Archive for July 17th, 2013

Rivers admits US passport

Rivers admits US passport

| 17/07/2013 | 20 Comments

(CNS): Education Minister Tara Rivers has admitted that she possesses and has used a United States passport, which she has because she was born in America. As the election petition challenging her qualification to be elected as a member of the Legislative Assembly opened in Grand Court Wednesday, there was standing room only, as many people came to hear the details of the case and to see whether Rivers will or will not retain her West Bay seat. Following arguments over the presentation of further evidence, the petitioner, John Hewitt, was called to the stand, followed by Rivers, when the court heard that she has continued to use a US passport, as alleged in the challenge.

Rivers also admitted to living overseas during the seven year period before the May 22 general election but insisted she was there training and her residence and home was still in West Bay.

Check back to CNS for more from the proceedings this afternoon and full coverage this evening.

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Cayman gold rush in Island Games

Cayman gold rush in Island Games

| 17/07/2013 | 3 Comments

(CNS): Cayman's athletes have had tremendous success in the first three days of the 15th Natwest Island Games – Bermuda 2013. Currrently (as of early Wednesday morning) the Cayman Islands are sixth in medal standings, 18 in total with 8 of them being Gold. Across the board Cayman's athletes are turning in first class performances and the impressive medal haul is sweetened with a slew of personal bests and brand new Caymanian records. The Islands Games are scheduled for 13 -19 July, leaving three more days of competition.

Cayman swimmers took three gold medals and set three CIASA records. Olympians, Shaune and Brett Fraser, destroyed the field in the 100m butterfly, with Shaune powering his way to victory in a new Island Games and CIASA record of 51.06; his 50m split time of 23.39 also being a new CIASA record.

Brett made it a Cayman 1-2 knockout performance with an impressive silver medal time of 51.56. Off the back of a Bronze in 100m Butterfly, Lara Butler took to the pool for the 100m backstroke final and from an outside lane smoked the opposition. She took the title in an astounding lifetime best and CIASA record of 1:03.36, and later added 200m and 400m indivdual medley medals to her name. Geoffrey Butler snatched silver in the Men's 1500m Freestyle and Cayman's team claimed silver and bronze in the freestyle relay and medley relay, respectively.

Not to be outdone by swimming, the athletic team put in their own stellar performances earning two Gold and two Silver medals. Double Gold champion Ameilia Gillispie blazed past the competition in the Women's 100m and 100m Hurdles. Rhymiech Adolphus in the Men's 100m and Ashleigh Nalty in the Women's High Jump both took 2nd place and shiny Silver medals to match.

The shooting teams for Men's Automatic Ball Trap and Olympic Skeet picked their shots well enough for Silver and Bronze Medals.

Cayman could do no wrong in the Squash events, it seems. Men's Doubles, Women's Doubles and Mixed Doubles all settled for no less than Gold in impressive dominance. Mark Chaloner-Cameron Stafford, Jaclyn Geils-Marlene West, and Mark Chaloner-Marlene West made up the champion pairings.

Keep up to date on Cayman's medal count and results with the links below.

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Premier reveals travel costs for CARICOM trip

Premier reveals travel costs for CARICOM trip

| 17/07/2013 | 31 Comments

(CNS): In a clear change of direction for government and in keeping with what appears to be considerably more transparency over public finances than in the past, the premier’s office has revealed, without an FOI request, thefull costs of the recent trip by Alden McLaughlin to the CARICOM heads of government meeting in Trinidad. Accompanying a release explaining why the premier and the cabinet secretary went to the regional gathering, the office also supplied the financial account as well. The three day trip cost the public purse CI$4,222 for what the premier said was an essential trip in terms of relationship building in the region and to understand the common problems and solutions facing Caribbean countries.

Although the two men flew economy on their way to Trinidad, the lack of economy seats for the return pushed up the ticket costs. With the hotel for the premier covered by CARICOM, the public purse was left to pick up the hotel tab for Cabinet Secretary Samuel Rose, as well as both men’s daily expense allowance, as shown below.

