Governor mum on investigation

Governor Stuart Jack has not yet announced if the Governor’s Office will investigate whether Cabinet Minister Charles Clifford took and distributed confidential files when he left the civil service in July 2004.

Leader of the Opposition McKeeva Bush requested the investigation on 27 September after Cayman Net News publisher Desmond Seales revealed Mr. Clifford was his source for ‘hard copies of minutes and other documents’ that led to several unflattering stories about the United Democratic Party prior to the 2005 general elections.

‘[Desmond Seales] didn’t say anything I didn’t know,’ Mr. Bush said. ‘I knew Chuckie gave him those documents.’

Mr. Bush wrote a subsequent letter to the Governor on 9 October suggesting Mr. Clifford’s actions were in breech of Section 2 of the Confidential Relationship Preservation Law.

‘It’s the cornerstone of our jurisdiction,’ Mr. Bush said Thursday of the Confidential Relationship Preservation Law. ‘This has nothing to do with the election. The elections are past and over. It has to do with protecting the jurisdiction.’

On 1 October, Andy Holbrook of the Governor’s Office confirmed Mr. Jack had received the original request for investigation from Mr. Bush and the he was considering the matter.

Mr. Bush said he has followed up with the Governor’s Office about two weeks ago.

‘They said they were working on it and would get back to me,’ he said.

Last week, Head of the Governor’s Office Simon Tonge said Mr. Jack was still considering the request for investigation.

‘Hopefully [we’ll] be able to say something more soon,’ he added.

Mr. Clifford has admitted taking some documents from his office when he left civil service, but that they were copies of minutes of board meetings of which he was a part. He maintains he had a right to retain the copies of those minutes.

Regardless of whether he had a right to maintain copies of the minutes, Mr. Bush believes it was against the law to give copies of those to the media.

When asked if he did in fact give Cayman Net News copies of the minutes, Mr. Clifford said he was not going to say anything about Cayman Net News because he was considering the possibility of legal action against the newspaper.

Mr. Bush believes Mr. Clifford also took copies of confidential Cabinet meeting extracts and also gave them to Cayman Net News.

Mr. Clifford has stated that he pointed out several irregularities concerning the UDP during the election campaign, many of which were confirmed by a series of Auditor General reports. He noted that Mr. Bush seems to be complaining that he was exposed.

But Mr. Bush contends Mr. Clifford ‘twisted’ the information he took when he left civil service.

‘I say twisted because he knew better,’ Mr. Bush said.

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