April 9, 2020

Lessons can be learned from brave Arlene


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When Leonard Antonio Ebanks was found guilty of murder last Friday and handed a mandatory life sentence the collective sigh of relief coming from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service – and indeed from all of us – could be heard for miles.

The conviction marked the end of a thorough police investigation and – after recent high-profile trials have not gone their way – was a great weight lifted from the shoulders of the detectives involved.

The real hero in all of this wasn’t the hard-working officers and lawyers who put together what was clearly a watertight case, but a home help who proved to be the prosecution’s key witness.

Arlene White could have told police she saw and heard nothing. She could have shied away from the case altogether and refused to cooperate and who really would have blamed her?

But, no, Arlene did the right thing. She stood up in the dock and told the truth. And it was her evidence that resulted in Justice Charles Quin describing her as “a courageous woman who told police and the court the truth”.

I can only echo Mr Quin’s fine assessment. It often takes bravery, courage and integrity to do the right thing instead of the easy option, which in this case would have been to keep schtum. Ms White contains all those qualities and the praise heaped upon her cannot go unnoticed.

Ebanks will spend most of his natural life behind bars. Another person who will suffer for a very long time is the mother of Tyrone Burrell, the victim who died of a single gunshot to the head.

She will get some sense of justice from the court’s decision and may feel a little closure. She will never forget her son and she shouldn’t do either.

Her life sentence will last for just as long as the man who pulled the trigger and took him away from her.


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