(CNS): The speaker of the Legislative Assembly during the last UDP administration, Mary Lawrence, has been nominated by the opposition leader to assist the expert from the UK’s Maritime & Coastguard Agency who will be conducting a review of the RCIPS’ handling of the report of five missing people at sea. The premier has appointed retired fire chief Kirkland Nixon to join the panel that will assess the events last month that led to the deaths of Edsell Haylock, Gary Mullings and his three nephews, Nicholas Watler, Kamron (11) and his brother Kanyi Brown (9).
The appointments of the two JPs follows a debate in the Legislative Assembly Monday on a private member’s motion filed by Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush calling for an independent quasi-judicial public enquiry into the search and rescue operation.
However, since the governor had already appointed Andrew Jenkins from the MCA, a compromise between the opposition and government benches saw the motion amended to allow the LA to appoint two justices of the peace to work with the UK expert as a “Caymanian pair of eyes and ears”.
This was seen as a way to prevent the possibility of a whitewash or cover-up by UK officials if Jenkins was to discover fault with the police commissioner or other RCIPS management.
In a short statement Tuesday, Cayman Islands Governor Helen Kilpatrick said she believed that Jenkins, who arrived Tuesday, would be independent and impartial. She nevertheless agreed to the idea of including JPs nominated by the opposition leader and Premier Alden McLaughlin, who revealed their choices in the LA Wednesday.
The premier picked Nixon, the former head of the Cayman Islands Fire Service, who had a long career as an emergency services professional. Bush nominated Lawrence, the speaker of the House during his last UDP administration and a former educator, who made several failed attempts to be elected to the LA.
Jenkins, who will chair the small review team, was expected to begin his work yesterday.
During the debate Monday regarding the tragic loss of life, legislators spoke of their concerns that there were too many unanswered questions over the events surrounding the search for the missing three men and two boys.
With allegations and counter allegations and concerns over the reasons why the RCIPS did not start a search immediately following the first report of the missing boat or why the police chopper was not launched at first light, all of the MLAs said it was important to have a transparent review of the events.
Category: Local News