Archive for March 26th, 2014

Witness protection not an inducement, says DC

| 26/03/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Following allegations made by the defence team representing Raziel Jeffers, who is on trial for the murder of Damion Ming, the senior police officer in charge of witness protection denied that anyone in the programme is paid to give evidence. Steve Brougham, the RCIPS deputy commissioner who has overall responsibility for witness protection, such as it is in the Cayman Islands, told the court Wednesday that the crown’s key witness in the case against Jeffers was given expenses as she had been relocated overseas with her child and could not work where she was.

He stated, however, that while the police had a legal duty of care to those in the witness protection programme for the rest of their lives, the goal was still to help them become self-sufficient.

Brougham said there was no financial inducement in the programme for any witness and that no one was paid or was in a position to benefit personally for their testimony.

He agreed that the witness in question had probably been paid almost $80,000 since she was taken into protective custody almost, four years ago, which covered her basic living expenses, rent utilities, medical bills and the cost of both her studies and that of her young son, who now goes to school.

Although Brougham gave very little away about how the witness protection scheme worked, he explained that there is no law in the Cayman Islands covering the issue because although legislation has been passe,d it has never been assented. He said, however, that the police follow the spirit of that stalled legislation, as well as the UK guidelines for dealing with vulnerable witnesses.

He said when an assessment is made about relocating a witness whose life is in danger, their future ability to work is considered. He said efforts are made to transition witnesses to be self-sufficient and live their new lives without needing to depend on financial support from the public purse.

Brougham’s evidence about witness protection followed almost two days of expert evidence from a specialist police officer in connection with telephone records. The RCIPS expert gave detailed explanations to the jury about the calls and messages on the cell phones of various witnesses and other named individuals relevant to the evidence as well as the defendant. 

The expert spoke about how cell phones also record the movements of people as a result of the trail of cell phone towers used when calls and messages are made and received.  

The expert revealed that while the movements of Jeffers' cell phones were wholly consistent with the crown’s claims that he left George Town on the evening of the killing of Damion Ming and made his way to the murder scene, where his phone was just before the shooting, the records were equally supportive of Jeffers' claim that he was not at 177 Birch Tree Hill, where Ming was gunned down, but at another location in West Bay.

The crown’s case continues Thursday in Grand Court One, when the crown will be calling further police witnesses before it is expected to close its case.

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Appeal court clears chopper for take-off

| 26/03/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): The Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of a Civil Aviation Authority decision to grant Cayman Helicopters a licence to use a George Town helipad, resolving a two and a half year dispute. The higher court found the authority did not act unreasonably when it granted the licence and there was nothing before the CAA to suggest the helicopter operator had not complied with requirements. In November 2011 the CAA licensed the operator's new pad as an alternative to the airport to attract and facilitate more excursions for cruise passengers. Soon after the decision however, Axis International, the owner of a nearby building, filed for a judicial review and in June 2013 the chief justice stayed the licence as a result of safety issues.. Read more on CNS Business

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Jamaica and Cayman in art collaboration

| 26/03/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands (NGCI) in partnership with the National Gallery of Jamaica is currently hosting an exhibition showing modern work by artists from Cayman’s near neighbour in a partnership that officials say will also see Caymanian work go to Jamaica. The exhibition opened last Friday to a great turnout, the NGCI Director Natalie Urquhart said. Alongside Cayman’s own dignitaries Jamaica’s opposition leader, Andrew Holiness, who was in Cayman for the anti-corruption conference, was also there to see the exhibit.

The collection of work is from the 1960s & 1970s a period of Jamaican history of dramatic social and cultural change in which notions of nationhood were actively explored, and challenged, in local culture

The artists of the mid-20th century nationalist school such as Edna Manley, Alvin Marriott, Albert Huie andDavid Pottinger, continued to build on their original interests with modernist depictions of iconic local subject matter but they also responded to the cultural and artistic changes that took place around them, as evidenced by the introduction of abstraction which pushed their work in new directions.

Thirty-five works are on loan from Jamaica and include work by artists such as Edna Manley, Alvin Marriott, Christopher Gonzalez, Albert Huie, Barrington Watson, Osmond Watson, Carl Abrahams, Kapo, David Pottinger, and other works that are of equal quality and significance but have not received the same level of exposure.

“We were delighted with the turnout at the opening reception of our new exhibition, 'Jamaica Art',” said Urquhart. “This exhibition marks important international collaboration between NGCI and our counterpart NGJ. It is an opportunity to reflect and celebrate the long cross-cultural relationship between our two countries and to open up new dialogue between our cultural organizations and our artists.”

