CITA implores government, police to prioritize crime control

The Cayman Islands Tourism Association has called on government and law enforcement to step up crime-response efforts following a recent rash of burglaries and robberies.

The association called the crime wave “a grave concern” for the tourism sector, and implored government to prioritize community response.

CITA said previous discussions with government tourism officials and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service were stymied by the force’s transition to the leadership of then-newly appointed commissioner of police, Derek Byrne.

“Given that new leadership is now in place for government, the RCIPS as well as CITA, it is imperative that we resume discussions and take action to halt and reverse the unacceptable trends in burglaries, personal assaults and vehicular accidents,” said CITA’s recently elected president Theresa Leacock-Broderick.

“Our concerns span from simple criminal opportunist acts to road and marine accidents and include emergency response issues.”

Conversations between CITA and tourism industry representatives revealed areas of concern and recommendations for change, the association said. Separate meetings were held with Police Constable Jonathan Kern to address areas of opportunity.

One CITA suggestion proposes expanding community information networks. CITA formed an instant messaging network among its members in November to alert managers and security personnel of crime concerns. The association would now like to expand the network to include additional RCIPS representatives assigned to specific tourist zones.

“We trust that the RCIPS’s full attention and resources are now being applied to apprehending the perpetrators of these recent series of criminal activities, and immediately deterring further offenses,” Ms. Leacock-Broderick said.

“However, we hope that with these recent crimes, the commissioner of police and the government will be receptive to CITA’s specific concerns and recommendations. We look forward to constructive dialogue.”

Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell echoed the call to reinforce efforts by the police service.

“Undeniably, safety is a primary appeal of Cayman as a vacation destination and it differentiates Cayman from other jurisdictions in the region. However, while it is imperative that the RCIPS react swiftly and comprehensively, preventative measures must also be proactively enhanced and maintained,” Mr. Kirkconnell said.

An RCIPS spokesperson said long-term solutions will require recognition of underlying social problems.

“We welcome CITA’s strong support for the RCIPS and enforcing the peace while recognising that this will require a comprehensive collaboration between key stakeholders, including addressing quality-of-life issues that breeds into more serious crime if left unaddressed or allowing it to become the norm,” the spokesperson said.

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