Poacher told court he acted out of hunger

| 03/05/2017 | 80 Comments

(CNS): A West Bay man was sentenced Wednesday to 120 days in jail after admitting a number of marine offences, including taking more than 80 conch and one lobster out of season. Hank Ebanks said he was hungry and needed to pay his utility bills. He told the court that he knew it was against the law but he didn’t want to “go out and rob anyone” or break into homes and “take something that people worked hard for”, as he explained that he had been brought up taking food from the sea. Ebanks was given credit for his admissions but he committed some of the marine offences while on probation for other crimes, others while on bail, and it was not his first offence.

As she handed down the four-month term, Magistrate Kirsty-Ann Gunn said that she had to give Ebanks a custodial sentence to deter him from breaking the law and to warn others contemplating similar crimes that poaching will not be tolerated. She said the conch that Ebanks took was not the largest haul to come before the court but it was a significant number and it was out of season She pointed out that 83 conch and the lobster went beyond his own personal consumption needs and that he was poaching for financial gain as well.

Gunn stressed the importance of the marine protection laws. She told Ebanks that taking marine life out of season has a significant detrimental impact on the environment. The laws were there, the magistrate stated, to protect the marine life for all Caymanians and to ensure the next generation can benefit from it. She told Ebanks she was sending him to jail to stress the disapproval society has for these types of offences and ensure he and others would think twice in future.

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Category: Courts, Crime, DoE

Comments (80)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    If your hungry kill lionfish

  2. Veritas says:

    Good job he doesn’t have to apply fpr permanent residence, he’d set a record for a minus points score.

  3. Anonymous says:

    We shall see about the term he receives for his admittance. Remember the tibbets driver who admitted the accident afterward and got 3 mos

  4. Anonymous says:

    Poacher has no self respect. His choice. Did the crime, do the time.

  5. Anonymous says:

    This man is no different from you or I. We all must feed and shelter us and family. Only the few ignorant lazy ones let themselves degenerate into being criminals. They have the same chances at life we all do. There is no excuse.

  6. Unison says:

    Its all a domino effect: A bad economy = hungry people = stealing = a ruin ecosystem …

    blame the government!

  7. datruth says:

    What has happened here is the white man has introduced cocaine into this mans life rendering him to useless burden to society. His job as a lawyer and accountant or even a server at Calico Jacks for that matter was also taken by these same foreigners. His only choice is life was to reap the illegal rewards of the sea from which is he given right since moving to Cayman from Honduras 30 years ago.

    • Anonymous says:

      The white man? How funny. Most of it is grown in Mexico, Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala…not by the white man either. Please don’t let facts get in the way of your rant!!!

      • datruth says:

        there are white people that live in those countries… that is a fact. Good to know you are some what educated in the distribution of cocaine.

        • Veritas says:

          There are so many Caymanians who simply cannot allow a Caymanian to be blamed for whatever crime he commits, this is a national trait, and not a figment of the imagination of a white man.

    • Unison says:

      white man??? whats with the indian rhetoric! this is Caribbean – not America!

    • Anonymous says:

      Ignorant to da max.

  8. You Said It says:

    Wake up!

    Cayman people hungry and can’t find ‘equal’ opportunities on any of y’all playing fields.

    Conchs and Lobsters, they will continue to be taken though….by both the white man and locals…it’s historic in Humans DNA to consume their grow/catch/harvest.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Yes, he acted out of a ” hunger ” for money. I’m betting he consistently has money for cigarettes and alcohol.

    • Anonymous says:

      Objection. Conjecture. Stupid comment.

      • Anonymous says:

        Is it? You need to wise up and get real about these people. They are poaching on commercial scales, this isn’t about feeding himself or his family, it’s about his next fix or beer. That’s how it works bobo, stop defending the indefensible.

        • Anonymous says:

          I’m only pointing out that you are spewing something that you don’t know. You’re just spewing and stop it. Do or say something constructive. Damn.

    • Anonymous says:

      Smart phone/s and jewelry as well?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Watch a Columbian movie “El abrazo de la serpiente” (2015), (Embrace of the Serpent)(Oscar nominated). Comment on this article(case) after that.

