Borders become key focus in crime fight

| 29/06/2017 | 73 Comments
Cayman News Service

RCIPS Joint Marine Unit (Photo by Kenneth Wright)

(CNS): Government is likely to be investing more cash in fighting crime at Cayman’s borders, as the security of the coastline becomes the key focus for the authorities. The rise in the number of guns on Grand Cayman in recent months means the police and other enforcement agencies are now directing their attention towards smuggling, but with over a 100 miles of coastline and no coast guard and limited police marine resources, there will need to be more investment in border security.

Officials at the governor’s office have indicated that work is going on behind the scenes to ramp up national security and refocus on from where and how the guns are making their way into circulation here. Governor Helen Kilpatrick, who has kept a low profile during her time here, has been silent on the matter but officials told CNS that she and her team are now spending a considerable amount of time on the issue of crime.

The officials said that the aim is to beef up border security with more investment as well as support from the UK, as the RCIPS has been doing a “great job” rounding up criminals. But even though the police have been rounding up young men and arresting them for possessing illegal firearms, no sooner are they in custody and charged, the police are finding more weapons on the street.

Last Friday a judge handed four young men lengthy sentences for having illegal firearms, but less than 24 hours later, in the early hours of Sunday morning, the police intercepted a vessel on the beach at South Sound and recovered two semi-automatic handguns and ammunition that the men on board were attempting to smuggle onto the island.

Officials said that the helicopter remains an invaluable resource when it comes to patrolling the coastline of Grand Cayman but more investment is required, and over the next few weeks officials will be unveiling plans, policies and investment for the beefed-up coastline protection and patrols.

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Category: Crime, Crime Prevention, Police

Comments (73)

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  1. SMB says:

    Two predator drones – one up and patrolling at all times, (so one charge ready to go airborne while the other is in the air) These things can be fitted with heat detecting equipment (picks up boat engines and people), night vision cameras etc. and the boats don’t even see or hear them. Good job for some young Caymanians who like video games and cheaper and more efficient than other options.

    • Anonymous says:

      There are other “more affordable” UAV solutions, but most of those are also out of our snack bracket and ground-based operations and maintenance budget. Tethered balloons might a more viable option offering unlimited endurance.

      Defence Tech Abstract : A serious look at the vulnerability of tethered balloons indicates that they are difficult to bring down quickly because of the large size, low differential pressure across the skin, and low gas loss because of partial closure when projectives pass through. With no radar signature, and the soft skin, it is difficult to make any currently available round explode at the right moment to create a catastrophic failure.

    • Marisa says:

      Yeah, what taking so long for us to get this? Should have been done long ago.

    • Southsounder says:

      Predator unmanned aerial surveillance vehicles are hugely expensive and cost in excess of $20 m each but are used by the US customs and border patrol services on the Mexico and Canadian borders (they are even able to operate face recognition!)
      I conducted a quick internet search and found that the Israeli government use similar home grown platforms at hugely reduced costs, to monitor their borders
      Perhaps someone in our Customs department should be examining the possibility of employing something similar, to enable us to monitor our borders and prevernt illegal shipments.
      These UAVs are very reliable, can be fitted with a multitude of radars and cameras and could possibly put the fear of God up the arses of the scumbags who put all our lives at risk.
      Just a thought, but it seems to me that this might be the safest and most cost effective mechanism of policing the borders of our precious home, without unduly putting the lives of so many Marine Officers at risk.
      UAV are now employed by over 100 countries world wide to protect their marine borders, so there is nothing new in this technology and perhaps, in the long term, this would prove an extremely effective tool in the fight against guns and drugs

      • Anonymous says:

        Hugely expensive and low endurance (practical operating time), would mean holes in the net at regular intervals against an adversary with high-level access to secure police lockups within the perimeters of those facilities.

        • SMB says:

          The Predator Drone costs 4 million. It can fly up to 400 nautical miles to a target, loiter overhead for 14 hours, then return to its base. – you say this is expensive but how much does it cost to run a helicopter per year with far less air time? How much does it cost Cayman when the drugs and guns can get through our borders so easily? How long before this place becomes so lawless that no one wants to come on vacation and what is the cost of that? 2 powerful drones for 8 million and you have 24 hr per day coverage virtually every day of the year. Believe me that will put some stress on the canoe trade that is doing the midnight runs.

