On Friday September 18th, officers from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) Senior Command Team, including Commissioner of Police, Derek Byrne, along with members of the RCIPS Family Support Unit, met with representatives from the LGBTQ+ community, including Colours Cayman and Cayman LGBTQ Foundation to discuss concerns affecting the LGBTQ+ Community. The meeting provided an opportunity to continue dialogue between RCIPS and the LGBTQ+ community. During the course of the meeting, several initiatives were discussed, to address concerns expressed by the group.
Commissioner of Police Derek Byrne said “We had a very productive, frank and honest discussion, it was a good meeting. It was important for us to hear their concerns. The care, protection and trust of the public is the core objective of all that we do. As such, whenever there are public concerns we make it a priority to provide an avenue for discussion and feedback through community meetings. Our continued mission is to serve the Cayman Islands by working with and working for all person(s) and communities across our islands. To do this successfully it must be in partnership with our community stakeholders.” He continued, “The main concern expressed by the group was that the LGBTQ+ community felt marginalized by some members of the public. They also conveyed concerns that RCIPS did not understand the issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community and that complaints were not always taken seriously. The LGBTQ+ community simply wish to work closer with the RCIPS to ensure that their concerns are heard and that they are better supported.”
Dr. Leonardo Raznovich, from Colours Cayman added "Colours Cayman thanks the RCIPS for facilitating such an important and productive meeting with the LGBTQ+ community of the Cayman Islands represented at the meeting by Colours Cayman and the Cayman LGBTQ Foundation. We would also like to thank the Cayman Islands Red Cross, Chantelle Day and Ben Tonner QC for being present and for contributing to the conversation. Finally, we would like to add that we wholeheartedly welcome the invitation by the RCIPS to receive sensitization training from our organisation and applaud the efforts of Police Commissioner to ensure the continued education and training of his officers to ensure the protection and safety of our vulnerable LGBTQ+ community in the Cayman Islands."
During the meeting the matter of recent social media postings was raised and some of the postings were described by the representatives from LGBTQ+ as disturbing and offensive to the LGBTQ+ community. It was agreed by the Commissioner that a full review of the postings and comments highlighted would be conducted and an investigation commenced to establish if any breaches of the penal code had been committed. Diversity training was raised as a significant issue for police officers and this will be progressed as part of sensitization training that will take place in the coming weeks. It was also agreed that the RCIPS would appoint a Police Liaison Officer to the LGBTQ+ community to act as the consistent point of contact. In closing the meeting the Commissioner confirmed that all complaints received from the LGBTQ+ community would be taken seriously by the RCIPS and investigations initiated where appropriate.