To look at the Royal Cayman Islands
Police crime stats for 2010, one might get the impression that drugs-related
crime is going down.
Not so, Police Commissioner David Baines
said last week. In fact, it’s just the opposite.
“There are indications now that are
suggesting that the Cayman Islands is being used as a hub for the supply of
significant quantities of cocaine,” Mr. Baines said during a press conference
Wednesday. “The purity of the cocaine that we’ve recovered is about as pure as
you’ll get. This is straight from the production areas, so we have got a
problem with cocaine.”
Police crime reports for 2010 indicate
that the number of drug arrests fell by nearly 47 per cent when compared to
There are two reasons for the decline,
Mr. Baines said. First is that the RCIPS is now focusing on drug suppliers, not
street-level possession arrests. “We had a particular undercover operation
concerning drug supply all along the Seven Mile Beach area that took out not
only those supplying at the front, but also the infrastructures behind them,”
he said. “That’s going to be our tactical operation for the future.”
The second reason involves a lack of
staff, particularly early in 2010, who were available to focus on drugs crime.
“In the beginning of the year, with the
number of murders…a lot of our officers that we would have deployed on counter
drugs operations were actually supporting us in terms of those murders,” said
Chief Superintendent John Jones. “That did sort of sap our resources.”
It is a concern for local law
enforcement on several levels, not least of which is that foreign jurisdictions
have begun to look at the Cayman Islands as a potential supply centre,
Commissioner Baines said.
“The fact that direct flights out of
Cayman are being found to contain significant amounts of drugs…means that other
law enforcement agents will be looking closely at us,” he said.
There were two significant seizures of
cocaine in the UK last year; both involved direct flights from Cayman, Mr.
Baines said. One shipment involved six kilogrammes of cocaine, another involved
a shipment of 10 kilogrammes. Assuming the current street price per kilo in the
UK to be $55,000, the larger shipment would have been worth a half-million
dollars or more, police said.
both cases remained scant, but the Caymanian Compass has since learned that a
local customs officer was suspended in connection with one of the cocaine
shipments. The officer’s ultimate status with the customs service has never
been made public.
the year, Mr. Baines said, 44 kilogrammes were recovered after the drugs washed
ashore in East End. It is likely that those drugs came either from an air drop
or a boat, the commissioner said. The drugs were burned at the George Town
landfill days after their seizure.
just the issues that we have recovered,” Mr. Baines said. “It’s quite apparent
to us that there’s increasing levels of cocaine available and being distributed
on the Islands.”
area of concern for police is the level of violence connected with some recent
robberies and burglaries where there would appear to be no reason for it.
Superintendent Jones said, based on his more than 30 years of law enforcement
experience in the UK, excessive violence is often a sign of crack cocaine use.
“Some of the offences that we’ve seen, aggravated burglaries [involving]
elderly people [as victims]….why do people need to use that much violence
against frail, elderly people?”
also noted the violence in some of the business robberies that were committed
for relatively small amounts of money. He said police are looking into some of
the cases that appeared to have been done for the reasons of gang initiation or
be some explanation for small amounts of cash being targeted,” he said.
heists reported during the last year appeared to be “inside jobs”, the
commissioner said. He said police met with local business owners who collect
large amounts of cash and use staff members to transport the money to banks to
discuss proper procedures to secure the money.
have cash handling procedures…be sure that you change them regularly,” he said,
adding that business owners should thoroughly vet individuals they hire.