lewis, who faces four charges in connection with the incident, tried to stop them, there was a struggle and she was arrested. It was then that McField became involved and was also arrested for obstructing police.

McField successfully argued, however, that the police should not have entered his premises to take anything without a warrant or without having made an arrest beforehand. In this case the prosecutor had agreed that it was not clear if the officers were acting in accordance with the law. The magistrate said that any reasonable doubt had to be resolved in the defendant's favour.

The trial for both McField and Lewis had begun in February but court delays caused the summary trial drag on, and when it came close to the election, McField had asked for an adjournment, leaving him in the midst of criminal proceedings while trying to get elected in George Town. In the end, McField was only able to attract just over 3.6% of the vote and lost his deposit, a result the candidate believes was impacted by the legal issues and the publicity surrounding it.  In his letter to the commissioner, McField asked for a public apology and compensation.

“Above all, the rule of law requires that those who make, adjudicate and apply the law should be subjected to the same law. In other words, the police should be subject to the self-same law that they apply and uphold,” he stated. “It is the mark of the police in a fully-fledged and mature democracy that they bind and subject themselves to the very law that they are pledged to uphold. Commissioner David Baines, I call upon you as the captain of this immature democracy to have your officers offer me, a Justice of the Peace, a public apology and begin talks on ways in which I may be compensated for this public humiliation and loss of credibility and trustworthiness: keys words in the May 2013 elections. “

He accused the police of attempting to criminalize Cayman youth and what he called radical intellectuals like himself. McField also pointed to the video footage he has from the night, which he gained as a result of evidence disclosure, that shows what he said was the “cruel behaviour” by the officers in the case towards Lewis and claims that a discussion about their dislike of working with Caymanian officers in the RCIPS was also recorded.

“Mr Baines, I had to act as my own defence counsel because the majority of these officers of the court are like your policemen and women, here for the money and joy ride and to hell with the rights of the natives. Therefore, if I need to take further actions to win back my humanity, I will do so by any means necessary,” McField said in his letter.

The case is now expected to return to Summary Court in July, when the charges against Lewis for assault will be heard.

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