Alva Suckoo government’s back bencher and councillor in the ministry with responsibility for culture gave the opening speech. With his sister Nasaria Suckoo-Chollette and brother-in-law Randy Chollette well-known on the local art scene, Suckoo knows a little about creativity. He also noted that with his family’s mixed Caymanian and Jamaican parentage there was little doubt that the his sister’s own work was a fusion of the two cultural influences.

Speaking about this exhibition he said that, “With any period of intense change, a nation and its people are pushed, stretched and remoulded and with it so too is its culture, and its cultural expressions, both tangible and intangible. This period in Jamaica, the birth of its nationhood, inspired its own urgent and unique cultural and artistic production,” he said.

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Lighthouse school shines light on autism

| 26/03/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): On Saturday, 29 March, the Lighthouse School will host a 2-mile Fun Run/Walk at North Sound Golf Club to raise local awareness about Autism. The event is the first in a series hosted by the school for students with special education needs to mark April being Autism Awareness Month. On 2 April there will be a public forum/information session at Mary Miller Hall, and the event series will conclude with a family fun day at Dolphin Discovery in West Bay on 26 April. The school is encouraging everyone to help ‘shine a light on autism’ and is promoting the series of events with the headline, ‘Light it up blue’. In keeping with the theme, a prize will be given away during the fun run/walk for the ‘bluest’ person. In addition, the first 100 registrants will receive t-shirts. 

The cost of admission to the fun run/walk is $15 for adults, $10 for children of 13 – 17 years of age, and free for younger ones. Funds raised from the event will go towards the purchase of sensory equipment for Autistic students at the Lighthouse School. The event starts at 7am. 
Registration forms can be downloaded at the link below. 

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East End dive resort culls over 10,000 lionfish

| 26/03/2014 | 20 Comments

(CNS): The extent of the problem with lionfish in local waters has been highlighted by the whopping numbers of the marine pest caught by local divers at just one resort. Out in East End Steve Broadbelt and his team at Ocean Frontiers have now culled 10,000 lionfish from East End reefs since they started hunting the marine pest three years ago. As the fish get more adept at avoiding their human, and at present only, predator, keeping the numbers down has become critical as experts lose hope of eradicating them. Matt Russell, a divemaster/instructor, has watched the invasion with deep concern and said the fish are deadly to our reefs. “If we don’t stop them something bad is going to happen,” he said. 

Russell consistently culls large numbers, including a record breaking 56 fish during one 2-tank dive, and teaches customers how to safely and humanely remove the invasive species from the reefs.

“The hunt was wickedly fun at first, but now I feel an obligation to get as many people involved as I can,” he said as concern over the number of the exceptionally adaptable and resilient fish grows.

Ocean Frontiers runs a weekly cull with customers to keep the population down but Broadbelt says he is now organizing special trips as a more aggressive approach is needed for other areas of the reef not regularly dived.

“These trips target the hard to reach areas that are too far to get to on a typical half day trip,” he said. “We’ve also developed what we call ‘parachute drop culling’ where we split the residents into three teams and drop them off along the reef sequentially at the estimated distance apart that they are expected to cover. This enables us to cull over one mile of linear reef at a time.”

So far the resort has killed 10,202 lionfish and all the data about the culls is documented and reported to the Department of Environment, where a lionfish database is kept. Broadbelt said the data  collected indicates that their efforts in the area are reducing numbers at popular dive sites but the DoE has raised its concerns that the fish are getting better at avoiding divers on the reefs away from popular spots where the culling is more frequent, and they are still thriving.

"Yes culling is making a difference, but it is like a leaking boat,” said Broadbelt. “Every time we bail out some water … more just keeps coming back in. We can keep bailing and bailing, but we have to find a better long term solution," he added.

Most marine environmental experts will confirm that over-fishing has dramatically reduced the numbers of many native fish species, and it is by putting lionfish on the menu as a staple fish food that Cayman will have its best hope of managing the numbers. Chef Ron Hargrave, who owns Tukker restaurant at East End and Eagle Ray’s Dive Bar & Grill at the Ocean frontiers resort at Compass Point, has cooked up 6000 pounds of the predators and is playing his part in the goal to beat them by eating them. Hargrave said customers enjoy the delicate, flakey, white meat which he describes as mild and tasty.

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Legal drafter sues HSA for $1.7M in double claim

| 26/03/2014 | 57 Comments

(CNS): A government lawyer working in the legal drafting department has filed a double legal assault on the Health Services Authority (HSA) seeking over $1.7 million in damages due to the side effects of a drug and a missed filling. The legal drafter said he was prescribed Terazosin, which he took for three years for urinary problems without being warned of the side effects. He said the drug cause him much worse medical problems, including skin rashes and erectile dysfunction, which had he known about he would never have taken it. In the same hefty legal claim the civil service lawyer also alleges that a dentist who overlooked a cavity caused him to lose a tooth, boosting his whopping damages request.