    • Anonymous says:

      You watch too much TV, my friend. We cannot afford that. We’re even struggling to afford the current chopper.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The first step is going around to the schools and showing them a short film on gun and drugs and the impact. The next is the national id system allocating a number to each citizen and making a contract with international credit rating system and finding out credit ratings of all PR applicants and allowing bankers to have access. Revamping the spent sentences law removing requirement of expungentment. Our policy leaders are not rational, they create so many issues that the whole system is imploding. But bravo on the move to deport to the UK. In the meantime, strike a deal and unload about 50 so that we can get some more space..

    • Anonymous says:

      If more adults and kids (public consumers) truly knew about the manufacturing processes, handling risks, social and blood-costs, component ingredients and contemporary adulteration dangers – before inhaling into their lungs and sniffing or injecting into their blood vessels, it might give them some pause. The new cheap synthetic opioids are terrifying, applied to almost everything, and are the scourge of Emergency rooms worldwide.

      Shackled prisoner interaction is also a valuable tool to discourage kids from following that path. Getting a credible fright, with a relatable firsthand account, is a technique that is proven to help kids make better life choices (or at least those that want to win in life). My school took us on a field trip to a prison when I was little and it scared the @#$% out of us. I still remember the “confiscated weapons” they showed us, and the prison rape seminar from an enormous, sweaty, and hairy lifer. He’s probably still in that prison. There was some colorful and foul language we didn’t fully understand at the time, that was not for show, and not NC-17.

      If you’re smart, those things stick with you, and keep you in your lane…alive and productive.

  3. Anonymous says:

    What about attacks on our borders from within using “legal means”.

    By that I am talking about adoption/marriage of convenience etc situations where people are obtaining Cayman status by conning the immigration/police departments.

    So many people are asleep at the wheel in this country it’s mind boggling.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The problem is biggger than you think. I don’t think any of the suggestions mentioned above will work, however we need to start at the source. The island to our south east Jamaica, is the supplier of these guns, cociane, ganja, molly, etc etc until the Jamaican major crimes task force can get an handle on there traffickers, cayman is dommed there’s only a matter of time until they get much more sophisticated with there smuggling routines. The traffickers have way more resources than any 1 government. Here’s my suggestion, I think every single carribbean country should contribute let’s say 10 million US dollars yearly each to help fund a wider coast guard to patrol the entire Caribbean waters all the waters from Trinidad down to Saint Martin and beyond let’s face it if we continue down the path of no cohesion with our neighbors this problem will only get worst, case in point USA with all the resources they have at there disposal yet they only manage to seize a minimal amount of drugs heading into the country y? U ask !? Because the Pablo Escobars and the El Chapos of this generation have unlimited wealth real wealth. Look at Colombia in the 80s and Miami in the 80s who do u think built Miami not Donald trump. It was the drug dealers #facts also I would like to add ppl if we didn’t have our accountants, lawyers, judges, lawmakers, business owners higher echelons of cayman society buying using cociane , ganja , molly etc there would be NO market here because last time I checked for a gram of blow on the street is $100 bucks not ur average caymanian or expat can afford this #facts ppl the truth hurts I know …we need to educate ppl that these things do more harm than good and the ppl I mentioned above buying the product are just as guilty as the drug traffickers and dealers -supply and demand – rant over

    • Sharkey says:

      Agreed. 5:41am, your logic is workable, but first the biggest problem is cleaning up the inside of the pot before you would attempt to do the outside.

      First of all do you see how much corruption is going in this Government, and I can’t say about the other Islands but would have to think it’s the same or worse.

      But things are becoming a really big mess/problems.

  5. Nestor says:

    Coast guard, coast guard. End of story. We need a dedicated team and state of the art equipments like darts tunnel to patrol our shores and for search and rescue. We have million and trillion of dollars in hedge funds and yet people are not safe? Coast Guard, spend the money developed the program and make Cayman safe again!

    • Anonymous says:

      A Coast Guard would be easy if we were a resource-rich, cash-spewing Emirate, but the reality is, we don’t have a nickel of the “Hedge Fund money” in the Cayman Islands, it’s all custodied in liquid financial markets elsewhere. Taxing middle-class bookkeepers is not going to get us there, and our government is a fully-extended, FCO-constrained, verge of civil service shuttering affair operated by colluding ego-driven kleptocrats. Case in point: we can’t afford the minimal expense of building and pave our lousy roads without crafting some kind of giveaway to developers. We need to constrain our provincial ambitions to fit the truth, and invite willing professionals from elsewhere in to help us tackle this deadly serious and prepared foe.

