Corruption laws leave gap
(CNS): As neither the UK Bribery Act nor Cayman’s Anti-Corruption Law are retroactive, neither piece of legislation can assist the RCIPS in 'certain' investigations, the police commissioner revealed this week. David Baines said local police were faced with “some difficulties” regarding current corruption investigations because the local law started on 1 January 2010 and the UK law, which can apply in Cayman, was also not enforced until that year. Although the police commissioner did not spell out the difficulties or offer any specifics on the investigations he was referring to, he pointed out that despite having two powerful laws at their disposal, the authorities still faced problems with corruption convictions.
Speaking during the question and answer session of Wednesday's Chamber of Commerce 'Be Informed' presentation on the UK Bribery Act and its potential influence here in the Cayman Islands, the islands’ senior police officer said that because the Cayman legislation had not come into force until 2010 and had at the same time repealed previous legislation it had “created some real issues for us”, as the police can only deal with the offences after the date, unlike the UK where old legislation has been left in place to deal with previous offences.
“We have some fairly significant issues that had taken place earlier,” he said, adding that the UK act could have been a way to address them, but although it was modern and appropriate legislation it could not apply to earlier issues either, so there was a gap that needed to be addressed for Cayman-initiated investigations that deal with incidents or offences that occurred before 2010.
The UK bribery act has a long reach, covering anyone with close connections to the UK, including overseas territory subjects with British passports, but, like the Cayman law, it is not retroactive.
Talking about the future and the use Cayman’s own anti-corruption law, the commissioner said that it sanctioned a number of practices that were culturally endemic in the public sector, so training for civil servants was extremely important. He said that when public employees enter data bases now a warning comes up about how the information can be used or released and points to a liability for prosecution if it is misused.
Baines said the police and immigration departments were where the most potential harm could occur but a training document would go out shortly to every public officer.
He said that the Cayman law had envisage not only an anti-corruption commission but an investigative team as well, but no money had been provided for either.
“So I am limited by the number of police officers,” the commissioner said, noting that he could not yet create an independent unit and was using police officers to conduct investigations.
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