McLaughlin said that although Cayman was an associate member of the regional body and not all the agenda items applied to the islands, there were many other areas of common interest.

“The challenges facing all CARICOM nations are great, particularly on the economic front and the discussions put Cayman’s current issues in context for me,” the premier stated in the release accompanying the account details.

“It was also essential for me to attend in terms of a relationship building process. It is important to foster fraternal relations with our neighbours within the region. This conference allowed me to rekindle friendships with many of the regional leaders whom I already know and to develop relationships with some of the others that I met for the first time. For me, it was highly instructive and enlightening to hear the concerns raised by my colleagues. While it is only natural to tend to view our individual situations as vastly different from other countries’, there are often times many striking similarities which create real opportunities for us to learn from each other,” McLaughlin said.

“There are some countries in the region facing critical and even dire situations, but there are also success stories and things that others are doing well.  This creates hope and inspiration,” he added.

The Thirty-Fourth Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) took place in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, against the backdrop of celebrations for CARICOM’s 40th Anniversary.

The agenda included discussions and exchanges of views on a wide range of topics, including transportation in the region, persons with disabilities and special needs, a framework for regional economic growth and development, human resource development and health, as well as exchanges of views with special guests, such as: the pPrime minister of Equatorial Guinea, the president of the Dominican Republic and the president of Venezuela. The Cayman Islands premier was recognized and officially welcomed as the newest head of government in attendance by the Chair of the Conference, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Trinidad’s prime minister

Section 55(4)(a) of the Cayman Islands 2009 Constitution specifies that the governor shall, acting after consultation with the premier, assign or delegate to the premier or another minister responsibility for the conduct of external affairs insofar as they relate to any matters falling within the portfolios of ministers, namely the Caribbean community.

The premier was accompanied by the cabinet secretary, given the Cabinet Office’s responsibility for coordinating diplomatic, regional and international affairs delegated to the premier.  

See account details below.

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Rivers to fight for seat

Rivers to fight for seat

| 17/07/2013 | 11 Comments

(CNS): The education minister in the new administration will begin her courtroom battle Wednesday to retain her seat in West Bay following an election petition filed by the husband of a UDP candidate who was pushed into fifth place. Tara Rivers, who ran on the Coalition for Cayman’s ticket but who then joined the PPM’s Cabinet, is facing a challenge to her qualification for election on the grounds that she was not resident in the Cayman Islands for seven years before Nomination Day and that she holds a US passport. The case will begin in Court 2 at 9:30am before Chief Justice Anthony Smellie.

Rivers is represented by the local firm Hampson and Co with Jeffrey Jowel, QC, the UK constitutional legal expert who help draft Cayman’s 2009 constitution and bill of rights, leading the team. She will be defending her seat against the challenge from John Gordon Hewitt, who is represented by local attorney Steve McField.

The challenger, who is the spouse of Velma Powery-Hewitt, who ran on the UDP ticket in the district of West Bay but came in fifth place after the vote outside of the four seats, is asking for Rivers to be disqualified by the court and his wife returned as the forth elected member for West Bay with her three UDP colleagues, McKeeva Bush (who was first in the poll in the district), Captain Eugene Ebanks and Bernie Bush.

The petition alleges that because Rivers was working in London for several years during the seven year period prior to the election she was not entitled to run, and the fact that she has an American passport also disqualifies her as it suggests allegiance to another country.

Although it is common knowledge that Rivers was employed by a London-based law firm during the seven year period before Nomination Day in March ahead of the 22 May general election, she was also a student, one of the exemptions provided for in the law. In addition, although Rivers is understood to have had an American passport, having been born in the US, it is not clear if she has continued to renew the travel document after reaching adulthood.

The hearing is expected to last two days. Should the chief justice find against Rivers, it is extremely unlikely that the country’s top judge would instate Hewitt as an MLA. A more likely outcome would be a by-election in the district for the seat.

Check back for CNS on details of the legal proceedings throughout the day.

