When Estella Scott-Roberts was raped and murdered in October 2008, Cayman residents were outraged.
People wondered how something like that could happen in the Cayman Islands, a place that over the course of its history had been such a safe place. The murder and realisation that Cayman had a dangerous side fundamentally changed the way many residents, particularly women, carried out their lives.
Crimes of recent weeks should also outrage Cayman residents. A knife attack against a visiting student on Seven Mile Beach on 19 January and an armed robbery of two visitors on a secluded beach near East End on Monday indicates just how unsafe the Cayman Islands are becoming for tourists, a key cog in our economic wheel.
Coincidental to Monday’s mugging – which apparently was committed by at least one teenager – Cayman Crime Stoppers ran a large advertisement listing safety and security tips for visitors to the Cayman Islands.
The tips, however, didn’t include avoiding secluded beaches in the middle of the day or Seven Mile Beach at night, something people probably should be wary about these days.
Let’s face facts: Cayman is not safe anymore. Residents and visitors who don’t use street smarts when conducting their lives are victims waiting to happen.
The shame is that there are good people who know who is committing crimes, but remain silent. As a consequence, the quality of our lives and the attractiveness of the Cayman Islands as destination suffers.
Police Commissioner David Baines recently hinted that the stabbing involved a dispute at a bar over a woman. What difference does that make? Someone was stabbed. It’s a crime that should be solved. Extenuating circumstances are matters for a judge or jury. End of story.
The police need to get tough, and legislators need to pass laws to support them. Start by making those who receive stolen goods accessories of the original crimes. Once backed by residents and legislators, we don’t want to hear any more excuses. If at that point the police force can’t do the job, we need to find one that can.