The Cayman Islands government is advertising to fill two of its top three police positions following the abrupt announcement of Police Commissioner David Baines’s departure from the service.
Mr. Baines is due to leave the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service at the end of May. Deputy RCIPS Commissioner Stephen Brougham’s current contract will end in September, at which point he plans to leave as well.
According to advertisements for the position that went out Friday, the police commissioner’s post pays between $109,000 and $131,000 a year plus allowances, a non-contributory pension plan and free healthcare coverage. The deputy commissioner’s post pays between $92,000 and $115,000 per year with the same benefits package.
The two top commanders are responsible for supervising a force that now consists of more than 450 uniformed and civilian staff, which provide land, sea and air defense of the Cayman Islands as well as routine policing duties.
Advertisements note that commissioner candidates must have significant experience policing in a diverse society, stating that Cayman is now home to people from more than 100 countries despite its relatively small population of about 60,000 residents. According to the latest estimates, the RCIPS is made up of more than 50 percent non-Caymanian officers.
“The successful candidate will have proven ability to direct policing operations in an ethnically diverse community through a diverse police force,” the job posting states. “An excellent track record in delivering change management, countering serious crime and building citizen confidence is … desirable.”
The ads for both positions do not limit the position to Caymanian or local applicants.
The subject of local participation in the police force has been a controversial one in recent months, with Cayman Islands opposition and independent lawmakers recently filing a ‘lack of confidence’ motion in parliament which requested that a Caymanian be hired as RCIPS commissioner. The two highest-ranking Caymanian members of the force are Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis and Chief Superintendent Kurt Walton, both of whom have been in the RCIPS for more than 20 years.
Commissioner Baines’s departure was at least partly due to the filing of that motion, its acceptance by the Speaker of the House and an attempt to hold an emergency meeting on the lack of confidence motion, as well as another private members’ motion. The second motion seeks the formation of an independent commission to review the RCIPS response on March 6-7 to a missing boat with five people aboard. Governor Helen Kilpatrick has already agreed to a such a review, as has Commissioner Baines.
Although attempts to hold the special meeting of the House failed last week, Mr. Baines’s departure had already been announced by Governor Kilpatrick when it was determined that his position had become untenable.
“The recent barrage of unfair criticism and defamatory comments has undermined the commissioner’s authority to the extent that his leadership of the RCIPS is no longer tenable,” a statement from Governor Kilpatrick in late March read. “The commissioner continues to have my support and will do so until he leaves his post.”
The private members’ motion regarding the lack of confidence in police management, filed by East End MLA Arden McLean, states in part: “The Legislative Assembly does declare a lack of confidence in the RCIPS and the governance of the RCIPS and ask[s] the governor to appoint an independent team to review the police methodology of administration and to identify a Caymanian to lead the RCIPS.”
Both members’ motions concerning the police are due to be heard at the next regularly scheduled House meeting on April 25.
Premier Alden McLaughlin has expressed concern that the motions, when they are debated, will make it more difficult for the British territory to hire two qualified individuals to take over management of the police service. However, he has pledged those matters will be debated during the next meeting of the House.