Police not fingerprinting everyone for clearance

A police policy that took effect in
mid-April that requires officers to fingerprint individuals who apply for a
police clearance certificate is not being used across the board.

According to Royal Cayman Islands
Police Inspector Ian Yearwood, fingerprinting at the department’s Walkers Road
facility is done in specific cases – generally where a great deal of time has
elapsed since the individual was last on the Islands.

“Fingerprints are not taken in
every case,” Inspector Yearwood said. “Fingerprints are taken when an
individual has had a lengthy break off Island and then applied for a new
certificate on his/her return, or when someone has lost their passport and is
in possession of an affidavit and he or she has not been living here for a long
period of time.”

Several individuals who have
applied for police clearance since April contacted the Caymanian Compass in
recent months to state they had not been fingerprinted upon application for a
police clearance certificate.

Most work permit-holders in the
Islands do have to seek police clearance here at a certain point in their
tenure, but Inspector Yearwood’s clarification means most of those individuals
who have been continuously resident in the Islands would not need to have
fingerprints taken.

It was unclear at press time if
this situation would change with the passage of the new Police Bill, which was
approved this month by the Legislative Assembly and is now awaiting the
governor’s assent.

According to Section 144 of the
Police Bill, anyone applying for a police clearance in the Cayman Islands –
including work permit holders – would be required to provide their fingerprints
to local law enforcement.

Section 144 (2) reads: “An
application for a police clearance certificate shall be accompanied by, (a) a
statutory declaration stating the full name, address and occupation of the applicant,
including particulars of any aliases and change of name by marriage or deed
poll; (b) fingerprints, and; (c) the prescribed application fee.” Inspector
Yearwood said the bill, once passed into law, would only confirm what police
have been doing with applicants for clearance documents since mid-April.

“The fingerprinting was
introduced…to enhance the security of the process and prevent any fraudulent
activity,” he said in early September.

However, it was not immediately
clear whether the new bill requires all people who apply for police clearances
to have their fingerprints taken. 

The newly proposed police bill does
not allow fingerprints taken for police clearance purposes to be kept by the
Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.

“Where fingerprints have been taken
pursuant to an application under this section, such fingerprints shall be
destroyed or handed over to the applicant at his option,” section 144(5) of the
Police Bill states.

The process for police clearance
certificates is separate from what will be required of work permit holders
under new Immigration Department requirements to fingerprint all foreign
workers residing in the Islands.

Earlier this year, immigration
officials said plans to start fingerprinting all work permit holders in the
Islands was due to occur in the last quarter of 2010.

The government has budgeted
$900,000 in the current fiscal year to support the project.


  1. Then go ahead and harass the tourist who never been here before!. Since Caymanians have a right to travel, live abroad or anywhere else they feel like living. they chose as Caymanians to return home and now must be handled like a criminal! Are you really kidding me. this is not only unfair, it is suspicious and could cause people to be framed because you the RCIP was not competent enough to resolve some cases. Nice chance to pin this on someone returning aftr many years abroad eh! When are you people in charge going to get your act together and stop playing on the intelligent minds of the people?
    This police law and operating policy is not at all just nor is it sound nor ethical. This does not meet Police standards neither locally nor internationally. It is a shame and a sham!.

    This means you are penalizing our own People just for the heck of it who want to return home to the Island who want to come home and live in their own Country?
    They must be humiliated while you can’t even solve a crime. Shame on you.
    Who drafted this Law? This is very unsafe and could carry serious consequences especially in a system that is so corrupt.

    What kind of a half baked system is this. Everyone needs to be fingerprinted or no one fingerprinted that’s for real and that’s what should be done.

    Editor’s note: This comment had to be edited for legal reasons.

  2. As a UK Attorney:

    I can predict the thousands of civil law suits coming out of this one. Lawsuits based on Discrimination.
    One group of people being handled different from another. Locals returning home being handled different from Tourists or Guest Workers visiting or working on the Island. That’s trouble coming your way and its going to be quite expensive indeed. It’ll save the public purse if you just simply fingerprint everyone. Targeting a specific group of people or Handling people differently under the same circumstances is known as BEING BIASED, PREJUDICED, AND DESCRIMINATION This opens the door of high risk racial profiling and targeted political profiling is soon to follow if not the basis for this strange law already.

    What a pity.

  3. Has anyone taken notice of the number of discrimminatory laws and actions that have been passed by the present government of the CI since they were voted into power ?

    I’ll list some:

    An almost complete dismantling of the legal aid system.

    Attacking and discrediting the free press at every opportunity.

    Manipulating the Caymanian vs Foreigner debate for political mileage.

    Passing a new Police Law that gives the Cayman Islands police far more powers over the citizenship than any British police force has over British nationals in Britain.

    Passing a fingerprint regulation that is neither consistent or clearly defined.

    These are just some of the more obvious ones; there are others.

    The common factor is that all these laws have the power to be used to stifle and quell legitimate opposition as has been done in many dictatorships.

    Keeping in mind that the citizens of Cayman has no local protection from their own government and will not have any until Novemeber, 2012, isn’t it worrying to some that by that time, some of the rights and freedoms that they are used to might be legislated away by the current government before any meaningful action to stop it can take place ?

    Also keeping in mind that it is the job of the political opposition in the local parliament (Legislative Assembly) to protect the interests of the people from government abuse, does it not worry some that the political opposition is mere lip service alone and that the opposition has voted hand-in-hand with the government on every law passed ?

    If I were a resident of the Cayman Islands, I would be very, very worried about these developments, indeed.

    If the citizens of the Cayman Islands are not careful, they might find themselves legislated from under the British Crown and into an independent dictatorship before they are aware of what has happened.

    The residents of the Cayman Islands needs to find an effective way to offer political opposition to the excesses of this current government now, before they will not be able to do so any at all.

  4. This is a shame. Why live in hypocrisy claiming to be a British Colony?

    We are no more a British Colony;, We are a Dictatorship!

    Why can’t you see the seriousness of these laws and stand up against it.
    Oh I forgot, you only do what suits you best, you need the Cameras on you!

    Editor’s note: This comment had to be edited for legal reasons.

  5. Firey,

    Good article. why don;’t you post it in the UK Guardian paper so the Prime Minister or the Territory minister will see it and put him on guard. It will put him to shame and perhaps do something about it.

    They are sub-planting out Civil Liberties engrafted in the constitution for dictatorship laws of oppression.

    We have got to do something.

  6. While we’re having this discussion:

    I’m sick and tired of these so called prefabricated investigtions UK originated.
    For the sole reason to keep us as enslaved colonialists.That’s Britain for you.

    Its so obvious Here’s some proof of he facts of what they do to the poor Caymanianian people especially the RCIP who can’t enjoy the liberty of properly protecting the communities and the people because they are forever under fire.

    Editor’s note: This comment had to be edited for legal reasons

  7. Comissioner Baines. We need a level playing field.

    We don’t live in mud huts, we never did.
    so please remove this backward law or FINGERPRINT

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