Monday afternoon produced yet another in a long-running list of ironic events surrounding the independent investigation of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.
First, attorneys for Grand Court Justice Alexander Henderson announced he would receive a settlement of nearly CI$1.3 million for his unlawful arrest and an unlawful search of his home and office last September. The police actions that led to that arrest and search were described as ‘the gravest abuse of process’ by visiting judge Sir Peter Cresswell.
Later in the afternoon, a statement was issued by Acting Police Commissioner James Smith, who is now overseeing the police investigation.
The statement addressed a secret report issued by the police team that brought forward ‘matters of very serious concern’ according to Mr. Smith. These were complaints made against the RCIPS since last March by local residents, people who police said had been too afraid to come forward previously.
Here’s where it gets good.
The $1.3 million settlement will have to be paid for by the Cayman Islands, despite the fact that the investigating officers, the governor, and the top-ranking police official who backed them in their efforts all are the ultimate responsibility of the United Kingdom.
The Cayman Islands Cabinet has flatly refused to approve any further expenditure for the independent police investigation even though they are apparently not aware of what is being investigated.
The Governor went over the head of the locally elected government to his UK bosses, who forced funding for an investigation elected leaders didn’t agree with even though they don’t really know what’s being investigated. And the UK tells Cayman it has to pay out of its own pocket for a probe its leaders voted against.
The new acting police commissioner expressed his complete confidence and support in the officers who Sir Peter (the UK judge) said engaged in ‘the gravest abuse of process.’
The judge who just received the whopping $1.3 million settlement tells the local press he can’t talk about the agreement after his statements to the Vancouver Sun were liberally quoted by news agencies all over the islands.
And last, but not least, more than $4 million dollars has been spent on an investigation that’s now stretching into 18 months, and no one, not even the Governor apparently, knows exactly what it has been spent on. At least he’s not talking about it if he does.
This brief recap of recent events may make some of our readers angry, or sad, or frustrated, or even give them a bit of humour to start their day.
Again, we do not wish to downplay the seriousness of this entire situation for the Cayman Islands, its stability, future, and the reputations of those involved, including the investigating UK Met officers whose careers may indeed be on the line.
But if we were to just, for one moment, step outside ourselves and forget that we too are a part of this community; we might wish that the UK Met probe would never go away.
Really, we at the Caymanian Compass couldn’t make up these stories if we tried. All we can do now is sit back and wait to see what Mr. Smith, Mr. Bridger and Mr. Jack come up with next!