  11. Anonymous says:

    When you have many, many people poaching for financial gain (whether they do not wish to work at an honest living or supporting drug addictions), the environment is going to suffer.

    The marine life, despite laws and enforcement is dwindling and then there will be none. What then? This activity cannot be supported if there is to be a future for the marine environment. It is not infinite.

    As far as people who state, at least they are not thieving, that is the most ridiculous mind set. If they poach, they do unlawful acts, in addition to poaching. It is fact.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Funny how one individual is being punished for taking food from the ocean that no body owns(Yes I know the law) but, a wealthy billionaire can destroy acres of natural enviornment without a consequence in the world.
    What a time to be alive.

    • Anonymous says:

      or kill a pedestrian or sexually abuse a chid “without a consequence in the world.”

    • Anonymous says:

      80 conch is not personal consumption, that’s commercial poaching, or theft. The only ‘food’ he takes comes in small packets and aluminum cans.
      The law states that he cannot take conch in Cayman waters out of season, therefore we do own the waters and it’s marine life under international law.

      • Anonymous says:

        If the marine life is owned, why is it we have to catch or trap the animals? It’s not like a zoo.

    • Independents2018 says:

      Agreed it’s really foolish but exist only in the Cayman Islands within he Caribbean….no where else lol

  13. Anonymous says:

    It is a shame and a disgrace what the Cayman Islands has come to. Our ancestors survived off the sea with no one telling them how much counchs or lobsters uou can remove from the sea. This government has sold us out to the devil. These unscrupulous laws should be abolish. A child molester and a murderer gets lesser sentences, than a poacher? What’s going on here? Wake up people and let’s take back our country!!!

    • Mosquito says:

      Ignorant ……

      • My heart is pure and my hands are clean says:

        The sad part is the ignorant poster probably has a ton of ignorant offspring… Ignorance breeds ignorance.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ignorant (to the power of 10)!

    • Jotnar says:

      Which child molester or murderer got a 4 month sentence?

    • Anonymous says:

      The difference between “then” and “now” is that our ancestors took conch/lobster in the quantities they needed for meals and didn’t take it just for the sake of taking it. They respected the value of these items.

      Our ancestors had a conscience while many of those walking our shores today seem to have none. Therefore, laws are needed to protect marine life.

    • Jah Dread says:

      Old boy you hit right on the head with your first sentence. Our ancestors were more conscientious about the numbers they took( and there was no regulated season in those days) and did not drop the shells any which where. In contrast the younger generation take in and out of season and take horrific amounts to consume personally and sell. if THERE IS NO CONTROL PRETTY SOON THERE WILL BE “none” FOR ANYBODY TO HAVE. SO GET WITH THE PROGRAM AND REPORT ANYONE WHO IS DIVING CONCHS OUT OF SEASON, AT LEAST YOUR CHILDREN AND GRAND CHILDREN MIGHT BE ABLE TO HAVE SOME ONE DAY, SELAH.

    • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

      If, in fact a child molester and a murder got a lesser sentence, I agree that is a travesty and an injustice.

      As to our ancestors, they took from the sea what they needed to feed their families. For my ancestors, conch and lobster were the last resort, behind land crabs; they went to the sea for fish.

      When conch, whelk and lobster came to have a price tag, then people began taking more than their share in order to sell it, and at that point we needed and continue to need conservation laws. If left entirely to our own devices, there would soon be nothing left to harvest from the bountiful sea.

    • Anonymous says:

      They Conch and Lobster for quick cash. Who are they supplying?

    • frangipani says:

      idiot!! our ancestors had enough gray matter to know when to stop taking the conch. There is a time for everything under the sun and we cannot take and take and not give the sea or the land time to replenish itself. Please let us learn to obey rules that are there for our own good.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Guess he is in court because our laws are not being enforced.

    This comment about laws now being enforced is one of the stupid comments candidates are making.

    Everyday I meet someone whose work permit was denied or some emoyer who can’t get a work permit. Everyday I read of the courts being overwhelmed with criminal cases. Northward is full.

    But our laws are not being enforced. What a stupid comment.

