The Young United Democratic Party and Royal Cayman Islands Police held a community meeting on Thursday 17 September at the South Sound Civic Centre to give concerned residents an opportunity to collectively address the issue of crime.
The meeting was attended by the Minister for Community Affairs and Housing Mike Adam, as well as Police Inspector Ian Yearwood, the Executive Council of the YUDP and members of the Cayman Islands’ community who say they are interested in what they can do to help make a difference in the crime the Islands have been experiencing.
In his remarks, Mr. Yearwood said with regard to being at the session, he had the blessings of the entire ‘top brass’ of the police service and commended those on hand for their interest in the issues of prevention.
He told the guests that these were indeed troubling times and illustrated some striking statistics such as the jump in the number of incidents of persons being charged with possession of an unlicensed firearm.
‘This is an area that has seen a marked increase, as we are able to observe that the number for occurrences in all of 2008 (11) has already been exceeded in 2009 (16), he said.’
Increases in burglaries and theft were also visited during analysis of the growing problem of crime in the Cayman Islands by Yearwood, who explicitly stated, ‘The police do not have all the answers.’
He told those on hand that he had been living in Grand Cayman for over 14 years and he, like everyone else at the meeting, had a personal stake in things improving- not just as a police officer but also as someone who has chosen to make his home on the Island.
Some of the complex issues on the table for discussion included the relationship between the police and the public and the importance of neighbourhood police.
In addition, persons wanted to know how they could testify or give evidence and be protected. Many said they were afraid not only of the criminals but also that the police would not protect them in the event they were to assist in an investigation.
Mr. Adam said that trust in the police was of crucial importance and added that ‘The police who traverse certain neighbourhoods should remain on those particular beats, as they develop a familiarity with the persons in that community and can be more effective.’
People on hand said they were prepared to show the criminals that a united community was stronger than any scourge of crime and that if we all stand up together, it would be possible to defeat this epidemic.
They urged one another to be vigilant and brave and determined to continue meeting to come up with new strategies to fight all forms of crime in the Cayman Islands.