Pastors join police for gun amnesty

| 31/05/2018 | 30 Comments
firearms amnesty

Superintendent Brad Ebanks and Deputy Commissioner Kurt Walton

(CNS): The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service will launch a one-month firearms amnesty Friday, offering clemency on the possession of unlicensed and illegal weapons and ammunition that are handed in to the authorities as part of the continuing focus on getting guns off the streets of Cayman. This time the police have joined forces with pastors at eleven churches across all districts to offer an alternative location to police stations for holders to drop off their illegal guns.

The police have seized 63 guns in Cayman since 2015, 29 of which were recovered just last year, but with fears that there are still many more out there, the aim is to recover as many as they can as safely as possible.

The RCIPS is planning a full-scale education and awareness campaign about the details of the amnesty, how people can safely hand in a weapon without fear of prosecution, and where and when to do it. The police will not be turning a blind eye if the weapons turn out to have been used in a crime but the people handing them in will not be prosecuted for the possession of those firearms.

Whether it’s guns that were once licensed, old firearms that have been hidden in lofts and attics for decades or even weapons that people know have been hidden deliberately, the police are hoping that the community will embrace the amnesty and help in the effort to make our streets safer.

“Gun crime is unsettling for everyone,” said Deputy Commissioner Kurt Walton. “The goal of this amnesty is simple. We, along with all of our partners in this campaign, just want to get as many guns as possible off the streets. Over the past twelve years, 35 young men have been killed with a firearm in the Cayman Islands. This is far too high a number for our small islands and a sobering statistic.”

firearms amnestyThe gun amnesty begins at 7:00am on 1 June and will run until 30 June every day until 10:00pm. The weapons should be unloaded, with guns and ammunition placed in separate plastic bags and taped tightly closed. The public can take the guns directly to their local police station, where special boxes have been placed in reception, or members of the public can contact any of the participating pastors (see below). People can also call Cayman CrimeStoppers or post a tip on the website about the location of an illegal weapon.

This is not the first amnesty that the police have conducted, and each time a number of weapons have been recovered. In 2005, the last time that the churches were involved, 20 guns were recovered. In 2010, 26 weapons, including handguns, shotguns, a flare gun, a crossbow, an explosives detonator and a grenade, as well as 233 rounds of ammunition, were handed in. An amnesty in 2011 resulted in the recover of 825 rounds of ammunition, one .38 pistol, three air guns and 217 pellets.

Walton said that involving the churches has proved successful in the past as some people feel more comfortable handing an illegal gun to a member of the clergy rather than a member of law enforcement, and so long as the firearms are removed from the streets, whether that is through a pastor or a police officer is not important.

“We believe that the amnesty can be much more successful just by having other means of surrendering a firearm available, with incentives,” Walton added. “We know that not everyone will feel comfortable dropping off a firearm in a police station, even during an amnesty. Our partners and sponsors broaden the appeal and reach of the amnesty, and also show that we are all united as a community against firearm violence.”

The pastors taking part have all engaged in discussions with the police about the safety issues and handling the weapons, and as soon as a pastor receives a gun he can bring it to the station or call the RCIPS for a firearms officer to come and collect it.

Firearms can take a terrible toll on families of both the victims of shootings and those doing the shooting.

Superintendent Brad Ebanks said, “Gun crimes have a tremendous effect on families on both sides. It is devastating for those who are victims and families of the perpetrators have to accept the life-changing impact of long prison terms. We should not be experiencing gun crime at the rate we are for such a small island.”

The Cayman Islands has very strict gun laws. Anyone convicted after trial for possession of an unlicensed firearm is facing a mandatory minimum ten-year prison term, or seven years for a guilty plea, even if the person has not fired a shot. Currently, in addition to the prisoners serving time for murder, attempted murder, robbery and other crimes using firearms, there are 33 young men currently serving time for possessing an illegal gun.

The recovery of 29 guns by police last year also saw a decrease of over 30% in gun-related crime — a powerful correlation that has spurred the police to press ahead with the amnesty.

Anyone wishing to hand in a weapon, no questions asked, can take the gun or ammunition to any district police station and deposit it into one of the firearm collection boxes, which have been installed in the main entrances of the stations. In Cayman Brac, a person can hand a firearm directly to the on-duty officer at the station. Officers can also collect a gun, which can be arranged by calling a local police station.

Alternatively, with the help of the Cayman Ministers Association, people can contact the participating pastors, who also have gift certificates for goods and services at local businesses to distribute to those who surrender firearms as a thank-you from the business community.

