Helicopter ‘soon come’

| 06/01/2010

(CNS): January 2010 could be the month that the police finally get their long awaited helicopter. Despite endless delays regarding the arrival of the crime fighting machine, a police spokesperson has confirmed that it is scheduled to arrive this month. Well over three years after the decision was made to purchase a helicopter for the RCIPS was first made and a considerable amount of controversy later, the police could be fighting crime from the skies on a regular basis if the machine does in fact leave Louisiana, where it is currently being stored, as expected.

Last month the Central Tenders Committee ran a series of advertisements both locally and overseas for piloting services, with a submission deadline of noon on Friday, 22 January. During the last meeting of Finance Committee in October 2009, Deputy Chief Secretary Franz Manderson explained that, while the helicopter had at that time been expected to arrive in September 2009, it was delayed because of difficulties regarding the maintenance contract. It is not clear if a contract for servicing in the helicopter has yet been awarded or if the CTC has received any suitable bids regarding piloting services. Nor is it clear if the helicopter has been retrofitted, since it was purchased from a British police service in 2007 for CI$1.8 million to meet Civil Aviation Authority regulations.

The ongoing saga of the police helicopter began at the start of the PPM’s administration when they increased the police budget by $50 million which included covering the cost of a dedicated 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 machine he had bought and what it could and could not do.

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.

Following the dispute Auditor General Dan Duguay then conducted a special report on the machine’s purchase, which concluded that there had been mis-communication between police and Cabinet over the helicopter’s role, and he noted that the money budgeted for it was nowhere near enough to cover a machine that could do police work as well as search, rescue and emergency airlift. Duguay recommended that government asses the cost to modify the helicopter or cut its losses, sell it 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. The new commissioner, David Baines, told PAC that the chopper could work and that it was time to bring the machine over and start using it.

Despite that promising development, the helicopter is still in the US and the RCIPS continue to depend on Cayman Helicopters when they are in need of air support.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    As a Caymanian I’m more afraid of the POLICE than the CRIMINALS out there. There are PEOPLE in the POLICE Service that warn the CRIMINALS that a report was made against them and must stay low. In some cases the Criminal will be told who made the report………. How can we depend on giving key information and have to live in fear?????


  2. Hairy Chest Kenneth says:

    Who gonna fly it? The one and only, Ellio "Mercedes Benz kick down Rooster door" Solomon I guess! Who took the cornbeef??

  3. Anonymous says:

    the whole helicopter saga clearly illustrates the incomptence of the caymanian government and civil service

    • Anonymous says:

      While you’re at it… any other issues that civil servants weren’t involved in that you want to use as proof of their "incompetence"?

      • Anonymous says:

        every member of the government and rcips is a civil servant… so yes it is 100% civil service incompetence

  4. larry c says:

    Not another magic bullet to add to the list of magic solutions to fix the rcips

    Motto & Mission statement $$$$$

    Police Cars $$$$$$$

    Mobile Police Stations$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    250 Million dollars over past 4 years $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    More foreign Police and Recruits 60% of the force now Paper Caymanians included(Don,t like the term but the truth is truth)$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    More specialist  police officers than Quakers have oats $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    Coast guard Base and more patrol boats than any other UK OT $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    The joint intelligent unit  JIU combine with Special Branch whoooopee do  $$$$$$$

    Now A helicopter $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ maintenance and job for da boys

    A alledged Corruption Investigation Temp U na Criminals still in force given a clean bill of health now to step up their programs and big payday for all those involved $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    Now CCTv on every light pole CUC has standing $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    A pile of Commissioners of Police $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    When u add it all up Cayman = XXXXXXXXXX Wrong unstoppable Crime more promises & lies Excuses than a political campaign and the liars club expenses that can never be paid in this life time The laughing stock of the Caribbean



  5. Balanced View says:


    The Government needs to offload this asset…It’s really not necessary at this time.  Landing fees, operating and maintenance cost are going to be astronomical and over time we will be paying millions for a service that could be achieved for less than half the cost. Throwing money and machines at crime won’t solve our problem. We need to a force that is going to work scientifically and methodically to address this problem. We have the spent hundreds of thousands on boats to patrol our boarders and they need to be fully utilised.
    This was never a well thought out plan and isn’t needed to patrol or costal borders. What’s needed is better use of our police boats which are equipped with radar. We only have a certain hot spots and they need to be patrolled from dusk till dawn. Throughout the day normal patrols can be better enhanced by other vessels reporting suspicious activity on the water… What I have seen with my own eyes is our patrol boats trolling in the North Sound (outside the reef) in serach of fish. 
    • Anonymous says:

      Well the previous government financed the boats and this government cut the budget on the fuel for them like the government that was in back in 2004  and back then they didnt have that many boats an now they have an additional four boats but maybe they would be catching certain people’s  shippment when it coming in so that is why they cut the fuel funding so they have less patrol time.

  6. anonymous says:

    The foot chases which have ensued recently between Police and hooligans, would all have ended well if there was dedicated aerial support and a spotlight.  I’m all for it. 

  7. rozzers says:

    How many of the recent serious crimes were actually reported at the time, proper reporting by the residents will make the helicopter much more useful… I have policed with air support, and it is an essential part of 21st century policing.


    Caymanian residents, don’t whine about the noise, this is a fantastic tool that will cover the cost of thousands of man hours of ground time. A helicopter can cover the ground in an hour that would take 400 hours of ground troops.

    The question is, what is Jerome going to do without his $2600 per hour?

    Please embrace yet another symbol of progress within the RCIPS.

    • Anonymous says:

      This will only help when Caymanians are not afraid to tell the Police what they know. Without accurate information it will not help.

  8. Anonymous says:

    does it have machine guns on it now too? 🙂

    • Anonymouse says:

      No. No machine guns, but dont worry, we will just hang Mr Baines out the door with one so that he can earn his salary.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The RCIPS hardly has the money to hire Jerome Begot of "Cayman Helicopters" as of now to fly his own helicopter for police operations, so where is the money coming from to fly and maintain this machine should it ever really arrive here in the Cayman Islands ???

    If you think a boat or a fixed wing aircraft is expensive to maintain, check out a helicopter and especially one from the UK !!!!!!!!! 

    Just ask MRCU how expensive it is to fly and maintain one or two of their mosquito spray planes a month that zooms over our housetops from time to time, attempting to eridicate the egypti mosquitoes.

    Sometimes I believe we have more "gun totting criminals" than we have "pesky mosquitoes" biting our butts.