We agree with comments made by the Human Rights Commission in an article on the front of today’s Caymanian Compass.
Government should not proceed with installing closed-circuit television cameras in public places until it has adopted the proper legislation and regulations outlining how those cameras and the subsequent images caught on them can and should be used.
The cameras are supposed to start going up at the end of next month and the entire process should be complete by the end of June.
It is expected that as soon as the cameras go up, they’ll start working.
We do applaud government’s desire to tackle the growing problem of crime on Grand Cayman and using closed-circuit television cameras may be one of the approaches that needs to be adopted.
But if anything is worth doing, it’s worth doing right and the HRC doesn’t seem to be convinced about the “rightness” of the government’s efforts thus far.
Surely, whatever law it is handled under, there should be some over-arching legislation covering CCTV in addition to a code of practice for operating the devices.
It may be that court evidence obtained from the cameras in the public rights of way can still be used, as camera evidence from private properties is used now.
But what if there are allegations of improper use, particularly if the public area cameras are used on private properties without the consent of the owner. What recourse does a member of the public have to address this situation?
Another issue is whether the code of practice being drawn up for CCTV will be made public.
People in a democracy should know the rules under which they are governed.
If the closed-circuit television project has to be delayed a few months to make it legal and correct that’s fine with us.
It’s better than rushing headlong into a major public safety initiative and having it blow up in our faces.