Anyone with information about the location of a firearm they can make an anonymous tip through Cayman Crime Stoppers, and be eligible for a reward if a gun is recovered.

A video being released in conjunction with the amnesty with a visual demonstration and breakdown of how to secure a firearm for surrender and the different options for turning it in can be viewed on the RCIPS website from noon Friday, after the amnesty begins.

The RCIPS said that several community organisations and businesses quickly stepped up in recent weeks to sponsor the media campaign for the firearms amnesty, including CrimeStoppers, the Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, Rotary Central, Rotary Sunrise, the Lions Club of Grand Cayman, the Cayman Islands Sport Shooting Association, and Superior Auto. The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions was also consulted and offered its support for the amnesty.

The Participating Pastors List

Name Church District/ Area Phone#
Tom French Church of God Cotton Tree Bay Cayman Brac 925-2111
Winston Rose Church of God Bodden Town 916-0776
Rohan Forrester United Church in Jamaica Bodden Town &

North Side

325-5563
Torrence Bobb First Assembly of God George Town 916-5639
David Tayman Cayman International Assembly of God Camana Bay, George Town 917-5774
Alson Ebanks Church of God Chapel George Town 926-1489
Dino Robinson First Bilingual Christian Church George Town 916-7336
Dave Jorge First Baptist Church George Town 926-0461

 

Shawn Knight Church of God Chapel Frank Sound, North Side 925-4204
Garrett Haylock Church of God West Bay 916-1345
Christopher Rose Church of God West Bay 916-3748

 

 

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Category: Crime, Crime Prevention, Police

Comments (30)

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  1. Just Sayin' says:

    Maybe they should have a piece of shit boy racer Japanese car amnesty instead?

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  2. Anonymous says:

    It’s amazing how some of the perspectives shared here are so narrow. The gun amnesty is based on people walking into a police station and dropping off a gun. Yes no questions asked but some of these guys will only go to a police station in handcuffs and the back seat of a car. Neither will they take option B of calling an officer to come to their house to collect the gun.

    Some brave men in the community have stepped forward and taken a real risk to their personal lives and well being by serving as a neutral point of receipt for a firearm.

    If one gets collected during this amnesty the. that’s one less gun.

    It won’t necessarily be the young hoods who turn their guns in but other relatives/friends who know where they are.

    The negativity is juvenile. Perhaps if you knew your kid was going to school with someone who’s brother or Uncle keeps a gun in the sock drawer or toilet tank, you might welcome this opportunity.

    The point is to give people a safe option to get rid of a gun and no Pastor who has put themselves forward to help in this effort can be justifiably criticized for this action.

    They have always been a part of previous gun amnesties which those who are from Cayman or long term residents will attest to. But as usual the Johnny come lately crew who couldn’t make it anywhere else must enlighten us with their infinite wisdom.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    The problem with the critics on this island is they know only one thing and that is criticize but they have no solutions. The police have made it clear that they are not depending solely on the amnesty to get guns off the streets. They’ve taken 63 guns off the streets in the past 3.5 years in police operations. They’ve said, Thirty three (33) young men are serving time at prison for these guns. They’ve said 35 young men are dead from guns. All they’re saying is here is an opportunity of a lifetime to stop this madness; either accept it or face death or go to jail for 7/10 years. What more do we expect as a community. I know Mr Walton and Mr Ebanks personally. They are patriotic men who loves cayman. I know it bothers them personally to see the social breakdown over the past few years that these islands have come to where young men settle their indifferences by killing each other. How many more parents are going to lose sons before this madness stops. Stop all the naysayers negative attitude and if you know someone with an illegal gun encourage them to turn it in; the consequences are dire if they don’t.

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  4. Elvis says:

    I think it needs more than churchy intervention now, no one cares and it’s plain to see so stop wasting time and living in. 80s remember no gangs claim? Only groups of men hanging out? Lmao do something and stop playing

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  5. Anonymous says:

    pastors???….the biggest scam artists in the game….

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  6. anonymous says:

    OMG never something positive or constructive. You are either complicit or occupy a dark place on earth. Or what is the alternative, genius?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Nothing wrong with being positive or constructive, but dont confuse wishful thinking with wise planning. You might start by not asking other people to solve your problems, especially if you are in a managment position. Cayman does not need hacks in control that are protected by their friends and family every time they suggest ineffectual ideas just so they can keep that position that benefits their family and friends. What a circular scam that is.

