19 ‘Cealt’ cases unresolved

Anti-corruption probe within RCIPS not done

Although the initial probe that sparked misconduct and corruption investigations within the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service began nearly five years ago, the Caymanian Compass has learned investigations into the various matters raised during that probe are far from finished.  

The RCIPS confirmed this week that 19 separate allegations made during the corruption probe known as Operation Cealt “remain with the police anti-corruption unit”. Those cases have been “pended” in police terminology, meaning they are awaiting new information or other matters related to the cases to arise before anything further is done.  

Cealt began in 2008 as a spin-off investigation to the Operation Tempura misconduct investigation. At one point, according to police, it involved 161 allegations made against former or current members of the police service.  

The nature of the remaining anti-corruption unit cases were not disclosed by police who provided the information about the 19 pending cases in a response to an open records request by the Compass. 

According to another recent open records request, eight members of the RCIPS were subjected to disciplinary action earlier as the result of findings in the Operation Tempura and Operation Cealt misconduct investigations.  

The police service confirmed eight officers were disciplined, six of whom were dismissed or forced to retire, as a result of the investigations being conducted against them. The two others faced unspecified disciplinary action. The RCIPS also did not specify what allegations against staff members led to their discipline or dismissal.  

It was not certain whether a police Uniform Support Group officer’s suspension came as a result of the previous anti-corruption probes or was unrelated to Operations Tempura and Cealt. A response received from the service following a Freedom of Information request indicated the officer is on paid suspension “in relation to a matter outside our jurisdiction”.  

The Caymanian Compass has learned the matter involves a serious criminal allegation being investigated in Jamaica. The newspaper is not naming the officer involved because he has not been charged with a crime, as far as it is aware.  

No other Uniform Support Group officers have been fired, suspended or placed on required leave from their jobs within the past five years, according to the RCIPS response to the newspaper’s open records request. The USG is the armed branch of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.  

Although it earlier indicated that Operations Tempura and Cealt had both officially ended, an RCIPS response to a previous FOI request also indicated there was at least one allegation that “remains the subject of active investigation”. The nature of that probe was also not stated. 

The police service’s statement regarding a total of 19 “pended” cases was heretofore unknown.  

“All allegations were fully recorded and investigated,” earlier RCIPS responses indicated. “In a number of cases, the allegations were evaluated and found to be of a ‘single strand’ or historic nature … making it difficult to find corroboration to support them. 

“A significant number of the allegations have been ‘pended’ awaiting further intelligence/evidence becoming available in order to reopen them as appropriate. At the conclusion of operation Cealt, a number of these ‘pended’ allegations were passed to the newly formed RCIPS Anti-Corruption Unit for further action, if and when deemed to be appropriate.”  

The earlier probe, Operation Tempura, began in September 2007 following claims that a former local newspaper publisher, Desmond Seales of Cayman Net News, and Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony Ennis had improperly shared information that could have placed police operations in jeopardy and officers’ lives in danger. Investigators at the time said those claims were quickly disproved and began investigating an alleged ‘break-in’ at the newspaper’s offices in George Town.  

The investigation eventually ended in criminal charges against a former deputy police commissioner and a former Cayman Islands lawmaker, both of whom were cleared following criminal trials.  

According to the RCIPS response to the private individual’s FOI request, no other criminal charges were filed related to either the Tempura or Cealt investigations. 

The RCIPS confirmed this week that 19 separate allegations made during the corruption probe known as ‘Operation Cealt’ “remain with the police anti-corruption unit”.  


  1. It is very interesting how this is all unfolding, particularly in the UK where the Met have become very forthcoming since John Yates departure.

    It now appears that a significant volume of material compiled by the original operation Tempura team disappeared when the Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) left the islands in April 2009. In response to FOI requests RCIPS claim it was handed over to the Met but the Met claim they do not have it. So where is it and what is being done with it?

    Similarly we now have a completely different picture of the events leading to the employment of private investigators in 2008.

    According to statements made for the Auditor General’s 2009 report (sections 8 and 9) this process was completed by CIG during May-July 2008.

    However, the Met just gave me a very different version. They stated that John Yates, in cooperation with the Metropolitan Police Authority, started this changeover in February 2008 and the contracts were negotiated in the UK around that time without CIG involvement. In other words the whole package was a done deal by the time CIG became involved.

    RCIPS have also contributed information that when the GBP787 a day SIO returned to the UK in April 2009 he was replaced by a serving Met officer and her terms of employment reverted to the previous UK salary plus expenses deal, repaid by CIG. Quite why CIG (or more accurately the people of the Cayman Islands) spent 12 months handing over an estimated CI500K to a retired Met officer when a serving one could have done the job for a fraction of that cost remains un-explained.

    Similarly, the employment of the three other investigators, one of whom was apparently double-dipping as a serving Met officer for part of the time, becomes open to question. One of these three signed off on the Henderson warrants in September 2008 then departed the islands about a week later leaving CIG to pick up the bill for his actions.

    It is also fascinating to see how much more mis-information about Tempura/Cealt is being fed to the OT Minister, Henry Bellingham MP, by various sources in the Cayman Islands. I now have a pile of replies to his enquiries that contain significant inaccuracies, possibly genuine mistakes but also possibly designed to divert attention from what really went on.

    As one example, the 185-page Aina report has been portrayed as a comprehensive overall investigation into the conduct of the operations and it cleared everyone of any wrong-doing. It was actually a specific, limited response to complaints made about alleged interference into the conduct of those investigations that was dismissed as defamatory. No investigation into any other matters raised, which have including misconduct by the officers involved and what now looks like false accounting, has ever been conducted.

    As always, every revelation about Tempura/Cealt raises more questions than it actually answers.

  2. Operation Tempura/Cealt file has been closed in the interest of national security.

    The police commissioner should refer all information request of this subject matter to the Governor last statement. Closed in the interest of National Security.

  3. caymanian-on-guard that is exactly what the FCO are currently trying to do but it is a dumb move.

    If you go down that road every investigative reporter with issues about the Cayman Islands is going to assume a cover up.

    I’ve just a very interesting letter from the FCO copied to me.

    It refers to the Financial Times article published on 12 January 2011.

    The document, dated 12 October 2011, states that the allegations made in the FT article caused considerable distress to the individuals involved but there is no indication how the writer knew this was the case.

    I was one of those named, in fact my name appeared 13 times, but the gentleman from the FCO never spoke to me nor do I believe he contacted anyone else named in the article to assess their feelings.

    This is all smoke and mirrors. Lies feeding lies and it needs to be resolved.

  4. John,

    I’m in total sympathy and support with your efforts but…

    Those records are never going to say what you want them to…they’re gone..finito…caput !

    Maybe you don’t realise that this report of the number of outstanding cases, the number of police officers dismissed and disciplined and the total number of cases investigated IS the final reckoning for the 10 million spent…account closed.

    You might say…not value for money…but that is not the main issue.

    The main issue has now been buried within the vaults of official government secrecy and there it will stay.

    Walk away from this my friend, and quit beating yourself up over an issue that is now truly dead and buried.

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