September 22, 2020

The Editor Speaks: Four robberies in one week and no level playing field


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With no official condemnation of the robberies, it has been left for the Chamber of Commerce to issue a statement:

“The Chamber is concerned and deplores the recent upsurge of robberies within our community. After a short period of reprieve local businesses are once again faced with the need to consider stricter security measures to protect their staff, property and assets. These types of crime not only have a direct effect on morale within the community, they also affect how we are viewed as a place to conduct business, invest and visit. We cannot tolerate this type of crime in the Cayman Islands without dire consequences.”

The armed robbery at WestStar TV was largely welcomed, by the people of Cayman, if you read the bloggers. The same was the reaction when CUC got robbed last year. Both premises were robbed at gun point with terrified victims threatened and made to lie down with a gun aimed at their head.

Because the victim is not popular with certain persons, it is OK to rob them and OK to publish their disgraceful ‘opinions’ that cause even more grief to the scared preyed upon.

I listened with interest to Rod Hansen’s comments on CITN/Cayman27 last Wednesday (30 May) in the aftermath of the Television Centre and the robberies at CashWiz and Shop Right.

“There’s something wrong when the only people on island with guns are the crooks,” WestStar TV CEO Rod Hansen, said.

Mr. Hansen said he’s lost sleep over his 21-year-old company’s first ever robbery.

“I feel very badly about that. I feel very responsible for our employees and it’s unnerving.”

“We need a way to get the guns out of the crooks hands or we need to do something to level the playing field so that a proprietor of a business can protect and defend his business.”

It is certainly a much better response than the wishy, washy Chamber statement. Haven’t businesses already been advised to “consider” stricter security measures to protect their staff? Most have already done so. Prentice Panton, owner of Reflections, has been robbed now a number of times and has beefed up his security. But it hasn’t helped. With an unarmed security guard that can’t even wear a bullet proof vest without the RCIPS’s permission it definitely is not a level playing field. Do you remember the video of his shop being robbed by gunmen shooting out the door and the security guard running for his life?

The classic argument that if you arm security guards you are begetting more crooks arming themselves and discharging their firearms on staff and creating a new “breed of crime” is nonsense. Hallo. How many robberies are committed now without the robber being armed and with a firearm? The opposite is the norm. We have already passed that objection.

If you are a robber and you have a gun are you really going to attack a premises where a security guard is wearing a bullet proof vest and might shoot you back? Wouldn’t he go for the easier target? Wouldn’t he think twice about robbing anyone who can fight back on equal terms?

Where are the statistics, the police like to provide us with, that show when security guards are armed it provokes more violence? I would have thought it would be the opposite, trying to put myself into the mind of a robber.

I am NOT in favour of everybody being armed as that would be a recipe for a wild west shoot out but the police and security guards should be armed at all times. When an armed robbery in progress is reported, by the time the police get the necessary permissions to be armed, valuable time is lost and they arrive too late.

Going back to the Chamber’s statement where they talk about not tolerating “this type of crime in the Cayman Islands without dire consequences” what do they suggest? I agree with them. But there needs to be something else? We can’t even use pepper spray!

The playing field is firmly slanted one way and it is not the right way!


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