Archive for August 27th, 2013

Football boss pleased with Cayman contest

| 27/08/2013 | 6 Comments

(CNS): Jeff Webb, the president of the regional footballing body CONCACAF, said Cayman had done a "tremendous job" as hosts of the inaugural 2013 Under-15 Boys CONCACAF Tournament, which gave teenage football players from all over the region a chance to experience a real competitive tournament. There were many elements to make the development tournament successful, he said, noting that only two matches have been tied and there were almost 25,000 spectators, plus plenty of goals. “It’s been a tremendous success story from a CONCACAF standpoint and a Cayman one. I congratulate all the 22 participating teams,” he said last week.

“The tournament for us is vital for development, this new CONCACAF, having the belief that to spur growth, to inspire new generations, we must give them opportunities, he said, adding that this contest gave the kids an opportunity and has started to prepare them for what lies ahead.

“Not only are we preparing the kids on the field but this morning we launched our coaching D license course. We have 40 coaches here from around the region, US, Canada and so forth, who are participating in the coaching qualification D license. Everything we do is geared on us improving and evolving and geared ultimately to better football on the field and ultimately winning the world championship” the president added.

The Cayman Islands premier, Alden McLaughlin said the tournament had brought an economic boost as well during what is normally a slow period in the tourism season.

“All indications are that this tournament has been extraordinarily well organized and all those visiting for the purpose of watching the games think Cayman is a wonderful place,” McLaughlin said, as he thanked Webb for making it happen. “I believe all the money and investments we have made in the facilities over the last few years are now paying huge dividends and I’ve had discussions with Mr Webb and some members of his team and whatever improvements are necessary to ensure we are able to host more CONCACAF or other football tournaments will be made. I believe that sports tourism is a very viable prospect for Cayman,” the premier added.

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UK approves PPM’s new plan

| 27/08/2013 | 42 Comments

(CNS): A revised four year plan submitted to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office by the Cayman Islands Government earlier this month has been approved, the premier’s office revealed in a statement Tuesday. The UK's overseas territories minister, Mark Simmonds, wrote to Alden McLaughlin last Thursday giving his approval for the plan, which the government said it had submitted on 15 August. However, few details have been revealed or how it differs from the plan submitted by the previous government. The premier’s office did state, however, that there were no new borrowings and the plan included continued repayment of existing loans and zero inflationary revenue measures.

According to a statement, government is the “facilitator of economic growth through its support for various private sector initiatives” but it does not propose any major capital expansion programmes, revenue measure or “silver bullets” to be successful. The plan will be unveiled when it presents the 2013/14 full year Budget in late September.

McLaughlin said he welcomed the UK’s approval of the plan after its first submission and that it would see an end to the anxiety that had been associated with the preparation of the country’s budgets during the UDP administration.

“It demonstrates the positive results that can be achieved when processes are followed and a logical, credible and consultative approach is taken toward fiscal planning,” McLaughlin said.

“I am extremely pleased that we are able to put behind us the uncertainty and anxiety that has attended the budget process over the past four years. The country now has a four-year plan that provides certainty and stability to the government’s future fiscal planning and provides challenging but realistic targets,” he said.

The CIG would now be able to look long-term at plans and projects rather than having to focus on short-term, short- sighted plans, he added.

McLaughlin said government had not talked publicly about the work to develop the plan but itwas a culmination of weeks of meetings between the elected government, the finance ministry and key stakeholders across the entire public sector.

“From those meetings, a fiscal plan was devised that is credible, sustainable and provides the necessary trajectory for us as a country to meet the fiscal targets outlined in the Public Management and Finance Law,” the premier added, as he thanked Finance Minister Marco Archer and his team for their diligent and hard work.

The plan, which has been given the OK by the British government well ahead of government’s presentation of the full 2013/14 Budget set for the end of next month, outlines Cayman’s global fiscal targets for the next four budget years and the strategies that will be employed to achieve them and gain compliance with the fiscal ratios contained in the Public Management and Finance Law (2012 revision), officials indicated.

