Judge staggered by local gun problem

| 26/06/2017 | 25 Comments

(CNS): A visiting judge handed down long sentences to four different men on Friday, all of whom were convicted of possessing illegal guns. The jail time ranged from 13 years to seven years in each of the separate cases which related to possession of handguns and ammunition. As he sentenced the men, Justice Michael Wood said the number of gun cases was “quite simply staggering”, as he urged the public to help the police track down the weapons.

Describing the situation as a “scourge”, he warned that unless the situation is addressed, tourism in the Cayman Islands would be “dealt a devastating blow”, especially where guns are being fired in bars and other public places.

The judge said that in each of the cases he had heard, the guns in question had no legitimate use other than to harm, kill or terrorise people and he warned people who help conceal guns were just as guilty as those who use them.

“Somehow these firearms are getting onto the island,” he said. “I would urge anyone who knows how they are getting onto the island to inform the police.”

In each of the cases the judge heard the guns were found as a result of either police raids or a traffic stop.

Andy Barnes (37), who is no stranger to the criminal justice system and a suspected gang leader, lost his own 4-year-old son to gun violence in 2010. He was convicted last month of possession of an illegal hand gun and ammunition found hidden in a microwave. Given his history of previous convictions, including attempted armed robbery, the judge gave Barnes 13 years.

Torry Powery Monterrosso was just 18 when he was chased by police last year after they responded to a report of a weapon in Rock Hole. He was given an eight-year term after he had pleaded guilty, a year over the mandatory minimum because it was loaded and he had been driving around George Town with the gun. He will also be deported after his time in jail because, despite coming to Cayman as a small child, he does not have status.

Police found the loaded handed gun after a long and persistent search as Powery discarded it as he fled from the officers. Apologising to the court, he said there was a lot of drama on the night in question and he admitted to being intoxicated.

Jordon Bryson Powell (24) was arrested and charged after he was found with an unloaded handgun when police stopped the truck he was in for speeding. Riding as a passenger with his father at the time, Powery was said to have the gun in his hand when the police pulled the vehicle over. Ammunition was also found in the vehicle. Although he pleaded guilty, he was given a nine-year term because of a previous history of crime.

John Brandon Smith (25) was arrested after he was also stopped for a traffic infraction. Although the gun was not in his vehicle, a trained sniffer dog detected firearms and as a result his home was searched. A married man of previous good character, he could not explain how he ended up getting involved with the loaded handgun that was found in a bag at his house along with another magazine of ammunition. He was given the minimum sentence of seven years.

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Comments (25)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    There is a difference between this where someone uses a gun to cause harm and when someone unknowingly of the law posses a gun in their home for protection. How many home invasions are taking place? People are afraid. Some tourists and foreigners who are settling here and making this there home, don’t know about the laws. We should give them a break and put the criminals away.

  2. Karen says:

    Clearly it shows how easy it is to entry and escape the islands. A suspect on the run last week turned himself to the Jamaican authorities a week after the police advised the public. Without a proper border control or a defense mechinisim in place, the whole island is not safe. Good luck Cayman I moving back to where my government protects their citizens,

    • Anonymous says:

      Can it be explained what are the facts that these 2 individuals were even in The Cayman Islands and why weren’t they captured . something doesn”t sound right to me and of course I gonna go to my local police station to clear myself that I’m on Jamaican soil. Why didn’t he turn himself into local authorities. It makes no sense at all. Why did he abscond in the first place?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to PPM’s Cayman. Paradise lost.

  4. Limit says:

    Government should consider employing Coastal Surveillance Radar Systems to aid with drugs and weapons trafficking.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Every time someone is caught with an illegal firearm they whine and moan along with family members all who know the laws yet expect special treatment. If they have connections or family in government sometimes they get special consideration.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The only people that don’t have guns in Cayman are the law abiding citizens who have been left defenceless by an uncaring and heartless system.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Here’s a great idea, make all guns illegal for all citizens to possess. That’ll do the trick…

  8. SMB says:

    Make it totally random which Customs Officer checks the snapper boats that come in from Honduras, give them 10 minutes notice of their mission, send another officer along with them too, arm them both with body cameras, metal detectors and shovels and make them go through the ice and the snappers in the hold of the boat. Insist that they provide time stamped photographic evidence that they made it down to the bottom of the ice box.

