A litany of concerns related to the ongoing investigation involving absent Cayman Islands Governor Anwar Choudhury made public last week were not addressed in responses made by senior U.K. and Cayman officials Thursday.
Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon wrote to Cayman Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller in response to Mr. Miller’s July 27 letter to the lord. Mr. Miller sent a separate memo to Acting Governor Franz Manderson the same day.
“It is important that the investigation process is able to proceed in a manner that is fair and protects the privacy of all involved,” Lord Ahmad, the minister for the British Overseas Territories, wrote Mr. Miller Thursday. “It is therefore inappropriate for me to comment on the specific nature of the investigation until it has concluded.
“I do hope that the investigation process can be concluded as swiftly as possible for the benefit of all concerned.”
Governor Choudhury, 59, was “temporarily withdrawn” from office on or about June 12 by the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office amid unspecified allegations. It was later revealed that complaints had been made against the governor by staff members, but U.K. officials have repeatedly declined to discuss those matters.
A six-week deadline set at the beginning of the investigation against Mr. Choudhury was passed on July 25 with no action behind taken. Officials acknowledged the delay was partly due to the death of Mr. Choudhury’s mother in July.
Mr. Miller’s July 27 letter to Mr. Manderson questioned, among other things, whether the public spokesperson in the investigation of withdrawn Governor Anwar Choudhury – Head of the Governor’s Office Matthew Forbes – is the same person who filed complaints against the absent governor. Mr. Miller also asked why Mr. Forbes seemed to be given the same standing as Mr. Manderson in responding to the public about Mr. Choudhury’s situation.
Mr. Manderson’s response to Mr. Miller, also sent Thursday, was sent under the governor’s office letterhead and did not include Mr. Forbes’s signature at the bottom of the document.
“It is important that the investigation is allowed to conclude in a manner that preserves and respects the rights of all involved,” Mr. Manderson wrote. “Given that you copied your letter to the media, I believe it is only fair that I do the same.”
In his July 27 memo to Mr. Manderson, Mr. Miller noted that an attempt by the acting governor and Mr. Forbes to quell community concerns via a “letter to the editor” to local media outlets sent on July 26 had done the opposite.
“If indeed the ‘Head of the Governor’s Office’ is also the chief complainer, the signing of the [July 26] letter would amount to a one-upmanship over [Mr. Choudhury] that would all but concede that the complainer was justified,” Mr. Miller wrote. “This would fly in the face of your letter’s assertion that the foreign and commonwealth office was committed to an “investigation … that is fair to all.”
“In the larger picture, this whole spectacle, as underscored in your letter, creates further alienation in U.K./Cayman relations and trust.”
Mr. Manderson said Thursday that he remained opposed to discussing the Governor Choudhury investigation until it is completed.