The Cayman Islands government plans to spend more than $15 million over the next three budget years on new police stations for the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service in George Town and West Bay.
According to figures given to lawmakers by Premier Alden McLaughlin, a total of $1.2 million will be spent in each year from 2018 through 2020 to construct a new police station in West Bay.
The government also plans to spend $1 million per year in 2018 and 2019, and then plans to spend $10 million in 2020, on construction of a new central police station in George Town.
The figures are included in the government’s capital projects plan for the next three years. The government has not yet drawn up a budget for the year 2020, but the construction projects plan in the current budget is extended out to 2020.
“We do need a new central police station above all else,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “That is the principle focus of the government with respect to our plan for the police service at this stage.”
Former Police Commissioner David Baines and former government Chief Officer Eric Bush spoke out nearly a decade ago about the need for better police jail cells and improvements to the police station generally, in George Town and West Bay.
Concern regarding the police facilities was almost the first public statement made by then-Commissioner Baines after he took the job in 2009.
“There was a real issue … about West Bay, actually the station, the size of the community, and the demands facing it is another area,” he said following a meeting with Cayman Islands Cabinet members. “We’ve raised with the governor the state of the central [George Town] lock-up and detention facilities on [Grand Cayman] which, if we’re going to prefer obligations under human rights legislation, need to be addressed and fairly quickly.”
Since that time, government has installed modular units in the Fairbanks area of George Town for prisoner detention. In 2015, the Progressives-led administration proposed moving the George Town Police Station to a new facility, but that has not occurred. The police station has been condemned, but continues to be occupied by police staff on a daily basis.
New Police Commissioner Derek Byrne has also spoken about the need for improved police facilities since his arrival last year.
Mr. McLaughlin said this week that land for the new West Bay police station has been identified, as it is already owned by the government. He said the plan is to continue to operate the current police station there while the new one is being built.