Drunks to face year in jail

| 02/11/2011

(CNS): A number of proposed changes to the criminal procedure and penal codes aimed at giving the police more powers to deal with gangs could also see ordinary members of the public who have had ‘one too many’ spending a year in jail or paying a hefty fine. The proposed legal changes, which were published this week, address both gang and public disorder issues but they also include tramps and drunks and give the police more powers and reasons to remove more people from the streets, especially at night. Government will be bringing the proposed laws to the country’s parliament in this month’s sitting, which also restrict public assembly. Although targeted at gangs, the amendments could encroach on regular public freedoms.

Tramps and drunks could face fines of $1000, up from $30, and instead of 30 days in jail, up to 12 months in prison.

The new laws propose increasing the custodial sentence for unlawful assembly from one year to three years and the custodial sentence for rioting from two years to four years. Clause 4 also increases the fine for refusing to accompany a constable exercising the power of search, from one hundred dollars to $2,000.

The bill is targeted at dealing mostly with gang problems and is an effort to make existing gang legislation more effective. While the changes define gang membership, increase penalties for it and the participation in gang related crimes, there are concerns that the new powers will not really address the problems of gang related violent gun crime, which they are aimed at, but could undermine broader public freedoms.

The amendments, if passed, would give the police the right to disperse public gatherings of any kind if a senior officer suspects anyone in the group to have harassed someone else. The changes are walking a fine line, some legal experts have stated, querying how effective they will be in addressing the real problem.

“These proposed amendments, like the proposed reversal of the onus of proof, will not assist in securing a better conviction rate,” said Peter Polack, one of the few local attorney’s willing to speak publicly about the issues that are causing widespread concern in the profession.

He added that improving police efficiency, the prevention of disappearance of crucial evidence like CCTV footage and promoting transparency and accountability in the RCIPS would go a lot further than these legislative amendments and increases in sentences.

“There is no empirical data in the Cayman Islands that shows an increase in sentences or the number of offences reduces crime,” the lawyer noted. “Knee jerk legislation cannot assist us at this time. We desperately need leadership, not more bureaucracy. These are amendments to complete the transformation of the Cayman Islands to a police state and empower the RCIPS to utilise reasonable force, meaning violence, in trifling circumstances that will inescapably lead to more violence in the streets.”

Polack pointed to the estrangement of our youth from society, which now takes on a more sinister political character. He challenged the authorities to make policing more transparent  as he accused the governor of  retreating from “earlier promises of transparency and accountability,” and described recent police changes “as expensive high tech law enforcement window dressing” that was not producing results.

See new bills below.

Category: Crime

Comments (39)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Drunk blonde tourist in Northward Prison-IN HER PIRATE COSTUME!  (next week) šŸ™‚

  2. Anonymous says:

    Man, I tell you these days u can hear some sh*t.  You mean to tell me that  Government do not have anything else better to do but to arrest and lock up local drunks and want to put them in jail for a year?  This law is so darn stupid here, they let the "Child Molesters" and "Rapist "and "Murderers' get less sentences than they want to give these poor drunks!  Instead Government why dont you all concentrate on getting JOBS FOR YOUR CAYMANIAN PEOPLE INSTEAD OF WANTING TO HARRRASS POOR DRUNKS!!!!  DRUNKS R NO HARM TO US IT IS YOU THAT IS DOING THE HARM TO YOUR OWN CAYMANIANS!  This Country is going the drain!!!  I am so darn fed up I am ready to leave this God forsaken place soon!!!  I DARE UNA come to ARREST ME WHEN I AM DRUNK!  After having my shots at HAPPY HOUR!!!  Government why dont you all find something better to do with your USELESS TIME!  Why dont you all get those LAZY POLICE DEPT out solving crimes instead of asking women for PHONE NUMBERS and  try to solved all of those STACKS of COLD CASES and MISSING CASES THAT YOU ALL CANT SOLVED!  Why dont you all BACK OFF!  Someone please tell me "What's NEXT???

  3. Anonymous says:

    My concern with this is that a double standard will be applied, the big shots or connected people will not be charged and the rest of us will be at the mercy of the system.

  4. Raffaelle says:

    You all try hush up now! when others were on here protesting this campaiign to take our rights away by this foreign run police apparatus. Some venues refused to post the truth about this situation because it may offend some of these Foreign elements driving this insidious scheme. Their are even some law enforcement hawks in government and the RCIPS who foolishly same to think their family and children and friends are immune to these draconian measures that  have been conjure up for the "Cayman criminal population" so it can make their life here alot easier and enjoyable while they work and govern in these lawless islands. Their has been so many unlawful and outrageous things happening within this same law enforcement apparatus especially the RCIPS yet those incharge have been left untouch or simple not held accountable for this situation. Yet we have all witnessed what happens to locals in the past who were.in the same position The more corrupt the state the more it legislates and the more law you have the less Justice you get. Yes Cayman those who aided and abetted these forces enjoy your Police State you have help create..

