One of the first questions that
should be considered by Cayman’s new Constitutional Commission is the
Should the Royal Cayman Islands
Police commissioner chair the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission?
We at the Caymanian Compass believe
the answer is no.
We point out that none of our
concerns should reflect on the performance or abilities of Police Commissioner
David Baines. We simply believe Mr. Baines is in an impossible position because
of his dual role as top law enforcement officer and chief anti-corruption
There are at least two instances
where reports from the auditor general – who also sits on the Anti-Corruption
Commission – have raised serious public policy issues.
One report dealt partly with how a
UK law enforcement consultancy firm was hired – without the benefit of a bid
process or use of the Central Tenders Committee – by the Cayman Islands
government. The consultants performed certain technical work related to the
Operation Tempura investigation. Two of those former consultants have now been
hired by the police service.
Another audit revealed at least the
potential for fraudulent purchases at the government’s fuel depot between
January 2008 and March 2009. One of the five agencies reviewed in that report
was the RCIPS.
Mr. Baines’ has sharply criticised
both the fuel audit and media accounts of the gas card situation as incomplete
or even misleading. Yet he has never indicated whether there was a criminal
investigation regarding any of the issues raised in that report – even though
the now- retired manager of the government fuel depot has admitted “some abuse”
of gas cards likely occurred.
Regarding the Operation Tempura
consultancy contract, the commissioner’s response was that it seemed to be a
matter of perception that was up to the UK Metropolitan Police and Cayman
Islands government officials of the day to address.
Mr. Baines’ responses in his
capacity as commissioner of police are entirely fair and reasonable.
But as the Cayman Islands
Anti-Corruption Commissioner, they are not.
If this problem is not addressed, the commissioner
– and Cayman – will continue to find themselves between a rock and a hard place
when it comes to policing corruption.