January 26, 2020

Cayman Islands Tourism Association says crime and visitor safety an important issue

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The matter of crime and safety has been and remains a grave concern for the Cayman Islands Tourism Association () and with recent criminal activity “the matter has escalated in priority for the organization as it also should for the Cayman Islands Government”, stated President, Theresa Leacock-Broderick.

CITA appreciates the support of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service () recently expressed by the and Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Moses Kirkconnell. With similar sentiments of the , the recently elected CITA President states, “undeniably, safety is a primary appeal of Cayman as a vacation destination and it differentiates Cayman from other jurisdictions in the region. However, while it is imperative that the react swiftly and comprehensively, preventative measures must also be proactively enhanced and maintained.”

CITA has had prior discussions with the Ministry, the Department of Tourism and with members of the RCIPS about the gaps of service to the tourism industry but action was abated awaiting the arrival of the then newly appointed Commissioner of Police, Mr. Derek Byrne. “Given that new leadership is now in place for Government, the RCIPS as well as CITA, it is imperative that we resume discussions and take action to halt and reverse the unacceptable trends in burglaries, personal assaults and vehicular accidents. Our concerns span from simple criminal opportunist acts to road and marine accidents and include emergency response issues,” Ms. Leacock-Broderick explains.

Discussions amongst CITA members, particularly the Accommodation, the Restaurant and the Watersports sectors identified insightful deficiencies as well as recommendations which we think would be impactful,” explained Ms. Leacock-Broderick. Meetings with Police Constable Jonathan Kern, who was recently honoured as the Caribbean’s 2017 Top Community Policing Officer, revealed several opportunities to address and overcome current challenges. In an immediate internal effort to improve timely communication amongst its members, CITA Accommodation Sector members formed an instant messaging network last November to disseminate alerts amongst its managers and security personnel. CITA would like this network to include additional RCIPS representatives who are assigned and dedicated to specific tourism accommodation zones throughout , similar to the concept neighbourhood beat officers or neighbourhood liaison 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. “We trust that the RCIPS’s full attention and resources are now being applied to apprehending the perpetrators of these recent series of criminal activities and immediately deterring further offences,” Ms. Leacock-Broderick stated. “However, we hope that with these recent crimes, the Commissioner of Police and the Government’s will be receptive to CITA’s specific concerns and recommendations. We look forward to constructive dialogue.”

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