Tobacco Law isn’t enforceable

It is very interesting to read the editorial to which I’m responding in a recent Caymanian Compass.

In June, 2008, I had a letter published in this newspaper titled ‘Shore up security law’.

Any interested reader can archive this letter and there is no need to repeat here what was published but the gist of the letter was a warning that the Tobacco Law would be nigh impossible to enforce without a full upgrading of the private security system under another new law, the Private Security Law 2007.
It has since become quite evident, to whom it may not have been before, that neither of these laws had the full support or involvement of the entire Cayman Islands community and were individual pieces of legislation that grew out of the political influence of special interest groups and powerful individuals who the government was doing its best to keep happy.

There’s no doubt both laws, in themselves, are worthwhile, necessary pieces of legislation but the origins of their creation is tainted and the intended purposes enshrined in these laws will prove useless and unenforceable to the good of the Caymanian community unless something is done to remedy the situation.

It had always been rumoured that the Private Security Law 2007 was written and given to the Legislative Assembly wholesale by powerful interests in the security industry for their monopoly of the industry and a government tax on the industry as an incentive for the law to be passed that would force smaller companies out of the industry.

It became clear that the law had absolutely nothing to do with improving the services that private security companies had to offer.

This was confirmed when the first-ever firearms murder took place in a major nightclub under the very noses of the security employees of a new company with little or no experience or expertise in liquor-licensed premises/nightclub security, as those of us who are experienced and qualified in this type of security work were well aware.

The Tobacco Law is seen as the brainchild of certain expatriate special interest groups, whether this perception is fair or not but the lack of canvassing the entire community for its input now has a law that does not have the support of the entire community and will prove extremely difficult to enforce, despite its well-meaning and universal health benefits.

These two laws are interrelated in all countries that have accepted smoking ban laws and the need for improved private security services but have been undermined by their public perception.

If the CI Government wants to make these laws work for the benefit of the community, they have their work cut out to change that perception.

Ricardo Tatum