February 1, 2023

The Editor Speaks: Garbage and prison

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I am not saying that garbage and prisons go together like hell and high water. What I am saying is that the woeful garbage situation and the woeful overcrowded conditions at our prison go together.

We could even give it a title “Tell me the old, old story”, except it is a title of a hymn and its words definitely do not reflect the gravity of our continuing problems with garbage and our prison.

Once again broken down vehicles on Cayman Brac and here have meant our garbage has not been collected again. Here, where I live in Newlands, the days of non collection turn into weeks and roving cats and dogs together with the chickens play havoc. The dogs and cats are able to bring the garbage cans down to the ground spilling the plastic bags out and they together with the chickens tear the bags open. The result is a filthy and stinking mess.

Through a press release we learn that the Department of Environmental Health “has been working tirelessly throughout the week to ensure that normal collections resume in the shortest possible time”.


Well, I have to report that as I write this (Sat), the ‘tireless’ crew did collect my garbage so the collection was only two days late.

Last week it was better, only one day late.

The problem is – it keeps happening whilst the head garbage man sits at home on full pay under a cone of silence.

Any inquiry as to why is met with an explanation of …. garbage.

Next is our prison – HM Northward.

“Let’s be very blunt, the facilities built here are not fit for purpose.”

The above quote was said by Steven Barrett, the interim prisons director.

Let me be blunt. We have heard this for YEARS!

As for the news “The Cayman Islands government has been extremely acknowledging and accepting of that fact,” that don’t impress me, much. Another good title? Thanks Shania Twain.

“We have a situation where the hotel is full. What I don’t want to do is be in a situation where people are sleeping on the floor without a bed,” Barrett said to the media last Thursday.

Some of our residents are sleeping on our beaches until the police wake them up and force them to find another place to go.

Our young but eloquent MLA. Kenneth Bryan, has a solution to the problem at the prison. This a job where the head man must be a Caymanian. Barrett has 30 years in the Scottish prisons service and another two spent running the Turks and Caicos Islands prisons,

Bryan would, I expect, insist the surgeon operating on him if he had to have a heart operation must be a Caymanian!

Same thing at the Fire Service. Anyone can put out a fire. Just point a hose at it and hope the other end is connected to some water.

That’s all there is to it.

It doesn’t take any experience to lock someone up and that is the heart of the problem with MLAs and therefore government.

“The majority of the more than $15 million the prisons service spends each year is focused much more on security and good order than it is on rehabilitative efforts for prisoners,” laments Barrett.

I have heard that before, too.

Isn’t it time someone actually listened to the advice of an experienced ex-pat instead of crying for him to be replaced by a Caymanian?

Frankly, Kenneth, your solution for solving the prison problem is adding to the other increasing problem we have – it is just that – garbage.

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