Executive involvement wrong

In society, both large and small, it is imperative that there is a clear separation of powers between the various branches of government.

This was brought sharply into focus in the UK recently when an opposition front bench Member of Parliament was arrested. In endeavoring to find what role politicians played in the investigation, the UK Home Secretary maintained that it would be wrong for her to intervene in a police investigation.

Yet it appears that the governor of the Cayman Islands has no such reservations in his involvement with an ongoing police investigation. Indeed, I believe it is now clear that his involvement has gone beyond that necessary for him to fulfill his obligations in respect of ensuring that the islands are served by an efficient Police service.

For him to now say that Senior Investigating Officer Martin Bridger and his team ‘acted in good faith’ when the courts now rule that Justice Alex Henderson’s arrest was clearly unlawful, does seem somewhat incongruous at best and ill-informed at worst.

The officers from the Metropolitan Police brought in to manage this investigation have, I would respectfully suggest, had enough time to come to a conclusion. They have pressed charges against one police officer and comment on this matter would be wrong. However one further officer remains on required leave with another’s position now in some dispute.

The team were brought in to investigate one specific matter. Once they became satisfied that these allegations were false it was right that they should instigate investigations into the falsehoods. Yet 12 months down the line, a conservative estimate of CI$10M and despite the decisions eight months ago handed down by the Chief Justice, it seems we are still some weeks away from a final report.

At least we can now take some comfort in the fact that a suitable acting police commissioner has been appointed who recognises that it is he and he alone who is responsible for the conduct of this investigation.

I am sure he is also considering what measures need to be taken to begin to repair the battering the RCIPS has taken, both in terms of the respect with which it is held in the community, and in terms of the clear low morale now felt by some many hard working officers.

I trust that Acting Police Commissioner Smith and his experienced senior team will act decisively to ensure that the RCIPS and the Cayman Islands are never again subjected to destructive operational interference by the executive branch, however well meaning and that the legal framework is put in place to deal with any similar allegations should they arise in the future.

Ashley Tiffen

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