Day after day overseas readers are sending comments to www.caycompass.com like the following:
‘I live in the states and have been coming to the Cayman Islands for years now. I don’t want them to turn into the US Virgin Islands because the crime there is off the charts and no one is stopping it; it runs rampant there. Please clean up the Caymans as fast as you can.’
Or this one:
‘I vacation in Cayman at least twice a year, but the recent crimes and shootings may keep me from returning. (I avoid American inner cities as well, and that’s what things are starting to look like in Cayman). You must realize that people like myself read daily online newspaper RSS feeds, so what goes on in your country is viewed everywhere in the world. I sincerely hope your crime prevention efforts are effective, as I really like your country, the (good) people, and beautiful environment.’
These are the people – and those like them – that Cayman Islands Tourism Association President Stephen Broadbelt is afraid of losing.
If Cayman gets the reputation as a crime haven, we can kiss our tourism dollar goodbye, no matter how big we make our new cruise dock.
Following the murder of a British doctor and maiming of her husband in Antigua, Sir Ronald Sanders wrote at length about crime in the Caribbean and its influence on tourism.
Mr. Sanders quoted a UN report, which stated that the Caribbean region has a murder rate of 30 per 100,000 inhabitants — four times the North American figure and 15 times the average for Western and Central Europe. He cited the geography of the Caribbean, which makes it attractive as a transhipment point for drug traffickers who move cocaine from the supply markets in South America to the demand markets in North America and Europe.
This drug trade brings a proliferation of illegal weapons into the region for distribution to their foot soldiers.
We see evidence of that in one of our front page stories in today’s edition.
Cayman has to get a grip on crime or we all lose.