Gangs remain key cop issue

| 25/06/2013

baines cop.jpg(CNS): The police commissioner has said that his officers remain perpetually occupied dealing with gang-related issues even though it has been some 20 months since the last gang-related slaying. Speaking to CNS ahead of a multi-agency seminar on gang culture, hosted by the police Tuesday, David Baines said that although it does not make headlines, fights, gun possessions and escalations of tensions when known gang members are released from jail regularly occupy his officers. With the need for police to constantly get in between the local rival factions to prevent the eruption of serious violence, such as that seen in September 2011, Baines said that the gang issue in Cayman must be tackled by other agencies as well as the police.

“It features for us on at least a weekly basis as it constantly bubbles up and we are routinely executing warrants relating to local gang members,” he said referring to the impact on the RCIPS. “From simple bar fights escalating to guns where we need to get between the conflicts, we deal with gang related issues all the time, even when it is not making headlines.” He said that while there may not be any shots fired at each other, homes and cars are still shot at and the police are constantly trying to contain potential gang conflict by keeping rivals apart.

The RCIPS hosted the seminar "Partnerships in safety – The Gang Culture", which was attended by representatives from the prison service, the legal department, immigration, education, community rehabilitation and other relevant government agencies. The goal, Baines said, was to bring together all those that have a part to play in the prevention and identification of gang members.

The commissioner said the more people who know more about gangs who are working in the community, the more they can help with the intervention and prevention at a much earlier point and try and steer young people away.

Baines talked about the multi-agency approach needed towards gang crime and how it can start very young. He pointed out that management and strategic decisions across government, like the one made by the education department to close the Alternative Education Centre, was an important factor. He described it as a place that had become a recruitment ground for young gangsters.

There are a few very toxic individuals who are beyond assistance and who will end up in only one of two places — jail or a slab at the morgue, he said, but there are many more young people who are currently at risk but who could be saved from disappearing into the gang culture by early intervention.

During his opening statement at the start of the day-long seminar, the senior cop said that gangs and gang violence cannot be stemmed by police action alone, and while there is no silver bullet to solve the problem, the more informed agencies are they better they can recognize the threat and respond.

“Collectively, we may just stop the spiral of gang violence we saw so blatantly in September 2011,” he said, referring to a spate of five gang-related shootings that injured one and claimed the lives of five others in West Bay, George Town and East End over a nine day period. He said that all six of the men shot during that time were students of the Alternative Education Centre after being excluded from mainstream education.

He explained how, in the wake of the shocking violence, questions were asked about what could have been done to prevent it and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police reviewed the RCIPS responses and capabilities.

“One recommendation was to extend awareness of all stakeholders in young people and youth issues and focus on the education and awareness access to all professional agencies,” Baines said, as he explained the background for the seminar and the special guest experts who had come to Cayman from Canadaand the US to help examine the gang culture.

“At the close of the day, you will have a better understanding of gangs and gang culture, the specifics and differences of gangs within the Cayman Islands, and most importantly, an improved ability to identify gang activity and its associated behaviour,” he told delegates. “With that knowledge comes the responsibility to spot the vulnerable and do something about it or by ensuring the right agencies are informed and involved.”

He added that the Caribbean has a growing reputation for violence and gangs, but recognizing the problems and initiating anti-gang actions in Cayman could prevent the islands from becoming “another blot on the tourist warning list of where not to go”.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    a good start would be to crack down on illegally tinted cars…… stop them and search them and stip off the tint…..

    same thing for license plate covers….

    • Anonymous says:

      Spot on 19.27. And flog them too, and then deport them. And then do the same to their families, just in case they are of the same ilk. And then deport all expats, someone commented on here that there are some expat gangsta's, proof enough for me, they all have to go. And then all the politicians, but they should be shot before being deported,. And don't forget the fornicators and alcohol drinkers, hell they should be on the first boat out. As for the hypocrites, well, don't even get me started.

