MLAs boycott Gov’s leaving parties

Jack fires back on Met investigation

Mr. Jack

Mr. Jack

Two Cayman Islands lawmakers said last week that they will not be attending any of the leaving parties held for Governor Stuart Jack, when the governor departs the Islands next month.

Those who will be declining invitations to see Mr. Jack off include East End MLA Arden McLean, as well as North Side independent MLA Ezzard Miller.

Mr. McLean said he was only speaking for himself, not the opposition People’s Progressive Movement party. But he indicated that he considered it unfair to him and the country to attend any function in honour of this governor’s tenure.

‘His administration has not been in our best interest,’ said Mr. McLean, declaring the cocktail parties, parade at the airport and inspection of the Honour Guard were not on his to-do list in November.

‘As a matter of principal,’ Mr. McLean said, ‘I have made a personal choice and this is not a party decision.’

The East End representative said he had wished His Excellency farewell already and was really wrestling to come to grips with some of the decisions the governor made.

‘Never have we had a governor in our history, whom has acted so unilaterally; without even consulting the people of the country,’ he said.

Many of Mr. McLean’s criticisms of Governor Jack over the past year have focused on decisions supporting on-going corruption and misconduct investigations within the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.

The situation was exacerbated over the weekend when a series of photos taken of former Operation Tempura team members surfaced in the British tabloid the Daily Mail.

The photos included pictures of former Senior Investigating Officer Martin Bridger wearing a floatie on the beach, a picture of Mr. Bridger in his new boat with other investigating team members, and a photo of another investigator asleep at his desk.

Last week, Mr. Jack released a scathing statement questioning why elected members, some who had initially chosen to support the investigation – dubbed Operation Tempura – had changed their minds.

‘Some are worried about Cayman’s reputation,’ Governor Jack said. ‘That is a legitimate concern, but the best way to protect the country’s reputation is to dispose of allegations one way or another, not leave them hanging in the air.’

The governor said allegations that UK Metropolitan police officers involved in the probe have unfairly targeted Caymanians were ‘totally untrue,’ and said that non-Caymanian officers have also faced prosecution during his time in office.

‘Other people may want to try and use Tempura as a stick with which to beat the UK,’ Mr. Jack said. ‘If their aim is independence, they should come out and say so.

‘Yet others seek political control of the police. But the UK was rightly not prepared to give politicians in Cayman, or in any other overseas territory, control over police operations or the appointment of senior police officers.’

When asked about his decision to initially endorse Operation Tempura, Mr. McLean said he does not think the government at the time was misled.

Mr. McLean said he was not even aware of the operation until six months after it began.

‘No time is the right time for such a thing but I thought that time was as good as any,’ said Mr. McLean.

He added that once events began to unfold, he took a different view, ‘as things just began to drag on.’

He said what was portrayed as corruption as a result of the investigation into the RCIPS was not, in his view, and was just affecting morale and people’s character.

‘The greatest human fallacy is that we measure others by our own standards,’ said Mr. McLean.

Governor Jack pointed out that a spin off of the initial Operation Tempura, called Operation Cealt, is still under way. This investigation involves unspecified allegations of police wrong-doing. No arrests have been made or charges filed in the case to date.

‘I look forward to the day when the whole story can be told,’ Mr. Jack said.

North Side Legislative Assembly Member Ezzard Miller said he would not be attending any leaving functions for the governor for a number of reasons, among them; the fact that his wife was not formally invited to previous engagements.

Mr. Miller said he was also not very fond of the cocktail circuit and that it would not be unusual for him be absent at such events.

The North Side MLA said he had not seen evidence that the Governor had a CV or experience that justified him running a ‘500-600 million dollar company,’ referring to the Cayman Islands.

‘I have always been an advocate for fully internal self-government and we need to advocate more strongly a position for independence,’ said Mr. Miller.

He added that when he was in the Legislative Assembly in the 90’s, he always sought to bring about this kind of change.

Governor Jack pointed out that Cayman’s new Constitution, taking effect on 6 November, would give voters and their elected representatives more say in strategies and policies of the RCIPS.