Archive for August 19th, 2013

No sightings of inmates

| 19/08/2013 | 22 Comments

(CNS): The lead investigator heading up the search for three escaped prisoners said Monday that, although the police have followed up many leads in the case, there have still been no confirmed sightings of the men anywhere. Caymanian prisoners Steven Manderson and his son, Marcus Manderson, and Jamaican national Dale Chadwick broke out of HMP Northward Wednesday evening and have managed to evade the authorities for five days. Speaking to the media atlunchtime Monday, Detective Chief Inspector Malcolm Kay said that the police still believe the men are on island but are concerned that they may be trying to leave, and he once again warned boat owners to secure their vessels and report any thefts immediately to the police.

“We have conducted a number of searches,” he said. “These are not random searches; they are based on information coming into us from the public at the incident room and 911 with possible sightings."

The information police has indicates that the men are still on island and searches will continue, Kay said. Each and every possible sighting is followed up and taken seriously, he stressed, and he encouraged people to keep calling in. So far, however, none of the sightings could be confirmed as being any of the escapees.

The lead investigating officer said that although all three men were convicted of serious, violent crimes, there is no reason to believe that they pose a particular threat to the wider community or general public. Nevertheless, Kay asked people who believe they have spotted the escapees not to approach them but to call 911 immediately. He also asked people to report any suspicious activity at all to the incident room on 925-7240 or any police station.

Steve Manderson is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of a prison guard, while his son Marcus was recently sentenced to a mandatory ten years in jail. He was convicted of possession of a firearm when a jury found that a modified flare gun was capable of firing lethal bullets. Chadwick was also recently convicted of robbery and was given a six year sentence as a result of the violent attack on his victim.

Since the escape, some 30 officers from across the RCIPS, including CID, Uniform Support Group, the K9 Unit, air support and the marine units have all been assigned to the case and they are continuing with physical searches and intelligence led operations. Trailers and abandoned buildings across Grand Cayman have been checked and teams are continuing to follow up on tips coming into the incident room while conducting targeted area searches.

Although police believe that the men are still here, the marine unit is paying particular attention to coastal activity as the police are well aware that the escapees may be trying to leave the island.

Kay said the police were keeping an open mind about whether the escaped prisoners were sleeping rough or were being hidden, but he urged people to keep an eye on all outbuildings on their property as well as their boats and marine related equipment, such as outboard motors fuel tanks,  flare guns or life vests. He said the possibility that the prisoners were looking for a boat to steal was very real as he appealed to owners to secure their vessels.

In the immediate wake of the escape, sniffer dogs were used to follow the trail of the three prisoners for a time but that trail was lost, Kay said. This was either as a result of the rainy weather or because the men were picked up in a vehicle.

The senior officer added that the RCIPS has not ruled out the possibility that the three men were, and continued to be, assisted by someone outside of the prison but all friends family and known associates of the three men have been questioned with varying degrees of cooperation.

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Concerns over UK dentention of journalist’s partner

| 19/08/2013 | 15 Comments

(Reuters): British authorities came under pressure on Monday to explain why anti-terrorism powers were used to detain the partner of a reporter who wrote articles about US and UK surveillance programmes based on leaks from Edward Snowden. Brazillian David Miranda, the partner of American journalist Glenn Greenwald, was held for nine hours on Sunday at London's Heathrow Airport where he was in transit from Berlin to Rio de Janeiro. He was released without charge. The White House on Monday said it had not asked the British government to question Miranda but added that officials in London had given their U.S. counterparts a "heads up" before his detention.

"This was a decision that they made on their own, and not at the request of the United States," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters at a briefing. "This is something that they did independent of our direction," he added.

He did not provide details on whether U.S. officials had obtained any material from personal items confiscated from Miranda.
Opposition politicians and human rights lawyers demanded an explanation for Miranda's treatment.

"The detention of David Miranda is a disgrace and reinforces the undoubted complicity of the UK in U.S. indiscriminate surveillance of law-abiding citizens," Michael Mansfield, one of Britain's leading human rights lawyers, told Reuters. "The fact that Snowden, and now anyone remotely associated with him, are being harassed as potential spies and terrorists is sheer unadulterated state oppression," he wrote in an email.

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Robbers chop at victim

| 19/08/2013 | 49 Comments

(CNS): A local bar owner was attacked by two armed masked men in the early hours of Thursday morning (15 August) in a violent robbery outside his home. The mugging happened as the man was returning to his home in Careenage, near Grand Harbour in George Town, at around 3am. Police said that as the victim got out of his car and was walking towards his front door, the robbers confronted him. The masked men had what appeared to behandguns and a machete. They threatened the local businessman before chopping him on his hand with the machete. They stole his keys, an iPad mini, a Blackberry and a bag containing medical equipment, before fleeing the scene in a small white van

The injured man was taken to the Cayman Islands Hospital and was released following treatment but was unable to give a description of the robbers. 

