Gov: ‘Cealt’ cases mostly done

The majority of the corruption and misconduct related allegations reported to a special police team in Cayman during 2008 and 2009 have been investigated and concluded, according to a statement from Governor Duncan 
Taylor’s office.

The cases stemmed from public complaints made in the wake of an independent police investigation dubbed Operation Tempura. The specific nature of the separate complaints – made by some 70 people in the Cayman Islands – has never been revealed.

Police at the time said that accusations generally involved corruption or misconduct accusations made against certain Royal Cayman Islands Police Officers. In 2009 they were divided into another investigation apart from Operation Tempura; it was dubbed 
Operation Cealt.

According to statements released to the Caymanian Compass last week, there have been repercussions from the investigation formerly known as Operation Cealt.

“Some incidences have resulted in officers leaving the service and some allegations still form the basis of ongoing investigation by either the anti-corruption unit, the Anti-Corruption Commission, or the [police] cold case review team,” a statement from Governor Taylor’s 
office read.

Investigations by the police cold case squad are not related to corruption, according to the 
governor’s office.

Operation Cealt, which at one time was being conducted by a team of officers seconded from the UK Metropolitan Police force, no longer exists. All of the work previously being done by UK officers on that investigation has been passed to the RCIPS anti-corruption unit. Police Commissioner David Baines has said that a number of foreign-based officers have since been brought in to staff that unit. Those include a former consultant for the original Operation Tempura investigation team, Inspector Richard Oliver, who now leads the police anti-corruption unit.

“Operation Cealt was an attempt to understand more fully the concerns from the public about the conduct of the police service or of specific police officers…to try and restore public officers in the RCIPS,” the governor’s office statement read. “The RCIPS has, under the leadership of Police Commissioner David Baines, developed professionally and now enjoys greater respect from the public.”

However, the lack of details released in relation to the ongoing probe has led to some complaints, including one in a formal document filed last year with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office by former Operation Tempura advisor Martin Polaine. According to UK press reports, one of the complaints involved “disturbing” allegations of police misconduct. “There is so much more that has never been put in the public domain,” Mr. Polaine said in an email to the Caymanian Compass.

Former Cayman Islands journalist John Evans, who found himself at the centre of the original Operation Tempura probe, also recently said that the RCIPS should bring the investigation regarding the other complaints to light. “This saga of half-truths and allegations is not achieving anything,” Mr. Evans said in a statement posted at www.caycompass.com. “The whole exercise is steadily destroying the public’s confidence in the RCIPS, it has already demoralised the force and encouraged many capable officers to move on.”

Both Mr. Evans and previously Mr. Polaine filed complaints relating to various aspects of the Operation Tempura probe. Mr. Polaine’s complaint to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office generally involved the behaviour of some members of the judiciary who were involved in the case; Mr. Evans filed a complaint with the RCIPS Professional Standards Unit that accused Operation Tempura officers of selectively investigating claims of criminality.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I find it rather disturbing that Martin Polaine has been given access to, according to his comments in the Financial Times, what appears to be detailed information about the complaints.

    Mr Polaine was not licensed to practise law nor was he a sworn officer of the RCIPS. Although subsequently disbarred for his conduct, strictly speaking on the Cayman Islands the normal rules of conduct and confidentiality never applied to him.

    The fact that he now claims to hold detailed information about complaints made by members of the public is hardly reassuring to those who came forward with information.

    Before people leap in to criticise me, I admit that very basic details of some of the complaints are known to me but only from concerns expressed to me by the complainants themselves or through very general comments made by members of the Tempura team – I never saw any documentation.

    But it is also what Martin Polaine doesnt say that should be cause for public concern.

    I have recently suggested to the Governors Office that the time has come for an investigation into the links between Martin Bridger, Martin Polaine/Amicus and BGP Training and Consulting. In particular I feel that the way in which Mr Polaine was recruited should be subject to renewed scrutiny. My suggestion included the observation that it might be better for the Cayman Islands if this was done on-island rather than by the press in the UK.

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  2. John Evans

    Has it occurred to you that if one part of the Financial Times story needs to be invetigated by the Governors Office in the Cayman Islands, then all parts will need to be re-investigated as well ?

    As we both well know, the British press is not easily intimidated by political pressure or authority.

    The Financial Times article does not paint you or your activities in the best of light, neither does it judge you and your actions outside of the entire context of the overall circumstances on which the article is reporting.

    I have a personal and vested interest in seeing these complaints that were investigated by Martin Bridger and his team come to light, as many other people in the Cayman Islands do.

    The fact that Operation Tempura was undermined by other factors does not deny the fact that Martin Bridger left a portfolio of investigated corruption and possibly criminal cases in the hands of the RCIPS that have been kept confidential from those very same people who deserve to know the outcome of their complaints.

    You, or anyone else for that matter, can hold neiither Martin Polaine or Martin Bridger responsible for that.

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