Cracking cocaine

Since RCIPS Commissioner David Baines first made his comments about the cocaine trade becoming an increased problem in the Cayman Islands we have received a number of comments from readers.

Almost all of them went along the lines of, “So what? We’ve all known cocaine dealing in Cayman has been around for decades.” Etc, etc, etc.

We at the Observer on Sunday would like to ask those readers to step back and consider – those that have lived in Cayman for a while anyway – whether the situation here was indeed as dire back in the 1970’s and 1980’s as it is today.

Were tourists being beaten and robbed on remote beaches in East End back in the 1980’s? Were visitors to Cayman’s world-famous Seven Mile Beach being stabbed by thugs back in the 1970’s?

Were elderly Caymanians being pistol-whipped in their homes by suspects looking for relatively small amounts of money back in the 1980’s?

Like Commissioner Baines and RCIPS Chief Superintendent John Jones, we are not certain that the link can be positively drawn at this point.

But several of these recent robbery cases smack of cocaine usage, particularly crack-cocaine.

If anyone doubts the dangers inherent in that particular substance, we advise them to peruse the internet for the various volumes written on the spread of crack-cocaine in New York City in the 1980’s.

Its appearance destroyed an entire culture and remade it into something that can only be described as a horror.

To sum up, it is time for all of us to stop acting as if the days of yore are just about to return and that this “cocaine thing” is old hat.

Times have changed, and we appreciate Commissioner Baines for identifying the issue – placing the appropriate seriousness in tone on the subject.

The major problem faced by Cayman in this fight is its small size and service driven economy.

We have to let people in to keep making money on tourism and in the financial services industry.

It is quite frankly a daunting problem to monitor the influx of what is probably close to two million visitors on a three-island chain of 60,000 or fewer people.

This country will never be able to arrest its way out of the drugs and guns problems that have beset nearly all of its neighbours in the modern world.

So we have to do a better job of catching it on the front end through education and social programmes.

Once the drug gangs take root in the local population, Cayman will never be able to fight those issues from without.