NS under the eye

Area residents are invited to
attend a meeting of the North Side District Council Thursday, when they will
hear more about surveillance cameras being installed in the district.

MLA Ezzard Miller, who signed a
memorandum of understanding last week for the installation of cameras, said
council members had already collected about $4,000 toward the cost. “Some
people gave us some generous donations,” he noted.

The project will cost $10,000, Mr.
Miller explained. He said the council would like to ask for $100 per household.
Members would like to raise enough funds by Christmas to cover the costs.
Meanwhile, the council is putting up the balance.

The video surveillance system includes
cameras, recording equipment and monitoring devices. Mr. Miller added that police
were well satisfied with the quality of images recorded should such recordings
ever be needed as evidence in court.

The cameras are part of the
council’s efforts to monitor, detect and reduce crime following the increase in
incidents of burglaries and other crimes in the district and throughout Grand Cayman.

Mr. Miller signed the memorandum of
understanding on 22 April with Errol Kellyman, Chief Executive Officer of Aviation
Communications, suppliers of the equipment and broadband network for the
project. The company will also provide the installation and engineering services.

Mr. Kellyman and police officers
have already surveyed the district and decided where cameras should be placed.
For obvious security reasons, the number of cameras and their locations are not
being made public.

A press release from the North Side
District Council did refer to the identification of “high pedestrian and
vehicular traffic areas”.

The release also referred to the
surveillance system as a project of the North Side District Council and Mr. Miller.
The project has been in the works since December.

As part of the process, Mr. Miller met
with Police Chief Inspector Martin Bodden to enlist support and advice on how
the initiative could assist them.

“I commend Mr. Miller and his team
for their initiative in identifying and implementing this project as a means of
assisting the police,” Mr. Bodden said.

“The Eastern Districts are fast
growing areas on the Island and North Side is
visited on the weekends by many peoples from other areas. The police cannot be
everywhere and this initiative is a good first step in providing us with additional
information in the fight against crime,” Mr. Bodden declared.

Mr. Kellyman said Aviation
communications was happy to partner with the North Side District Council and
residents in the initiative. “We are using available technology to provide
video surveillance for areas that need to be monitored and we expect that this will
assist in making North Side a safer community.”

That expectation is shared by Mr.
Miller. “We believe this will have a positive effect and act as a deterrent to
anyone, whether persons from or outside of North Side who would seek in indulge
in criminal or anti-social behaviour. We are grateful to the police for their
assistance and to all the persons whose generous donations helped to project a
reality.”

The North Side District council has
given the surveillance camera project its full support, he emphasised.

Council chairperson Alex Johnson
shared her thoughts on the surveillance system. “It’s to protect all of us, not
take away your privacy,” she said.

Mrs. Johnson confirmed that the
North Side District Council was formed almost immediately after the General Elections in May 2009, when Mr. Miller was chosen as
North Side’s sole representative in the legislature. The council executive
typically meets in advance of the monthly Thursday public meeting.

Tonight’s meeting is at 8pm in the
Craddock Ebanks Civic Centre. Items on the agenda include hurricane plans and
the installation of surveillance cameras. “All residents are welcome,” Mrs.
Johnson said.

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