Police said the delay in releasing the robbery report related to a need to clarify the details. However, they are still hoping the public can help and anyone who was in the area or has been offered the stolen items for sale is asked to contact George Town police station on 949-4222, the RCIPS Tip-line 949-7777 or Crime Stoppers. 800-8477(TIPS).

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Teen provokes official response on sex education

| 19/08/2013 | 23 Comments

CNS): A petition started by 17-year-old Madeleine Rowell for more comprehensive, age appropriate sex education across the country’s schools has prompted ministry of education officials to re-examine the current curriculum. Although officials stated in a release on Friday that sex education is provided in all government schools, the 250 signatures on the petition is an indication, the government said, that the policy needed to be revisited to meet the changing needs of students and this time the kids themselves would be asked for input into shaping the new policy.

“Students have not previously been engaged in the formulation of the policy and provision," the ministry said in the statement. “We will be actively engaging young people to assist us in the process, as well as drawing on the expertise of the Red Cross, the Department of Counselling Services and other relevant community stakeholders.”

Still a controversial issue in Cayman, the government officials were quick to point out that the subject is not compulsory. “We recognise that there are many different views on sex education, and so parents may choose to have their children opt out of sex education in Government high schools,” they stated.

In addition, the government has no control over the private sector, where some schools have little or no formal sex education policies, but officials recommended that those schools consider “adopting and implementing” the public school policy.

The Sex and Relationship Education policy requires all government secondary schools to provide sex and relationship education, including education about HIV and AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, and must teach human growth and reproduction, as set out in the National Curriculum. In addition, principals are required to ensure that sex education is provided in a way that encourages students to consider morals and the value of family life.

Sex education is not included in the primary school curriculum and students do not learn about the physical and emotional changes during puberty until Year 6 in science class. Primary school students do learn about appropriate relationships and contact, and  about keeping safe as part of the Personal, Social and Moral learning curriculum. In addition, principals are required to ensure that sex education is provided in a way that encourages students to consider morals and the value of family life.

In her petition Madeleine called on government to improve access for young people to information, testing, and contraception aimed at reducing the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy.

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Councillors ‘temp’ ministers

| 19/08/2013 | 40 Comments

(CNS): The government has pushed the boundaries on the role of so-called government councillors to a new level as the PPM plans to swear in two C4C back-bench MLAs as temporary ministers while two Cabinet members take leave. In accordance with the constitution, Winston Connolly, who is currently the councillor in the education ministry, will stand in for Tara Rivers for two weeks, while Roy McTaggart (left), the councillor to both the finance minister and minster for financial services, will step in for Marco Archer, the minister responsible for Finance and Economic Development while he takes a ten day break. The political temps will be sworn in during the weekly Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, 20 August, officials said in a release from the premier’s office.

This is the first time that temporary ministers are being appointed in accordance with section 53(2) of the Constitution. In the past, another minister was assigned the responsibility of performing a Cabinet colleague’s functions while absent.

“Since November of 2009, our modernised Constitution has allowed for the appointment of temporary ministers, although the provision has never been utilised before,” said Premier Alden McLaughlin.

“Ministers are extremely busy with the responsibilities of their respective ministries and it is difficult for them to take on additional responsibilities when their colleagues are on leave or ill. It is only logical that councillors are appointed as temporary ministers on these occasions. I am privileged to lead an extraordinarily capable team and in keeping with my determination to have an inclusive government, to utilise the abilities of all members of the team in the best interest of the country,” he added.

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Sex offender sentence outrages community

| 19/08/2013 | 18 Comments

(CNS): Readers of Cayman News Service expressed significant concerns over the weekend about the six month sentence handed down to a 44-year-old local father who pleaded guilty to molesting his 8-year-old daughter over a two year period. Meanwhile, 300 people have signed a petition created by local activist Sandra Catron on Friday asking for legislators to create minimum sentences and for the director of public prosecutions to appeal the sentence handed down by Chief Magistrate Nova Hall last week in Summary Court. The man, who cannot be named because of a law prohibiting the identification of sex-offenders where the perpetrator's identity could also risk identifying the victim, was given three sentences of nine, seven and three months for indecent assault and common assault.

The magistrate ordered the sentences to run concurrently and suspended three months, arriving at what many believe was an overly lenient sentence. The man had pleaded guilty to the crime and had expressed his regret to the court. He was also said to be receiving counselling for the offending behaviour. However, the child victim was also said to be in need of significant help, as she had been severely affected and was also self-harmng. The child was also upset that her father was being incarcerated and was blaming herself for telling what he had done.

CNS readers were outraged by the sentence and over seventy people commented on the issue with most appalled by what they believed was a low sentence.

However, sentencing guidelines set out by the chief justice only apply to rape and defilement and not the offence of indecent assault, as in this case.

Meanwhile, a report in the Sun Sentinel demonstrates that Florida is also dealing with issues relating to released sex-offenders. An eight month long investigation by the paper found that the state authorities had set hundreds of rapists and child molesters free to harm again.

