Cayman’s law enforcement community is seeking some support from the public at large.
Inspector Winsome Prendergast of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service has started the Islanders Football Club, a not-for-profit organization designed to fund international trips for law enforcement officers who play football together against like-minded compatriots from around the world.
The officers banded together to take a trip to the Netherlands in 2016, and earlier this year, they went to Spain to play in the Mallorca Football Tournament for Law Enforcement Officers.
The Cayman delegation plans on attending another tournament in Mallorca next May, and it’s beginning a series of fundraising events this Friday, Oct. 26, with a fish fry and bingo night at the George Town Cricket Oval.
“We’ll be doing an all-day fish fry. And then in the night, about 8 [p.m.], we’ll have a fundraising bingo,” said Inspector Prendergast about the all-day event. “We’ll have prizes that we’ll raffle and donate. We want it to be fun. It’s about getting together and camaraderie and having fun.”
The Islanders Football Club has about 35 members, and Inspector Prendergast said that the trip will probably have upward of 20 people on it. Next year, half of the delegation plans on visiting various European cities before meeting the other half in Mallorca for the beginning of the tournament on May 1.
The first group trip, in 2016, taught Inspector Prendergast something. It was not just members of the RCIPS who wanted to participate, but people from all branches of the law enforcement community.
“The greatest part about this is the networking,” said Inspector Prendergast. “You have over 200 teams from over 49 different countries. Law enforcement, prisons, fire, police, judiciary. It’s phenomenal.
“Look at the benefits. … Now, we have a contact just about everywhere in the world. We form friendships and we have WhatsApp groups that we communicate with from time to time.”
And it does not only improve Cayman’s communications with other law enforcement agencies around the world. It helps improve the camaraderie of the existing law enforcement personnel in Cayman.
“It definitely brings officers together,” said Inspector Prendergast. “I try to have a social before we go because you’ll have people from different law enforcement agencies. We don’t really work together. We don’t really know each other. Then you find out – especially after this last trip – that we have this close bond. It’s easier working together when you know each other and you know what people are like.”
Friday’s fish fry on will begin about 11 a.m., and Inspector Prendergast said there will be limited delivery service if people call in and live relatively close to the Cricket Oval. The football club also plans a fundraiser at Pirates Week and then perhaps another event or two in January and March.
“I know these things don’t raise a lot of money, but it’s for us to work together,” said Inspector Prendergast. “When we do a fundraiser, we’re cooking and we’re selling together. It makes you form that bond. Later on as we grow, we’ll do bigger things. Sometimes it’s just smaller things; a little bit here and there.”
People interested in donating to the Islanders Football Club can visit Friday’s fundraiser. Interested parties can call in to 916-5241, 326-3306 or 938-3306 for more information.