Baines escapes serious grilling

| 21/10/2013

(CNS): Although a petition calling for the removal of Cayman’s commissioner of police has been posted on the web, CoP David Baines escaped much of the expected grilling on Friday when the need for haste appeared to curb the questioning by MLAs in the country’s parliament. Most of the opposition, independent members, back bench government MLAs and even some members of Cabinet had expressed significant concerns about the rising crime levels and the failure of the RCIPS to keep Cayman safe, but once Baines arrived in the LA, their collective anger appeared dampened, with calls not for his resignation but for a commitment from him for coverage in the eastern districts.

The police budget has been cut slightly this year, at $31,796,301 compared to last when it was $33,091,118, but it is still a significant sum. With the additional investment from government in CCTV and the helicopter but a continued increase in crime, the country’s legislators had called for some accountability from the head of police, who was ordered back early from leave to face Finance Committee.

Baines was on a two week vacation, even though there had been three murders in the space of one month and a spate of other serious gun related crime, including a string of door-step robberies and a car-jacking.

However, although it seemed the senior cop was going to have to fight to keep his job, once in front of the committee, the questions were focused on policing levels in Bodden Town, East End and North Side.

Ezzard Miller sought a commitment from Baines for more police in the east if he moved a hypothetical motion to increase the budget. However, Premier Alden McLaughlin blocked the idea of moving money around to top up the police allocation in Finance Committee.

McLaughlin, who heads the new Home Affairs Ministry, is responsible for the police budget. He said that how government goes about addressing the issues with respect to crime and policing generally is being examined and government was going to take an holistic view.

“It’s not wise to seek to address what is a broad range of issues with a stopgap measure,” he said, asking for the members’ patience as he committed  to addressing the situation and getting better coverage for the eastern districts within the existing budget.

Although Baines was given a much easier ride than expected, he was ready to defend his corner and explained that coverage for the districts is driven by demand. With 77 uniformed officers dedicated to George Town and 32 just for West Bay, he explained that around 30 officers covered all three eastern districts, with about a dozen in Cayman Brac.

Baines said operational deployment was his discretion according to the law but if there was extra money found he could commit to increasing the numbers.

Arden McLean begged both the premier and the commissioner to do something to get more police to his and the neighbouring constituencies.

“The people do not feel safe; we hear it every day,” he said, expressing concern that because people are so disheartened with the poor police service theyare no longer reporting the crime. He said demand and need have been distorted, as he complained that he had heard many past promises but there had been no results.

McLaughlin said he was well aware of the need for better coverage and making Cayman safer but he said the Legislative Assembly could not go about dealing with a major national problem with off the cuff decisions

“If we are not able to come up with plan and a programme in the next few weeks then let them take me to task but we can’t increase expenditure in this budget without taking it from somewhere else, “ the premier said. “I am asking for a bit more patience as we go through this exercise as for the first time there is an elected minister responsible for the police budget. I am that victim and I do not intend to sit by and not see a difference.”

Although the eastern members reined in the expected grilling, opposition UDP member Bernie Bush questioned the commissioner on a number of controversial issues. He asked why Baines thought it appropriate to give the previous governor a cow cod (dried bull's penis) as a parting gift when it had uncomfortable associations for Caribbean people as it was used by slave masters to beat their slaves. However, the CoP avoided having to answer because Finance Committee Chair Marco Archer asked the members to stick to questions relating to the budget.

Baines defended the recent crime increases and insisted it was part of a local four year cycle of peaks as offenders were released from jail and, as a result of the failure in rehabilitation, return to a life of crime. He pointed to past years where burglaries had climbed as high as 900, as he challenged the current assumption that criminality had never been so bad. He said the burglar arrested this week running down Seven Mile Beach with a TV set had been arrested two weeks before for burglary and had been released by the courts on bail. He had been in the system since he was a teenager, Baines said.

He said the RCIPS was catching the criminals but they couldn’t prevent them from coming out and the police were not involved in preventing people from becoming criminal or their rehabilitation.

Opposition Leader McKeevaBush offered his support to the premier and said he would help government get the budget through but he was glad the commissioner came back as members needed to hear from him. Bush said he understood the problems that the police were faced with and the reluctance of people to come forward, which had been the case for a long time and would not be easy to change. If the premier said he was “going to put his best foot forward with it”, Bush said, he was willing to support him.

However, the petition is circulating at a time when, despite the commissioner’s position, some people feel crime is out of control and, as the head of the RCIPS, Baines is responsible. Organisers said they intend to present the petition to the governor on 29 November asking her to have the police commissioner’s contract terminated “due to his inability to lead or manage” the police or to  “prevent or solve any of the serious violent crimes we have been experiencing in the Cayman Islands since he took command”.

