Archive for August 29th, 2013

A victim’s story

| 29/08/2013 | 26 Comments

I was raped just four years ago and by someone I knew. Even though I'm an adult, what that person stole from me will never be replaced. For a long time it remained an open wound for me and only very recently I can even speak about it. This man raped me. He may not have physically beaten me or threatened my life or family, it happened once, but I'm thankful that he was at least sentenced to five years.

Now, someone please tell me how our little children are being raped, molested multiple times and these monsters get just a few months! Where is the justice?

I learned to speak out and share what happened when a close family member confided only recently that she was raped by someone she knew and felt ashamed and afraid to report it.

Rape is too common in Cayman and it’s like a secret that some people want to keep hidden. Even worse, it seems to be accepted by too many as just something that happens and should be brushed under the rug. There are many more incidents than what is being reported.

To be violated all over again, through rape kits, examinations, questioning by multiple detectives or officers, prosecutors, testifying with more questioning, all the shame, guilt, regret, hurt, anger that you have to go through — and then they get away with it?

I was an adult and thought I was dealing with it all right, although I wouldn't talk about it to friends or family, not even counseling — just wanting to bury it as best as I could — until I witnessed relationships and friendships crumble around me. I became a different person, someone that I didn't even like, but being in that dark place changed me. I was afraid, depressed and full of anger. Now imagine a child trying to cope with that!

It took a lot to be able to say the word "rape" and today I, another victim, ask: if this was to happen to your son, daughter, brother or sister, how would you feel? Why are these wicked and disgusting people getting away with these crimes as if they stole a soda pop from a store?

Is it really OK to say that someone can destroy a person, not only their life but destroy that person as a individual and get away as if they did nothing, then go ahead living life hiding behind the "law"?

All my life I have heard stories of things happening to children (boys and girls), women and men in Cayman and the problem sexual abuse, child molestation and rape was in our country.

I remember my parents “warning” me of certain individuals in my community or overhearing adults talking about incidents that had happened in the past. But as I grew older, I couldn't understand why all these warnings and stories were only whispered between one another. What about everyone else that didn't know or were new to the area or country, how would they know who these “bad people” were?

I do not support the practice of not naming the perpetrator in the media reports. When such crimes are committed against us and to a family member, we want to protect ourselves or hide because of the shame that we may feel. But the victims did nothing wrong. We want to protect our privacy, especially young people or children, but how are we going to protect the other potential victims out there?

In Cayman the names of these perpetrators are protected, which only increases the risk that this person can re-offendand there will be more victims. It will continue to be a cycle of abuse. No one wants to talk about it. And in addition to that you have sentences that range from a few months to even suspended sentences. Where is the justice for the victims? There is so much wrong with that picture.

I ask all the people we voted into government to LEAD our country, to help protect us, our children, our families and each other — mandatory, harsher sentences for sex offenders and a Sex Offender Registry!

Or … did you all decide to run in our election to warm a seat and collect a salary? It’s your turn to answer and really show the Cayman Islands what everyone of you really think about this disease infecting our country.

I ask everyone to ask at least five others to sign this petition and let's show everyone that this will no longer be accepted and we are not going to make this sore linger anymore.

I beg you! If I could save one person from ever experiencing what I did, I would do anything I could to do just that.

What will YOU do?

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After school programme helps 1400 kids

| 29/08/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Michael Myles, the programme coordinator for at-risk-youth for the ministry of education said that the extended after school programme has grown from some 60 kids to more than 1400 at the end of the last school year. With the growing number of students registering to take part the initiative, first launched by the ministry under the previous administration in April 201, and supported by the current government still needs more cash from outside government coffers. Recently, Myles picked up a cheque from Rotary Sunrise for $5k towards its growing funding needs

“A major part of this programme right now is ensuring that we can sustain it long term. We need sponsorships in order to ensure that this programme lasts and to ensure that we can expand the programme to encompass more children,” he told the members at a breakfast meeting.The programme ensures primary and secondary children have quality activities to fill their time between the hours of 3pm to 6pm Monday through Friday.

The Rotary Club of Grand Cayman Sunrise said it sees the benefit of the programme and as a result has provided financial support over the years. This latest contribution was a joint donation from the club’s Youth Service and Community Service Committees.

