Shedden Road squatters arrested, buildings demolished

Anna-Evans-Eviction-F-L

The saga concerning the extended family of missing landfill worker Anna Evans, who refused to leave their Shedden Road homes, came to an end on Wednesday with the arrest of four people and the demolition of two buildings. Among those arrested were Evans’s family members Anthony Scott and Lucy Ebanks, who were previously served with writ of possession papers but had refused to leave.  

Royal Cayman Islands Police blocked off Shedden Road from Eastern Avenue to the junction of Maryland Street prior to the arrests. Chief Inspector Claudia Brady was in charge of the morning operation that involved at least 20 officers.  

The arrests were made after the owner of the property, Kent “Biggie” Rankin, filed a complaint about criminal damage and criminal trespass. Ms. Brady said the people were not arrested simply because they refused to leave the property, 

“There is no offense for that,” she said.  

Police entered one of the homes occupied by Scott to make his arrest, while Ebanks was arrested outside of the house closest to Shedden Road. 

“We had no issues with the arrests, no one was hurt, and an investigation will go forward now,” Ms. Brady said. 

More than 20 people in six families, including the five children of Ms. Evans, occupied the homes, which had been subject to a writ of possession issued through the court since Oct. 16, 2012. 

Family members in the area shouted at police as locals gathered in the street to watch the arrests.  

One of the most vocal was Ms. Evans’s sister Noreen Dixon, who has been looking after the five children since Ms. Evans disappeared on Jan. 27, 2011, after last being seen at work at the George Town Landfill. 

“There is no law in this country,” Ms. Dixon said. “This is what they are putting us through…” 

Chief Inspector Brady said some of the children and their caretakers were given alternate housing. 

“We ensured that was happening before anything was to be done here,” she said. “Some of the persons, of course, were resistant.” 

Prior to the demolition of the row of homes, which started in the afternoon, possessions of the occupants who remained were removed and placed on the ground near the homes. Ms. Dixon and a few of the children ran into one of the homes to grab a few things, and then other family members removed numerous boxes and carried them across the road to the home of another family member.  

Chief Inspector Brady said any personal items not taken would be secured until the owners found alternate housing. 

At one point, the operator of the excavator demolishing one of the houses had to stop after it was discovered that someone was inside the home gathering belongings. 

Ms. Dixon said Children and Family Services had secured a place for her and Ms. Evans’s children in one of the government affordable homes in Bodden Town. Another Evans family member who lived in one of the homes told George Town MLAs Marco Archer and Joey Hew, who were among the 200 or so people watching the demolition in the afternoon, that he and his family had nowhere to sleep that evening. 

Contacted in the U.K., Cayman’s police commissioner David Baines underscored that “the law of the land must be complied with.” He explained that the situation on Shedden Road had advanced from a civil matter to a criminal one – specifically criminal trespass and criminal damage to property – clearing the way for his officers to move in. 

He emphasized that the RCIPS was making every effort to ensure that the operation was executed “safely and without causing undue risk or harm to anyone.” 

Cayman Compass journalists Brent Fuller and Samantha Bonham contributed to this article. 

Anna-Evans-Shedden-Rd-83

Children, and a “treasured friend,” leave the premises. – Photo: Chris Court

1 COMMENT

  1. Here’s my take, if it matters. The editorial board is entitled to their opinion just like the rest of us. I actually appreciate them printing comments that disagree with them and chastise their opinions. This is something you don’t get from other News Services, so they have my Kudos on that.

    Now as far as their references to the Governments part in this whole thing when it comes to social services, I think that should have been touched on in a different editorial because I think it’s an entirely different subject and it distracts from the main issue here and that is Caymans reluctance to enforce the rule of law. In this case I think the owner of the property is the victim and while I do agree that it is a sad situation for the families the fact remains that they were occupying this property illegally for years which I am sure was a significant financial strain on the property owner, this should have been dealt with long ago.

    The statement that there is no law against refusing to leave the property makes no since to me, because that basically mean that there are no laws protecting property owners against squatters and if the court order you out you can just ignore them. And contrary to what they said this became a police matter and they broke the law the minute they removed the locks that were placed on the doors by the courts and reentered the property, what’s this crap about the owner having to file a criminal complaint for property damage in order for them to act. Where the court orders meaningless ?

    As far as why the local MLA’s stayed away from this, it should be obvious that they didn’t want their faces involved with it when these folks were eventually evicted and be seen standing on the side of the law with children suffering on the other side. Had the Compass asked them their opinion I am sure there would have still been no comment. And as John pointed out this is a matter of law not Politics. However it does prove that these guys only show their faces in situations that they can benefit from politically and this wasn’t one of those.

  2. The police commiss., and leaders ostensibly are not doing what they were hired to do. ENFORCE the law, protect, serve and uphold the law of the land. Whether it be a hold out family who under the law hd no right to dwell, or any other case. Mr.Rankin’s rights were ignored, not to mention probably nearly bankrupted him with legal expenses. Toughen up Comm. Baines and Inspector Brady. This island doesn’t have the kind of record that encourages tourism. The murder rate is out of this world, especially West Bay. Mind as well be in Jamaica.

  3. Lukishi Brown: The Police Commissioner and the officers of the RCIPS are required to uphold the CRIMINAL laws in the Cayman Islands. It is NOT their responsibility to enforce matters that are within the jurisdiction of the CIVIL law. The two are very separate and for good reason.
    This matter has been, throughout, a civil matter. The rights of ownership are NOT criminal matters and only when a crime has been reported, can the RCIPS act.
    If, as Mr Davis suggests, there is no criminal law covering illegal occupation of property then that is a matter for the elected representatives to decide.

  4. This is obviously something property owners need to seriously consider before purchasing property in Cayman. If someone can take up residence in your property and there are no laws to prevent them from occupying it or if your tenant decide to longer pay rent and refuse to leave you stand to suffer and incredible financial loss trying to recover your own property…

Comments are closed.