Archive for August 11th, 2014

Newly convicted lifer tied knot in jailhouse wedding

| 11/08/2014 | 46 Comments

(CNS): A man who was convicted last week of the murder of Robert Macford Bush in a gang-related shooting tied the knot in prison while on remand for his crime. Brian Borden, who was sentenced to a mandatory life sentence, married his girlfriend in HMP Northward in June. The pictures of Borden's wedding ceremony were posted on Facebook recently and show the couple dressed in full wedding gear just weeks ahead of Borden's trial, despite facing a lifetime behind bars. All inmates are allowed to marry if they choose and Borden and his girlfriend would have been given counseling, given his potential sentence. However, on hearing the verdict last week his new bride was distraught and collapsed outside the courthouse.

Borden, who has been in jail since his arrest almost two years ago, was found guilty of shooting Bush, his gang rival, in a killing which triggered a series of gang related tit-for-tat murders across Grand Cayman in which several young man were gunned down.

Bush was shot as he sat in his car at the junction of Birch Tree Hill Road and Capts Joe and Osbert Rd in West Bay, after crashing the vehicle in his efforts to escape the two armed gunmen.

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Borden guilty of murder

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OT minister to leave politics

| 11/08/2014 | 28 Comments

(CNS): The Foreign Office minister with responsibility for the UK's overseas territories has resigned citing a lack of support for ministers who live outside London with families. Mark Simmonds (left), who also had responsibility for Africa, had reportedly told the UK Prime Minister of his intention to leave his ministerial post as well as the political arena "several weeks ago" and before Baroness Warsi, another FCO minister, resigned over the Coalition government's handling of the latest Gaza crisis, which she described as "morally indefensible. The FCO told CNS Monday that although James Duddridge (below) has been appointed as Africa minister, he has not yet been given responsibility for the overseas territories — a job which may go to another junior FCO minister.

An FCO media spokesperson said it may be a "few more days" before that job was assigned but officials would release the information as soon as possible.

According to UK news reports, Simmonds' desire to walk away from politics is because he wants to "provide for his family". Usually a euphemism for something else, Simmonds' decision may be more honest than most, as he described the lack of support for family MPs with constituencies some distance from the capital as "intolerable".

The 50 year old minister recently survived a Cabinet reshuffle, despite being involved in a critical missed vote earlier this year regarding the UK government's position on Syria.

However, the Conservative member for Boston and Skegness is now not just leaving his ministry post but he is also quitting his seat and will not run for office in the general election next year. In a letter to David Cameron allegedly dated 4 August, Simmonds said he would "remain supportive" of the Conservative led coalition and the Conservative Party.

In a statement to constituents, he said that "despite the enjoyment" of the job, "the lack of support available to MPs with families outside of London and the sacrifice to my family life, has become intolerable. At this stage, I need to focus on providing for my family."

Talking about what he had achieved in his job, he said that he had enhanced the partnership between the UK and the overseas territories

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Man suffers burns in YouTube fire craze

| 11/08/2014 | 31 Comments

(CNS): A 26-year-old Bodden Town man was treated at the George Town hospital at the weekend as a result of self-inflicted wounds sustained during the latest craze gripping young men looking for dangerous thrills to record on social media videos. Police said that they hoped that this would be the first and last time that 911 had to deal with this sort of thing as they warned of the dangers of the absurd new trend. The man in this case had rubbed some form of flammable liquid on his torso on Friday night (8 August) and set himself on fire at around eleven o'clock. Police and paramedics responded to the 911 call at 11:11pm after he put out the flames and the extent of his injuries were realized.

Police said that when they and the paramedics arrived on the scene the man was taken to the GT hospital, where he was treated for burns to his torso.

“This is a dangerous act and can have fatal results," said Chief Inspector Brad Ebanks from the RCIPS Eastern Districts. "At the very least, one can be physically and emotionally scarred for life. I hope that this is the last report of this nature that we receive."

Although the craze is not unique to Cayman, the videos that were posted on YouTube from Cayman were brought to the attention of the police last week.

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Woman woken by armed man

| 11/08/2014 | 27 Comments

(CNS): A woman was woken up early Monday morning to a masked, armed man who had invaded her home. Police say the aggravated burglary took place at 6am in Spruce Lane, George Town. The woman, who was not hurt in the frightening invasion, told police she was awoken by the intruder, who had a knife, and he then escaped with cash. The victim said the perpetrator was about 6 feet tall with a slim build and dark skin. He was wearing long jeans pants, a long sleeved shirt and a mask that covered his head and face, leaving only his eyes showing. Police are appealing to anyone who was in the area of Spruce Lane and saw anything suspicious around this time to call the George Town Burglary Team on 324-0683 or 949-4222, the RCIPS tip-line on 949-7777 or Crime Stoppers on 800 8477(TIPS). 