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Environmentalists raise concern over habit threats

| 29/08/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): According to environmentalists in the neighbouring island of Jamaica one if its largest protected areas is under threat. In circumstances not unlike those in Cayman, Jamaica has already lost significant tropical dry forest and trying to protect what is left from development is a losing battle. Activists there now say that the Portland Bight Protected Area, recognized as one of the last and greatest remaining examples of tropical dry forest, is threated by a trans-shipment port proposed by China Harbour Engineering Company — the Beijing based firm that raised controversy here in the Cayman Islands with its involvement with the UDP government and the potential cruise berthing facility.

Campaigners in Jamaica say that Goat Islands, included in the Portland Bight, have long been recognized as extremely important for habitat conservation and the reintroduction of the Jamaica’s critically endangered iguana there has prevented its extinction.  The area is already under threat from local pressures for charcoal and this potential development could spell the endfor the habitat.

In Beijing, on 22 August Jamaica’s environment minister, Robert Pickersgill, announced that Goat Islands is “under very serious consideration” as the site for the planned port.  Aside from the threat to the rare habitat and the endangered iguana, environmentalists also warn that the industrial port would also have serious negative effects on the marine environment and threaten the fish sanctuaries.

Activists are asking people to write to the local press to demonstrate their opposition to the proposed development and concern about the pressing need to protect the scarce habitat. and

See more at ICUN

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Lawyers boost charity coffers by $23k

| 29/08/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Staff working at Appleby (Cayman) Ltd have raised over US$23,000 in the last 12 months for ‘Meals on Wheels’ and Cayman HospiceCare through a special ‘dress down for work’ programme where employees have donated donating a portion of their salary to help the charities. Appleby’s Cayman office Managing Partner, Bryan Hunter, said each year staff identify charities they feel are most in need of financial assistance. “This year we are delighted to be supporting Meals on Wheels and Cayman HospiceCare and know that the money we have raised will be put to immediate use,” he said.

Staff have also supported charitable organisations in areas such as education, sports, women’s needs, and animal care.
“Charitable giving is an integral part of our commitment to Cayman and an integral part of our corporate responsibility programme which has been in place since the firm was established in 1945,” said Hunter. “Over the last few years the programme has allowed us to donate in excess of $60,000 to Cayman HospiceCare, and other charities have also received significant funding in the past such as the Cayman Islands Humane Society, Estella Scott Roberts Foundation, Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, and Cayman Islands Cancer Society.”
For the coming fiscal year Appleby has expanded the programme to support three charities: The Extended Afterschool Programme, Cayman HospiceCare, and Cayman Islands Humane Society.  All of these organisations will receive funding during 2014.

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Senior cop calls for help from business community

| 29/08/2013 | 6 Comments

(CNS): The RCIPS’ district commander for George Town, Chief Inspector Angelique Howell has highlighted the many social issues that impact crime following a meeting in Windsor Park held on Tuesday evening.  CI Howell met with 25 residents in the community and she calling on the businesses community in the capital to volunteer time, expertise, equipment or other resources to help strengthen that and other local communities, as she notes this is all part of the collective and indirect fight against crime.“Sometimes people just need one chance to make a better life for themselves, so let’s come together as a community to give people in Windsor Park an opportunity to have that one chance,” Howell said as she called for support.

The meeting, which is part of a series of events hosted by the capital’s senior officer provided a platform for the police and residents to discuss a wide range of issues from after school programmes to  anti-social behaviour. 

“I was very impressed with the passion for change demonstrated in Windsor Park on Tuesday,” said Howell. “The residents discussed a range of issues that impact on them daily – youth issues, traffic matters, drugs and alcohol abuse and concerns about crime. It’s clear that they want to see improvements within their community and that they are keen to see positive changes for them and for future generations. The residents were very vocal about their desire for the community to come together and find solutions for the issues they face.”

Howell said the people at the meeting had some very specific ideas about what they want to do to improve the community, but they need help to get them off the ground. “That’s why I’m asking for business owners and residents to consider donating their time, expertise or equipment to help improve the quality of life in Windsor Park,” she explained. “One young man told me about a gardening company that has been started, but they need assistance with equipment and the maintenance of that equipment. They also want to establish an electrical program to provide people with the skills that could ultimately lead to employment – but that programme costs $150 per person”

Howell also said young people in the area need bibs for their after school football programme one of a number of activities designed to provide the people in the area with the tools to be more constructive and productive.

