Update: Crime policy approval delayed

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    A final decision on Cayman’s national crime prevention strategy was delayed until next week, according to representatives from the governor’s office. 

    Cayman Islands Governor, Premier, ministers and senior advisors met Tuesday to review Cayman’s national crime prevention strategy as part of Cabinet’s weekly gathering.

    Although
    there was discussion of the crime prevention strategy [Tuesday] and of the
    recommendations Cabinet are being asked to approve, the paper was deferred until
    next week when, I believe, both the Premier and Deputy Premier will be on island
    and able to attend,” according to the head of the governor’s office.   

    Premier McKeeva. Bush was attending meetings in the United Kingdom and was expected to return to Cayman Wednesday. Deputy Premier Juliana O’Connor Connolly was attending an information technology conference in Spain and was due back Thursday.

    In any case, the plan is not expected to propose any immediate operational solutions to the country’s crime issues. Rather, the document takes a look at potential longer-term societal remedies.

    The proposed adoption of the plan, which has not yet been disseminated for public review, comes on the heels of a high-profile robbery of two tourists on a remote East End beach that seized the headlines and got the attention of the local hospitality industry.

    Mr. Bush said last week that he was deeply concerned about the robbery, which he called senseless.

    “I am outraged by this assault and cannot begin to understand the mentality of persons who would commit such unwarranted acts against others,” Mr. Bush said in a statement. “The rise in crime is unacceptable, especially since such attacks by thoughtless individuals are capable of doing irreparable damage to our tourist industry, our economy and our country.”

    Mr. Bush said his government would fully support Governor Duncan Taylor and Police Commissioner David Baines in “whatever actions they deem are necessary to take” in addressing criminal behaviour.

    Prior to the 7 February robbery on Bare Foot Beach, Mr. Taylor spoke in general terms about the national crime prevention strategy, which has been reviewed for a number of months by the country’s National Security Council.

    “We have agreed on a crime reduction strategy,” Mr. Taylor said. “The next step will be to bring it to Cabinet. It will hopefully be made public at that point.”

    “It is expected that this strategy will provide a comprehensive approach to reducing this intolerable situation,” Premier Bush said, adding that he expected both the National Security Council and Mr. Baines to release further details shortly.

    Governor Taylor cautioned that the crime situation in Cayman was likely to remain a significant issue through the remainder of his term in office.

    “Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s any easy way to turn the clock back to the days when crime was unheard of in the Cayman Islands,” Mr. Taylor said.

    However, the governor said it was also important to note the successes the local police force has achieved in addressing violent crimes.

    “There’s a good story to tell in that six of the seven murders [that occurred] last year have been detected,” he said, using a police term that means a suspect in the case has been identified and arrested. Commissioner Baines has also pointed out that two killings that happened in 2009 were detected by police in 2010.

    Governor Taylor said the need for elected ministers and the UK-appointed territory managers to work together to address Cayman’s crime situation was more evident than ever. For instance, he noted the governor’s position is the line manager of the police service, but that he could not effectively carry out that role without support from the local government.

    Mr. Taylor also noted that various government ministries all contribute in various ways to crime reduction and social development strategies. He said part of the national crime prevention strategy would look at those areas.

    “It’s very clear that all of us contribute to reducing crime,” he said.

    While the spate of killings that plagued Grand Cayman in early 2010 has since subsided, the Islands have recorded at least seven robberies in the first six weeks of 2011 as well as several other incidents where business robberies were attempted.

    Relatively few people have been injured in the incidents in 2011, but weapons were reported to be used by the suspects in nearly all cases and gun shots were fired in at least two.

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    Mr. Bush

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    Mr. Taylor

    1 COMMENT

    1. So the Governor is a line manager now, is he? With due respect, can the Governor and Government stop treating us like idiots who need a new bunch of different words every so often, to describe the same thing? Or is it verbiage as camouflage?

