Archive for June 21st, 2013

School kids spend a day in police boots

| 21/06/2013 | 9 Comments

cop inspects students 2 (266x300).jpg(CNS): As part of efforts by the RCIPS to make encourage more young Caymanians to consider a career with the police six new recruits joined the ranks of the RCIPS this week for just one day . The officers who were all aged between 10 and 15 years were chosen by their schools to take part in the RCIPS Junior Police Academy initiative. John Gray students Caswell Ferguson, Elythia Ebanks and Urick McField joined Brandon Ramsay from Clifton Hunter High School and two primary school students Dayger Martinez of Red Bay and Jabari Walrond of Prospect who all took part and spent a day in the life of an officer.

Kitted out in police uniforms they spent the day touring George Town police station, Police HQ and the Air and Joint Marine Units. They also spent some time on foot patrol in George Town with senior officers and visited the Grand Court. Before they began their tour of duty they were inspected by Commissioner David Baines. 

The day in the life of an officer programme has three main aims. These are to further develop and enhance relationships between the young people of the Cayman Islands and the RCIPS; create a better understanding, particularly with Cayman youth, about the role of the police; and finally, encourage the young people to think about future employment opportunities within the RCIPS.

Commissioner Baines was delighted with the enthusiasm shown by the students throughout the day “Every one of the students fully applied themselves to the programme,” he said. “They were respectful and attentive during their visits to our various departments and asked somevery relevant questions. I’m sure they learned a lot from their visit and I hope that the time they spent with us will have made them much more aware of what we do and the different types of roles carried out by staff in our various departments.

“While Tuesday’s  visit was more about raising awareness of what we do and further developing our relationship with young people, if it has encouraged any of them to start thinking about a career with the RCIPS then that’s a real bonus for us.”

The youngest of the students, 10-year-old Jabari Walrond, was delighted that his school selected him to take part in the programme. “I was very pleased to be chosen. I think it’s pretty cool,” he said. “I would consider becoming a police officer because they help the community and keep the Cayman Islands safe. If I did that I would be following in my father’s footsteps – he is a prison officer.”

The RCIPS will be launching a recruitment campaign to specifically target Caymanian recruits later this year and officials said details will be made available in the near future.

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CI teen footballers take on visitors from Honduras

| 21/06/2013 | 0 Comments

u15training050613 09 (299x300).jpg(NU15s): In preparation for the upcoming CONCACAF Under 15 Championships in August, the Cayman Islands Under 15 National Football Team will play two exhibition games against the Under 15s from Club Deportivo Victoria (CD Victoria) from La Ceiba, Honduras on Saturday, July 6, at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday July 7, at 6:00 p.m. at the T.E. McField Field (Annex Field) in George Town. Cost per game is $6.00 and for both games is $10.00.  As is the norm with clubs from Central America, CD Victoria is steeped in tradition. Often overshadowed by city rivals CD Vida, CD Victoria celebrates78 years of existence this year.

The club was founded by a Hungarian and started out as the Instituto Manuel Bonilla, which later was renamed CD Victoria. In 1947, CD Victoria won their first national tournament beating Motagua 3-2. In 1995, the club won their first Liga Nacional championship in 47 years by defeating CD Olimpia in a two-legged final.

Technical Director, Arden Rivers and his coaching staff, comprising Dion Brandon, Michael Johnson, Vincent Mitchell and Alexis Reve, have been putting the local boys through their paces during the past five weeks. Now able to train three times per week, a set pattern of play and intensity has begun to take shape.

Rivers and his staff have carefully gathered this squad of players following several scouting exercises during the recently completed CIFA Under 15 League. The squad boasts players from many of the clubs across the Island including Cayman Athletic SC, Academy SC, Bodden Town FC, Future SC, Sunset FC and Scholars International.

Commenting on the upcoming games, Rivers said, “The coaching staff and players are really looking forward to CD Victoria’s visit. Following the visit of CD Vida’s Under 17 team in 2012, we experienced first-hand how Honduran youth teams play. Their speed, physicality and skill will present a few challenges for our local boys,but with these and other practice games, we are not focusing on final scores but more on how our boys perform. Experience is something you cannot teach on the practice field and these games will tell us how far we have come and what we need to focus on leading up to the tournament in August. We encourage the Cayman community to come out and support our youngsters.”

CIFA’s 1st Vice President Bruce Blake added, “The Under 15 National Programme is the first phase of the rebranding of our national youth football programmes. We congratulate the staff and players for their commitment and professionalism over the past weeks. We encourage the public to stop by the training sessions on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings at the Annex Field beginning at 4:00 p.m. to observe our youngsters in action and familiarize themselves with the players. CIFA encourages potential corporate sponsors of this programme to get on board as the team prepares for the CONCACAF Under 15 Championships in August.”

