Governor silent on UK Met allegations

Outgoing Cayman Islands Governor Duncan Taylor is now faced with an uncomfortable decision in his last few 
months in office.  

According to the UK Metropolitan Police Service, criminal accusations made by former Cayman Islands corruption investigator Martin Bridger have been lodged as a formal 
complaint with Scotland Yard. Investigators there believe the allegations against three individuals – former Cayman Governor Stuart Jack, current Attorney General Sam Bulgin and UK Foreign and Commonwealth Florida-based adviser Larry Covington – should be looked into further.  

However, it seems neither the UK Met, nor the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service – the subject of the original corruption probe by Mr. Bridger, known as Operation Tempura – is able to investigate the claims.  

“It is for the police to decide whether or not there is ‘reasonable ground to suspect’ that a criminal offence may have been committed and whether or not an investigation should be commenced,” Mr. Bridger wrote in a statement sent to the Caymanian Compass earlier this week. “The Metropolitan Police have decided that this threshold has been reached and that the allegations warrant investigation.  

“The commencement of an investigation does not reveal, or point to, anyone’s guilt or innocence.” 

Attorney General Bulgin, somewhat uncharacteristically, blasted Mr. Bridger’s allegations in a public statement this week. Those allegations, among other things, accuse Mr. Jack and Mr. Bulgin of misleading Mr. Bridger’s investigative team as to the former governor and attorney general’s involvement in a police investigation that involved a covert entry into the Cayman Net News offices on 3 September, 2007. It was that Net News office entry that led to Mr. Bridger and his investigative team being called to the Cayman Islands.  

“Not only do I strongly deny, but also resent any assertions of my being untruthful to the Tempura investigators,” Mr. Bulgin said. “There is not a shred of independent or contemporaneous evidence to support such a scurrilous claim and, to the contrary, the documents from that time demonstrate conclusively that the allegation is not true.”  

Mr. Bulgin said he has urged Mr. Bridger and representatives for former RCIPS Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan to release legal advice he gave to the investigating RCIPS team prior to the entry into the Cayman Net News offices. Both sides have declined to do so.  

“What [Mr. Bulgin] has said is a matter for him,” Mr. Bridger said. “I do not intend to get involved in a debate with the AG or anyone else concerning these matters whilst they are still under consideration by the Governor Duncan Taylor.” 

Governor Taylor’s office has not responded to any of these matters this week, with representatives stating Mr. Taylor is awaiting legal advice before proceeding.  

The governor has said it was his view that there should be no more investigations into Operation Tempura, a two-year probe that cost the Cayman Islands $10 million.  

Mr. Bridger’s criminal complaint to the UK Metropolitan Police made earlier this year was backed up by statements from Mr. Kernohan and former RCIPS Chief Superintendent John Jones. Both Mr. Kernohan and Mr. Jones noted specific levels of involvement by the former governor and Mr. Bulgin in the initial investigation that led to the newspaper office entry.  

However, Mr. Bridger’s and Mr. Jones’ statements have been called into question by the man who participated in the 3 September, 2007 office entry at Cayman Net News, retired UK journalist John Evans.  

“I studied the statements made by Mr. Bridger and John Jones with a certain amount of disbelief,” Mr. Evans told the Caymanian Compass. “Mr. Bridger alleges that I somehow bypassed the alarm at [the former Net News offices] before entering the building … a version of events he knows is completely untrue.”  

Mr. Evans was never charged with a crime in connection with that office entry. He also said there were a number of inconsistencies in Mr. Bridger’s statement to the UK Metropolitan Police that led to the police agency’s call for an investigation of the former governor and Attorney General Bulgin.  

“On 3 April, 2008 … the Caymanian Compass reported that the [Operation Tempura] investigation team had expanded their enquiries into more general areas of alleged corruption within the RCIPS,” Mr. Evans said. “In fact, according to a statement sent to [Evans] by the Met last year, more than a month prior to that story [then]-UK Met Assistant Commissioner John Yates, with the approval of the Metropolitan Police Authority, had approved the outsourcing of the investigation to private contractors. 

“None of this sounds like [a statement made by Mr. Bridger] ‘had I and Mr. Yates been told the truth from the outset, the Metropolitan Police’s commitment to the Cayman Islands would have been for a few weeks and not for two years’. In fact, it suggests quite the opposite, particularly bearing in mind the completely pointless prosecutions of [former Cayman Islands MLA] Lyndon Martin and [former RCIPS Deputy Commissioner] Rudi Dixon, plus the fiasco surrounding the unlawful arrest of Justice [Alex] Henderson. 

“To be blunt, that whole sentence [from Mr. Bridger] looks like complete nonsense to me,” Mr. Evans said. 

Mr. Bridger declined to comment on Mr. Evans’ statements.  

