Dead perp had Cabinet Status

Harryton Rivers was in prison just before he got citizenship

Harryton Rivers-Valdespino, the man
who was shot dead while breaking into a house last week, was granted Caymanian
status by the Cabinet in 2003.

Records indicate Rivers-Valdespino
was in prison just before he received Caymanian status.

Rivers-Valdespino, 29, died after
being shot in the abdomen by a 65-year-old homeowner while breaking into a home
on Liguinea Circle near the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in George Town. He had
been ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device on his leg by law
enforcement, but had taken the device off before he was shot.

Known also as ‘Harrington’,
Rivers-Valdespino had been in trouble with the law from an early age.  In October 2000, at the age of 19, he was
convicted and sentenced to four years in prison for the robbery of a taxi
driver that occurred in July 2000. He had pointed an imitation firearm – a
flare gun – at the victim during the robbery, which was the first known case of
a taxi driver being robbed in the Cayman Islands. Records indicated
Rivers-Valdespino initially went to prison on remand for the crime in August
2000 and was not released from prison until July 2003.  The first batch of Cabinet grants of status
started in July 2003 and went on through the end of that year.

On the alphabetical list published
in the Cayman Islands Gazette on 31 December, 2003, of people who received
status by way of Cabinet grants, Rivers-Valdespino was number 2,171 of
2,850.  Rivers was born in Cuba but had
family links to the Cayman Islands.

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In October 2005, Rivers-Valdespino
was sentenced to 18 months in prison in relation to a burglary that took place
during curfew at a Savannah gift shop just after Hurricane Ivan struck 11/12
September 2004. In November 2006, he was sentenced to three years for handling
stolen goods and two years for burglary and was not released from prison until
7 April this year.

The large number of Cabinet status
grants in 2003 led to a challenge by the Caymanian Bar Association, which
sought a judicial review to have the grants reversed.  The case was eventually abandoned. However,
negative public sentiment about the status grants was a focus of the People’s
Progressive Movement election campaign in 2005. The PPM swept in to power in
the May 2005 elections, winning all nine seats contested by its party members.
Rumours circulated widely at the time that one or more of the people granted
Caymanian status were in prison.

George Town Legislator Alden
McLaughlin was one of the PPM members who brought up the issue of the Cabinet
status grants during the 2005 election campaign. He said Monday the lack of
scrutiny of those granted status by Cabinet was compounded by the permanence of
the grants.

“The status granted by Cabinet is
irrevocable under the law,” he said, noting that other forms of Caymanian
Status could be revoked after the conviction of certain crimes. “That was one
of the main reasons we objected.”

Former United Democratic Party
Member Roy Bodden, who is now out of politics but was a member of Cabinet in
2003, admitted there was “chaos” surrounding the way lists of people’s names
were submitted to Cabinet for grants of status, especially toward the end of
the process. Mr. Bodden said lists were coming from multiple sources, including
Cabinet ministers and civil servants. “Who didn’t submit a list,” he asked.

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  1. This is the worst piece of journalism that I have ever seen. Why was it necessary to report that he had Caymanian Status? As a matter of fact why is his nationality even a factor? As I stated elsewhere all that this information will do is stir up the 2003 Status debate which saw this country being brought to its knees with the us vs them argument. The media has to do better than this.

    This man while he was born in Cuba seemed to spend most of his formative years in Cayman. He has been in trouble with the law from an early age. Not only did our system fail him but his parents and the community failed him as well. He was a convicted felon with Caymanian ties. He had various opportunities to better himself and he did not take advantage of any of them.

    He ended up being killed during the commission of yet another offence.

    The article should have focused on what made this man who decided to turn to a life of crime. What about interviews with his family? What about delving into his background to see whether he was from a broken home? At what age did he arrive in Cayman? Did he have a stable home life? We really should start looking at the causes of crime in this country and try to nip it in the bud by employing social services to provide guidance in the schools and communities so that we do not continue to have more Harrington Rivers.

  2. Get real tennisace!So it’s OK that government was giving away our country to known felons? That’s news!
    Give me a break. "He had various opportunities to better himself and he did not take advantage of any of them." So why was he eligible for status? It was clear he had troubles. Yes, why indeed didn’t someone step in and help him? Maybe he didn’t want the help, but he knew which politician would get him a lincense to live here and continue to take advantage of the people who do peaceably live, work here and make a commitment to the betterment of our society.

  3. The point I am trying to make reader is that we need to stop looking at blaming individuals and start looking at ways to fix the problem, because in case you have not seen it, we do have a problem.

    I have been to the summary court on many occassions and seen many of our young Caymanians being dragged before the Court before they are even old enough to drive, let alone be out on their own. A lot of the times there are no parents in the gallery, just a bunch of friends.

    Our young people are being left behind and instead of pointing fingers at who or what class of Caymanians are committing these offences, we need to put things in place to ensure that it stops happening. Too many of our parents are in bars or behind bars themselves to even be good parents. There are people at the various boys and girls home who are struggling to make a dent in the social fabric of this country by trying to nurture these young people so that they turn from a life of crime.

    Drugs and alcohol have invaded the lives of our young people turning them into addicts at an early age. In order to support these addictions they turn to a life of crime. There is a revolving door into Northward and Fairbanks and all we can talk about is pointing fingers and blaming someone else.

    My point is that nationality or status has nothing to do with it. We need to look at the causes and try and remedy the breach. 80% of those who are in Northward and Fairbanks are Caymanians, born and bred. Of those 80% close to 100% of them cannot read or write. They have absolutely no sense of self. These are the young people who should be making Cayman better. Unfortunately, they are locked up and locked away. When they are eventually released they return to a life of crime because that is all they know.

    Many generations have grown up seeing mom and dad doing drugs and alcohol. The cycle continues. When will it end. The worse that the economy gets the more of this we will be seeing. Are we going to continue to point fingers rather than sitting down as a community and finding answers. Clearly, that is what we are doing now, but it has to stop. It must stop.

  4. And in response to your question about how did he get Caymanian Status. He got Caymanian Status because of his ties to the Cayman Islands through his foreparents. He was as some would like to say "Caymanian from birth". He may not have been born here but he had roots here and pursuant to the Immigration Law he was entitled to the Right to be a Caymanian.

  5. The courts need to start sentencing the parents and the children to rehabilitation and make it mandatory for ALL of them to be Educated. Education is the key to curbing crime in any society. Why don’t we promote Education.
    Why are the children going into prison illiterate and coming out illiterate? While they are there they should learn to read and write it should be a requirement before release. They along with the parents should learn:

    Life Skills
    A Vocational trade

    This will better prepare them to adjust back into society.
    Until this system is at work, government is not playing its role in making the Cayman Islands a better place.