CNS Clarification: An RCIPS spokesperson has now clarified that the Commissioner was on ten days leave and then had been planning to meet with US Federal and State officials to discuss crime in the Caribbean on his way back to Cayman.


See or sign the petition here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Crime

About the Author ()

Comments (34)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Even though I don't have much respect for the rcips, lets not forget that the criminals are the problem here and not the police.




  2. Anonymous says:

    The police cannot fix a broken culture.


    All they can do is try to sweep up the broken glass.

  3. noname says:

    Just like us all…. Let us blame the CoP for our own home grown (and imported) bad weeds. Why not stand up and be counted. Do the right thing. We all know the criminals who walk amongst us. Someones brother, cousin, father, friend….. 

    We live in fear praying that "it" will not happen to us, but we choose to do nothing. Whilst I am not the biggest fan of the UK, or its policies, I recognize a spade for a spade. This is our fault because we ALLOW this to continue to thrive in our communities.

    Anyways, I am sure I shall receive many "thumbs down". But so it go…..

    • Anonymous says:

      Since you are so noble and riding high. Why don’t you go into the rcip and tell them about the criminals you know ? Im sure no one in the general public will know your name, where you live, who you work for, cell number and what you drive by the time you reach home. (Sarcasm here if you didn’t catch it)

      I’m not sayingyou are totally wrong with your views, but the rcip has failed miserably at making good citizens who want or actually try to help report these things become victims themselves. They are unprofessional and lack the competence to put simple crimes to rest. It has become such a joke and no one is surprise to read about murders getting off due to police negligence. If they clean up their act, I am sure they will get the support they need. I do not believe the hard working people of cayman would like to see their island run by crime of any sorts.

      Please keep in mind; with the island being so small and with people who blab about people business so much, I find it so hard to believe that many police officers honestly don’t know who the criminals are. How come I can reach work in the morning, hear about a break in that happen the night before and find out about all of the victim information and probably a list of people who might of done the crime by 5pm tge same day, while the police trip over themselves like clowns? Mind you, anyone in Cayman can do this, without even going to the scene of the crime. Lol. It’s simply a joke watching these mostly uneducated criminals evade these educated officers. Smh

  4. Anonymous says:

    Interesting about face from back when Derek Haines was hauled before the LA and forced to make a completely unwarranted apology for simply doing his job. Are we to assume from this that when a senior officer screws up badly (and I'm not actually suggesting that Commissioner Baines has done that) he finds favour in the LA but when a hard-nosed copper gets stuck into breaking up drug dealing operations run by some clearly very well-connected people he gets fired?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Wow! Lots of big talk when the CoP wasn't present…then when he shows up they become afraid and say little.

    Sounds typical of our culture…unfortunately!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Well if you are afraid to address the problem our elected leaders you have singed your own death sentence In the the next election! Gt voter

  7. Anonymous says:

    Can someone please tell me what they are doing with A $31MILLION DOLLAR BUDGET! 

    • Anonymous says:

      You don't see the fancy cars driving up and down and helicopter gulping fuel?

  8. Archie Debunkered says:

    I guess Bernie knows his family history well enough to know which of his ancestors beat his other ancestors with what…….

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe if Baines shared his plan to combat this crime rise we might actually start to get on board with it?

    • Who the Cap Fits says:

      LIsten people, crimes are being committed Island wide, yes NS and ee ned to have coverage, but the problem, the real problem is that of elimination not suppresion.  We need to see early in the morning at noo, evening and night on the beat on de stree and not always i n air conditioned cars.  They need to be patrolling all so called bad areas and the good ones too if any now exist.  THere cannot be any more of this foolishness allowed to go on.  THe measures I agree cannot be centered only in one area but there must be a proper plan and with this comes the deployment.  DEployment, however cannot be English style of policing no more sah, it is is obvious that it does not work.  THe deployment on the street , tactics presently used the way that investigations are conducted and the lack of concrete evidence in many cases makes this POlice Force (huh) a laughing stock.  


      Come on Chief think outside teh box, do your Mother country proud or trust me you wont go back with any glorious praise or accolades from us the people of the Cayman Islands unless we see progress, and I dont mean lickle progress either.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Only Arden and Ezzard made any sense. Can you imagine what would happen if they didn’t show up? A pack of jokers

  10. Anonymous says:

    A bunch of elected cowards afraid of the British master who will investigate all their skullduggery if they press him too hard

    • Anonymous says:

      10.39, perhaps the politicians realised that the police are actually doing what they can with their hands tied by legislation and that to attack him would be (A) Attacking their own people for the increase in crime and (B) would allow the commissioner to show that he is getting little "holistic" remedies from CIG…

    • Anonymous says:

      Can you people actually read?

