Helicopter faces more delays

| 11/10/2009

(CNS): The goal of Cayman’s law enforcement agencies to benefit from their own helicopter in the fight against crime remains an elusive target as news came on Friday from Deputy Commissioner of Police Anthony Ennis that the machine will not be in Cayman before January 2010. Despite reassurances from Police Commissioner David Baines at a Public Accounts Committee meeting in August that the chopper would have been in Cayman by September, Ennis said there were further delays.

Answering questions in the Legislative Assembly’s Finance Committee on this year’s operating expenses for the RCIPS on Friday, Anthony Ennis confirmed that the helicopter was still in the US and it would not be here until early next year. Deputy Chief Secretary Franz Manderson explained that there had been delays in the tendering process to find an organisation to maintain the helicopter and there was no point bringing it down to the islands until that contract was in place as the police would still not be able to use it.

The ongoing saga of the police helicopter began back at the beginning of the PPM’s administration when they increased the police budget significantly and made an extra $50 million commitment to help fight crime, which included the purchase of a police helicopter. However, as the process moved forward the needs of the police and the desires of the Cabinet about what the helicopter should do came into conflict. In September 2008 the government accused the former police commissioner, Stuart Kernohan, of misleading them about the purchase as the helicopter he bought from a former police service in the UK could not fill the requirement that government had asked for.

Kernohan, who was at the time suspended from office as a result of Operation Tempura and off-island, countered the accusations in a public statement saying government was fully aware about the capabilities and details of the helicopter that had been bought, and every day that the helicopter was delayed was a good day for the bad guys.

Auditor General Dan Duguay then conducted a special report on the machine’s purchase, which concluded that there certainly had been some mis-communication between police and Cabinet over the helicopter’s role, and he noted that the money allocated for it was nowhere near enough to cover a machine that could do both police work and search, rescue and emergency airlift. Duguay recommended that government asses the cost to modify the helicopter or cut its losses and sell the current helicopter and start over, but this time with a clearer understanding of what was needed.

Nine months later, however, Duguay stated at the August PAC meeting that he was dismayed that nothing had been done and the helicopter was still sitting in a hanger in Louisiana with a question mark over its future. However, when PAC heard from the new commissioner, he said it could work and that it was time to bring the machine over and start using it. Despite that promising development, it appears that the saga continues and Cayman remains dependent on the one ‘tour’ helicopter designed to take people on airborne excursions, for drug and firearms interdiction.

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  1. John says:

    CAA Licenced Engineer

     Hi folks,

    I am a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) licenced helicopter engineer with over 30 years experience of helicopter maintenance in the North Sea. I reside in Scotland.

    Does anyone know whom I should contact, regarding the new helicopter engineering requirements?

    Any help greatly appreciated.


  2. Bluff Rat says:

    Obviously, more stupid narrow minded people has surfaced in relation to comments on the Brac. However, the time wasted responding to morons like you who’s probably locked away in your big Government offices all day with nothing else to do besides blog and maintain some weird self appointed position is not worth the effort. As a matter of fact (yawn) we’re getting so bored with your Brac posts now so let me get back to watching the Disney channel because you never know when the Brac might become a Magic Kingdom to some of you. Keeping posting though; laughter is good for the soul.

    Be blessed.


    My question is why couldn’t we have used Caymanian expertise like we did with the police boats they were designed and paid for after the helicopter and all four is here but we still waiting on the invisible helicoptor. And these boats do all things they are designed to do and you dont have to add other parts to make it work to our need.

  4. Sell The Brac says:

    We Should Sell The Brac!!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I think We should really sell the Brac

  6. tired says:

    maybe we could sell this eurocopter and by two of these inexpensive birds


  7. Anonymous says:

    Sell it. This was a bad investment from the outset and the ongoing maintenance/crew costs will be even more money down the drain.

  8. Bluff Rat says:

    One problem with the helicopter was that it could not fly to the Brac.  In these tough economic times there is one obvious means of solving both the helicopter and the budget.  We should sell the Brac.  Probably to the Chinese or Disney."

    What is it with you people that every time certain subjects pop up you are so eager to have something stupid to say about Cayman Brac? Do you have an issue with this island or someone from there? I hope you realize that we could go back and forth all day posting here because Brackers don’t back down when it comes to silly people like you that is suggesting selling the Brac. If you can’t think of something sensible to write, don’t write at all.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I just hopes thay choose a true-born caymanian to fly the helicopiter and not another expat!

    • Mozzie Fodder says:

      I agree but does such a person exist? If they did I am pretty sure they would be running their own business doing helicopter tours – much better than sat in the hanger waiting for their ride to arrive……

  10. Anonymous says:

    Do you see a pattern here… Cayman Airways, HSA, Tturtle Farm, Pedro’s Castle and now the helicopter!! The Cayman Government has a proven record of mismanagment and wasteful spending. Sell the helicopter now and balance the budget.