    • Fred the Piemaker says:

      And how are you going to man it – we cant even staff the maritime unit.

      Asking for assistance from the US Coastguard and DEA would work, but I guess some are too proud and others have too much to lose.

  6. Anonymous says:

    It seems some contributors to this thread have the right idea and some don’t.
    Until we get rid of the ‘Caymanians are the best seamen in the world’ mentality it will be a waste of time and resources putting local police or customs officers on patrol boats. Yes there are many of them who run a 14 foot boat with an outboard engine to go fishing at weekends: it’s nothing like that in the professional world. The number of wrecked or unserviceable patrol boats that have passed through the hands of the police in the past 20 or 30 years is sufficient evidence of where the problem lies.
    As for radar: forget it. Don’t believe what you see on TV or the internet. There is no technology that will detect a wooden canoe in the trough of a wave. The Royal Navy conducted tests at night right here in Hogsty Bay a few years ago and the ‘test boat’ was only detected by a visual lookout when it was 100 feet from the warship; radar never saw it at all and at slow speed the propellor wash sounded like wave action on sonar.

  7. Anonymous says:

    All this is easier said than done , our neighbor to the north has some of the best technology in the world, why do they have such a big drug and gang problem, as for the poster talking about renaato Adams all he did in Jamaica was shoot some unarmed young men he didn’t solve any problems

  8. Anonymous says:

    some politician will pro ably get a kick back from buying another inadequate boat to mann borders….just like clockwork

  9. Anonymous says:

    Cayman has several Marine based units that could be used for both border patrolling and back up/ intelligence gathering for the greater good.
    RCIPS, Customs, Immigration, Port Authority and DOE Enforcement, all of which know these waters and many of the Caymanian and foreign criminals and vessels involved.
    The problem is money, training and resources.

    If any government is really serious about border patrols then they need to give these marine units the tools to do the job and a Border Commander with years of Marine Enforcement experience behind them, regardless of where they come from.

    A fleet of new boats for all agencies needs urgent attention, job specific of course, but dual purpose when necessary.
    I watched the pathetic excuse for a DOE Enforcement boat on the Sandbar today and thought to myself, ‘where is the environmental and licensing money going’ because it’s not being spent on staff and equipment that’s for sure?
    I honestly feel for these guys, of all units. They try their absolute best to protect our waters, our ships, our environment and ultimately our people. And what do we give them in return?
    We give them a hard time and ‘unfit for purpose’ equipment that should be scrapped, what do we expect from such under resourcing and disregard for our own security?

    This is a national emergency and we need all those who can fight to be properly backed and equipped to help each other confront this threat to our people and way of life. Stop the nationalist, ‘only Caymanians’ foolishness, we need the best and the bravest to fight these criminals, wherever they may come from.

    • Anonymous says:

      We don’t have money for a navy. We can’t even afford to pave our own roads without negotiating consessions to willing developers. We need to swallow our pride and request help from the crown and regional agencies already eager to patrol our waters and station sophisticated interdiction aircraft here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, as long as they have Cayman’s best interest at heart and don’t join to see what they can get out of it. That is what we have to be careful about. Not adding to the already huge crisis we have.

  10. Expat says:

    Okay. But where is the one guy thats been on required leave 4yrs running now that was actually doing his job.
    Oh wait he was doing his job, thats right.

    Looney Tunes the bunch.

  11. Anonymous says:

    yeah yeah…whatever…nothing gonna ba done….cat chasing his own tail!?

  12. Anonymous says:

    You have to deal with your inside men first… “customs officer arrested or importing cocaine.”

  13. Anonymous says:

    The guns may be imported, but the criminals are not (for the majority of crimes). A police officer friend of mine told me that they know who the people are behind any of the gang-related crimes are but they cannot convict them due to lack of evidence!

