Governor forces funding for Met probe

Following a refusal by the Cayman Islands Cabinet to continue to fund an on-going independent police investigation earlier this week, Governor Stuart Jack has gone to the United Kingdom to get approval for the cash.

According to a statement sent to the press late Friday afternoon, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Undersecretary of State Gillian Merron has approved that request, allowing Governor Jack to use his reserve powers to by-pass Cabinet.

The Governor used a similar move early in 2008 to fund a controversial Commission of Enquiry which was looking into the removal of some government files from the Ministry of Tourism.

In a printed statement, Governor Jack said he was going over the heads of Cabinet ministers to ensure the rule of law in Cayman.

“There are two issues at stake,” the Governor said. “(Visiting judge) Sir Peter Cresswell has directed us to try to agree damages with Justice (Alexander) Henderson. He has trusted the Cayman Islands government to act in good faith. We must do this, whatever the unfortunate circumstances that led to the question of damages.”

“The second issue at stake is good governance. I know that there are many people on this island who are worried about the police investigations, particularly about what they are costing, about the time they take. I know that many people wish that the whole issue could just disappear overnight.”

“But we live in the real world,” the Governor continued. “Allegations — serious allegations — don’t just disappear. Court judgments can’t simply be ignored.”

A special police team hailing from the UK Metropolitan Police force has been in Cayman since September 2007 looking into allegations of misconduct within the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service. Judge Henderson was swept up in the probe after his September 2008 arrest on vague allegations of misuse of office. He was never charged, and was later cleared by the attorney general and police investigators.

Judge Cresswell ruled that the Met team’s search of Mr. Henderson’s home and office on 24 September was illegal. He also ordered the court to look into damages for Mr. Henderson.

Judge Henderson has said he expects damages awarded to be in the “low seven figures” as in more than a million dollars.

Governor Jack’s statement made no mention of how much additional funding he had requested from Cabinet. The Governor said last year that some $2.6 million had been spent on the Met team’s investigation from September 2007 to November 2008.

Check back with for further updates on this story, and make sure to pick up a copy of the Caymanian Compass on Tuesday for a full report.