Royal Cayman Islands
Police Commissioner David Baines said his officers had a big reason to celebrate
at the police Outstanding Service Awards dinner Friday night.
Crime is down; way down
since the beginning of 2011.
The Caymanian Compass
previously reported, and police crime statistics have now confirmed a massive
jump in the number of robberies since the beginning of the year – there were 22
through 17 March, according to police stats, compared to 7 through the same time
last year. However, Mr. Baines said there were many more reasons for optimism,
if the overall crime rate kept along the same trend.
“The other crime that
last year blighted our lives…burglaries were up last year, this year 51 per cent
down in burglaries – that’s 72 less homes violated across the Islands,” Mr. Baines said. “At this time last year we’d
had three murders, so far this year none. Attempted murders; last time this year
we had ten, this year one.
“Serious crime overall,
43 per cent down and all crime is down 27 per cent.”
Those figures are based
on crime reports compiled by the RCIPS between 1 January, 2011 and 17 March,
2011 which are then compared to the same period of 2010. In 2010, Cayman’s
overall violent crime rate stayed almost exactly the same as it had in 2009,
rising by a single offence for the year.
“That didn’t happen by
itself,” Mr. Baines said. “It happened because the men and women of the Royal
Cayman Islands Police Service have worked hard to secure those successes;
sometimes at personal risk to themselves. In some cases, officers have faced
personal threats in retaliation, some with their families having to be moved out
of their home temporarily due to active threats on their lives until those
threats have been addressed.”
A few of those officers
were honoured Friday at a posh gala held at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, which was held as a fundraiser for the local
police welfare fund. They included Police Officer of the Year Constable Davis
“Scottie” Scott, Diversity Award Winner Inspector Winston Forth, and Special
Constabulary Sergeant Craig Coe. Also awarded for outstanding service were RCIPS
Support Staff Member of the Year Garnet McLaughlin and unnamed staffers from the
Caribbean Club resort who, earlier this year, put themselves at risk to aid in
the arrest of two armed suspects.
They were the first-ever
recipients of the RCIPS ‘Community Award’, given for service above and beyond
what would normally be expected of civilians.
Commissioner Baines said
the staff members used vehicles to block in two suspicious individuals in the
resort’s underground parking lot and actually found a weapon. The two men were
arrested a short while later and a firearm recovered.
“Now, what crime did they
prevent there? That’s for a court to decide,” Mr. Baines said.
The Police Welfare Award
went to the entire staff of the Sister Islands branch of the RCIPS. Honourees
included Inspector Malcolm Kay, Sergeant Ashton Ferguson, Constable Lloyd
Anderson, Constable Brenda Cherry, Constable Walter Melbourne, Constable Carlile
Nation and Constable Greg Shepherd.
Runner-ups for the awards
were also honoured at the dinner. They included Detective Constable Ronald
Francis, police officer of the year; Karen Westfield, support staff member of
the year; Constable Miguel McFarlane, diversity award; Carmalee Virginia Watson,
community award; and Special Constable Burton Ebanks, special constable of the
Friday’s event was the
first time local police had gathered for a black-tie awards dinner since the
December 2007 Policeman’s Ball, an event which was previously held each year. A
similar event was not held in 2008, 2009 or 2010.
Premier McKeeva Bush, who
attended Friday’s event, along with Governor Duncan Taylor and numerous other
senior government officials, said it was important for the community to have
such events to honour police officers and the crucial work they perform.
“Some may ask how the
self-esteem of the police can be a matter of national concern,” Mr. Bush said.
“This country lacks a military. Hence, it relies on the police to preserve the
order on which our society and economy are based. Today we recognise that, if we
want good service from people, we must treat them as if they are fully-empowered
human beings. We must provide them with incentives and resources necessary to
fulfil a physically and spiritually challenging role.
“Treat them with the
respect they deserve for doing a job that every day exposes them to dark and
hidden aspects of our society that we might otherwise face ourselves on a larger
scale than we can presently imagine.”