Archive for November 18th, 2014

Prosecution sets background to banker’s murder

| 18/11/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Following a week of closed door hearings and legal arguments the crown began calling witnesses this week in its case against Leonard Antonio Ebanks for the murder of Frédéric Bise in February 2008. Ebanks is the second person to be charged with the brutal killing of the Swiss banker after Chad Anglin from West Bay was convicted in April of this year. The director of public prosecutions says that Ebanks was part of a joint enterprise with Anglin in the murder. During the first two days jurors heard evidence from Bise’s friend and landlady as well as a causal lover who had planned to meet him on the night he was killed but their liaison never happened.

Both witnesses testified during the Anglin trial and had described their friend and his lifestyle to the jury. Once again they had both said that Bise was a fun loving and kind person who would not harm anyone. However, both witnesses raised their concerns about the high risk behavior that Bise, who was gay, was engaging in during the weeks leading up to his death.

Bise’s former casual lover described how he had waited for Bise to come and collect him but when he did not turn up he fell asleep. Despite receiving a call and several texts from Biseduring the night he did not look at the texts or listen to the messages until the next morning. Bise’s last call to his friend was at around 2-30am and the witness said the voice mail had recorded just the sound of the wind. Bise’s landlady also told the jury that certain personnel items of his including jewellery, his lap top and phone were missing from the house after he had been killed. According to the crown these items were later seen by other witnesses in the possession of Ebanks.

The jury also heard a number of statements on Tuesday that painted a backdrop of what Bise did on the night before he was killed. A number of different witnesses described how they had met and drank with Bise during the course of the evening at different bars. The bankerwas said to have met other French speaking friends at Guy Harveys, before going on to Deckers and then Calico Jacks, before he was last seen on CCTV at Kellys Bar in West Bay.

Bise’s body was found in the back of his own burned out vehicle outside the house where he was living at the time in West Bay in February 2008. He had been beaten to death with what the crown prosecutors believe may have been a concrete cider block. The prosecution’s case is that Bise met Chad Anglin at Kelly’s bar and was seen leaving with him on the night before his body was found.

Anglin’s DNA was found on cigarette butts at Bise’s House and in his car. The crown claims that at some point in the early hours of the morning of his murder, Anglin called Ebanks and asked him to meet at the dykes in Barkers where it is believed that the two men then killed the banker by dropping a block repeatedly on Bise’s head and upper body, as well as strangling him.

The case finally came to court this year after both Anglin and Ebanks were charged by the RCIPS’ cold case unit following a review of the case which was resubmitted to the DPP to confirm the charges.

There will be no evidence before the jury Wednesday but the case is expected to continue on Thursday morning in court two.

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FIFA calls for Swiss police probe into corruption

| 18/11/2014 | 2 Comments

(CNS): As corruption troubles continue for FIFA the global football body has asked the Swiss authorities to launch a criminal inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the bidding processes, which led to the award of the 2018 and 2022 world cups go to Russia and Qatar. The move,Tuesday, follows days of criticism of FIFA for allegedly covering up its own evidence of corruption in the bidding and raises the prospect that some of the current and former administrators could face criminal charges. Announcing the request, Sepp Blatter, said internal inquiries had discovered “grounds for suspicion that, in isolated cases, international transfers of assets with connections to Switzerland took place”.

A FIFA statement said: "The subject of the criminal complaint is the possible misconduct of individual persons in connection with the awarding of the hosting rights of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups investigated by Michael Garcia, chairman of the investigatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee. In particular there seem to be grounds for suspicion that, in isolated cases, international transfers of assets with connections to Switzerland took place, which merit examination by the criminal prosecution authorities.”

The Garcia report will be handed over to the attorney general's office by Eckert but he and Blatter remain adamant the full report cannot be published.

Blatter said: "There is no change to judge Eckert's statement that the investigation into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups is concluded. The matter will now also be looked at by an independent, state body, which shows that FIFA is not opposed to transparency."

Asked about the publication of the report, he added: "If FIFA were to publish the report, we would be violating our own association law as well as state law. The people who are demanding in the media and elsewhere that FIFA publish the report are obviously of the opinion that FIFA should or must ignore the law in this regard."

While in the UK in September, Cayman’s’ Jeff Webb, the president of CONCACAF and Vice President of FIFA told the British media that it had “a lot of work to do” to rebuild its tarnished reputation in the wake of series of corruption scandals and  said the organisation “could have gone further” with its reforms and said he believed Garcia’s report into allegations of corruption during the bidding process should be published in full.

