Questions linger over corruption probe
The former U.K. senior investigator called in to sort out police misconduct claims in Cayman seven years ago has been left with a steep legal bill and faces a civil lawsuit.
No settlement was reached with former Operation Tempura Senior Investigating Officer Martin Bridger, although attorneys for former Royal Cayman Islands Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan agreed to settle their client’s wrongful termination claim with local government. Mr. Bridger is also being sued by Mr. Kernohan.
“I feel like I’ve been left alone holding the baby,” Mr. Bridger said from his home in the U.K. on Monday, indicating that the legal bill from the Cayman Islands government of some £200,000 (CI$273,000) was for fees related to an action separate from the Kernohan lawsuit.
Aside from Mr. Bridger’s troubles, the settlement in the Kernohan lawsuit against the Cayman Islands government seemed likely to close off one of the few arenas where more information might have been made public about the Operation Tempura investigation, which has remained something of an enigma in Cayman.
There is an ongoing battle over an open records request filed by a retired journalist in the U.K. that seeks Tempura-related records, but those records were created long after the initial probe ended.
Mr. Bridger has also filed a criminal complaint with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service regarding allegations that Cayman’s former governor, Stuart Jack, and current Attorney General Samuel Bulgin lied to him about their level of involvement in the matters Tempura was investigating.
“I can confirm that [RCIPS Commissioner David] Baines continues to assess my allegation of crime, but has not yet made a decision as to whether the matter warrants investigation,” Mr. Bridger said.
Both Mr. Bulgin and Mr. Jack have denied all such allegations by Mr. Bridger, and the former governor has said it was “high time” for Mr. Bridger to be held accountable for his “behavior.”
Mr. Bridger said Monday it appears the lawsuit filed by former commissioner Kernohan against him will proceed.
“I have [Monday] sent all of the documents which I will be relying upon in my defense of the Kernohan action to his solicitor,” Mr. Bridger said. “I was not expecting Mr. Kernohan to reach a settlement with the Cayman Islands government. I had no knowledge of the settlement until I read it in the Caymanian Compass.”
Mr. Bridger said he was stunned by Mr. Kernohan’s decision to settle the lawsuit with the Cayman Islands government and that he still believed it was important that all the facts surrounding the Tempura case were made public.
“I am very surprised that Mr. Kernohan has felt it necessary to go against his stance of ‘individuals responsible for this fiasco will not walk away without being held rightfully accountable for what they have done.’
“I find it difficult to see how Mr. Kernohan is going to pursue his intention to hold people to account now that he has reached a settlement with the very people he was accusing.”
Neither Attorney General Bulgin nor attorneys at HSM Chambers, which represented the government in the final stages of the Kernohan lawsuit, responded to questions about the case by press time Monday.
Lawyers for Mr. Kernohan also declined to say anything beyond a two-sentence statement issued Friday regarding the settlement. No details of the settlement, including the amount, were released and it was understood that a nondisclosure agreement exists between the parties.