One life lost, one saved in March

With the Compass headline on 18 March announcing a body had been found in East End the worst fears of the friends and family of Sabrina Schurn were to be confirmed.

Five days before she vanished, Sabrina had received threats from a man who walked into her workplace, Blockbuster Video in Grand Harbour, with a crowbar. He was sent away.

Sabrina left work on Wednesday morning and didn’t show up to several scheduled appointments, and a missing person’s report was filed on Thursday afternoon.

Family members began searching for Sabrina on Thursday night, and the vehicle she had been driving was found near the East End rock quarry along a dirt track late Monday afternoon.

Sabrina’s body was discovered less than 24 hours later about a mile away from where the car was found. An autopsy showed she died from multiple sharp force and chopping type injuries with a bladed instrument.

Her family was upset by the treatment the case was accorded by the police and it was a search party of five people; including Sabrina’s brothers, Kevin and John Michael, and her sister Kristina, who located her remains.

The searchers all insisted that no police officers were even in the area and that the only other people they encountered were a camera crew from the local television station.

Met costs raise eyebrows

The total cost of a UK Metropolitan Police team’s investigation into alleged corruption at the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service reached $6.1 million, including court expenses and settlements.

Then-Acting Police Commissioner James Smith said that of the $4.4 million spent in this year’s budget some $1.8 million had been spent on the initial corruption investigation, dubbed Operation Tempura, $1.75 million was forced through by Governor Stuart Jack to settle up some legal costs for the probe and another $915,810 was needed to further support the initial investigation, as well as to support a separate probe, called Operation Cealt.

Former Cayman Islands MLA Lyndon Martin and suspended Deputy Police Commissioner Rudolph Dixon had been charged with criminal offences in the investigation and were to face trials in 2009.

Legislation doesn’t arrive

In the final days before the Legislative Assembly was dissolved on 23 March ahead of the 20 May general elections, a number of bills including the National Conservation Bill, which sought to revamp the way Cayman’s environmental protection policies are enforced, did not make it through to law.

The overhaul of the entire tariff system government had been seeking since mid-2007 never happened.

In addition, a proposal that passed in the Legislative Assembly back in February 2005, but that was not implemented by the government in the next four years was the graduated licensing programme for young drivers.

Recommendations for a Disabilities Bill in Cayman that would improve access to public and private buildings, improve mental and physical health care treatment policies and ensure that the disabled would not be discriminated against in hiring or movement was addressed in this legislative session also did not materialise

Budget deficit sky-high

The forecast operating deficit of $29 million was revealed in a supplemental appropriation presented to the Legislative Assembly on 20 March but did not stop Cayman Islands lawmakers from passing economic stimulus measures that could lead to a further reduction in government

Then-Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts sought to calm fears about Cayman’s financial position, noting that Moody’s Investment service has recently given the islands ‘the second highest credit rating in this hemisphere’ at AAA.

He also noted the deficit could not be foreseen, as it included some $14 million on extraordinary expenditure on such items as rebuilding from Paloma, the Met investigation and the Justice Levers tribunal.

No more corporal punishment

The Cayman Islands Government outlawed the use of physical force of adults to discipline children in schools with the passing of the Education Modernisation Bill on Thursday, 19 March.

The former education bill was more than 20 years old. Under the previous Education Law, revised in 1999, corporal punishment was allowed by law in all public and private schools only where no other punishment was considered suitable or effective by the principal.

The 16-part bill set out the terms of education in primary and secondary schools, career and technical institutions, tertiary institutions, early childhood institutions and lifelong learning, and included a decree of early childhood learning and a compulsory additional school year for pupils.

UDP Candidates declared

The new UDP candidates for the May elections announced on 12 March were Dwayne Seymour, Johnathan Piercy, Pearlina McGaw-Lumnsden, Ellio Solomon, Mark Scotland and Mike Adam, who joined incumbents McKeeva Bush, Rolston Anglin, Cline Glidden, Captain Eugene Ebanks and Julianna O’Connor Connolly.

Emergency brain surgery saves woman’s life

Christine McLeggon, a Jamaican domestic helper underwent emergency brain surgery after a seemingly minor knock on the head turned into a major medical emergency.

After she fell into a coma, visiting neurosurgeons Dr. James Akinwmi and Dr. Adriaan Liebenberg who just happened to be on the Island, working with Chrissie Tomlinson Surgeon Christopher Bromley drilled two holes in her head, relieving pressure from leaking blood on her brain and saving her life.