September 18, 2020

The Editor speaks: Police Commissioner Baines speaks up but is it enough?

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Colin WilsonwebEven after listening to Police Commissioner Baines’ interview on CITN/Cayman 27 last week and his reply to questions to him by it still may not be enough to save him.

He wants to stay he told CITN until his contract has been fulfilled and he has 2 years remaining on it.

He said: “I come to work every day and put my efforts into professionally making these islands safer and indeed that is why we are the safest island in the Caribbean. “I understand the concerns that have been expressed and I also understand politics, so it is a matter for the governor.”

He understands the politics and he understands the concerns?

Does he?

Whilst he spoke very eloquently on the television it wasn’t exactly a “” type interview he faced. The interviewer was almost apologetic in asking the questions and was very ready to accept his answers.

I would have liked to have seem Baines with a much more commanding tone but   instead the whole thing was like a pleasant discussion over a British cup of tea with cucumber sandwiches to munch.

The Police Commissioner said he had obeyed the letter of the law when it had come to employing , the Jamaican police officer found guilty of murder back in Jamaica. At the time Findlay was employed by the he had come with ”glowing” references, even though this was only two months before he was charged with murder.

It does seem incredible that Findlay could not be immediately dismissed as soon as it was known he had been charged with murder. Baines said there was no probationary period and Findlay was on a three-year contract. Despite the murder charge he would still have had to be paid even if he had been terminated.

“The application of the law has been equally applied to both Cayman and expatriate, as evidence of that and the application of the Public Service Management Law in the case of a local officer convicted of demanding a bribe, sentenced and permitted to appeal … remains on the payroll pending the outcome of that appeal. Regardless of any personal position, that is what the law permits rightly or wrongly,” he said.

Although Baines said he accepted blame when it came to police shortcomings without going into any specifics, or seemingly not being asked about them, he then had a go at the “failings of parenting, education and rehabilitation”. He wasn’t going to take the blame for that.

He made no attempt to say what he was going to do now to get the public’s trust back that we have an efficient police force and they are working with the public and not against them. At present there is a huge divide between the police and the public with suspicion on both sides. The pettiness of some of the charges and prosecutions smacks of the numbers game – statistics. “Look, stats say we are doing a great job!”

Whilst our Premier, McLaughlin, has also come under fire from some quarters by not stating his personal feelings whether the police commissioner should go, I claim he is absolutely right. He did not appoint Baines, it is the Governor who does that, and he has to work with him. Surely one wouldn’t want the Bush theatrics? That gets one nowhere. Diplomacy is the answer and McLaughlin is learning that.

Although he denied East End MLA Arden Mclean’s request that all members meet with the Governor he said he would do it alone and inform her of the concerns and desire of the MLA’s.

I cannot condemn him on that approach.

If other media want Baines removed immediately then lets us all make a united effort to actually get the public to say so in writing. It is becoming more like a witch hunt with who speaks the loudest wins.

I am no fan of the police commissioner but it must be dealt with by some degree of thought and the repercussions if the Commissioner was summarily dismissed. Changing the top man for another does not always mean an immediate solution or any solution.

I do not feel what the police commissioner has said, though, is enough to restore confidence in his current position or the public’s perception.

Maybe, this will have stirred him up a bit……

 

UPDATE:

Cayman Islands Governor says Police Commissioner David Baines has her full backing

From the Governor’s Office:

“Having returned to office, I have reviewed the circumstances surrounding the recruitment of a Jamaican national officer by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and the subsequent decisions in relation to this officer when he was charged with a serious offence. I am fully satisfied that the actions of the Commissioner of Police were justified and in line with the law and standard disciplinary procedures for any civil servant.

“It is important for all sectors of the community to support the Commissioner and members of the RCIPS in their continued fight against crime on behalf of the people of the Cayman Islands. We should not tolerate false criticisms and unwarranted personal attacks on the Commissioner of Police as these serve only to damage the reputation of the Cayman Islands and undermine the effectiveness of the police and hence the safety of our community. The Commissioner has my full support as he carries out his vital duties.”

 

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