Only local firms can bid on CCTV

Bidding requirements for Cayman’s
proposed national closed-circuit television system basically exempt everyone
but local companies from bidding on the project.

According to tender documents
released last week, any companies bidding on the project – which aims to
install more than 300 cameras in public spaces around Grand Cayman and Cayman
Brac to help fight crime – will have to hold a valid Security Business Licence
in the Cayman Islands.

Only locally operating companies
are assigned those licences, which are required under the Private Security
Services Law (2007).

The bid documents seek the installation
of a wireless IP-based closed-circuit camera system for the two Islands. Little
Cayman was not made part of the CCTV design.

All bids are due by noon, 20
August.

According to the tender: “the
Cayman Islands has witnessed a spike in violent crimes and it is believed that
the implementation of a national CCTV programme would be a valuable tool in
both deterring re-offenders as well as to capture evidence for police
investigations.”

The government has set aside $2
million to invest in the CCTV project in the current 2010/11 budget year, which
started on Thursday.

The initial design includes about
70 clusters or “pods” where cameras will be placed, according to Portfolio of
Internal and External Affairs Deputy Chief Officer Eric Bush. All of those areas
are on public roadways or right-of-ways.

The cameras will be able to monitor
roads, sidewalks, building entrances, parking lots, intersections; anywhere
that is considered a public area. However, officials said the cameras cannot be
used to monitor private property – such as looking into the windows of people’s
homes.

The number of cameras placed in
each location or “pod” varies based on the need of each location, Mr. Bush
said.

“For example, in the design, they
call for one ‘pod’ to be at the Hurley’s roundabout,” he said. “For every lane
of traffic, there is…to be one camera. So there are nine cameras in that area
(in the design).”

At most locations, the consultant’s
design calls for between two or three cameras in each “pod”.

“(The system) is designed to be
phased,” Mr. Bush said. “With the current financial situation, we believe the
project will have to be based on the funding that we have available.”

The initial focus of the CCTV
project will be the George Town, West Bay Road/Seven Mile Beach and West Bay
district areas

Those areas were also the hardest
hit by a string of violent shootings earlier this year. There were five
homicides on Grand Cayman in the first three months of 2010. Business owners
have also expressed outrage over a perceived rise in armed robberies since the
latter half of 2009.

Although the proposal generally
refers to CCTV cameras, there are actually four specific types of cameras in
the design. They include fixed-angle cameras, pan/tilt/zoom cameras, automatic
licence plate readers, and speed cameras.

Mr. Bush said a combination
of these cameras will be used at the various “pod” locations, depending on the
needs identified. He noted that speed cameras and licence plate readers, in
particular, were specifically aimed at traffic.

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