Mac calls for chopper probe

| 17/09/2008

(CNS): The contradictory exchange between government and Stuart Kernohan over the police helicopter has prompted McKeeva Bush, Leader of the Opposition, to call for an independent enquiry into the issues surrounding what he describes as the potential waste of public funds in the government’s failed attempt to secure this law enforcement resource. “Something is just not right here,” said Bush in a statement on Tuesday, 16 September.

“We have seen that the Leader of Government Business and his other elected ministers have conveniently attacked the Police Commissioner and laid the blame on him for this fiasco. But we are now hearing in detail from the Commissioner that the elected ministers themselves are largely to blame. Which is the truth?“ Bush asked.

He added that the people demand an answer to this waste of public funds, and he told CNSthat he had secured a meeting with Governor Stuart Jack for today. He said he wanted to impress upon him the need for an independent investigation, that would be seen to be objective, to properly ascertain the circumstances.

“Ultimately an enquiry would answer the questions regarding how we got to this crisis and hopefully we can put procedures in place to avoid future incidents,” said Bush. “But I have to say that Mr Kernohan’s detailed statement and his confidence in making those statements causes great concern about the way in which the government has handled this entire issue.”

He explained that an independent enquiry was required because governance is critical in areas such as national security. “How can the need to address serious issues such as safeguarding us against crime and drug smuggling end up beinghandled in this disastrous manner? Someone is responsible for this and I urge the government to display full transparency on this issue by participating in an independent enquiry,” the Leader of the Opposition noted.

Bush’s call comes in the wake of Kernohan’s statement refuting claims that he had misled the government and that in fact Cabinet itself was largely to blame for the significant delays. Kernohan is currently on required leave as a result of an independent investigation being conducted by a team of police officers originally from Scotland Yard, under the leadership of Martin Bridger, who is now employed by the Governor’s office. He hit back at government accusations from an undisclosed location in the UK through his local liaison, David Legge, a journalist and publisher.

Kernohan provided details in his statement on how the process of acquisition was carried out and made claims that Cabinet was warned about taking certain steps which would delay the process and that they went against that warning. Bush noted that Kernohan had welcomed the idea of an independent inquiry into the helicopter fiasco.

In his statement, Kernohan raised several questions about the competence of the government’s decision making, saying that the government’s recent statements on the matter “appear purposely misleading, politically motivated, possibly slanderous or libellous, and certainly incorrect”. He also noted that each time he had met with government to update them on the circumstance of the helicopter purchase, he had to explain the situation over again and that the politicians never appeared to take notes on his presentations.

Since the government made accusations against the suspended commissioner that he had misled the Cabinet, the Governor has also called on the Auditor General to investigate the circumstance surrounding the acquisition of the helicopter.

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Comments (6)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Well said! This is a case of ‘pot cussing kettle black"!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Now Mac have nerves….where does he come off talking about waste of public funds he and the other UDP members are the kings of that situation.  From what I have been reading it sounds as though a helicopter has been purchased, however additonal equipment is needed to make it ready for the purposes intended, we at least we know where the funds have gone. At least they have not gone on consultation and arrangement for the helicopter like the millions that were spent on the Botswain Beach project by the honarable Mac. When the term waste of public funds is used that is the first thing that comes to my mind, did the cayman islands really get valaue for money in the Botswain beach deal???? NO!!!  At least we  have a helicopter that could probably be sold since it is not up to the required standard and recover some of the funds. How do we propose to reimburse the people of the Cayman Islands for the waste of public funds with the Botswain Beach project (and lets not talk about Dr. Franks housing initiatve).

    • Anonymous says:

      Perception is a funny thing, when you want to see one or something change you find all the justification in the world and if you have the medium to send the message you will get the results of people seeing things from your perspective.  THat aside, please tell me who got the finders fee for the helicopter, and secondly, can anyone say why did we not look intothe whereabouts of the helicopter and its equipment status right after the  employee was put on required leave.  Shortly thereafter public sentiment was that the fella was not returning and only within the past month doe we get a full picture .  Is that the Governoprs fault, the Civil Service fault, the government fault or its supporters fault , just tell me who?

    • Anonymous says:

      A product of our education system? Just curious.

    • Anonymous says:

      my friend – are you saying that the turtle farm development has no value but the helicopter does?????  

  3. Anonymous says:

    Great headline. Made my day.