Op Cealt going in-house to RCIPS

Two named to Anti-Corruption Commission; National Security Council begins meeting Wednesday

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Remaining inquires arising from the
police corruption investigation dubbed Operation Cealt will be undertaken by a
new anti-corruption unit in the Royal Cayman Island Police Services.

Cealt was the second of two police
corruption investigations undertaken by the UK Metropolitan Police over the
past two and a half years.

During an interview last week,
Governor Duncan Taylor said he understood from Police Commissioner David Baines
that Operation Cealt had been brought in-house at the RCIPS.

Part of bringing the investigation
in-house will involve jettisoning the Operation Cealt moniker, the governor
said.

“The commissioner no longer wants
to see it as a separate operation with a separate name,” Mr. Taylor said.

“I don’t think he’s going to want
to use the name Operation Cealt anymore, so in a sense, you could say Operation
Cealt is over or about to be over.”

That, however, does not mean that
all of the matters of investigation of Cealt, which arose out of a number of
complaints made against the police by Cayman Islands residents since March 2008,
are over.

“There will be some continuing
investigation into the most serious allegations that were alleged under
Operation Cealt,” Mr. Taylor said. “They will become part of something that
will be handled entirely in-house by the RCIPS within their anti-corruption
unit. That is my understanding.”

Mr. Taylor said Commissioner Baines
was currently in the process of building the anti-corruption unit.

“When that is up and running, and
literally as we speak I know he is processing applications for the positions in
the anti-corruption unit, [the Operation Cealt matters] will be an in-house
investigation. There will be a cold-casing, looking into old cases which may
need to be reviewed, and there’s people handling corruption cases.”

The governor welcomed the formation
of the anti-corruption unit.

“I think that it’s right that it
should be, whenever possible, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service carrying
out the investigations.”

In addition to the RCIPS
anti-corruption unit, Mr. Taylor recently made two appointments  to complete the establishment of the
Anti-Corruption Commission called for in The Anti-Corruption Law, 2008, which
took effect 1 January 2010.

The Anti-Corruption Commission will
act as the anti-corruption authority of the Cayman Islands and investigate
reports of corruption offenses, including bribery of lawmakers; defrauding
government entities; breach of trust by public officers; and attempts to buy or
sell public offices.

The Commission comprises the
Commissioner of Police, the Auditor General, the Complaints Commissioner and
two people appointed by the governor. The two appointed people must be retired
judges, retired policemen, retired magistrates, retired attorneys-at-law, or
retired justices of the peace.

Mr. Taylor said he had recently
appointed Sir Peter Allen, a former chief justice in Uganda who now resides in
the Cayman Islands, and Leonard Ebanks, a retired justice of the peace, to the
Anti-Corruption Commission.  

 “The next stage will be, I think, to get the
attorney general to give them a briefing on the work of the Anti-Corruption
Commission,” he said. “I want to sit in on the briefing myself just to get a
better understanding of what the Anti-Corruption Commission will be doing.”

After the briefing, Mr. Taylor said
the Anti-Corruption Commission should begin operating.

“I’m hoping that will happen pretty
soon.”

The commencement of the
Anti-Corruption Law and the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Commission is
seen as an important event for the Cayman Islands in helping to fight its tax
haven image. Former Chairman of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority Tim
Ridley called the development “a bold step” in the First Quarter 2010 Cayman Financial Review.

It is a highly commendable move and is as a key
part of Cayman’s commitment to implement improved good governance, regulation, transparency
and cross-border assistance and enforcement,” he wrote.

Mr. Taylor confirmed that the
National Security Council, a body that is called for in Cayman’s new
Constitution to advise the governor on security matters, will commence its operations
this Wednesday.

“I think it will be a very
important body with a key function,” Mr. Taylor said.

The new constitution took effect 6
November last year, but Mr. Taylor said he wanted to get to know some of the
people he’d be working with, like the premier, the attorney general and the
commissioner of police, before establishing the council.

“I wanted to just get my feet under
the desk and get a bit of a feel of what’s going on here, particularly on the
security side, before actually chairing the first meeting,” he said.  “I think I’m now in a position to do that and
I’m conscious that there are, quite understandably, some serious concerns about
security right now.”

Although he realises there is a
sense of urgency about getting the National Security Council up and running –
at a public meeting last week George Town MLA Alden McLaughlin called it a “dereliction
of duty” for the council not to be operational since 6 November in view of the
recent wave of violent crimes – Mr. Taylor said he felt six weeks after he arrived
was “pretty much around the timing I would have liked to have held the first
meeting”.

The National Security Council will
comprise the governor as chairman, the premier, the leader of the opposition,
the deputy governor, the attorney general, the commissioner of police, two
cabinet minister recommended by the premier and two members of the public
appointed by the governor.

The two appointed members of the
public are Bridget Kirkconnell and Dan Scott.

Mr. Taylor said the National
Security Council would look at all of Cayman’s security issues.

“It’s going to give an opportunity
for serious discussions, not just about what the police do, but more broadly,”
he said. “We’ll want to begin, for example, by looking at what some of the
threats are – threats in the short term, in the medium term and in the long
term – and what are the right strategies to deal with those threats.

“We’re not talking just about
police; we’ll be looking at Customs, Immigration, the Prison Service and so
on.”

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Governor Duncan Taylor
Photo: File
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