Cayman Islands Governor Helen Kilpatrick fully supports Police Commissioner David Baines in a statement released Monday afternoon, in the wake of calls from some local politicians for the top cop to step aside.
Mrs. Kilpatrick said she had reviewed the circumstances in the hiring of a Jamaican national officer who had been charged with and later convicted of murder while in the employ of the police service.
“I am fully satisfied that the actions of the commissioner of police were justified and in line with the law and standard disciplinary procedures for any civil servant,” Mrs. Kilpatrick said in her statement.
“It is important for all sectors of the community to support the commissioner and members of the RCIPS in their continued fight against crime on behalf of the people of the Cayman Islands. We should not tolerate false criticisms and unwarranted personal attacks on the commissioner of police as these serve only to damage the reputation of the Cayman Islands and undermine the effectiveness of the police and hence the safety of our community. The commissioner has my full support as he carries out his vital duties,” the statement said.
West Bay MLA Bernie Bush recently threatened to move a motion of “no confidence” against Mr. Baines in the Legislative Assembly.
Such a motion in the legislature, if one was filed, would have no legal effect. The commissioner of police is appointed in the Cayman Islands by the territorial governor in consultation with members of the National Security Council.
Mr. Baines’s employment contract runs through May 2017, after having been renewed by former Governor Duncan Taylor in 2013.
The commissioner said last week he would not seek to renew his contract when it expires. He also defended his record on the job since June 1, 2009, saying the facts had been distorted by those seeking to question his capabilities.
Mr. Baines 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,” Mr. Baines said last week. “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.”
Public outcry at a story first reported in the Compass on Dec. 1 regarding the employment by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service of a Jamaican police officer who had been convicted of murder in his home country spilled over on the radio waves and the Internet. Tyrone Findlay, a member of the RCIPS Uniform Support Group – the armed police unit – was fired following his murder conviction on Nov. 19 in Jamaica.
Findlay and another Jamaican officer were convicted in connection with a Jan. 1, 2010, death resulting from a line-of-duty shooting during a police traffic stop in the Manchester district of Jamaica.
Findlay joined the RCIPS Uniform Support Group in May 2011, but he was suspended in July 2011 after Jamaican prosecutors announced they were bringing murder charges in the Manchester shooting. An open records request by the Compass in early 2012 revealed Findlay’s suspension from the RCIPS, but both Mr. Baines and then-Governor Taylor declined to comment on the matter at the time.
In March of this year, Mr. Baines said Findlay was brought back to work in a “behind the scenes” role at RCIPS, as the Jamaican criminal case dragged on without going to trial.