Both police and immigration enforcement officers will be kept hopping if government’s proposed budget for the coming year is approved without changes.
The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service has planned for major increases in patrols on land and sea, including a more than tenfold increase in hours of boat patrols around the islands.
The total proposed police patrols budget has increased by about $1.1 million from the current year’s spending plan.
Meanwhile, the Department of Immigration and Customer Service has tripled the number of planned visits to construction sites, guest houses, and hotels as part of an effort to detect and prosecute immigration offenders.
The proposed budget for that effort has nearly doubled in the fiscal year, which begins 1 July.
The planned increase in police patrols comes just a year after patrols in some areas were significantly cut back at the direction of Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan.
The Caymanian Compass reported (22 May, 2006) that the RCIPS had reduced foot patrols from a planned 10,000-14,000 hours in the 2005-2006 budget to a planned 4,500-5,414 hours in the current 2006-2007 budget.
In the next budget year (2007-2008), between 13,500 and 15,000 hours are being dedicated to foot patrols.
Bicycle patrols were also reduced significantly in the 2006-2007 budget. Those will go back up again in the next budget year, if the RCIPS plan is approved.
Massive increases in the hours of police car and boat patrols are also proposed in the next budget.
According to the government’s Annual Plan and Estimates, hours of police car patrols will go from 70,000-85,850 in the current budget to 110,000-125,000 hours in the 2007-2008 budget.
Sea patrolling hours jump from 3,000-4,000 in the 2006-2007 fiscal year to a planned 43,264-65,936 in the upcoming budget. The RCIPS has recently acquired five new vessels which will help increase the frequency of patrols.
The Immigration Department visits to various worksites as part of an effort to seek out offenders are proposed to go from 10-50 visits in the current year’s budget to 50-150 visits in the upcoming year.
Chief Immigration Officer Franz Manderson said additional enforcement officers which he requested late last year will be used to check those sites.
‘We visit the sites and identify persons who are working without permits, or working for persons who are not named on their permits,’ Mr. Manderson said.
He said sometimes sites are identified for visits from immigration officers based on information from the public; others through various intelligence gathering activities of law enforcement.
The Annual Plan also anticipates a huge increase in the number of appeals statements to the Immigration Appeals Tribunal. Those appeals are generally made after government agencies have rejected work permit applications, status grants, or business staffing plans.
Appeals statements are expected to go from 100-300 produced in the current budget to 750-850 produced in 2007-2008.
‘Given the fact that we have well over 2,000 applications for permanent residence pending, that is a number we’ve never had before,’ Mr. Manderson said. ‘We would believe that a fair number of persons who are refused will appeal.’