With just two firearms being turned in during the Royal Cayman Islands Police guns amnesty programme in July, officers have decided to extend the programme for another month.
This time around, they’ll be offering cash to individuals who turn in their weapons.
According to Robert Baraud of High Impact Media, his company has set aside $2,000 for police to offer to those who turn in weapons or ammunition. Additional donations for the programme will be sought from the private sector.
Mr. Baraud said up to $200 will be given for each operational firearm – including pellet guns – turned in during the month of August and $25 will be given per 10 rounds of ammunition that are turned in.
“No questions asked,” Mr. Baraud said.
RCIPS Superintendent Marlon Bodden said he was disappointed with the results of the July gun amnesty programme. Just one shotgun and one rifle were turned in to police, along with 144 rounds of ammo.
During a 2010 gun amnesty, 26 weapons were turned in along with 233 rounds of ammunition.
“Look back … at the first stage of the amnesty, to ask me if I’m disappointed the answer would be ‘yes’,” Mr. Bodden said. “We have had so many incidents … during the amnesty that have involved the use of firearms where injuries have resulted and criminal activities have been committed.
“I wouldn’t say that it failed. If one firearm is taken off the street, that is a success.”
A series of robberies and attempted robberies where shots were fired started with the 28 June shooting of Cayman Islands Brewery worker Kemar Golding. The shooting of 57-year-old Texaco station employee Medsadie Connor on 13 July was followed by two armed robberies in quick succession. Those involved Delworth’s Esso in George Town and Reflections Food-4-Less.
Mr. Bodden said no arrests had been made in connection with either of the incidents where the individuals had been shot.
“We hope this will give an extra incentive for individuals who didn’t take the opportunity to hand in unwanted, unlicensed or illegal firearms,” Mr. Bodden said.
The RCIPS last ran a cash-for-guns programme back in 2002, Mr. Bodden said.
The RCIPS, as well as Mr. Baraud, promised that anyone turning in the weapons would have their identities protected.
Mr. Bodden said officers would be stationed at George Town, West Bay, Bodden Town and Cayman Brac police stations to inspect firearms that are turned in. He said no cash would be given for firearms that don’t work.
Once the officers have inspected the weapons and found them to be operational, another officer will be available to present the person turning in the weapon or ammo with money.
Mr. Baraud said an accountant employed by his company would help keep track of the cash distribution.
Superintendent Bodden was asked what would occur if someone brought in a gun during the amnesty programme that was later linked to a crime, such as Mr. Golding’s shooting.
“Every firearm that is brought in, we do ballistic examinations on it,” he said. “But that is not for the purpose of trying to see who handed in that particular gun. “We are obligated pre-[amnesty] or post-[amnesty] to investigate.”