The lock-up at the West Bay Police Station has been fixed up and is being used again to temporarily hold people in police custody when the George Town Police Station lock-up is full, Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan confirmed last week.
The West Bay lock-up was condemned for custody purposes after a fire in August 2001. Prior to that, it was used for both adult and juvenile offenders.
However, even before the fire, the UK’s Chief Inspector of Prisons at the time, Sir David Ramsbotham, had harshly criticised the West Bay lock-up, calling it ‘frightful… I’ve never seen anything quite as bad as that anywhere (Caymanian Compass, 9 August 2001).
Mr. Kernohan said the capacity of the George Town lock-up varied, depending on the use.
‘In the main, it’s 24,’ he said.
There have been times recently when that capacity had been reached.
‘The reality is, I guess it’s an indication of the success of our enforcement efforts.’
Mr. Kernohan, who only took over the Commissioner’s post in Cayman last October, confirmed that he was aware the West Bay lock-up had been closed for custody purposes in the past.
He said it was his understanding that there were issues such as exposed electrical wires, but that there were also wear and tear issues such as painting and even mould.
‘These issues have been addressed,’ he said.
In addition, Mr. Kernohan said there were substantial plans to upgrade the West Bay lock-up.
Deputy Commissioner Rudolph Dixon said that only a small number of people had been held in the West Bay lock-up, and that it was only used as a last resort when the George Town lock-up was full.
Mr. Dixon also said that the custody area in West Bay is cleaned on daily basis.