Bridger must go says Tibbetts

| 06/11/2008

(CNS): In an emphatic announcement at this morning’s post Cabinet press briefing, the Leader of Government Business said government had asked the Governor to close down Operation Tempura and send SIO Martin Bridger and his team back to the United Kingdom as soon as possible. “We must shut this down and take whatever steps necessary to bring closure to this disgraceful and terribly damaging episode in Cayman’s history,” Kurt Tibbetts said.

Following meetings in the United Kingdom with leading players in London’s Financial Sector, where serious concerns were raised about the Special Police Investigation Team (SPIT) and the subsequent ruling by Sir Peter Cresswell quashing the warrants against Justice Alex Henderson, Tibbetts said Thursday morning that the elected members of government have told the Governor to bring the investigations to a close and to dispatch Bridger and his team from these Islands forthwith. It was also revealed that so far the investigation has cost more than $4 million.

“We must take whatever steps necessary to restore public trust in our judicial and police systems both locally and internationally,” Tibbetts added. The case had raised a number of serious questions about the manner in which Bridger has gone about the task assigned to him," the LoGB noted.

“There seems to have been almost total disregard for the rule of law and the constitution.  I refer in particular to the circumventing of the Attorney General and his constitutional function and Mr. Bridger’s apparent lack of respect for our courts system and our judiciary. Furthermore, after nine months of investigating, he is yetto produce concrete evidence to justify various actions taken, including the suspension of the top leadership of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.

“As we have said previously, the elected government is gravely concerned about the conduct of the various investigations that are underway by Mr Bridger and his team of a dozen UK police officers.   We conveyed these concerns to the Minister with responsibility for the Overseas Territories, Ms Gillian Merron during our private discussions with her last week.”

Tibbetts explained that having asked the Governor to close down Operation Tempura as quickly as possible, the elected government also conveyed to the Governor its dissatisfaction with the appointment of yet another temporary Commissioner of Police.  “It is past time for the whole Kernohan affair to be brought to a close and a new permanent commissioner appointed,” he said.  “The present state of uncertainty which has existed for the past nine months is unsatisfactory, is adversely affecting morale within the police and we believe compromising the effectiveness of the Service.”

Tibbetts did not reveal exactly what the Governor’s response to the request had been but he said that the Governor seemed to understand the government’s position and wantedwhat was best for the Cayman Islands. “I am confident that all of right things that need to happen as fast as possible will do so,” Tibbetts added, saying that given all the individuals and situations involved the investigation would not be closed down overnight but all parties will be doing what they can do to bring this to closure.  

Asked about how any potential damages that could be awarded to Henderson, Kernohan and Jones if they were to take legal action would be paid, Tibbetts said it was too early to speculate whether the Cayman Islands government could ask the UK to foot the bill. Once the investigation is closed down and the matter put to rest so life can go on for everyone, he said the government may then be in a position to speak to London. “At the moment that question is premature,” he said.

Minister Alden McLaughlin doubted, given the constitutional arrangements, that anyone other than the Cayman Islands Government would be picking up the tab for any damages awarded to anyone against anyone else. He said once again it illustrated the desperate need for change in Cayman’s constitution. He said that had Cayman had the proposed judicial and legal services commission in place along with the national securities council none of this would have happened.

“I don’t think we can ask for a better example of what can go terribly wrong,” McLaughlin said. “If we do not now see the huge problems with the present constitutional construct staring us in the face as a result of this exercise that has gone so badly wrong, I do not know what will ever teach us.”

He said it was absurd to believe that because someone was appointed by the UK they were automatically conferred with the Wisdom of Solomon. He said the government faced a perfect opportunity to persuade whoever needed to be persuaded of the necessity of bolstering various organs of government so decisions which could result in disaster such as this investigation would not be allowed to happen.

“Aside from the obvious financial consequences, it is the reputational issues that are even more important. A country that hitherto had an impeccable reputationfor justice and a solid system of security now has to do repair work,” McLaughlin said noting that although Cayman’s reputation was not destroyed it was badly damaged.

Given that there may still be genuine issues regarding possible misconduct of Rudolph Dixon, the elected minister said those would still be addressed. But with regard the investigations surrounding Kernohan, that whole issue should be finished and there was no reason to send another independent team.

