Armed robbers storm First Caribbean


Two robbers brandishing
what appeared to be firearms entered a First Caribbean Bank in George Town just
before noon Thursday, managing to make off with some cash after threatening
a security guard with a firearm.

According to witnesses,
the men came around the side of the bank building, which is in the Plaza
Venezia shopping complex near the intersection of North Sound Road and Shedden

The side of the bank faces
North Sound Road and a woman who was in the car park of the shopping centre
said she saw two armed men running around the building 
carrying guns.

A second witness – who
only wanted to give her first name, Maria – said she saw the men confront two
security guards while pointing their weapons in the air.

“I saw two guys behind
[the security guards] pointing a gun at their head,” Maria, who had gone into
the First Caribbean to use the ATM, said. “When I see them pushed…inside the
bank I just ran out; I was just running for my life.”

Security Centre President
Stuart Bostock said that his company had one security officer stationed 
outside the bank and another
stationed inside. He confirmed neither man had been injured, but was unable to
provide any further details by press time.

A third witness, who had gone into the bank to make a
deposit, said she heard “shuffling” at the door and looked up to see two armed
men coming into the building. This witness said she saw the two men taking cash
from customers inside the store, but she was not certain if anything was taken
from the bank itself.

Police later confirmed that two bank customers had been robbed. 

“I’m so scared, I’m so scared, I almost just died in
there,” said Clara Ebanks, visibly shaking as she walked back out to her car.
“One of the tellers in there was so scared she was shaking all over, she was so
nervous. Everybody in there is crying.”  Ms Ebanks said no one in the
store was hurt. 

Royal Cayman Islands Police Officers were on the scene
of the bank holdup within minutes, armed officers were spotted walking through
the parking lot and helicopters and ground units circled the area in the hunt
for the suspects.  Witnesses said they spotted the men leaving in a blue
car, but couldn’t say what make or model. Police roadblocks were set up in
certain areas and were checking cars as they went by.

bank robbery

Thursday’s incident was the first robbery to be reported
at a Grand Cayman bank in 2011.

The previous year set a record for bank heists in Cayman
with three. In November, the Butterfield Bank at the Compass Centre was held
up, in September the Fidelity Bank on Dr. Roys Drive in George Town was robbed
and then in February, the Cayman National Bank branch in the Countryside
Shopping Centre in Savannah was robbed.

Prior to those incidents, the last
bank robbery to occur in Cayman was in March 2006 at the Centennial Towers
West Bay.

Police and bank statements

At 3pm Thursday, Royal Cayman Islands Police released the following statement: 

“George Town detectives are hunting for two masked men following a robbery at First Caribbean Bank located at Plaza Venezia on North Sound Way.

“At 11:33am Thursday, two masked men entered the bank armed with what appeared to be handguns, threatened staff and customers and demanded money.

“The suspects then made off from the premises with a sum of cash taken from two customers.

“No one was injured in the incident and no shots were fired. Both suspects left the location on foot headed towards the direction of Jacques Scott.

“Police uniform and armed officers immediately attended and secured the scene. The RCIPS Air Operations Unit was deployed to assist in the search for the suspects.

“Both suspects were described as dark-skinned males; both were wearing dark-colored clothing, long pants and long sleeved shirts. One of the suspects was wearing a black knitted mask while the other was wearing a white-t-shirt over his face. One of the suspects is described at 5’11 to 6′ feet tall, slim-built and the other is approximately 5’5, medium built.

“Anyone with information into this incident is asked to contact Detective Sergeant Joseph Wright or any officer of the George Town CID at 949-4222. The detective is keen to hear from anyone who was in the area at the relevant time this morning and may have seen the incident or the suspects fleeing the scene. Persons can also call the confidential Crime Stoppers number 800-8477 (TIPS).”

In a statement released late Thursday, First Caribbean said it would re-open on Friday: 

Managing Director Tom Crawford said counselling services were called to the
branch to assist members of staff who are understandably shaken by the

“Our first consideration is for the safety of our
staff and we are thankful that they are all safe,” Mr. Crawford said. 

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  1. as I have said before. Putting a sewn patch on someone, with a hat that both says security. And individuals who are armed with flashlights and maybe a walkie talkie. Does absolutely nothing.

    Ain’t that nice, to be that security guard. Get a gun put to your head, you dont’ know if it’s going to go off by accident and your life is over, for what…7 dollars an hour. Gee, those who say no to firearms,…would you swap places with this security guard at that time, when the gun is placed to his head. If your answer is no. Then you being against firearms is moronic.

    FOR THE LOVE OF GOD ARM THESE SECURITY GUARDS, or arm the darn police and have them guard the banks.

    When or what is going to have to happen, and how many times, before the person able to place firearms into the people responsible for guarding these institutions are finally going to get it?!