      And then Cayman will be perfect…just some iguana's, coconuts and fish left. The minute humans become involved, its always going to be messy.

      • Anonymous says:

        Wow. Relax bro. He only suggested they enforce a very simple, very easy to enforce law. What got you so upset?

    • Anonymous says:

      Please, we have had a gang problem in the Cayman Islands for over 20 years and every commissioner stated "we don't have a gang problem, including Baines"  Sorry20 years to late, out of control and unfortunately the RCIPS IS NOT CAPABLE of stopping the problem, not before not now, not ever!!!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    mandatory dress code

    • Anonymous says:

      How can there be a mandatory dress code, when even the schools allow these boys to wear pants three people can fit into, dragging to floor, imcljuding their shirts.  Thefunny part is the parents purchase the uniforms and allow their children to look like that, so really where can we enforce mandatory dress code.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Legalize weed, sell it at the supermarket, tax it, and it will put a serious dent in the gangs economy.

    After that pick up the know cocaine users/dealers (real estate brokers, laywers etc). Take down the network all the way to the top.

    By the way, if they would find a "drug utensil" in my house, I would be in jail awaiting court appearance, but unfortunately I am not a politician.


  4. Anonymous says:

    I blame the expats, coming here and taking our jobs. These young lads are too over qualified to do menial work. Bring back the expat tax I say!

    • Anonymous says:

      You would actually be amazed how many gangsta's are in fact expats. You should also ask an old-time Caymanian what a Limey is.  

  5. Dennis Smith says:

    I suspect that very few gang members work a 9: to 5: job and use their paycheck to support their flash cars and gang lifestyle. If instead gangs get money from criminal activities (enterprise) then they are not just kids hanging out in gangs but criminal organizations.

    I thought that there were laws against criminal organizations. If we can't arrest all the gang members then we should shut down their illegal business. Preferably both. The greatest way to make the gangs less appealing to the new wide-eyed recruits is to take away all the money and thus the status. Here is how to do it

    Any property used in the commission of a criminal event (enterprise) should be seized and destroyed, no exceptions, no excuses: a bar, a house, a car, or a boat or all of the above.

    Notice that I said destroyed, bulldozed to the ground, scoured earth. Don't sell the flash car that the gangster was so proud of, Its a symbol of his status, crush it. The underlining land can be auctioned off but total property destruction broadcast on TV sends a very powerful, visual and tangible message about our determination to irradiate all criminal activity, no exceptions.

    We are trying to shut down a criminal enterprise culture that has glamour, adventure and sex attracted to it. Lets make it embarrassing, demeaning and obviously stupid. I'm sorry that 90 year-old auntie Bess is going to lose her family home because her rebellious nephew sold drugs from it or stashed his gun and drugs in it. But I would sooner have her on social services than have him plying his trade, strutting with his baby Mama's and attracting new recruits who think that this "gallo", this "cock on a rock" has it made.

    A landscape dotted with empty yards is not something to be proud of and it offers little likelihood that the illegal activities will startup in the same location again.

    Bar owners would be very careful about what kind of activity they allowed on their premises if there was the impending doom of an immediate confiscation and demolition order.

    People are constantly pointing out nice homes that are waiting for their owners to return from prison and even nicer homes that are owned by rumored supporters of criminal enterprises.

    Let see, we have AML regulations and no longer have bank secrecy so we should be able to tract down the proceeds of crime and take out all the really big money houses and businesses as well. All that cash has to be entering the system some how. Is Cayman really as clean and transparent as it portrays or do those rules only apply to offshore foreign business?

    Since a gang member's family and friends now wouldn't have homes that were related to any criminal activity to live in, it unlikely that they would support the person responsible for the public humiliation and the embarrassment of confiscation, televised demolition and the sale of the underlining land. The bravo, Robin Hood against the system gang culture would get real tired fast and young kids would not be attracted to gangs.

