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
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
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.