      I dont want to hear how you are going to solve caymans problems, I just want to hear that they have been solved. If you cant handle that, then you or anybody else in a position of power should not be there.

    • Anonymous says:

      One start would be for 10 years to mean 10 years. Over recent years too many gun possessors have received tiny sentences after the judge bought their sob stories. The chap with the photos on the phone was an excellent example.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Trusting the churches to be gatekeepers is further evidence that the RCIPS have no street sense as to their laundering function in the Cayman Islands, their long complicity and occasionally active role in political corruption, election-rigging, gangs, lotteries, and the transshipment economy. Concurrently, we are two weeks prior to the NPO registration deadline, which has so far seen very low uptake in participation by this segment, and they know they are years from audit (if that should ever happen). Clearly, the game rolls on.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Praying your way out of any problem is great PR, and you still get credit if you have no effect but it looks like you tried.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I believe it was the Bethel Refuge Apostolic Church that recommended we pray our way out. Their Pastor was subsequently denied building permit on $1mln 400 seat church in Savannah, and caught on suspicion of two counts of document forgery. Bless.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Gun amnesties has never worked anywhere on the face of the earth, ever. Criminals are not interested in giving up their illegal activities. Including giving up their illegal weapons. This is why gun bans do not keep guns out of criminal hands, only put of law abiding citizens hands.. Nice thought to.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Look to Australia. Got a very positive response to gun reforms. Better to keep Cayman the way it is or risk turning this place into little USA. You want guns, go north og the border and live in Texas you moron.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Umm I only know of one place where gun amnesty worked and that was Australia. Gotta love them Aussies.

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    • Anonymous says:

      They work better when combined with quick, no-questions-asked cash bounties. eg.Junior’s toilet weapons stash suddenly goes missing and he dares not confront his crack-granny on where it went.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Sweet deal, turn in your old gun and get reward money for a bigger and better one. Just haND in a few bb guns and buy some aks

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Corruption amnesty for RCIP next? Let’s see who would confess.

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  11. Anon says:

    No, no, no!!! This will not work.
    When guns are outlawed
    All outlaws will still have their guns.
    Countries that seek to take away the citizens guns are doomed countries.
    The first thing Hitler and other dictators did was to disarm the citizens.
    This is a bad idea.
    When criminals think that you have a gun in your house they will not try to break in and rob and steal.
    Speak out against this Cayman.
    We in Cayman are keeping our guns and anyone breaking in will be met with Mr. Smith or Mr. Wesson.
    Get your immigration in line and you will control the guns.

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    • Anonymous says:

      100% accurate. Too bad people fail to see that. Same reason prohibition didn’t work, same reason the war on terror and drugs isn’t working. It’s these stubborn, inconsiderate criminals that don’t do as they are told when there is a chance for possible amnesty for turning in an illegal firearm. Only people who will turn in their illegal guns are those who got one to do wrong but chickened out or changed their ways and actually want to be a decent person.

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    • Nunya says:

      Authorities are targeting illegal and unwanted firearms. There is no mention of legal or documented firearms being the focus of this program. In my opinion, 1 month isn’t long enough!

    • Anonymous says:

      Look at the death rates from guns in the US and countries with strict gun laws. Then shut up. Legal gun owners in the US are six times more likely to die of a gun shot wound than those that do not own guns. And then there are the 9 kids shot dead every day in the States.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I just vomited…..
    Pastors and crime prevention.

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  13. West Bay Premier says:

    I think that should have been said , during this amnesty period we RCIPS will be working on Legislation. that will double the fine and prison time if you are arrested for possession of a gun and ammunition after the amnesty period is over .

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  14. Anonymous says:

    In the days of Jesus and the true Apostles, great things happened. Blind eyes were opened, the sick were healed and broken hearts were mended.
    These days, we schmooze with government and collect loads of cash.

    When the pastor lays hands on you, you need to look behind before you fall…lol.

    Jesus is not in either of those pursuits.
    He requires good, honest government and humble generosity.

    He came to fix what was broken and we make Him a monster.

    Can we have a real Church in Cayman?

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Sure, as long as your gun isn’t gay or wanting a divorce.
    How much did CIMA contribute to the media campaign?

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  16. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if any of these amnesty boxes will turn up missing like a certain white, powdery substance and those things with the wheels did.

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    • Anonymous says:

      LOL! I remember the run up to the 1997 UK handgun ban. The deal was that licensed firearms had to be surrendered for destruction in return for a compensation payment based on their condition and market value. I can tell you that more than a few of the guns handed in didn’t get cut up and melted down.

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