    Check inside the tires of the vehicles that are purchased from the US and imported into the Cayman Islands, especially the spare tire.

    Start using bait (boat engines etc.) to trap and catch the thugs and thieves, because the same crowd who are taking the small boat engines are probably trading small engines for guns with the folks in the drug canoes.

    Final idea – there is really not that much enforcement presence on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman and the smart criminals know this (bear in mind both Islands are also significantly further East and thus much closer to Jamaica). It would be good to pay close attention to the vessels that come back and forth to Grand Cayman from Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. I am not sure what grounds you would use to search these boats because they are not leaving the jurisdiction, (they are staying with Cayman’s borders) but you need to pay special attention to these vessels. They also don’t look like your typical drug running canoe or panga, these boats might even look classy (rich people’s boats)and perhaps they even pull up to a nice house and dock in Governor’s Creek or somewhere fancy like that – little do you know that in fact these people might well be traders in death and destruction(drugs and to a lesser extent guns). Watch them and you might catch a big fish.

  9. Anon says:

    I doubt many of the guns come from “up north” most would come from “down south” in the same bags the drugs are dropped off in.
    That would be via canoes. So the best place to start is looking at all boats coming from the south trying to swing to the east or west side of the island. Trick is, how to identify a small but fast moving vessel that does not look like its been out for a fruitful day of fishing.

  10. Anonymous says:

    How about a gun amnesty and pay a few hundred for each gun, more guns will be turned in. The police only want to pay a 100 for them when the criminals are paying upto a grand or more. If not just deal with the gun crime some other way and stop complaining.

    • Anonymous says:

      Like most things in life; cut the demand for guns, drugs etc. and you will see less and less on the streets.

      Attack the demand not the supplier….if you offer amnesty for guns that won’t change anything. They will keep bringing them in, giving you a few to make it seem like there are less guns out there (whilst collecting large sums of cash) when really they still have them in their possession.

      Attacking the demand means looking at our social fabric as a society and how we can change the mentalities of the criminals out there.

      As you should already know, HMP is full to capacity. So, we have no-where to house any more criminals. Of course, we could always send more away to other more favorable jurisdictions, but that still costs money also.

    • Anonymous says:

      *Criminals* do not turn in their guns to commit their *crimes* that they think will pay them much more than the whatever 100.00 to turn in a gun. Gun amnesties have never worked anywhere on the face of the earth, ever.

  11. Anonymous says:

    We have not been able to safeguard our borders from illegal entry by criminals. It’s a lucrative business for these criminals and their local connections on the island. We have to treat this with high priority or the problem will only exacerbate. That is the biggest single source of illegal guns on the island, further responsible for robberies. Sooner or later we may have a fatality if this is not controlled. I haven’t heard any initiatives on that front.

    • Anonymous says:

      The many fatalities to date have not been hypothetical, nor have been the serious life impairments in the aftermath of our shootings, including the paralysis of some kids. Where have you been hiding with this “sooner or later we might have a fatality” crap?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Suggestion: sink every smuggling boat encountered along with the occupants. Word will spread that persons are disappearing and make others think twice.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s exactly why the USCG arm all their boats and some of their helicopters – fight fire with fire!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Island. Sea. Non-existent / permeable border. Boats. Crime ridden region.

    • Anonymous says:

      The choice to ignore our water border is/was made at Cabinet level. Many of them have high school (or less) intellects and do not understand the mechanisms of social decay. Incredibly, many of them are still pro-transhipment economy in both actions and deeds.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Too many bad people willing to act out extreme violence, with or without guns, confident they will never be found or brought to account for those actions. And they have vocal supporters who feel these actions are justifiable because of “Status Grants of 2003. How about the teen that was stabbed at Burger King in early evening in the heart of our Hotel Tourism zone? Nobody saw anything? The home invasion with a hammer?

  15. Anonymous says:

    No kidding. Everyone on this island has a gun apart from the few law abiding citizens.

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