With an initial aggressive reduction in public sector operating expenditure, the plan sets out significant increases to government’s cash reserves, no new borrowings, continued repayment of existing loans and zero inflationary revenue measures. 

The premier’s office said that Simmonds welcomed the commitment to fiscal planning and to achieving the key debt ratios agreed in the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility by the end of the financial year 2015/16. He also approved the top-down multi-year approach to fiscal planning taken by the government, which he believes will be a powerful tool for sustainable public expenditures and revenues.

“Based on this level of detail planning, the UK was able to approve the Plan on its first submission, which is a testament to the hard work that was put into its development,” the premier’s office stated.

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Protein discovery may help diabetes treatment

| 27/08/2013 | 0 Comments

(Fox): Scientists have discovered that one of the most diabolical proteins implicated in diabetes not only kills insulin-producing cells through one mechanism, but also damages the cells it doesn't kill through a second, novel mechanism. Reigning in this rogue protein, called TXNIP, could significantly control diabetes, a disease that affects nearly 9 percent of Americans and is rapidly becoming a major cause of death and disability worldwide. The scientists, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, identified several never-before-realized routes to target TXNIP with drugs. Their study appears in the journal Nature Medicine.

Diabetes is a disease characterized by high levels of sugars in the blood, often resulting in cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and nerve damage, and can lead to the loss of limbs.
Normally, the pancreas produces insulin in its beta cells to shuttle sugars, or simple carbohydrates, from the foods we eat into various organs, where it is used for fuel. In people with diabetes, either the pancreas isn't producing insulin or the insulin that is produced isn't effectively shuttling sugar into the organs.

Type 1, once called juvenile diabetes, is usually diagnosed in children – their pancreatic beta cells die or malfunction for no known reason. Type 2, sometimes called adult-onset diabetes, usually develops during adulthood and is strongly associated with obesity or a diet high in sugars and processed foods, although sedentary lifestyles and hereditary factors are also at play

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Acid oceans will speed climate change

| 27/08/2013 | 0 Comments

(TIME): As we emit more carbon dioxide, the oceans will become more acidic. That will be bad for sealife—but it may also speed the rate of global warming given that they cover 70% of the Earth’s surface—and provide about 90% of the planet’s habitable space by volume—the oceans tend to get short shrift when it comes to climate change. The leaked draft of the forthcoming coming new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change highlighted the atmospheric warming we’re likely to see, the rate of ice loss in the Arctic and the unprecedented (at least within the last 22,000 years) rate of increase of concentrations of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane.

But when it came to the oceans, press reports only focused on how warming would cause sea levels to rise, severely inconveniencing those of us who live on land.

Some of that ignorance is due to the out of sight, out of mind nature of the underwater world—a place human beings have only seen about 5% of. But it has more to do with the relative paucity of data on how climate change might impact the ocean. It’s not that scientists don’t think it matters—the reaction of the oceans to increased levels of CO2 will have an enormous effect on how global warming impacts the rest of us—it’s that there’s still a fair amount of uncertainty around the subject.

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Men facing criminal trials with no lawyers

| 27/08/2013 | 1 Comment

(CNS): There are currently a number of serious criminal cases where the defendants are left unrepresented as a result of disagreements with attorneys, conflicts of interest and other legal problems with representation, which means that the men could face trial without legal representation. Shane Connor is charged with rape, Garry Hurlstone is charged with attempted murder and Andre Chase with an attack on a fellow prison inmate. Although they have all been granted legal aid, their constant disagreements with attorneys or conflicts have left the men without lawyers, the court heard Friday during the regular mention list.

Shane Connor, who has denied the rape charges he faces, has sacked numerous lawyers and has been on remand for almost 18 months. On Friday Connor revealed that he had sacked Clive Allen, who is believed to be the fifth attorney he has dismissed, and complained that the lawyer had jumbled up the documentation relating to his case.

Despite being on remand at HMP Northward, Connor said he had “no time” to sort out the mess made by the lawyer as he “is not a secretary”. Handing a letter to the court pointing to other documents he believed he had not received from the crown that relate to his case, Connor asked the judge to make sure he received everything he needed before his case was adjourned.