The identities of the individuals who have been reported to the attorney general have not been disclosed. Eckert's findings released last week did name two people, both former FIFA ethics committee members, as having contravened rules – Jack Warner from Trinidad and Tobago, who resigned in disgrace in 2011, and Mohamed Bin Hammam, the former Asian confederation president from Qatar who was banned for life by FIFA.


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Suspect booze burglar netted

| 18/11/2014 | 2 Comments

(CNS): A 55-year-old man from George Town has been arrested on suspicion of burglary after break-ins at four alcohol outlets in the capital since Sunday night. Police believe the suspect may be responsible for stealing beer, spirits, liquor and a dozen bottles of champagne after they recovered a large quantity of alcohol at his house Tuesday. The RCIPS is also warning people not to buy cheap booze in unusual circumstances as they may be purchasing stolen goods and could face prosecution. The police are also urging business owners to improve security as Christmas approaches, sucn as installing audible alarms to deter burglars and CCTV to identify them if they are not.

The latest booze crime wave began late Sunday night, 16 November, with a burglary at a mini-warehouse in Central George Town, where a quantity of beer and spirits was stolen. The suspect had broken into the warehouse by cutting the bars to the building.

Then, in the early hours of Tuesday morning an alarm was activated at C.L Flowers and Son on Seymour Drive. The police attended the location and met with the owner. Although the premises was entered, nothing was reported stolen. The third incident occurred at Jacques Scott's North Sound Road warehouse, where various types of beer, liquors and spirits were stolen. The fourth break-in happened at Blackbeard’s Liquor Store in Buckingham Place, where a rear window was smashed and around twelve bottles of champagne and a quantity of spirits were stolen.

As a result of these incidents police went to an address on Maple Road, George Town, where a 55-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of burglary and where a large quantity of alcohol was recovered. The suspect remains in police custody pending further investigations.

In the wake of the crime spree Detective Chief Inspector Malcolm Kay warned people who are offered and accept any wholesale alcohol at a reduced price from anyone under unusual circumstances that they may be committing the offence of receiving and handling stolen goods and be liable to arrest and prosecution.

“Anyone who is approached to purchase any such items of alcohol is encouraged to contact the RCIPS immediately,” the senior officer stated.

Given the time of year, he also encouraged business owners to review their security measures.

“Leading up to the festive season criminals may continue to target businesses where such consumables are stored or sold,” he warned. “Ensure CCTV is functional and providing clear images of key points of entry can greatly assist in identifying intruders.

"Audible alarms will discourage most burglars as they will not want any attention to be drawn to themselves. Additionally checking doors, windows and locking mechanism may deter opportunist criminals. It is also recommended that large sums of money are not stored on premises overnight,” Kay added.

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Private sector volunteers help kids in transition

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(CNS): A group of students who are in their final year at George Town primary school have begun attending the Positive Intervention Now (PIN) programme run by the Education and Youth Committee of St George’s Anglican Church after local accountancy and consulting firm confirmed its commitment to supporting the programme with cash and fifteen voluteers. The kids attend the programme which has been running for seven years on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons during the school term at what is sometimes a difficult transition for young people from childhood into their teens and from primary to secondary school.

Marlene Ricketts, the PIN programme facilitator, said the success of the programme is largely down to the sponsors who do such a tremendous amount of good for the young people.

“I really cannot thank the PwC volunteers enough for their continuous support of PIN over the years,” she said. “The fact that the firm has been happy to donate monetarily every year is a big enough contribution in itself; the fact that the staff members themselves are so giving of their time is invaluable. Not only are our young people able to gain from the academic and artistic input PwC staff bring to the programme, they are also able to develop their social skills as they interact with staff members on a one-to-one basis. I know our students always look forward to Wednesdays when the PwC staff come along.”

Ricketts also said she was grateful to the firm for their recent donation of four extra laptops.
“Having the technology to teach the young people in a way to which they can particularly relate is priceless in our teaching at PIN,” she said “On behalf of the Board, staff, volunteers and students at PIN we offer our sincere thanks to PwC staff for their generosity. They should know they make a huge difference.”  

The fifteen PwC staff, who volunteered for the 2014/2015 term recent met the group of younsters and spent time getting to know them explain about the projects they would be working on, alongside the students throughout the school year.

Angilynn Chan-Baraud, PwC’s Business Development Manager, coordinates the firm’s efforts to assist the PIN programme. She explained that they had a full agenda in store.
“PwC has been a big supporter of the PIN programme for 7 years and as the years have gone by we have become increasingly involved with the development of the programme itself,” she said. “This year we will be working on a fun photography project with the youngsters, whereby they will be given their own disposable camera and asked to take photos for a competition that we will be running throughout the weeks. 

