West Bay MLAs, including Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush, on Wednesday strenuously urged residents to go to local police with any information they might have about two recent shootings in the district that appeared to be directly connected.
Mr. Bush said he was trying to schedule a meeting sometime next week with Governor Helen Kilpatrick to discuss crime issues.
“I am naturally concerned to see that there’s another flare-up in the community,” Mr. Bush said Wednesday. “Certainly we have to be concerned about the families that are affected. The community does respect and care for them.
“This retaliation is not helping anybody. [The suspects involved] are hurting themselves, and we want them to come to that realization. [Their] own parents are being hurt, [their] own sisters and brothers are being hurt.”
In Monday night’s shooting outside the Pop-A-Top store, the victim, 22, had been inside the liquor store on Powell Smith Road just before the shooting. According to police, he stepped out from the store and got into a waiting car (a Toyota), which his friend was driving.
“As their vehicle was driving away, a green Honda motor car reversed along Powell Smith Road from the junction with Reverend Blackman Drive and stopped by the Toyota,” a police statement about the incident read. “One person exited the Honda wearing a hoodie and opened fire on the Toyota which was driving off in the general direction of Stadium Drive. A number of shots were fired. The shooter got back into the Honda, which continued reversing with its lights off in the general direction of Town Hall Road.”
Police said a number of people were riding in the Honda. The car was later found abandoned along Miss Daisy Lane in West Bay. The 22-year-old victim was hit in the wrist by a bullet and was treated and released from the Cayman Islands Hospital.
In Saturday’s shooting, police and emergency medical services found Victor Oliver Yates, 22, a West Bay resident, on the floor at Super C Restaurant just before 3 a.m. Emergency personnel took Mr. Yates to the Cayman Islands Hospital, where he later died from his injuries.
In both instances, a number of witnesses observed what occurred or were in the immediate vicinity of the shootings. However, as of Tuesday, police indicated no one had come forward to speak to officers about either case. The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service had issued no further statements Wednesday about the various investigations.
“Everybody’s saying that we need more policing. I don’t know if that’s the solution, maybe it is,” said West Bay MLA Capt. Eugene Ebanks. “I would encourage the public to cooperate with the police and give them as much information as possible. Without the public support, the police [are] no good.
“All we can do is encourage the public to cooperate with the police. We have no say in what the police do. We can request it, but we can’t demand it.”
West Bay MLAs Bernie Bush and Tara Rivers were both contacted for comment on this story. Both were off island. Mr. Bush indicated he was in a conference and would respond later, but he had not contacted the Cayman Compass by press time. Nothing was heard from Ms. Rivers on Wednesday.
The Compass also contacted Governor Kilpatrick’s office and Premier Alden McLaughlin, who has funding responsibility for police under the government Home Affairs Ministry.
The governor’s response indicated the incidents were discussed by Cabinet members, including Mr. McLaughlin, on Tuesday: “The commissioner provided Cabinet with details of the events and the RCIPS response, which includes the deployment of additional armed and other units in the area to mitigate the possibility of further gang related violence.
“The RCIPS are appealing for witnesses to these events and for any persons with other information to come forward. The RCIPS are asking for the full cooperation of the public to help bring the perpetrators of these violent crimes to justice.” Mr. McLaughlin did not make a separate statement about the incidents.