50 years: Fire at airport; caning introduced for juvenile offenders

In the July 5, 1967 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, the following news story appeared:

“There was a serious fire at the Airport last week when Hadsphaltic (International) Ltd. lost 90% of their equipment and spare parts for their airfield machinery, valued at between £3,000 and £4,000.

“Employees were brazing some metal in the Plant Fitter’s Workshop, which was a timber structure with corrugated iron when it is thought that some sparks fell to the ground, ran under the corrugated iron and ignited outside the shed. Because of the great heat around, the men did not notice the fire until it had got a good hold.

“Behind the shed was a 1,000 gallon fuel tank with 900 gallons of diesel oil in it and this was then engulfed in flames whilst the men were clearing plant and machinery away from the scene. One of the men, seeing this, drove his mechanical shovel filled with sand into the flames around the tank and thus succeeded in saving the fuel. This was indeed a courageous act in view of the great heat.”

The same edition also included a report on a Legislative Assembly meeting titled “Corporal Punishment for Juveniles Introduced,” which read:

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“An amendment to the Juveniles Law to include the introduction of corporal punishment for male juveniles was passed which now permits the court to order strokes with a light school cane, not exceeding 12 in number, to be inflicted on an offender in serious cases, by a Sgt. of the Police Force under the supervision of the Chief of Police and with a Medical Officer present.

“In this connection, Capt. C.P. Tibbetts and Mr. Burns Rutty both asked that their protest be recorded against the principle of including corporal punishment in the Law as they felt it was a retrograde step and was not the will of the people in their constituency as expressed when the mater was discussed previously in another connection. Miss Annie [Huldah Bodden] endeavoured without success to have the maximum strokes reduced to 6.”

The Legislative Assembly report continued with a discussion about daylight saving, a controversial subject to this day: “The government motion proposing the introduction of one hour’s daylight saving was turned down flat. There was very little discussion but all who spoke were obviously opposed to the measure and the decision was therefore unanimous.”

The edition also included a story headlined “Truman Succeeds” about Truman Bodden, founder of Cayman’s Truman Bodden Law School and former Leader of Government Business:

“It is with pleasure that we report that Truman M. Bodden has been successful in all his recent examinations at the Inner Temple in London. These include Criminal Law, Roman Law, Constitutional Law and Legal History. “After sitting for further examinations in September, Truman will be returning home with his family here and one week with his sisters in Florida before resuming his studies toward becoming a Barrister-at-Law.”

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