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CUC battles with lightning strikes on poles

| 11/08/2014 | 16 Comments

(CNS): The stormy weather was still keeping CUC engineering crews occupied Monday as engineers battled to deal with more poles struck by lightning this morning. A spokesperson for Grand Cayman's power provider said that by 11am power had been restored to areas around Grand Harbour as well as parts of Shedden Road and Smith Road which were impacted by a lightning strike early Monday morning. Over the weekend crews were dealing with several hits on the West Bay Road, which left some of Cayman's tourist spots without power. The storms damaged equipment and caused outages on both Friday and Saturday.

On Friday 8 August equipment damage to a pole on West Bay road left customers in the area without power between 3:48 pm and 6:15 pm. Then on Saturday 9 August another strike to a pole near Deckers restaurant resulted in the loss of power at 9:45 pm and lines on the road which were repaired by 1:33 am, CUC said.

"CUC’s protection systems operated as they are designed to after the lightning strikes to isolate the area of outage safely until repairs could be performed," a spokesperson explained. "CUC sincerely regrets the inconvenience caused to customers affected by these outages."

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Jeffers’ ex describes tangled gang relationships

| 11/08/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Admitting to being a “wild child” in her youth, the crown’s key witness stood firm under cross examination as Brian O'Neill, QC, tried to paint her as the “Logwood Princess”, which she has on a tattoo, and an unreliable witness. Meagan Martinez gave evidence that Raziel Jeffers told her about the plan he had to get some of his ‘soldiers’ from the Birch Tree Hill gang to rob numbers man, Marcos Mauricio Duran, on Thursday 11 March 2010 in an armed stick-up in Maliwinas Way, and later told her how he had died. Martinez roundly defended her past, admitting without hesitation that she had been around guns and gangs since she was 13 years old, but repeatedly refused to accept that she was “devious”, only that as an abandoned child she had been “angry” and “troubled”.

Answering questions from the defence, Martinez agreed that in her testimony she was repeating what had happened during the shootout according to what Jeffers had told her, and he had probably got the story from Craig Johnson the day after the incident as they cleaned Jordan Manderson’s blood off the getaway car. Furthermore, since Johnson was the driver and waiting in the car when it happened, he most likely was repeating what he had been told by one of the other three young men said to be involved, O’Neill suggested and Martinez agreed.

The “Logwoods Princess” tattoo on her leg was a tribute to Robert Bush, a member of the rival gang. Her relationship with Bush had started when she was about 15 and she had “loved him to the end”, she said. However, she also said she had loved Jeffers and did not want them to kill each other and had once begged Bush not to hurt Jeffers, the father of her baby. She also admitted to having a relationship with Damion Ming, who had been involved with drugs and guns but, she claimed he was not part of either gang but “played in the middle”, which, she said, "does not work".

Asked by the defence, she said she remembered being in bed with Robert Bush one night when his house was shot up and she was grazed by one of the bullets.

But when she was with Jeffers, part of the Birch Tree Hill gang, she said that when Andy Barnes, a Logwoods member, had threatened to throw the baby she had for Jeffers into the air and shoot it, she took it seriously because his child had recently been killed.

She also admitted lying to the police about an incident when, she said, Andy Barnes and another man had been outside a house that she and Jeffers and their baby were in and had pointed a gun first at the dog and then at the building. She said that Jeffers had seen them from the window but would not tell that to the police, so she had told them that she had seen the two men because she was afraid for her child.

After the Maliwinas Way shooting, she admitted telling her social worker that she believed that someone was after her to get at Jeffers. It was part of the cover story (that the robbery had been carried out by the Logwoods gang), she said.

Martinez admitted that she had smoked ganja, had had underage sex, had frequently run away from the Francis Bodden Girls’ Home in her youth and had lied to social workers on numerous occasions. She also admitted to anger issues, having stabbed Jeffers in the knee with a pen on one occasion. “I don’t deny any of the issues I have,” Martinez said.

Martinez is now in the witness protection programme in another country and she admitted receiving $100,000 in living and medical expenses over the last four years, but said the enormous stress of this case had brought her close to a nervous breakdown and she was worried what would happen to her young child if that happened. She had loved Jeffers, she said, but was adamant that she was now telling the truth for the sake of her young child.

“It’s not about getting back at him and not a vendetta. It’s about getting to the truth,” she told the court. She said the situation was “not my son’s fault”, adding, “People must take responsibility for their actions.”

She said that Jeffers “never expected me to do anything or to fight back”. She had thought that Jeffers was powerful and “for a long time that worked; I was frightened. But now I see that he is pathetic, now I see he is just as frightened as all the rest.”

The case continues in Grand 'Court Monday.

Related stories on CNS:

'Numbers man' murder trial

Robbery went horribly wrong

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Get-away driver admits part in NYD jewel stick-up

| 11/08/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The third man accused of armed robbery in connection with the daylight stick-up on New Year's Day in downtown George Town has admitted his part in the heist but has pleaded not guilty to possession of an unlicensed firearm. Christopher Julian Myles admits to having driven the vehicle to the scene at Diamonds International where his two partners in crime, James McLean and Jonathan Ramoon, held up Diamond's International and stole over $800,000 worth of jewels. However, he says he did not know about the 38 Smith and Weston revolver used in the robbery. The crown has not yet confirmed if it is willing to accept Myles plea and avert the need for a trial.