In the medical and dental claim filed earlier this month against the hospital in Grand Court, the 58-year-old civil servant said he was prescribed a drug to treat a prostate problem but he was never informed by the HSA doctor or pharmacist that there could be some unexpected and unwelcome side effects.

After taking Terazosin for about a year, he began to suffer shortness of breath. Although treated a few months later atfter he returned to the doctors with a rash and itchy skin legions, he said it never went away. Some two years after he began taking the Terazosin he then developed erectile dysfunction, the government lawyer claims. He complains that none of the doctors ever mentioned any potential side effects from the drug in the three years it was prescribed.

Although he began to pay much more attention to his overall health, the various health issues continued. As a result, he states in the suit that he began researching the medicines and found that Terazosin could be the source of his now growing medical problems. According to the claim, when he told his urologist the doctor became defensive and denied his other health problems were related to the urology drug as the dose was too low.

Nevertheless, in his suit the civil service legal worker states that the cause of his various medical difficulties was down to Terazosin and that the doctors and pharmacists should all have warned him about the side effects as they are well documented. Without that advice, he stated that he was not able to make a balanced decision about using the drug, which he claims has now caused him far more long term harm than good. 

On top of his medical troubles, the legal drafter also claims the hospital’s dentist missed a major cavity, despite his direction to the dentist that he was in pain for several years. He claims that he developed a severe headache, and even though root canal work was done on one tooth, the problem did not go away and he continue to endure pain. Eventually his suffering drove him to the emergency dentist, who found a cavity, but rather than deal with it there and then he put in a temporary filing and gave the patient some pain medication. He also fixed an appointment for another root canal.

During that treatment, the legal drafter’s tooth broke and the dentist was forced to pull it. The lawyer claims that the dentist’s negligence and failure to discover his rotting tooth has caused him significant pain, injury and loss.

In total his claims come to more than $1.7 million as well as interest and legal costs.

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Webb says restoring integrity is everyone’s business

| 26/03/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Taking part in the UCCI anti-corruption conference, local football boss and CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb said it was time to forge a common agenda when it comes to integrity and transparency. Appointed as the VP of the world footballing body in the wake of its significant corruption scandals, Webb has been at the forefront of cleaning up the game and promoting diversity. Speaking about CONCACAF’s progress, he said it was built on new foundations and strong pillars of transparency, ethics and development. “Improving governance standards should be a priority for any organization,” said Webb.

“Without trust at every level, it is impossible to create a strong region like the one we are envisioning. The Caribbean region has diverse cultural, social and economic elements that, while positive in many respects, provide inherent difficulties. The real challenge of uniting nations that are in such different places is defining an integral regional vision of the future,” he said at the local conference.

Gratified by the warm welcome and support he said he had received throughout his travels, Webb expressed his commitment to enrich the region’s diversity, as well as communicate core values and distinctive identities through sport.

“It is our task to make sure that we all work to restore the value of integrity, to ensure that we work for the love of society,” he noted. “This is our time to forge a common agenda, to build on solid foundations, and guarantee professional excellence”, he added.

Webb joined hundreds of guests, speakers, panellist and delegates at the the two-day conference, "Towards a Corruption-Free Caribbean: Ethics, Values, Trust and Morality," which tackled various aspects of values and ethics, as they relate not only to the function of Caribbean governments and political parties, but also to the role of every institution – whether educational, religious, or social — across the region.

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Charities need to register to avoid labour law

| 26/03/2014 | 21 Comments

(CNS):Officials from the labour department said local charities must be registered with the government agency to be recognized as such under the Labour Law and that applications for registration are being accepted.Cayman has no separate legislation dealing with charities to monitor their activities or the funds they collect, but the labour department issues certificates to NGOs so that they are exempt from section 3 of the labour law dealing with pay and working hours. The department is urging charitable organisations to ensure that their registration is current and warned it would still monitor them to ensure they follow the “golden rule” despite being exempt from the law.

The Labour Law establishes minimum standards, however all employers are free to offer terms and conditions over and above the Law. Pursuant to the definition of a ‘charitable organisation’ in the Labour Law (2011 Revision), a certificate of registration, signed by the Director of Labour and Pensions is required before an organisation can be considered charitable. This certificate is issued for a twenty-four month period from the date of registration to organisations that meet the criteria for charitable status.

