CoP warns of cocaine threat

| 22/12/2011

_DEW9181_0.jpg(CNS): Cayman’s senior police officer says the country could see further increases in violence regardless of RCIPS efforts to contain the ongoing gang wars as a result of the move of the lucrative cocaine trade into the Caribbean region. Police Commissioner David Baines said his officers are already seeing evidence of increased shipments in size and quantity of the drug passing through the jurisdiction and as local gangs get involved in the extremely profitable industry there will be an increase in the violence that comes with the cocaine trade, he warned. The haemorrhaging of weapons into the region at present is directly related to the fact that trafficking is moving from Mexico to here, he said. (Photo Dennie WarrenJr)

Baines told CNS this week that he had realconcerns about a possible surge in violence and was fearful that the arrival of the cocaine business in the Caribbean would lead to the kind of indiscriminate violence seen in Mexico in the recent past, which was essentially down to turf wars over the sale and trafficking the drug. While previous gang violence in Cayman has had more to do with ‘respect issues’ or gang rivalry and disputes, the arrival of more cocaine in the region will herald in the cold calculating violence that goes with it.

He said the US attack on the war on drugs along its border with Mexico had diverted the trade to the Caribbean. “If you squeeze the drug balloon in one place it doesn’t go away it just pops up somewhere else,” Baines said.  “We are seeing an increase in cocaine smuggling and the region is seeing an escalation of violence as a result, which could get a lot worse.”

Baines reflected on the mass murders in Mexico and the retribution on entire neighbourhoods in order to ensure their silence and acquiescence in the trade. He said that this meant there was a much greater need for the Cayman Islands’ law enforcement officials, which includes the RCIPS and customs, to cooperate even more closely and exchange intelligence with the relevant agencies in the United States and others in the Caribbean in an effort to minimise the impact the trade of the drug in the region will have on Cayman.

The senior officer said he was concerned because Cayman was already suffering the same fate as other Caribbean nations with a surge in the levels of violence among young men who appear to place so little value on human life and who will be attracted to the lucrative, if violent, trade.

“Everyone in island communities in the Caribbean is seeking ways to do what they can to stop the drug and the guns that come with cocaine getting across their borders,” Baines said, noting that it was an ongoing and very difficult battle.

He said the air support unit was one of the main tools in the fight against the drug trafficking because it was able to cover such a large area and spot potential drug canoes. The cargo scanner, he said, would also help in the fight, especially intercepting the guns coming with the drug. Baines said the replacement of the RCIPS budget recently voted in the Legislative Assembly would be used to boost the task force that has its focus on drug and gun smuggling.

However, given the enormous profits that drug dealers stand to make on the cocaine when it reaches the streets of the US and Europe, the traffickers will not let up easily and as the drug moves into the region and into Cayman, local criminals will get more involved as a result of the cash on offer. This in turn would fuel existing local gang rivalries and the associated street violence.

He said the drug was already penetrating the Eastern Caribbean and the RCIPS was doing everything it could to try and minimise the impact here. “We must be aware of the wholesale violence that comes with the cocaine trade but the sheer numbers of smugglers is a real concern. We must do everything we can to stop Cayman becoming the next battle ground for control of the drug industry,” Baines added.

Category: Crime

Comments (34)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The cocaine trade in cayman is way out of control. It is easier to get coke than it is weed. You can go to any bar along the seven mile strip and get it. I have seen this drug ruin the lives of almost every friend that I had growing up. Politicians and Cayman society need to stop living in denial that there is a major drug problem in Cayman. The police know who the main drug dealers are do something about it, the guys you think are the small fry aren’t so small trust me. There are a lot of people living quite nice at the expense of others misery. One hundred dollars a gram adds up after a while.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Cant we just go back in time around these Holidays season …when the old people used to back sand from the beach and put around their homes…. then invite everyone over for some sorril drink, fruit cakes,corn bred, babecue chicken,turkey and ham,turtle meat ,counch stew, coconut water,white rum and wine and sum little Bob Marley to share with each other lol then have Carribean Music flowing in the air, while everyone just dance laugh and have fun just having a plain old good time…instead of hearing all of this crap!  Una tell the Commish to leave that foolishness for the New Years Man….dem sey 2012 is doomyear so for now let party man!  Happy Holidays everyone be safe…

     

  3. Chris says:

    Commish Baines welcome to the Cayman Islands!

    Our records show that cocaine has been shipped through Cayman in various amounts for years.

    However, i would wager that the peak was in the 1980's when Noriega was power as gnereal/trafficker in Panama.

    History shows that he had contacts here in Cayman too.

    I doubt that we are seeing that level of transhipment today.

    My point being that the drug problem may not be as bad as it was in the past yet we are having a much more serious gun problem…..one that may have less to do with drugs than you think. 

