Public meets 4th commissioner in 4 years

Residents of all seven districts in
the Cayman Islands will meet their fourth police commissioner in the past four
years during public meetings scheduled for later this month.

Current Royal Cayman Islands Police
Commissioner David Baines has been on the job since June 2009. However, the meetings,
which are to begin Monday in South Sound, mark the first time all members of
the public have been invited to a general open forum with the RCIPS since
February 2009.

The series of seven meetings is set
over the next three weeks and will focus on crime and community safety. The meetings
are a joint effort of Community Affairs Minister Mike Adam and the RCIPS.

“The fight against crime is not
solely the responsibility of the police, but includes government, businesses
and communities,” Mr. Adam said. “We need to make sure that the minority who
commit crime are no longer free to operate on these Islands.”

Public meetings involving the RCIPS
commissioner were held in May 2007 with then-Commissioner Stuart Kernohan, who
was removed from office and later fired amid a corruption probe that he
ultimately was never arrested for or charged in. In the midst of the furore over
Mr. Kernohan’s removal from office, the new acting police commissioner, David
George, hosted some public meetings in Grand Cayman in April 2008. Mr. George
was then replaced by a commissioner – Royce Hipgrave – who chose to stay in Cayman
only 48 hours prior to departing.

Then-Acting Commissioner James
Smith took Mr. Hipgrave’s place and held his own series of public meetings in
February 2009. Mr. Smith was replaced by Mr. Baines, who is in Cayman on a
four-year contract.

Public concerns about crime have
been deepening in Cayman since before Mr. Baines arrived. Though the
commissioner previously met with many segments of the community in numerous
open forums, this month’s meetings will be the first open forum for the general
public to address their concerns to the commissioner as well as to Mr. Adam.

“We want these events to kick-start
a national conversation about crime and community safety on the Islands,” Mr.
Baines said in a prepared statement. “We’re keen to hear a range of views from

“It’s time to have a mature debate
about crime and safety on the Islands and ensure that the plans we in the RCIPS
put in place are fit for purpose and meet the demands, and the needs, of our communities.”

The public meetings will
all be held from 7 to 9pm and the schedule is as follows:

•George Town: Monday, 16 August,
South Sound Community Centre

•East End: Wednesday, 18 August,
John A. The United Church Hall

•West Bay: Monday, 23 August, John A. Cumber Primary School Hall

•Bodden Town: Tuesday, 24 August,
Bodden Town Primary School Hall

•North Side: Thursday, 26 August,
Craddock Ebanks Civic Centre

•Little Cayman: Monday, 30 August,
Little Cayman Beach Resort

•Cayman Brac: Tuesday, 31 August,
Aston Rutty Centre