Confirms he will step down when contract expires in 2017
Police Commissioner David Baines declared he will not resign, despite calls from some legislators for him to step down following revelations that an officer accused and later convicted of murder was on the local payroll for more than three years.
Mr. Baines defended his actions over the hiring of Tyrone Findlay, a Jamaican police officer who was recruited by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service in 2011. Findlay was jailed last month for a shooting he committed in his previous job as a detective in Jamaica in 2010.
The commissioner, who confirmed he will not seek to renew his contract when it expires in 2017, also defended his record on the job, saying the facts had been distorted by those seeking to question his capabilities.
He said Cayman is the safest island in the region and insisted the police are doing their part to keep it that way. He said concern over the causes of crime could not be laid at his door.
“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,” he told the Cayman Compass.
Criticism of the commissioner following the Findlay case – in particular for his decision to put the officer back to work in a behind the scenes role as he awaited trial – snowballed into calls for his resignation last week.
Opposition legislator Bernie Bush led the criticism, threatening a motion of no-confidence in the Legislative Assembly if the commissioner did not step down.
Premier Alden McLaughlin said he understood the “strength of feeling” surrounding the commissioner and had arranged a meeting with the governor, who has overall responsibility for policing on the island.
Governor Helen Kilpatrick has been out of the office for two weeks. The Cayman Compass has tried to reach the governor for comment since Dec. 5. Deputy Governor Franz Manderson said Thursday, “This is a matter that should properly be dealt with by Her Excellency upon her return to office on Monday.”
Mr. Baines added that he was going about his job as normal. “I continue to work toward making these islands safer, the RCIPS more responsive and maintaining this as the safest island in the Caribbean.
“Some sections of media are intent on misquoting and suggesting the crime levels on the island are going unchecked. That may be a convenient misrepresentation (from those) who seek to question my professional capabilities. The facts are it is wrong.”
He said there had been 23 more crimes so far in 2014 compared to the same period last year – an increase of less than 1 percent.
He acknowledged that was still too high, but said police were doing their part.
“The officers of the RCIPS continue to arrest the criminals, the court calendar is getting longer and the prisons are full.”
He said it was up to others to deal with the causes of crime, citing high rates of re-offending, the failure to rehabilitate prisoners, the education system and parenting as contributory factors.
“In the meantime I will continue to go about my business without engaging in the politics of what is being orchestrated by others. I seek to operate with integrity and fairness in all my dealing and to behave honorably.
“That has been uncomfortable for some inside the service and out. But I only know of one way to be a professional police officer and that approach is appreciated by many and my thanks for their comments and calls of support.”
Mr. Baines said it has always been his intention to leave the post when his contract expires.