UK blamed for lifers’ tariffs

| 27/10/2014

(CNS): The opposition leader, the member for East End and government’s veteran back bencher for Bodden Town all railed against the UK last week during the Legislative Assembly debate on the conditional release bill. The new law, when it comes into force, will, among other things, introduce a tariff system for prisoners serving life sentences. This means that anyone convicted of murder, which calls for a mandatory life sentence, will now have a possibility of parole once they have served an estimated thirty years. However, many members were unhappy about the change and blamed the UK for imposing this new regime for lifers.

Arden McLean suggested Cayman was “enslaved in the colonial system” and perhaps the time had come “to part ways so we can be in control of our own destiny".

Although most members in the House supported the bulk of the law, which also deals with the management, rehabilitation and supervised release of all offenders, some were concerned that those serving full mandatory life sentences would no longer necessarily die in jail.

The current government has introduced the tariff system to comply not only with Cayman’s Constitution and its Bill of Rights but with the international treaties signed by the UK. The FCO had also made it clear that either CIG dealt with the question of possible parole for lifers or it would impose the tariffs.

McLean expressed his concerns about the fact that local politicians are not in control. He said it took him a long time to come to terms with that because he had entered politics to make a difference but learned that there was in reality little he could do, since Cayman had others who were “masters of our destiny". McLean also raised concerns about liberal judges and those who, he said, would “let their friends" out of jail.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush also blamed the FCO and expressed his concerns. He added, “We are living in perilous times.”

Bush said he believed in human rights but he also believed in an eye for an eye. Bush said that crime had increased since the abolition of the death penalty in Cayman, which he said was also forced upon the country by the UK. The opposition leader questioned whether or not 30 years was enough to punish or deter cold blooded murderers.

Railing against what he said were the double standards of the British, he pointed to discussions in the UK about imposing a life sentence without parole for people who kill police officers. Bush said the UK was taking away Cayman’s choice and he believed that criminals would take advantage of the human rights obligations that government had. He said that although he appreciated the position government was in and supported the rest of the bill, he could not support the introduction of a 30 year tariff for life.

The Progressive’s veteran politician, Anthony Eden, the deputy speaker and first elected member for Bodden Town, was also scathing about human rights as he too railed against the UK and the enforced abolition of the death penalty and now the opportunity for killers to be released.

“We have got to stop the mollycoddling of criminals,” he said, adding that he believed people werescared to come out of their homes. He took aim at the police and questioned what the law enforcement agencies were doing and said the “pussyfooting around” had to stop. Eden said that when he saw what was happening, he had to wonder about the UK's agenda regarding the Cayman Islands.

“They come at us with so many different angles … we can’t seem to satisfy these people,” he said, referring to the British government.

Eden lamented the amount of money spent on prisoners and said he wished the same amount of time and money could be given to the elderly and those who were in need.

Although the members who spoke during the debate on the bill focused on the 30-year starting point tariff, the term served by anyone given a life sentence will not, in fact, be limited to 30 years. In the first instance, judges will have some flexibility to increase or decrease the tariff according to the extenuating or mitigation circumstances of the cases that come before them.

Once a tariff is set, that indicates the minimum term that the offender must serve before he can be considered for possible, but by no means certain, release. The lifer will then appear before the Conditional Release Board, and if they believe he is still a risk to the community in any way, he will remain in jail — and that could mean for the rest of his life. Only if all things point towards successful rehabilitation will the board set a release date.

Lifers will, however, remain under supervision for the rest of their lives, and should they commit an offence of any kind, they will be returned to jail and may still serve the rest of their days behind bars.

The change in the life sentence will address the section of the Bill of Rights which deals with cruel and inhumane treatment. The idea of sentencing someone to life in prison without any hope of every being released is considered torture.

In addition, experts say that when there is no hope of release and nothing to lose, rehabilitation and control of inmates can be difficult. 

See related story on CNS: Lifers get 30-year tariffs

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  1. Bill Visa says:

    Funny that the ones jumping up and down are the ones who used govt credit cards for personal fun or are doubling dipping at the govt trough. Funny that.

    Independence with you lot in charge? Not on the kindest of days!



