January 31, 2023

The Editor Speaks: Baines bows out

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Colin Wilsonweb2I was shocked and left slightly sad at the announcement our Police Commissioner David Baines had resigned.

When you read the two statements from our Governor, Helen Kilpatrick (especially the Governor) and our Premier, Alden McLaughlin, one gets the impression Baines did a first class job and was “unfairly” criticised by the media, the public and the backbench MLA’s.

“I would like to take this opportunity to recognise the dedicated service that Commissioner Baines has given to the Cayman Islands over the last seven years, ”the Governor said. “Crime statistics show that over this period the Cayman Islands have remained amongst the safest communities in the Caribbean. In addition to leading the RCIPS with professionalism, Commissioner Baines has made a significant contribution to policing in the wider Caribbean through his chairmanship of the Caribbean Chiefs of Police group and his leadership of work on firearms and gun crime for all of the Caribbean Overseas Territories.”

“It is unfortunate that the recent motions filed by members of the opposition in the House concerning policing have put us in this predicament,” said the premier. “Essentially Government is going to have to pay Mr. Baines for the remainder of his contract while the Cayman Islands has no Commissioner of Police in place and, given the reaction of the opposition to Mr. Baines, we may find ourselves in difficulty in filling the role quickly.” He even called the opposition MLA’s actions “irresponsible”.

No one can argue with either of those comments.

However, it is what Baines didn’t do that was the problem and it is what he said that alienated him from, not only the public, certain MLA’s and most of the media outlets but also from members of the judiciary.

Even when he stopped the jewelry robbers from getting away one New Year’s Day with his prompt action he was savagely criticised by some members of the public fuelled unfairly by one of the media houses.

West Bay MLA Bernie Bush issued a complaint containing 20 items of alleged misconduct by the Police Commissioner (see iNews Cayman https://www.ieyenews.com/wordpress/cayman-islands-mla-issues-complaint-against-police-commissioner-for-non-performance/) and there were many on that list that deserved a better response from the Commissioner than:

“Mr Bush, once again, demonstrates his ample capacity to repeat rumor, speculation and gossip without checking the facts, thereby speaking with total confidence from a position of total ignorance.

“Why let facts get in the way of a ‘grandstanding’ media headline? I will assist any inquiry or action initiated by Her Excellency the Governor. My only regret is the waste of time and public money these misrepresentations and false accusations will cause in having them addressed to the satisfaction of all concerned.

“Thereby speaking with total confidence from a position of total ignorance.”

He did need to address the questions that were raised but instead inflamed the situation.

With due respect to the Governor, Baines is also to blame for the “recent barrage of unfair criticism and defamatory comments”.

I wish it had not ended up like this and this country is the poorer for it.

Baines has bowed out and most of us also should bow our heads with some shame as well.

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