Editorial for 09 May: To protect and serve

 The Caymanian Compass published a story in Friday’s paper
regarding a lawsuit filed over the rock throwing incidents that plagued Bodden
Town during 2007 and 2008.

If you haven’t read it, we encourage you to pick up a copy
of the 4 May paper or click here and consider what the allegations detailed in
this lawsuit mean to our society.

A lawsuit, in and of itself, is proof of nothing. However,
we are aware that some of the RCIPS officers involved in this continuing and
shocking display of alleged abuse of their authority have been encouraged to
leave the department and that one has in fact departed since these events.

If half of the claims stated in this lawsuit are found to be
true, the individuals who perpetrated them have no right to wear a uniform or
serve the public in any responsible capacity.

If the claims are true and correct, then at best – at best –
officers can be described to have overreacted to a situation that was
generating a lot of negative press and where there was significant pressure
from the community to make arrests in connection with the rock throwing. At
worst, a number of sworn RCIPS officers abused their authority and terrorised a
tiny woman over an offence they knew she could not have committed.

Police officers in any society wield an awesome power; they
have the authority in the appropriate situations to take an individual’s
liberty for a period of time without even charging them with a crime.

They can even lawfully take someone’s life, if the situation
warrants.

We need to consider as a society exactly to whom we are
giving such overwhelming authority, because it can go so very wrong if those
individuals are not up to the job.

Paying police officers more would help; longer and more
involved training for rookie cops also is a must, we believe.

If the country can’t get this right, it is in serious
trouble.

 

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1 COMMENT

  1. A brave and courageous editorial; the truth needs to be spoken, cost it what it will.

    And the editors have been very cautious and diplomatic, given the nature of Cayman and its unique circumstances.

    As I no longer and never intend to live in the Cayman Islands, again there is no reason for me to be so cautious or diplomatic, while speaking the truth in as respectful a way as necessary.

    If the RCIPS is still operating as an ‘old-style colonial’ British police force, what will happen come November, when a full Bill of Rights charter is implemented into Caymanian law ?

    This case cited by Caycompass is only one of a number of incidents that clearly show a lack of willingness of the Cayman legal system to prosecute police officers for alleged offenses that are deemed to be criminal in nature, if proven in a court of law.

    Shall I list the incidents, then ?

    The results of Operation Tempura/Cealt led to 8 police officers being dismissed or disciplined for complaints that it took almost FOUR years to have admitted to the public and not ONE of those police officers faced prosecution for any offense or crime…and the details of the records of the complaints remain a hidden secret ?!!

    A report in yesterday’s paper detailed a case of blatant police officer corruption that led to a defendant being discharged by the courts, the police officer having left the jurisdiction…and not a hint of any investigation into the so-called mistakes/wrongdoing of the police officer ?

    It has been shown that consistently, foreign-born police officers have been hired in Cayman, and quietly allowed to depart the jurisdiction when either their past lives/crimes(the case of the Canadian convicted racketeer comes immediately to mind) have caught up with them or they have committed acts in uniform in Cayman that should have led to prosecution and quite probably, conviction.

    This referred-to case by Caycompass. while only a civil allegation of abuse of power and unlawful arrest, signifies one citizen accessing the human rights laws on their own behalf, in an environment where rumours of systematic and consistent human rights abuses by members of the RCIPS in Cayman continue to abound; how many incidents have not been reported or taken before the courts for fear of intimidation and retaliation ?

    I totally fear for the immediate future of the Cayman Islands if this disgraceful set of circumstamces is not immediately addressed.

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