A private sector association has called for a dedicated tourism police.
The Cayman Islands Tourism Association, which represents around 200 tourism-related businesses, said that in order to maintain a safe environment in the destination, a specific safety force should be considered by the government.
It would comprise easily recognisable uniformed officers who could advise and assist tourists on beach use and safety and be visible on patrols near restaurants, bars and accommodation, suggested the association.
The police would be posted in areas identified as potentially risky or vulnerable and would be able to react quickly to incidents, as well as provide travel and vacation safety information to visitors.
“Our tourism economy will be permanently damaged if a tourist gets seriously harmed. In addition to such an alarming potential incident, there is already an unsettling number of complaints by long-standing visitors who no longer wish to stay here.
“Potential and existing investors are also faced with growing concern about the lack of control that the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service seems to have within the community and this, too, continues to have a negative impact on our economy,” the association said in a press release.
They added that they would continue to support the efforts of the police service and that they look forward to working together to find a solution.
“We are looking at suggestions and will respond once considered,” a spokesman for the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service told the Compass.
Ronan Guilfoyle of Cayman Islands Crime Stoppers said that over the years Cayman has been a relatively safe place, with attacks on tourists few and far between, historically.
“[However] the idea is a good one if it makes tourists feel safer given some of the recent events, and it’s something that Cayman Crime Stoppers would support.”
He added that it was good to see the police service making the effort to attract more special constables, but noted that Crime Stoppers could always use more assistance from the public and businesses.
“I wouldn’t say there is apathy, but we hear people say they want to do things, want to do more, but they are not stepping forward. We have a small board complement, a small membership and people ask, ‘What are you guys doing?’
“Well, why don’t you help out? We can use all the resources that are available, but people don’t seem to want to give us any of their time to help out, which is one of the challenges that we face.
We’ve done pretty well over the last few years but could always do more to raise the profile again,” said Mr. Guilfoyle.