    Shutting down the gangs is not hard. We don’t need more agencies or more committees. We need more guts and determination and tougher legislations. Whether it’s anti-gang, proceeds of crime or something tailored to the problem. A bill of rights and constitutional privileges were never intended to encourage a runaway culture of criminal enterprises, or where they?

    Why are we slapping our criminal culture on the wrist and then letting these guys and their mentors get away with such massively damaging, cultural destroying criminal activity while we pussy foot around the enforcement and prevention response.

    Gangs are willing to kill to protect and expand their criminal organization and in response we are going to form intervention agencies and have more meetings!

    Who is going to win this contest? Doesn't anybody really care? Tell me that I have it all wrong and that we can succeed in some other way. Thanks

  6. Anonymous says:

    One of the harshest punishments should be gang related crime.  Rehabilitiation sounds wonderful, but when one of those rehabiliated gangster robs or kills someone or a tourist, then perhaps its time to approach the situation with a renewed sense of urgency.

    If it is established that a crime occured under gang affiliation of any kind, TRIPLE the minimum sentence.  I also think we should reconsider sending gang related and other henious criminals to Cuba for 1/5 of the cost.

    Gang crime is the fastest way to destroy a small country, more so than drugs, gambling or any other crime can ever do put together.

    I think the current attitude with RCIPS toward gangs in general is weakminded at best and therefore destined to flourish.


    • Anonymous says:

      Reply to Anon 13:49

      5 minutes in a Cuban jail and these wanna be punks would be crying for thier mothers. Ask any Cuban, the jails in Cuba are a deterent.



  7. Michel says:

    The problem I also see is that no one wants to turn anyone in because your suppose Witness Protection is a real joke. Lead by a bunch of incompetents whom can’t do their job properly and put the lives of those involved at risk. Not to mention other very serious problems involved. Start by cleaning house At that agency. You really have to think twice if you think about becoming a part of the Witness Protection. They will use you and when said and done ” turn your back on you ” and when done put your life in danger by just saying your on your own. Seriously Mr. Baynes, at least admit there is a big problem there and I would hate to tell you that I told you so. Would rather protect myself should It ever happen in my circle but I suggest you clean your own house first. That’s part of your problem; if no one wants to give you info and unfortunately I can’t say I blame them.

  8. Anonymous says:

    i think it all comes down to how nice the prison is here..

    like Chris Rock said, "jail is messed up.. but life is messed up too. truth is, if you're living in an old projects, new prison aint that bad".

    send the little non contibuting low lives with no other purpose than to make our lives miserable to one of those prisons in central america. that'll straighten them up along with the other up and coming ones and also aid with the problem of them even being here in the first place

  9. Far Canal says:

    They should start by taking down the sneekers hanging on the lines at the top end of Maple Ave in George Town.  Blatent gang symbology.

  10. Whodatis says:

    Wow … you folks never fail, do you?

    I agree with the general view of your post, however, it is NOT a "West Indian cultural influence" – it is a GANG cultural influence.

    Unfortunately, you have conveniently failed to realize that gangs exists in every country of every region of ever race of people in this world today … and one could argue that the culture is growing.

    I now direct you to a recent and notorious case involving the now gang-ridden (white, English) city of Manchester, England where female cop-killer Dale Cregan is revered as a "god" and "legend".

    He managed to evade a nation-wide manhunt although he was brazenly walking about communities and frequenting pubs at the time, how?

    Simple – the community supported and protected him.

    Dale Cregan

    Dale Cregan – cop killer, "legend"

    Gang culture of UK today

    I suggest you broaden your understanding of these issues, poster.

    *Yes, I will be trolled to death yet again, but I could not stand aside and allow this biased misrepresentation of the situation to go unchallenged.

     – Whodatis




    • Anonymous says:

      Yawn. If it's bad here, it's worse in Britain. Thanks Whodatis. Again.

      • Anonymous says:

        16.02 you hit it right on the head….whodatis never seeks to find a solution to a local problem, just to show how bad the UK is…wonder if he has done anything constructive in his life? Or is he just a moaning minnie sitting there moaning about how bad the UK is to Cayman and not realising the consequences of not being a part of it.

