Commissioner faces Eastenders

| 03/03/2009

(CNS): The Acting Police Commissioner James Smith made his first visit to East End last night, 2 March, where he was met with a significant turn out of residents and faced what are becoming familiar complaints to Smith, who has now visited four of Cayman’s six local districts. Drug misuse, not enough Caymanian officers, police presence in general and his position regarding legal firearms were all questions put to the APC and his senior officers.

Residents said they were concerned about how the RCIPS was policing the district and many said they believed that driving through East End in patrol cars with the windows up and never stopping to “smell the marijuana” was not really policing. Although local neighbourhood community officer Trevor Mackintosh received wide praise from those who attended, the rest of the local service was criticised for ignoring the drug problem in specific areas, where one resident said the smoke was so thick most evenings she felt it was helping her sleep. Others suggested that because East End was not Seven Mile Beach maybe that was why there were no operations or raids in their trouble spots

Recognising District Commander Richard Barrow’s extensive knowledge of the local community, Smith allowed the Chief Inspector to answer many of the criticisms about local policing, but the commissioner said he did not have the impression that work was not being done in the area to tackle the drug problem. Barrow also roundly denied not paying attention to the situation.

“We have identified that area and we have undertaken operations there and we have made arrests. We have even conducted raids involving other agencies,” he said, indicating that Immigration had been involved.

The issue of the commissioner’s own concerns over the number of licensed firearms held in the island in general was raised again, but Smith stuck to his position and declared once again that, while he was well aware of the cultural particularisms surrounding the traditions of using shotguns to kill local agouti rabbits and livestock, as the commissioner of police it was his role to ensure that all guns were held for by owners for good reason, were stored correctly and used correctly.

Answering criticisms that those who hold guns legally should not be made to feel like criminals, especially when no legal guns had been used in crime, he noted that the RCIPS was unable to say with any certainty if legally held guns had or had not been usedin a crime because it is rare to recover a fire arm from a scene. However, he cited reasons why the police had cause for concern even over legal weapons.

“We have found legally held guns to be missing, we have had legally held guns stolen and we have even found a shotgun stored with a bullet in the spout,” he said, highlighting some of the problems surrounding firearms which are supposedly licensed. Undeterred by the claims that the commissioner needed to understand the culture surrounding the use of legal weapons in Cayman, he again expressed his position that people do not need a semi-automatic weapon to shoot a rabbit.

Minister Arden McLean, the district representative who was present at the meeting, said that the people did not need to fear a police inspection of firearms. He said he was a licensed gun holder as he owned an antique rifle that had belonged to his father. He said the inspection was nothing to worry about if owners were storing their firearms properly and he offered his support to the commissioner in his desire to review firearms ownership.

The minister’s concerns were about the stability of the RCIPS. As he welcomed the new commissioner to the distric,t he noted that the island had seen al least six commissioners in the past few years. He also noted that government had recently purchased land to create a community park in one of the areas in East End that had residents concerned about drug use, and that once the area was cleared hopefully the misuse of drugs there would be resolved.

He also told the audience and the officers that government had just signed an agreement to build a new licensing and traffic department in George Town by the Lions Centre, which might address some of their other administrative problems. He also noted that the arrival of the four new boats for the marine fleet had been paid for by the public purse and the RCIPS should ensure they use them wisely.

Smith offered his thanks to the wider community for the new fleet and said it was already demonstrating its worth and that all of the boats would continue to be well utilized. 

The consistent complaint of “too many foreign officers” and not enough Caymanians in the force was also raised by a number of residents. When asked directly what percentage of officers in the RCIPS were from Cayman, Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis, who was also present, said it was now fewer than fifty percent.

Smith said there was little he could say to one resident who insisted all the problems in the community boiled down to too many foreign officers, but he did note that where police officers were born was not the most important factor; it was their commitment and passion for the community they worked in that mattered, he said. He also confirmed that the RCIPS is short of around thirty officers at present.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    ‘their moral is being deminished again by taking away there overtime crime will get worst’

    There never was any paid overtime, officers got ‘time back,’ which from what i have heard in real terms they never actually got back (never eneaugh staff to give you the day off and therefore your time back, and so on). So officers accumilated massive amounts of time in the book, which they could never use, and only saw whent hey finished with the RCIP, and they would get it paid out (yet another incentive to leave!)

  2. Anonymous says:

    OPERATION GOID IN EFFECT

    Dennie is Correct!

