GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands (CNS) -- A member of the Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly (MLA) Bernie Bush has filed a list of multiple complaints with the home affairs ministry, the deputy governor’s office and the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) under section 44 of the Public Service Management Law regarding the conduct of Police Commissioner David Baines.
In his complaint, the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) member, who has frequently voiced his concerns on the floor of the Legislative Assembly about Baines' management of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS), has listed 20 different issues that he said amounted not just to inadequate performance over time but misconduct.
Bush told CNS that no one, not even the commissioner, is above the law, after he sent his complaint to local government officials and Peter Hayes, the FCO’s overseas territories director in London.
The MLA began his long list of issues with the 43 criminal Summary Court cases that were never prosecuted before the statute of limitations expired. He said the commissioner failed to conduct an enquiry into why this had happened or take action against officers that had allowed their cases to lapse.
The final item on his list is the theft of police cars. Bush pointed to the failure of the commissioner to conduct any review or take any action against the police officers who lost an undercover vehicle in November 2012 and the failure of the RCIPS to own up to a number of other suspected thefts of police cars.
Covering a catalogue of events, from the recent theft of drugs from the police evidence locker at the George Town Police Station to the recruitment of an officer from Jamaica who was charged with murder, Bush also raised issues concerning Baines’ lack of action over the mismanagement of gunshot residue evidence, the unlawful search warrants used by his officers, the failure of officers to properly pursue drug case evidence and the necessary documents to support financial crime cases, as well as the number of police cars involved in accidents.
Bush pointed to specific cases but noted there had been many more where video or photographic evidence has gone missing or where tapes and camera cards have been recorded over.
He also raised the question of compensation payouts and said that more than $435,000 has been paid out in claims following complaints against police.
In the long list of various complaints, the MLA noted an ongoing and long-standing concern that the current police management is failing local officers, as many of them have left the RCIPS since Baines took office. Bush said Caymanians face discrimination and unequal salary scales compared to their UK counterparts and said no action had been taken in relation to the allegations.
Another complaint surrounds the failure in regards to succession planning for senior RCIPS officers, in particular the Air Support Unit. Bush said that the police hired a foreign helicopter pilot in 2015, who then required more training, but nothing had been done to find out why.
Bush’s list omitted the recent controversies over officers being accused of supplying a prosecution witness with drugs, although the commissioner had confirmed recently that those allegations were being investigated by the Bermuda Police Service. CNS understands, however, that no one has been suspended in connection to that case.
The complaint also excludes other concerns that have been raised in the past, such as the lack of action against an officer found in possession of his gun at the airport while on vacation. It also omits the issue that one of Baines’ subordinate officers conducted an internal enquiry into the commissioner after he ran over a robbery suspect with his own vehicle following a daylight robbery in George Town.
However, the police commissioner appeared confident on Friday that the complaints filed against him were groundless. Baines belittled the more than 20 complaints as nothing more than gossip. Despite the list, which refers to a number of actual incidents that have caused concern throughout the community, he accused Bush of not fact checking and said any inquiry into the false accusations would be a waste of time and public money.
Baines revealed that the list, which was received by the RCIPS on Thursday, has gone to the governor as she is his direct disciplinary authority and not the deputy governor who is the head of the civil service.
In a short statement Baines derided the UDP member, one of the 17 legislative assembly members that vote on the commissioner’s police budget.
“Mr Bush, once again, demonstrates his ample capacity to repeat rumour, speculation and gossip without checking the facts, thereby speaking with total confidence from a position of total ignorance,” the police chief stated. “Why let facts get in the way of a 'grandstanding' media headline? I will assist any inquiry or action initiated by Her Excellency the Governor. My only regret is the waste of time and public money these misrepresentations and false accusations will cause in having them addressed to the satisfaction of all concerned.”
Republished with permission of Cayman News Service