Archive for August 8th, 2013

Alden vows amity with UK

| 08/08/2013 | 80 Comments

(CNS): With the relationship between the UK and the Cayman Islands on a more even keel since the beginning of the year, as a result of the work by the minority UDP splinter Cabinetas well as that of the recently elected PPM government, the new premier, Alden McLaughlin, has made it clear that he intends to keep it that way. Following the exceptionally tumultuous relationship with former premier McKeeva Bush that existed for the first three years of Duncan Taylor’s time as Cayman Islands governor, McLaughlin said that he wants to forge a strong partnership with the British government and avoid constant battles with the UK and its representative in the islands.

Even before Taylor arrived in Cayman, Bush stated during his own swearing in ceremony as premier following the implementation of the country's new constitution that the incoming governor should not try to micro-manage and he was not afraid to take on the UK because he had done it before. However, after he arrived Taylor made it clear that if he had concerns about governance he would be getting involved.

As a result, over the ensuing three years the relationship between Cayman’s elected leader and its appointed leader deteriorated, culminating in a public spat in the spring of last year that saw Bush accuse the former governor of being “hell bent” on Cayman’s destruction and of spending his time here trying to undermine the work of the elected government.

On Friday at the governor’s farewell reception, McLaughlin made it clear that he would be taking a different approach. Describing Taylor as "one of the good ones” when it came to the governors that had passed through the islands, he said Taylor had ably governed in the face of challenges.

McLaughlin said that the partnership between the UK and the Cayman Islands was an important factor and forging a strong partnership and avoiding constant battles would be vital to inspiring confidence in investors. Admitting that differences were inevitable, he said that there was little need “for public utterances of dissent between the Cayman Islands and the UK Government”, indicating that he would be taking a different approach to that of Bush, the former UDP premier and now opposition leader.

With the departure of Taylor on Wednesday, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson is acting governor and will chair Cabinet until the arrival of the new governor, Helen Kilpatrick, sometime next month. Kilpatrick’s arrival and official swearing in is likely to coincide with the delivery of the government’s full 2012/13 budget in the Legislative Assembly – an issue in which, given Kilpatrick’s career history, she is likely to have a particular interest.

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Olympic committee reports on summer sports

| 08/08/2013 | 1 Comment

(CNS) The Cayman Islands Olympic Committee has published its latest newsletter in which in reports on the latest events in the sporting world from athletics to rugby.  Reporting on the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Championships in Mexico last month, Alexander Pascal had the most notable accomplishment winning a silver medal in the Javelin, scoring a personal best and breaking the national record with a throw of 71.86m. Meanwhile,the Cayman Islands showed their dominance in the Island Games in Bermuda finishing fourth overall with a medal haul of 20 Gold medals, 18 Silver medals and 8 Bronze medals. See full newsletter below


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Witness certain on ID of brother’s shooter

| 08/08/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Following the faltering evidence of one of the crown’s key witnesses during the murder trial of Tareek Ricketts this week, the victim’s brother told the jury that he had seen the gunman clearly and knew it was Ricketts. Che Rainford, whose brother Jackson Rainford was killed in December last year, testified that while he was seated in his car, Ricketts approached him and his brother angrily before shooting Jackson three times. Rainford said he was chased along Shedden Road after being shot at by the same gunman. The witness said he saw the shooter and had even given a picture of Ricketts to the police, as the photograph was on the dresser of his brother's ex-wife, who had been dating the man accused of the murder.

As the crown advanced its case that Ricketts was the gunman in a killing motivated by anger and jealousy as a result of a web of shared relationships between the defendant and the deceased with two women, Rainford told the court that he saw the features of the killer and knew exactly who he was.

Ricketts was understood to be dating Jackson Rainford’s estranged wife after she had left him. To complicate the relationships further, Rainford had now befriended Ricketts’ former partner and the mother of his children, fuelling the anger and jealousy between the two men, the crown claims.

On the night of the shooting, Che Rainford described how he and his brother were sitting in his car when Ricketts angrily approached them and opened fire. He was also shot at and he said that Ricketts had chased him along Sheddon Road. The witness told the court how he had made several attempts to stop passing cars and was able to stop a pickup truck. He then used the driver’s cell phone to call the emergency services.

Rainford then returned to his brother after the shooter had left the scene. He told his brother that he was going to take him to the hospital. On the way to get medical attention, he stopped a passing police car and the officers assisted in caring for his wounded brother before they arrived at the Cayman Islands Hospital, Rainford told the court.

