Gun law may be reviewed again to help cops

| 20/09/2011

(CNS): Following a meeting with elected and official members of government Monday, the Cayman Islands governor announced possible changes to the law to help police get the suspects involved in the recent resurgence of gang violence behind bars, in particular the firearms law. The governor said it may be changed to allow police to search homes without a search warrant when they suspect illegal weapons are hidden there. Duncan Taylor said it was a priority to get the perpetrators in jail but the police had to work within the law and therefore some may need to be tweaked. He said that although there had been calls for a SWAT team from overseas, he believed that government should work with the RCIPS and give them the tools they needed.

“The purpose of the meeting was to make sure we are exploring every opportunity, every single avenue to ensure we are giving the police all the tools that they need to do the challenging job that they have got in front of them,” the governor stated.  He added that they had been analysing existing laws to see if they “could be tweaked” to help police use the legislation more effectively, and any changes that could help, he said, would be rushed through the Legislative Assembly. “We are going to be looking at all the laws that might have some relevance in this area,” Taylor said. “We want to look at the firearms law.”

He explained that when police have a suspicion that someone may have drugs in their home they can go and search, and if drugs are found then the burden of proof is on the individual to explain how they got there. This is not the case with the firearms law, where police need a search warrant and have to demonstrate that there is very likely to be a firearm before going in. The governor said officials were looking to see if they could address that problem.

“We want to see if we can change the burden of proof … and make it easier for police if they suspect that somebody may have a weapon to go into that property immediately without having to go through process of getting a search warrant, and if they do find something, put the burden on the person whose house it is to explain why they have the weapon,” Taylor stated.

The governor also spoke about the increase in funds for the police, saying it had already made a difference as the commissioner was now able to pay overtime to bring in off-duty officers and increase the manpower. “Operationally we have already seen some impact from the decisions that were taken last week,” he noted, adding that the commissioner had wasted no time in beginning the recruitment drive for the police.

Taylor said he had spoken with people from West Bay and could feel the level of anxiety, concern and outrage about the crimes and the sense that something needed to be done quickly. He announced that he wouldbe going to the district and meeting with local people to see what they had to say and what else could be done.

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  1. McCarron McLaughlin says:

    So Mr. Taylor you are suggesting it may be a good idea to infringe on people's personal liberties in Cayman with (warrantless searches, but when one of these punks get caught with a firearm the public has to wait months to know who the suspect is?

    I think you have this whole deal twisted sir.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Make it a legal requirement to report all illegal guns. At the moment we have thugs bragging and posting pictures with themselves and their friends posing with illegal guns. Lock the thugs up and lock up their accomplices who know about the illegal guns and dont' turn them in.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I'm not sure warrantless searches are a good idea, the govt. went to great lengths to enact civil rights legislation to comply with the ECHR, it's not clear to me that allowing warrantless searches would be legal.  The sledgehammer approach can be counterproductive, which is what happened in Jamaica with the Gun Courts.

  4. Lox says:

    Ban all guns and only let those with an alleged need lease them for a day from authorities. Any record then no guns.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Dont you think that our team have been working long enough? Delay is danger. Certainly looks to me like we need alot of help. Apparently we're supposed to have about 40 0r so gang members according to rumours. This sounds ridiculous that we cant control them, even if we have to build a separate prison and throw them in. We have already waited too long to deal with the situation. Get to their cubbie holes and lock them away. They are easyto find, usually in other peoples back yards sitting around. With the amount of police that we have allocate a certain amount  twenty four seven to each area that is easy then if they leave their nests just follow them to where ever they  make a new nest. Another thing to do is to have some caring intelligent respected above all folks interview some of these guys and you will find that they are not stupid but need help. Most of them cannot find a job and feel humiliated. There  was a certain brother that was given a job by a good Caymanian who pursued this, he was treated so badly by another Carribean Boss that the guy had to leave. To top it all of his job is a field in which he was born with the natural skill. Now he is not looking for another type of job as that particular job was what he liked. I do believe that that man felt threatened with that little guy as he understands that job so much that I know he would have been eligible for that position.