      He was appearing in front of the finance committee, not a crime and punishment oversight or national security committee. Accountants and finance officers are not responsible or qualified to hold a COP accountable for operational performance. They count the beans and make sure that the budget is being utilised according to proper fiscal practice.

      As far as the childish 'British master' comment goes, if they are corrupt, I hope he gets them all.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The Police service ( in any country) needs to be one that is respected by its community. Unless that happens , you wont see a major decrease in crime. This has to be the beginning point, which has been lost in Cayman. 30 years ago, under the 'Older-Traditional' West Indian police service of the day, the community was largely respectful of its police officers & they did get the job done.  When you travel from Cayman & go for example, to Florida… for the most part the visible presence of police garners immediate respect – It's a respect that begins as soon as you pass immigration & customs, as they are also departments that command your respect , as well as your respectful behaviour ,along with the police.

    The next thing the police here need to work on also, is being trusted by the community. Once the respect returns & the trust is nurtured, you will start to see results.  

  12. Anonymous says:

    How come RCIPS got 2 officers stationed in Little Cayman but none in NS and EE?
    I swear you cannot make up this stuff up

    • Anonymous says:

      Because you can drive to NS and EE in 15 minutes?  Stop being so blinkered by "districtism".

      • Anonymous says:

        Doesn't work when we need help up here on NS it takes a car 30 minutes to arrive. What's the point, why can't we have a regular team that are based in these areas, able to react to crime, and be on the streets to deter it in the first place?

        If I were to ask one of those car bound cops who and where the local villians live, I bet a years salary that they couldn't name them. Unlike the totally pissed off population of NS/Cayman Kai who are the regular victims of this scum and DO know who they are and where they live.

        Is it going to take homeowners up here to defend themselves and deal with these parasites?

      • Anonymous says:

        Yea, cuz 15 minutes isn't a terrible response time….could mean life or death. It's already 15 mins and more in districts where there are officers stationed.

      • Time Warp says:

        Not true. RCIPS takes at least 30 minutes to get from Bodden Town station to East End. And this is my actual experience based on their response to a 911 call.

        So it is not good enough to have no one stationed at the EE or NS stations.

        • Anonymous says:

          Here is an easy answer – pay some property tax or income tax to fund the extra local policing.  Still as keen?

  13. Anonymous says:

    What a complete bunch of wimps and hot air bags!!!

    Everybody ( even Mr. T) was talking tough about accountability and poor policing. Then Baines gives them a face to face and they all became mutes afraid to demand answers. The only thing worse than that is cutting RCIPS budget and demanding greater results.

  14. Anonymous :\\ says:

    smh … thats because he's british!

  15. Headmaster says:

    Bunch of school yard bullies. Like to talk brave when safe in the house or hiding behind a microphone.

    But put them face to face with the Englishman and they go all meek and mild.

    Stick to picking on Jamacians and Philipinians. Da all unna good for.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I'm loving the names on some of those signatures. Peter Sutcliffe from Yorkshire! lol.

    Plus the other one "I am a Caymanian citizen (based in Orlando) whose brother was murdered in Honduras". Yes that'll be Baines' fault too.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you think that some are not taking this ridiculous petition seriously?

      This is funnier than Ezzard's march.

      • Anonymous says:

        No, Ezzard's march was the funniest thing in a long long time.  The deluded being lead by the demented.

  17. Anonymous says:

    All hot air – when the Englishman show up they went quiet,

    • Anonymous says:

      That's because he would run rings around their nonsensical grandstanding.

      This man is a professional politician, who just happens to wear the Queen's uniform. He isn't a part time, money grabbing MLA, he earnt his position over a 30 year police career.

      He wasn't the worst/best option plucked from obscurity on a lonely rock in the middle of the Caribbean to lead a largely unskilled and uneducated population into the dark ages.

      • Anonymous says:

        The Queens Uniform? I have never seen in in a frock and crown. I have however seen him in a Police Uniform and he has undoubtedley sworn to serve the crown

        • Anonymous says:

          Idiot, when a servant of the crown, (and the CoP undoudtably is) wears a uniform that is embellished by the royal crown of state, then he is wearing the Queen's uniform.

          As are the armed forces of the UK, the UK police, HM Prison Service and any other uniformed organisation that pledges loyalty to the British head of state and works on behalf of the people.

          Uneducated fools like you wouldn't understand such detail, you just try to mock from your default position of stupidity.

  18. Anonymous says:

    train all the police officers how to sharp shoot and give each of them a gun as part of their uniform while doing the round and patrolling on this small island… vigorous physical training must also be implemented to physically apprenhend the offenders