    In any case, maritime drug shipments are a problem that we need to combat.

    One solution could be to invest in coastal RADAR or even mobile radar systems. This would reduce patrol costs and perhaps be even more effective.

    Good luck RCIP.

    We need it!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Tks for this early warning Mr. Commish. Now when are u going to arm our street/patrol officers?

    • Anonymous says:

      not only the cocaine trade is a serious matter to these Islands.  What about the many armed robberies that is taking place.  The bad part of it is that sometimes the robbers are using imitation guns, whish they can freely go to our stores. and purchase.

      I know of an incident when a grand mother went to a store on Batabano Road in West Bay with her 3 year old grandson.  As they entered the store he spotted the imitation guns, and wanted one  When she told me the news, I immediately called and told the West Bay Police about the matters and that they should do something about the serious situation. The guns are still for sale in the said store.  If it is legal to sell imitation guns then our so called law makers should currect the matter seeing how many imitation guns are being ushed to terrorize people.  We will have to see if we can get DART to do something about the matter, since they are the only ones that Government is listening to.

      On another serious matter, why has Govt. closed down the "Young Parents Program" for such a long time now.  That program was for young girls who got pregnant while still in school.  It allowed them to continue their studies and graduate, it also taught  them the art of parenting and also involved the young fathers to participate in the program. Many of those young girls now hold responsible positions in the working world.  The Education Department should see to it that this program is started back.  Miss. Brenda Dawkins did a marvelous job with that program and I greatly appreciate her.

      On yet another matter.  I have to thank the Hon. Arden Mclean for bringing the serious matter about the closingdown of the Election Office to light in the Legislative Assembly.  Even though he could not get some downright answers from the Deputy Governor.  The Office Administrative was immediately re-hired, a new Voters list came out (which had not been published since October 2010) the office is open from 9 to 5 and I as a Caymanian was able to go and register to vote.  Kudos to Mr Mclean.  West Bay need some MLAS  like him and Ezzard Miller.  All the West Bay MlAs are doing except Hon. Rolston Anglin is collecting their fat checks each month, going to school or saying "AYE" in the Assembly. 

      Well, my chest feels emptier now!!

       

  5. Anonymous says:

    At 17:00 If the plane that crashed on the Brac was such a threat why were no machine guns or guns found? The fact is that the pilots got into problems and hand to make an emergency landing and what ever they were dropping was done else where. 

  6. Bushwacker says:

    Wasn’t it this joker (Commissioner of Police) the one who went on local TV media several months ago and stated he is extremely confident of the fact that the gang violence on Grand Cayman is coordinated and or perpetuated by only 15-18 persons that are known to him and his officers! Yet, soon thereafter we have had a spree of murders by these so-called “gang members”, coordinated Arm Robberies in bright daylight, with no significant sign that these nefarious acts have ceased.

     

    Considering the totality of serious crimes that have been committed under his watch by supposedly individuals know to him and his department, I guess the Cayman Islands better prepare for a rash of serious crimes to occur in the forthcoming months! Not good for business all around.

     

    This man is clearly out of his scope as a result the entire Cayman Islands will continue to experience serious crimes and if arrest are made said cases will continue to be dismissed and or go unsolved! His termination must be sought before the reputation of the Cayman Islands are so sullied that we cannot recover possibly for decades or maybe ever!

  7. Death of a Tax haven says:

    Taking into consideration all that has transpired in the past year in the Cayman Islands pertaining to crime and the subsequent investigations and prosecutions of those involved with crime in Cayman. Does anyone honestly believe that this foreign occupied police service who have been provided with every possible advantage is up to this challege or even care about what happens to Cayman their attitudes certainly do not reflect it.

    There is obviously something seriously lacking from the RCIPS and it appears to be good leadership. This conclusion is obvious because past leadership in this particular area of policing was far more successful and certainly did not have any of the resources at their disposal. More talk to obviously to get more money thats all we see.

    What they have been successful at is, in a single year they have turn the Cayman Islands into an enormous Police State which appears to have been the plan all along and the goal of those who govern this place.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The more wealth comes to the island, the more the need for cocaine.

    So THERE you have your solution.

     

  9. Union Jack says:

    Does anyone on these Islands have ANYTHING positive to say? Whether it's the police, the financial sector, the roads, the private investors… all any of you want to do is complain. Dart – he is spending millions and millions creating jobs and improving the economy and the islands infrastructure… yet all anyone does is attack him. 

    The police make a reasonable statement about an issue and it's a free for all.  It sickens me that people in these Islands have this entitlement ethos – no-one is doing anything right and no-one can do it better than us…and they all owe us a living and should be doing what we say! 

    Get real. Without all the investment and hard work of the people who are always critized, this place woudl be a dust bowl.  I really hope that all you people wisen up – you cannot see past your own nose! Get off the island and experience what the rest of the world has to offer/suffer… then you might realise how lucky you are to have people who are looking to invest and come to this island to work.