Anyone who wishes to discuss assisting the Windsor Park community with time, equipment or expertise should contact CI Howell, SPC Fran General on, or Windsor Park Neighbourhood Officer PC Emrol Smith

Police said that further community meetings in the George Town area will be announced in due course.

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CCTV is fighting crime

| 29/08/2013 | 31 Comments

(CNS): Despite concerns in the community that the island-wide CCTV project has been an expensive but ineffective crime fighting solution that is not functioning properly, both government officials and the RCIPS have defended the cameras and pointed to its growing importance in the battle against crime. Eric Bush, the chief officer in the home affairs ministry, said the National CCTV System is online and is being used properly. With 253 cameras at 78 locations across Grand Cayman, at noon yesterday all but three cameras, which are in need of repair, were working, equating to 98.82% being in service. So far, the RCIPS has made close to 500 requests for footage in crime cases from the centre where the information is stored.

“There have been 484 RCIPS requests for archived video images or reports from those that have occurred within the field of view of the cameras for which officers charged with investigating those accidents are grateful for the assistance,” Bush told CNS.  “This includes the latest fatal accident, which clearly captured the circumstances of the collision on the CCTV system. There has been video captured of numerous crimes in progress, such as robberies, and situations in which the system has aided in tracking the movement of suspects in vehicles and on foot following crimes, as well as many motor vehicle collisions,” he added.

The National CCTV programme has been designed to be passively monitored by the Public Safety Communications Centre and Electronic Monitoring Centre as well as the George Town, West Bay and Bodden Town Police Stations.

“If an incident occurs, such as a robbery or violent crime, the staff at any of the locations can select the appropriate cameras and either view in real time or do searchesfor suspects or witnesses,” Bush explained, as he defended the importance of the system to crime fighters.

“The National CCTV Programme is working well and is of high benefit to RCIPS and the public.  It is likely that as time goes on, more and more information will come out of future court cases regarding the benefit that CCTV has played in apprehending criminals.

“We have an additional 23 cameras at eight locations that have been funded and will be installed within the next couple of months,” Bush added. This includes moving cameras from the now-closed West Bay Road by Public Beach to the Esterley Tibbetts Highway extension.

With such an extensive network now across Grand Cayman, the RCIPS confirmed that it has been an exceptionally useful tool and was used during a recent trial to help secure a murder conviction.

"It is now a routine pPolice line of investigation,” a police spokesperson told CNS. “We have used CCTV in wide ranging offences, from public order, theft, damage, burglary to more serious crimes of firearms and murders. The recent murder conviction of Tareek Ricketts saw compelling evidence on the movement of his vehicle.”

While the police cannot be certain at this point of the number of convictions that have resulted with the assistance of CCTV, the video evidence can sometime assist the defence too.

To date, 23 members of the Department of Public Safety Communications and almost 100 members of RCIPS have been trained use the system. The police said that all of its critical incident managers are trained, along with all the sergeants and special constables on shifts and over 30 detectives from Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the Drug and Serious Crime Task Force.

Bush explained that training not only includes how to operate the cameras and how the software and technology works but it also includes extensive discussion about the Cayman Islands CCTV Code of Practice, which is available to the public on the 911 website.

“Adherence to that Code of Practice ensures that the system is only used for the intended legal purposes,” he said

Officers can also request copies of video images that contain evidence and the staff at the Electronic Monitoring Centre make two copies – one for the officer and one for safekeeping. But from a data protection point of view, all video images, unless they have been formally requested and approved, are automatically purged after sixty days.

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Family raise alarm over missing teen

| 29/08/2013 | 2 Comments

(CNS): A teenage boy has not been since by friends or family since he left school friends at the bus stop on Walkers Road around 1pm Wednesday. Javaka Kellier, who is 17 years old, 5ft 7in and about 175lbs with burn scars on his hands, neck and chest area, was last seen wearing black pants and grey T-shirt in the bus park at CIFEC Campus (Old John Gray High School) yesterday.  His family, who are very concerned, said at Javaka left his phone home and has not made contact with anyone since, which is not like him.

A missing person report was made to the police around 9:30pm last night when he did not return after they had assumed had had been at the Boxing Gym near the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.

When he failed to return home at a reasonable hour, the family raised the alarm. If anyone has any information, they can contact his mother at 917-3729 or call 911.

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