Protection voted for guards

| 16/10/2011

(CNS): Legislators have now voted to allow security guards to have access to bullet proof vests, hand cuffs, batons and peppers spray as a means of protecting themselves in the face of rising crime and in particular the number of armed robberies. Although opposition members had also wanted some security guards to have access to firearms by licensing trained staff, the government disagreed with that position and amended the proposal from the former opposition leader to exclude lethal means of protection. The decision by the parliament to move towards amending the necessary laws came at the end of two days of debate on the need for more personal protection against criminals for the public at large as well as security staff. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

As he presented the third private members motion in a series filed by the opposition, the PPM member for George Town, Kurt Tibbetts, supported by his East End colleague Arden McLean, told his legislative colleagues that his main concern was about the safety of the public.

The law currently prohibits anyone other than a police officer from wearing a bullet proof vest or using handcuffs. Although security guards are employed to protect business premises and customers, the former leader of government business pointed out that it was close to impossible for them to do that without any means of defence.

He pointed to a recent robbery where the guard was seen on the security video fleeing for his life as armed robbers shot through a glass door at the Reflections store in George Town, which he said illustrated the point.

Tibbetts suggested that guards who had the necessary training and ability to be armed should be at least allowed to apply for a firearms license as he pointed out that the private securities law provides for licensed security staff to carry authorized weapons. Guards who are not to be armed should at least be protected with other equipment such as vests, batons and sprays and have the handcuffs to help tackle more petty incidents.

The government supported the spirit of the motion but was not prepared to accept the move to facilitate firearms licence. Captain Eugene Ebanks, the UDP back bencher for West Bay, moved the amendment to Tibbetts' motion, stating that government could not support it as it was not possible to know the backgrounds of all the security guards, and people “could fall through the cracks” of any efforts to prevent licences being given to people “we don’t know anything about,” he said.

Following the unanimous vote on the three opposition motions with some government amendments the next step will be for government officials to begin preparing the necessary amendments to the various laws that will pave the way for ordinary members of the public and security guards to carry pepper spray and take away the sole power of the police commissioner to decide who gets a firearm’s licence.

CNS has contacted the RCIPS several times requesting comment from the commissioner about the move by the country’s legislative body to agree to amend the laws to allow these changesto the firearms and other laws but we are still waiting on a response. In the past the commissioner has made it clear that he does not support the private ownership of guns for self defence, but he will now have to share the decision over who gets to own a weapon with the president of the gun club and three justices of the peace.

The move to allow ordinary members of the public to buy pepper spray may also raise concerns among law enforcement officials because because of the increase in access the lawful importation of the products will also give to criminals.

Last month the courts heard how one of the teenagers involved in the robbery at the Blackbeard’s liquor store in Grand Harbour was armed with pepper spray, which he used on one of the members of the public who had assisted in apprehending the young robbers.

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Comments (25)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Some security guards on island already have guns so if some  security guards are properly  trained  and certified in firearms operation then i think that they should be allowed to carry them.

  2. Anonymous says:

    why debate all it takes is proper licensing procedures and proper training for security guards and the public; the security officers law is a complete mess it has clause for training but there are no training schools in cayman.

    how many caymanians are actually licensed as security officers.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Who knows, the robber may very well drop his M16 high power rifle and run for his life to avoid getting pepper spray in his eyes!

  4. Anonymous says:


    Question for you…what then, do you suggest or is the unhampered activity of the gun-slinging/firing robbers not reallya problem, as long as shoot-outs and possibly casualties is not a regular occurence at the present time ?

    Your views suggest that Cayman's society should just leave the criminals alone and let them continue what they're doing because, OMG, if we confront them…they'll only get worse !!!

    Does it not worry you, that the RCIPS, the police/security service of the country seems to have taken the same approach….in a force of over 300 police officers, less than 50 of those officers are trained to carry and use firearms…if you find credible excuses that civilians (security guards are nothing more than civilians) should not generally, carry firearms, what excuses can you offer for the police force of the country to not be able to meet lethal threats with lethal force.

