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Statement Following A Meeting With Commissioner Byrne

Local News 13 Jul, 2023 Follow News

Roy McTaggartr

My fellow Caymanians & Residents;

Member of Parliament Joey Hew and I met with Commissioner Byrne on Monday morning (July 10, 2023) regarding the increasing serious crime. We had a productive and frank conversation, and the Commissioner gave his assurances that the RCIPS are acting to disrupt and arrest those committing the spate of armed robberies, including employing a dedicated task force and a focus by the police on high-risk areas.

Targeted policing of hot spot areas was one of the suggestions mentioned in my statement last week Wednesday on Safer Communities, so I was pleased that the Commissioner included this in his action plan.

In my statement, I included a number of other recommendations, and I hope the Premier and his Government have listened and will consider them, including working harder to divert young people away from gangs and criminality.

It was good to finally hear from Premier Panton late Friday evening as he sought to calm public concerns regarding escalating serious crimes and confirm his Government’s ‘zero tolerance policy’ against crime. I trust that the Premier will continue to monitor events in the coming weeks to see if the situation improves and serious crimes are brought under control.

In addition to the work of the RCIPS, the Premier and his Government need to consider the longer-term recommendations included in my statement on Safer Communities. Such as supporting individuals leaving prison with employment and housing opportunities and access to mental health and addiction support services.

Providing counselling support and cognitive behavioural programmes to help tackle criminal attitudes and beliefs is also important.

And though mentioned already, it is worth repeating that we should focus on preventative measures to divert young people from gangs and criminal activities.

All of these are directly within the purview of the Government, and the Premier must ensure that he includes sufficient resources in the coming budget to address these.

The budget should also contain funding to improve our CCTV capabilities and our ability to detect boats arriving with illegal drugs, guns and people. 

The Progressives have complete confidence in the RCIPS and will do all we can to support them. But the public must do their part as well. If you know something, it is crucially important that you say something. 

As I said in my earlier message to the country, now is the time to act if we are not to let the problem of increasing serious crime spiral out of control.

In the interim, the Progressives will continue speaking out if serious crime is not controlled.

Thank you for listening, and may God continue to bless our beautiful Cayman Islands.

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