Public safety is essential to the long term health and vibrancy of the Cayman Islands and is among the most important factors to influence an individual’s and a business decision to live and invest here. Obviously, there are many other factors including the availability of jobs, the quality and standard of living and education. Public safety, however, is the top priority. If a person or a business does not feel safe then frankly, our attractiveness diminishes tremendously.
Police Commissioner Mr. David Baines tried to assure the Chamber membership at the September luncheon that the Cayman Islands remains a safe community compared to other jurisdictions. He reported that a small group of criminals are committing the majority of the crimes and that when compared to 2008 crime statistics are lower in several categories. He said that our levels of crime are not unusual in today’s world.
While that may be comforting to some, Chamber members are concerned that the violent crimes involving illegal weapons require much more decisive action by law enforcement officials and the Governor. The Chamber Council considers the level of violent crime over the past two years to be unusual and unacceptable and we should not believe that this level of criminal activity is normal.
So what must we do to regain the upper hand over the two dozen criminals that the Commissioner says are committing the majority of the crimes?
Firstly, we must come together as a community. We must support the police. We must be willing to become more observant and report suspicious activities. Don’t believe it is someone else’s responsibility. A safer community begins with you. Public safety is everyone’s business.
Contact Cayman Crime Stoppers’ tipster line at 800-8477, which is an anonymous programme, civilian run and operated from a confidential call centre in the United States or send your tip online at www.crimestoppers.ky
The Chamber CEO and I met with the Commissioner recently and took the opportunity to discuss the crime issues in general and to provide him with background on the various ways the Chamber has assisted law enforcement over the years. We also expressed our willingness to assist in further strategic partnerships including the feasibility of a national closed circuit TV network for public locations, evaluating operational equipment needs, establishment of a Chamber crime subcommittee and various other initiatives that may be made public at a later date.
The Chamber is also working on ways to raise substantial rewards for use by Cayman Crime Stoppers for public information that would lead to the detection and subsequent arrest of persons involved in serious crime. Commissioner Baines has agreed to meet regularly with the Chamber Council to ensure progress of these initiatives.
Crime experienced in the Cayman Islands over the past 18 months threatens human welfare and impedes the social, economic, political and cultural development of our country. Crime impacts business and is a major obstacle to investment at any level. The business community must come together with resources and funding, if required, to support specific programmes and activities that will assist law enforcement in their work. Let us all place public safety as the top priority so that the Cayman Islands remains the safest place to live and conduct business.