    It is obvious that "Operation GOID" ( gaelic for Stealth) is in progress–its aim to remove all gun ownership from the Cayman Islands. I want to state that I am 110% against ILLEGAL gun ownership and the Police should be spending their full efforts to eradicate it however LEGAL gun ownership must remain a FREE choice of individuals.  Those who use guns for  hunting and sport, for those in the gun club, farmers or any other individuals for that matter should have the ability to own firearms. Individuals who may one day want to compete in the Olympics or an International shooting event are in jeopardy. Operation Goid’s drive to disarm your rights has gone far enough.

    Until the police can show where LEGAL guns are contributing to any crime then, I say stop Operation Goid before this also becomes expensive and please concentrate on the real crime.

    Legal gun owners and those that may want to own a gun in the future BEWARE. There is  systematic operation to remove your existing rights and even change your culture it appears. Do not let sensationalism nor the English police remove your rights nor change your culture. Enough is Enough.

     

     

  3. Dennie Warren Jr. says:

    Clearly the Acting Commissioner of Police (“ACoP”) is using the Stonecutter’s approach and is chipping away at our firearm and hunting rights.  He is doing so, in part, by using words such as, “Good”, “Need” and “Reason”, in a context which camouflages the venom which he is clearly seeking to deliver.  While one bee sting might only be painful for a short time, many stings delivered in a short enough period will kill our rights.

    Sting number 1: In a January 28, 2009 news article, the ACoP said, “I don’t personally understand why people want guns”.

    During the Police public meeting in Bodden Town, on February 23, 2009, the ACoP delivered stings number 2, 3 and 4, when he said, “… rabbits could be snared", "…[captive] bolts could be used to slaughter cattle and that cultures change.”  Please, please, read this paragraph again to make sure that you really understand what he is saying!

    During the March 2, 2009 public meeting in East End, the ACoP delivered stings number 5, 6, 7 and 8, when he said “it was his role to ensure that all guns were held by owners for good reason, were stored correctly and used correctly.”  He also said, “…people do not need a semi-automatic weapon to shoot a rabbit.”

    As I see it:
    Sting 1: since the ACoP cannot understand why anyone would ever want to own a legal firearm, how can anyone possibly satisfy his standard of a “good reason”?  You cannot.

    Sting 2: he said, “… rabbits could be snared…”  Clearly, he’s saying legal firearms are not needed, therefore, in his view; there can be no “good reason”.

    Sting 3: he said, “…[captive bolts] could be used to slaughter cattle…”  Again, he’s saying legal firearms are not needed.

    Sting 4: hesaid, “…cultures change.”  In other words, he is going to be change the Caymanian culture.  As I have said before, he gives the impression that, he being a superior being; from a superior region of the world; having a superior culture, is entitled to change our culture to his liking.  Sir, I don’t think so!

    Sting 5, 6 and 7: the ACoP said, “it [is] his role to ensure that all guns were held by owners for:-
          a.    “good reason…”  As previously stated, what is a good reason to justify ownership where the ACoP feels you don’t need any firearms at all?
          b.    “stored correctly”  I have no issue with storing firearms “correctly”, but what does the ACoP mean by “correctly” and how does that allow the ACoP to use cost and excessive bureaucracy as a weapon to price private firearm ownership out of the reach of the average Caymanian?
          c.    “used correctly”  The irony here is, that it is the RCIPS who cannot be trusted to act appropriately.  The RCIPS is still (As of March 4, 2009) unlawfully distributing the incorrect firearm application forms.  The RCIPS needs to get their house in order.

    Sting 8: He said, “…people do not need a semi-automatic weapon to shoot a rabbit.” I say, for those of you who are unfamiliar with firearms, a comparable saying is, you don’t need a vehicle with an automatic transmission where you can shift the car from low1, to low2 and then to 3rd gear without needing to operate a clutch; he is saying that all you really need is a manual shift transmission.

    Why is he focusing on semi-automatics, you ask?  Well, since semi-automatics are the most popular, and he doesn’t like firearms anyway, he’s seeking to get the most BANG for his efforts.

    To date, every time the ACoP has opened his mouth, I could see his fangs; I pray that you now can also.

  4. Anonymous says:
    ‘Smith said there was little he could say to one resident who insisted all the problems in the community boiled down to too many foreign officers’
     
    These kind of statements really sum up the ignorance of some of the people who attend these meetings, no wonder none of the Commissioners want to stay when they have to deal with morons like these
    • one effected by this stupidty. says:

      If you think policing is down you have not seen anything yet as their moral is being deminished again by taking away there overtime crime will get worst because they are going to turn their backs for example not answering when called to come to work not investigating a report properly this is down right wrong cant the Ministers step in as it is the PPM that is the Ministers i suggest they get up and do something as it is affecting the familes that is attached to these Police officers and the economy is bad enough than to have the people that are there to protect us turn there backs.