Cops offer amnesty on guns

| 03/05/2010

(CNS): Local police are offering a window of opportunity for people in the Cayman Islands to bring in their illegally held guns without fear of prosecution for one month. Starting on 10 May and continuing until Thursday 10 June residents have chance to hand in unlicensed, unwanted and illegal guns or ammunition to George Town, West Bay, Bodden Town and Cayman Brac police stations. They can also call for police to collect weapons or reveal the whereabouts ofhidden guns without revealing their identity. The campaign was announced by the commissioner with support from Dorlisa Ebanks (left),  the mother of 4 year-old gun victim Jeremiah Barnes.

Police are hoping that those who know where weapons are will hand them in and save lives.
Unveiling the campaign poster, which calls for people to help cut gun crime in Cayman, as well as reminding them of the ten-year prison sentence for possession of unlicensed firearms, Police Commissioner David Baines said it was about making the community safer. He pointed out too that ten years is a long time away from friends and family and by handing in weapons people in the community who knew where guns were hidden could save a loved one from a long prison sentence or more importantly save their lives.
 
“The fact is that too many young lives have been lost to gun crime in Cayman and too many guns are available on our streets for use by gang members,” Baines added. “Thankfully over the past few weeks the number of gun related incidents has reduced dramatically. The decrease is due to a number of things; more police officers on the streets; increased use of armed officers; and the fact that so many of the suspected gunmen are now in custody.”
 
He admitted, however, that there was still work to do to stop guns falling into the hands of criminals and take the lethal weapons off the streets. “This is your chance to help us do that. This is our chance to work together and help cut gun crime in Cayman. We need to stop the destruction of communities, families and of innocent lives – lives like little Jeremiah Barnes."
 
Appealing for people to back the campaign and play their part in making Cayman’s streets safer, Dorlisa Ebanks said she commended the initiative, and while there was no going back for her baby, she asked the community to play its part and try  to prevent another family from going through the same tragedy that hers was now living.
 
“If you have suspicions or know about weapons tell the police they need your assistance to fight this,” she said, adding that there were no words to describe how she felt. “If you think it can’t happen to you, think again. I thought that it couldn’t happen to me,” Ebanks said as she called on people to bring in the guns. “Lets all make a start on stopping gun violence. Please, if you have guns in your house hand them into the police, if you know someone who has a gun ask them to hand it in. We need to stop the gangs getting their hands on these weapons and stop more innocent children being killed.”
 
Superintendent Marlon Bodden. who was also part of the campaign launch, pointed out that reducing the number of guns on the streets limits the access of criminals. He warned that once the amnesty was over those who did not take advantage of the opportunity would find that the police would be carrying out major proactive operations after the amnesty to crack down on gun possession.
 
Bodden said police would be working harder than ever to ensure investigations would be airtight and those illegally possessing firearms would face a ten year sentences.
 
Given that ten people have been the victim of fatal shootings in the last 18 months, Bodden said now was the right time to offer an amnesty before the crack down begins.
 
The police also confirmed that while the identity of those bringing the guns would be protected the weapons themselves would still be investigated for any connection to crime. Bodden explained it was not a blanket amnesty on crime but individuals who were not involved in shooting anyone but had access to illegal guns could feel secure that they could bring the weapons in anonymously with no questions asked.
 
“Following the recent rise in gun crime, many members of the public made it clear that they would support us in our efforts to get the guns off the streets. This is your chance to do that by getting involved in the amnesty. If you have a gun hand it in, if you don’t please get involved by persuading friends and family who have the guns to comply with the amnesty. You may be saving a life,” Bodden added
 
Police said that the last amnesty produced around twenty illegal weapons and they hoped to get a significant number of the streets again. This amnesty is being run and managed by the RCIPS and is not in conjunction with Rotary as on past occasions. There are no financial incentives just the removal of a threat of prosecution for unlawful possession but those that bring the guns to the police station’s secure boxes. Bodden also told people to take great care with any weapons they were bringing to stations.
 
