Driving up the northern section of West Bay Road Friday afternoon the traffic was eerily scarce.
Passing the beach opposite the Courtyard by Marriott hotel tourists could be seen lounging on recliners taking in the view of the glistening tranquil Caribbean ocean.
Others were lining up for their buses back to their ships, seemingly oblivious to the fact that a few miles up the road a shooting and bank robbery had taken place in broad daylight a little earlier.
A few hundred yards on up the road and the lack of traffic becomes clear. A police roadblock has stopped southbound traffic and police officers are searching the trunk of the first car in line. A train of vehicles at a virtual standstill snakes all the way back into the heart of West Bay. Any one trying to leave the district is in for a marathon wait.
What should have been a hectic, bustling Friday afternoon has now come to a complete dramatic stop.
Car searches continued Saturday, putting traffic at a crawl and then a dead stop.
On Friday, grey clouds begin to form overhead on entering West Bay. Yellow police tape surrounds the area outside Centennial Towers where the incident took place.
Across the street at Heritage Square neighbours and locals are gathered, seeking knowledge and understanding of what has taken place.
‘I don’t like it, I don’t like it, I don’t like it,’ repeats G. Livingston, who lives just off Watercourse Road. He and his colleague Ciceron Alexis had come to West Bay on business with the Roads Authority and were saddened once they discovered what had happened.
Mr. Livingston, originally from Jamaica, but living here since the early 1970s, maintains it is not safe here anymore.
Another gentleman, Terry Miller, who had been working in West Bay said he felt shock. He was trying to figure out what happened. He hadn’t been around for the incident.
Some Cable and Wireless workers called the incident disturbing. One of their colleagues had been in the bank working on its phone lines when the robbery took place. When he heard a commotion he locked himself in the phone room, said his co-workers.
But it was no surprise to William Bodden Sr., born and raised on Boggy Sand Road, that something like this had happened. It was only a matter of time, he said, with the island growing at the rate it is, and all types of nationalities living here.
‘Things won’t stay as they were 50 years ago,’ he commented. ‘But that’s the price you pay for prosperity’.
It is a shame something like this had to happen, he said, and it reflects badly on the island, something that makes him sad. Drug problems and people out of work all contribute to this type of situation, he reflected.
Another angry Caymanian, who did not wish to be named, said the incident is a result of poor leadership over the years in the Cayman Islands. ‘It’s very sad to know lives could have been taken today,’ she said.
It is a result of successive governments being passive about emerging social problems, she stated. ‘So many children are being neglected and out of school getting into trouble.’ The incident has made her scared and disappointed. ‘We’re a rich country. It’s certainly not a lack of funds why we can’t fight crime, so why did this happen in the middle of the day by the busiest section of the road?’ she questioned.
‘Things are getting really bad in Cayman. I’d like to know when the Government of this country is going to take the social problems of this country seriously.’
Nola Thomas of West Bay felt scared and shocked about what had taken place that day.
Meanwhile, a helicopter could be heard up the road in Mount Pleasant, circling and circling.
‘I hope they catch them,’ was the echoing sentiment from people as they looked toward the sky, hoping that the grey clouds would soon lift to leave room for some sun again.