Security council backs creation of Cayman coast guard service

Members of the National Security Council met Tuesday for the first time in six months. They are, clockwise from left, Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller, Gilbert McLean, Premier Alden McLaughlin, Minister Joey Hew, Cabinet Secretary Samuel Rose, Ministry of Immigration Chief Officer Wesley Howell, Police Commissioner Derek Byrne, Head of the Governor's Office Matthew Forbes, Governor Anwar Choudhury, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson and Attorney General Samuel Bulgin. Seated to the right of the table are Colin Brown of the U.K. Border Force and Phil Bostock of the U.K. Coastguard. - Photo: Taneos Ramsay

Cayman’s National Security Council agreed on a number of measures Tuesday to boost border protection and marine patrols.

Council members formally supported a proposal by Premier Alden McLaughlin to create and recruit for a Cayman Islands coast guard, operated separately from any other law enforcement agency.

The coast guard, as proposed, would be directed by a Caymanian officer at “chief superintendent level” who reports to the police commissioner. The council also agreed to provide a “ring-fenced” budget for the new agency, to ensure its funding is not raided for other police and law enforcement services.

The council also agreed to create a task force between the Royal Cayman Islands Police and the Immigration Department, targeting illegal immigration.

A new Border Protection Service, including officers from HM Customs and the Immigration Department, will be chiefly tasked with external security, particularly around the importation of drugs and guns, the council ruled.

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The U.K. government has offered to train intelligence analysts for the service and fund a strategic assessment of border threats.

Also attending the meeting were Colin Brown with the U.K. Border Force and U.K. Coastguard Commander Phil Bostock, both of whom have been seconded from Britain to assist Cayman with its border enforcement initiatives.

It was also noted that the RCIPS would begin a gun amnesty program this month to facilitate the retrieval of firearms.

Following the meeting, Premier McLaughlin said he was pleased that the council had agreed on several public safety priorities, including the introduction of community safety officers to assist with RCIPS neighborhood policing efforts.

“I am extremely grateful [Governor Anwar Choudhury] has taken on board my concerns and suggestions about how the National Security Council can be used more effectively to address the increasing concerns about crime … as swiftly as he has,” Mr. McLaughlin said.

Governor Choudhury said council members adopted a “businesslike” approach during Tuesday’s meeting, putting politics aside.

The security council has at least one new member, former MLA Gilbert McLean, who was selected by Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller and approved as a member by the governor. Mr. McLean is one of two private citizen members of the council to be appointed. The second member, who will be appointed by the premier, has yet to be named.

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  1. I agree that border control is important , but I believe that guns and drugs are more of a bigger issue .
    The amesty and buying back of guns . How is that really going to work and get the Islands free of guns ? Are these guns going to be crushed every week ? Or are they going to be stored in a unsecured place and be stolen .
    Why didn’t the NSC discuss about having some new gun Laws amended , like a new prison sentence of 15 to 25 years in prison for possession of a Illegal gun , and the same for Illegal importation of drugs and guns .
    I think that if that was done and enforced across the board, it would scard the Illegal importers , and there won’t be much need for the Coast Guard except for in emergencies .
    I don’t think that putting the Coast Guard in service will completely stop the importation of guns and drugs . Think of this issue as a recipe for making a meal , you just can’t put one of the ingredient and forget the rest . But I suppose that’s how Government cooks .