Police unaware of helicopter ‘sale’

RCIPS Police Helicopter EMTs main
The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service indicated Thursday that it had not discussed with government any plan to sell its patrol helicopter, despite a proposal announced by Premier McKeeva Bush on Wednesday.

Mr. Bush said in a broadcast address that selling the aircraft would save the Cayman Islands about $1.7 million per year in operating costs.

“The sale of the police helicopter has neither been discussed nor has the impact of its loss been subject of any input by the RCIPS,” a police spokesperson confirmed Thursday afternoon. “The loss of the Air Operations Unit would have a considerable impact on our ability to maintain our current level of operational effectiveness.”

The police helicopter, a 1999 Eurocopter model craft, was purchased by the police service in 2007 for $1.8 million. However, it took the Cayman Islands government nearly three years to bring the vehicle into the country after obtaining necessary aviation safety approvals for its use.

Since March 2010, the helicopter has assisted in numerous search and rescue missions, as well as suspect searches and arrests on Grand Cayman. The aircraft and the RCIPS air operations team recently received certification to participate in ‘air ambulance’ missions as well.

The sale of the helicopter would obviously prevent it from being used in such a capacity, police said.

“We are seeking urgent clarification from government on this matter,” the police statement read.

Officials with Premier Bush’s administration confirmed Thursday that there had been no purchase offers for the aircraft. 

RCIPS Helicopter EMTs

The Air Operations Unit demonstrates its medical skills at Camana Bay. Photo: Norma Connolly
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14 COMMENTS

  1. This is just too funny. It just gets better and better. Lets sell the police helicopter without telling the police! Isn’t that stealing? Well done Mac, another brilliant idea thought through!

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  2. How about some statistics on the helicopter – how many crimes has it helped to detect? How many lives saved? Opinions from, I dunno, the Police force themselves.

    Hmmm this Legislative Assembly, not much seems to happen there that is of use – sell it, or turn it into a casino called ‘The Sinking Ship’.

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  3. Its about time they get rid of that junk. So much money we have to pay to maintain for what? Two missing ladies and robberies, and it hasnt helped us one bit. Sorry, but it can go!

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  4. Apprentice – believe it or not, a helicopter is not always the best tool for the job. Missing persons, yes, can be useful if person is at sea/in a vast wilderness, not so good if foul play is involved, for that you need good old dog walkers.

    As for robberies…you do know places like NYC have lots of choppers AND robbers?

    The police use a spread of resources, or at least they should. Cars, foot patrols, CCTV, helicopter etc.

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  5. Well so far it is very expensive to maintain such a high expenditure service for no great results, and for some reason that Heli’ flies over my roof three times a week; it’s disturbing how low is flying! have they heard about binouculars? I think the money should be expend it more wisely for instant food for kids in the schools; I’ve seen kids starving in our schools, some kids have no lunch or money to eat at luch time. Government should pay more attention to this matter.

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  6. Sell the long awaited helicopter. Lose the money in various parts of the budget. Hire Jerome to do the work that the CI chopper would do…then besides all the other fees that you charge Jerome to run his business..you can tax him again on what he makes. If you do some creative accounting…you can get the chopper for free. Don’t give Jerome status because then you will be right back where you started from.

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  7. In true British tradition, a modern, new-fangled contraption such as this helicopter should be scrapped and a return to a hot air balloon for use in search and rescue would be more appealing, rewarding and in honor of the late Queen Victoria!

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  8. As for the 1.7m it costs. If it has helped save one life it was worth it.

    It is a drop in the ocean compared to the amount of money that has to be spent on investigating the murders of idiots with guns.

    I also reckon the pilots have now been told to always remove the keys, and put the steering lock on – just in case a repo company make an appearance. Alternatively, spray and graphic it up to look like Jerome’s, they’ll not suspect a thing!

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