Tempura investigation witness says RCIPS seeking ‘bail out’

Police due to interview John Evans

As the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service continues its criminal investigation of the Operation Tempura corruption investigation’s former senior commander, a witness in the case has alleged that the local police service has come to him seeking “a bail out.”

Martin Bridger
Martin Bridger

The Cayman Compass first reported last week that RCIPS officers were scheduled to head to the U.K. to interview former Tempura senior investigator Martin Bridger in connection with a criminal probe that was been ongoing since mid-2013. According to publicly available records, the police probe alleges seven different instances of criminal misconduct against Mr. Bridger related to an allegation of crime Mr. Bridger made in 2013.

That allegation stated that former Cayman Islands Governor Stuart Jack and others knowingly misled Mr. Bridger’s Operation Tempura corruption probe between 2007 and 2009. Mr. Bridger has maintained that, had he known the truth at the time, the long-running probe would have ended in a few weeks.

Another witness police are seeking to interview is retired U.K. journalist John Evans, who participated in the September 2007 entry into former Cayman Net News publisher Desmond Seales’s office. That entry, and the police commanders who organized it, were the focus of the original Tempura investigation.

Mr. Evans has made various and sundry allegations to police, U.K. members of parliament and U.K. foreign office officials over the years about Mr. Bridger’s conduct in connection with the Tempura investigation, particularly surrounding Mr. Bridger’s relationship with the late Mr. Seales.

Mr. Evans said in an email sent to Mr. Baines Friday that those allegations were all ignored and stonewalled.

“Now, when it suits, you have chosen to come crying to me to bail you out,” Mr. Evans told the commissioner.

John Evans
John Evans

In the communication with Mr. Baines, Mr. Evans states he would assist the police in their investigation of Mr. Bridger, regardless of his personal feelings.

‘Appropriate time’

Mr. Baines said Friday that the interview of Mr. Evans was being done at the appropriate time in conjunction with the ongoing investigation of Mr. Bridger.

Mr. Bridger declined to comment last week on matters related to the criminal investigation against him. He has previously alleged that the RCIPS investigation of him is a clear attempt to prevent the release of certain public records related to the Tempura investigation.

“It does seem that the rhetoric of openness, transparency and good governance is being compromised by the continued and ongoing efforts to keep material away from public scrutiny,” Mr. Bridger said in a statement to the Compass last month.

Request for records release

Cayman Islands Acting Information Commissioner Jan Liebaers ordered the local governor’s office last month to release certain records it holds related to the Tempura investigation. The Feb. 15 order was the third time Mr. Liebaers’s office has issued such a decision, based on a 2012 open records request made by Mr. Evans.

In a previous response to the information commissioner’s order, the governor’s office has sought to delay release of the records sought due to the ongoing investigation of Mr. Bridger. Mr. Liebaers argued that most of the records requested have nothing to do with the investigation now involving Mr. Bridger.