The senior police officers said that while they hoped this presented an opportunity for the friend and family of gang memebrs to turn in guns, it was also aimed at families or individuals who may have once had licenses that have elapsed but still have the weapons to bring them in without fear of getting in to trouble.
 
At the campaign launch, police revealed just some of the weapons that have been seized in Cayman as part of various investigations and discoveries. The weapons ranged from tiny hand guns to automatic pistols. Baines said that all of the firearms, despite their size, could be fatal. The commissioner also said he wanted to see people bring in fake guns as well, which may not kill people, but help in the execution of crime, and can still create real fear in those facing an imitation weapon — many of which are impossible to distinguish.
 
Anyone who wishes to take part in the amnesty should take their guns and ammunition along to the nominated police stations. The guns and ammunition should be deposited in the secure lock boxes at these locations. You do not have to give your name or any other personal details to police. The amnesty will operate 7 days a week from 7.00 am. until 7.00 pm.
 
Anyone with information about gun crime, or who knows of anyone who has unlicensed or illegal weapons is asked to call their local police station, the RCIPS confidential tipline 949-7777 or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS).
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Comments (21)

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  1. Dorlisa Ebanks says:

    I hope and pray that everyone will support the Gun Amnesty Programme.  If a gun is obtained illegally its fair enough to say that its purpose is for destruction.  I encourage thepeople of the Cayman Islands to cease this opportunity and rid Cayman’s streets of these weapons.

    What is your 10 year plan?  Having knowledge of such puts you in the same seat as the possessor.  You never know, the life you save might just be yours.  Persons who possess these weapons and have cruel intentions, I suggest to revert to the Lord.  Read Proverbs chap 3 and realize you must fear God and depart from evil.  Look at the BIG picture!

    Where is the Love?  Why are we killing one another?  This is the first time in history a murder of a baby has taken place and let it be the last.

    Also, parents need to show more interest in their child/children.  Raise them up with Chritian morals and principles.  Care about the company they hang with and what they do on a daily basis.  Long story short, love them and if they are headed in the wrong direction you must intervene.  Let not your child bring you SHAME.

    This gun violence has to STOP and it begins with YOU.  Do your part!  I commend the Police for initiating this programme as it is very much needed at this time.

    Avoid losing a love one whether its by death or prison.  No one on Cayman knows how I feel and lets pray that no one will!

    "Cayman Let’s Do Som’um Nah"

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am actually aware of somebody who did contact the police a while ago and handed in a gun that did not belong to that person but they knew it was on the streets and could possibly be used. The person got no reward (and indeed, didn’t ask for one) and was not necessarily the type of person you would think would do something like this. Maybe people like Monday 23.41 should not be so cynical – even one gun handed in can make a difference. I applaud the police for being open to dialogue and trying to break down the ‘them’ and ‘us’ barrier. Every little helps.

    • Anonymous says:

      Gun amnesty may work as some criminals will hand in guns (or have someone hand them in) that have been used in crimes to get rid of the gun  and the evidence.

  3. raffaele says:

    No problem with this program however this firearm inspection for legal weapons is seriously lacking many gun owners have to wait long periods to get their guns licenced must be deliberate????? Once again we see in Caymanian Compass today the credibilty of the RCIPS again called into question to the tone of a CI$140,000 judgement these situations damages the trust of the public and the threatening tone of Superintendent Boddens statements about the consequences of failing to comply with the law and his "Airtight comment" has little weight when you consider the recent case in the Grand Court. I find his statements very unhelpful and hypocritical as it was under his watch and strategic leadership and overview that Cayman has seen the worse Gun violence and murder rate in the history of these islands. Just another Songbird

  4. Waste of time says:

    Studies have shown gun amnesties have no crime reduction impact.  They create good TV or new coverage for law enforcement and an emotional outlet for anti-crime protesters.  That is it. 

    The two most effective crime reduction steps are increased police resources and increased sentencing. 

    Police resources in larger countries generally means more police but here it may mean greater investment in forensic facilities and trained forensic officers as detection and conviction rates are so low – it appears that Cayman prosecutors have a superburden to persuade Cayman juries.