    2. The RCIP needs stronger leadership if it is going to have any hope of implementing the suggestions of Government in addressing crime. Baines is the equivalent of a President/CEO of a large organization. As an organization the RCIP is suffering from poor management, inconsistent leadership and bad administration. I put it to Baines that he needs to be accountable for the performance of the RCIP. Officers are not happy, and believe me there is dissension in the ranks. Baines needs to worry about being respected, he doesnt have to be liked but he certainly needs to be respected in order to earn the dedication and appreciation of those for which he leads. It is a fundamental principle of leadership. Caymanian officers of many years in the force are passing their promotion exams and taking on leadership roles and additional responsibilities and then when they request promotion or pay raises they are told there is a hiring freeze, that pay cuts are being implemented across the board. This must be a bitter pill to swallow when the press recently reported through an FOI request that 27 officers received promotions or pay increases during a time in which the civil service pay was being cut across the board and the so-calling hiring freeze was in place. In any organization in the world you are going to have problems motivating employees where they cannot be assured of a defined process for promotion and advancement, or even fairness in treatment of employees in similar roles. You cannot expect officers to take on more danger and more risk and then cut their pay, it goes against all logic and human nature. In the case of the RCIP, rather than promoting the Caymanian officers mentioned above, the RCIP has been bringing in foreign officers and slotting them into positions above the officers and then expecting the Caymanians to fill them in/train them on what is going on in the Cayman crime scene, even to understand the local patois, for those expats not from the Caribbean. Perhaps they cannot afford to lose the Caymanian front line staff, the foot soldiers who take the most risk on a day to day basis but whom are more familiar with the faces of the criminals, the culture and patterns of the crimes, so they put the expatriates in the supervision roles. However, this is counterproductive and has also created widespread resentment at the lower levels but sadly, such resentment would exist regardless purely due to the HR abuses and inconsistencies that abound in the RCIP.
      HR abuses in the RCIP are widespread, lack of defined promotion criteria and recognition for years of service and seniority, discrimination in promotion and hiring, long hours for no overtime pay. The current policy of granting extended time off in lieu of overtime hurts the effectiveness of the RCIP in fighting crime the officers who have to take the most time off are the very ones that work the longest hours and are the best at their job and often the most senior, it is counterproductive to have them off for months at a time while other officers who are more junior or less experienced with Cayman crime (ie new to the Island) struggle to fill their role. Believe me almost without exception these officers would all certainly rather get paid for their overtime than be forced to take months of leave. It was recently reported in the press that there are inconsistencies in the Police Law and the Public Servants Law and police are in limbo now as to which law their labour or HR matters should be addressed. Officers are not at all equipped to adequately deal with the rising drug trade and associated violent crime/gang violence in particular which means that their job safety is a huge risk. As we all know, and the criminals know as well, DTF officers and patrol officers are not armed and are seen by criminals as little threat to their enterprise. Supervisors are ineffective at processing intelligence gathered by the officers on the front lines as to drug movements and get caught up arguing at the senior level about how to proceed with the intelligence and as a result opportunities are sometimes missed to intercept drug transactions. This is again a problem with the leadership. The drug problem is widely reported and commented on in the press and by Baines, but if the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result each time, we are going to go insane before we solve the drug related crime problems of this Island.
      We all need to be concerned about this for more reasons that just reducing crime in the Cayman Islands, the entire situation has a knock on effect and we all suffer as a community when we have an RCIP that is divided and inept and poorly managed. Baines, with the support of Government, needs to step up to the plate and acknowledge that improvements need to be made and find a way to raise morale in the RCIP by setting an example and make some hard choices, including arming select senior qualified officers on every patrol, they dont all need to be armed but if some of them are it will make a difference in the confidence of the officers on the ground to intercept criminal events as they are unfolding. It will make the criminals have at least some fear of the police, it should certainly not be the other way around. If Baines can find a way to address the concerns raised in this post, RCIP morale and teamwork will improve and I strongly believe the Cayman Islands will see a marked change in the approach to law enforcement which should lead to reduced violent crime rates.