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Man acquitted of charges over fake $50 bill

Man acquitted of charges over fake $50 bill

| 17/07/2013 | 6 Comments

(CNS): A 23-year-old man from George Town has been acquitted by a jury of charges relating to acounterfeit CI$50 bill after the crown failed to persuade the two men and four women that Aaron Hydes knew the cash was forged when he presented it at South Coast Bar in October 2011. Hydes was charged with uttering a false note but claimed he had no idea it wasn’t real when he tried to purchase two beers from the bar in Breakers. Visiting judge Michael Mettyear told the jury Tuesday, after a trial that lasted less than two hours, that the only thing they had to decide was whether or not Hydes knew the money was fake. It took them less than thirty minutes to bring back their verdict of not guilty after the short hearing, in which Hydes said the note was given to him by friends he was giving a ride to North Side.

He told the court that they had all stopped at the bar and one of his friends handed him the fifty dollar note and asked him to go buy two beers. When he went inside he handed over the note but the bar tender examined it under the light and began talking about it not being real.

As that was happening, his friend, who was in the car, whistled to him to come outside. Leaving the note and the beers, Hydes told the woman serving him that he would be right back. However, when he reached the car, his friend insisted that they left immediately. He told the court that shortly after that his friend revealed the note was not real. Hydes was adamant, however, that he did not know that when he tried to use it in the bar.

Prathna Bodden, Hydes’ defence attorney, told the jury that the prosecution had presented no evidence or proof of any kind that Hydes did know the note was not real, as she pleaded her client’s innocence. The crown’s case was based on the evidence that Hydes had left the bar without the beers or the change, making the leap that because of this he must have known that the cash was bad.

However, the jury was not convinced and brought a swift end to a case, which has dragged on for more than 20 months.

Hydes was not questioned about the note until more than five months after the forged note and the details around how it was received were reported to Bodden Town police station. The court was never informed why there was such a long delay before police realised no action had been taken on the report. When asked to come to the police station, however, Hydes did so voluntarily and gave a full account of what had happened without an attorney.

The trial was set to begin on Monday but was adjourned for another day after the court heard that the police had misplaced the critical piece of evidence in the case – the forged note.

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Island Air flying high in Division 1

Island Air flying high in Division 1

| 17/07/2013 | 0 Comments

(CRFU): Round 2 of the KRyS GLOBAL Summer Mixed Touch Rugby League gave teams a chance to continue the job of blowing away the cobwebs from a rugby-less winter, finding their mojo, and then reaching for the stars on the path to glory. DIVISION 1: Island Air won their second successive game in the top flight with a convincing 6-2 win over Maples2. It took a while for the game to really take-off but with this bunch of flying aces Island Air could really hit the stratosphere. An early score from Maples2’s Marc Randall was off set by a breakout from Marcus Cumber who gave it full throttle to break the sound barrier and crack the Maples2 defence wide open.

Ashley Waters served up a first class performance and with her two try haul and she showed that she has the wings to beat even the fastest opposition. Neal Ainscow, looking like a dashing RAF fighter, stiff of upper lip and upright in gait, began to carry out daring raids into enemy territory. After several sorties deep into the heart of the opposition he eventually broke through enemy lines and scored a try to create daylight on the scoreboard. Maples2’s Justin Colgan got one back but it was too little too late. Brandon Smith, the waspish little terrier, was always a threat with ball in hand and scored as did Cumber who got his second. The win leaves Island air flying high in this Division.

SteppingStones put together an emphatic performance to beat Harmonic 7-1. It was controlled, accurate and for the large part clinical. Like a snow ball rolling downhill, admittedly not that common in these parts, they started slowly but once they got going they became an unstoppable force that ended with an avalanche of tries. Harmonic looked lively in the early exchanges and it was Brad Cowdroy who caught the eye with a fine try, splitting the defence with a classic dummy pass and burst through a gap.

