Calico’s Full Moon Party will be fenced in following beach stabbings
After three stabbings in Grand Cayman’s Public Beach area since January, Handel Whittaker has had enough.
The owner of Calico Jack’s on Seven Mile Beach said Monday that – effective immediately – large, wide-open monthly parties hosted at the beach bar-restaurant will be ringed off with an eight-foot wire fence.
Mr. Whittaker said security checks at the fence entrance with metal-detector wands would be put in place and overhead guide-lights would be installed to illuminate darker areas around the beach bar, especially near the bathroom area. The sand lot that is the Public Beach parking area will also be better illuminated in days to come, he said.
“It is sad,” Mr. Whittaker said in an interview with the Caymanian Compass. “But we’re right next to the Public Beach…and we can’t dictate who comes on the beach.”
Typically, the monthly Full Moon Party that draws hundreds, even thousands, to Calico’s is held on an open section of beach. But Mr. Whittaker said that party, and any other large events at Calico’s would see the fence put up as an added security measure. He said similar measures to fence in a beach party were taken during a recent concert there and seemed to work fairly well.
Mr. Whittaker said Saturday night’s incident was actually the first time where someone sitting at a Calico Jack’s picnic table was directly targeted. But the other two incidents in January and February also happened on nights the Full Moon Party was being held and Mr. Whittaker believes certain individuals have decided to target the beach area.
“It’s ridiculous that tourists or locals can’t come onto the beach without fear,” he said.
RCIPS Chief Inspector Richard Barrow said the victim in the most recent attack was hospitalised with non-life threatening injuries after being stabbed in the back. He has since been released from hospital.
According to police, the victim, a 28-year-old accountant, was approached by two men who asked him for cigarettes around 9pm Saturday.
The man told police that one of his attackers grabbed a bag that belonged to his girlfriend and ran toward the beach. Police said the victim chased the bag-snatcher, caught up with him, and got into a fight trying to get the bag back.
The second attacker then came from behind and stabbed the man.
“This incident had nothing to do with drinking,” Mr. Whittaker said. “It was a robbery. This was a fine young couple sitting at a picnic table waiting for the party to start.”
In mid-February, a man was attacked in the public bathroom at Calico’s during what police said was a mugging. In January, a visitor attending the Full Moon Party on the beach was also stabbed – although the precise circumstances of that attack have never been made public.
None of the stabbing incidents has been fatal.
The three attacks in the Public Beach area aren’t the only ones Grand Cayman has seen on its beaches this year. A couple was robbed at Barefoot Beach in East End, and just recently another couple having lunch at a North Side beach had their vehicle stolen from the car park.
Mr. Whittaker said the recent beach attacks highlight the need for something the Cayman Islands Tourism Association has already proposed: a tourism-targeted police force.
Oddly enough, that’s basically what Calico’s was going to have on Saturday anyway.
RCIPS Chief Inspector Frank Owens called Mr. Whittaker around 8.30 that night to let him know he was deploying some officers to the beach area to keep on eye on the party.
“I planned to put officers on the beach when the location started getting busy,” Mr. Owens said.
About fifteen minutes later, the mugging occurred. “It’s frustrating,” Chief Inspector Owens said.
Mr. Whittaker said he’d like to see some cops stationed permanently on Seven Mile Beach to respond to any trouble that might occur, but also to assist tourists who might have problems or questions.
“That is something I support immensely,” Mr. Whittaker said.
Police commanders have said they are reviewing the ‘tourism cops’ proposal.