Having already created public controversy by initially denying that the thieves had managed to get into the container located in the station yard, Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) management finally admitted that it was not an attempted break-in but an actual burglary.
The quantity of drugs stolen was revealed following a parliamentary question asked by opposition leader McKeeva Bush in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday morning. Deputy Governor Franz Manderson admitted that 57 kilos of drugs had been taken but no other items were missing as a result of the break-in.
Bush said he was concerned that the RCIPS had taken the burglary “rather lightly” when it had been denied in the first instance but later exposed in the media.
“All that hiding has come to the fore and acceptance that this quantity ofdrugs was stolen … this is a tremendous amount of drugs that are consumed in our country,” he said. “What has been done about this has anyone been reprimanded?”
Bush noted that two local officers from the prison were sacked several years ago when drugs had been stolen there but it seems no one has been held to account over this incident.
The deputy governor maintained, however, that the matter was being taken seriously and a full investigation was underway. He said warrants had been issued, arrests made and exhibits have been seized. Not wanting to go into detail, he said the investigation was ongoing.
“But I have been assured by the top command, in particular the commissioner … this matter has been given a top priority,” he added.
But Bush pressed on, asking how it could happen, given that the container was in a secure area of the police compound, as he pressed Manderson to explain what he knew.
“A lot of the safeguards put in place to prevent this from happening didn’t work,” Manderson said, pointing to a failure to destroy the drugsimmediately after seizure, as well as alarm systems not working, which is being looked at.
“It’s a very serious incident. It’s an attack on the police and our securityservices,” he said.
The deputy governor said he did not know who installed security system but said the drugs there had washed up on shore and were not linked to a court case. They were supposed to be destroyed but he did not know how long they had been there, he told the LA.
Another opposition member, Bernie Bush, asked when something was going to happen about the catalogue of errors and mistakes that the commissioner of police has presided over, especially as in this case when he lied to the public about the missing drugs.
“The governor claims he is doing a good job. Is this a part of doing a good job?” he asked.
“The case is not finished and we need the facts to come out to find out where the blame lies before anyone can take action,” Manderson responded. “I think it is unfair to say the commissioner lied about the drugsnot being stolen; that’s an operational decision when he gives out operational information.”
He added, “Sometimes you can’t tell the public everything they want to know.”