    With a minute percentage of the RCIPS actually trained to respond to armed robberies in which shots are now being fired, is it any question as to why, NOT ONE of these armed robberies have been stopped IN PROGRESS….and do you believe that this would be accepted by the population in any other country in the world with the rate of gun-crime and armed robberies that Grand Cayman is now experiencing ?

    Some feed-back to my questions would be highly appreciated….the main question again being…what are your suggestions to the above mentioned situations ?


  5. Anonymous says:

    This is not good enough.  These people should be armed with TDI KRISS Super V XSMG at the very least.  It can fire 4500 rounds per minute on full auto.

    This way they will be sure to hit their target and save costly time in police work and trials.

  6. Dred says:

    This is a case of be careful what you wish for. Let me make my point clear.

    Take a tennis player or any player in any sport really. He meets an opponent the first time and the opponent beats him. He then goes into reviewing what happened and he determined that the opponent is better equiped than he is so he goes out and get a better racket, or trainer so he can beat this opponent. He then goes back and say he beats his opponent.

    So what do you think the opponent does? He reviews much the same way the other did and he amps up his game by doing the same.

    So in summary what I am saying is this. Once we arm the guards do you think crminals will just pack it in and go away? No. Instead of robbing with machetes and regular pistols we are going to be looking at uzzis or some other automatic weapon. Now instead of crime that are only resulting in moneytary loss we start having casualties where brave (but sometimes stupid) guards MAY attempt to stop someone and two or three people end up shot possibly one or more dead.

    Guns will not stop our problem. It may shrink the quantity but highten the casualty.

    I have said this before and I will say it again. Solve the gang issue and you cut robberies by 60%-80% or more. Gangs are directly involved with most of our crimes I am convinced of it. Look at when the gangs started killing each other robberies dropped off the table.

    We need to attack the gangs and resolve this issue and then look at this in retrospect.

    I am for pepper spray for women more but I have no issue with guards having it but not to defend against an armed robbery. I see this more of an incident of someone going crazy in a store and trying to fight off the guards more than a preventative to an out and out robbery attempt where the crminals are armed. I have always heard the saying never bring a knife to a gun fight. This is the case here. Pepper spray versus a gun not a chance.

    Simply put if we arm cops and guards criminals will get even more armed. They will also now approach crimes with more intent and nervousness also which could lead to crminals killing someone out of nervousness that a guard is reaching for a gun.

    Let's just be careful what can of worms we want to deal with most.

    • Dred says:

      Let me add this….

      Insurance cost will increase because of the potential liability involved if a customer get's injured as a result. Cost of guards will go up because now they are being asked to defend with their lives against an intruder.

      I believe this will not work out in everyone's best interest, maybe only for insurance companies.

    • Anonymous says:


      You rock, but you missed an important part here: We play and you beat me at tennis, I might go get a better racket. I try to rob you and you give me the Mozambique Drill, I’m not going shopping for anything after that.

      From that reality we go to the respectful standoff of “You may kill some of us, but we’re certainly going to kill you.”, and hopefully most of the bad guys then go get jobs.

      Stopping armed robberies requires that we raise the price to where they stand a serious risk of dying for the effort. Anything less than that means the party just keeps rocking the same way it’s going now.

      PS – I’m all in favour of killing the gangs, if that’s what you meant.

      PPS – I don’t think it’s true that armed robbers in Cayman look at these 2 as being the same experience: (1) I’m going in there and waving a gun around, they’ll cower in fear and give me the money, and I’ll go for a beer; and (2) I’m going in there to have a gunfight, and if I survive they will cower in fear and give me the money, and I’ll go for a beer. I see robbers looking at #2 and staying home.

    • Survivor says:

      I hearyou Dred, and you make good points. 

