Many candidates on the campaign trail have made the connection between high unemployment and increased crime, saying that the two trends are intertwined with social circumstances that need to be addressed to make the Cayman Islands a more prosperous and safer country.
People’s Progressive Movement candidate Kenneth Bryan of George Town said leaders need to speak face-to-face with disenfranchised people in order to work with them for the betterment of all.
“If we don’t take the responsibility as a community and as individuals to embrace these individuals, regardless of how they look, how they’re perceived, we’re leaving them behind. And because they’re left behind, the evils of life have captured them,” he said.
Mr. Bryan said, “I’m not going to be afraid to go into the ‘ghettos’ of Cayman, for lack of a better term, to speak to these individuals. They want somebody to love them, too.”
Independent candidate Bo Miller of George Town said closed stores and empty streets create opportunities for crime to occur. “George Town is a ghost town,” he said.
Mr. Miller advocated for a special police unit to patrol the Seven Mile Beach area to protect tourists.
Independent candidate Frank McField of George Town said an effective approach to reducing crime is by addressing social dysfunction, where people have been alienated through unemployment and their ways of life.
“We need to ensure our young people are properly educated and trained. Education does something for your self-esteem. If you are able to find a job and hold a job, then at the end of the day you’re not idle,” PPM candidate Marco Archer of George Town said. “As the old saying goes, ‘The devil finds work for idle hands’.”
Independent candidate Stefan Baraud of George Town said it’s better to spend money on education and social programmes to prevent crimes, rather than continuing to increase spending on policing.
“In times like these, when unemployment is so high and things are so hard for people, obviously a particular type of crime tends to increase,” PPM candidate Alden McLaughlin of George Town said.
Mr. McLaughlin said that as the economy improves and people have more opportunities to get jobs, there will be a corresponding decline in crime.
Independent candidate Jude Scott of George Town said, “Unemployment is one of the most significant causes of crime, so we have to tackle that straightaway and make sure that we are properly preparing our people to get employment they need, so they don’t have to resort to crime.”
People’s National Alliance candidate Rolston Anglin of West Bay said he would attempt to bring his district “real possibilities for upward mobility to ensure that persons who have fell through the proverbial cracks have real opportunities for whatever skills enhancement they need, whether it be literacy, numeracy or ensuring they have the first shake at real jobs in this community.”
Independent candidate Tara Rivers of West Bay said she would work to make sure the people of her district are better equipped to take advantage of economic opportunities, which in turn will help reduce both unemployment and crime rates.
Independent candidate Mervin Smith of West Bay said, “Crime happens when people are struggling and our people are struggling. Our people need hope. They need us to provide the necessary framework and leadership that allows for them to succeed. Too many of our people have fallen behind. No disrespect to anyone, but I think the leadership has to take some of the blame.
“We need to work to ensure our people are brought along and not strung along, that people have opportunities that are afforded to the rest of the nationalities in this country and let’s work together to get it done.”
Independent candidate John McLean Jr. of East End said, “Reducing unemployment goes hand in hand with one of my other priorities – reducing crime.”
Independent candidate Arden McLean of East End said, “The economy is one of the main things we need to work on. We need to create jobs. When people are unemployed they get antsy and it can lead to other social issues.”