“We will also be assisting the children in helping them develop their maths skills and be on hand for any homework questions. Three or four of our volunteer PIN team attend PIN every Wednesday to work alongside the youngsters and the PIN staff so students get a great one-to-one experience.”

She said he firm was happy to help the children who have been selected for PIN because it’s a critical time in their lives. “The programme helps develop the youngsters’ skills in so many ways, not just intellectually, but socially as well…And I know that our staff also get a great amount of satisfaction from their interaction with the young people,” Baraud added.

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Schools to battle it out over perfect words

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(CNS): The preliminary rounds of the primary and secondary National Spelling Bees drew to a close on Thursday 13 November, with a closely contested high school competition at the Mary Miller Hall, officials said in a release from GIS. Aaron Fernandez, Alec Harding, and Toni-Ann Daley from John Gray will join Dilan Tatum, Gabriella Ritch and Thomas Sevik from Layman E. Scott (Cayman Brac) in the Lions Spelling Bee finals on 3 December. Meanwhile, nine primary school students will be battling it out for the RBC Royal Bank Cayman Ltd. Spelling Bee on 2 December.

George Town Primary is sending through Amare Hamilton, Jelani Hanson and Jemma Watson. Prospect Primary will send Everton Spence and Brianna Ebanks. Aria Gooden from Sir John A. Cumber Primary, Kadre Williams from Cayman Academy, Thaddeus Solomon from Savannah Primary and Deidre Edwards from Bodden Town Primary will also be looking to get all the letters in the right order.

Both finals take place at the Mary Miller Hall and members of the public are welcome to attend.

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UK to make hearings public for rogue cops

| 18/11/2014 | 8 Comments

(CNS): The UK’s home secretary has plans for police disciplinary hearings to be held in public. Cayman often copies the UK’s police procedures and such transparency here would be widely welcomed as concerns have been expressed for a long time about the way police complaints are handled. Cayman doesn’t yet have an independent body to deal with complaints about officers and even when they are disciplined or removed the details are hidden from the public.  In the UK Theresa May said she also wanted to see legal independent experts chairing panels for officers who commit misconduct.

May said the new system, which is set for public consultation, would be "more robust, independent and transparent", according to reports on the BBC.

As part of the plans, panels will have the power to rule that officers whose contracts are terminated for disciplinary reasons should not qualify for a pay-off. May said, "The integrity of the men and women who work in the police service of England and Wales is critical to public trust in policing. I want to ensure that the systems and processes that deal with misconduct by police officers are robust, independent and transparent to the public."

The RCIPS has come in for considerable criticism regarding the way it handles complaints about rogue officers. Complaints are handled behind closed doors and by other police officers. The outcomes are never made public. Pay-offs are kept under wraps and even when officers have been dismissed the conduct leading to their sacking is never revealed.

Unless the issue reaches the courts, the outcomes regarding complaints and allegations about serving officers have always remained secret.

Although the RCIPS did eventually make public a report regarding the events leading up to the suicide of officer Raphael Anthony Williams after an independent review was carried out by the Bermuda police, a report into whether or not the commissioner had used excessive force when he ran over a suspected robber was not.

Williams hanged himself in East End inJanuary days after he was released from custody having been arrested by his colleagues over allegations that he was soliciting sexual favours in exchange for not issuing traffic tickets. The events leading up to his suicide were documented in the report and the conclusions of the investigation were made public.

However, in contrast the enquiry into whether or not Police Commissioner David Baines had used excessive force when he ran offer a suspect in the wake of a jewellery heist on New Year’s Day remains under wraps. Although officials had confirmed that no action would be taken against David Baines in connection with the significant injuries sustained by Jonathan Ramoon after the top cop had used his car to run down Ramoon and prevent his escape, the details of the internal probe have never been published. In addition, the identity of the officer conducting that enquiry has never been confirmed.

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Stingrays take title in Pirates week swim meet

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(SSC): Ella Kaye Lockwood was on deck to open the official Pirates Week Mike Lockwood Memorial Swim Meet last weekend with a prayer and a moving tribute to the vision, passion and community spirit which her late husband – Mike Lockwood – was known for.The meet took place November 13-16 at the Lions Aquatic Centre hosted by Stingray Swim Club and attended by swimmers from Stingray Swim Club (SSC), Team TI (TI), Camana Bay Aquatic Club (CBAC) and Special Olympics of the Cayman Islands (SOCI) and swimmers from Triple C School. In the overall points standings, Stingray Swim Club placed 1st with 5,438.5 points; Camana Bay, 2nd with 4,586.5; Treasure Island 3rd with 1,429 and SOCI, 4th with 23 points.

