George Town confidential?

Police leak fear in GT

You’ll see it on almost every single press release about crime in the Cayman Islands – Police seek the public’s assistance.

‘Assistance from the public is our lifeblood,’ Acting Royal Cayman Islands Police Commissioner James Smith told a group of about 30 residents at George Town Primary School Monday night.

But several people who attended the police meeting said they were wary, even scared, of contacting the police with information about crimes.

‘What I hear complaints about often is confidentiality issues,’ resident Mike Adam said. ‘Things people have said get back to them before they get home. That’s ridiculous.’

‘I know a lady who said she was approached by the same man involved in the Barker’s area kidnapping,’ another local resident, Marilyn Connolly said. ‘She was terrified to call the police. That is cause for some concern.’

The incident Ms Connolly referred to was the abduction of a 29-year-old woman on 9 March. The woman was taken in her own car at the Caribbean Bakery in West Bay to the Barkers park entrance. The kidnap victim was able to escape without physical harm. No arrests have been reported in that case.

Acting Commissioner Smith acknowledged that one of the difficulties of policing a small community is that ‘everybody knows everybody’ and that rumours have the tendency to spread quickly. However, he said it is up to the police to ensure confidence that what is reported to them is kept confidential.

Another resident, Billy Adam, expressed concern about what will happen to reports of alleged police corruption made to retired UK Metropolitan Police Chief Inspector Martin Bridger within the past year. Mr. Bridger was recently removed as the head of the investigation.

‘I have great fear with how that information can be used,’ Mr. Billy Adam said. ‘If it’s not going to be used, they should burn it.’

Mr. Smith insisted that those reports, which now form the basis of the special police investigation dubbed ‘Operation Cealt,’ will be kept in the strictest confidence.

‘That confidential information will remain absolutely secure … that information will not find its way into the public domain,’ Mr. Smith told the meeting.

However, some information contained in that report has already been made public.

An editor’s note attached to a 8 March letter published in the Cayman Net News referred to ‘the well-publicised 70-plus complaints brought to the attention of the Metropolitan Police team … some of which reportedly have serious national security implications.’

Mr. Smith has previously refused to discuss the nature of any of the investigations that make up Operation Cealt and the information contained in the editor’s note was not attributed to any source.

Residents at Monday’s meeting were also concerned about a particularly violent weekend in George Town that saw one man shot outside his home on Linwood Street Sunday morning and another man severely beaten a few hours later at the Cay Courts Apartments.

A man who was stabbed in West bay Saturday morning was also hospitalised in critical condition.

At press time it appeared all three victims would survive.

Acting Commissioner Smith said quick arrests had been made in connection with the stabbing in West Bay and assault in George Town. Officers were still searching for the suspected shooter.

Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis said there was a ‘proportional response’ to the shooting and that additional officers were sent into the area to reassure the public.

Acting Chief Superintendent Marlon Bodden told those at Monday’s meeting that police were doing all they could to solve the crimes, but he said people needed to realise the Cayman Islands had fundamentally changed from the way they were in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

‘We were used to going to the world, and now the world is coming to us,’ Mr. Bodden said. ‘And we just have to learn how to deal with that.’

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