        • To Expat Bloggers says:

          And may whodatis and many more others expose the UK. Thank God for commenters like whodatis.  😉

      • Whodatis says:

        Had you learned the basic skill of reading poster, you would have realized that I simply highlighted the fact that gang culture exists everywhere.

        There was no suggestion of what is worse when compared to where.

        Better luck next time … and please grow up between now and then.

        • Anon says:

          My Jesus, I hope you don't have some partner that has to live with you 24/7 Bobo! I also hope you are not the civil servant I think you are because it would explain why your department is a total mess.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow, and I thought we lived in Cayman, not Britain and not Manchester.

      If you spent less time worrying about other places and more time pondering and acting on local affairs, maybe you could be part of the solution, rather than a distraction




    • Whodatis says:

      Ummm … well, excuse the heck outta me 'den!

      Imagine, I dared to challenge blatantly false and biased declarations of "cultural influences" against my people – and provided clear examples to support my case – and now everyone's panties are all in a bunch.

      Next time I'll just let ignorance roam supreme shall I? Is that preferred? Lol!

      I guess I stepped on a few toes there.

      Oh well.

      To those that took offense to my intitial post, I trust you all particulary enjoyed the provided links.

      At the end of the day, eyes have been opened and emotions stirred – hopefully it will bring about a useful change in the mindset of some.

      Lastly, I have on many occasions addressed the gang issue in Cayman right here on CNS.

      Here is but one example.

      Furthermore, to answer one particular critic – I actively engage with our young males in formal settings to help curb some of what is taking place in my community. This is normally by way of former teachers and figures of authorities calling on me to do so.

      (Hey, you asked … I answered.)

    • Anonymous says:

      welcometo the world of whodatis….where two wrongs make a right…….

  11. Anonymous says:

    The individual gang members & ex-cons are enabled by friends, girlfriends ,wives & family members to a greater or lesser degree.These 'associates' in doing so demonstrate their own ignorance of law & order & disdain for Policing, so Mr. Baines cannot expect any help from them. Its a West Indian cultural influence. Its a problem that will only get worse for Cayman, as the offending individuals are not able to travel off the island ,so get to wage their petty turf war here. The real threat as Mr. Baines puts so well ' A Blot on the Tourist Warning List of where not to go'  should be considered only one of the implications. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Have a judge and some cops visit schools and give real life examples of what has happened to someone who has gone down the wrong path. Make teenagers aware of what the law reads and dictates.

      For example, I never knew that if a juvenille conducts a crime along with someone who is an adult, the juvenille is also tried as an adult.

      Even if just a couple kids would be re-directed to the right path by hearing someone talk about it, it would be worth it. But it has to come from an authority figure who deals with those issues every day cause you know that once they are teenagers everything parents and teachers say is just crap!

  12. parallel observations says:

    Interestingly, whilst this COP ask for funding of "agencies" to spot socalled gangster activities in what is the most peaceful destination in the Caribbean, IT WAS JUST ANNOUNCED BY THE TELEGRAPH that the UK intelligence will be receiving the largest budget boost in the latest government review of public spending – this… after the fact civil rights activists in the UK and around the world blast the intelligence community for involvement in a global spy scandal on UK citizens and other countries. It seems like the UK are pushing to finance this global iniative afterall whilst the same in some degree occurs here in Cayman. See link below: –

    • Anonymous says:

      The police force, one of the only organizations whose failure is rewarded with more money and legal power

  13. Anonymous says:

    Well done Baines.

  14. Anon says:

    The guys who end up in gangs do so because they find a sense of belonging and self worth that they have never been given at home by parents (or more commonly a female parent) who have no clue how to raise or interest in raising children. The girls who attach themselves to these gang members and are happily having their babies are looking for the same thing for the same reasons. And the babies grow up to repeat the process all overagain. Ah so it go.

