by Bennette Roach :
A brief release from the Governor’s office has stated Royal Montserrat Police Services (RMPS) Commissioner of Police Steve Foster, will resume duty on 19 December, with the word from the release being, “Investigations into allegations of misconduct are still ongoing but the Governor has considered that it would be unreasonable to ask the Commissioner to remain on leave for a further period.”
The Commissioner was asked to take leave on October 22, initially, by H E Governor Adrian Davis, who told him, “a complaint has been made against you alleging certain conduct which may amount to criminal behavior,” that he should proceed on leave and not try to find out what the allegations were.
There was silence at the beginning, when it appeared since Foster engaged legal counsel that the manner in which he had been forced to take leave, later reported to have been planned, that somehow procedure had been compromised.
On Oct. 23 in mid-afternoon after we received this information, the Governor eventually issued a statement which said: “There have been allegations of inappropriate behavior,” against the Commissioner, which, “have to be properly investigated.”
One letter from the Governor to the Commissioner had also said: “If the allegations do not appear to be substantiated, you will also be advised and you may then take additional vacation leave or resume duties.”
The Governor had further advised in a statement to the media, “I am seeking the assistance of the Royal Cayman Police Service to conduct the investigation. I have asked the Commissioner to take leave while this process is ongoing. The Commissioner has not been suspended.”
Foster’s leave had expired since Dec 4 but he had not yet returned to the job. Following that on Dec 7 the Ag. Commissioner Bradley Siddell expressed both his and Foster’s anxiety for resolution so that he can better plan the use of his resources. He said that the investigation had taken place, discussions followed but there were meetings yet to be held, the Governor being away at the time.
The Ag, CoP said: “…the cause of the delay is in fact that the key stake holders involved…the attorney general , there is a requirement for the director of public prosecutions, of course the governor and different consultants including the original investigators from the Cayman islands,’ the consultation takes place, …then in essence it will be the governors decision as to the next course of action.”
The Deputy Commissioner said that he is waiting, “of course for some direction from the Governor as to what my next course of action might be as a result of any decision…”
He explained the anxiety and told the media: “… I know that on behalf of commissioner Foster he would like to see this matter expedited. I certainly need to see this matter expedited so that I can plan from a resource point of view what I need to do internally because there are going to be some implications (as he was prompted) either way.
At a press conference just after the litigious ‘send home’, the new Deputy Commissioner Bradley Siddell who then became Ag. Commissioner confirmed that the investigation was due to take place and that the Commissioner’s absence was not affecting the Police and Fire week activities. He did say however on Oct 26, “…from an organizational point of view we will not have of direct access to CoP. That’s an additional resource that the organization relies on for leadership, so from an executive leadership level where we’ve gone from two to one, that obviously is going to impact the speed potentially at which we can deliver certain initiatives.”
The Commissioner reported to work the following Monday, but sources said he reported that the Governor had said he should take more leave, this time for an indefinite period. There was reportedly as a result, some discomfort and uncertainty within the RMPS. Soon sources speculated that the litigious nature and moreover reported poor procedural actions might see the CoP back on duty.
Process and Procedures
H E the Governor had been expressing concerns about processes and procedures especially where litigation could result. There is the question for the Governor whether he has been caught in the confusion of his concerns.
During his last press conference he was asked to explain his concerns as expressed at the swearing ceremony of the Deputy Governor, Alrick Taylor. (See http://www.themontserratreporter.com/alrick-taylor-sworn-in-as-new-deputy-governor/)
The news then Commissioner Foster is back on the job, but with investigations still on-going. There was seemingly some embarrassing urgency at the beginning, but now, “it would be unreasonable to ask the Commissioner to remain on leave for a further period.”
(See flashback: CoP Foster on leave for allegations of inappropriate conduct
Photos – Foster, Governor and Siddell