Independent lawmaker Ezzard Miller plans to bring a motion asking the government to consider filing a lawsuit against the UK and Governor Stuart Jack over controversial Operation Tempura.
Mr. Miller attempted to make the motion at a Finance Committee meeting, asking members to consider bringing a lawsuit in London against the Governor, the UK Government, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the UK Metropolitan Police to recover costs and damages from the long-running investigation into alleged police corruption.
“I believe the Finance Committee needs to consider some way of trying to recoup some of these expenses, and this is the only way I know,” Mr. Miller said.
A detailed breakdown of the cost of the UK-led, $10 million investigation was disclosed to Members of the Legislative Assembly in an Auditor General’s report presented to parliament on Thursday. That report is expected to be made public on Monday.
The investigation has led to two court cases, involving ex-MLA Lyndon Martin and the Deputy Police Commissioner Rudolph Dixon. Both were found not guilty.
Saying he expected the motion to generate “much debate”, Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush convinced Mr. Miller that the motion would be better presented as a Private Member’s Motion to the House.
Mr. Bush pointed out that any lawsuit would likely cost the Cayman Islands money. “It is a very serious matter that the member has raised, one that we all have to consider where this could go to. We can do it out of principle, or we can do it in the hope to win. If we lose, it is an extra burden of expense that we would have to worry about.”
Mr. Miller said he was bringing the motion as a matter of principle and would table it on Monday.
At Friday’s meeting, legislators voted six votes to four to budget for $315,036 in expenses for special police investigations, including Operation Tempura. Last year’s budget allocated nearly $5 million to Operation Tempura.
Mr. Miller asked for a division, in which individual votes of members are counted, so that it could be recorded that he voted no. All members of the Opposition who were present at the meeting voted no, while UDP government members voted yes.
Prior to the vote, things got heated when Mr. Bush said the People’s Progressive Movement had supported Operation Tempura in its early days when the party headed the government and suggested it should have consulted with the people on the scope of the investigation.
This enraged Opposition member Arden McLean who said court documents on one of the court cases that resulted from the investigation indicated comments Mr. Bush made to former Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan had led to the investigation in the first place, an assertion Mr. Bush denied.