Today, 4 July 2018, the RCIPS announced the result of its 2018 Firearms Amnesty, which ran the entire month of June and concluded last Saturday night at 10PM. Throughout the month, 18 firearms and 896 rounds of ammunition were handed in as part of the amnesty program. These firearms were turned in either directly to police stations, through local pastors, or through Crime Stoppers. In addition, a cross bow and 12 gauge flare gun were also turned in to police.
“In our view this amnesty has been extremely successful, not only because of the number of firearms and ammunition handed in to police, but because of the type and condition of these firearms,” said Deputy Commissioner Kurt Walton, who spearheaded this year’s amnesty campaign. “In past years the bulk of the firearms received were old and rusty rifles. This year, however, we have received seven handguns, some of which are in good condition, which are precisely the types of weapons we want to be taking off the street. In years past we did not receive anywhere near this many handguns.”
The RCIPS has arranged for all the guns and ammunition received during the amnesty to be displayed today for the media during a press opportunity at George Town Police Station, during which D/CoP Walton and Acting Superintendent Brad Ebanks answered questions.
“What is also remarkable is the amount and variety of ammunition that was also turned in,” added A/Superintendent Ebanks, “nearly 900 rounds is a lot of ammunition, and removing that from the public is a big step in the right direction. When seeing the firearms and the ammunition displayed today that we’ve taken off the street, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that right now on the islands a gun or a bullet may be just a little less available to those willing to use them to cause harm.”
Since 2006, 35 young men in the Cayman Islands have died in firearm violence, while 33 men are currently serving prison terms in HMP Northward for possessing an unlicensed firearm.
“We can also hope our efforts may have some impact on these numbers going forward,” said Supt. Ebanks.
The RCIPS also underscored how the success of the amnesty was the result of a powerful community effort, both with its partners, the Cayman Ministers Association and Cayman Crime Stoppers, who provided confidential and anonymous options to hand in firearms, as well as the sponsors of a sustained amnesty media campaign on radio, online and in the Camana Bay Cinema. Those sponsors were all three Rotary Clubs of Grand Cayman, The Lions Club, The Cayman Islands Sports Shooting Association, Superior Auto and Stone Island Limited.
“The support of community organizations for this amnesty has been really encouraging,” said D/CoP Walton, “because while crime is often a topic of conversation and public debate, it is another thing entirely to take concrete and positive action to solve problems. We are grateful to our partners in this campaign for their active involvement, but even more so I want to thank those people out there who had the courage to do the right thing or convince someone else to do the right thing by turning in firearms or ammunition during this amnesty. Our islands are a bit safer now thanks to you.”