Rainford is expected to complete his evidence in chief Thursday morning before the defence begins cross examination in Grand Court One.

The defence will be seeking to raise doubt regarding Rainford’s identification as Ricketts has denied being the killer and is mounting a defence based on mistaken identity. That position was bolstered earlier in the week when another key witness in the crown’s case, Terina Tomlinson, Ricketts' former girlfriend, dramatically admitted during cross examination that she had doubts about who she saw shooting at her new friend in December last year.

She suggested it could have been another man whom had often been mistaken for her former lover and children’s father but she had not formally retracted her statement as she thought people would not believe her.

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CUC picks up two regional industry gongs

| 08/08/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): Grand Cayman’s power provider picked up two industry awards in Trinidad and Tobago recently. Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC) won Best Performance in Transmission and Distribution Services at the Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corporation (CARILEC) 2012 Benchmarking Awards. This was said to be based on its efficiency, productivity, reliability and cost effectiveness in the region. The second award won by CUC was for Best in Performance in Commercialization Services and this was reportedly was based on customer service quality, cost effectiveness and productivity. While local customers continue to complain about extremely high energy bills CUC said the awards show that it is among the best power suppliers in the region. Read more on CNS Business

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Teen graffiti artist shot with Taser in Miami dies

| 08/08/2013 | 31 Comments

(CNS): A 17 year old graffiti artist living in Miami Beach died soon after he was shot by a police Taser gun after officers chased him down when he was spotted working on an a city wall. According to local reports Israel Hernandez-Llach was an award-winning artist, known as “Reefa,” who used the city’s abandoned buildings as a canvas for his colourful work while playing cat-and-mouse with cops, who consider graffiti taggers to be vandals, not artists. On Tuesday morning Hernandez-Llach was chased down by police and shot in the chest with a Taser and he died soon after. Miami Beach Police Chief Ray Martinez said Hernandez-Llach was confronted by officers and he fled, leading officers on a foot chase.

It ended when he was cornered by police and according to them ignored commands to stop. “The officers were forced to use the Taser to avoid a physical incident,’’ the chief told the Miami Herald.

He was hit once in the chest and collapsed, Martinez said, at which point officers noticed he was showing signs of distress. He was transported by fire-rescue to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Tasers were introduced into the Cayman Islands in January of this year and so far police have deployed the weapon's on two occassion without any resulting significant injury to the victims being reported. However, only a few details have been released in connection with both incidents and the RCIPS have yet to reveal any of the VT footage automatically taken when a Taser is fired.

In Miami following the teens death the chief of police offered his condolences  to the teens family. “The death remains under investigation by the city and the state attorney’s office," he added.

Tasers are considered a nonlethal weapon, and police say their use has greatly reduced the number of fatalities in confrontations between police and violent subjects. Hernandez-Llach  had no history of violence and his only previous arrest was for shoplifting, and that there was no indication he was involved in gang activity.

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Box jelly fish bring ‘joy and pain’

| 08/08/2013 | 10 Comments

(CNS): A number of sightings of box jelly fish in the ocean around Grand Cayman recently have brought both joy and pain for local and visiting water lovers. Being able to capture the rare but much feared sea creature on film while snorkelling at Rum Point was a joy for Russ and Pat Miller, who were visiting Cayman last month, but it was a painful experience for one local dive expert and several other visitors who were stung in East End. Experts say this type of jelly fish, known as a sea wasp, is not a common sight during the day in Cayman but is usually found close to the surface of the ocean at night. The species found here is not as dangerous as the Pacific box jelly fish, which kills more people at sea than any other marine animal, but can still deliver a nasty painful sting.

“It’s probably one of the more ominous creatures we have out there and definitely one to be avoided,” a spokesperson from the Department of Environment (DoE) said. “Typically they are found at the surface after dark and they are attracted to light, which is why night divers get stung by them quite often.”

He explained that usually in the day time they are deeper in the water column, which makes it less likely that divers and snorkellers will encounter them, but not impossible.

That was certainly the case for the Millers, who were just feet away from one of the pesky creatures as they snorkelled at Rum Point on their first trip to Cayman. Russ Miller got both video and stills of the creature, which often not seen until it’s too late.

“It is a very interesting marine animal and it is incredible how it can 'see' and swim, but it is very difficult to see and or photograph. It is almost invisible in the water,” he said. “We had a great time on our first trip to the Cayman Islands,” Miller added, as he directed CNS to the link  where he has posted a collection of images of the jelly fish.

