Two unanimous votes come out of a marathon Monday night (25 April) special sitting of the Legislative Assembly.
MLAs burned the midnight oil, passing retooled versions of private members motions dealing with the response to the missing five case, and governance of the RCIPS.
And today, lawmakers seem satisfied with the compromise.
“We got a compromise that I believe can work,” said Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush, as the clock neared midnight.
He told Cayman 27 he didn’t get the judicial inquiry he wanted from his motion into the police response to the missing five case, but he called the compromise, appointing two justices of the peace to monitor the investigation led by Commander Jenkins of the UK Maritime and Coast Guard agency, the next best thing.
“If they take up the appointments as made by the premier and myself, then some semblance of objectivity will be there and that’s what I want. I want an objective review,” said Mr. Bush, who withdrew his original motion after hours of sometimes heated debate in the chamber, replacing it with a version with suggested amendments from government.
Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin told Cayman 27 he was pleased with Monday’s outcomes.
“I thought that if we used the model which is used with respect to the appointment of a number of commissions under the constitution,” Mr. McLaughlin told Cayman 27 after most other lawmakers had heading home after a long day of debate. “It will have the necessary credibility to allow it to be taken seriously, and will allay not just the concerns of the opposition, but probably more importantly, the concerns of the family about this issue.”
He described the two JPs as the Caymanian eyes and ears of the investigation.
He told Cayman 27 building a consensus on both motions sends a powerful message to the Governor, who ultimately has responsibility for police matters.
“I always try as hard as possible, whether it’s my own team or the Legislative Assembly, to reach consensus on issues,” explained the Premier. “It isn’t always possible, but on matters of national importance as these two I thought it was very, very critical that we sent a united message about where the house stood with respect to both matters.”
“This is not about he rank and file of the police force, this is about management,” said Mr. Bush.
Mr. Bush welcomed softening the language in the police governance motion. Just before 11pm, East End MLA Arden McLean indicated he would be willing to amend the motion as to be acceptable to government. Language was changed, removing a ‘lack of confidence’ phrase that some lawmakers, including Mr. Bush, worried would negatively impact rank and file RCIPS officers. But Mr. Bush told Cayman 27 with recent missteps on part of police, something had to be done.
“I certainly believe that there is a time for change. We could not continue without having some review of management capacity and capabilities,” said Mr. Bush.
The Governor sent a response to the motions this afternoon. She will invite the nomination of two JPs to work alongside the UK commander.
However, she says the new Commissioner of Police will be best suited to conduct a review of policing methodology. She says succession planning for Caymanian officers is already required in the new commissioner’s job description.
For Wednesday’s (27 April’s) regular session, Government is planning to table 18 bills and three motions, hear 10 private members motions, and address 48 questions to ministers and members of cabinet.