Caines denies nepotism after appointing mother

  • Selected on merit: Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Selected on merit: Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The national security minister denied nepotism after he appointed his mother to a government board.

Wayne Caines said the selection of Shurnett Caines for the Treatment of Offenders Board was based on merit.

He added that the appointment was made because of his mother’s previous years of service on the board and interest in the criminal justice system.

Mr Caines said: “She has the experience to sit on the board but, more importantly, she is committed to fairness, to justice, and to the treatment and rehabilitation of offenders in Bermuda.”

Ms Caines was appointed to the Department of Corrections’ Treatment of Offenders Board in January.

The eleven-member board, chaired by Scott Simmons, a Progressive Labour Party backbencher, hears complaints from prison inmates and holds hearings on offences committed by inmates while they are behind bars.

The board also inspect prisons and report on their findings.

Mr Caines said that his mother had served on the board “for a number of years” before his appointment as minister and that she was “removed during the One Bermuda Alliance administration”.

He added: “I thought it important that she recontinue, as a number of the members were reappointed when I took the office as the minister.”

Ms Caines was on the board for at least five years before she was reappointed, in 2005 and from 2009 to 2012.

Mr Caines said that people who wanted to serve on the board, including his mother, had contacted him to express an interest.

He added: “We didn’t want to remove the whole board, but we did want to make some changes.

“She was one of the people that were selected based on her being a Justice of the Peace, based on her having a clean certificate, based on her being on the board for a number of years prior, understanding how the Bermuda Department of Corrections works, based on her understanding how the Treatment of Offenders Board works, based on her having a compassionate spirit, and based on her being a Bermudian who wanted to be on the Treatment of Offenders Board.”

Mr Caines said: “There is no personal benefit. They are making decisions that are totally independent of the minister.”

Board members are paid $50 for every meeting they attend.

The 1979 law governing the board said the Minister should pick people “as appear to him to be representative of the community in general, and shall, in respect of such persons, have regard to their age, and to their experience in industry, commerce, or any profession or other field of endeavour”.

It added the board should include “so far as is practicable, persons who possess expertise in medicine, psychology, law, or education”.

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Published Dec 11, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Dec 11, 2019 at 8:07 am)

Caines denies nepotism after appointing mother

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