Bridger: I’m being ‘hindered’ by legal system

The “truth” about what really happened during the ill-fated Operation Tempura corruption probe in the Cayman Islands is being “hindered by various court actions”, the operation’s former top investigator said this week.  

Retired UK lawman Martin Bridger was told Monday by Cayman Islands Governor Duncan Taylor that he would have to file a criminal complaint over the actions of the territory’s former governor and the current attorney general with the sitting commissioner of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service. The RCIPS was the initial target of the Operation Tempura corruption probe that lasted in the Cayman Islands between 2007 and 2009.  

Mr. Bridger filed a criminal complaint over the alleged actions of former Governor Stuart Jack and Attorney General Sam Bulgin with the UK Metropolitan Police Service earlier this year. The Met said there appeared to be enough information in the complaint to warrant an investigation, but that Scotland Yard could not perform such a review because of conflicts.  

UK Met Commander Allan Gibson wrote to Governor Taylor in May informing him of the Met’s findings. Mr. Taylor on Monday punted the matter over to RCIPS Commissioner David Baines for a decision, assuming Mr. Bridger filed a similar complaint with the RCIPS as he had with the UK Met.  

Mr. Bridger on Tuesday indicated he was likely to do so: “I remain committed to doing whatever I can to ensure that the truth about Operation Tempura and what happened as a result of it, is made public. 

“My efforts have been hindered by the various court actions taken against me by the attorney general and Commissioner of Police David Baines, the reason being to prevent me from using certain documents I hold, which would assist in my defence of [a lawsuit filed against the Cayman Islands government and Mr. Bridger by former Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan].”  

Mr. Kernohan sued the Cayman Islands government in 2009, claiming he had been wrongfully fired from his job by ex-Governor Jack. Mr. Jack was dropped from that lawsuit, but Mr. Bridger is still a defendant. The matter has never come to court. 

“If and when all the issues are fully available and understood, the people of the Cayman Islands will then be able to make judgments on the actual facts,” Mr. Bridger said. “I was disappointed that the [UK] Metropolitan police involved the governor and surprised that it has taken the governor so long to come to this obvious conclusion [to send the matter back to the RCIPS]. I now need to think carefully about taking my allegation to Mr. Baines as I feel he is conflicted.” 

Commissioner Baines, who became the RCIPS commissioner in June 2009, was not in Cayman for most of the Operation Tempura investigation. However, Mr. Baines was involved to a certain extent in follow up investigations handled by the RCIPS Anti-Corruption Unit into ancillary criminal allegations involving police officers raised in the spin-off investigation from the Tempura case, known as Operation Cealt. 

Mr. Baines accepted there could be perceptions of a conflict of interest, but said the RCIPS had to be involved somewhere along the line in any review of criminal allegations in the Cayman Islands. In particular, this was the case with the Operation Tempura claims made by Mr. Bridger, because the RCIPS retains most of the records on the subject.  

“Everybody would appear to be conflicted in this in one way or another; we have to start somewhere,” the commissioner said Tuesday. “Once I have the confirmation that a complaint has been made, I will initiate a review.”  

Mr. Baines said that even if a special police team was brought in from outside to look into Mr. Bridger’s allegations, there could still be claims of conflict.  

“For them to have powers here, I have to make them officers,” he said. 

David-Baines

Mr. Baines

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

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Mr. Bridger
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10 COMMENTS

  1. Yes I am inclined to believe him, because Cayman has to many Government bodies that are in positions where there will be full stops .
    To Mr Baines I say in Cayman we have a little saying here that goes like this. You either sh– of get of the pot. For other officers to have powers here they have to be made officers? Well do a work permit for the period that the officers can be absent, making sure that they go after the permit is up. Or are you standing with a political cork screw in your hand, that reads Excuse.

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  2. Mr. Bridger, you are missing a great opportunity, this is Hollywood stuff. Let them stall you while you divulge your story in a book. This has all the ingredients of an Oscar winning film.
    A tropical Island, a Governor, a midnight break in, an arrested judge, a fired police commissioner and everyone hush-hush about what we don’t know about yet. You’ll make millions off the screen play and have a good laugh as you sit in your castle along the 7-mile beach. Start writing Mr. Bridger.

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  3. What nonsense! Watching the current saga unfold I think we are getting a very good picture of why Tempura turned into an expensive joke.

    This is nothing to with the legal system, it is down to lack of respect for that system by Mr Bridger.