    Sentencing means more time in jail pure and simple.  And it works because while criminals are "in there" they are not "out here" committing crimes.  It has surprisingly little to do with the deterrent effect – although every gut feeling says it should.  So we should worry less about the "Hotel Northward" issue and more about longer sentencing.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman seems so peaceful again, seems like most of the serious criminals are locked down. We hope that while being incarcerated that they will rethink their lives and perhaps ask repentance too from our Heavenly Father. Most of our Cayman boys are coming from good back ground and had good training so it shouldnt be difficult for them to make a change.We will pray for all of them to give their hearts to the Lord before his return, which seems to be very near.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The problem with gun amnestys is that like here in the UK all the "GOOD" people hand in their guns and all the "BAD" guys keep theirs!!. A number of years ago they made owning handguns illegal in the UK, now the only people with them are "CRIMINALS"!!!!!. 

  6. Anonymous says:

    Can the Government take a tougher stand on domestic violence?  It appears to be on the increase.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree that more should be done about domestic violence. The big problem is that the big fish in Cayman seems to be the biggest culprits. Some of these men that we hold so high in our Society are the worst ones.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The last time they asked for guns to be handed in they were given a cash reward for doing so, they then went out and put that cash towards cash they already had to buy new guns . be aware.

    • Anonymous says:

      We are talking about people having knowledge of someone owning a gun, I am sure that without a big reward that they are not going to come forward  with that information without a BIG reward being offered. Thats the key to collect those guns. Before Customs etc was not as knowledgeable but now that they are more aware it wont be as easy to bring in more guns.

  8. Anonymous says:

    If the guns are going to be investigated and for some reason the police have evidence that the gun was used in some sort of crime, what would be done in that situation, being that they are not taking names or personal details?

  9. Anonymous says:

     I asked our politicians about this when the first string of gun violence cropped up. A few of them said it was up to the Governor and the Police commissioner for an amnesty to happen. I’m glad they are making this move and hope that it gets most of the guns off our streets. I mentioned it to a few people and some said it was pointless because the people who use these guns to commit crimes have them with purpose. My response, call me naive, but even thugs have a change of heart. 

  10. Anonymous says:

    I would really like to see both the UDP and PPM getting behind this.  Step up folks!

  11. I applaud this effort and sincerely hope that it gets a lot of the guns off the streets. If only more people would take the time to follow through and hand in illegal weapons, especially guns and ammunition.

    One thing I think that deters a lot of people is that the Police treat them like seasoned criminals and tend to seek them out, rather than just accept that this individual has just helped you take one step closer to the goal of a crime free country.

  12. bradley says:

    "Put your sword back in its place.  For all who draw the sword will die by the sword."  – Jesus

    Matthew 26:52

    • Anonymous says:

      Most of us think that the guns are only coming in from Jamaica , but this is totally wrong. What about Honduras. By the way the Deputy Premier is now gone to Honduras and we understand that it is an official visit. Well in this case we hope that it is to deal with problems like this.HA HA HA.

    • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

      By “its place” Jesus meant within its sheath on his disciple’s side, because the net effect of the disciple’s action was an attempt to prevent Jesus from going to the cross, and that was not God’s plan.

      Jesus said in Like 22:36 “…he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.”

      • Ah says:

        The weapons lobby’s spin on the bible written by Christian Friends of the 2nd Amendment.

      • Anonymous says:

        Give me a break Dennie!!! Another example how people try to suggest meaning to God’s word for their own agenda! You ought to be ashamed of yourself!!

        • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

          It was God’s plan for Jesus to die on the cross.  So, if anyone had, including the disciples used any device (swords included) to stop Jesus from dying on the cross, that person would have been working against God’s plan.  If you do not understand that, you do not understand the gospel of Jesus the Christ.  Therefore, Jesus was not saying owning swords are wrong, but that using a sword to stop him (Jesus) from being crucified on the cross is an action which is contrary to God’s plan.