Today’s Editorial for March 13: The unfortunate Mr. Jones

Strangely absent from Tuesday evening’s announcement about on-going corruption investigations within the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service were the names of Stuart Kernohan and John Jones.

To jog your memory, the two high-ranking police officers were supposedly the masterminds of an alleged (at least by one local newspaper) ‘break-in’ which occurred in September 2007.

We note here for legal reasons that neither man has been charged with any crimes or even arrested. We might also point out that burglary charges are not filed against anyone currently involved in this case.

Despite the seemingly central involvement of these two men, we were surprised to note this week that Acting Police Commissioner James Smith said ‘Operation Tempura’s (the case name assigned to the investigation by police) active investigations are now primarily focused on preparing for upcoming trials.’

Also, we noted Governor Stuart Jack, stated: ‘…Tempura investigations have wound down…’

Yet there was no mention of the outcome of any investigation regarding Messrs. Kernohan or Jones.

Perhaps officers with Operation Tempura are still working on a case against the two. We know they have already spoken with Mr. Jones. It’s not certain whether Mr. Kernohan has been interviewed in his native Scotland.

But not a peep about these two men as the police operation ‘winds down’ and ‘focuses on upcoming trials.’ Amazing.

Mr. Kernohan left the island in April of last year and refused to return against the wishes of the governor. He was fired for that reason. Further disciplinary proceedings against the former police commissioner at this point would seem useless as the RCIPS and the governor have already chosen the harshest penalty available.

Therefore, the determination of whether Mr. Kernohan should or should not be charged with a crime should presumably be made before Operation Tempura truly ‘winds down.’

We hope to hear news of that decision, one way or the other, soon.

Then there is Mr. Jones. Charged with nothing, arrested for nothing, even accused of nothing specifically, the veteran UK police officer has been on required leave since 27 March, 2008…sitting at home, receiving pay, not able to contribute to the RCIPS, and not knowing the outcome of his case.

Mr. Jones has followed all the rules while on leave, returned to Cayman following his vacations, cooperated with investigators in every way. We know because they’ve told us so.

We sincerely hope the powers that be are not simply waiting for Mr. Jones’ contract to expire in order to ship him quietly back to the UK. Some explanation of what is to occur with this fellow is absolutely necessary.

If it is shown he has done wrong, criminally or administratively, those accusations should be made and dealt with appropriately. If he is cleared of wrong-doing, we hope that will be stated also with a full apology.

To do otherwise, to quietly sweep him under the rug, would be a shocking insult to a veteran officer whose previous 30-year career in the UK does honour to all who wear the uniform.

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