The estimated $2.8 million it will cost to fully develop a closed-circuit television monitoring system for public areas on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac over the next two years does not include yearly maintenance costs.
According to officials with the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs, the contractor selected to install and maintain the first phase of the CCTV project – the Security Centre – will be put on a fixed camera maintenance schedule that will be monitored by Cayman’s 911 Emergency Centre.
The 911 assistant director responsible for supervising CCTV and the electronic monitoring system, which was implemented for police, court, and prison detainees last year, had not been hired as of last week. Portfolio Deputy Chief Officer Eric Bush said it is hoped that new position could be filled by April.
“They will be the individual who will hold, whether it [is] the Security Centre or whether it [is] company Y, accountable to the contract that we’ve signed with them,” Mr. Bush said.
The first phase of CCTV camera installation, which was awarded to the Security Centre and included the set up of a system to transmit and store images collected by the cameras, cost approximately $2 million. Some 167 cameras in 60 locations around Grand Cayman are included as part of the plan.
The second phase of CCTV development, with an approximate cost of $800,000, will set up another 180 cameras on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac. That contract will be bid out in the coming months.
It is ultimately the contracted company’s responsibility to make sure the various CCTV cameras are performing as expected.
“As you can imagine…with the seasons that we have, the cameras are only as good as how clean the lens is,” Mr. Bush said. “Whilst they will be weather-proof, [a camera] still has to have visible glass; salt spray for example, these are all things that we took into account.
“There are provisions in there for simple things like cleaning the lens,” he said. “The [911 assistant director] would be responsible for creating a schedule or a regimen which would ensure that all of these minor things are taken care of, but also that they are monitored to ensure we don’t have a situation, unfortunately like at the dump, where three of their nine cameras were not working.”
When George Town landfill worker Anna Evans went missing on 27 January, it was discovered that three of the nine CCTV cameras at the landfill had not been working at the time she disappeared. They have since been repaired.
Once the entire public CCTV system is up and running, it is expected there will be 346 cameras at more than 100 locations around the two Islands. Government officials could not immediately provide estimates of annual maintenance costs.
The ability to maintain the CCTV system is a key factor to private sector support for the project, said Chris Duggan, who acted as the private sector liaison to the government’s CCTV steering committee.
Government is hoping that at least some of the $800,000 left to be spent on the project’s development will be put up by private businesses, but he said there are no promises yet.
“They want to see that we can operate a viable system,” Mr. Bush said.