We refer to the public calls — in the Legislative Assembly, on the radio, and on the Internet — for Mr. Baines’s dismissal or resignation, centering on the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service’s 2011 hiring of Jamaican police officer Tyrone Findlay, who on Nov. 19 of this year was convicted of murder in Jamaica for a line-of-duty shooting that occurred Jan. 1, 2010.
Currently, this Editorial Board doesn’t know enough about what occurred — in Jamaica, during the vetting process of Findlay when he was hired, or in Cayman after the murder investigation became known — to comment on what ramifications, if any, the situation should have on Mr. Baines’s employment contract, which runs through May 2017.
At this point, we imagine few people do know enough to comment constructively.
That group does not include West Bay MLA Bernie Bush, the member of the opposition who grandstandingly threatened to move an inconsequential motion (legally speaking) of “no confidence” against Mr. Baines in the Legislative Assembly.
Neither does it include talk radio hosts or anonymous “online bloggers” (to borrow a phrase from Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush) whose vituperative screeds regularly cast palls of ignorance and shame upon the public face of this country.
Our intent, in this editorial, is neither to defend nor to denigrate Mr. Baines. Rather, it is to observe that, right now, we are hearing all the wrong things about the commissioner, from all the wrong people.
There are very good reasons, frankly, why elected members such as Mr. Bernie Bush do not have authority over Cayman’s police commissioner.
Premier Alden McLaughlin (echoed by Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush) correctly put the issue in context:
“The commissioner is appointed by the governor and does not fall under the remit of the elected government. … I ask all members of this House to exercise patience to enable me to discuss this matter with Her Excellency the Governor and to give her the opportunity to address the concerns raised.”
If anyone should be speaking to or about Mr. Baines at this point, it should be Governor Helen Kilpatrick. Unfortunately — and unfairly to Mr. Baines — hers is one of the few voices that has gone silent. She has been traveling for most of the last two weeks, but she certainly has not been incommunicado on other matters.
For reasons political and personal, as well as professional, Mr. Baines has become a lightning rod for criticism over the never-ending list of Cayman’s societal ills. Such scapegoating is unfair to Mr. Baines and detrimental to the country, whose problems should be addressed rather than masked.
“I will accept the blame when policing failures are to blame. I will not take the blame for social failings, parental failings or educational failings, nor do I accept the failure to rehabilitate offenders. They are not my remit. Yet it is convenient for some, to seek to place that blame on the police and me. I have no intention of accepting others’ failings as my own,” Mr. Baines said.
That sounds fair to us. Eminently so.