“It was an excellent weekend of swimming and fun and over the four days of competition, with swimmers’ competing in long distance events such as 800m and 1500m; middle distance events such as 200m and 400m events and 50m and 100m sprints,” said Stingray President Amanda Roberts. “I am very proud of our swimmers many of whom swam personal best times (PBs) and set new CIASA records over the course of the four day meet.”

There were many notable swims over the four days, with new CIASA records set (still pending final official approval at this time, but they will be announced shortly).

The relays took on a different appearance at this meet, as the swim clubs worked closely with CIASA to try something a little new … in the spirit of creating strong competition which would benefit all the swimmers, the coaches selected relay teams across the club … putting swimmers from all the clubs behind the same block. The resulting relays were exciting and saw some very competitive races taking place.

High Points Winners Girls U6 – Libby Lindleyz (TI); Girls 7-8 Gabriella Royston SSC); Girls 9-10 Stephanie Royston (SSC); Girls 11-12 Alison Jackson (SSC); Girls 13-14 Stefanie Boothe (SSC) and Girls 15&Over Lauren Hew (CBAC).

Boys U6 Phinn Ellison (CBAC); Boys 7-8 Jack Hendriksen (CBAC); Boys 9-10 Corey Westerbourg SSC); Boys 11-12 Jordan Crooks (SSC); Boys 13-14 Eddie Weber (CBAC) and Boys 15&Over Cole Morgan (SSC).

Michael (Mike’s son) was on deck for the closing of the meet and along with Pirates Week Director Melanie McField, presented the awards.

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Junior underdogs topple top tennis seeds

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(TFCI): Last weekend’s PwC  junior tennis Masters Championship was full of surprises, as three out of the four top seeds fell to lower-ranked players. Callum Theaker beat top seed Daniel Reid in the 18&U group; Jake Serpell defeated powerful Oskar Bjuro in the 10&U; and Calum Lindsay took out Harrison Clough to secure the 14&U Masters title. The only No.1 seed to claim a Masters crown was Jack Lomax, who remains unbeaten this year in his 12&U division. Reid, 16, was a little unlucky going into the 18&U final with Theaker, as he had already played a tough three-setter only a couple of hours earlier against Brad Johnston.

Theaker, on the other hand, got a bye when his semi-final opponent Jade Wilkinson was forced to withdraw with an injury, so went into the match fresh. Theaker, 14, the No.2 seed and Reid’s chief opponent, proceeded to take the match 6-2, 6-1, but it was clear Reid was playing well below par. Reid accepted his loss with grace, but he nevertheless easily emerged with the most points over the year in the 18&U division, and finished ranked no. 1 and 2014’s champion, an honour recognised by a large trophy. Theaker finished the year as No.2.

Calum Lindsay’s hard-fought victory (5-7, 6-3, 10-8) over Harrison Clough in the finals of the 14&U group was a big upset. The fifth-ranked player in this division, Lindsay, 12, was expected offer little serious resistance to Clough, but he proved he was not so easily dismissed. With his intelligent, consistent game, he ultimately squeaked past his aggressive but more error-prone opponent. Despite the loss, Clough, aged 11, finished the year as the No. 1 ranked 14&U and was named 2014 14&U PwC champion.

The player who earlier this year dominated the 14&U division, talented Bobby Lomax, is taking a break from tennis, so did not take part in the Masters.

While Jack Lomax, 9, cruised through his matches to win the 12&U division, the player who grabbed the crowd’s  attention was finalist Neildeep Ghosh.

Ghosh, ranked outside at no.4, earned his way to the semis, where he held his nerve to scramble past no.3 seed Alex Claybourn (1-6, 6-3, 12-10) to make the finals. There, he put up a strong fight, succumbing 3-6, 3-6 to Lomax. This was a great result for Ghosh, who finished as runner-up in front of no.2 seed Lauren Fullerton and no.3 Claybourn. Lomax, who plays above his age group, finished the year as the 12&U champion, and also took home a plaque for winning the Masters.

Jake Serpell, winner of the Masters 10&U division, proved that his win over Oskar
Bjuro in October’s fourth PwC tournament of the year was no accident when he won their final on Sunday, 6-3, 6-3. Serpell clocked up wins against Ella Beighton and Caden Stradling to make the semis, where he dismissed Todd Purton 6-1, 6-2. Bjuro, for his part, beat younger brother Sebastian, Holly McLean and Todd Purton, before coming up against Caden Stradling in the semis.