  6. Anonymous says:

    If needed, get a "blanket" search warrant in the meantime for every 'suspect' property. Do whatever it takes to make the searches legal.

    “We want to see if we can change the burden of proof …" isn't good enough.

    “We HAVE TO CHANGE the burden of proof …"

  7. Anonymous says:

    Here is the problem with this – as stated the Police can enter a residents etc to look for drugs without jumping through legal hoops and redtape. This has been law for as long as most people can remember. We have gang violence largely because of drugs so with this on the law already for drugs how will it help with firearms? We have a large portion of this country smoking crack with tin cans and for the most part it has been left unchecked. It is time to face fact and see that this country has lost a large percentage of three generations with some toddlers going to be the fourth. We need to protect the youngest and forcefully cease the current group of law breakers. You cannot no matter what new laws are put in place make an impact on this current trend that will benefit the country. Look at the big picture as out future is at stake. The present are in need to be written off and the lawlessness needs to stop. There is no polite way to say this but the present gangs are a disease and they need to be removed. If that means they are killed during arrest or are sent to prison forever then so be it . There are enough laws they just need strict enforcement and the Police need to be the Police. The lip service from Baines needs to cease. Do your job stop asking for more and work with what you have. You make it sound as if you have an extreme disadvantage and have nothing under your command the answer everytime is we need more of everything . That has reached a tipping point and you need to show that you know what to do with everything you have been given .

  8. Anonymous says:

    I'm for it all the way! If you don't have anything to hide it shouldn't bother you either! let's clean up this island of all the contraband & lock away the criminals.

    I would like the Governor to ask the Collector of Customs what has he & his department are doing to keep the guns & drugs out of this country. We are always on the RCIP & the Police Commissionr. But the first strategy is to keep the contraband from coming to our shores in the first place!

    You never hear from this department I'm still waiting to hear an update on the "Customs Officer" that was on suspension for helping transport drugs through Owen Roberts Airport that ended up in the UK airport.

    Collector of Customs your department should be held to the same expectations that we are crying the Police Commissioner to hold the RCIP too!

  9. Freedom Man says:

    This was the plan the whole time…let things get so far out of control then take away all your freedoms.  I'm leaving tomorrow!  Good luck slaves!

  10. Anonymous says:

    "The governor said it may be changed to allow police to search homes without a search warrant when they suspect illegal weapons are hidden there."

    Not that I am one to protect criminals but I'm afraid this may one day be abused. The search warrant clause is in the law for a reason. Keep it there. If you need more warrants to be issued then use the JPs and others who already can do this.

  11. Cat says:

    I'm liking what I'm hearing. Good idea Mr. Taylor. It will put alot of pressure on the criminal because they'll know they have a much higher chance of being caught,especially if they under the slightest suspicion and the police pay them a surprise visit. I think it will be a good deterent.

    Just make sure the police are armed when visiting.

  12. Grandmother of 17 says:

    Give them policemen guns so they can protect the elderly.

    I don't like guns but sometimes you have to fight fire with fire.

    Give them big guns. Take back the streets from the murder thugs.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Ya think? While your at it keep them in Jail and don't let them out.

  14. SMB says:

    I would like to see the RCIPS take a more aggressive approach.

    Put on balaclavas and use the existing laws to smash down doors (if drug use is suspected you have the right to search) and test the gang affiliation law. Put the pressure on. We need to hear some complaints from the public that the police are being too aggressive; right now the RCIPS come across as soft, timid and fearful. Everytime the door hinge gets fixed, swing by with the canine unit; one small bark from the dog and whack the door down again and again and again.

    Obviously the RCIPS can't break the law, but they have to look for ways of being creative with the laws that currently exist.

    The thugs need to be startled now…they need to learn a little more respect for authority, they need to be pushed around a bit, and placed on the back foot. They need to start sweating more, strip search them, make them do piss tests, teach them about authority by showing them the power, determination and persistence of the state. They need to understand that there will be justice and the rule of law.