PPM proposes new crime strategy

National Security Council to become active 3 March

Speaking at a public meeting at the
South Sound Community Centre Monday night, members of the People’s Progressive
Movement suggested a unified national effort to deal with the rising crime
problem

PPM George Town MLA Alden
McLaughlin said violent crime is something that would destroy the Cayman
Islands if not controlled.

“We need a non-partisan approach to
the way we deal with crime,” he said, criticising Premier McKeeva Bush’s
comments on talk radio Monday saying he had inherited the crime situation from
the PPM administration.

“There is something so wrong with
saying that; it is sad,” he said. “We really have to tone down the rhetoric
when it comes to this subject of how we deal with crime.

“It has to be a national effort,”
he said, adding that both sides of the house, civil servants and the public
have to join with police and other law enforcement agencies in the fight
against crime.

Mr. McLaughlin refuted statements
made by Mr. Bush that suggested he had no more power to address the crime issue
than the previous administration did because the governor had ultimate responsibility
for security matters.

He pointed out that provisions for
a National Security Council, which would include government members, was
provided for in the new constitution that took effect 6 November. That council
would have the power to direct the governor on national security issues.

“We still don’t have a National
Security Council that is operational,” he said, adding that he thought it was a
“dereliction of duty” in the view of what has been happening with crime
recently for Cayman not to have the council operational since 6 November.

While he was speaking, Leader of
the Opposition Kurt Tibbetts told Mr. McLaughlin he had been told the National
Security Council would commence operations on 3 March, something he welcomed.

Mr. McLaughlin spoke of the Private
Member’s Motion he had submitted for consideration to the Legislative Assembly
asking the government to consider the appointment of a National Crime Prevention Strategy Group.

This
group would comprise a cross-section of business and community leaders, law
enforcement and other civil-service personnel and legislators from both sides
of the House.  It would be asked to present
an initial report and recommendations to Government and the Legislative
Assembly within six weeks of its appointment.

The
motion also asks the government to consider the establishment of an Office of
National Security and the appointment of a director of National Security, who
will report to the National Security Council. It suggests the Office of
National Security be responsible for the implementation of the National Crime
Prevention Strategy and the coordination of the crime prevention, investigative
and enforcement work of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, the
Immigration Department, the Customs Department and their liaison with global
and regional counterparts.

Mr.
McLaughlin said that Cayman’s law enforcement efforts have never been a
combined and coordinated effort across all enforcement agencies including the Police,
Immigration and Customs.

He
said better efforts had to be made with border control.

“I
don’t know of one gun manufacturing plant in Cayman,” he said, adding that all
the guns here must have been imported.  Although
he admitted there is some ganja grown here, he said it was not enough to spark
the gang violence that has been occurring.

“If
we don’t get an effective handle on border control and what is coming into
Cayman, we will never, never get a handle on the crime.”

Mr.
McLaughlin said it would take the involvement of the entire community to fight
crime.

Taking responsibility

Other speakers at the meeting also
addressed crime, including East End MLA Arden McLean.

“We need to take responsibility for
crime,” he said. “We need to do it as citizens.

“I’m not blaming the current
government, but all I’m saying is we have a responsibility to deal with it.”

Bodden Town MLA Anthony Eden said
people had to stop saying “not my child” when it came to some of the people
committing the crimes.

“We must get away from party
politics and work together as one people,” he said.

Mr.
Clifford said that during the time when Stuart Kernohan was policy
commissioner, many good Caymanian officers left the Royal Cayman Islands Police
Services. He said that he did not know why; only that they had left on Mr.
Kernohan’s watch.

“We
need to bring back those Caymanian officers,” he said, adding that foreign
officers don’t know the community like Caymanians.

1 COMMENT

  1. There is much food for thought in the comments and observations made by members of the PPM at a public meeting at the South Sound Community Centre in addressing the crime situation in Cayman. The situation seems to becoming more and more dire every day.

    Everyone should agree with the suggestion that a unified national effort to deal with the rising crime problem is needed. Certainly this is not the time to point fingers and lay blame on one party or the other, or even to brush the problem under the rug by saying, the governor had ultimate responsibility for security matters and leave it there.

    Having a National Security Council that would include government members is a good one and should be up and running as soon as possible.

    Mr. McLaughlin’s Private Member’s Motion which he had submitted to the Legislative Assembly to consider a National Crime Prevention Strategy Group is commendable as it would involve business and community leaders, law enforcement and legislators. This bi-partisan group would also indicate to crime wary residents that the government is very serious of getting an handle on crime.

    On the other hand, no effort should be spared to guard Cayman’s borders as it is an established fact that this is how many illegal guns enter the island because is is mostly unprotected.

    Let us also not forget that residents can do a lot to assist law enforcement to arrest perpetrators of criminal activities. It is fool hardy to believe that law biding people are not aware of criminals who live in their community. Perhaps they may be afraid of reprisals as they might be considered as police informants if they reported the matter. Surely there are ways of effectively addressing these situations.

    I sincerely believe that serious crimes are being committed by the same individuals over and over again because they get away it each time.

    Serious crimes – especially those involving firearms – will destroy the very fabric of any society if not effectively dealt with at the highest possible level.

    Geoff Daniels

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