  2. Anonyanmous says:

    TO Hon Arden McLean

    We don't agree with what the UK does sometimes but we don't want political independence from the UK now and certainly not for a long time, we are still crawling and we need to run before we let go of mother's hand or we might never walk properly much less run; so on behalf of many we say please try to get us on a stable path like you tried to do while a member of Cabinet.  I know that your statement was emotionally charged and I understand, when you see what is happening to your people and country and you are somewhat powerless to stop it but I know that you will find a way to stop the mess.  Just keep EE and NS as pristine and local as possible and at the end of the day Caymanians will be out in mass to support your efforts as we see the glory and also know the (your/our) story.

    • KY1 says:

      Pristine? EE and NS? What roads are you driving? What yards are you seeing?

      These two chest thumping clowns have done nothing for their districts. Can't even get the roadsides mowed on a regular basis or roadside trash picked up.

      Perhaps they should spend less time on the talk show listening to their own voices.




  3. Lamentations says:

    But these are good Christian MLAs.  The Christian approach appears to be that life sentences are improper "penal populism", to quote the Pope:

  4. Slowpoke says:

    The current reality is that many Expat lifers and others, are eventually being sent "home", where they will be eligible for parole.  So, it is a double standard that only Caymanians truly get life sentences.

    • Anonymous says:

      Surely this is a good thing?  Dirty expat foreigners are not coming here, taking our prison beds and food?  Hurray for good, honest, local born criminals.

    • joker says:

      Woe is we!!! The Caymanian Life Sentence is more than an Expat… Are you kidding I guess your happy to have someone deserving of a "LIFE SENTENCE "on your streets again…

  5. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps if they were to actually read the UK sentencing guidelines for murder, they would realise that "whole life order" is still available to judges as a tariff in the UK (the guidlines are freely available on the UK Crown Prosecution Service website). I very much doubt that the UK would insist on something less stringent for the Cayman Islands, so if Cayman has decided on something different, then that was up the GIG, not the UK.

    This is just an attempt to divert attention from your failings when you were in Government and the justified criticism that you have been subjected to over the last few weeks by creating a furore over another issue. Stop XXXXX giving contracts, jobs, nation-building grants to your friends & supporters and borrowing public money interest -free XXXX and account for every penny of public moneyproperly – maybe then you earn the right to criticise others.

  6. Caymanian x says:

    Then again if McKeeva is opposing it, he must know what he is talking about.  So I guess I will have to follow him. I trust my local leader more than the Uk ones. 🙂

  7. Caymanian x says:

    I don't see anything wrong with giving a person a second chance after 3 decades?  I agree with the Uk on this one.

    • Anonyanmous says:

      You know what 8:34 tell that to the families of all the deceased, they deserve a second chance on earth too to see their love ones.  Tell that to the mothers who will never see their children laugh again or sit across the dinner table, tell the wife/husband who will never share another special moment together, tell that to the grandchildren who missed out on knowing their grandparents.  When these people get their second chance at life on earth again, then I might be prepared to give murders a second chance until them let them stay right where they are an eye for an eye in my books.  On behalf of a beautiful soul Estella I say NOT IN MY NAME!

      • Anonymous says:

        Let go of the hate, it will only polute your soul, there is a Good Book out there and half of it is about forgiveness. The other half tells us parent curses, adulterors and bankers should be put to death.

        • Anonymous says:

          08.36, is it the new Stephen King novel? Suggest you don't read it, it clearly gives you nightmares.

  8. Anonymous says:

    When their new required end of their sentence come up, just send them to the UK.

  9. Anonymous says:

    A suggestion to Mr. Eden and Mr. Bush is to use a part of their double income to help the poor, sick and elderly.

    Stop playing the voters.

    The law doesn't state that killers come out after 30 years. It says they are up for parole, that can simply be denied.


  10. Anonymous says:

    Why do we always blame the police for criminal activity?  They didn't train them to be criminals, society did.  When the police probe for evidence, society cries "police harrassment" and politicians scramble to make the gathering of evidence more difficult.  When a crime is committed, the police asks society for help; they need evidence and people willing to say what they saw in a court of law, but society says it didn't see any evil and it heard no evil.  Politicians blame the police for unsolved crime.  At court, lawyers try to villify the police, like they are the ones who committed the crime.  When they go to prison, they are out before serving half of their time it seems; if not on parole they are on early release.  Police may make human errors at times, but by God, no one in this process of criminal justice is without fault.  We seriously need to examine the system.

