Archive for December 16th, 2014

Women take on water challenge for Crisis Centre

Women take on water challenge for Crisis Centre

| 16/12/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Thirty three women took part in the first ever Ride Like A Girl event in Cayman last weekend and rasied over $2000 for the crisis centre. The women’s only watersports challenge as well as being a fundraiser was designed to empower and motivate the participants to overcome any fears they may have of watersports. The group was made up a majority of complete beginners who organisers said showed courage by trying new and intimidating sports while more advanced girls were pushed to new limits under the supervision of local pro’s Maya Lewis, Amy Strzalko and Kiristen Cousins, the event’s founders.

The day started out a Barkers National Park with a warm up Yoga session before splitting the event’s participants between the two resident kite schools, Kitesurf Cayman and Hurricane kiteboarding. Beginners were introduced to the art of kite flying using trainer kites on the sand before advancing to full size inflatable kites in the waters shallows. In the afternoon the women were paddle boarding and wakesurfing.

Waterman shop manager and Coreban paddleboard team rider Kiristen Cousins led beginner paddleboarding classes as well as paddlefit demonstrations. “I’d love for more ladies to enjoy the amazing water we have here and use the beach as a venue for getting fit,” she said. We should all be making the most of our incredible surroundings and paddle-fit is such a good way to do that. I’m so proud of the girls for facing their fears today – water sports are generally male dominated so they can be intimidating but we’ve been able to create a welcoming and relaxed environment for participants to make friends and try something new at this event.”

The day wrapped up with a fast and furious couple of hours on board Wakeboard Cayman’s speedboat which took groups of girls out to try Wakesurfing – a relatively new sport to Cayman, which sees participants surfing a wave behind the boat.

Maya Lewis, on of Ride Like A Girl founders said she was thrilled to be part of the inspirational event. “Our Ride Like A Girl women gather with the hope of trying something new,” she said. “They left with huge smiles, new learned skills, new friends, a new community of women to ride with and tremendous satisfaction from raising funds for a wonderful local charity.

Amy Strzalko, another of the founders, added: “that the aim was to get more girls out on the water, bring people together and raise money for charity.  “Having achieved all of that makes me feel immensely proud to have been part of it.”

Organisers said there was a waiting list and so hope it will become a regular event

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Red Bay’s U11s take Savannah by surprise

Red Bay’s U11s take Savannah by surprise

| 16/12/2014 | 0 Comments

(CUC-PFL): The 2nd round of the 2014/15 CUC Primary Football League (PFL) Playoffs ended Saturday, with a number of very exciting games and a few surprises in the U9 and U11 Consolation and Champions Cups. The inaugural CUC Girls’ Primary Football League (GPFL) also came to a conclusion with the final between Sir John A Cumber and St Ignatius Prep. In the U9 Consolation Cup, Truth For Youth defeated Bodden Town 6-0 and Triple C held off George Town 3-2. In the PFL U9 Champions Cup, Cayman Prep kept their undefeated record with a 4-1 victory over Cayman International School; St Ignatius drew 1-1 with Prospect, Savannah defeated Red Bay 3-1 and Sir John A Cumber secured their 2nd win in a row with a 2-0 victory in the playoffs over the NorthEast schools.

In the Under 11 Consolation Cup, Cayman International School opened their 2014/2105 Playoff campaign with a 4-1 victory over Prospect Primary and Bodden Town Primary defeated George Town Primary 4-2.

In the Under 11 Champions Cup, Cayman Prep blanked Truth For Youth 6-0; Sir John A. Cumber Primary bounced back from their surprise first round loss to Triple C with a 2-1 victory over NorthEast Schools and St. Ignatius Prep scored late to secure a 2-1 win over Triple C.

In the Under 11 Champions Cup ‘game of the day’ Red Bay Primary’s Dequan Messam scored in the last two minutes to secure a famous 1-0 win over previously undefeated Savannah Primary. The win was Red Bay’s second successive victory in the Playoffs following a 2-1 win over St. Ignatius Prep in the first round.

The win elevated Red Bay Primary to second place in the Under 11 Champions Cup playoff standings, two points behind current leaders Cayman Prep and one point above Savannah Primary with two more rounds to go.