    If he was a serving police officer in the UK and had taken confidential records from an investigation home to use for his own purposes the employing force would have thrown the proverbial book at him. One of the ironies of this is that he seems to have covered his tracks so well that the RCIPS were completely unaware that anything was missing until my FOI requests uncovered the fact.

    Remember we are not talking about a few notes here but, by his own admission in previous comments, comprehensive records of a sensitive investigation that are now in the hands of a private individual. Is this another example of one rule for us, another for the police?

    I have four questions for Martin Bridger –

    1. Can you tell us which part of the Police Act 1964 gives the Met police DPS power to investigate, as you seem to expect, matters that allegedly occurred over five years ago in a jurisdiction 5000 miles away?

    2. Why have you waited until now to make this complaint? If there was wrongdoing would it not have been both your duty and more appropriate to report this earlier? This complaint seems a bit like seeing a burglary take place next door then waiting 12 months before bothering to call the police.

    3. I have been pressing for an inquiry into Operation Tempura since 2009 but until just recently you have never supported that. Why the change now?

    4. In order to make the full truth about Operation Tempura public would you support my requests to have the 2009 audit re-visited and completed?

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  4. Polomol, the book has already being written.

    Download a copy of – Untouchables: Dirty cops, bent justice and racism in Scotland Yard by Michael Gillard and Laurie Flynn. There are a lot of familiar names in it.

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  5. Mr. Baines said that even if a special police team was brought in from outside to look into Mr. Bridger’s allegations, there could still be claims of conflict.

    For them to have powers here, I have to make them officers, he said.

    Which is exactly what brought down Operation Tempura.

    If an independent team of police investigators were brought in to conduct an investigation, a secondment to the RCIPS’s Anti-Corruption Unit would be the best place to start…

    I recommend the FBI from the USA to be called in if that is the way this will go.

    Any British-led investigation will go just the same way that Operation Tempura did.

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  6. Clearly a case for inviting a Russian, Iranian, Syrian or Cuban team (among others) to look into it. They do not, it seems, have much difficulty in finding the truth – or, at least, a version of it.

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  7. Firery, don’t you think the FBI has enough on it’s hands already without being dragged into this silly little spat?

    In any event bringing a US federal law enforcement agency in to deal with complaints by a UK citizens against UK citizens in an Overseas Territory raises some very serious jurisdictional and human rights issues. The only people who would win from that are the lawyers.

    In fact the last thing you need now is another secret investigation. The real answer is to convene a judicial inquiry along the format of the Levers Tribunal or the recent Leveson inquiry. That way everyone involved, including yourself, can be called to testify under oath and that evidence will be a matter of daily public record.

    What ever happens next it needs to be done out in the open because any other route is doomed to expensive failure.

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  8. John

    What are you talking about here ?

    An investigation into whether criminal charges should be brought against the 3 officials named in Bridger’s complaint or…

    An investigation into Operation Tempura itself; the entire circumstances surrounding it as well ?

    My comments are directed to the first one; my suggestion of the FBI was made solely on the point of them being some of the world’s best investigators and the total independence that a US law enforcement agency would bring with it.

    If you think that if this matter was important enough to anyone in the British Govt. that the FBI could not be called in, then think again.

    You’re totally right in inferring that it isn’t; that I agree with you on totally.

    You, I or anyone else will never see the second one; if anyone felt that a public enquiry should be held, they would have called for that a long time ago.

    You and I both know that Mr. Bridger’s complaint is going absolutely nowhere; he’s is just being passed from hand to hand in a constricting ring of bureacracy that will eventually squeeze the life out of any type of criminal investigation of these 3 individuals.

    The same as you are, actually.

    Much of this ‘public inquiry’ information that you’re referring to will eventually come out in any pending court cases…or the ruling of the judicial review to release documentation, if that is the eventual decision handed down.

    Misconduct in a public office is a ‘mickey mouse’ catch-all charge that police try to use when they have nothing else.

    I’d have thought that if Mr. Bridger wanted to accuse these officials of anything, he would have come up with something more substantial than that.

    At the end of the day, this matter seems to be of major concern to only two people…

    Mssrs John Evans and Martin Bridger.

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  9. Nothing surprises me on the Island anymore, because when I see what The Queen of the Bees allowed to happen to ex Premier Bush, anything can happen. Can you imagine to go all out just to embarrass that man for foolishness that is all being emptied from the court.. How sinister. We may not believe it Cayman but each of us are going to pay dearly for standing by and let this happened. I would suggest if any of you have and guts at all you would try and find out what documents was signed in England recently. Are we still covering up.?

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