It would have been easy for Mr. Lavis to deflect blame and to dodge television crews and newspaper reporters hounding him for explanations. Instead, he apologised to the public, admitting, “we let you down,” and effectively acknowledged, “the buck stops with me”.
In truth, the well-documented problems at Northward prison pre-date his arrival by years. An inspectorate report, released in January, documented a litany of concerns about the shocking state of the prison, including security concerns.
Prison breaks, unfortunately, are not a new phenomenon in Cayman. Steve Manderson has now escaped six times over his 20 years behind bars for the killing of a prison guard.
The immediate priority for police and prison officials is to catch him and his accomplices and bring them to justice. The longer-term challenge is to use whatever means available to upgrade the crumbling facilities at Northward and ensure this never happens again.
Mr. Lavis deserves credit for his willingness to step up and take this one on the chin. It wasn’t his punch to take. He also deserves time and resources to put the system right.