I should like to address issues raised in your editorial on 26 September and elsewhere in recent days concerning the ongoing police investigations. I want to correct some misconceptions about how those investigations are being carried out.
First, I understand the frustration at the lack of information. Both the Special Police Investigation Team and I find it frustrating that we cannot yet say more. If the team were able to share more details, I am sure that the public would be more reassured that they are doing their job properly.
This would dispel the wild rumours that circulate.
To reveal details prematurely could prejudice the investigations or any legal or disciplinary proceedings, be unfair to those under investigation who have not yet been found guilty of anything, and ultimately not serve the best interests of this jurisdiction. Proper investigations – and I am sure the Cayman Islands want these important matters properly investigated – take time and cost money. We have to be patient.
Second, the Special Investigation Team is carrying out independent investigations. All operational decisions, for example to arrest someone, are taken independently by the team here in Cayman drawing on advice from their own independent expert legal counsel. Neither I nor anyone in London instructs them how to conduct their investigations or what conclusions they should reach.
I have throughout sought reassurance that the investigations are being carried out as professionally, expeditiously and as cost-effectively as possible, and that the investigators are taking account of the circumstances, values and laws of this community.
So I have had in place since early on, arrangements for a small group of excellent people, including non-political Caymanians and a very senior police officer from outside Cayman, to ensure the process is properly managed and to advise me on any related matters that properly fall to me to decide such as whether or not to suspend someone under investigation.
The established process is that once the police investigators have done their work it would then be for the Attorney General’s Chambers here in Cayman to decide whether to prosecute on the basis of the usual evidential and public interest tests. Woes betide this country if decisions by the police or the prosecutors on criminal matters were determined by a particular political or commercial interest, whether in the Cayman Islands, the UK or anywhere else.
In the current cases I can assure everyone that they have not been.
Third, contrary to some people’s opinions there is no conspiracy, no grand scheme, no ulterior motive on the part of the UK Government, or the police in the UK or, of course, myself to harm the interests of these islands, or to orchestrate, or time events in order to influence the constitutional talks.
Any suggestion to the contrary is preposterous.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is obviously following these developments in Cayman, but is in no way masterminding them. Like me I am sure they want to see this Territory prosper but also support me in my belief that the best way to ensure a good future for the Cayman Islands over the long term is to work for high standards in public life and to tackle problems rather than try to sweep them under the carpet, something which no longer works in the modern world.
The coincidence of several serious matters in recent weeks and months is very unfortunate and I am concerned about the cumulative impression this may give to our own community and to people in the wider world.
This has literally caused me sleepless nights.
If we are genuinely concerned about the future of this community, as I am, we all need to work together to correct that impression through our words and our actions. We need to reassure people that we have an essentially good police force and sound judicial system – which we do have, even if there are sometimes pockets of problems.
A key point I need to get across is that this is a jurisdiction that strives for high standards, that deals with problems when they arise, and that in doing so is guided by the law, seeks the truth and respects the operational independence of the police and the legal system.
We can demonstrate this not only by tackling individual problems when they arise, but also by learning from those problems and improving the way we operate.
That is how I approached the recent Commission of Enquiry and that is what I am now trying to achieve – for example through better professional standards and complaints procedures for the police and through advocacy of a judicial appointments and complaints commission (this being a matter for the constitutional talks, not my decision) and a published code of conduct for judges.
I ask again for everyone to be patient, not to believe all the unfounded conspiracy theories, and not to be quick to condemn those under investigation, or criticise those who are doing their best to investigate allegations and establish the truth. I am sure that the investigation team will share as much as it properly can, and as soon as it can, with the Government, with stakeholder groups and with the public as well as with me. I will do my best to ensure that happens.
Governor Stuart Jack