A long-serving former justice of the English High Court has been named to lead a commission of enquiry’s investigation into whether files were improperly taken from the Cayman Islands Tourism Ministry in 2004 by then-Permanent Secretary and current Minister of Tourism Charles Clifford.
Formal hearings of the commission are expected to begin in early January. The proceedings will not be open to the public, according to Governor Stuart Jack.
Sir Richard Tucker will serve as Commissioner in conducting the enquiry, which will have the power to summon witnesses and obtain documents similar to those available to the Cayman Islands Grand Court.
Commissioner Tucker has served since 2002 as a commissioner of the Royal Court of Jersey. Prior to his current appointment, he spent more than 20 years sitting for the High Court in England.
‘He brings with him a wealth of experience and the highest professional reputation for integrity and impartiality,’ a statement from the governor’s office read.
Commissioner Tucker is expected to arrive in Cayman in early December.
The enquiry was ordered by Governor Jack earlier this month following repeated claims by Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush that Minister Clifford had violated civil service rules and Cayman Islands law by taking minutes of meetings and other government records and giving them to the media. Mr. Bush has argued those records were confidential.
Local newspaper publisher Desmond Seales said earlier this year that Mr. Clifford had given his paper the documents, which it used to support several stories which were critical of Mr. Bush’s former administration.
Mr. Clifford has maintained that the documents were his personal files.