This guy has a fine pedigree in Cayman Rugby but this was by no means an “old dog, new tricks” scenario more like an “old dog, old tricks” type of thing. A few minutes later he was through a gap again with a similar move but he was too far out and was easily run down. Rob Aspinall put in a fine diving touch to save a certain try but such is the relentlessness of the ‘Stones attack that it was only a matter of time before they broke through. Squandering a few clear cut chances they butchered both a literal and metaphorically massive overlap in the shape of Steve Henshaw who was standing totally unmarked on several occasions. It was the increasingly effective Morgan Shelver who eventually did the damage with what is becoming a customary quick pick-and-go from dummy half. He set up several tries and the main beneficiary was Scott McCarty whose hat-trick of tries at regular intervals broke the spirit of Harmonic.

When Maples1 lined up against Genesis Five Nations the crowd could be forgiven for wallowing in a wave of nostalgia for great times gone by. These two, like an Eighties Revival Show with bands like Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet, may look a bit creaky around the edges and that their best days are behind them but they sure know how to put on a performance. Like a guilty pleasure, sometimes we just like to rock back and watch some good old fashioned touch rugby. They have fought many a final over the years and the rivalry is deep and strong. You might think that they’re living off past glories as there are new teams in town, firm of fetlock and with the cockiness of youth. But think againbecause, like Messrs. Le Bon, Taylor, Taylor, Taylor, Hadley, Kemp, Kemp and Norman, class is permanent.

They may have substituted some original members for young blood but the hits are the same. I doubt whether Maples1’s Marty Livingston has ever been compared to the slightly off-key Le Bon before but he still runs the show. When he’s on the pitch things happen for Maples1. In combination with players like Mike McGrath and Scott MacDonald their moves have a fluidity of passing that rolls back the years. The combinations Maples1 put together were breathtaking at times and there was no better example than the try of Joan Murphy with the ball going through six pair of hands before she ran in for the score.

Genesis Five Nations may soon be eligible for their touch rugby pensions but they have gained a wisdom and enlightenment about the art of this simple game. Less is more. Theirs is an ascetic game plan, puritanical if you will. No fuss, no frills, just solid, well-drilled touch rugby. Every player understands their roles and even when found out of position they do not panic and inevitably do the right thing at the right time. Dan Andersen put in a real shift on the wing and found himself in space several times. Putting his body on the line he careered down the flanks as fast as his groaning knees would carry him and still had the presence of mind to find support when he needed it. In newbie Chris Brussow they have unearthed a real South African diamond. His three tries earned him the MVP award and his pace and trickery will be the beating of many a good defence this year.

And so it was fitting that the honours were even, a 5-5 draw the fair result in the end. Both teams will trouble anyone in this league so to write them off would be dangerous. Like an old warrior with one last fight in them both these teams can deliver a lethal blow and will certainly have a say in the outcome of this Division.

When asked to solve the conundrum “Village blank” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Village Fete? Village People? Village Idiot? Well there’s a new team to touch rugby that puts a new epithet to that name. Step forward the Village Greenies.

A side put together from the cricket team of the same name, this is a tight unit and it shows on the pitch. Backing each other up on plays both physically and verbally, they put in a convincing 6-1 win over Deloitte. MVP Nick Quin was outstanding with his two-try haul and Dicky Sawle-Thomas and Marc Randall weighed in with tries too. The opening try was a belter from Rhian Minty – the first crack in the dam-like defence of Deloitte.  It would be fair to say that Minty is not famous for scoring although all would agree she puts in the effort. So this try will be celebrated in the streets of Pontypridd, Aberystwyth, Haverfordwest and Llandudno just like her last one in 2011.

It foreshadowed a good week for all things Welsh as not only did a large number of their players prove pivotal in the British and Irish Lions series win down in Australia but also Mrs. Myfanwy Davies-Jones of Prestatyn won the UK’s Largest Leek competition with an eye-watering 12” beauty.

PwC had their first run out with a nice win Rick Pooley and Iain Robertson doing the damage, ably supported by a cast of characters including Delphi Scheepers, Jonny Lewis and Rebecca Palmer.

