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Letter: Because we allow them to, they think they can

Published on Sunday, March 28, 2010 Email To Friend    Print Version

Dear Sir:

Reading about yet another broad daylight shooting taking place (this time near Batabano Plaza in West Bay) has become so commonplace and so thoroughly unsettling that the standard bewildered response is annoying for being cliché.

Theories abound as to why the country is rapidly and steadily being flushed down the toilet. “Going down the drain” is simply too nice and nowhere nearly as accurate as the violent, mucky reality that we find ourselves in.

Those of us who are firm believers in preventative measures versus knee jerk reactive responses are not surprised to find our nation, and ourselves, in this place. Our “head-in-the-sand-until-something-is-kicking- us-in-the-behind-thus-forcing-us-to-look-up-and-acknowledge-its-existence” approach is as much a part of our heritage as Rundown, Batabano and camping on Easter weekend.

For weeks now, the public outrage has poured in regards to the state of crime and security in our beloved Isles. These passionate outcries often end up turning down the well trodden arguments of Caymanians and expats, or PPM vs UDP, and soon the blame game starts and its all useless finger pointing as those arguments join the rest of us making their way down the aforementioned toilet.

Seeing as we all have our theories as to why these things are happening, kindly reconsider this old proposition: crime in Cayman is escalating because we, the law abiding residents of the Cayman Islands, allow criminals to commit them, thus making said criminals believe that they can do what they wish to do. In other words, because we allow them to they think they can.

How do we do this? The obvious answer is by not reporting that which we have seen or know.

The perhaps not so obvious answers lie in our behaviour. As outraged and enraged as some calls to our daily talk shows, and even letters to our newspapers, are they are equally as full of fear and despair.

Take, for example, the statement that was submitted by the Minister’s Association on crime and security. In particular, take a look at point number 6 where it states: "We call upon the authorities to institute curfews and states of emergency whenever necessary to restore the tranquility of the community, without fear of unpopularity from any quarter."

The imposition of curfews and the declaration of "state of emergency" (martial law) are extraordinary measures in any democratic society (and more commonly used and abused in dictatorial regimes) and should not be taken lightly. Clearly the security issue in Cayman has proven to be more than deserving of our attention and reaction (perhaps in a few years time we will learn how to be proactive), but calling for such extreme measures is not only absurd, but detrimental to our community morale. A state of emergency is often used during periods of civil unrest -- usually meaning riots, sabotage, violent demonstrations and overall chaos. That is not the case here.

Curfews and martial law restrict the civil liberties of all citizens. Curfews and martial law disrupt the lives of all citizens. Why should we empower the criminal element by suggesting that their "power" and "stronghold" is such that the only way to "deal" with them is by allowing the imposition of such havoc on our lives in this way?

We have a significant problem which is slapping us in the face and demanding our undivided attention; there is no question about that. And yes, this community has suffered loss, privately and nationally, in ways that cannot be measured. But we have not lost. Like much else in our lives at the moment, we will have to fight for our community.

Fear cripples. Fear stifles. Fear weakens. We may quite possibly have the fight of our lives (literally and figuratively) on our hands, and as scary as that is we must embrace it because we cannot afford to pass the buck. If our elected leadership and our moral leadership cannot, or will not, step up to the plate then it is on us to take the lead. Start at home: take preventative measures; teach your youngsters to be more alert. But don’t stop there: do more for our community. Partake in an outreach effort into vulnerable communities (take a left or right off the main roads and you will find them). Open your home to a child in need. Volunteer your time and expertise to empower someone else with a new skill so they are better suited to join the workforce. Create your community watch group.

Anonymous calls and blogs aren’t enough. It’s time to be seen and heard.

Take back Cayman. One life at a time, one house at a time, one community at a time.

Carolina Ferreira
 
Reads : 1353

Comments:

Glenford Winchester Taylor:
Letter: Because we allow them to, they think they can (4323)
Hi. I do share the sentiment of the writer in the topic "because we allowed them to". During my eight years of service with the Royal Cayman Island Police Services, I compare and contrast the similarities of the crime I policed in Jamaica, my native home; as a result I compiled a poem labeled "Under the Carpet". It stipulates my observations and the sad situation that I foresee coming to the Cayman Islands; a place that I had gotten to love. I submitted a copy of this poem, or social commentary, to the Cayman Compass and they published it. The drawback was that they attached my full name; as a result I was suspended from duty for a year, though they had no evidence of any breach in protocol. My contract was terminated and I left the Islands in 2004, but God has blessed me and I am now my own boss, operating a Security Guard, Recovery and Investigative Agency in South Florida, I have been asked since then by many Caymanians to re-published the poem, as it describes the present situation of the crime perfectly, so if you may allow me to, I would once again share it with you all. Thank You

Poem:
Under the Carpet

You say that he hath founded it on the seas
But without Jamaica where would you be

You have turned your backs upon your past,
The ones who feed you, you thought of last

And because their homeland seems ridden with crime
You didnít know it would soon be your time

You continued pampering your delinquent ones
Whose aspirations are to have a gun

But whose fault can it be!
You bought them paint ball guns from their eyes were at their knees

My friend told you there were gangs in your schools
You ridiculed him and call him a fool

And because he is from far away
You suppressed him, not a word could he say

And now the decision is for you to make
Are you willing to give your people a break?

I sometimes wonder how a parent can
Support their child in a life of wrong
And how will they feel when they have to cry
Getting the news their child had just died

Glenford Winchester Taylor
18/05/03



George Davidson:
How about changing the laws to give life in prison for attempted murder; life in prison for anyone caught with a gun and or bullets, and of the importation of such.

Big Berd:
As stated by a Texas police officer that has a house in Cayman, public awareness and public crime stoppers do not work.
What is so hard to understand here? Arm the police officers.
Or we could end up like Jamaica, waiting until it's too late, to arm the officers, so that crime is so deep rooted, it will never be gone, no matter what you do.
Am I taking crazy pills here? What is so hard to comprehend? What is the evil of giving police officers guns? For the love of God, if we can't trust our police officers, who can we trust?


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