From South Florida to the Panhandle, these men have cut a fresh trail of pain, molesting more than 460 children, raping 121 women, and killing 14.  Many offenders attacked again only days after their release, with six finding new victims the same day they walked out of the prison gates.

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Government releases back to school calendar

| 19/08/2013 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Students, parents and guardians are being asked to check the back to school dates and orientation sessions in all government schools, which begin next week as the summer break draws to a close. Although the official start date for the academic year 2013/14 is 28 August, some students are starting a little later and orientation dates vary depending on the school. Officials from the Ministry of Education and Department of Education Services said parents should ensure that children attend their respective schools on the correct dates. For more information please contact the Department of Education Services at 945-1199.

See the school calendar below or go to

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Cayman’s qualifying hopes dashed despite 3rd victory

| 19/08/2013 | 19 Comments

(CNS): Although the Cayman Islands national-U15 squad beat the Bahamas 3-1 on Sunday evening in their third win of the CONCACAF tournament, their hopes of reaching the semi-finals were dashed when Bermuda beat Aruba 3-1 in their earlier game at the Truman Bodden Stadium. Unless, in an unrealistic scenario, St. Maarten, which has not won a game yet, can beat Bermuda, which is dominating the group, and the Cayman team beats Aruba tomorrow evening, the local teen players will not advance. Nevertheless, the team has made the country proud, with some fantastic goals and great results, and just one defeat to the team which has not lost a single game.

Meanwhile, in Group B, Grenada defeated St. Lucia 2-0 pushing them out of the tournament, while Grenada has one match remaining. With a late first half goal by Man of the Match, Francisco Fuentes, Guatemala defeated Belize 1-0. With this victory, Guatemala installed itself in first place, while Belize is tied in second place with Jamaica.

In Group D action, Haiti defeated St. Vincent & Grenadines 2-0. Angelo Thelusme scored in the 49th minute, while Man of the Match, Thermidor Fils-Aime, scored the second goal nine minutes later. With two games remaining for each team, group leader El Salvador has seven points, followed by Puerto Rico and Haiti.

Ten teams in groups C and D will face off on Monday, when Curacao play St. Kitts & Nevis. This will be the third match of the tournament for both teams. In the second game of the Group C, Honduras, the tournament favourites, will face the current leader Guadalupe, a match likely  to decide who will advance to the semi-finals in that group.

In Group D, Puerto Rico will face Haiti. These two teams are currently tied for second place behind El Salvador. St Vincent & Grenadines will face El Salvador, likely  to secure a place in the semi-finals, and Martinique will face Antigua & Barbuda.

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Convicts on run for 5 days

| 19/08/2013 | 26 Comments

(CNS): Five days after they escaped from HMP Northward, there is stil no sign of Steve and Marcus Manderson and Chadwick Dale. Police confirmed Sunday night that, despite the joint efforts of prison officers and RCIPS personnel, the three Northward inmates who broke out of the country’s jail on Wednesday, 14 August, remain on the run. Law enforcement officials said they had conducted a number of searches in all three major districts over the weekend with negative results. Searches were based on intelligence gathered and reported sightings, officials said. With all three men at large and likely being helped by someone, officials reminded the public that it is an offence to house, assist or by any other means aid people who have escaped lawful custody.


Police are continuing to ask the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity or attempted break-ins, disturbances on their property or petty theft, as this may be a sign that one or more of the inmates has been through the area.

Police also confirmed that the inmates were not involved in the arrest on Friday night following a car smash in the Savannah area.

The three men broke free from the country’s jail on Wednesday evening sometime before 9:30pm via the kitchen block, having cut through the two parameter fences. Prison officials confirmed shortly afterwards that another inmate was seen on the CCTV footage at HMP Northward helping the three men escape from custody.

Speaking about the escape last week, the new prison director, Neil Lavis, said that during 30 years in the prison system in the UK he had never had a prisoner escape, and he was disappointed that after just six weeks here three men were on the run. He told Cayman27 News that he and the prison staff had failed the public.

“It is absolutely devastating, and our first priority is to protect the public and we have failed in that. I need to take that on the chin and move forward,” Lavis said, as he committed to the inmates' recapture and a review of the prison security

Lavis also revealed that although Steven Manderson was in prison for life as a convicted killer, because he had not escaped for nine years and had worked through the system he had been listed as a category C prisoner. He said the prison had no intelligence that he was planning to make his sixth bid for freedom.

Chief Superintendent Kurt Walton said that there were two components to the RCIPS and the prison’s joint investigation: one team dedicated to the enquiry and another team doing the search.

“We understand that there is a great deal of public anxiety at the moment in relation to this escape. What we want to do is reassure the people that we are doing everything possible to capture and bring these people back into custody. We are working closely with prison officials and other law enforcement agencies,” Walton stated.

The investigating team is appealing to the public to continue to provide any information that may assist in the capture of the inmates by contacting 949-4222.

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