Editorial for 31 January: Integrity and other matters

We at the Caymanian Compass are never sure how much
attention our local audience pays to what is going on in the Turks and Caicos
Islands presently, but this gem from TCI Attorney General Huw Shepheard was
released Tuesday.

“It has come to my attention that there have recently been
attacks on websites and in the media on the judiciary, the Registrar of the
Supreme Court, public servants, and others, and on the judicial and legal
system as a whole. These attacks have made unsupported and frankly preposterous
accusations coupled with other scurrilous and defamatory material.

“No right-thinking person would believe or accept as
accurate the offensive drivel that is being written, but it seems that many
uncritically believe what they read, with the result that there is a general
weakening in respect for our institutions and legal system, and for judicial
independence.”

Lest we think this is a problem only in the Turks and Caicos
Islands, we remind readers that – just a few years ago in Cayman – significant
sums were spent on, at least partly, getting to the bottom of who was making
inappropriate comments about the judiciary in the pages of the Cayman Net News.
We do not believe that judges should be subjected to unsubstantiated attacks in
public forums, not least because they may have little opportunity – due to the
requirements of their positions – to defend themselves. Yet when members of the
“noble classes” make ridiculous/defamatory comments of their own, little is
said or done by the judiciary itself or indeed the attorney general or director
of public prosecutions or anyone else in law enforcement capacity.

If this publication had made similar comments about an
elected Legislative Assembly member, or perhaps a even member of the local
judiciary, readers would see us being hauled into court before one could say
‘writ of mandamus’. Yet the “nobility” can make accusatory statements against
the “low class” media, or specific publications, or even specific reporters
anytime it wants, it seems. Sadly, we believe the view commonly held within
such circles is that there are two different rules. It’s wrong, full stop. The
rules should be the same for everyone.

 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Lest we think this is a problem only in the Turks and Caicos Islands, we remind readers that just a few years ago in Cayman significant sums were spent on, at least partly, getting to the bottom of who was making inappropriate comments about the judiciary in the pages of the Cayman Net News.

    It is rather convenient for certain parties that this very critical issue, which was actually the heart of the matter all along, has been whitewashed by the powers-that-be in the fallout of Operation Tempura but…

    It still remains the legal issue of the decisions made between Governor Duncan Taylor and his bosses at the Foreign Commonwealth Office and Cayman’s Attorney General, Samuel Bulgin and the ongoing court cases and judicial review and FOI Commissioner’s ruling involving Mssrs. Bridger, Polaine and John Evans on the release of the so-called ‘classified’ documents from Operation Tempura.

    That these documents will be ordered released by the courts is a foregone conclusion because the cover-ups and pay-offs can only go so far and must have a financial cap at some point…and without a doubt, some independent judge will see it that way and bring final closure to this sordid affair.

    All of this makes it quite clear that there are two rules at play here…one for what happens in the UK and quite another for what happens in Britain’s Overseas Territories…

    Despite any umbrella European Court Human Rights statutes that should apply equally to all the British domain, at home and abroad.

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