  2. Why would the RCIPS want any type of monitoring that would put them in the position to actually face off with a Bank Robber? I am sure the last thing they want to do is to put some innocent Bank Robber in danger. And what would happen if they fired on the cops? That would mean that they may even have to shot one of these poor guys whom I am sure are just innocent victims of the bad economy being forced into a life of crime to feed their families. Or Maybe the Government didn’t provide them enough free education or give them Job with a high enough salary to keep out of a life of crime. Then there’s always the fact that they couldn’t find jobs because every company on the island only hires expats for 2 Dollars an hour.

    Shame on you Cayman Islands Government, this is all your fault. These people would not be leading a life of crime if you gave them everything they needed for free.

  3. What else is new. Thugs know full well they can hold up businesses, individuals, etc and get away with it. What is the logic of having unarmed security guards when the criminals themselves are armed? How else can any attempt be made to ward off robbery? The big problem in Cayman is the British (soft) approach to crime whereby law enforcement seem to mollycuddle criminals. Until this approach is changed, the situation will remain as is. Here’s the scenario, illegal guns get into the island unchecked, witnesses refuse to come forward, suspects’ names cannot be publicised prematurely, prisoner’s demands are met while while they serve time. What is needed is someone who knows what is needed and implement same.
    Geoff Daniels

  4. So, first this bank has a bomb threat or something, and now this? Obviously they don’t learn from their past…This bank should have had something like an emergency button to sound off to the police.

    We can’t give these security guards firearms because they’re not going to know what to do if/when they have to actually use them.

  5. Managing Director Tom Crawford said counselling services were called to the branch to assist members of staff who are understandably shaken by the incident.

    Our first consideration is for the safety of our staff and we are thankful that they are all safe, Mr. Crawford said.

    This statement from the bank says it all…

    Bank customers and regular citizens, your only role is to keep the funds flowing to those who are institutionally protected by having a job in an institution that cares about their welfare before yours.

    Obviously the robber gangs in Cayman are extremely intelligent, more intelligent than the RCIPS.

    Invade the bank and rob from the customers, whose money or lives are even more unprotected or cared about than the bank’s money or staff.

    And don’t even begin to equate this with anything going on in the United Kingdom…

    These type of robberies do not happen in the UK because UK armed police units shoot gunmen on sight…

    No questions asked if they’re caught in the act of committing an armed robbery…

    And UK citizens take to the streets in protest, like they did last week, and keep the government and police honest, just to remind them who runs the United Kingdom.

    Until the citizens of Cayman are ready to take their own safety as a priority, they will continue to be lambs to the slaughter…

    The gunmen are low down on the totem pole, as wolves in Cayman go.

  6. Let’s not mince words-
    This is the fault of the government, not the police. Caymanians need to turn up the heat on the people they put in office. Only then will Cayman be restored to the island it once was.

    Wait too long-and your island will have the same reputation as Jamaica.

    Which it kind of already has.

    This is all preventable which makes it even more frustrating.

  7. As an ex expat, I’m really saddened to see this increasingly alarming escalation in armed hold-ups.

    I’m not sure I can offer any solutions other than to say that with a population of only 60,000, these people must be known and on an island of only 75 square miles, they surely can be apprehended.

    The more this sort of thing occurs without any arrests, the worse it is going to get.

    Come on – time to shop these people before Cayman gets a reputation for this.

  8. I would have to agree with most of the previous comments on here. There should be no sympathy for people who commit serious crimes on this island such as robbery. If you brandish a weapon illegally, you should be shot, bottom line.

    The main problem i have seen for a long time now is that the criminal force in cayman Is NOT AFRAID OF POLICE OFFICERS. There is nothing to be afraid of, the police don’t carry any life threatening weapons to discipline you with. Anybody can go into a bank with a gun, rob it, run away and not have to worry about being shot. Usually by the time the armed police actually show up, the criminals are long gone, hiding out in west bay or east end. By then they have changed their clothes, ditched the getaway care, hid the gun, and divided up the money amongst themselves. The police force is a joke to most of these criminals and even some of us normal civilized citizens who do not commit crime think that the police force is a joke as well. Nobody on this island takes the police force seriously. The security guards should NOT be armed because most of them would probably shoot themselves in the foot, but i say EVERY police officer in cayman should be trained, certified and armed with a handgun and other deterrents such as tear gas, stun guns, pepper spray, ect. This crime problem is never going to go away until someone or something finally makes the criminals of this island scared to do crime. This is were the government is failing us all…

  9. Arming the security guards is a waste of time unless they are properly vetted. I, for one, don’t want some chump from any of the security firms to have a firearm. They’d end up shooting themselves when they fall asleep on the job, which we’ve all seem them do. So let’s take that off the table right away.