Stradling, who applies plenty of pressure with his aggressive play, almost unseated Bjuro, but eventually went down 4-6, 6-4, 11-13. Serpell’s win over Bjuro in the finals means he may well be one to watch in 2015, along with Stradling. Bjuro nevertheless finished the year claiming the no.1 ranking by a comfortable margin, and collected a large trophy as 2014’s 10&U PwC champion.

The Masters – to which only the top 8 in each age group are invited — was held at the Courts at the Ritz-Carlton on Saturday and Sunday, with the finals on clay courts on Sunday afternoon.  Trophies were awarded by PwC’s Charles Bolland. The PwC junior tennis circuit is run by the Tennis Federation of the Cayman Islands, with the help and support of local pros.

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Brac marine unit to boost crime fight

| 18/11/2014 | 15 Comments

(CNS): The RCIPS has established a marine unit on Cayman Brac. Police said that the deployment of a Typhon vessel on the Sister Islands will help law enforcement agencies deter crime and improve safety and security with the permanent presence of a Joint Marine Unit (JMU). From its base of operations on the Brac, the primary purpose is to provide search and rescue, maritime security and border protection operations specifically for the Sister Islands. “We are aware that with limited maritime patrols the likelihood of drugs, guns and illegal persons being introduced into our community increases and the JMU-CYB detachment is an important part of our response to mitigate these risks and threats,” said Insp. Ian Yearwood, commander of the JMU.

“The particular vessel selected for this deployment is equipped to allow us to successfully operate in various scenarios, while ensuring both the safety of its operators and other persons who may be on-board,” he added

The JMU-CYB detachment has been designated one dedicated patrol vessel and a team of officers from the Immigration Department, HM Customs & Excise, the RCIPS and Department of Environment.

The Typhoon can be launched from multiple locations on the Island and can operate within the confines of the reef, on openwater at extended ranges, as well as in adverse conditions.
“The presence of the Joint Marine Unit will greatly enhance the border protection and search and rescue capabilities in the Sister Islands,” said Deputy Premier and Sister Islands representative, Minister Moses Kirkconnell.

“The Joint Marine Unit will also provide invaluable assistance to the tourism sector which attracts numerous visitors, particularly divers, to our shores each year. Should an unfortunate incident arise at sea having a professional unit available in the local area that can quickly and efficiently respond makes a significant difference when timing is a factor. I commend the collaboration of officers from all of the respective law enforcement agencies and look forward to working with them for the benefit of our Sister Islands’ residents and visitors,” he added.

Detective Superintendent Robert Scotland, and officer responsible for the Specialist Operations portfolio in which the JMU resides, said he was confident of positive results from having a presence on the Brac.

“One of the immediate benefits we have already seen is the improved working relationship between the officers from the Police, Customs, Immigration and Department of Environment who form the core JMU-CYB team. There is a lot of synergy here and the team is coming together very nicely,” he said.

The RCIPS offered thanks to the ministries of district administration and home affairs, district commissioner Ernie Scott and his team and all of the other persons who worked behind the scenes to establish the unit and make this project a reality.

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Commission adopts child’s design for mental health

| 18/11/2014 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Having recently been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, 8-year-old Hope Academy student Kaydence Whitney said she was keen to help others who have experienced similar social difficulties and peer rejection. Her first step in helping to raise awareness of what many kids and adults go through when they are living with mental health challenges, Kaydence’s design, whichshe submitted for theMental Health Commission’s logo competition, was selected as the winner. She was one of ten students who submitted images but Kaydence’s personal story brings significance to the commission’s identity, officials said,  by using her symbolism to help fight the stigma around mental illness.

Selecting the winning design was based on adherence to the commission’s mission and advocacy goals.

Describing the logo, Kaydence said it represented “all the people who have something different with their brains and how they feel because of it”. The teardrop shapes with words written on them represent the experiences and feelings of a person who has mental illness. At the bottom a person with open arms symbolises the Mental Health Commission.

“The person is welcoming everyone, no matter what makes them different, because they give people hope,” said Kaydence.

The logo is currently undergoing production and a final copy will be revealed within the next month.  Announcing Kaydence’s win on 6 November, the commission presented her with an iPad Mini that was co-sponsored by Tony Cleaver of Cayman MAC Store, Behavioural Health Associates Cayman (BHAC), and The Wellness Centre.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines Asperger's syndrome (AS) as one of the autism spectrum disorders (ASD) characterized by irregularities in social interaction and communication that pervade an individual's functioning.

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