MLAs Barbara Conolly and David Wight, the elected representatives for GTS and GTW respectively, decided to hold an informational meeting for a great amount of their constituents. Windsor Park is a large community that is encompassed in both GTS and GTW electoral districts, and with news of some importance needed to be announced, the idea of a public meeting was a choice. In fact, all politicians should keep their citizens informed like this.
Inside the George Town Wesleyan Holiness Church on Anthony Drive, the meeting was called to order at about 6:40pm. There were fewer than 40 people in the audience, far less than hoped for, but the meeting had to continue. There was a sizeable contingent of special guests ready to present. After a welcome from MLA Barbara Conolly and an opening prayer from the resident pastor, Mr. Kim Evans, all of those guests were introduced. Present were CI Red Cross director, Jondo Obi; Simon Boxall of Hazard Management; Commissioner of Police Mr. Derek Byrne; Police Inspectors Courtney Myles (Community Policing) and Dwayne Jones (Traffic); PC Tamara Jackson (new Community Officer for Windsor Park); and the two newest Community Safety Officers (CSOs).
Of the special guests, Inspector Myles, was first up to the microphone. He introduced the two Community Safety Officers and explained their function within the department, as liaisons between the police and the members of the public. The inspector mentioned that 85% of the CSOs hired are women, and he lauded the strides that females are making within our society. He then introduced Police Constable Tamara Jackson and as she took the mic, she spoke of what her role in the community is. PC Jackson also stated that she was very glad to be assigned in the community of Windsor Park.
Next up was the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Derek Byrne. He used his allotted time to speak about the several different topics. He covered his goals for community policing in the Cayman Islands, specifying his vision for the CSOs and the Community Officers. He also lauded the partnerships that RCIPS has with other agencies such as the Red Cross and Hazard Management.
The C.E.R.T. program was the next topic of discussion. Ms. Obi and Mr. Boxall each took turns speaking of this very important program. Ms. Obi told the audience of the origin of the Community Emergency Response Teams here in Cayman and gave a breakdown of what the program encompasses. Mr. Boxall mentioned the possible opportunities for the C.E.R.T.s to deploy and to render aid. He also reiterated that the knowledge each member of the team gains from the training is a huge asset of itself.
After that segment, the floor was opened to questions from the audience. This appeared to be the most anticipated part of the meeting as the small crowd brought numerous concerns. Among them were the community members feelings that the police was not addressing crime or even violations effectively; that with another new Community Police Officer assigned to the area they feel like they are starting over; the problem of cars constantly parking on the road and blocking effective traffic flow; the fact that some rental facilities do not upkeep their premises and sometimes allow vegetation to grow out into the road blocking drivers’ view at junctions; the allegation that there are persons selling illegal alcohol and drugs in the neighborhood; and the issue of disturbances caused by persons speeding and playing their car stereos extremely loudly in the early morning hours. Another concern brought forward was the case of a certain establishment that has been causing a disturbance for many years because of loud music, and because of domestic disputes between some of their customers. Several members of the audiences chimed in to speak of their personal experiences regarding this; and all voiced their frustration with the fact that RCIPS has not been able to effectively solve the problem. For all those issues, Mr. Byrne said he took them to heart, and that it was his job to ensure that his department addresses them effectively.
To close the meeting, Ms. Barbara Conolly an Mr. David Wight gave updates for upcoming events/projects within the community. Some highlighted were Neighborhood Watch programs starting in three different sections; Christmas in the Park at two different parks in Windsor Park on November 23rd; the children’s Christmas party on December 7th; the Senior Citizens luncheon on December 15th; and drainage wells on Anthony Drive to be dug on December 12th to address the flooding issues on that thoroughfare.