  11. Gordie says:

    This article highlights the appalling fact that Cayman's leading politicians have little or no regard for laws concerning human rights. It also shows that they believe the law should be used for "revenge" rather than justice. 

  12. Anonyanmous says:

    Cayman just need to send the lifers to the UK for them to take care for the 30 years sentence since that is what they have mandated.

    • Anonymous says:

      As they haven't been convicted of a crime in a UK Court, the UK Government would have no right to hold them, so they would be released the moment they set foot on British soil (or ship or aircraft, for that matter). Care to have another think about your suggestion?

      • Anonymous says:

        Little do you know that dangerous convicted criminals from Cayman have in fact been imprisoned in the UK.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Of course Mac will blame the UK…It saves his very limited brain from having to debate a very complex social issue.

    He is on a mission to take us towards independence so there will be no one to stop the pillage…go away Mac..just go away…before hopefully you are put away.

    • Anonymous says:

      Soon come. The mechanisms of it turn in ways that are not so apparent.

  14. Naya Boy says:

    Every single cent of our budget is now being spent on this enormous law enforcement apparatus. What a terrible  shame for his little place? So sad our leaders are either blind or just indifferent to the situation.

  15. Anonymous says:

    So let me get this straight, the judge has "flexability" so if the killer stabs you twice, that makes a difference?

    Lifers remain on "supervision" by who??!! the RCIP?!!! Oh great that is reassuring.


  16. Anonymous says:

    Simple solution… Take them directly from the prison to the next BA flight destined for the UK.

  17. Anonymous says:

    While both sides (UK and our local lawmakers) have points here, I have to side with the view taken by the UK.

    As for the talk or inferance of Independence….I say NO!

    I cannot in any way begin to see our Cayman Islands as better off by breaking away from the UK.

    I can well appreciate the emotions involved by anyone affected by vicious crimes….but can also appreciate rehabilitation of some. The new law speaks to the "posibility" of paraole….not that it's automatic!

    Perhaps Mr. Mclean and Mr. Bush (and some others) should concern themselves with ethics and prudent care of our resources….the UK is in no way stopping that eh.

    Born and bred Caymanian….and a voter.

  18. Anonymous says:

    The same old wind bags making noise because they don't understand the system. If you recall, the judge sentencing the killers of Fusilier Lee Rigby delayed his ruling before the UK Supreme Court had ruled on whole life tariffs. This was due to interference by the Europe in the first instance, forcing the court to make a definitive ruling on the matter.

    The presiding judge eventually sentenced both killers to whole life terms with no prospect of release. The same option now applies to the CI courts.

    It will be for the CI parole board to decide whether an offender is to be released after he/she has served the sentence handed down by the judge. They will be Caymanian citizens and hopefully untainted by the corruption that is so endemic within the political class who hate having their crooked dealings overseen by the FCO. This gives the power of continued imprisonment or release on licence to representatives of the Caymanian people, not the UK government.

    This is just another opportunity for McLean to shout his mouth off and spew his isolationist bile for the delectation of his dead head supporters. Can you imagine him and McKeeva running this country as republican state, it would go the pan so quickly you wouldn't have time to blink. Think about that when they rant about the evil UK/FCO.

    Oh yes, and for their information, Cayman was never a colonial conquest, it was founded as an island outpost and populated by British subjects on behalf of the King. It has always been a British Soveriegn Territory, however they are welcome to hand back their UK passports and lose the associated privileges if they wish.

    • Anonymous says:

      God help these islands should they decide to become independent. As one ex-politician said, the only independent, is Financial independent, that we are not.

      If we think by pulling away from UK is going to free us from international laws and policies, just try it. First thing, we cant feed ourselves, the world would put an embargo on these islands like they did to Cuba.

      Our only saving grace , is for the UK to pull out of the European Union. They are the ones that make the laws, which got the UK in this mess, then they told the UK  to get all her little colonys to follow the EU rules.

