RCIPS loses other senior commanders

At least two other senior Royal Cayman Islands Police Service officers are due to depart in the next few months, in addition to Commissioner David Baines and Deputy Commissioner Stephen Brougham, the Cayman Compass has learned.

Superintendent Robert Scotland, the head of uniform and district operations, has already announced his intention to depart for other employment outside of the police service.

Mr. Scotland is due to leave RCIPS at the end of May.

The chief of detectives, Superintendent Mike Cranswick, is also expected to leave when his work contract expires in early June.

“The contributions of both Mr. Cranswick and Mr. Scotland to the RCIPS have been substantial and they will be missed,” a police statement on the issue read. “The commissioner thanks them for their service.”

The departures, in addition to Mr. Baines – who will leave on May 31 – and Mr. Brougham, whose contract ends in September, will leave the police service top brass with just a few members remaining.

RCIPS Superintendent Angelique Howell also left to pursue an articled clerkship at a local law firm, but remains on an 18-month secondment and could return to the police service. Detective Superintendent Stephen Ratcliffe, who left the RCIPS Financial Crime Unit in August, has not yet been replaced.

Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis remains and will be taking over Mr. Baines’s role on an acting basis. Chief Superintendent Kurt Walton will be the second highest-ranking member of the force following the top brass departures. One other full-time police superintendent, Adrian Seales, remains at the RCIPS.

Advertisements seeking replacements for Mr. Baines and Mr. Brougham went out on Friday.

Premier Alden McLaughlin, who has financial oversight responsibility for the police service as government minister of home affairs, said the departures would leave some significant holes in the police command structure and noted he was particularly concerned about Mr. Scotland’s career change.

“I know Robert very well, he is a young Caymanian who could have been commissioner of police, given the right training and experience,” Mr. McLaughlin said.

Although Mr. Baines’s departure was tipped by the filing of a legislative “lack of confidence” motion against the current police administration and its U.K. and Cayman-based management, Mr. McLaughlin said he had no evidence that the other senior officers’ decisions to leave had anything to do with that motion. However, the premier said the motion has generally played a role in creating the current low morale situation within the police service.

“I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a more reckless and irresponsible motion brought to this House,” he said. “If the target was David Baines … they should just have the courage to say so.

“This motion … that there is a ‘lack of confidence’ in the RCIPS and its governance … it’s bound to inflict huge damage to the morale of the RCIPS, which, at the moment, is not exactly teeming with morale. I fear this is all going to end rather badly.”

The mover of the “lack of confidence” motion, East End MLA Arden McLean, specifically said that the motion stayed away from naming Mr. Baines because he didn’t wish to target any one member of the police service, but rather sought to engage the whole police management apparatus, from the governor, to the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to the Home Affairs Ministry to the police commanders themselves.

Mr. McLean said there had been a litany of complaints from a number of MLAs, including himself, Bodden Town representative Alva Suckoo and West Bay MLA Bernie Bush in recent months that warranted a full review of police operations.

The motion seeks the installment of a Caymanian police commissioner at the RCIPS. The selection of a police commissioner falls under the purview of the Cayman Islands governor, following consultation with the premier.

In addition to Mr. McLean’s motion, Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush has requested in a separate private members’ motion that an independent review team be formed to review the RCIPS response to a March 6 incident in which five boaters – including two children – went missing in the sea west of Grand Cayman.

Mr. McLaughlin has said the debate over the two motions, due to happen next Monday in the Legislative Assembly, will likely make it harder for the local police service to find replacements for two of its top commanders in short order.