The succession of recent headlines in the Cayman Compass read like a spinning-newspaper montage scene from a black-and-white crime-fighting picture: “Quick arrests in recent violent attacks,” “Police make arrest in East End beating,” “Brac customs officer arrested,” “Raid nets arrests for attempted murder, gun, drugs,” “Police run up arrest tab.”
The common thread linking those news items can be summed up in one word: “arrest.”
What is noteworthy about the activities of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service isn’t the fact that they are making arrests, per se (After all, police arrest suspects every day. It’s one of their primary functions.); it’s the types of crimes — serious ones — for which they are making those arrests.
Put another way, this isn’t an editorial praising the police for “simply doing their job” — it is a much-merited recognition that the police have been going gangbusters … perhaps literally.
We can recall few instances in recent memory where local police have punctuated with arrests so many complex investigations into such serious crimes, and so quickly. Acting Police Commissioner Anthony Ennis, his top brass, and all the way down the chain of command to the officers on the beat, ought to take pride in the results of their difficult work.
We believe what RCIPS Chief Superintendent Kurt Walton said about one pair of arrests holds true for others as well: “This [operation] is not stuff that’s done overnight … This was about painstaking methodical detective work that led to those arrests there.”
We’re certain that incoming Police Commissioner Derek Byrne views the results of the officers’ efforts with satisfaction, as he prepares to take up his appointment in November.
(From the viewpoint of the media, we’d like to acknowledge the contributions of one particular individual: police spokeswoman Jacqueline Carpenter, whose conscientiousness, dedication and professionalism continues to impress.)
According to our tally that appears in today’s front page story, so far this month police have arrested more than a dozen suspects in connection with alleged offenses that include attempted murder, drug trafficking, firearms possession, robbery, a shooting and serious physical assaults.
Deputy Governor Franz Manderson and Premier Alden McLaughlin’s Ministry of Home Affairs jointly praised the police: “We thank the RCIPS for their vigilance [and] resolve to tackle illegal activities, whomever the suspects.”
The final clause of that statement is notable and encouraging, for the reason that the group of arrested individuals includes a serving customs officer and a high-ranking immigration officer. Some longtime observers of criminal justice in Cayman have whispered in our ears that, in the past, such allegations against powerful government officials may have been … let’s say, spared from earnest investigation.
We don’t know if that was really the case back then, but it certainly appears it isn’t the case right now.
At this point, we’ll note that everyone who has been arrested or charged with a crime is presumed innocent until and unless they are found guilty by a judge or jury. That’s more than an obligatory observation: It’s the law.
And the law is something that nobody in Cayman — regardless of wealth, position or influence — is above.