Charitable organisations include non-profit organisations, service clubs, foundations and other entities covered under Section 80 of the Companies Law, such as schools which may be related to a church but separately registered. Churches are already exempt from the requirements of the current Labour Law in Section 3 (c).

Emphasising the ease of the registration process, Mario Ebanks, Director of the DLP added: “We expect that the accessibility of these forms will help to streamline and expedite the process of registration and issuance of certificates.”

Application forms are available from the DLP office on the 2nd Floor, Mid Town Plaza, Elgin Avenue, George Town, or can be emailed to any organisation which is seeking to apply for registration. The forms are also posted in the forms section of the department’s website,, from which they can be printed and completed.  Applications and supporting documents may be delivered to the DLP office Mondays through Fridays, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.

For more information regarding the application process, please visit or contact the Department of Labour and Pensions, tel. 345-945-8960.

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Sailors to celebrate 50th anniversay of island regatta

| 26/03/2014 | 0 Comments

(CISC): The annual Round the Island Sailboat race takes place on Good Friday, 18 April. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Easter Regatta and we are hoping that we get every sailboat in Cayman out on the water to celebrate. The first regatta was held on Easter Monday, 20 March 1964, off the Beach Club Colony, organised and run by the CaymanIslands Hotel Association. But this year Harbour House is going over the top to attract as many boats as possible to compete in the milestone Regatta. All boats who take part in the Round the Island Race will be eligible for a haul out and power wash, prior to the race, at half the normal cost.

In the first Regatta the prize money was £12 for first place, £10 for second and £5 for third and Catboats raced with Sunfish and an assortment of small boats. By 1980, the Round the Island Race for cruisers had become the main focus of the Easter Regatta.

There were 5 boats in the race with John Staffords “Aries” beating out “Canac”, “Sea Gypsy”, “Caronade” and “Honey”. The numbers competing grew each year until Hurricane Ivan saw the demise of many boats in the fleet. Since then we have seen a slow but steady increase in the number of Cruisers out on the waters of North Sound.

The annual race is run by the Cayman Islands Sailing Club in partnership with Harbour House Marina. The start of the race is in North Sound and the course takes boats out of the main channel and then eastaways aroundthe island ending on Seven Mile Beach. The following day there is a shorter race “Back to the Sound” to complete the circumnavigation. There is also a short race course for smaller boats which goes westaways out of the main channel to SMB. PHRF handicapping is applied to allow all different boats to compete against each other.

Prizes include special 50th Anniversary trophies for the first three boats and also Gill jackets, shirts and gloves for the podium crews. There is also a consolation prize for the last place boat of a free bottom job. All competitors will get an anniversary T Shirts and there will be a post-race party on Seven Mile Beach.

If you would like to enter for the race, contact Rick Caley at

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Cops sued re-motorbike chase

| 26/03/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Two teenagers injured in a motor bike smash following a high speed cop chase are suing the RCIPS for medical expenses and damages after they claim they were forced into a dangerous collision as a result of police negligence. The teens, who were at the time 16 and 15 years old, state that they were repairing the bike, which was why it was not insured, licensed or had a certificate of road worthiness, and they admit the 16 year old driver was not qualified. However, they still claim that PC Phillips who was driving the patrol car at the time was responsible for the smash by Captain’s Bakery on the West Bay Road in the early hours of 16 March 2011 because of his reckless driving.

According to a statement of claim filed with the suit in the Grand Court earlier this month the two teenagers state they were riding the bike on West Bay Road without lights towards George Town. The police car passed the motorbike on the other side of the road but then swung around and chased after it at a high speed in excess of 50 mph. The teen plaintiffs allege that when the cop car caught up to their motor bike he hemmed them in against a Honda Civic and gave then no room to stop or safely pull over and therefore caused the collision in which both boys were injured, one very seriously.

The police press report from the time stated that the people in the car, including a pregnant woman, which was hit by the motor bike were also injured and taken to hospital.

In the suit the teenagers say that PC Phillips failed to turn on his blue lights in good time and drove recklessly at excessive speed to catch up to them. When he did, they say he drove in a manner which then caused the boys to crash, driving into their path and failing to give way, swerving around the road and driving them towards the other car which was slowing down. This they claim, gave the teen motorbike rider and his pillion nowhere to go, “creating a trap behind the Honda Civic and a foreseeable risk of injury” the suit states.

Both boys were injured but the younger of the boys fractured his skull in multiple places among other injuries and was unconscious for several days. As a result, between them the teens are claiming more than $350,000 in medical expenses as well as damages from the RCIPS.

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