Meanwhile, as the Millers captured the creature on film, over in East End at least three people were stung by them, including veteran diver and owner of Ocean Frontiers, Steve Broadbelt, who said he was stung on the wrist.

“If you get stung, I think it is advisable to seek medical attention as overreaction can often lead to breathing difficulties,” a DoE expert warned, but many people still suggest that vinegar, if not exactly a cure, it is the best suitable solution to wash off the sting and immobilise any of the jellyfish’s nematocysts, or stinging cells, that may still be on the skin."

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Taylor bids fond farewell

| 08/08/2013 | 71 Comments

(CNS): Duncan Taylor departed the Cayman Islands on Wednesday evening bound for Mexico armed with a cow cod, courtesy of the commissioner of police, following a round of farewells to the island and its people after three and a half years in post as the governor. Following Taylor’s departure, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson will be at the helm, keeping Cayman on the good governance course that Taylor believes the islands are on, until the arrival in September of Helen Kilpatrick, Cayman’s next governor and the first woman assigned to the post. Taylor inspected the police guard, thearm of the RCIPS that is assigned for his protection, for the last time before he and his wife, Marie-Beatrice, left on 7 August.

During the governor’s farewell reception last Friday, Premier Alden McLaughlin said he had seen many governors come and go but Taylor “was one of the good ones”, as he was presented with a beautifully crafted cat boat made from conch shell and Cayman mahogany by local artist, Luelan Bodden. (Right: The Taylors, Luelan Bodden and Alden McLaughlin

Among the other gifts Taylor picked up was a framed photograph of his first inspection of the RCIPS and a cow cod, both given to him by Police Commissioner David Baines, who said he might need a big stick in Mexico since the RCIPS wouldn’t be there to watch out for him. Having consulted with the new culture minister, Osbourne ’Ozzie’ Bodden, who was acquitted of assault charges in 2011 following an allegation that he had used one on an unruly customer at his liquor store in Bodden Town, Baines assured the governor it was the genuine article as he handed him the dried bull’s penis.

Delighted with his gifts, Taylor said he and his wife were sad to leave the islands and their “many good friends”.

On 6 August the governor had also bid farewell to the members of the Chamber of Commerce at a reception held at the Ritz Carlton. Chamber President Chris Duggan said Taylor had played a critical role and had unhesitatingly made the right decisions for the betterment of the Cayman Islands, even while facing “unwarranted, unacceptable and unjustified criticism from a few”, referring to the public attacks from the former premier, McKeeva Bush. The Chamber president expressed solid support for Taylor’s decisions and thanked the governor for “proving his mettle”.

The governor said he was grateful to those that had supported him during difficult times and added, “The Cayman Islands, in my view, is a very good place now; the mood is very positive and we have a good economic situation.”

He said the governor’s efforts should be to promote good governance and to ensure proper procedures were in place, resulting in a fair and transparent process. To attract business people to the Cayman Islands, it was vital for the rule of law to prevail, he said.

“If the Cayman Islands' is reputed to be a bastion of good governance and real integrity, people will be queuing up to do business here,” he said.

Adding to the gifts the Taylors will be taking away with them, Duggan handed over a set of three commemorative plates depicting scenes in Caymanian life.

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Robbery suspect jumps bail

| 08/08/2013 | 7 Comments

(CNS): A West Bay man who is charged with the robbery of a local bakery has skipped bail and is believed to be overseas. Dan Kelly (21), who was to face trial with co-defendant Derek Simpson, failed to show up to court on Monday for the hearing scheduled to go ahead almost three years after the crime was committed. The two men are accused of holding up the Caribbean Bakery in Mount Pleasant West Bay with a flare gun in September 2010 and making off with $400. Simpson, who was in court Monday, pleaded guilty to the offence,but with no sign of the second defendant, the case was adjourned.

Simpson is now set to be sentenced in September, while the crown revealed that an international arrest warrant has been issued for Kelly via Interpol. Although his exact location is unknown, the prosecutors believe that Kelly is abroad because his mother has admitted to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions that he calls from time to time from a blocked number.

Both men had been on bail but because of Grand Court’s mounting case load their trial had been adjourned on a number of occasions to make way for cases where defendants were on remand.

The two men were charged some seven months after their arrest, when they were both still teenagers. They were charged with robbery and with possession of an imitation firearm, as they were believed to be carrying a flare gun, with intent to commit robbery at the Caribbean Bakery on Mount Pleasant Road on 29 September. The robbery took place on a very rainy day just before noon, when the suspects escaped with $400 dollars from the cash register after threatening a female member of staff.

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