The three men were all arrested in the immediate wake of the crime as a result of an unusual coincidence. Just as the robbers attempted to make their escape, Police Commissioner David Baines, who was off duty at the time, happened to be sitting in his parked car nearby waiting to meet a friend from a cruise ship. As a result, the top cop chased after the robbers and forced their vehicle off the road and crashed into the car, undermining their getaway. When the robbers abandoned their vehicle and tried to flee on foot, the commissioner continued the pursuit in his car. In the process he ran over Ramoon, who sustained a number of serious injuries as a result.

The commissioner was cleared of any wrongdoing in an internal investigation over the level of force used.

The robbers were arrested on the same day and charged soon after and have been held on remand since. Ramoon and McLean have already admitted both robbery and possession of an unlicensed firearm, and if the crown accepts Myles' plea, the sentencing for all three is expected to take place in October. The case has been adjourned until 29 August, when the prosecuting counsel will confirm the crown's decision over Myles.

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Brac teens charged over booze burglary

| 11/08/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Two 17-year-old boys from Cayman Brac have been charged with stealing 19 bottles of alcohol from a local bar and possession of ganja after appearing in court last week. Geoff Ryan Scott and Torry Javier Powery were charged in connection with a break-in at the Coral Isle Bar. Police arrested the youngsters after one bottle of the stolen loot was discovered at Scott's house, where both boys were staying, and others were then found hidden on property nearby. Scott was bailed on a tag but with no one to sign surety for him, Powery was remanded in custody until the teenagers' next court  appearance on 14 August.


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Ex fire boss fights sacking

| 11/08/2014 | 13 Comments

(CNS): The former acting chief fire officer who was removed from the post following a UK review of the local fire service says he was kicked off the job without an explanation and without an opportunity to contest his removal. Rosworth McLaughlin has turned to the courts and is seeking a judicial review of the decision by his former boss, Home Affairs Chief Officer Eric Bush, and the Civil Service Appeals Commission's refusal to hear his case. According to an application filed in the Grand Court by his lawyers last month, McLaughlin says there was an implication that he was booted out of the fire service as a result of poor performance. McLaughlin states that he was told he was placed on early retirement to improve the efficiencyof the service but without being told what he was doing that was undermining that aim.

In the court documents, McLaughlin says that the chief officer acted unfairly and unlawfully as he failed to state either orally or in writing the factual basis on which the decision was made. McLaughlin calls on the courts to overturn that decision and ask the chief officer to review his position or compensate him financially for his enforced retirement. McLaughlin claims that while his bosses have pointed to a review conducted by visiting UK fire service experts called in to help improve the local service, McLaughlin said he has not seen that report or been told of its content.

The ex-fire boss indicates that the decisions about his position were made behind closed doors and did not "ensure an open and fair employment process" as required by law. McLaughlin's claim states that "implicit in the decision" of the chief officer "is an adverse finding" with respect to his performance but he claims that he has not been told where his performance fell down nor was he given any opportunity to respond to the allegations.

McLaughlin, who had been acting as the chief fire officer, also states that by failing to hear his appeal, the commission's decision amounted to "wrongful inaction" and a refusal to carry out its statutory duty.

The former acting chief fire officer is looking for the decision to be overturned and also cash compensation to repair the "smear" on his character as well as the damage it has done to his future employment prospects.

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New boss appointed to roads authority

| 11/08/2014 | 4 Comments

(CNS): The Board of Directors of the National Roads Authority (NRA) has now filled the position of managing director, left vacant after Brian Tomlinson was sacked in 2012 because, the board at the time claimed, the authority was “downsizing”. However, earlier that year Tomlinson had ordered the seizure of a controversial shipment of 32 tonnes of dynamite that came into Cayman without the correct paperwork, which triggered a police investigation involving the premier and the private sector firm, Midland Acres. Paul Parchment has now been appointed to the post of MD on a 3-year contract, effective from 8 August 2014.

This Board was appointed during the last quarter of 2013 and took the decision earlier this year to launch an open recruitment process to substantively fill the post of managing director, authorities said. The Portfolio of the Civil Service provided professional human resource advice and support and the position was advertised in mid-April. Only two candidates were short-listed from those who applied and these were the two senior NRA employees who had alternately acted in the position.

The candidates were given written assignments and interviewed by a panel of five persons – four from the NRA Board and one from the private sector with professional HR experience. The Board of Directors accepted the recommendation of the panel that the job be offered to Parchment, who joined the Public Works Department in 1988 as an engineering aide. He holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Florida A&M and a master’s in road management and engineering from the University of Birmingham.

“We are pleased to have been able to resolve this matter. It was fundamental to the effectiveness of the Board and the agency that there be a full-time head of the authority” said Board Chair Donnie Ebanks. “We are also pleased that a suitable candidate could be found within the agency. There is much that needs to be done and the Board looks forward to working with Mr Parchment over the next few years to enhance the road infrastructure,” he added.

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