  5. Anonymous says:

    “The amendments, if passed, would give the police the right to disperse public gatherings of any kind if a senior officer suspects anyone in the group to have harassed someone else.”

    The obvious problem with this provision is that selective enforcement is inevitable. For example, protest marches could be stopped if the Premier feels “harassed”.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The amendments, if passed, would give the police the right to disperse public gatherings of any kind if a senior officer suspects anyone in the group to have harassed someone else.

    Someone please tell me that this is an early Tom Fool's day joke.  Is this a section of a  law or proposed law?   This could never be real.  I rest my case will say no more and wait for human rights.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I hear in Singaopre dog is a delicacy, after these daft amendments I'm left to wonder….. are our copy cat and blissfully unaware how to lead elected representatives going to set up jerk dog stands for the cruise tourists?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hick,, Hick

  9. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous 10:33 – Kirky does not "bum" money from tourists or locals, I for one have tried to offer him money on a few occasions and he has resisted accepting, instead asking me to buy him food. Note, I initiated the contact each time.  Kirky is an unfortunate case of the inability of his family to help him for whatever reasons despite their many efforts to have him take his prescribed meds. He is friendly, harmless (except to himself) and has retained a significant degree of intellect despite his mental illness. There was a time when Kirky worked in a bank and drove a Benz. Yes, he was successfully 'mainstream' until his mental decline. 

    So now, the same system which has ignored the needs of people like Kirky will now dump them in prison for being a vagrant or 'tramp'??!!   Watch out 10:33, but for the grace of God go you or yours.


  10. The Philosopher says:


    Ladies & Genlemen! May I present the Nobel Laureates who wrote this outstanding piece of legislation. I used the plural in referring to the writers here because, no one person could possibly be that smart to come up with this masterpiece. There are quite at a few  gems of genius displayed in this law, but one in particular drew my attention. That's the parts that states : Tramps could be fined $1,000.00 dollars instead of  $30.00 and one tear in prison instead of 30 days. Let's put it this way, if you're not having a great day and you want to have a good laugh make sure to attend the weekly comedy show at the courts when "My good friend Kirky" is brought before the "Honorable Magistrate" whomever would be so lucky as to have him appear before them on that day. I'm sure that when he appears before them he will  tell them that he is not your average drunk but a distinguished and learned "English Gentleman".  Now if you ever hear "Kirky" speak with an english accent you will be totally convinced. He's is quite convincing! Anyway the point is that tis law needs a lot of editing especially the $1,000.00 fine and the one year incarceration  that according will cost us some $5,000.00 to keep him there. This makes absolutely no "CENTS" [sic]    



  11. Freedom Man says:

    Lets just give up all our freedoms so the police can protect us.  We need to let Government and the Police tell us what to do at all times so we can be safe.  I for one will be letting the police search me daily by driving to the station and holding my car door open for them and then I will request that they come and earch my house once a week to make sure I'm not infringing upon any laws I'm not aware of.  Also from this day forward I will no longer even touch a drop of booze because it may make me tipsy in public and cause me to fall and hurt myself.  Come on people lets all be good from now on so the police can continue doing their jobs as proficiently as they have in the past. 

  12. The Beaver says:

    It's a mistake to somehow think that giving utterly incompetent officials additional powers is going to resolve anything – it's only going to allow them to make poorer decisions more easily.  The Cayman Islands do not lack laws and powers – they lack accountability.  Though these powers are being brought in under the pretext of "protecting" the population, they can and may be used against the population itself.  All one needs to do is to look at history to see how easily laws can/are turned against the people that they are designed to protect.  First they try to take away your right to speak (CNS), then they deny your right to assemble…

  13. Mentalist. says:

    What are they smoking……

  14. SLOW GIN CRAZY says:

    So, if I'm still high on Jesus, driving home from church, will I be locked up with those other drunks? Will my Church get any ….ahem…. "special funds" to bail me?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Hey leave Kirky Alone

  16. Bueller says:

    How many people were locked up for 30 days for being drunk under the existing law? I would guess its close to zero, perhaps just Kirky, when he disappears for a few weeks (and then reappears with a haircut and trimmed beard!).