To conclude the day’s activities, an undefeated Sir John A. Cumber Primary faced St. Ignatius Prep in the final of the GPFL. The two schools had previously met during round two of the regular season in early October with the young ladies from West Bay coming out on top by a score of 5-0. Eager to avoid a second successive defeat at the hands of their counterparts, St. Ignatius Prep started the game very brightly by spraying passes wide in an attempt to keep the ball away from the always dangerous Sir John A. Cumber midfielders and attackers.

In Stoyanna Stewart, Sir John A. Cumber possess a very talented, natural goal scorer who would not be denied for very long. Miss Stewart blasted her team in front in the 13th minute and added a second in the 27th minute to make the score 2-0 going into half time.
Allison Juarez added a third in the 31st minute to secure the victory and the inaugural 2014/2015 CUC GPFL League Championship for Sir John A. Cumber Primary.
For her efforts and two goals in the final, Stoyanna Stewart was presented with the Marie Martin Most Valuable Player Award from the award’s namesake, Miss Marie Martin.

Sir John A. Cumber’s captain Lily Powery received the League Championship trophy on behalf of her team, while Shayanna Windsor collected the League Runner-Up trophy for St. Ignatius Prep. Cayman Prep finished third and NorthEast Schools rounded out the top four.
Special thanks to the PFL’s young officials David Conolly, Joshua Frederick, Ernie Jacques, Shakur Welcome, Leo Ebanks and Matthew Suberan for officiating all the days games.

The PFL Playoffs will take a break for the holidays and resume on Saturday, January 10 at the Annex Field with the third round of games.

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Ozzie in major row with CO

Ozzie in major row with CO

| 16/12/2014 | 411 Comments

(CNS): Following a number of reports to CNS about a major altercation between the health minister and his chief officer, the premier has now released a short statement indicating that the issue is being addressed. We submitted questions to Minister Osbourne Bodden and his CO Jennifer Ahearn as well as the premier and deputy governor after a number of readers said that the row, witnessed by numerous civil servants, was both shocking and distressing. The scale of the verbal abuse hurled at the chief officer by Bodden over what was understood to be a work-related dispute which took place in the government building was said to be alarming. CNS was also informed that security was called to the incident in the minstry's offices. Ahearn also reported the issue to the deputy governor, who in turn contacted the premier. 

Neither Bodden nor Ahearn have responded to press enquiries but Premier Alden McLaughlin released a short statement from his office Tuesday morning saying: “I do not believe that it is either helpful or appropriate for government to discuss personnel misunderstandings in the press.”

McLaughlin said that when there are strong personalities who are passionate about their work, differences in opinion will occur. “There was such a variance of opinion between Minister Bodden and his Chief Officer, for which the Minister has already apologised in writing to his Chief Officer and the ministry staff,” he said.

The reports to CNS indicated that it was a lot more than a mere disagreement and that there was sustained use of exceptionally foul language by the minister, who had, according to some reports, exhibited a frightening display of temper.

In his statement about what is clearly a serious issue the premier added, “The public can rest assured that the matter is being addressed to ensure that the important work of the Ministry of Health, Sports and Culture is not compromised and the several projects being undertaken by the ministry remain on target.”

He said that both he and Deputy Governor Franz Manderson had taken prompt action when informed about the issue.

Manderson added, “I was contacted by Chief Officer Ahearn concerning this matter and immediately raised the matter with the Honourable Premier in accordance with the Constitution and the Public Service Management Law.” The deputy governor said he was confident the matter is being viewed seriously by the premier and confirmed that there is a plan in place to address the issue going forward.

Details of the dispute have not been released but CNS understands it was triggered following email correspondence between the minister and the CO. Officials have given no further details about the incident and the consequences, if any, for the minister.