    • Anonymous says:

      What doesn't help either is that children around here grow up and never witness or feel the effects of laws being enforced on a regular and consistent basis. Whether it be traffic offenses , other minor/petty crimes or any consequences to parents who don't even send their kids to school  – too many people just get away with it. Hence, children no longer have any respect for any authority and they don't even know what a police officer looks like, much less are they intimidated by the sight of one!

  15. Anonymous says:

    So Mr Baines has publicly confirmed that there are more serious offences happening that the public is in the dark about. The RCIP does not give an accurate picture through out the year of crime. They pay lip service throughout the year.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Bunch of juvenile idiots who need to learn to grow up and become adults, eventually. My message for these clowns : "Get a life, morons."

  17. Anonymous says:

    How about we start deporting those of the punks who are losing their status at age 18 in any event, or who are not even Caymanian,  – instead of blindly allowing them to stay? 

    • Anonymous says:

      how about we just deport ALL of them, caymanian or not. There must be a way.  Then just deny them re-entry.

    • Anonymous says:

      And what are you going to do with those 'punks' that are Caymanian?

      • Anonymous says:

        Then we punish, rehabilitate and educate and keep trying until we succeed. Foreign assholes, we just deport. That way we save money and get rid of the problem.

  18. cayman voice says:

    Ha!  Read article carefully.  Let's look at Baine's assertions again:

    CNS:  "Baines said that the gang issue in Cayman must be tackled by OTHER AGENCIES as well as the police…

    To bring together ALL THOSE that have a part to play in the prevention and identification of gang members…

    Baines talked about the MULTI-AGENCY APPROACH needed towards gang crime…

    While there is no silver bullet to solve the problem, THE MORE INFORMED AGENCIES are they better they can recognize the threat and respond…

    He told delegates. 'With that knowledge comes the responsibility TO SPOT THE VULNERABLE and do something about it or by ensuring the RIGHT AGENCIES AREINFORMED AND INVOLVED.' "

    Hmmmm… OTHER AGENCIES, MULTI AGENCIES, MORE INFORMED, AND TO SPOT THE VULNERABLE… I wonder if our politicians can be so niave to know what agencies he is talking about. And then Baines talk about GANGS… Hmmmm…  Gangs must be anyone who opposes UK authority. And again he says THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THESE AGENCIES IS TO SPOT THE VULNERABLE. Ok… wait a sec… you mean the over 200 CCTV camaras right; or, are we talking about spy agencies of the UK? 

    I have towonder in light of what is happening around the globe and the revelations from the whistleblower Edward Snowden, what choices do ordinary Caymanians have in the UK's decision to include other UNNAMED AGENCIES to fight what they call GANGS?  Don't get me wrong everybody knows there is crime everywhere and Police are to fight crime, but when the people have a grieviance against the government will they be considered GANGS too?  In wake of all the snooping that is going on from the GCHQ and FCO, the revelations of them tapping into our emails and phone conversations, I am sorry but I don't trust the Commissioner of Police nor the new Governor. My question is – just to fight crime, what choices do Caymanians have on what snooping implementations that are legislated us?  And I dare any commenter to refute what I am saying is not true.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is the most ridiculous thing I have read on CNS in a long time

    • Anonymous says:

      You should be sorry, how can you not trust someone you have never met or spoken too? Talk about bigoted…

    • Area 51 survivor says:

      You are right not to trust. I learnt this years ago when I was first taken to the mother ship and downloaded.

      Now I wear a hat made out of foil to stop the RCIPS /  UK spy agencies interrupting with my thought patterns with special rays.



  19. Anonymous says:

    On a separate note, there's a Cuban refugee boat moored  South Sound for the last hour or two with 5 of them of the refugees on shore; are the Authorities going to turn up at some point to check what's going on? If it was a Jamaican canoe up to no good it would have been loaded/unloaded by now so this is a slow response time.


  20. Anonymous says:

    Am I missing something here ?

    There is a law that makes gangs a criminal act, right ?

    And the police has to come in between gangs to stop them from fighting, right ?