       Brussell (EU) wants to put the criminals back on the streets. As one bloger said, the EU judge forced the UK courts to come to a quick decision on the Lee Rigby murdered case.

      In another case, the EU lawyer wanted to free the two murderers who killed and burnt Estella Roberts.

      The UK were corn hop into joing the EU for the sake of free trade. They find out the hard way. EU has now summoned the UK to caugh up 1.7 Billion pounds to assist with feeding the poor Easten Europen block. These are countries that joined the union recently.

      This has brought Cameron to his senses and wants out.

      • Anonymous says:

        You are mixing up the EU with the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights. When you talk about sanctions being imposed on Cuba you should recognise that the U.S., which is not a party to the ECHR but which is a signatory to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, does not observe the same human rights standards as the UK and other countries who are parties to the ECHR, in particular with respect to capital punishment.  Not that I am in favour of Independence.  Just saying.

  19. Anonymous says:

    And not satisfied that recent headlines suggest a sufficient degree of destabilisation and represent enough of a self destructive death spiral, the wise member for EE suggests notions of independence! 

    Should be enough to help that death spiral along nicely!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Anyone who murders another should spend the rest of their life in prison as they have unlawfully taken away the other persons right to life forever.  How can incarcerating someone for life be cruel and inhumane?  Unless you let them out so they can kill again.

    Be that as it may I am sure lawyers being lawyers can find ways to extend the 30 years three fold.  And Arden, we ARE NOT parting ways with the UK because without them we'd have no check and balances against politicians who love to wield unbridled power.


  21. Anonymous says:

    Go independent.  Then you will have a lot more crime to debate about.

    • Anonyanmous says:

      Cayman don't need independence all they need to clean up this place is the revocation of the mass status grants of 2003 prior to that life was GOOD!

      • anonymous says:

        Not if you were having three burglaries a day back then, with a smaller population than now as a victim pool and no status grant holders to blame it on.

        • Anonymous says:

          "If", but we know that is not so. It is a well known fact that crime spiralled upwards after Hurricane Ivan.  

        • Anonyanmous says:

          4:47 you got your dates mixed up the three burglaries per day began on 31/12/2003 and have escalated ever since.  I am sure that most if not all of the criminals are caymanians but then again that is subjective to lots of factors those that I care not to get into…… natives need to get this crime situation under control because if we continue with this increase in crime there will be no where to run soon, we talking about independence we better hold  fast to the UK  for the next 100 years.

  22. Anonymous says:

    No point in blaming the UK. Our own politicians signed up to international human rights conventions. That they did not read them or understand them first is no-ones fault but their own!

    And Mac. Please be quiet. When you push for the revocation of status from one of your blessed 3,000 or their 7,000 imported kin that is convicted of a serious offence, we will listen again.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone see the irony of the most unresponsible people in Cayman (including the one who admitted to using CIG funds for gambling, but it was OK because he put them back) and those people who cannot get government accounts in order commenting on sentencing policy and blaming the UK?

    One has to wonder if they are thinking of their own potential future sentences and secondly if they don't like the UK's version, they are a parliament and can vote it down. Or they could listen to the public who are p*ssed off with random non sensical sentencing and sign off? Or do they not answer to Caymans voters? What a bizarre state of affairs.

  24. RP says:

    Cruel, inhumane treatment, torture? Isn't that what they deserve for inflicting cruel, inhumane treatment and torture to their murder victims? They should be allowed out when their murder victim comes back to life.

  25. Anonymous says:

    This is easy to solve.  Just go independent if you don't like UK rule,  its always easier to blame someone else right?  But all our MLA's know it is the lesser of two evils.  The financial industry would collapse and the tourism industry is not enough to sustain the Cayman way of life.  MLA's could never make the salaries that they do in an independent Cayman.  A recent court case involving the premier involved top lawyers from the UK without which he may not have succeeded. It works both ways.  Some things the UK do we may not like but the benefits of having them there far outweigh them otherwise we would have gone independent years ago.  I suggest the elected members turn their attention to things of real importance like the fiscal policies in their own government before youbgive the UK good reason to take over.