CITA calls for tourist cops

| 20/06/2017 | 5 Comments

(CNS Business): The Cayman Islands Tourism Association is calling for dedicated police officers who, like neighbourhood or community officers, would cover specific tourism zones to keep visitors safe and secure. The latest organisation to raise concerns about the recent crime spike, which has included robberies, home invasions and a surge in burglaries in the capital, CITA, which represents hotel and condo owners, bars and restaurants, water and other tour operators, said that the crime situation was a “grave concern”.

CITA said they had made suggestions about policing and gaps in policing the tourism sector but they haven’t been acted on. CITA President Theresa Leacock-Broderick said crime had “escalated in priority for the organisation”.

She said CITA appreciated the support of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) but “undeniably, safety is a primary appeal of Cayman as a vacation destination”, and while it was imperative the police react to the crime spike, preventative measures should be “enhanced and maintained” as well.

The association said it had been in discussions with the tourism ministry as well as the RCIPS about the “gaps of service to the tourism industry, but action was abated awaiting the arrival of the then newly appointed commissioner”.

Leacock-Broderick said that now the police leadership was in place, she called for talks to resume and for action to stop and reverse “the unacceptable trends in burglaries, personal assaults and vehicular accidents”.

She added, “Our concerns span from simple criminal opportunist acts to road and marine accidents and include emergency response issues.”

Talks that involved the organisation’s members and Police Constable Jonathan Kern, who was recently named the Caribbean’s 2017 Top Community Policing Officer, “revealed several opportunities to address and overcome current challenges”.

CITA said it was looking to improve communication between its members and the police. Last year, it created a messaging network to alert managers and security staff about events.

“CITA would like this network to include additional RCIPS representatives who are assigned and dedicated to specific tourism accommodation zones throughout Grand Cayman,” Leacock-Broderick added, as she raised the idea of community tourism police officers.

“This is just one of many recommendations CITA has for the Cayman Islands Government and the RCIPS and one of several ways that CITA members are prepared to work with each other and with the RCIPS in preventing and addressing criminal activity and situations that undermine visitor safety,” she said. “We hope that with these recent crimes, the commissioner of police and the government will be receptive to CITA’s specific concerns and recommendations. We look forward to constructive dialogue.”

CITA’s comments follow those also made by Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell last week and the Chamber of Commerce president Kyle Broadhurst. All of them raised concerns about the impact of armed robberies on small businesses, many of which service the tourism sector even if they are not dealing exclusively with tourists.

Given the importance of tourism to the local economy, people are becoming concerned that Cayman’s previous reputation as one of the safest destinations in the region is on increasingly shaky ground.

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Category: Stay-over tourism, Tourism

Comments (5)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    CITA please encourage your members to properly light up the areas around their buildings and their parking lots. Everyone would feel a lot safer and any "bad" business will move away.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Let businesses hire actual offduty cops for security. Or would the local politically-connected security company prevent this?

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  3. Anonymous says:

    How about the very mentally unstable and known criminal being allowed to illegally sell coconuts on the waterfront while in possession of a razor sharp machete (an offensive weapon). A disaster waiting to happen.

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