  14. Anonymous says:

    I suspect that there is a lot of foreign patrols/arrests that the Cayman public is not aware of. I recall a couple years ago running along south sound at 3am and seeing easily 150 police dressed in police gear at the south sound dock. They had a boat on a ramp and when I crossed them they all appeared to be congratulating themselves and taking pictures on a major (drug – presumably) haul. I expected that later that morning (or the next day – news in Cayman is slow)this police event would be all over the press. Not a single report. Then it occurred to me that I may have witnessed something I should not have.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s called a “controlled delivery”. Drugs are intercepted locally – but those caught smuggling are then handed over to overseas authorities (DEA or FBI) who in turn watch the smugglers and the drugs to their final destination. They then arrest and charge the whole group involved from the suppliers to the main orchestrators.

      Any cash or other assets seized, is then split 50/50 between both countries. Unfortunately, most of the cash that comes back to Cayman is put into general revenue and the monies are not used for local law enforcement purposes.

      Instead, the politicians use these monies to support able bodied Caymanians into wutlessness for political votes. They in turn commits more crime in the country and the cycle continues from generation to generations and politician to politician.

      This is nothing new it’s been going on from the early 1980’s.

  15. Anonymous says:

    All that is needed is a proper radar system in Cayman. I wonder why that has not been implemented as yet? Makes one scratch their head. If more money is going to be invested, get a bloody proper radar system in place that will catch all incoming vessels.

    • Anonymous says:

      No such thing. To electronically detect “all incoming vessels” (30ft canoes) would require a series of aerial look-down radars ringed so tightly around the islands you’d essentially have created a science fiction radar array. They can’t even do it on TV and you know you can believe everything you see there.

    • Anonymous says:

      Vessels AND aircraft

    • Anonymous says:

      12:21pm, not radars that will work like the million dollar CCTVs.

    • Anonymous says:

      Most modern radar systems cannot detect these go fast boats due to them traveling very low to the surface and are made of fiberglass and wood. That’s why they are known as “stealth boats” in South America.

      The heat from the engines can be seen by infrared from above. (Drones or Choppers) However from a static position on land and over long distances, radar detection becomes very limited especially in rough conditions, where sea waves blocks the target significantly.

      That’s why today the military uses expensive drones to take out targets from very far distances away. A man can be sitting at a control desk in California and take out a target in Mosul in Iraq. They cost millions of dollars but can stay in the sky for long periods of time and is like a hawk in the sky watching a mouse on the ground.

      • Anonymous says:

        The “Homemade” Narco-subs are not “go-fast”, but they don’t need to be. All they need are coordinated logistics – ie. refueling stations along the way – like the Caymanian-owned and operated fuel barges loitering just outside our jurisdiction in international waters. Can’t even make this stuff up.

  16. Sharkey says:

    I am sure that the Mother Country has or could put some heavy machinery in the area to help take care of this issue.
    Just ask and you would be given.

    But it is very important to have some heavy machinery placed 24/7/365 days a year to the east of the Islands and the south.

  17. Anonymous says:

    The guns and gangsters are necessary to safeguard the billions in drugs that transit our waters. It’s too simplistic to suggest this is just a gun problem. Guns are just one operating component of the much larger Caribbean illicit transshipment economy. If we want to tackle this, we will need to welcome joint DEA and other regional agency support, machinery, and expertise. We will also need to build a bigger prison, and trade school, as this is the third pillar of our economy (and our politicians know this)!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Whoever does the patrolling is going to need firepower. Don’t think the FCO has the stomach for it– Helen certainly doesn’t. What you need is an armed cutter operated by the military. Very expensive but can stay out day and night in bad weather unlike the small patrol boats

  19. Anonymous says:

    Hire retired Ex-Chief Supt. Renato Adams and give him a contact for two years in the RCIPS and all the drug runners, gun runners, thieves and gangsta’s will be buried in history.

    Cayman criminals will run like puss being chased by a dog – when they see Renato on the scene.

    What you gonna do….. what you gonna do…….. when Renato come look for you.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians you want your country back? Focus on education, immigration, border control and policing. The rest will fall in behind

  21. Anonymous says:

    What about a few “Marine Special Constables”? Volunteers who use their own boats and simply report what they see, i.e. call in the helicopter & real armed RCIPS craft. Pay them for the fuel costs and I am willing to say there are a few really honest boaters that would volunteer some nights. These boats could be rotated so no one knows who & when they will be on the water.