    So they clearly are capable of defining who is a member of a gang, right ?

    So, why don't they pick them up and dump them in jail ?


    Is it because gangs supply cocaine to the upper echelon of our society and therefor calls are made to prevent certain people from being arrested ?

    • Anonymous says:

      probably a bit more complicated than that

      • Anonymous says:

        Rather than the previous Government spending so much $s on travelling they should have given approval for our Commissioner to have some sub stations and cameras in the various drug areas in Cayman. That would be one of the biggest detterants you could ask for. Do you ever see these guys hanging around the police stations? Mr Alden please look into this, I know you will get the support of the Public and the other Politicians for this. The buildings dont have to be big nor fancy, even some litle buildings in Town and else where could be rented. We dont have to have a costly building like the Brac Hylton Hurricane shelter.

        • Rorschach says:

          I don't see the drug dealers and criminals hanging about in church either, but i sure don't wanna spend more money to build any more of them…the problem isn't lack of equipment by the's lack of "Give a damn"…

          • Anonymous says:

            Sorrry you missed my point. If we had cameras and Police in these areas these guys would think twice before committing a crime. Some people cant imagine how things are done until they're done. I am not talking about spending alot of money. Just a few little perhaps rented buildings and we could use the same Police and cars. It would certainly make a difference.We certainly need one n the Eastern Ave area very badly. Thats one area in Cayman that does not even look like Cayman.

            • Rorschach says:

              Well, the thing is..I didn't miss your just seem to have the notion that the solution to a problem is to throw MORE resources at it, rather than make the resources you have MORE accountable for the mid 90's you didn't have all these fancy resources and hundreds of police officers and hundreds of millions of dollars in police budget.  What you had was a man called Derek Haines..and he had men working for him like Mel Brown, Teddy, Pepsi, Greg Thompson, Delroy Davis, Mac Bodden, Shawn Ebanks, and a host of other dedicated,  HARD police officers…and they had a simple mandate.  STOP drugs coming into Cayman..andguess what?  They made busts…it was a time when it seemed that every month they were busting a canoe..most often in very dangerous situations..remember the Garro?  You think those canoes stopped coming in because those guys are no longer there??  NO, they still come, but they never get stopped..why?? Because these days the average cop on the street needs 10 pages of paperwork, 5 briefings, an operational order and a partridge in a pear tree just to wipe their a$$…So, no I don't think the answer it to rent buildings and put up cameras..the solution is to put the senior managments feet to the fire and make them demand results from their street officers, instead of shuffling around the senior officers every six months like a case of musical chairs…and don't think for a minute that the Immigration department does not have a lot to do with the problems we are seeing these days, too…they have an enforcement division..when was the last time you saw THEM??? 

    • Anonymous says:

      @8:38, totally agree with your comment, and the other posts that correctly observe the influence of friends, family and other encouragers of the wroing conduct in this country.

      I would also go further, hopefully not too controversial and definitely not meant to bash one group but dominance of certain groups must be considered to get a true picture.

      First there was denial about gangs.

      Now we know majority of gang members are Caymanians, Jamaicans or Caymanian-Jamaican nationals and soem from Honduras. 

      But seems we're still in denial that our police officers, mainly from Jamaica or Jamaican nationals are going to arrest their 'own' unless pushed to do so by CoP and the PUBLIC, right?

      Please let our CoP understand the 'culture' he's dealing with so he can make a little dent soon. As long as you have majority of police officers, prosecutors and Judges of Jamaican descent it will be hard for them to arrest or imprison their own so we need to make it easier and have more British officers who might not be swayed by the majority (Jamaican nationals) and address this issue.

      Unless and until Caymanians and the Jamaicans who care about this country and its people, admit to the above aspect of this community, based on a high level of patriotism and oneness by Jamaicans (and in most cases, these are great attributes to possess), we will continually have a problem getting worse by the day. Sad really that we still can't find people who come here and put the laws of the land first regardless of persons of same nationality.