It’s no secret that the Cayman Islands has experienced a dramatic increase in crimes involving guns in recent times.
Most worrisome in the amount of armed robberies that have taken place at various businesses on the island, including some in broad daylight.
It’s not like these armed robberies are occurring in “bad neighbourhoods” that can be avoided by most people, as is the case with big cities elsewhere. These gun crimes are taking place in banks and other businesses in areas frequented by people of all walks of life. For the most part, however, the armed robberies have occurred away from areas frequented by tourists. That is changing, as evidenced by the armed robbery of Gino’s Pizza on West Bay Road in the heart of Seven Mile Beach on Monday.
It seems only a matter of time before someone is killed or injured in one of these armed robberies. If that someone happens to be a visitor, an already struggling tourism market and real estate investment climate can become much worse. As other places in the Caribbean can attest, crimes against tourists can have devastating effects to the economy.
Despite the continuing escalation of gun crimes and the public’s growing concern, this issue surprisingly doesn’t seem to be at the top of the national agenda. There’s an elephant in the room and our government and its agencies don’t seem to notice.
But they’re not the only ones. Instead of intelligent discourse about crime, many seem more concerned with political rhetoric and Caymanian/expatriate relations.
It is time for everyone – our government, the police, churches, non-governmental organisations and all residents in general – to realise that if the current trends with gun crime are not reversed, it will jeopardise our way of life and the prospects for returning to prosperity. Escalating gun crime offers no benefits to law-abiding residents of any origin; it can only serve to lower the quality of life for us all. We call on everyone to come together to develop strategies to deal with our crime problem before it has severe and irreversible consequences.