Gov: investigations continue

A six million dollar investigation into allegations of police corruption and misconduct will continue to the end with new Royal Cayman Islands Police Commissioner David Baines at the helm.

Last week, both Mr. Baines and Governor Stuart Jack re-affirmed their commitment to pushing on with separate probes involving allegations of wrong-doing with the RCIPS.

Thus far, the first investigation, dubbed Operation Tempura, has led to criminal charges against a deputy police commissioner and a former Cayman Islands MLA. Both are scheduled to face trial later this year.

The second probe, called Operation Cealt, has been under way for several months, but has not resulted in any arrests or charges.

‘They are a running story that will have to run its course,’ Commissioner Baines said. ‘And there’s little I can do about that.’

The investigations have been widely criticised in the Caymanian community, particularly after a CI $1.3 million award given to wrongly arrested Grand Court Justice Alexander Henderson and the recent exoneration of the two targets of the initial investigation, former Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan and RCIPS Chief Superintendent John Jones.

The initial claims against Messrs. Jones and Kernohan were that they committed misconduct in a public office by supervising an investigation that led to an unauthorised entry at local newspaper publisher Desmond Seales’ office on 3 September, 2007. Neither man was ever arrested or charged.

However, Operation Cealt, the second phase of the probe, deals with a number of completely unrelated allegations. The nature of those claims has not been made public. Officials were at a loss last week to state how long that investigation might take or how much it would cost.

‘The way we’re going to restore the police force is to dispose of all those (allegations),’ Governor Jack said. ‘Something which the public sometimes doesn’t always understand is if the end result of the investigations…is that if something is proven not to be true, then the community will be reassured by that.’

‘It’s a process that we have to go through.’

Both the governor and Commissioner Baines sidestepped questions about whether they might release specific details of costs for Operation Tempura, which has been going on in the Cayman Islands since September 2007. A cost breakdown for the judicial review matters related to Justice Henderson’s case was released, but no specific costs have been given for the police investigation.

Both the UK Metropolitan Police force and Mr. Jack have refused on numerous occasions to release those figures.

Mr. Baines said he would have to review any requests for that information to ensure that releasing it would not compromise any police operations.

The new commissioner also indicated he was aware he could be held personally liable for any judgments awarded to those now suing over their treatment at the hands of the UK Met investigating team. Those include Mr. Kernohan and former Cayman Islands Police Inspector Burmon Scott.

‘I have to accept those risks,’ he said.