The Under 15 team has been put together specifically to compete in the inaugural CONCACAF Under 15 Championships, which will take place in the Cayman Islands between August 14 and August 25 of this year.

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ICTA ducks HBO copyright complaint

| 21/06/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): Is the Information & Communications Technology Authority (ICTA) obligatedto investigate allegations that a television service provider is broadcasting pirated content? The issue is under debate: ICTA Managing Director David Archbold believes that it should be settled in court, since the issue concerns the copyright law rather than ICTA law. HBO Latin America, the re-sellers of HBO and Cinemax programming, and LIME, which is licensed by them to broadcast the channels, believe otherwise. Last week HBO Latin America issued a statement that WestStar TV was illegally broadcasting its content and it had lodged a complaint with the regulatory authority. Read more and comment on CNs Business

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Week left for budget motion

| 21/06/2013 | 10 Comments

(CNS): Government has just over one week left before its legal power to spend money is lost but no date has yet been confirmed for the new PPM administration to bring the necessary government motion to the Legislative Assembly. Having been given the all clear in London last week for an extension to the government’s overdraft facility, it is understood that UK officials have not yet approved a final figure. Although civil service finance bosses have reviewed their expenditure needs for the next four months and attempted to make some reductions, with no time for new policy measures there will be no new revenue generating measures or major cuts.

Facing the lowest revenue collection period of the year, the new government will be earning less than it spends between now and October,and while Mark Simmonds, the OT minister, agreed in principle to an overdraft extension, the new administration will be keen to ensure that the figure covers the anticipated deficit for the forthcoming first quarter of the financial year 2013/14 before it brings the emergency budget to the LA.

At present, sources have speculated that the government is hoping to deliver this first and critical motion on Wednesday, when Marco Archer, the new finance minister, will set out the details of expected spending and earnings and ask for parliament’s support for the motion, which will include a schedule of anticipated spending across core government and, where necessary, government companies and statutory authorities.    

The difficulty faced by the government stems from the discord between the election calendar and the financial year. When the 2004 November election was postponed to May 2005, the subsequent PPM administration could not get the support to extend their time in office to November 2009 and were reluctant to cut their four years short. When the UDP was returned to office in May 2009, despite gaining from the original deferment, McKeeva Bush, the former premier, refused to cut his administration short and would have caused immense controversy had he attempted to extend the time in office instead, as a result of the constitutional limitations.

The political reluctance to cut short any time in power has led to another emergency situation following an election, with a new government faced with no time to prepare a strategic policy statement and then deliver a full new budget. As a result, the PPM will need to bring the emergency motion sometime next week to gain the vote of the LA to keep government open for business until it can deliver its own full 2013/14 budget sometime in October.

During next week’s presentation of the appropriations there will be an opportunity for debate in the LA, including a response to the government’s motion from the opposition benches, and it will be the first time many of the newly elected novice politicians will speak in the parliament. However, there will  be no Finance Committee scrutinizing the appropriations.

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‘Lifer’ released on parole

| 21/06/2013 | 88 Comments

Prison gate (232x300).jpg(CNS): Based on a long assessment of his case and a low risk of him re-offending, Blanford Dixon, who has served 27 years in jail for the murder of his stepfather, has been formally paroled and will be released from HMP Northward Friday, official sources have confirmed. The release is at the discretion of Duncan Taylor in his capacity as the Cayman Islands governor under the law and not as a result of the introduction of the Bill of Rights, which now provides for all lifers in the local prison system to apply to the courts for their sentences to be tariffed by a judge. Dixon was convicted in January 1986, along with his brother, Lensel Vernie Dixon, and Owen Barrington Bruce, of killing Charles Evans Rankine. Rankine, who had been shot, was found dead on the beach in East End.

After trial, the three men were all sentenced to death but the executions were commuted to life in prison when Cayman was forced to abandon its death sentence policy by the British government. However, with 'life' still meaning to the end of one's life in Cayman at present, despite the advent of the Bill of Rights, no one but the governor can parole a 'lifer'.

Blanford’s release has been under consideration for several years and the prisoner has been living in an apartment on the parameters of the Northward compound for some time, adjusting towards his eventual release. Considered to have an exceptionally low risk of re-offending, he is also believed to be the first inmate convicted of murder and serving a mandatory life sentence to be released on parole.

However, the Bill of Rights gives hope to several other lifers currently imprisoned in HMP Northward and the local Human Rights Committee has already stated that it believes the courts will be forced to begin handing out tariffs for those convicted of murder, opening the window of parole for all killers.

Several other men have been in HMP Northward for more than twenty years, including Dixon’s brother Linsel as well as Bruce, who was convicted with the two brothers. These men are the longest serving prisoners along with William Powell, who was remanded in 1986 and convicted the following year of the murder of Charles and Gaynell Ebanks. He was also sentenced to death, which was later commuted to life with the repeal of executions. Powell has now served more than 25 years and he, too, could be released if he turns to the courts for a tariff.