Duncan-Taylor-observers

Mr. Taylor

Operation-tempura

Martin Bridger, right, with former acting Police Commissioner David George in 2008. – Photo: File
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11 COMMENTS

  1. When rogues fall out as the old saying goes…
    In this matter, it is not at all clear who is and who is not a rogue.
    It seems likely that he who paid the piper (Cayman public funds)is not getting full value for the tune he was not even invited to ask for.

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  2. Just to clarify this my comments above form part of a formal complaint now lodged directly with the Governor, which has been acknowledged.

    That complaint also refers back to lengthy correspondence with my MP that was dealt with by Henry Bellingham concerning inconsistencies in the material supplied to Dan Duguay when he tried to audit Operations Tempura and Cealt in 2009. I was due to meet with Mr Bellingham to discuss all this on the day he was replaced as OT Minister by Mark Simmonds and that meeting has still not been re-scheduled.

    This all pre-dates the allegations made by Mr Bridger to the Met by at least a year and one of my concerns is that while this current complaint is making headlines and being fast-tracked through a more serious matter is quietly being buried.

    Based on material obtained from a number of official sources I now believe that substantial amounts of important information were withheld from the 2009 audit and if that information been disclosed, as the law requires it to be, the conclusions of the audit might have been very different.

    I also believe that the failings of the audit are material to the investigation of the allegations made by Mr Bridger.

    In addition to the concerns detailed above, what I am asking for is that the 2009 audit be re-visited using the new material and that consideration be given to conducting this review on a forensic basis.

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  3. I believe an investigation should be carried out, just like the Met. says.
    Something fishy went on, and where there is smoke there is fire.
    Everyone was quick to investigate McKeeva Bush, so what is happening now? All stones must be overturned. Unless we are going to allow the secret society to begin rule in police and judicial matters.

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  4. Those allegations, among other things, accuse Mr. Jack and Mr. Bulgin of misleading Mr. Bridger’s investigative team as to the former governor and attorney general’s involvement in a police investigation that involved a covert entry into the Cayman Net News offices on 3 September, 2007. It was that Net News office entry that led to Mr. Bridger and his investigative team being called to the Cayman Islands.

    ‘Covert entry’, not by police officers but by civilian employees of the newspaper.

    It matters not how many years have gone by, how much money has and will be spent in court awards and settlements, who has been embarrassed…even who has died.

    The fundamental question still remains unanswered and will keep this issue well alive and kicking until it IS answered…

    WHO authorised and knew about this ‘covert entry’?

    Because, as of now, they are ALL still pointing fingers at each…every single one of them…and accusing each other, while no confession or admittance on this ‘covert entry’ decision has been forthcoming.

    Anyone who wishes to know the truth and put this thing to bed will welcome both a judicial review upholding Jennifer Dilbert’s ruling…and….

    An independent police investigation by a non-British police force into Bridger’s and Kernohan’s complaints.

    If the law is there to punish the little man…

    It should be there to punish those in authority who break it as well.

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  5. Kman-ite that’s a great comment. One the problems right now is that for nearly 18 months I have been in possession of evidence that something went seriously wrong with the 2009 audit into Operations Tempura and Cealt.

    This material was passed on as it became available, not dredged up four or more years after the event, but the Governor and the FCO have refused to investigate any of it.

    Then Mr Bridger files his complaint and it gets fast-tracked through his old colleagues at the Met and ends up with the Governor. There is definitely something wrong there.

    And Old Hand the financial aspects of this are insane.

    So far the people have the Cayman Islands have had to fund an investigation that was pushed on long past its sell by date, outrageous payments to four investigators and a private contractor, damages after the unlawful arrest of a senior judge, two failed trials, the forced retirement of Rudi Dixon, the on-going Kernohan and Scott claims, the Aina report and now this. All of that when, based on one of my meetings with the investigators, there was more than enough evidence to close the whole thing down in November 2007. The problem was everyone was having way too good a time to go along that route.

    As a former member of the team was recently quoted in the UK – It seemed some officers drew the investigation out for their own ends. I have been arguing that for over three years now but the bills still keep piling up.

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  6. Firery let us not re-write history here.

    What kicked Tempura off were allegations that there was unlawful exchange of information (a leak if you like) between a senior police officer and the publisher of a newspaper.

    The requests for outside assistance on this are well documented and I have copies of them.

    Somewhere along the line there was a bit of mission creep and the investigation got itself side-tracked and that is the great danger now. We need to get this all back to basics and try to find out exactly why an investigation that for all intents and purposes was concluded in November 2007 carried on for nearly another two years and Mr Bridger’s allegations in no way explain that.

    As for the judicial review? If Martin Bridger had followed a suggestion made by the Governor and released a copy of the original complaint this would all be settled by now and the Aina report would be a public document. Wonder why he failed to do that?

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  7. Old Hand I am sorry to burst your Bubble, but it is not by reading I know all this information. Have you heard the saying Right unda mi nose Well to surprise you I am getting my information from other places beside a book. Think about that oldhand.

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