    If the only change is the sentence, and not the enforcement policies, the only difference will be that we'll see a lot less of the legendary Swanky drinker! That in itself is reason enough to argue against the changes (the 'Save Kirky' campaign starts here!), but there's really no point in scaremongering about tourists spending a full year at Hotel Northward (hell, even our liquor store robbers won't be spending much longer than that there)

  17. Anonymous says:

    Talk about a hidden agenda!!!

    Is anyone out there!!!!???? Are you going to ignore this too???

    We are going backwards here.

  18. Just Askin' says:

    But if we are just tired from having spent long hours at "The Office" we are ok, right?

  19. South Side says:

    Well, I hope they plan to reveal a new prison to hold everyone with Pirates Week around the corner…

  20. Anonymous says:

    Using gangs and violent crime as an excuse to erode the rights and freedoms of the people. Go and try it in the UK and the EU and then let us know how that works out, eh Guv?

    Mr. Pollack is totally right.

  21. ??! says:

    CNS, can you please clarify who is classified as a "tramp"?

  22. John Evans says:

    I'm not getting into local politics by trying to argue against the passing of these changes – that's your problem – but 12 months inside or a $1000 fine for going out and getting s**t faced on vacation or during a trip ashore from a cruise liner (and how many times have we seen that happen?), now that's really going to attract tourists isn't it? So from an outsider's perspective, these laws are presumably only intended to impact the local population, the object being to try and fend off the 'crime-ridden' image that Cayman feels it now has. 

    Butto put them in perspective I'm sure if they had been enacted a few years ago there are more than a few of us reading this who, after regular sessions in George Town's waterfront establishments, would now be facing life sentences. And before you reply – Yep, I know there are many of you out there who think that would be fitting punishment for me. LOL!

    Seriously, the most significant part of this report is the last few paragraphs. Read them, there's a hidden agenda here and it has nothing to do with law enforcement but it has a lot to do with human rights and the status (see the article on the Phillipines ban on workers) of the Cayman Islands in the eyes of the world's media.

    And, as I posted elsewhere, watch out for the next big news story being a contract with the Chinese to build and run a new high-security prison on Grand Cayman to deal with the influx of prisoners – it's one area they have plenty of experience in.


    • Anonymous says:

      Well they definitely gonna need a next prison if they start tryin to put drunks and "tramps" in jail coz all I keep hearin is how Northward already overcrowded.

      Seriously though, rather than aim at drunks on foot, I would rather see a flat $1,000 fine AND a year in jail for drunk driving, perhaps then our roads might be much safer.

  23. Anonymous says:

    GOOD!  Far too many drunken yobs around generally.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Am I right in thinking that this new legislation means that if I'm stupidly drunk, walking home from a bar one night, I can be locked up for a year? Please clarify

    • Anonymous says:

      If you are that's one way to solve my accommodation problems for a while.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Tramps and Drunks???  Will this take Kirky off the streets?  He has been hassling our tourists for too long  I have seen them bypass restaurants because he was there bumming as they tried to enter.

    • Anonymous says:

      Anonymous – 10:33

      Kirky is harmless and does not harass people, tourists or otherwise. He is well known for being friendly and always has a smile on his face.

      Then you have a couple of them in Georgetown that will cuss you if you don't give them the dollar that they order you to give them. Those are the ones that should be removed. I won't mention their names but we all know them too

      • Anonymous says:

        We like to think of him as local "colour".  But the fact is, I have seen him upset tourists and make them not go into an establishments because he was "being friendly".  Maybe the law should read unlicensed tramps, and then we have Kirky apply for one.

        How many Kirky's is OK to have on the streets of our tourist destination?  How do we determine who should be allowed?  What do we do with the "Kirky's " of the island, present and to come.

        I admit, lots of questions and lots hard answers.

        • Anonymous says:

          My friend, there is and will only ever be ONE Kirky. Long Live the King…..of the streets

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh plzzz leave Kirky alone una know we need some kind of drunk around to keep us laughing this place dead already ….so Kirky keep on keeping on! Just dont get up fall down get drunk and fall down again….vote4 Kirky the drunk 2012 election and see who will win!

  26. Anonymous says:

    It's a bluff.  They can't hold all of us

  27. Anonymous says:

    Strange that the fine would be cheaper to be "drunk and disorderly" ($1000) than merely "disorderly" (CI$2000)?  Are MLAs exempt from these fines?

  28. Anonymous says:

    This is one of the most stupid things I have read in a while.  It is as if the prison is not overcrowed enough as it is and rather than going after and trying to lock up real criminals, government now seems to want to go after the average citizen driving on the roads.

    • Qin Cheng says:

      When a prison is private and run for profit, overcrowding and extra draconian laws are most welcome.