Search narrows for next top cop

The manhunt for the next Royal Cayman Islands Police Commissioner advanced this week as Governor Stuart Jack prepared a shortlist of candidates to invite to interview.

The deadline for applications for the $109,000-to-$130,000 post was the end of February by which time 37 candidates from 11 countries had responded.

The plan was to whittle down the list to a handful of hopefuls on Wednesday afternoon, said Mr Jack, who made the announcement following a speech to the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce at the Westin Casuarina Resort & Spa.

‘We are drawing up a shortlist of people who we would invite to the Cayman Islands and would probably finalise that shortlist this afternoon…if I manage to get away from here in time,’ said Mr. Jack of the next stage in a process that aims to have someone in post by June or July.

His comments fuelled speculation over whether candidates with Cayman connections – including acting commissioner James Smith – would be in the running.

Former RCIPS Drugs Task Force chief Derek Haines has also submitted an application.

When pressed on whether a Caymanian or someone connected to the islands may be considered, Mr. Jack said, ‘We’ve had local applications as well as applications from overseas but I can’t tell you, at the moment, who the shortlisted are or whether there will be anybody from here on that shortlist but certainly we will have to invite some from overseas.’

Other potential candidates with Cayman experience for the full-time police commissioner’s job have not expressed any interest in the position. They include Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony Ennis and former Police Commissioner Buell Braggs.

The police service has lost three high-profile commanders to suspensions or firings within the past year. All three of those men are still involved in a criminal misconduct investigation and cannot apply for the job.

Meanwhile, he gave credit for a job well done by interim parties.

‘We are very actively involved in that process as we speak,’ said Mr. Jack of the hiring process.

‘We’ve had very unfortunate and unsettling times but I think we’ve managed to find a couple of very worthy temporary acting police commissioners. Jim Smith – the current one – is doing an excellent job.’

He made the comments at the end of a speech at the Governor’s Luncheon where he touched on the topic of an ongoing Metropolitan Police investigation.

‘Obviously we want to bring stability to the police force,’ said Mr. Jack, ‘and we need a full-time permanent police commissioner and we’ve had a lot of interest, very encouraging…and from well-qualified people.’

Mr. Jack is chairing a selection panel that includes private-sector stakeholders.

The panel comprises Sara Collins, lawyer and partner with the Maitland Group; Dan Scott, accountant and regional managing director with Ernst & Young; Donovan Ebanks, chief secretary of the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs; Peter Gough, the portfolio’s strategic adviser; and David Blakey from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in the UK.

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