The Cayman Islands Human Rights Commission said last month that it has received no formal complaints from local police officers regarding polygraph tests they were administered in 2010.
Questions regarding the basis for such tests, therefore, could not be answered, according to commission chairman Richard Coles.
“In the absence of any such complaints, we must assume that the polygraphs are being undertaken voluntarily,” Mr. Coles said in a brief written reply to Caymanian Compass questions on the matter. “Any officer is free to make an official complaint to HRC which we will then deal with.
“In the present circumstances the HRC can see no basis for making enquiries of the RCIPS.”
According to several current and former Royal Cayman Islands Police Service officers, more than 40 officers were given the tests, often called lie detectors. Some civilian RCIPS employees were given the tests as well, according to Police Association Chairman Rudolph Gordon.
The police service has only ever issued a one-line statement regarding the polygraph testing.
“It is not RCIPS policy to comment on our vetting procedures,” read a statement from the commissioner’s spokesperson that was issued in response to questions from the Compass last year.
Mr. Gordon said earlier this year that there was “no closure” for police officers who had taken the tests.
“It is still hanging over our heads,” Mr. Gordon, a police inspector, said during a lengthy interview with the Compass last month. “A lot of officers feel that there is this thing overshadowing them: uncertainty.”
Police association board member, Sergeant Betty Ebanks, said she wasn’t aware of any cases that involved police officers or other RCIPS employees being forced to leave the service because of their polygraph test results. However, she said the RCIPS command staff had not communicated with the association regarding the testing of specific individuals and she confirmed that some officers had brought their complaints about the tests to the association.
“Because the polygraph happened, the way it happened, and the results from what we gather happened, the officers….they still feel that things that may happen to them in the organisation, the commissioner or his designates may be treating them differently because of that,” Mrs. Ebanks said. “That is the perception”
“We were told as an association that by ‘X’ time [the police commissioner] would be speaking to all of them [referring to the officers who were polygraph tested],” Mrs. Ebanks said. “We weren’t told who they were. Yet those same officers had to open up and come to us.”
Repeated requests seeking comment about the polygraph tests have not been granted.