Cayman Islands Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush has asked government to consider removing the police commissioner, the auditor general and the complaints commissioner from the Anti-Corruption Commission due to what he termed “serious conflicts of interest.”
A private members’ motion filed by Mr. Bush states: “There is evidence that, by the fact of their membership on the Anti-Corruption Commission, there [are] serious conflicts of interest which do not [conform] to the good practice of the rule of law and rule of natural justice.
“Be it now therefore resolved that the Anti-Corruption Law is changed to reflect the removal from the commission of the commissioner of police as chairman and member, the complaints commissioner and the auditor general as a member.”
The initial motion filed Tuesday by Mr. Bush mentioned only the auditor general and the police commissioner. An amended version filed on Wednesday included the complaints commissioner.
Mr. Bush’s motion did not specifically state what evidence of conflicts of interests there might be regarding these positions or how those alleged conflicts might not conform to the “rule of law.”
Police Commissioner David Baines and Auditor General Alastair Swarbrick were contacted for comment on the motion Wednesday. Neither had responded by press time. Cayman currently has no permanent complaints commissioner. The other two Anti-Corruption Commission members are private citizens of the Cayman Islands.
There has been at least one other legislative motion seeking to address the current membership of the Anti-Corruption Commission, which was formed following the passage of the territory’s Anti-Corruption Law in 2010.
The motion, filed in 2011 by North Side MLA Ezzard Miller, notes that the members of the commission, including the commissioner of police as chairman, the auditor general and the complaints commissioner “are very busy people in their primary roles.”
Mr. Miller’s proposal sought to remove the requirement under the Anti-Corruption Law for the police commissioner to be the chairman of the anti-corruption board. Rather, the five members, including a retired lawyer and a retired judge/magistrate/justice of the peace would elect a chairman at their first meeting.
Then-Premier McKeeva Bush said government would accept Mr. Miller’s motion but wanted to make a change that gave the administration some flexibility in dealing with any potential amendments to the law.
Issues regarding the practical operation of the commission, including the fact that three high-ranking civil servants sit on the anti-corruption board, have been flagged almost since the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Law.
Former Cayman Islands Monetary Authority Chairman Tim Ridley has previously emphasized the point. Speaking at a public event in September 2011, Mr. Ridley said he did not intend to criticize Mr. Baines or anyone on the commission. However, Mr. Ridley warned about the dual roles that the members of the anti-corruption board have and noted that as part of good governance moving forward, the Anti-Corruption Law “may have to be revisited.”
Mr. Baines has conceded that there is a question over whether the commission is appropriately constituted, and that the dual roles are a challenge.