Another witness statement given to UK Met
The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service’s former top operations man has made some surprisingly blunt allegations against former Governor Stuart Jack in connection with the ill-fated Operation Tempura corruption investigation.
In a statement sent to the UK Metropolitan Police force on 10 April, former RCIPS Chief Superintendent John Jones noted he was speaking as a witness to the events surrounding the Tempura investigation, that ended in Mr. Jones and two other senior RCIPS officers being suspended from the service and investigated by UK police officers.
Mr. Jones eventually got his job back and was exonerated from all allegations connected to a 3 September, 2007, covert entry into the offices of Cayman Net News Publisher the late Desmond Seales. His contract with the RCIPS was not renewed in May 2012.
Former RCIPS Commissioner Stuart Kernohan was suspended and eventually fired by ex-Governor Jack. Former Deputy Police Commissioner Rudolph Dixon retired after spending three years on required leave and eventually receiving a settlement in a lawsuit he filed against the Cayman Islands government.
“Neither [Mr. Jones nor Mr. Kernohan] could understand the reason for the governor not coming forward to advise the investigation of his approval and knowledge of the entry into [Cayman Net News], which was being described by the investigation team as a burglary,” Mr. Jones wrote in his statement.
“It appeared that the governor, for whatever reason, was content to deliberately conceal his involvement in the process to the absolute detriment of [Mr. Kernohan] and I.”
The Caymanian Compass has sent requests for comment on Mr. Jones’ statement to the RCIPS and the Cayman Islands governor’s office. Both declined to comment. Mr. Jones claims, as Mr. Kernohan has done in his earlier statement to the UK Met Police, that ex-Governor Jack was fully briefed on the proposed entry into the offices of Cayman Net News. In fact, Mr. Jones states in his six-page submission to the UK Met that the governor agreed to the covert search tactics – using two Net News employees – despite Mr. Jones’ stated concerns about the reliability of one of those witnesses.
Mr. Jones statement continues: “I met with the governor and Mr. Simon Tonge, the governor’s assistant, in the governor’s office at about 10.30am [on 3 September, 2007, – the same day the newspaper office entry occurred]. The governor was briefed as to the ongoing investigation and we specifically discussed the option of an entry into the [Cayman Net News] office. The governor was made very clear about what was planned to take place with the entry into the office and was definitely fully aware of all the circumstances.
“He did not raise any objections, concerns or opposition to the planned entry. I also explained to him that I retained doubts about the reliability of [former Net News employee Lyndon] Martin.”
The entry into the Cayman Net News offices on 3 September, 2007, was planned because of allegations made by Mr. Martin and supported by another Cayman Net News employee John Evans.
According to Mr. Jones, Mr. Martin had approached Deputy Commissioner Dixon in August regarding allegations that another RCIPS deputy commissioner, Anthony Ennis, had given confidential police information to Mr. Seales, the publisher of the newspaper. In addition, Mr. Kernohan had received similar allegations from then-political Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush in a meeting at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.
Mr. Jones, a 30-year veteran UK police officer, said he had “extensive experience” in the terms and use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act , which governs covert police operations in the UK.
Cayman has no similar legislation. However, Mr. Jones said policing operations “tend to operate within the structure and spirit of UK legislation”.
“If a similar operation was conducted in the UK, the same process would have been followed, albeit in a more formalised structure,” Mr. Jones said.
Neither Mr. Kernohan nor Mr. Jones, nor indeed Mr. Evans or Mr. Martin, were charged with anything related to the 3 September, 2007, entry at the Net News offices, although Mr. Martin was later charged in other unrelated crimes during course of the Operation Tempura investigation. He was acquitted following trial.
Mr. Jones said what occurred in Cayman between 2008 and 2009, while he was suspended from the police force, had “far-reaching affects” on him and his family.
“It is my opinion that the investigation of [Mr. Kernohan] and myself was ill-considered, disproportionate and ill-managed, considering the facts that were known at the time,” Mr. Jones said. “Governor Stuart Jack appears to have deliberately concealed his part in the legal police operation, which started this whole affair.”