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Bread roll swindler walks free after owning up

Bread roll swindler walks free after owning up

| 16/12/2014 | 23 Comments

(CNS): A man who was originally sentenced to seven years in jail over a number of charges relating to a $300,000 bread roll con but who was bailed following a successful appeal will not go back to prison, despite being convicted for a second time after pleading guilty. Acting Grand Court Judge Justice Malcolm Swift explained that because of the special circumstances in the case, despite the seriousness of the offence and lack of mitigation, he would not send 49-year-old Dave Bryan back to jail considering the double jeopardy principle and because he had already served almost three years. Some of the sentences imposed on Bryan after trial in 2012 were consecutive as they were separate, albeit related, offences and one was committed while on bail.

The judge said that his decision to run the sentences concurrently following the defendant's guilty plea was not a green light for other offenders to think they can commit more offences on bail and receive concurrent sentences. The decision related specifically to this case and the special circumstances of Bryan being released after almost three years in jail, he said.

Bryan, who is a Jamaican national, was a partner with West Bay opposition MLA Bernie Bush in Cayman Bakery and he had conned his partner, Bush’s wife, who did the accounts for the business, the firm's driver and the bakery's largest customer, Fosters Food Fair, over a period of almost 12 months, stealing more than US$300,000. Bryan had taken advantage of a weak system at Fosters and manipulated the invoices and documents relating to the bread, rolls and buns he delivered to the supermarket.

It wasn’t until one of the Fosters managers became suspicious about an invoice, which indicated such a large quantity of rolls and baked goods that the supermarket shelves couldnot even have held them all, that an internal investigation began and the crime came to light.

Bryan denied the crime in the first instance and had pointed the finger of blame at both the bakery’s own driver and the Fosters employee who received the deliveries. They were later found to be innocent but both lost their jobs anyway as a result of Bryan’s allegations.

Bryan was convicted after a trial but the Court of Appeal overturned the conviction and ordered a retrial as they found that the crown had failed to tell the court that it had entered into a deal with the Fosters employee that ensured he was not prosecuted in connection with what were later revealed to be the false allegations. The appeal court then ordered a retrial.

Despite the technical point that caused the acquittal, the crown's evidence against Bryan was said to be overwhelming and after various discussion with the crown directions regarding the possible sentence, Bryan eventually owned up and pleaded guilty to certain related offences and made admissions about the con.

Then in what turned out to be a complex arrangement of sentences relating to a number of offences, the judge, following Bryan’s pleas, bundled the crimes together and imposed a sentence of three years and seven months after he gave Bryan a 25% discount for the late guilty plea ahead of the retrial. This sentence replaced all previous orders and the end result was that he would not go back to jail.

“Special circumstances apply in this case and the result is that the sentence is specific to this case and should not be used as a precedent in other cases, none of which are ever likely to replicate these facts,” the judge said, as he indicated the new term would replace the original seven year term.

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MLAs vote for double jail

MLAs vote for double jail

| 16/12/2014 | 42 Comments

(CNS): The country's politicians want to see convicted criminals serve more time behind bars. Government has accepted a private member’s motion brought by the two George Town Coalition for Cayman backbench members, which passed unanimously in the parliament before it was adjourned last week until the New Year. Winston Connolly’s motion asked government to consider doubling the prison terms for people convicted of offences which relate to the residential, tourism and financial services sectors to reflect what he said were the wishes of the community in the face of rising crime and adopt a zero tolerance position. Connolly said Cayman was experiencing the full array of serious crimes, which was impacting the main pillars of the economy.

The motion came following a debate on another private member's motion recently brought by the independent members for a 'three strikes and you are out' policy when dealing with convicted offenders, which won broad support in the Legislative Assembly.

With crime high on the political agenda at present, Connolly pointed to concerns that thefull gambit of crimes taking place in Cayman, from car-jackings and murders to financial crime and street robberies, is taking its toll on the community and the economy. As a result, he said, stiffer jail terms are required. The George Town backbencher said government should give particular consideration to upping the ante with the sentencing of crimes committed against the financial services sector, in tourism related circumstances as well as crimes in residential areas.

Connolly told his MLA colleges, as he presented the motion, supported by Roy McTaggart, that calm and reasonable people were now cursing at the politicians to do something about the perceived rising crime. He also warned that if people in high places were committing crime and not following the rule,s things would get worst.