    While we’re at it, let’s please take arming the general public off the table as well. More guns = more gun violence, plain and simple.

    Cayman needs to address the causes of these crimes and not treat the symptoms. And guess what? Crime happens everywhere in the world, so don’t act like any one person/organization/government is failing. There will always be better mice defeating better mousetraps.

  10. I have always taken a keen interest in everything which occurs on this island and am passionate about it because this is my home, but have never taken that extra step to openly comment before. This most recent incident(bank robbery) which has sparked so much comment has caused me to leave the confines of the Skull Cave. While I agree with most of the comments posted including the very sarcastic one which some people didn’t seem to get,I don’t agree with all this arming of security guards or even more police for that matter. Within all the comments, while some came close, what was missing was the fact the Police Officers are not allowed to perform their jobs. Before you all start screaming just wait. Here are some facts; RCIP Service has got within it’s ranks some very highly trained officers who are dedicated and love the job of policing. I’m speaking of Detectives, specializing in fire-arms…you name it, that’s no joke and they are mainly from the caribbean including right here in Cayman Islands. They fustration comes from the lack of support from the powers to be that governs them. Just check the statistics or carry out a poll and see how many of them have given up and left for that reason. And mind you, giving up can come in different ways including turning a blind eye, not responding immediately to a call…ect. This method of policing brought from a country who’s force up to the tragic 911, ran crazily behind at times armed criminals with a baton or truncheon shouting Stop in the name of the law. Thinking that if in such a big country we didn’t need tough policing and tough cops, why would we need them on such a little island…..And so officers end up being punished and many ways more that the perpetrator and it’s common knowledge, especially to the criminal element. If these officers had the support of their governing Head by him or them standing up with the AG and saying, my guys took this action and exhibited such force because they were forced to and we stand behind they actions,intead of being investigated chastised for everything they do, this country would see a major difference, because as I started out by saying; there are officers who are very good at their jobs, willing to do their jobs and quite capable of combating and detering this present criminal element and returning Cayman Islands to the comfortable safe community it once was. These officers just need that support and opportunity to show what they are really made of and the difference they can make……… as I take Hero and companion back to the confinds of the Skull Cave

  11. Im sorry, but kitwalker. You talk about police being allowed to step up and use more force. Yet you dont’ want them to be armed.

    HOW DO YOU STEP UP AND USE MORE FORCE, when someone has a gun.

    Lets roll play shall we.

    I am the bank robber. You are the police officer, 30 feet away. You are armed with nothing but a baton.

    I raise my gun and shoot you.

    What force can be applied by that police officer.

    Come on, go on your diatribe, telling us how the police have their kid gloves on, because they are not allowed to do any more than that.

    The fact of the matter is, Every officer should be armed. The only officers that should not, are the special constables.

    And to see the difference. Take any town in the US, with like population. IN ANY GIVEN YEAR. And see how many bank hold ups they have.
    compared to us.

    Wanna bet your last 5 dollars, that a US town similar in size, don’t even have a quarter of the bank robberies Cayman does.

    Want to know why. The police are armed. End of story.

    Youre solution is a proposal that lets the bank robbers rob the banks, shoot whom they like if they want. And the police catch them after the fact.

    Well imagine your one of the victims in that bank about to be shot. What would be your answer then? No firearms in the hands of the police, or arm them and have a chance to save you, before that robber shoots you and flee’s the bank.

    God, …are you all that obtuse?!

  12. Cayman is doomed. The state of the country is PITIFUL under this leadership.

    The number of bank robberies, holdups, muggings and more is PROOF that this government is the WORST ever elected.




  13. We need a new government that will make sure Caymanians are employed.

    This government is the blame for all this crime.
    And Alden is not the answer so don’t even go there.

    NEW BLOOD is what we all need, its time to recall this government if they can recall the Mayor of Miami, and reacall the comissioners and prosecute congresswomen and men for corruption, why can’t it be done here, why are the people of the Cayman Islands putting up with this government that is doing NOTHING FOR THEM not providing Jobs for the people just a hand out at Christmas time or Easter for cleanup pay that’s not a govenment working for the people that’s a government that is mocking the people and making a big mascot out of the voters. Its time to recall this government and put some NEW BLOOD in there and that new blood is NOT ALDEN MCLAUGHLIN he did nothing for Caymanians in distress and loss ssof job through unfair dismissal without pay.We were worst off the moment we came before Alden McLaughlin! when he was
    chairman of the Labor Board HE DID NOTHING, and he is still doing NOTING, SO IT MAKES no sense to put him he did NOTHING in that seat he’sdoing nothing now and he will be doing NOTHING LATER.

    new blood yaaaal !

