Three Cayman Islands Cabinet members blasted Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan Thursday for ‘misleading’ them about the capabilities of the helicopter government purchased last year for exclusive use of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.
Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts said he was uncertain whether the Eurocopter 1999 model, which is still in the United States, could be outfitted as required or whether it would have to be sold and another helicopter model purchased.
‘It was clear…that any helicopter that was to be acquired would, of fundamental necessity, be able to service all three islands and operate…off either island day or night,’ Mr. Tibbetts said. ‘I regret to have to say…that we have now learned that the aircraft which was acquired cannot fulfil these requirements as it now stands.’
Government purchased the helicopter for $1.8 million in 2007 from a police service in the UK and has spent another $1 million outfitting the aircraft to prepare it for arrival in Cayman.
Works and Infrastructure Minister Arden McLean offered the strongest chastisement of Mr. Kernohan, and said he would be opposed to any attempt to reinstate the commissioner at RCIPS even if he was cleared in the UK Met investigation.
‘That Commissioner of Police misled us into believing that helicopter was capable of doing what we, as policy directors, asked it to do,’ Mr. McLean said. ‘We did not get value for money on the helicopter.’
Mr. Kernohan left the Cayman Islands several months ago to attend to a private family matter in his native Scotland following his removal from duty by Cayman Islands Governor Stuart Jack on 27 March. The commissioner is still receiving his full salary while being investigated by officers from the UK Metropolitan Police in relation to an on-going misconduct probe at RCIPS.
Officials said the issues with the police helicopter were not a part of the UK Met investigation.
Mr. Kernohan was unreachable for comment at press time. Calls to the RCIPS and the Governor’s office regarding the matter were not immediately returned.
Please pick up a copy of Friday’s Caymanian Compass to read more about this developing story.