    • wayaseh says:

      Marine Corp specials Great stuff tracking helicopter shifts hour every hour

    • Anonymous says:

      Your idea, while a very admirable one in intent and also one I agree on ,does come with some problems. Empowering or ‘Deputising ‘ any civilian boaters for the role with their boats, without them having the means for protection especially at night, could result in significant injuries , loss or damage to their own vessel or even put the Marine Unit officers at some degree of risk or liability. In order to be able to control our coastal border and stop illegal landing , drugs & gun transhipment , people trafficking , the designated agency must have the ability to perform one crucial task : Deliver Lead when required in such a manner as to strike fear and serious apprehension into the minds of the perpetrators. They arrive on our shore prepared to dish out the same to anyone who tries to stop them, so in turn you have to be able to counter this with appropriate force in their direction. Cayman just does not possess that force currently, not at the fault of the Marine Unit by the way. I agree with another contributor here in that a joint operation and alliance with the US Coast Guard, British Navy force or a combined effort between the two to enhance our local forces ability to tackle the problem head-on. Not sure where the money is going to come from for it though.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Proper Coast Guard is a basic and required step. If we don’t have the resources then request for a UK or US Patrol vessel stationed here.

  23. Anonymous says:

    We need to have is an efficient Marine Dept. that services their boats properly and knows how to navigate.

    • Anonymous says:

      9:59am, servicing can only be done if and when the chief approves it. When new people are put in charge, who are not accustomed to our waters and currents, that’s when the damages and destruction begins.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with the above comment. Just look at the repair bills. It maybe that we need more resources but It is no use just throwing money at the problem

    • Anonymous1 says:

      Can radar detect small vessels and canoes?

    • Anonymous says:

      We had one and let it slip away in the early 90s.

      • Anonymous says:

        No, they abandoned it because it didn’t work.

        • Anonymous says:

          it was for aircraft anyways so no use for boats

        • Anonymous says:

          Didn’t work for the elite drug smuggling financiers.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yeh it served to put the powerful and influential status quo on their tippy toes and they didn’t like it. Didn’t work my a$$. The sea surface radar was the best thing we had and run by the DEA. Someone in our government was told to cut the cord or there’d be some embarrassment.

    • Anonymous says:

      Should our helicopter ever faulter we’ve lost the fight and its going to get very expensive buying a couple more. Get some IR camera drones to patrol and intercept, but we still need radar as an early warning.

      • Anonymous says:

        Its a good job the helicopter is one of the most reliable in service and have a dedicated team working it. Shame that cannot be replicated to the boat unit.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Blighter seems like a decent short-ranged radar. If you want something to cover a wider area, the Scanter 2100 is a good solution (it’s the land-based version of the one that the Royal Navy uses on its newest offshore patrol boats) – I read that TCI installed one a few years ago. They were actually able to reduce the number of boats in use at the same time as improving their detection and intercept rate

  24. Anonymous says:

    NO COAST GUARD?

    CNS, I wouldn’t had broadcast that on the News ?

  25. Anonymous says:

    Possible solution: hardcore police officers from other jurisdictions on 2 year rotating contracts. Unmarried, no children and no connection to this jurisdiction.

    • Anonymous says:

      We have our very own, honest, hard working, dedicated people, who are worked to death and paid a pittance to work in the Marine section. Those high paid experts do not have the know how nor are they used to the currents, or obstructions they may encounter in certain areas, and therefore cause damage to the assets. Check on the liability on those boats and you will understand.
      You dont run them full throttle in shallow water with rocks just below the surface.

      • Anonymous says:

        All those things can be taught. If we are going to get serious about the gang and gun problem, we are going to need specially trained unit for this. Cayman just does not have that capabilities it seems. The other problem is that there is likely the willingness to turn a blind eye on gun or drug crime in general, because someone is always someone’s brother, cousin, uncle or friend. I am not denying that Cayman has some fine police officers amongst its population, but we’re not playing “cops and robbers” on the playground. This is serious shit and it affects everyone who calls this place home. So please, for the love of all that is good, put your pride aside and acknowledge the problem and try to find a solution without having to resort to anti-expat sentiments. It is not about expat v Caymanian. It is about cleaning up the streets and adequate border patrol, so why not learn from those who may be in a position to strengthen the current police force?

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