Cabinet to get police briefings

The Governor’s Office issued a statement Wednesday afternoon saying new arrangements were being put in place to regularly brief Cabinet Ministers about developments pertaining to matters of law and order.

The statement came after the Cabinet threatened to withhold budget funding from the Royal Cayman Islands Police unless it were allowed to send a Cabinet member to the weekly police briefings.

The compromise settlement of the issue will not allow a Cabinet minister at the police briefings, but will provide for the Ministers to receive regular briefings, within the constraints of the constitution.

‘H.E. the Governor wishes to stress that he understands the importance of keeping the elected Ministers informed about developments pertaining to law and order, including significant incidents when they happen,’ the statement from the Governor’s Office said.

More significant changes to the current procedure will have to wait.

‘Both the Governor and Honourable Leader agree that more fundamental change is only possible through constitutional modernisation,’ the press statement said.

When Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts raised the issue at the Cabinet media briefing last week, he expressed frustration at not being able to get information about security matters such as the escape of some 30 Cuban migrants from the detention centre near Fairbanks Prison.

Cabinet Minister Alden McLaughlin said ‘this is why we need constitutional change’ when commented on being excluded from matters dealing with security.

The Governor’s Office statement emphasised that relations between the Governor and the elected members of Cabinet remained ‘warm, productive and professional’.

Mr. Tibbetts said Wednesday afternoon that the details of the new briefing arrangement had not yet been worked out.

‘We’re waiting for the Governor to get back to us. Once he does, we’ll be issuing a further statement,’ he said, adding that he expects that statement to come sometime next week.

Mr. Tibbetts did agree that the settlement was acceptable.

‘We’ve discussed this in Cabinet and once [the Governor gets back to us with the arrangement] we’ll be fine.

The statement from the Governor’s Office said that both the Governor and Mr. Tibbetts extended their gratification to Police Commissioner and the RCIP staff for their success in further lowering serious crime in the first quarter of 2007.

‘Cabinet gives every assurance that it will continue to provide the funds that will enable the RCIPS to ensure that Cayman is a safe place to live, visit and do business in, over the coming months and years,’ the statement said.

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