July 5, 2020

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iNews briefs 2APrisoner sets fire in his cell

On Friday (27) around midnight government officials confirmed via a Government Information Services (GIS) release on Tuesday (30) that they were forced to deal with a minor fire after lockdown in the prison’s high security area.

The release said the fire was minor and dealt with by prison officers and not the fire service.

An inmate who is on remand at the High Risk Unit (HRU) set fire to his clothes in the cell and started the blaze. As a result, some inmates in the HRU were escorted to the Cayman Islands Hospital and treated for minor effects of smoke inhalation before being returned to Northward.

Vandals continue vandalizing PPM election signs

More of the Progressives (PPM) party’s signs have been torn down, spreading from George Town to Bodden Town.

The PPM posters were ripped from a board in Bodden Town that was pulled out of the ground and then tied to a UDP sign.

The PPM boards appear to be the subject of the disgusting vandalism. Despite pleas by the Elections Office for a fair fight and sportsmanlike conduct from all those involved in the campaign, the targeting of the PPM is becoming increasingly sinister, the party leadership said Tuesday.

Alden McLaughlin said, “I am very disappointed by the measures resorted to by our political opponents and urge everyone to understand that the billboards and posters are part of the legitimate campaign process and they should be respected. I urge Progressive supporters not to retaliate, as that is not what we are about, and leave it to the police to investigate.”

The most sinister piece of vandalism was the one in Eastern Avenue, George Town, by the turn-off to Watler’s Road where the signs were slashed along the candidates’ throats,

The Elections Office and the police have been notified and an investigation is now underway.

Pension fund thief has sentence reduced

Robert Schultz (41) was handed down a five year sentence by Justice Charles Quin last year following his admission that he stole US$289,660 from the Chamber of Commerce Pension Fund when he was the fund’s manager and sole employee.

He took the money over a two year period to fund an uncontrollable cocaine habit.

However, his sentence was cut by a Court of Appeal last week to four when the three judges found that the judge had begun his calculations at too high a point as he had not considered the conversion of the currency or inflation.

As the sum was in US dollars and not CI and using guidelines based on case law from a theft that occurred more than fifteen years ago, the appeals court agreed with Schultz’s defence attorney, Ben Tonner who had pointed this out.

The Appeal Court judges restarted the calculations in a lower band, but because of the circumstances of the case they too found few mitigating circumstances and arrived at four years, cutting the jail term by only 20%.

Facebook posts by Northward prisoners

Two prisoners, currently serving time in HMP Northward, have managed to obtain a smartphone and gain access to the Internet to post pictures on Facebook, a social media site, of themselves and fellow inmates in their jail cells this month.

Along with comments and general posts made by the prisoners within the last few weeks, one of the prisoners is showing a gang sign, while another appears to smoking a spliff (ganga).

Authorities admitted Friday (26) that the pictures represent a systemic failure of security.

Eric Bush, the chief officer in the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs, said, “I can confirm that cellular phones and smartphone devises have been discovered and confiscated in the prison system over the last 18 months.” He also said he would supply the exact figures in the near future.

“The picture in question shows a systemic failure of proper security measures but also a failure in adequate rehabilitation,” he added. “We have had a recent inspection by a prison security expert and he has identified a number of areas to improve on. These are all matters we are looking to address and will be the priority for the new prison director, who will be taking up post in early June.”

RCIPS arrest cocaine couple

A 25-year-old man and a 35-year-old woman were arrested by police in the early hours of Saturday morning after a routine stop uncovered illegal drugs. During routine police patrol by the RCIP, Operational Support Unit officers stopped a black Pontiac motor car at around 1:30am (27 April) along Shamrock Road in Red Bay George Town. Officers searched the car and discovered white substances resembling cocaine in powder and rock form. Both suspects were arrested on suspicion of possession of cocaine with intent to supply and suspicion of consumption of control drugs.

A police spokesperson said that the couple and the vehicle were transported to George Town Police Station where they remained in police custody Saturday.  The RCIP stated that it will ensure that people involve in the drug trade and committing drug offences will be targeted and put before the court.

Anyone who may have information on crime taking place in the Cayman Islands are urged to report these crimes to any local police station or call RCIP hotline at 949-7777 or Crime Stoppers on 800(TIPS)8477.

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