  10. Slowpoke says:

    The "war on drugs" is now a universally accepted failure, but a code word for more $'s for police.

     

    There will be an unfortunate, small percentage of individuals, who will abuse any given substance (legal, prescribed and illegal).  That is human nature, accept it.

     

    This continuing criminialization is nothing but a waste of money and time.  Let Cayman join Portugal and other trendsetters in following science rather than morality.

  11. Anonymous says:

    OKKK, well if the drug money has been awash here since the 70s, isnt it natural that the drugs would also be??

    Cayman is perhaps paying now for the blinders it has worn to dirty money – can we even wash out hands of the guilt …?

    Yes, but we have to admit & try better!!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Yap– same old doom & gloom!!

    How about the service levels – AND trying to do real policing that will stick in court.. or at least some old-fashion cow-cod lickings..

    Shame

  13. Puff the Magic Iguana says:

    We could just save a lot of money and legalise it and go for the party tourist dollar.  It would be something like a phenomenon.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Just a warning from the good ole C.O.P letting us know in advannce that there will be more stuff that they will not be able to manage!! Just sit up in the station and complaining instead of getting some sun and excersize preventing these crimes and gaining respect than becoming these useless marshmellos that no one is afraid of….. 🙂

  15. Anonymous says:

    I note a lot of warnings here but no practical solutions.

    Ifthis threat is real the CoP needs to adopt the tactics used in places like Colombia by calling in the SAS, US Special Forces, BATF or any of the other agencies that have the specific skills to deal with this before RCIPS gets overwhelmed.

    One helicopter won't cover the threat so isn't it about time to take up the offer made years ago by the USA to base USCG air assets on Grand Cayman?

    Mr Baines, if this starts to happen what are you planning to do about it? Based on this statement it rather looks like nothing more than give a few fancy sound bites to the media.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Guess it's time for the LA to review the RCIPS budget again?

    • Anonymous says:

      Definately this budget needs to be one of the largest and is most important.No one will not kick against this. However alot of other wasting is being done, that should be given to the Police Department. What needs to be done is to have more professional and experienced Police. There are far too many that just needed a job and has no experience nor care. There is a very nice Indian looking Police from the Bodden Town area who is so caring in the Public and is much respected. Everyone calls him Indian. He passes through the neighbourhood and stops by to enquire if everything is going ok. You really feel safe when you see him out on patrol. If your car is parked in your yard and not locked he isreminding you that your car need to be locked. He is really bold and not afraid of no one. Certainly earns his pay check.

    • Anonymous says:

      Here we go again, if you know it is going to happen BE PREPARED COMMISSIONER BAINES…..just like the 15 gang members, you talked about it but didn't do anything about it….that is all you do talk talk talk

  17. Just Me says:

    To the anonymous poster  at 09:24, I think that is exactly what the Commish was saying: that Cayman would become a MAJOR  trans-shipment point.  Not that things have not been going on; not that the cocaine would be destined entirely for consumption in Cayman.

    The problem is, there still has to be local agents to facilitate this lucrative business. The agents make a lot of money to ensure 'safe and unitnterrupted movement' through the jurisdiction.  The agent (s) require guns and ammunition to ensure they get their job done. There will be competition amongst locals to get into this great 'commissions only' business.

    Believe me it spells even bigger trouble than we have already seen. OK, so Mr. Baines may not have been given a proper briefing; maybe those that 'know' didn't share everything they knew! Perhaps he has been enlightened by recent happening: the mysterious plane crash in the Brac; the information from the US that guns are being exported to Cayman on a large scale.

    God please have mercy on the people of the Cayman Islands. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman has been a major drug trans-shipment point for years.

      And that opinion was expressed by a senior RCIPS officer during a Quarterly Press Briefing (remember them?) back in 2007. He was on the force a long time before CoP Baines came on the scene and is still (despite a short break) a serving officer.

  18. Anonymous says:

    The plane crash in the Brac was swept under the carpet nicely.

    I actually heard a Bracer suggest the plane was going somewhere else and just happened to crash on the Brac.

    Will denial never end?

     

    • The Watcher says:

      Ha, ha, ha, ha, THE PLANE, THE PLANE. ON THE BRAC, Let me tell you people something, It would make you hair stand on end to know that most of the dugs guns and roses  is being transhipped through cayman Brac waters.

      These people are dangerous people who would do anything if you get in the way.  Our police force is no match for these fast boat experienced Drug Lords, so I would advise the police force not to go and try and be dead heros.

      The Plane did what it had to do.  Too bad it crashed after.  But they needed fuel.   Story done.

