Catron charged over NBF allegations

| 28/05/2014

(CNS): Local activist Sandra Catron has been charged with nine counts of uttering false documents in connection with certificates for courses funded by the controversial Nation Building Fund initiated by former premier McKeeva Bush. When she was arrested for the offence last December, she was also charged with obtaining property by deception in connection with the scholarships for courses at her on-line training centre from the government fund, but that charge has been dismissed. The Financial Crimes Unit is now pursuing Catron because she printed and supplied copies of certificates the students would receive to government officials, at their request, before the courses were completed.

The 40-year-old campaigner was charged yesterday morning around 6am (Tuesday 28 May) and is now due to appear in Summary Court on 3 June.

Meanwhile, Catron continues to pursue a civil case against government in connection with the same issue as she says that she has still not been paid for a number of the students who were awarded scholarships and who have completed the relevant courses.

Despite the controversies surrounding the fund, Catron is the only person to be charged in connection with it. She told CNS that “four times in four years” was no coincidence, as she referred to the times she has been charged, which Catron firmly believes is because of her ongoing challenge to the local authorities over a number of issues and her insistence that the police and the public prosecutors do things in accordance with the law and because she has exposed their short comings several times.

“The RCIPS and DPP continue their personal vendettas against me – sadly I am not surprised,” Catron alleged. “At this stage I think it's obvious to any objective person as to what is actually going on. My decision to challenge the establishment has proven to be one I will continue to be punished for. However, I remain confident that justice will prevail and I will be victorious in the end as Ihave always been. These challenges have only served to strengthen my resolve and faith and make me more determined to hold my head high and continue to speak out for the voiceless.”

The outspoken activist has already proved her mettle in the court room against government lawyers in a number of civil and criminal cases in which she has prevailed, despite not yet being a fully qualified lawyer.

Catron has fought the authorities on a number of issues, from her arrest over a rescued dog she was accused of stealing to her well-publicised victory during a judicial review when she exposed the fact that the police were using JPs to sign warrants who had no clue what the cases were about.  Her successful courtroom challenge resulted in a change of policy at the RCIPS, which now claims officers no longer go to JPs with no legal qualifications and led to the implementation of training programmes for those given justice of the peace status.

Her public support for a Facebook page naming and shaming Cayman’s sex offenders created in the United States has also provoked the authorities as a result of the possible identification of victims, as well as those convicted of the sex crimes.

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