Baines 'no confidence' motion delayed

Citing a potential lawsuit as the reason, West Bay MLA Bernie Bush said Wednesday that he would wait to bring a motion of no confidence against Royal Cayman Islands Police Commissioner David Baines until at least May.

Mr. Bush has threatened on numerous occasions to bring the private members motion seeking the ouster of Mr. Baines, stating the commissioner’s strategies aimed at curbing crime in the Cayman Islands had failed.

The statement issued Wednesday also took aim at an unnamed deputy commissioner of police, presumably referring to Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis “who was part of Operation Tempura.” The RCIPS’s other deputy commissioner, Stephen Brougham, was not in the department during the ill-fated Tempura corruption investigation.

“Mr. David Baines and his deputy is [sic] unable to effectively perform the duties of the police commissioner as evidenced by his approach of deflecting blame for their poor performance to poor parenting rather than poor policing strategies and the recent upsurge of violence in the district of West Bay confirms his lack of understanding in managing crime in the Cayman Islands,” Mr. Bush’s statement read.

According to RCIPS statistics for 2014, overall crime increased by 13 percent for the year while traffic enforcement efforts dwindled. A Cayman Compass examination of the statistics revealed that police issued more speeding tickets alone in 2007 than officers issued in total traffic violations last year. Police issued 659 speeding tickets last year, compared to about 475 per month in 2007.

Defending himself against claims made by Mr. Bush and North Side MLA Ezzard Miller in a statement to the Compass in mid-December, Mr. Baines said: “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.”

Despite expressing strong sentiment about Mr. Baines’s continued employment, Mr. Bush said he has agreed to delay bringing his “no confidence” motion against Mr. Baines “as the result of the lawsuit filed by Leader of the Opposition, Hon. McKeeva Bush against the commissioner of police, the auditor general and the governor.”

No such lawsuit had been filed as of press time Wednesday. Bernie Bush later clarified that his statement referred to a potential lawsuit that was being contemplated by the opposition leader.

He said he understood the anticipated lawsuit, as well as other events before the courts, would “further highlight the deficiencies of the police commissioner.”

He added that would either await the outcome of the suggested lawsuit or the start of the Legislative Assembly’s Finance Committee proceedings in May, presumably if the lawsuit had not been filed by then.

McKeeva Bush declined to make any response to Bernie Bush’s Wednesday statement, indicating that he thought to do so would simply confuse matters.

Any vote of no confidence regarding Mr. Baines by the Legislative Assembly members, even if it were approved, would appear to have no legal effect on the commissioner’s employment contract.

According to the Cayman Islands Constitution Order, the governor is responsible for hiring the commissioner of police after consultation with the National Security Council, of which the premier and opposition leader are members. The Legislative Assembly and the Ministry of Home Affairs control approval of the police budget.

Governor Helen Kilpatrick has expressed her full support for Mr. Baines continuing as commissioner until the end of his current contract in mid-2017.