  15. Mosquito says:

    So what’s wrong with a fishing line? Hungry my ass

  16. Anonymous says:

    Not long enough.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians has been surviving from the ocean from ancient times,who the hell are these people to tell us what we can or can’t do with the ocean,keep it up,we soon turn into cannibals and start eating the foreigners.

    • Veritas says:

      3.43am maybe you were out poaching at this time of the morning. The fact that you have as many supporters as dissenters says it all – we are still a third world country with a third world mentality.

      • Marcia says:

        7:55 you are correct but failed to say that all we are allowing into our islands are 3rd World people like you and don’t venomously disagree, otherwise you would not be here.

        I cannot understand why so many 1st World people like you choose to live in a 3rd world country with 3rd World mentality and have the gall to complain, criticise, degrade, lash out, and so on and so forth.

        The joke is on you, anyone as superior as you should not want to breathe the same air as the inferior Caymanians and the inferior Cayman Island.

        • Anonymous says:

          Gotta agree with Marcia on this one.

        • Anonymous says:

          It’s Cayman IslandS

        • Anonymous says:

          Really, then why is Northward full of Caymanians. Why are the vast majority of poachers, theives, burglars, murderers and child molesters all Caymanian?
          Why is it that the prisons aren’t full of those foreigners who run your economy and serve your communities?
          Why is it that you defend the indefensible?

          Could it be your 3rd world mentality, or is it that big stick that is constantly up your ass?

        • Anonymous says:

          Smart people are not here for the Caymanians. We do understand why you can’t understand why we are here. The world and the future belong to those who embrace learning new things and making the world a better place. Good luck.

      • Anonymous says:

        I don’t see where you have doubt where I was or what I was doing at 3:45 am, remember you was right there, bad mouthing Caymanians, but if you don’t like our third world country or our third world mentality please move on as I am sure you will have someone replaced you as am sure you hit it rich in our third world country.

    • Anonymous says:

      @3:43 am – and when you’ve depleted the natural supply of conch and lobster what are you going to eat? Or do you figure that there is an endless supply of conch and lobster in our waters?

      Do you not see what we did to Sea Turtles? Get a clue.

      • Anonymous says:

        How would the Foreign Restaurant owners fill their pockets if not for Poachers of Conch and Lobster off Season? Fast cash! Disclose them…why are the Judges not asking who these Criminals are supplying?

      • Anonymous says:

        The Foreign Restaurant owners are filling their pockets of what they take $$$ from the Tourists whilst paying ‘peanuts’ per quick-cash Conch and Lobster.

    • Anonymous says:

      all the turtles were fished out by 1800.

    • Anonymous says:

      Speak for yourself!

    • Anonymous says:

      Three hundred years isn’t ancient, it’s just old. And what happened to the famous sea turtles of Las Tortugas? Oh yes, you killed them all.
      Ignorant bigots like you are exactly why these laws are needed because you are too uneducated and irresponsible to restrain yourselves.

      • Obey Propoganda says:

        Do you have any education of Las Tortugas? perhaps all the rum(alcohol) smuggling?
        Here is a better Q – do you know if an “ignorant bigots” like me can even swim? to have to “restrain myself”???

        I’ll wait…?

        Takes one to know one huh….that’s why all the head nods at interviews when y’all intervieweing people from the same background and location as y’all? Sellouts in living flesh….

      • Anonymous says:

        What to hell is wrong with you. Get help. I’ll pay.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ok so someone didn’t do their research. The country was called las tortugas because it was a friendlier name. The abundant native creatures were not turtles it was crocodiles. However to call the country after crocodiles would deter people from settling.

        I thought this question was on the PR exam – Why was The Cayman Islands originally called Las Tortugas? If it is not, it should. I do recall learning about it in primary history class many moons ago.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m Caymanian and I’m telling you and them to Stop Poaching. When we do is when we are ‘eating ourselves’, i.e., stealing from each other and our future generations who we ant to be able to continue taking conch, etc., sustainably.

  18. Cunk Connoly says:

    This article makes me want legal marinated conch.