    We need some strong women to move things and work alongside these men. Left alone the country is in total chaos and destruction.

  14. People just need to work and make an honest living.
    since the government is depriving them of that right as Caymanians they must survive! ITS NOT THEIR FAULT!

    what else do you expect!
    This is inevitable in light of the government continuing to grant work permits to x-pats for positions Caymanians are duly qualified for and are still BEING DENIED FOR THE JOB!

    The people have to eat and they need a place to stay.
    what do you expect?
    If the lazy good for nothing politicians got up off their ***ses and did their job to make sure everyone had a job

  15. I see…so vietnam. Your solution is for the government to give them a living. Not earn it. I gotcha.

    Ps. your comment about it’s not their fault they rob banks shows how out of touch you are with reality.

    And incase you didn’t’ notice it. the government has been playing by your rules, getting rid of expats, they have already sent 10K expats home.
    And look what is happening (housing market is crashed, highest Caymanian unemployment in 30 years).

    Now how come every caymanian isn’t working hmmmmm? With your logic, there should be about now, no Caymanians unemployed.

    But here is the thing you and the people who think like you always miss. The people (expats) they sent home, are SKILLED workers. You can only replace those SKILLED workers with other skilled workers. Not to be trained workers (unskilled), who in 3 to 5 years may or may not be finally be skilled enough to actually earn that position in the first place.

    And the second part of your solution, the companies that pay well, are foreign owned. You can only force them to ruin their business productivity and reputation so much, by putting in unskilled labour, before they will move on. Right now, they do hire unskilled or low skilled Caymanian’s in high paying positions. But they cannot do the work load. In other words, those workers work at a 60% capacity. But get paid 100% of the same wage as an expat who works at 90% capacity, due to the expats skill level. And guess what? The expat is then expected to do the Caymanians left over 40% work load as well. (and of course, this is the majority of expectations in any work place). I have worked with some very competent Caymanians, that could hold their own anywhere in the world. But I will tell you, the competent ones, they make up MAYBE 30% of the work force. Where they should make up 90% of the work force, for your ideas to work.

    Move on, go ahead and go, you foreign business. We don’t need you. Great! Then don’t complain when all the jobs left are waiters, cashiers, and line cooks.

    When are you all going to get it through your thick skulls that less people mean, the good/high paying jobs go away. The more expats here, the more good/high paying jobs there are for EVERYONE. All business’s know they must hire Caymanians, and they do. But I can guarantee you, that they are not willing to be 100% staffed by Caymanians, unless each and every Caymanian, have the experience to do the job, and work hard to complete their jobs. Not like currently, where the expats are expected to shore up what the locals don’t know, or want to do.

    That is the truth no one wants to talk about. There, I said it.

  16. It’s the economy!

    It’s the government!

    It’s the expats!

    It’s the school system!


    I beg your pardon, but I thought it was the two criminals who both need to have their a**es thrown in jail for 25 years.

    And someone toss Veitnam in with them for a few weeks. Simply for being a clueless twit.

  17. People, do not expect folks who expect success to be handed them to being willing to work for it. The Cayman government has created a situation where Caymanians believe they have a birth right to certain types of jobs whether they have experience or not, they truly believe it is their right to come out of High School with barely passing grades and get handed a high paying job and trained on the job with full pay. This has led to an abundance of Caymanians who are not willing to work hard for what they want, they just believe they deserve it. The comments in this forum prove that. While I do believe these people are at fault for not taking responsibility for their own futures and doing what it takes to get ahead, I also think the Government is at fault for leading them to believe they didn’t have to. It’s no different than the Welfare system in the US where people who sit on their A% get things handed to them such as welfare checks, vouchers for food, reduced rents and free education, while the hard working folks are penalized with higher taxes and higher education costs. And now they even give the losers free Cell phones. While they sit back and say we have the right to live the same lifestyle as people who work hard for the things they want.Bull

    It’s old news that some Caymanian always pass the blame for their failures in life to others, such as blaming Expats for taking their jobs and Government for not just giving them Jobs or providing free education.

    Unfortunately the days of these types of things are over. It’s because of these types of practices the Government finds itself in a position that they are about to fall on their faces and now people with have to work hard for what they want just to make it. So do what it takes to get yourself ahead or the world will leave you behind.

    There are plenty of success stories about young Caymanians who took the initiative to better themselves in lieu of sitting around waiting for that great job to be handed to you. These are the type of young people that will be Caymans future. So you either bust you butts like everyone else in the world or don’t expect anything great out of life.

    Now Go ahead and blast me for saying this, I don’t care because I worked very hard to get my education, get a great job and I’m still working hard to keep it and if I lose it, I will do whatever it takes to get another one even if I have to start from the bottom and work my way up.