The best try of the day was scored by Travel Pros Ticklers’ Kevin Ashworth in their 2-1 win over DART. Intercepting the ball 40 metres out he pegged his ears back and began scuttling for the line. Eating up the ground behind him were two gargantuan DART defenders. It looked all odds-on that Ashworth would be touched just a few metres from the try-line. He then performed a manoeuvre that can only be described in superlatives. Doubters in the crowd may believe that he just fell over but I am firmly of the opinion that the dive/fall 5 metres from the try-line was perfectly timed so that ashe hit the deck his pursuers could do little more than overrun him missing the important touch as he fell. He then rolled across the turf as if a giant cheese had been launched down a hill until he ended up with ball in hand over the whitewash to touchdown for a decisive score.

Amazing. In all my years of sports journalism I have never seen such a well-planned and well-executed play. Anyone hereafter seen doing a dive-roll-score combination will be cited as “doing an Ashworth”!

Last season Broadhurst were the darlings of catwalk, the Versace, Louis Vitton, and Dolce & Gabbana of touch rugby. They brought a sartorial elegance to the game resplendent in purple with purple accessories. This year’s fashion is a much more minimalist approach. Gone are the gawdy mauve headbands. Away with the vermillion sweat bands. This team turns heads not with haute couture but with haute-touch rugby.

Dave Acutt was outstanding (again) with a notable hat-trick and the trio of Scarff, Lewis and Hardcastle also put notches on their scorecard. However, it was the tireless performance of Captain Kate McClymont that got the vote for MVP. Tenacious in the touch she exemplifies the old adage that success is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. No team wins anything without people doing the hard yards and she leads from the front – final score 8-2 to Broadhurst.

KPMG1 recorded their first win of the season with a notable 6-0 victory over Walkers. Paul Ramsbottom was the stand-out player as he sheared through the Walkers defence leaving them to ruminate on what was a poor day at the office.

Division 3
In Division 3, LIME TV gave the rest something to think about with an 8-0 drubbing of BDO. MVP Jonny Hillyard got four tries and was buzzing like a bee around the pitch.
James Waters and Brad Conolly did most of the damage for Ogier in the win over Trident Titans. Titans find themselves in Division 3 this year as they try to develop new talent from the workplace. This was a salutary lesson in the benefits of having great pace in this Division, however I am sure that week on week Trident will improve as they start to learn the game.

Appleby can thank Stuart Geddes for his four try haul to claim all three points against EFG Bank. Gal Anziska and Akil Hutchinson scored for EFG. Desiree Jacob caught the eye with a fine defensive performance that stifled many of EFG’s best moves. Final score Appleby 5 EFG 2.

There was little reward for all the effort put in by DMS as they lost 0-3 to Rawlinson & Hunter. Michael Anderson continued his rehabilitation back into rugby with a fine solo try. Emma Santiago was like a dervish on the pitch with some fine spins and turns and runs to break through the defensive line.

GCM continued their perfect start to the season with a 6-2 win over Ernst & Young, Shane Delaney and Niall O’Sullivan, two strapping Irish fellows doing the bulk of the damage. Queensgate Grizz’s Old Fellas had to default in their game against KPMG2 handed them the three points for the win.


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New weather website includes images from radar

New weather website includes images from radar

| 17/07/2013 | 14 Comments

(CNS): The government’s weather service has launched a new website which now includes information from its weather radar in East End. As well as information from the National Hurricane Centre in Miami, the regular weather forecast and marine information the site shows the current radar image using information from the weather services new piece of equipment which has filled in what was previously a major weather gap for the region. The site has retained its same address at but viewers will find the site more comprehensive and user friendly.

The radar image on the site Wednesday revealed a relatively calm morning in our area with a small area of showers passing over the Sister Islands.  The daily forecast called for possible isolated thundershowers associated with an upper level low pressure system over Florida and a high of 91 degrees. In addition the link to the NHC showed no tropical activity in the Atlantic.

Visit government’s new weather website here 

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Cops stand by pursuit policy

Cops stand by pursuit policy

| 17/07/2013 | 23 Comments

(CNS): The RCIPS says its pursuit policy, which was revised in December 2010, covers all of the issues raised in a recent judge’s ruling, in which a police officer was found to be liable in the death of a local man after the car he was in crashed during a high speed chase. Justice Alex Henderson found that PC Mitchell’s decision to pursue the car in which Bruce Lee Ebanks (31) was a passenger at high speed was an act of negligence and that the crash occurred because a police car was in pursuit for more than six minutes at speeds that reached as much as 90 mph. Although the judge found that Mitchell did not comply with the police pursuit policy, the RCIPS does not believe the officer was at fault and never contemplated action against him.