McAndy Thomas, who has now served 23 years, was charged and remanded in 1990 and convicted in 1991 of killing 77year-old Ratmir Pavlovic, who worked at a local jewellery store. Thomas was found guilty of murdering the store worker during a robbery.

George Oral Roper has served two decades behind bars after he was charged in 1993 and convicted in 1996 of killing a prison guard during an altercation at Northward while Roper was incarcerated for another crime. Steve Manderson also convicted of the same crime has also been in jail since 1993 in connection but having escaped from jail at least five times, Manderson may have a far more difficult time getting parole in the near future.

Although the implementation of the Bill of Rights in Cayman paves the way for prisoners to seek a judicial review of their life sentences and seek a tariff, a judge can still provide for life without parole. However, a judge can also provide a minimum sentence tariff of a specific time period, such as twenty or even thirty years, but this does not mean prisoners would immediately walk free. The completion of a minimum sentence period on life would merely mean that the prisoner would be able to apply for parole; release would not be automatic as a risk assessment would need to be made. 

Any lifer considered a genuine threat to the community could still be kept in jail. However, each prisoner would have the opportunity to continue making strides towards release until they had satisfied the authorities they could be trusted back in the community.

See official statement from the governor below:

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Bank sued in theft case

| 21/06/2013 | 0 Comments

butterfield bank_2.jpg(CNS): Butterfield Bank (Cayman) Ltd is facing legal action as a result of a fraud perpetrated by an insurance manager who is currently serving a five year prison sentence in HMP Northward after admitting stealing around US$1 million from his clients. David Self, who was the manager of Monkton Insurance Services Ltd, was convicted last year after admitting the theft. However, in a complicated twist in the fall out of the collapse of Monkton due to the crime, William Ritter, a third party who was a client of Monkton from the US, has filed a complaint against Butterfield, which had cleared the forged cheques signed by the white collar thief.

The action followers an earlier suit by the Cayman Islands liquidators of Monkton Insurance, Gordon MacRae and Gwynn Hopkins of Zolfo Cooper, who also named Ritter in their efforts to recover some of the missing cash.

According to a report on the Miami-based OffshoreAlert, Ritter has filed his action in the US against the bank to protect himself from the liquidators, who allege that when Ritter discovered that Self had stolen $735,000 from his Cayman-domiciled captive Geneva Insurance SPC Limited, he threatened to report Self to the police and the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) unless Self transferred $875,000 directly to Ritter, rather than Geneva Insurance. 

During Self’s sentencing hearing in the Grand Court in Cayman last year, the judge heard that this escalated the 53-year-old man’s criminal behaviour as he began taking money from other clients to try and pay off Ritter and buy his silence, before the entire fraud became too much and he was eventually discovered and confessed all. The liquidators say that Ritter’s demands amounted to unjust enrichment.

However, Ritter claims in his complaint against Butterfield Bank that no money should have come from his account there for Geneva Insurance SPC Limited without his signature. However, the bank honoured the forged cheques signed by Self, which were unlike Ritter's signature, and the complainant claims that any amount of due diligence would have readily detected the forgery.

Ritter accuses the bank's representatives of facilitating Self’s fraud when they accepted the forged cheques, which he claims is a breach of contract and a violation of the law.

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Operation Tempura

| 21/06/2013 | 31 Comments

I was an investigation officer involved in the Tempura fiasco, having been a Central London Police officer for 30 years. I also lived and worked for two years in Kosovo as part of the UN International Peacekeeping Police Force, so consequently have some experience of policing and legal processes, albeit at the coal-face end. However, in a career of 40 years of policing, this is the only occasion I have ever publicly vented my frustrations through a national newspaper.

Regarding the recent CNS article, No decisions re Tempura, about the knowledge that former governor Stuart Jack, the FCO’s overseas territories security advisor, Larry Covington, and Attorney General Bulgin are alleged to have had on the entry to Cayman Net News, I make the following observations.      

In the case of the Cayman investigation, for me, it involved the retrieval and examination of records of thousands of emails, texts and phone calls and also the examination of numerous hard drives. This historical work is massively time consuming but nonetheless has on many occasions proved fruitful in securing convictions. To find out now that all of this work may have been pointless is just staggering and such a waste of resources and public funds. This new information would also mean that I was also involved in the unnecessary arrest of a high court judge, a former politician and the suspension of senior police officers, which could have all been avoided. Isn’t there enough serious crime to be investigated without being sent on a fool’s errand? 

Your recent article refers to a complicated issue. With respect, it is not. Let’s have the truth and keep it simple. Why all the court battles in an effort to suppress information coming out? Why hide the truth? The issue has only been made complicated for the general public because of the lack of information. Why is the governor using the lawyers to make decisions on what should and should not be investigated? Where could that particular dangerous road lead to? 

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