       

      • Anonymous says:

        The classic route for high value drugs like cocaine was always by boat into Little Cayman then on the scheduled flights into Owen Roberts with the tourists. No security checks, no immigration, no customs and you can get a lot of nose candy in a suitcase.

        Why no one started checked that years ago (sniffer dogs anyone?) has always been a mystery.

  19. Condor 1 Base Station says:

    HAHAHAHA this guy is good almost two years it has took the RCIPS to figure this out.The problem is the drug/serious Crime and marine units have been gutted and filled up with very inexperience officers and leadership favourites. It has in essence become quite ineffective.Gone are some of the very best intelligence operators and leaders.

    I witnessed the destruction of one of the intrerceptor marine vessels just few weeks ago at the South Sound dock.This poor old chap driving the patrol vessel could not have had any experience lauching or driving boats and nearly cause several tourist serious injury by striking the patrol vessel's engines into the shallow shallow bottom sending pieces of the propeller in the air flying over our heads nearly injuring visitors standing on the dock. If thats the quality of people they have nowdays driving boats the drug smugglers have absolutely nothing to worry about. His subsequent behavior and verbal abuse of his fellow officers on board was amusing to say the least.

    A lot of people have loss confidence in the RCIPS ability to deal with crime on dry land not to mention the waters around these islands.Patrols around the sister islands are nonexistent .When i worked in Little Cayman as a diver we often saw patrol vessels offshore day and night  by the old Drugs Task Force guys. I find it very odd now that no serious bust are ever heard of these days and i understand some of the RCIPS leadership is from over there .

    • Anonymous says:

      What you mean is back in Derek Haines days.

      Kick ass drug enforcement, no friends, no favours. I'm just surprised they bothered to take any prisoners – LOL!!!!

  20. Anonymous says:

    This is where everyone needs to do the job of battling drug / gang crime (police, customs, community & parents of gang members) Cocaine drug dealing is nothing to be messed with!

  21. Anonymous says:

    It's a pity this concern wasn't so evident a few months ago when drugs were seized in the UK off a flight from Cayman.

    The Cayman Islands have been a drug trans-shipment point for years so these concerns look a bit like playing to the audience and scare-mongering.

    They also contrast with earlier attempts to play down levels of violence and claim that there were so few illegal firearms in the islands that they were being shared around.

    The last major drugs bust within the Cayman Islands that I can remember involving anything other than ganja was something like five years ago and that involved Crack. True there have been some seizures but where are all these gun-toting drug lords?

    15 years ago I saw serious cocaine trafficking through the Bahamas, so seriously that it involved fleets of aircraft and boats. Some of the out islands were almost owned by local drug lords. I remember at one stage the Royal Bahamas Police Force laid siege to a hotel run by one of them and USCG was always on patrol in the area. Are you really trying to say Cayman is going down that road? If it is it's because RCIPS and Customs haven't been doing their jobs. 

     

     

  22. Special Needs Donkey says:

    "The police commissioner said that his officers are already seeing evidence of increased shipments in size and quantity of the drug passing through the jurisdiction….".

    So, are any arrests planned?

     

  23. Anonymous says:

    And he thinks that this wasn't going on already! What planet has he been living on?

  24. Libertarian says:

    First, legalise marajuana so it can be sold and thedrug lord won't see anymore profits, plus government gets to save millions of dollars.

    Second, release prisoners and use some of them as key informants to capture those who are dealing with the hardcore drugs like cocaine.

    Third, invest more money on protecting the Cayman Islands border instead of wasting it all on bringing cops from overseas with high pay salaries. Beef up on our Immigration / Custom officers, and assist them by purchasing more boats to counter the drug and gun trade via sea. Train the marine immigration / custom officers to use firearms and detect suspicious vessels.

    Note:  If we are dealing with a hardcore drug like cocaine that is very addictive drug, all  that money we are spending on marajuana and mild drugs, putting people in prison for the use of them, can go towards fighting the most serious crimes!  Enough police officers can be assigned to more important cases. If marajuana does not become legalise, I suggest at least, we should fine people for smoking it outside of their residences and on the streets. We are our wasting our time and funds on weed when drugs like crack, estacy, LSD, cocaine, and the importation of guns on the island, will do more damage to our youth and in the long run become more costly because we don't have a proper rehabilitation system here.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said Libertarian – they way mild drug cases involving weed are reported is hysterical and I don't been funny. I love the way the meadia always, always refer to it as ganja as well, almost highlighting the 'must be a Jamaican problem' Nowhere else calls it ganja, it's marajuana, weed, smoke, etc etc. Forget about a bit of smoke and look for the harder stuff- thats where the real criminality is.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Which planet are you working on Baines? This would just be a trans shipment point in Cayman as there is not enough demand for the Mexicans or Colombians to waste there time. America is the biggest consumer of drugs and then Europe.

    ….and if you dont know who are the small time drug dealers in cayman by now then you need to resign.