The judgment came following a civil action in the Grand Court filed by Ebanks’ mother against the attorney general and the police. Despite losing the case, the RCIPS said that they did not believe the police were at fault, and although they intend to review the ruling, the policy covers all of the issue raised in the case.

“The pursuit policy was reviewed, revised and subsequently published in December 2010," a police spokesperson told CNS on Tuesday. “The revised policy covered all of the issues highlighted by the judge post-incident. The attorney general had opposed the action. We agree that the RCIPS should not have been held at fault; therefore no action had been contemplated against the officer. Unfortunately the learned Judge disagreed and, as such, we will review the written judgment to see if there are any lessons to be learned."

Ebanks died when the car driven by Alexander Callan, who was convicted of killing him and Sidney Myles (21) as a result of dangerous driving and who was also found liable in the civil action, crashed into a light pole near to the Ritz Carlton on the West Bay Road. However, Pauline Ebanks, as the representative of Bruce Ebanks’ estate, brought the action against the attorney general as well as the representative of the RCIPS, as she claimed that the actions of the police also caused or contributed to the crash.  

The judge agreed when he found that Mitchell had failed to follow the steps of the police pursuit policy and that he had begun the chase based merely on suspicion and without any evidence of a crime.

According to the details of the case, at around 11:30pm on 29 February 2008, PC Mitchell spotted the car in West Bay in an area they considered a drug hang-out and said the men were acting suspiciously. When the car sped away from the area, Mitchel followed. However the judge found that when he began the chase, Mitchell did not advise the 911 centre of the reason for the pursuit and did not ask for a supervisor to oversee it on the radio network and no report on the pursuit was ever filed.

The chase was, according to experts, particularly long and was carried out at very dangerous high speeds. It started at King Road in West Bay, and the two cars drove at high speeds from Velma Banks Drive along Fountain Road then Town Hall Road and down the West Bay Road until the crash occured near the Ritz Carlton.

The judge found that without a supervisor on the pursuit, no one was there to weigh whether merely a suspicion about the men was worth the danger of the pursuit. The judge believed that had the pursuit been supervised, the senior officer would have terminated the chase as early as Town Hall Road because of the emphasis on safety in the pursuit policy. The judge said a supervisor would have considered that the risk to the public was not justified once the cars reached 90mph.

“I am satisfied that PC Mitchell's failure to provide the reason for the pursuit and request a supervisor immediately and the failure of the RCIPS to ensure that a senior officer supervised the pursuit in accordance with the policy were omissions which violated the letter and the spirit of the policy in a fundamental way,” Justice Henderson said in his ruling.

He noted that police officers often have to make difficult, quick decision and will, as a result, sometime make errors in judgement which are not necessarily negligent. But in this case, the error in judgement was “so erroneous as to represent a departure from the usual standard of care expected of trained police officers” and did amount to negligence. He said PC Mitchell’s decision to follow a vehicle travelling at speeds up to 90mph on the reasons he gave was a clear error in judgement.

“The desire to investigate a drug offence or even a firearms offence cannot justify the pursuit which occurred,” the judge said in his ruling. Justice Henderson noted that, as an employee of the RCIPS, his act of negligence is attributed to the police.

“The accident was contributed to, if not caused by, the speed at which Mr Callan was driving. He was doing so because a police car was chasing him. Had the pursuit been terminated it is more probable than not that Mr Callan would have slowed down to a normal speed so as to avoid attracting further police attention. Consequently, the negligent failure to end the pursuit was one factor which contributed to the accident,” he added as he awarded judgment to Ebanks.

The civil ruling is likely to result in a hefty payout in damages and costs from the public purse, which has not yet been revealed.

See the judgment and the RCIPS pursuit policy below.

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