Editorial for 13 August: Reducing police budget bad idea

When discussing cuts to the civil service,
Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush’s government has noted a number of areas
where either; a) civil servants will have to pay for items they previously
received for free or b) where specific budget reductions would be undertaken to
save money.

Two of these areas mentioned previously have
been the Hurricane Ivan housing allowance for police officers and the Royal
Cayman Islands Police Service helicopter operations. Mr. Bush has since said it
would be up to the governor to decide whether the police chopper would have to
go. We are uncertain as of this writing about the housing allowance.  Whatever the truth of the matter, the
question raised by Mr. Bush’s proposals to cut funding from the police service
is a simple one: Why?

There are around about 90 government
departments, statutory authorities and government-owned companies in Cayman,
all of which spend some amount of money. Granted, the RCIPS budget is one of
the larger departmental stipends on a yearly basis, but surely the $3 or $4
million sought to be saved from cuts to the police service could be found
somewhere else within government’s roughly $500 to $600 million spending plan?
During this time of economic downturn, with many residents pinching pennies,
worried about the future and potential foreign investors expressing concerns as
well; the proposal “let’s cut the police” strikes us as shocking folly.

Moreover, if anyone bothered to notice, the
RCIPS has in recent months made encouraging progress in both its arrest and
conviction rates. So again, chopping the organisation off at the knees just as
it has started to run doesn’t seem to make much sense.

We have to wonder why, now, anyone in
government would propose cutting back on police services. Just last year there
was an audible cry from the populace that the police weren’t doing enough. They
have answered that call, and admirably.

Leave them alone and let them do their job.

Again, we say, if government is looking to
make cuts, it should look in its own backyard and tell every man and woman who
pays duty (taxes) to support government in this territory the necessity of each
and every civil servant.

 

1 COMMENT

  1. The Editorial for 13 August got it absolutely right and any well thinking person will fully agree with the factual views expressed.

    Not too long ago there was a lot of hue and cry, even very harsh criticisms leveled at the RCIPS concerning their failure to do more in reducing crime. Many of us felt at the time that most of the criticisms were justified based on the level of violent and vicious crimes on the island. However, it cannot be denied that some real progress has been made resulting in amount of arrests and convictions. Obviously, some residents will probably challenge that situation.

    Any attempt to reduce police service is a bad idea that will have serious consequences. Personally, I was totally disgusted to read and hear about crime in Cayman. I asked myself, what are the powers that be doing to get the situation under control. Crime – especially violent crimes – not only affect residents (quality of life issues), it can also have a negative impact on tourism and entrepreneurs interested in establishing business in the island. Overall, it is very negative publicity for the island.

    If closely examined, there are other areas of government that needs more scrutiny in any serious attempt to reduce costs. For example, governments the world over are notorious for waste – spending money on non-essentials, the abuse of government-owned property by some employees, under utilisation of personnel, redundancy in verious departments. To mention a few. These areas can cost an arm-and-a-leg to maintain.

    I agree that the police should not be the place to make cuts. Unless of course you want to reverse the progress being made to reduce and control crime.

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