      Let us also consider the framework and the duties of the security guard.    First, a reminder:   Most, if not all, criminals are cowards;  they are opportunists, and when selecting a victim, the capitalise on the weak in light of their "superior" armament.  

      None of us (I hope) expect a security guard to go toe-to-toe with a criminal armed with a handgun;  Even in the great and mighty U.S. armed bank guards are instructed to protect THE CUSTOMERS, and not engage an armed robber.   Of course, THEIR funds are insured, unlike ours.  

      No, what we are talking about here is a security person having a slight edge over what they've had in the past.    I  am a strong proponent of people AND professionals being able to protect themselves, with the caveat that those tools of protection must come with training as well.  

      What will this accomplish?   Well, it will tend toward criminals having less of an advantage than they had in the past.   That is why I believe capsicum spray sales should be under the umbrella of licensing, because licensing both mandates training and it also provides tracking of the containers.    Capsicum spray is not something that should be casually sold with the same aplomb that we sell cigarettes or sodas.   

      People need to be able to have an edge to protect themselves and their customers, but that comes with a responsibility also — a responsibility to not allow their tools of protection to fall into the hands of those who might use them against the law-abiding populace.  

      If a person has the responsibility of a security guard — to provide a hedge against the criminals in favor of the customers/client, they should also have the tools.   Anything less is throwing a guard under the bus, so to speak.   I understand that there are guards that are simply eyes and ears without any tools.   If they are unable to be trained to be responsible with the bare minimum of tools (pepper spray) then they should seek other employment.    If they have the sand and the intellect to be worthy of that job, they should have the tools.   Otherwise, what we ask of them is unreasonable.  

  7. Anonymous says:

    Are we talking about armoured car/bank security guards, strata nightwatchmen, nightclub bouncers or all of the above?  There is an enormous difference in skill sets, risk exposure and competency between these occupations. 

  8. Anonymous says:

    The guards have pepper spray and the criminals have guns.  If I was a security guard,that security guard on the Reflections video would look like the Tortoise compared to how fast I would run when I see the criminals approaching.  If the Security Guards are properly screened, what is wrong with them having guns?

  9. Wise Woman says:

    I must say I would feel a whole better if the people protecting me were armed, expecially at the banks.  If I leave a bank with a fist full of cash, I would feel more secure.  My bills are paid from several banks.  The banks hold the cheques and this takes five days. In this economic time, most employers are late paying in paying salary and wages which makes us late in paying our bills.  I need to make my transfers between banks as quickly as possible, which means I physically need to carry the cash to other banks to pay the bills.Private oline banking between local banks does not really exist here here, it once did and the fees were enormous.

    Ths is one of my favourite quotes about justifying the use of firearms –

    "The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that's good"

    — George Washington

    Here is a collection of them

  10. Anonymous says:

    Very good. You see how it is better to work together for the better of the country than to always be fighting against each other. If you all was to put your heads together and work like this all the time we will not be in such a mess.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Thank MLAs. This is a step in the right direction. Guards also need access to stun guns.

  12. Anonymous says:

    A security guard with a bulletproof vest and pepper spray against a someone with a gun. Talk about an uneven life and death field.

  13. anonymous says:

    ummm… security guards are not the people!  what about the people??  alas… what about our self-defense??

  14. Loopy Lou says:

    Why are these important policy issues being voted through without any consultation or proper debate?

    PS: This will increase the use of guns by criminals.

    • Dred says:

      I actually agree with this assessment.

      Crminals won't just stop because guards get guns. They will get bigger guns or more guns and come with even harder resolve.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Excellent decision for the guards.

    I do think though armoured truck guards or any movement of large cash or valuables should have a weapon in the vehicle and at least one armed guard  when outside as lookout or have another expansion of USG officers for protection and charge a fee. 

