'Reflections' on the cost of crime in Cayman

Limited operating hours. Magnetically sealed doors. Security officers. Guard dogs. Closed-circuit television cameras.

The next time you visit a local retailer and notice any of the above security features, make sure you factor those added costs into the prices displayed throughout the store. Then think about the culprits responsible — such as the two robbers who early Friday morning, wielding a machete and a knife, threatened staff and held up the Reflections store on Godfrey Nixon Way for $250 and four packs of cigarettes.

It is troubling enough to learn of this incident, which is only the latest in a series of crimes that have been committed against the Reflections group, the owners the Panton family, and their employees. In response, the Pantons are considering adding even more security measures to their business, which already has cameras, guards and sealed doors.

This is a prime cause-and-effect demonstration of how crime translates to increases in the cost of doing business, and by extension increases in the cost of living to all Cayman consumers. Less quantifiable — but of greater importance — is the effect that crime has on our sense of well-being and quality of life.

What is even more troubling about this particular case is that the robbers are suspected to be perhaps as young as 13 or 14 years old — mere boys, yet already “criminalized in conduct” enough to plan and execute an aggressive armed robbery against adults.

Left on their current track — that is, outside the juvenile rehabilitation system — it appears these two teenagers may have consigned themselves to a future bound toward Northward Prison, or worse. While the justice system should serve primarily the interests of the general public, and the protection of the innocent, it also should provide restorative opportunities for offenders.

It is vital to the workings of society to have an effective criminal justice system, particularly the triumvirate of police, public prosecutors and the courts (as well as the availability of capable defense counsel).

These are roots, not branches, and if any one is not functioning properly, the entire tree withers.

For example, if the police cannot apprehend suspects and compile the necessary evidence, prosecutors cannot move cases forward, and convictions cannot be secured in the courts.

As another example, this one more specific, consider the case of Sue Nicholson, the former manager of The Pines retirement home. As we reported on the front page of Tuesday’s Compass newspaper, Mrs. Nicholson, who was accused of taking more than $300,000 from the charity and who then moved back to the U.K., will not face prosecution, despite protests from the nonprofit organization. (That means Mrs. Nicholson’s innocence, which is presumed, or guilt will never be proven in court.)

The cash, including interest, was restored to the charity “without any admission of wrongdoing,” The Pines Chairman Julian Reddyhough said in December 2013.

A police detective cited the repayment of the funds, and the onus of extradition, in explaining the decision not to pursue charges.

In response, Mr. Reddyhough wrote, “The message that this sends is that if your financial crime is discovered, then if you pay back what you have stolen and leave the jurisdiction, you will not be prosecuted.”

To that we append the following: In regard to the mounting problem of crime facing our community, it is increasingly questionable whether our “triumvirate” is up to the task at hand.


  1. I think that Mr Panton has the right ideas, first he must have government and the leader of government on record to address the crime issue. The people of Cayman Islands need to get behind Mr Panton with this issue in his demands to Government. We have to remember that what Government is doing with crime is not working, and remember that Mr Panton has put the store in a location that is convenient to everyone in that area, and like he said that if he don’t get the cooperation from government he would have to close the store down. Then if crime is allowed to continue and effect other store owners and they make the same decision, what would we do then?

  2. As we have seen countless times, security guards are for cosmetic use only and are helpless in the event of an armed robbery. Give them a trained guard dog and these criminals will go elsewhere.

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