For the first time, delegates from separate law enforcement and legal conferences met together in Grand Cayman this week to discuss how best to secure the region from threats of crime and terrorism.
‘We cannot continue to promote the three ‘S’s: sun, sand and sea as a reason why tourists should visit our shores, without placing increasing emphasis on a fourth ‘S’…safety,’ said Chief Immigration Officer Franz Manderson at the conferences’ combined opening on Tuesday.
‘If we cannot provide a safe environment….the lure of our sandy white beaches and clear blue sea will be of little value,’ said Mr. Manderson.
Over three days from 13-15 February at the Marriott Beach Resort the annual meetings of the UK Overseas Territories Attorneys General and the UK Caribbean Overseas Territories Law Enforcement conferences were in part combined with one another. The law enforcement conference runs one day longer, through 16 February.
In attendance were The Lord Goldsmith, Attorney General of England and Wales; as well as the AG’s from Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, St. Helena, and Turks and Caicos. Representatives from the U.S.A., Canada and Bermuda also attended.
Law enforcement representatives included heads of police departments, immigration and prison services in Anguilla, BVI, Cayman, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos, and Bermuda.
Cayman Islands Attorney General Samuel Bulgin gave the opening address of the conference, along with Mr. Manderson, Lord Goldsmith, Governor Stuart Jack and Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts.
Topics addressed in conference seminars include such issues as money laundering, witness protection, mandatory life sentences, and the use of DNA labs.
‘Crime is global, terrorism is global,’ said The Lord Goldsmith. ‘We who are involved in law enforcement, we have to operate within our own territorial areas. We have to stay one step ahead.’
Governor Jack said he thought the different territories could combine law enforcement services more effectively in some areas.
‘There is still more scope for collaboration among the Overseas Territories, for example, over forensic laboratory cases,’ he said.
The Governor noted the Cayman Islands had recently made major improvements in its prison and legal services with the implementation of a court specifically designed to handle drug offenses, and with more emphasis on sentence management programs for prison inmates.
Governor Jack also said the problems of recidivism and at risk youth needed to be addressed with a more comprehensive and proactive approach. He said that issue would be the focus of a national conference in Cayman scheduled to start next week.
Mr. Tibbetts pledged efforts to implement ‘modern sentencing legislation’ and to create a legal and judicial website for those who need access to court information would continue under the current government.
‘Both arms of the government have given full blessing to these systems,’ said Mr. Tibbetts.
He said the government also intended to build two multi-million dollar facilities to improve law enforcement services for the entire island.
As previously reported by the Caymanian Compass, construction of a marine base on the North Sound side of the Newlands area is expected to be completed by early next year. The Bodden Town Emergency Response Centre, which includes a new police station, a new fire service headquarters, and an ambulance station, is slated to be built by 2009.