Bush attacks PPM on crime

| 09/01/2009

(CNS): With a record number of murders in 2008 and the killing of a seventeen year old last weekend, the Leader of the Opposition has criticised the PPM Government for what he said was its failure to deal with rising crime. He said that the PPM had pointed the finger at the UDPwhen it was in office and now he said the government should be held accountable. Hitting back, the Leader of Government Business said the PPM had invested more in police and crime fighting than any government in history.

Following the killing of 17 year old Jerome Christopher Alexander Russell who was shot dead outside Shir Reynolds Night Club in George Town last Saturday night (3 January) and the highest recorded murder rate in one year with seven killings in 2008, McKeeva Bush said the current administration has been ineffective in dealing with rising crime since it came to office in 2005.
"We already have severe worsening economic conditions and people are suffering, we don’t need an ineffective approach to dealing with issues such as crime and security at this time. When the PPM came into power in 2005 they put the blame squarely at the feet of the UDP for crime rates. Now after their 3 and a half years in power we are seeing the highest murder rates in our history and increasing burglaries and other crimes in general, the PPM should now be held accountable for the serious situation that we are in regarding crimes in this country,” Bush said.
"There are dedicated and hard working persons within the RCIPS. But they must be provided with the necessary stability in their working environment in which to do their jobs. It is widely known that morale is very low within the RCIPS," he added.

However, Kurt Tibbetts responded to Bush’s criticisms at the government press briefing on Thursday morning 8 January and said that the government was very conscious of the goings on in the islands and had repeatedly been in discussion with police and the governor but was not responsible for the problems affecting the RCIPS because of the special investigation.

“It is known that this government has allocated and poured more resources towards the Royal Cayman Islands Police than any other government — more than double any other government,” he said. The unfortunate situation we face is that we can fund them but we really have no constitutional responsibility and all we can do is have discussions and dialogue and I can promise you that we do that.”

He said that recent events regarding the special police investigation have not helped but he was not prepared to take any responsibility for that. Moreover, he said he was not prepared to enter into a tit for tat blame game with the Leader of the Opposition Bush over the situation but he said the PPM was doing everything it could in terms of proper resources to help the police do their job.

With Cayman’s fourth Commissioner in one year now in place Bush said he offered his support to James Smith the latest man to take up the acting commissioner post. "It has to be said that the new acting Commissioner has not stepped into an ideal working environment but I encourage everyone to get behind and give him the necessary support to try to keep the RCIPS effective on an ongoing basis. The government has a responsibility for peace, order and good governance and if they had the audacity to blame the UDP in 2005 they should accept blame now," Bush said.

Minister Alden McLaughlin responded by saying  he hoped that given Bush’s new found concern about crime and the operations of the police that in the constitutional talks which were about to start the opposition will change its position and support the concept of a national security council which would allow the elected government some influence over police operations and policies.

Charles Clifford also reminded Bush that the PPM had committed to helping the police deal with border protection as it was the most affective way of fighting drugs and the crime related to the illegal trade which is why this government has spent so much on marine support. “As far as Mr Bush’s comments are concerned we can expect that type of political posturing on the eve of an election,” Clifford added.

 Bush in his statement lamented the growing reports of burglaries and other crimes in the country and tied them to the overall worsening state of affairs generally.  "These increasing incidences of burglaries and other crimes which have impacted people’s homes and businesses are linked to the social and economic crisis that this government has put this country in with their poor policies. Unfortunately, this Government does not seem to understand the relationship between a healthy economy and a more stable society," he added.


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