  16. The Prophet says:

    well I do not think the security guards will be allowed to carry firearms if the police cannot.  Anyway this is still a step much further.  They just have to be more watchful of every body.  I do not know why shop keepers, business keepers do not keep a watchful eye on these men when they enter your business.  It is very hard for the employee, sales person or waiter to keep an eye on every one who enters, but I suggest give someone a job to watch every one who enters either physically or on TV.  I still think that not enough is being done to prevent robberies.

    • B.B.L. Brown says:

      I don't think enough is being done to prevent robberies either, Mr. Prophet, but a handy, reliable handgun would go a lo-o-ong way in that direction.  And look at another plus……. If the robber gets snuffed, he won't commit any more robberies so there's no time and money wasted on a trial.

  17. 8768 says:


    The guards at Cayman Armor have been wearing bullet proof vests for years, even in police presence. While I welcome this motion which will legalize or rather formalize an old practice, I would like to take this opportunity to ask that the Police familiarize themselves with the laws in all respects with a view of increasing enforcements. 


    Had the police been enforcing aspects of the gang laws, we would have known long time that the current laws are inadequate and the commissioner would not be begging to rush an amendment through parliament today.


     Had they been enforcing the weapons and personal protection laws, they would have attempted to arrest a security guard many years back for having a hand cuff; the public would come out against it and the laws would have been ammended way back then. Today we would be arguing wether or not guards should have lethal weapons if this is the next logical request after receiving permission to wear/carry protective gears.


    It’s time to start enforcing the litter laws and start fining litter bugs inorder to complement the salaries paid to DoEH solid waste management staff, let us not wait until we're in a bind to buy more garbage trucks and employ staff before we look at the penal code to realize that the fines are inadequate and not a deterrent for some construction and landscape firms who's staff continue to dump garbage on lonely road ways, or blow garbage from private property onto the main thoroughfare.


    In closing, I congratulate Kurt on this motion, lets now scour the internet to see if there are any mention of a security guard (armed with a baton, pepper spray, handcuff and bullet proof vest), standing up to a gun slinging robber… I doubt you will find one mention, but will most definitely see guards armed with guns, challenging the hoodlums!

  18. Anonymous says:

    From nothing ! to live ,lethal ammunition ? A bit extreme ehh!  They could of  looked into the shot gun and pistols that fire rubber bullets used by  riot police  to "control "not  kill the criminal. I cant even begin to  imagine how scared i would be going for my pepper spray when some punk has a pistol pointed at you.


    Pass this law (" Non lethal firearms for law inforcement and security") And start to train  the police and security guards NOW . Bad guys need some fear instilled in them not pepper sauce. 

  19. Anonymous says:

    quote from article: 

    He pointed to a recent robbery where the guard was seen on the security video fleeing for his life as armed robbers shot through a glass door at the Reflections store in George Town, which he said illustrated the point.


    so, what then, the guard will stand there while the robbers prepare to shoot and say, "Hey, i have pepper spray guys, don't mess with me!!"  How stupid!!  And wearing bullet proof vests was never illegal to begin with, no law needed for that!

    the point used by the MLA's was a stupid point, because it still boils down to the fact that to try to scare off someone who has a gun, one must have a gun, people with intention to shoot their guns will not be scared of a security guard armed with pepper spray.

    I agree pepper spray, handcuffs,and batons can help a little with some incidences, but it's not going to help with those incidences where the perpetrator has a gun and has intention to fire his gun!  None of those things are any match for the bullets from a gun.

    The police and security guards should all be armed with guns and of course take extensive gun and psychology training first before graduating to this position, so that they are skilled shooters with a calm and sound mind and understand psychology of perpetrators.

    And any citizens/residents who would like to own a gun for self defense should be allowed to do so.  Just like in the USA. 




  20. Anonymous says:

    So nothing changes. The guards still have to flee to preserve their lives, and the criminals can do as they wish because they are the only ones with guns and the will to use them. Brilliant Mac, just flipping brilliant. Let the exodus continue, money and all.