Garry Hurlston, whose case was adjourned in April, is only a few weeks away from the continuation of his trial for the attempted murder of a man who remains in a coma, but is also without a lawyer. Expressing his deep distrust of legal aid lawyers, he said his previous attorney was being “interfered with” by the prosecution. Hurlston asked the court to release him so he could finance his own attorney, as he said he could not represent himself. However, he did not make a formal bail application.

Acting Justice Nova Hall, who has part heard the trial, has indicated that Hurlston’s trial will go ahead on 21 October regardless of his representation as a result of his constant dismissal of the lawyers provided to him. Nevertheless, Hurlstone insisted that he should be provided with a QC from overseas and a blood spatter expert. He was told that he needed to find a Cayman registered lawyer in order to instruct counsel from overseas but Hurlston insisted he did not trust any of the legal aid defence lawyers.

Visiting judge, Justice Malcolm Swift, jumped to the defence of the local lawyers and pointed out that there were some very good local legal aid attorneys and unless Hurlston was prepared to represent himself he ought to find one to work with. However, the judge pointed out that it was up to Hurlston to take the necessary steps to deal with his representation and that the court could not force him to find a lawyer.

The defendant complained that his instructions had not been followed, and despite being half way through a judge alone trial, Hurlston declared to the court that he had wanted a jury trial. With little to be done, the judge adjourned the matter to go before Justice Hall on 20 September.

Meanwhile, Andre Chase, who is no stranger to the criminal justice system, is accused of slashing a fellow inmate in the face with a make-shift blade during a fight at the prison. He is also without representation as his usual attorney, John Furniss, is unable to represent him in the case because the man that Chase  is alleged to have stabbed is also his client.

Chase was also directed to seek representation before his return to the court next week and his pending trial in November.

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Lawyers focus on intent

| 27/08/2013 | 48 Comments

(CNS): The appeal filed in the court, Friday on the chief justice’s decision regarding the election of Tara Rivers focuses on the intent of the constitution and the interpretation of the words in it. John Gordon Hewitt, who is challenging Anthony Smellie’s decision that Rivers is qualified, is asking for a declaration from the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal for the true spirit, meaning and intent in the constitution regarding residency and the holding of a foreign passport. Following the news, Rivers told CNS that her lawyers were dealing with the attempt to appeal but she was focusing on what she was duly elected to do, "which is to represent and serve the people of West Bay and the Cayman Islands, and to work towards finding solutions to the myriad of complex issues facing the country.”

Challenging all of the CJ’s findings as well as the block on appeals regarding election challenges, Hewitt and his lawyers claim that there is nothing to suggest that the framers of the constitution meant that residency could be in more than one place at once or that the document provides for any legislator to have allegiance to another power.

It claims that the chief justice applied a “generous and purposive” interpretation of the word and not their normal meaning in order to arrive at his decision. The lawyers say that in his ruling he committed grave and serious errors in law by the way he interpreted the meaning of the constitution in several places and, as a result, failed to give Hewitt a fair hearing.

The appeal implies that CJ Smellie failed to apply the proper rules of construction and arrived at conclusion without evidence to support them. Local attorney Steve McField, who has filed the appeal on behalf of Hewitt, said they hoped the appeal would be heard at the constitutional position that the Grand court has the last word on election petitions.

As a result of the position by Hewitt and his legal team that the errors made by the CJ are constitutional and of great public importance, McField believes that the appeal can be heard and that appeals concerning the interpretation of the constitution cannot be ousted.  Regardless of the constitutional provision in section 66, the appeal claims that this is a questioning of errors and misapplication and not an appeal on the direct election of Rivers.

As the appeal claims that Cayman’s top judge sought to justify his decision not on the basis of law and legal precedent but byapplying this “generous and purposive” interpretation to what the lawyers say are unambiguous words, he failed to give them their ordinary meaning.

In short, the appeal claims that in regards to the residence of a potential candidate, the constitution clearly means that they should be resident here and not anywhere else, and physically present in the islands and living here. It notes that the exception for a student at an educational establishment does not mean a full time employee of a law firm who is doing some professional training. The appeal also claims that holding a foreign passport does mean that the candidate has an allegiance to another power by using it.

