Overseas prison good idea

Please allow me space in your newspaper to voice my opinions on certain issues of concern to us.

Concerning marches and demonstrations making headlines in the Cayman Islands; yes, it does not look good, neither do murders and armed robberies. We have to ask what is causing these things and get to the root of the problem.

MLAs were elected from each district on Grand Cayman and our Sister Islands to represent the people. It is only proper and right for the MLAs to notify the people of any issues that concern us and these Islands. Then they get feedback from the people. They are not supposed to make decisions for us without our knowledge.

It is hard, I know, to tell who is a good representative, but a good representative should not be concerned with their salary or hand-outs but about the welfare and well being of Caymanians and making sure that our reefs and Islands are not being damaged or destroyed.

No more ‘investors’ should be invited here as Caymanians are not benefitting from this. Just look around and see how many Caymanians you see at each business place you visit.

It is my understanding that there are more foreigners here than natives. This should not have been allowed to happen and we have to deal with this issue immediately.

Another concern of mine is that of sending inmates at Northward to another country to serve their sentences. I think it is a very good idea. I heard a couple of people talking about an O’Bailey jail in the UK. Perhaps they could go there and it would cause the government to spend less and make the budget requirement less.

It was hard to believe that an individual would come out on TV and say that it is a bad idea, because they would not be able to see their family often. That is supposed to be one of the punishments. They should not see their family and friends; we cannot see ours that were taken from us. They should not be allowed access to telephones, TV, AC, radios, etc.; not even water or food. This should be a part of their punishment – 24-hour lockdowns, trackers, leg cuffs, etc.

A foreign hard-core prison would be a good experience for them as I had mentioned in a previous letter to the press early last year. If government can send off our mentally ill patients so they cannot see their family and friends, which would probably help them; why not the high risk inmates? They would be the minority there; murderers and would-be murderers should be among prisoners like themselves.

It would also be in the best interest of the people of these Islands. An overseas prison might be more equipped with better security. We do not need these types of individuals on our Islands.

Before ending this letter, I would like to make mention of a few other things of concern to me.

First, I want to bring the condition of the Centennial Park in the centre of town to the attention of people that do not know about it.

People go their to eat their lunches, use their lap-tops etc. amid filth. There is dung from birds sleeping in the trees and iguanas also. The tables and benches are stained with the same. Can our government or offshore companies come to the aid of these people?

All is needed is a covering under the tree or a large umbrella over the areas that people sit. It is a disgusting sight.

The tree is also a very good tree and makes a very good drink. I would like to know why we cannot reach a leaf. It is so sad. Hopefully this will be looked into in the very near future. Remember, the tourists are also seeing this.

I would also like to mention about the dark tint on vehicles. It is on the rise again. This is very dangerous and needs to be discontinued. I also notice all the litter on our streets. I had mentioned in previous letters about placing garbage drums around in our districts and we also need more bus stop shelters, especially for our school children.

Thank you very much for allowing me space in your newspaper to write about these couple of issues.

Dora Ebanks


  1. On Friday’s TalkToday I listened to a local businessman who obviously understood and was advocating against the societal mechanics of the revolving imprisonment door. He challenged local business owners to follow suit in the employment of released/former prisoners in order to eliminate criminal behaviour as a result of unemployment and basic human necessities.

    Then I took the time out to finally read the Sunday Observer. To my dismay, the Premier is still pursuing a pyschologically and socially dangerous ideology of housing local high risk inmates at an overseas regional prison. And today (12th July) I read the letter to the Caymanian Compass written by a very disgruntled individual who based her submission not on facts or true opinion, but on obvious hatred.

    The reason for the interest in the regional prison is not because we are not physically trained or equipped to do so. It’s because the Premier has determined that it’s cheaper. According to him, it wouldn’t cost as much to house them overseas, as it would to keep them here, but he has not, however, stated where the figures that supports this ideology comes from. Common-sensically, this cannot be a more cost-effective program; there are two financial approaches:

    (1) split the cost of operating the prison between the participating countries. This means that if we have 20 prisoners there and the facility is housing 1500 regional prisoners the cost of maintaining our prisoners has been outweighed by the overall cost of the other prisoners;

    (2) Pay per prisoner, the result of that will be basically the same as it is now: supervision, custody, escort, medical, educational and rehabilitation measures. There are no savings. I am sure that the powers that be will involved in this regionally will assess the cost of this so that we are all paying the same fair share per prisoner.

    The result will not be our prisoners subjected to inferior treatment (because we will be the only financial centre prisoners there) but instead it means is that the quality of care currently imposed on inferior states’ prisoners will be improved because of the human rights issue that will come into play (it will become much easier for human rights organizations to monitor and question the treatment afforded to prisoners at a regional centre than in each individual country). Therefore there can be no expectation that the cost of custody will be reduced.

    The purpose of imprisonment is to punish a perpetrator of the law by restriction of his free movement. He is still entitled to medical and mental treatement, education, proper meals, clothing and in the benefit of his family, regular visits at a minimum of two visits per week, according to the Prison Law. They are still entitled to be treated as a human being and in civilised countries that recognize their responsibilities toward an individual incarcerated the onus placed on those societies towards the treatment of prisoners is greatly amplified.
    Admittedly, I have not researched the number of prisoners at Category A status, but as a former prison employee working with data and statistics, I can assure you that the cost of maintaining a Cat A prisoner does not vary significantly in comparison to one of a lower calibre risk. The powers that be may want you to believe that, but it is quite untrue. And this country has fared so well in the supervision, custody, escort and safety of its high risk prisoners that there is much less threat of an escape here than in many other countries in the world.

    I know that efforts are being made to increase the supervision of Cat A inmates (both remanded and sentenced)in my opinion to reflect an increase in cost of these prisoners. And that can be expected. A point must be justified. But before the dollar value can be assessed, verified and justified the other costs and values must also be weighed in order to provide a balanced scale for consideration and a part of the balance on that scale is familial interaction.

    The family of those in prison suspected or convicted of Cat A crimes are not guilty of those crimes. Their love of and need to associate with those individuals doesn’t die with the turn of a lock or the instruction of the judge. Children don’t stop loving their fathers and mothers because they are in prison. As a matter of fact, it is proven that children create a greater dependency and need to impress incarcerated parents. Mothers, wives, daughters and sisters live with the thought of the hug from the inmate at their next visit, and to punish the family of incarcerated individuals by removing the right to visit would be unjust and inhumane and this proposal would only further severe the already fragmented threads of familial ties in this country.

    Anyone who thinks for a fraction of a moment that people’s loved ones should be removed from their contact for the consideration of cash, really shouldn’t be in politics; shouldn’t be in any capacity that would afford them contact with any societal responsibility. These are the people who would shut down a rehabilitative program at a youth centre because there is only one 11-year-old attending. Then ship him off the island 10 years later, having already failed him the first round.

    And I wonder: will corruption and political interference will register as a CAT A crime when discovered, proven and prosecuted here?

Comments are closed.