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POLICE, PACT AND PROGRESSIVES PLEDGE TO FIGHT CRIME

Law Enforcement 10 Jul, 2023 Follow News

POLICE, PACT AND PROGRESSIVES PLEDGE TO FIGHT CRIME

Premier Hon. Wayne Panton and members of the Government met with Commissioner of Police Derek Bryne to discuss plans to respond to increased criminal activities

A series of apparently coordinated armed robbery attempts in the past week is adding to concerns in the community over the incidence of persistent criminal activity said to be linked to gangs and particular individuals.

A separate earlier incident also involved an armed robbery of a bank.

Now, both government and opposition are once again responding to these concerns with pledges and policies to address the growing scourge.

Three recent and particularly daring attacks took place in a single night last week.

According to a statement subsequently issued by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service(RCIPS), in one incident, officers responded to a report of an attempted robbery at a restaurant in the Birch Tree Hill area, West Bay. “The suspect brandished what appeared to be a weapon concealed in a cloth, then fled the location on foot towards the rear of the property.”

The RCIPS said no injuries were reported as a result of that attempted robbery.

PACT PLAN

In response to the growing public outcry, Hon, Premier Wayne Panton issued a statement, addressing what he referred to as national concern over the recent upsurge in crime in Grand Cayman.”

“Like many of you, I was alarmed at the recent incidents of armed robberies in Grand Cayman. The Government is resolute in restoring tranquillity for everyone including individuals, businesses and the community,” the Premier stated.

“The Commissioner has reassured the Government that the RCIPS has already activated plans to tackle the spate of robberies which resulted in four arrests this week as well as a second man being charged for involvement in the recent bank armed robbery.”

Among additional measures being put in nplace are the deployment of a task force dedicated to investigating leads and leveraging intelligence to apprehend suspects, and more police patrols.

However, Mr Panton said, the police cannot do this alone.

“It is incumbent on every resident to play their part as our police work to apprehend those responsible.”

Saying that his government and the RCIPS are taking a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach to this matter, the Premier further stated: “I assure residents crime will not be tolerated nor will it become a norm. The police and the Government are taking a zero-tolerance approach. “

Stating that “need is never a justification to commit a crime” Mr Panton his government is heavily investing in social support programmes.

 “Our islands are known for their peaceful and crime-free environment; we cannot allow a handful of criminals to change our way of life and global reputation. Share what you know and help address this issue quickly.”

PROGRESSIVES POLICY

Meanwhile, in a lengthy release, the opposition Progressives party expressed concern about the frequency and seriousness of the crime situation., while stating that comparatively the problem in Cayman is not on the scale of other regional countries.

“Scarcely a day goes by without reports of some new incidence of robbery or violence,” wrote Progressives and Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Roy McTaggart.

“However, I will not play upon people’s fears by exaggerating the problem we face. The reality is that, compared to many other countries, the level of crime here is still relatively low,” he said.

But he noted: “The statistics show that overall crime did increase in 2022 compared to 2021. Sadly, the numbers also show that serious violent crimes, including crimes involving the use of a firearm or knife, have increased significantly since 2021, while robberies have also spiked.”

The Opposition Leader said “now is the time to act if we are not to let this problem spiral out of control” saying it requires

a government willing to act to prevent crime and to deal with criminality.

“No excuse about the Governor being responsible for national security removes the Government from also bearing some responsibility for the security of our constituents and residents.

The Government, and the Opposition, must use whatever means of persuasion available to influence positive results regarding security for all who live on our Islands, including increasing resources to law enforcement if needed.”

Mr McTaggart feels the PACT government of Premier Wayne Panton, is falling short on what he sees as a priority issue.

“Regrettably, while the rising number of armed robberies is causing widespread concern in our communities, the PACT government remains far too quiet on crime and crime prevention.“

He also remarked that tackling crime and keeping people safe “should not be politically contentious”, saying that’s why  Progressives supported the action that the PACT government indicated it would take in its early days.”

However, the Progressives leader said ,the government has so far failed to deliver on this.

According to Mr McTaggart, his party has a plan they are ready to roll out once back in power, much of it focused on the RCIPS with their crime fighting and crime prevention efforts.

And he said: “We need to support the Police Commissioner to implement measures...and we need to hold him to account to ensure that we see results quickly.”

Crediting the previous Progressive government with making ‘significant progress’, in tackling crime he added, “Unfortunately PACT seems determined to reinvent the wheel rather than getting on and implementing what was already there.”

Despite criticising the PACT government for falling short in tackling crime, Mr McTaggart stated: “This is the time when we need to come together for the benefit of our people, not score political points. But one way or another, action must be taken now to reduce serious crime, enhance the safety of our communities and maintain Cayman’s reputation as a safe place to live, work, visit and do business.”


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