Kenneth Bryan does not agree with the outcome of his criminal trial this week, but he says he does not want his experience to influence how others deal with the police.
“I’ve been told my [court] case is going to be another example of why the public is not going to help the police,” Bryan said. “I don’t want that to happen because crime in this country is a serious thing and I know the police cannot solve the crimes by themselves.
“It’s bigger than me. I may not be happy with the results [of the trial], but it’s not about Kenneth. I need the community to work with the police.”
Bryan, the former political assistant to Premier Alden McLaughlin, was placed on 12 months’ probation Wednesday after being found guilty of disorderly conduct and assaulting police. No conviction was recorded. Bryan was ordered to pay court costs of $400.
The 35-year-old was charged after an incident outside Dream Night Club in October 2014. He pleaded not guilty and has always said he was trying to assist police, who had intervened in a fight on scene during the early morning hours.
“I stand by [my statements] that I did not assault the police,” Bryan said. “But they need all the help they can get from us. I want to turn this into a positive, not a negative.”
Bryan said he planned to reach out to Royal Cayman Islands Police Commissioner David Baines next week with some ideas regarding how police could make inroads in some of the disadvantaged George Town neighborhoods, where he is from.
“I don’t want there to be another ‘Kenneth Bryan’ scenario,” he said. “I want to talk to people about how to assist the police when situations come up. I don’t want someone to be in the same situation when they see an injustice or what they think is an injustice.”
Bryan, who said he intends to run for election the next time around in the central George Town district, said attempts to bring the police and the George Town community together could be a growing experience.
“If I want to be seen as a serious candidate for election, my personal issues have to be put aside,” he said, adding that he intends to carry that philosophy forward into the political arena as well. “I don’t trust [Premier] Alden [McLaughlin], but if I have to work with him to do the best for my people, I will,” Bryan said.
Future political plans
Bryan officially resigned from the Progressives political party Thursday and said he would not run for election with them. He said he would probably run as an independent.
He admitted Thursday that he still harbors some resentment, not about the fact that he was fired from the premier’s office after being charged with a crime, but about the way it was handled.
“[Mr. McLaughlin] could have been more honest with me about his intentions,” he said. “I was let go [following a meeting] and within 24 hours someone was hired.
“He had already planned a replacement before he did it. This is not something you expect from a man you fought for and helped put in the position of the premiership today.” Bryan was credited during the 2013 general election with winning votes for the Progressives party in George Town district, particularly in the poorer, urban areas, although he did not win a seat in the Legislative Assembly himself.
He said he was warned by other former Progressives officials prior to the election not to run with the party. “Now that I know … they only wanted to use me for the purpose of [getting] votes, I wouldn’t have done it,” Bryan said.
Moving forward to 2017 (if the election is not called before then), Bryan said his main focus would be on unemployment, which he believes the current government did not focus on early in its term, and greater support for the financial services industry.
“The financial industry is under attack by the U.K. and the U.S., and [government] doesn’t put enough priority on protecting it,” Bryan said. “If we lose it, we lose Cayman.