There are noguarantees that the appeal will get past the major hurdle in the constitution that elections issues must be decided locally and the CICA may simply dismiss the leave to appeal, despite claims by McField that if the judge is wrong in law, the right to appeal cannot be blocked.

See both a copy of the appeal and the CJ’s ruling on the election petition below.

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Driver denies causing death

| 27/08/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Fitzroy Roach (30) pleaded not guilty to causing the death by dangerous driving of 59-year-old Beverley Elaine Ramsay last year in a crash on the Esterley Tibbetts Highway. Roach, who will face trial in March next year, some 18 months after the crash, also denied driving without being qualified. Roach was originally arrested on suspicionof DUI but there was no indication when he appeared in Grand Court Friday if the crown is still relying on drink as the cause of the road death. The accident happened at around 6am on Tuesday 16 October, when Roach, who was driving a Nissan box truck towards George Town, hit Ramsey, who was driving her Hyundai van travelling towards West Bay.

Ramsey died at the scene of the accident near to the AL Thompson roundabout. Roach, who is understood to be a Jamaican national, was bailed to return for the trial next year.

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Ex-cop’s legal claim rejected

| 27/08/2013 | 14 Comments

(CNS): A former police officer’s case that he had been forced out of the RCIPS as a result of threats made by the deputy police commissioner and a whispering campaign was rejected by the Grand Court Monday. Justice Alex Henderson found that while DPC Steve Brougham may very well have wanted Herbert Muschette to resign and while there may have been rumours and gossip circulating about him, this did not amount to a wrongful dismissal. In his decision following a three day hearing last week the judge made no comment on the revelations that Brougham had chosen not to investigate very serious criminal allegations about Muschette in exchange for his voluntary departure from the service.

Henderson said that his impression of Muschette when he gave evidence during the trial was that “he was attempting to tell the truth but the accuracy of his recollection must be questioned.”

The judge pointed to various inconsistencies as well as numerous claims that Muschette had made about what people had said regarding his position, all of which were denied by the witnesses. He also noted that after the critical meeting that Muschette had with Brougham where the threats were allegedly made, the former cop had made no notes, unlike the senior officer, who made a note immediately after the meeting about what was said.

Muschette had claimed that during the meeting with DPC Brougham in July 2010 he had been threatened with jail if he did not leave the service of his own accord, as a result of serious allegations against him that he was dealing drugs, passing information to the criminal underworld and soliciting female motorists for sexual favours in exchange for not prosecuting them for driving offences, 

Although the ex-cop denied allof these entirely unsubstantiated allegations, he said the stress of the threats followed by the whispering campaign had driven him to resign against his will and he had therefore been dismissed without due process.

Henderson said he believed that the meeting with Brougham contributed to driving Muschette out of the force but he pointed to other issues that were already affecting the officer.

Muschette was on extended sick leave for stress at the time, and although he pointed to the meeting as a defining moment, in an email he sent to DPC Anthony Ennis the very next day he said he was not going to resign.

During the trial Brougham admitted that he had been prepared to let Muschette leave the service and to brush aside the allegations. He told the court that while the allegations were very serious and of a criminal nature there was no documented evidence, as the people making the claims that Muschette was corrupt were either police informants or people who did not want to make written statements.

He also said that at the time the RCIPS was seriously under-resourced and he did not have enough officers to conduct such an investigation.

Muschette, who had been a traffic cop for the large part of his time in the RCIPS, went on stress leave soon after he was moved from that department to the police station in George Town and following to internal complaints about him, one from a fellow officer and one from a person he had arrested, suggesting he was heavy handed in his approach.

Muschette, who came to Cayman after six years in the Jamaican police force, served ten years in the RCIPS before he resigned. He vehemently denied the allegations against him and insisted that he was a diligent and hard-working officer who became the subject of a conspiracy to have him removed from the service

Related article on CNS:

Ex-cop: DPC threatened jail

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