  19. Anonymous says:

    This is so sad, our Bible tells us to teach a man to fish and he will be able to feed himself.
    While I don’t encourage overfishing some provisions by law has to be made to assist those persons who finds themselves in similar situation, broke, hungry, unemployed, unemployable, inexperience or what ever road block life throw at them;
    Let take a look at this situation as reported here,
    1. Hank was unemployed, hungry and needed to pay his utility bill and like he said went to the sea to try to supply his needs from a place that no man can make claim of providing, but was put there by God himself for the benefit of all mankind.
    2. Hank choose to take this route rather than troubling what belonged to someone else, a plus for him but a larger relief for the person/s that would have went home and found their home broken and Year of hard work and prized possession, disappeared without a trace, by this desperate man.
    3. Hank is put in jail for 4 months at a cost of $23,333.00 (average of $70,000.00 per annum), I will assume there is a family left behind that will have to be supported by Social Service at a cost of $4000.00 (approx $1000.00 x 4 months). This cost do not include administration or other Court cost . Let’s assume these cost was $3000.00 this one incident cost us tax payer an approximate cost of $30,000.00 (now please think of the number of persons who found themselves is similar situation just over the last few years and the cost to US for a man trying to feed himself and make ends meet). This money could be better spent on trying to assist these persons during these hardships.

    4. What we do know is that on Hank’s release from jail Hank’s chances of employment will decrease and without a job this cycle will continue and these cost will increase each time. Therefore the cow is starving to death on this side of the fence while the grass is growing on the other side.

    Remember a ‘drowning man would grab at a straw’

    This is election time and I would like to hear which elected member or want to be will address these issues and represent these people, who the majority are Caymanians who’s only work experience knowledge and life experience is living off the sea. What laws and protection will YOU put in place for our young men and women to give them HOPE? It seems right now they are darmed if they do and they darmed if they don’t.

    Your job as a government is to provide and protect the weakest amoung us. When do we get Laws and Regulations that assist us Caymanians?

    • Al Catraz says:

      “This is so sad, our Bible tells us to teach a man to fish and he will be able to feed himself.”

      Whose Bible says that?

      • Jotnar says:

        Its not Biblical. Maimonides, 12th Century, seems the most likely, but its contested. But not in the Bible (whichever version you ascribe to). Even Christians are prepared to admit that not all wise sayings flow from the Bible.

    • Anonymous says:

      He could have gone fishing, no problem. Catch enough to eat and even to sell, no problem. Instead he chose to take conch and lobster which he knew was illegal. That is a problem. His poor choice is the problem.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hank also used cocaine, had money for that…

    • Jotnar says:

      1. According to the Compass, Hank has a history of cocaine addiction. Not sure God put conch there to provide cash for drugs.

      2. Rather than break into anyone’s house, Hank could get unskilled work – if he has no qualifications – even at minimum wage its an honest living. He can apply for NAU – probably has already. You cannot justify breaking one law by saying you were being reasonable by not breaking another, more serious one.

      3. Going by your logic, I could say I need money so I am going to rob a gas station with a gun. If I get caught you will sentence me to 10 years in jail, and it will cost the public $700K, plus the public assistance cost for my family of $120K. So lets cut out the middleman – just give me $40K a year. CIG will be $420K better off. You cannot justify ignoring crime based on the cost of enforcing it, or we end up in a completely lawless society.

      4. Hank makes his choices. Why does everyone else have to pay for them. He’s not a drowning man. He’s a man who is too lazy or immoral to embrace the alternative- of getting a law abiding albeit hard working and low paid job when he can just lie and steal and expect society to deal with the consequences.

    • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

      You sound like you think he should be given bonus points or extra consideration because he didn’t commit any crimes against people. He made bad choices, but they were his to make.

      I can’t walk in his shoes, but I’ve worn some that were as bad or worse. I didn’t break any laws to crawl back up. I haven’t ever seen a citizen — or even a resident — actually go hungry here. There are resources available.

      Adults should be responsible for themselves and their actions. Take a low-paying job, live frugally and slowly grow. Acquire skills. Increase your standard of living. It took me several years to crawl back up from rock-bottom. I had help. I’ve helped others and will always do so.

      What I can’t gut is excusing his actions or implying that he should be given a pass because his crimes weren’t as dire as others. I wish Hank the best, and hope he will choose wisely in the future. I made a bunch of extremely poor decisions and bounced back. He can also.

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