Shootings, attacks proliferate but few killed
Islands is fortunate its police service is not investigating eight
homicides in 2010, instead of two.
According to figures reviewed by
the Caymanian Compass, there have been at least six people injured in shootings
or machete attacks.
Two other shooting incidents have
claimed the lives of 32-year-old Courtney Spence and four-year-old Jeremiah
“The difference between murder and
attempted murder is often just a matter of luck,” Police Commissioner David
Baines told a Chamber of Commerce meeting last month.
Opposition MLA Alden McLaughlin
recently expressed concern that the number of incidents involving shootings and
violent attacks could eventually become seen by the public as commonplace,
which he said would be a grievous blow to the Cayman Islands.
“What we don’t want is for this
community to become so desensitised that they say ‘it’s just another shooting’.”
He said. “That, to some extent, is already happening. It has already altered
the way people think and what they do.”
In response to the recent spate of
crimes, the Ministry of Community Affairs and Housing has agreed to review a 2006
report done by Barbadian criminologist Yolande Forde on behalf of the Cayman
Islands government. The report will be reviewed with an eye toward implementing
A private retreat will be held
later this week by ministry officials to review the report.
“We must now focus on reducing crime
by reaching out to our children and youth, improving their opportunities and
access to programmes, identifying the gaps in our services, and strengthening
our families and communities,” Community Affairs Minister Mike Adam said. “This
is what the study recommends and this is what Government will implement.”
Between 14 January and 5 March
there have been at least eight confirmed incidents where shots have been fired
on Grand Cayman; in six of those incidents
someone was hit.
On 14 January, there were three
separate shots fired calls in West
Bay. The first on Vibe
Lane around 2pm, the second where shots were fired at a house on Fountain Road
and the third, again on Vibe Lane where police said it appeared the occupants
of two cars were shooting at each other.
Police said those shootings
appeared to be “tit-for-tat” incidents involving local gangs. No one was hit in
any of the shootings.
Courtney Spence was gunned down leaving work late on 28 January by a man who
police said appeared to have been waiting there for him. No arrests have been
made in Mr. Spence’s killing.
A few weeks later on 15 February,
Cayman was stunned by the death of four-year-old Jeremiah Barnes as shots were
fired into his father’s vehicle at a West
Bay gas station in what
again appeared to be a retaliatory shooting. One man, 24-year-old Devon Anglin,
has been charged with murder in the case.
Things went quiet until 4 March,
when two men were shot in separate incidents in West Bay
– again, incidents which appeared gang-related. One of the victims was struck
in the shoulder, another suffered minor head injuries.
A few hours later early on 5 March,
gunfire rang out again in Windsor
Park. No one was hit, but
several vehicles parking along Templeton
Street were hit by bullets.
That Friday afternoon, on Mary Street in George Town, a woman was
shot in the face by an assailant outside a local bar. A 32-year-old man has
been arrested, but not charged in that case.
In addition to the shootings, there
were two attacks with machetes involving victims on Courts Road in George Town. The attacks
occurred about 24 hours apart from each other and involved victims who lived at
the same complex.
Both men had to be flown off-island
for medical care for serious injuries. Both were expected to survive.