Baines: Clarifying RCIPS role in Shedden standoff

The editorial in today’s Compass (Oct. 16, 2014) is misinformed and framed upon the premise that the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service has failed in its duty to evict the occupants of several premises on Shedden Road which are subject of a Writ of Possession granted to Mr. Kent Rankin by the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands.

That premise is wrong; the Order and Writ of Possession in this instance is framed to direct and instruct the Bailiffs of the Court to enter and take possession of the properties. Therefore, it is not the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service officers who have placed locks on the property and posted “no trespassing” notices on the property. It was by the employees of Mr. Rankin in the presence of the court bailiff.

The role of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, in this matter, is to enable the bailiffs and the plaintiff Mr. Rankin to complete the directions of the Court and to prevent a breach of the peace.

The placing of locks and “no trespass” notices took place with the police officers present who then left when the bailiff and the plaintiff had completed those actions and had left the site.

It is the role of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service to investigate criminal offences such as criminal trespass and criminal damage to the locks and to arrest those responsible. Mr. Rankin has been requested to provide a statement of complaint regarding the damage to his property at which time we will take the necessary actions to identify and arrest those responsible.

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service does not seek confrontation and where possible will seek to achieve its purpose without the use of force. That said, such an approach should not be mistaken or construed as “overly reluctant to use necessary force.” It is easy to escalate an operational use of force, it is significantly more difficult to de-escalate a situation where force has been disproportionately used or in this specific case was not lawfully authorized.

I hope this information will enable a better understanding of the legal responsibilities of the various parties involved in this legal action.

Your article references the “rule of law” and rather than the suggested position of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service being unwilling to enforce that by the use of force, we have demonstrated exactly the opposite, we have complied implicitly with what the Court Order directed and permitted; to the letter of the law.