  11. Caymanians for logic says:

     Sell it!   Clearly a fixed wing aircraft is the way to go for Cayman….and Wally can fly it or train someone to…more jobs locally. 


    The new heli will need specialist pilot (understood Kernahan was one for this aircraft type…hmmmm) , specialist support ( $1.5M per year), then there is the issue of getting spare parts from EU, training from EU and thenext Compass Ad will be for the new HANGER for the aircraft…..crazy, crazy…


    Mac, please sell it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Clearly you understand nothing and know even less. Stuart Kernohan was not  trained in this aircraft, nor was he a commercial pilot. 

  12. Realtor says:

    One problem with the helicopter was that it could not fly to the Brac.  In these tough economic times there is one obvious means of solving both the helicopter and the budget.  We should sell the Brac.  Probably to the Chinese or Disney.

    • Anonymous says:

      Or maybe we should may old mother England, pay for it all,, it the English elite that made the muck up.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Sell the damn helicopter !!! It has already cost us a fortune and it will cost another fortune to operate and maintain. We would need a specialist pilot and engineer to properly utilize this aircraft, neither of which are here on island.

    The RCIPS and the CI Govt should approach the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) in the US who could/will provide free of cost, (2) two small twin engine aircraft (fixed wing) which will be perfect for surveillance, border control and drug interdiction, day or night. We already have on island numerous experienced Caymanian pilots and engineers for this type of aircraft whom we could provide jobs for at a fraction of the cost, rather than recruit from overseas for the operation/maintenance of a chopper.

    These fixed wing aircraft would be perfect for search and rescue as they could locate any vessel or persons in distress on the high seas and cause our high speed police interceptor vessels to be dispatched to the rescue immediately. As for inland use, utilize Cayman Islands Helicopters who already has a local business licence and provide some business to them, when the situation warrants their use.

    Seems logical to me.


    • John Evans says:

      An interesting option…..

      In fact when I was working on the saga of the RCIPS helicopter it emerged that the US Coast Guard had actually offered to base one of their ‘Dolphin’ helicopters, fully funded and crewed, in the Cayman Islands as part of the US Government’s Caribbean anti-drugs operations.

      This offer was politely refused by the CI government of time, probably because they feared it might have upset the Cubans.

      • Pale Rider says:

        FYI…over the years the CI governent has "politely refused" MILLIONS of $$$$ worth of aid from the US gov in the way of combating drugs…

        not for me to speculate why….

        • Anonymouse says:

          FCO orders.

        • Anonymous says:

          A side note, another under heading of "generous freebees" repelled:

          The annual June Aviation week, and airshow, which many of us fondly remember, is no longer after CI gov’t’s insistence upon on temp permits and the assessment of steep landing fees for participant aircraft and crews.  These allied aircraft were provided at significant expense (yet free of charge to us) and we repelled them with the fine print designed to safeguard Caymanian jobs?!?  


  14. Dennie Warren Jr. says:

    Sell it.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Maybe now the UDP will see that somethings are actually out of their control.  Just like how I didn’t hold the PPM 100% responsible for everything that went wrong with the helicopter purchase, I won’t hold the UDP 100% responsible either.  The UDP accused the PPM of making up excuses, being irresponsible and other sorts of shadiness but at least those of us who were sensible to understand the reasonable explanations from the PPM will not hold the UDP accountable for this delay either!  Fair is Fair.  I just hope the UDP supporters will start to see that the UDP doesn’t have the magic solution for everything that they thought they did. 

  16. ex-expat says:

    Maybe now the Caymanian people can see the reason to hire someone whoalready has the knowledge, experiance and training to do the hard stuff.  Buying and outfitting a helicoptor for a specific use is something done everyday in the real world by trained proffesionals. You could easily get on the web and find someone.   By all means yes yes yes hire the Caymanian if he or she fits the bill but if not the people of Cayman just keep paying the bill and waiting and paying that bill and waiting and waiting and waiting to pay the next bill and see what the next unexpected bill is next. This helicopter problem is one of many many problems because the job was given to someone that knows someone but dosn’t know the job.

    • I don't know says:

      You mean there was a faster better cheaper way to get a helicopter for Cayman.  Is that how the private helicopter businesses do it?  Hhhhmmm.

  17. the Facts says:

    I saw the invite to tender in the compass- thank goodness there seems to be a plan to bring the helicopter to Cayman and get in in use as soon as possible. To bring the copter here and have it sit around until crew and maintenance can be sorted out is not good business sense. ?



  18. Anonymous says:

    Now here is a painless way to save money and actually get some back. 

    Sell the helicopter.