“Crime is impacting the investment climate and growth and it is increasing costs of doing business and causing reputational loss,” he said, noting that tourists can do much damage on interactive sites such as TripAdvisor when they are the victims of crime. “News of crime here can get round the world really quickly,” he warned.

He said that despite the statistics reflecting a fall in the number of serious crimes, he believed that when people are afraid to go out, when they are locking themselves in and not enjoying life because of their perception of crime, the numbers don’t matter and something had to be done.

The George Town member pointed out that the proposed revitalization of the capital would fail if government couldn’t assure investor and business owners that there was a zero tolerance approach to crime. He urged government to put the necessary resources into crime prevention and call for greater deterrence regarding punishment, as he said criminals should be afraid of law enforcement and the subsequent punishment.

He called for more crimes to be solved and cleared up as well as tougher sentencing, alongside incentives such as creating an environment to generate jobs. He also spoke of the need to prevent too much money and profit leaving the country at the expense of the people. He said with locals not feeling the benefit from the wealth in the economy, this fuelled frustrations.

Connolly called for an “effective crime strategy” as well as the reform of the police and the judiciary to make them more efficient. But he also acknowledged the need to address social deprivation and education standards.

Pointing to past mistakes of leaders in the community who ignored the growing crime problems because it didn’t affect them and allowed people in the community to fall through the cracks, he said now it was time for the politicians to  demonstrate moral leadership and the need to get tough on crime.

Roy McTaggart, who seconded the motion, said the goal was not “to fetter the discretion of the courts but to send a message that our citizens feel unsafe and want stronger action from the police and courts”. He added that what was happening now is not working as criminals don’t fear sentences or respect the rule of law.

Although the motion was supported on both sides of the House, the opposition leader pointed out that tougher penalties were not necessarily the answer, as he pointed to the United States where officials are reconsidering lengthy jail terms. McKeeva Bush also said it was costly to keep people in prison.

Bush said the breakdown in casual labour market was part of the problem. He asked if society would benefit from a mother who was caught shoplifting to feed her child was given a longer jail term. He pointed out that if she goes to jail government has to take care of the child, making things worse for that family and the public purse.

He said it was a more stable workforce that was needed, not more jail. Heasked if there was going to be more police to protect the areas where Connolly was concerned about as he said it was foot patrols and community policing which would have a real impact on crime.

Arden McLean, from East End, while offering his support to Connolly’s motion pointed out that before criminals could be locked up for longer, the police had to catch them. He then said the evidence had to be there and the crown prosecutors had to secure a conviction in the court. He said that in the absence of a well-managed police force and prosecution system, longer jail terms would be pointless. McLean said policing had “gone from bad to worse” as he lamented the failure of officers to turn up when crime was reported until sometimes days after the event.

The independent member also pointed out that regardless of where the powers lay, elected members are still blamed for crime. He said because of that the politicians on all sides needed to get together, behind closed doors if necessary, to address what is happening with the police and to discuss putting provisions in place to improve the criminal justice system.

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Cubans take refuge on East End beach

Cubans take refuge on East End beach

| 16/12/2014 | 17 Comments

(CNS): Local authorities are said to have waived the usual rules for Cubans landing on local shores and allowed 26 migrants who arrived in East End in a homemade wooden boat last week to wait out the bad weather on the beach. Four women and 22 men were given food and drink by members of the public and were allowed to use the cabanas as well as other facilities on the district's public beach at Colliers and were not detained by immigration. The relevant authorities have not yet supplied any details about the arrival of this group or the humanitarian decision to allow the men and women to take refuge without being subject to repatriation as normal. (Photo Peter Polack)

It is not clear if the group has resumed the treacherous journey. According to local lawyer Peter Polack, who spoke to them, the migrants said they were from Camaguey and were four days into their journey when they took shelter in East End. It is understood the group made camp and slept in the cabanas.

The last group of migrants to pass through Cayman waters arrived last month, when 18 men and women stopped in the Sister Islands.  Three Cubans had ended their journey in Little Cayman. They were travelling in an 18-ft, wood and metal vessel with a small engine. Prior to their arrival at the beginning of the month, theimmigration department repatriated 24 refugees from the detention centre in George Town.

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