Gun amnesty extended to prisoners

The recent gun amnesty campaign
announced by the Royal Cayman Islands Police has been extended to Her Majesty’s
Northward prison. However, the prison’s Information Officer Ricardo Lashley
said: “There is no evidence or intelligence that would suggest that there are
guns in the prison.”

Mr.Lashley said the undertaking was
important because, in his words, the prison service supports any lawful
strategy that is geared at a reduction in criminality and violence in the

“It is safe to assume that some of
our prisoners would be able to provide information relative to the recovery of
illegal firearms, so we are pleased that the gun amnesty was extended to
prisoners,” he said.

He added that the notion that
inmates’ release dates could be brought forward if they assist in helping to
take guns off the streets is a false one.

“Release dates are prescribed by
law and must be dealt with as such,” he said.

Prisoners who received an early
release recently were eligible because of an amendment to the law which allows
the practice at the discretion of the Prison Director, provided that an
individual’s sentence does not exceed three years.

Officials at the prison have
conceded that overcrowding played a role in their decision-making.

With regard to prisoners who may come
forward with information during the gun amnesty, Mr. Lashley said the prison
service has developed a system to protect individuals who provide information,
adding that this was considered from the very beginning and is reflected in the
confidential manner in which potential intelligence/cooperation is sought.

Representatives for HMP added that
prisoners at Northward are generally cooperative, but it was not possible for
the service to say whether those facing incarceration were more likely to be
willing to come forward than people on the streets.   

Police launched a month-long gun
amnesty campaign that began on 19 May and runs through 10 June in an effort to
remove firearms from the streets of Grand Cayman, after a flurry of shootings
and robberies this year. 

Strong boxes have been placed at
police stations in George Town, West Bay, Bodden Town and Cayman Brac from 7am
to 7pm each day for members of the public to place firearms.

Police Commissioner David Baines
said the purpose of the amnesty is to prevent guns falling into the hands of
criminals and reduce the number of firearms in circulation.

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