“They are chasing ghosts. Nothing has turned up of any substance and I would not be in favour of pursuing these ethereal investigations,” said McLaughlin, accusing Bridger of searching for evidence and casting about to find some justification for him being here. “We are passed $4 million,” he declared, adding that enough was enough.

 

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Agree with previous writers that it is indeed about time that the Cabinet takes decisive action.

    It has been extraordinary that this man Bridger has been able to walk into our country and seeminly take on the role as a law unto himself, totally in contravention of our Constitution.

    He has disrespected the second arm of Government, the Judiciary, in an appaling manner; he has usurped the role of the AG, who is supposed to be the Governor’s legal adviser; he was literally a private police force given carte blanche to go where he wanted.

    And like all the other opportunists before him, he has sought to extend his role and kingdom in a most egregious way.  Can you imagine that he was brought in (by the way, under the terms of a recommendation by the then Commissioner of Police), to do one investigation — of which nothing that will stick has emerged?  In fact, he has made a right mess of that — the full cost of which may never be known.  And the immeidate repercussions are yet to come.

    The first thing he did after arriving was to retire from his UK job.  The next thing was to expand his role to launch a full scale frontal "attack" (I don’t think that is an exaggeration) on the RCIPS, dragging the name of our only law enforcement agency through the mud.

    So ll the other aware cirizens and I must agree that it is about time that the Government acted.  Bridger must go.  His behaviour must surenly engender a total lack of confidence in and any remaining shred of respect we might have had for what he was doing.

    Frankly, his is not the only reputation that has been tarnished — how can we have confidence in the decision-making ability of the person charged with overall responsibility for law enforcement under the Constitution?

    Maybe Bridger is not the only one who should go.

     

     

     

  2. Rdophi says:

    Hallelujah!!!  These Met police are not even respected by there own people.  Bridger can barely speak English.  He was set upon like an untrained pitbull.  

  3. Anonymous says:

    How are we the Caymanian tax payers going to foot this bill of $4 million CI, not to mention the law suits that will follow, without having to put on hold or cease essential services to the Cayman Islands Community over the next couple of years ???

    It is not sufficient enough to call for Martin Bridger and his bunch to leave this jurisdiction, the PPM government and the public needs to tell the Governor to follow them as well. We the people should exercise our "freedom of speech" and make it abundantly clear that we no longer have the confidence in the Governor to govern us no more.

    The Governor gave Martin Bridger "full latitude" to do what he wanted, to whom he wanted, anytime he wanted, without the fear of accountability.

    This whole investigation is a "farce" and it reminds me of the "Grand Euro Bank Investigation" a few years back that was conducted by Brian Gibbs and the MI5 from the UK.

    I am of the opinion that this fiasco is a "grand conspiracy" originating from the UK, attempting to destabliize the Cayman Islands. Why you might ask ? We are in direct competition with the UK in our Financial Industry and they envy us, along with many many more throughout the world.

    Let’s hope that  "Hurricane Peloma" don’t wreck us up like "Hurricane Ivan" did in 2004, but if it does, we can always depend on the UK who will send HM Navy once again with a bundle or two of tarpaulin and a few bottles of expired tetanus shots !!!

    Oh and by the way, I’m sure our PPM government has $80 million in reserves the same as the UDP government did in 2004, to allow us a speedy recovery as well.

    GOD HELP THE CAYMAN ISLANDS IN THESE CHALLENGING AND UNCERTAIN TIMES !!!!

      

  4. Anonymous says:

    i agree 100 % they are her doing damage to our contry . i belive it shoud be changed from operation tumpura to vacation time UK . the whole operations was based on rumurs and idle convrsations .  send them home

  5. Anonymous says:

    about time

  6. Anonymous says:

    It’s about time!!!!!!!! I cannot believe that so much tax payers’ money has been wasted on this stupid and unwarranted investigation. Now, fourteen months later and four million dollars (and counting), in debt, no one has been charged (except the petty charges against Rudy). Those funds could have been spent on so many other projects that would have been a benefit to OUR ISLAND.

    It’s high time you made your departure, Bridger, adios!!!

     

  7. Anonymous says:

    I would personally think that Mr. Bridger is doing more than any other party has come here to Cayman Islands and have done.

     We know trhat the Government is now complaining about the 4 Million dollars in the Investigations, but not talking about the 60 million dollars that they are using to build the type of Schools he is talking about that might just be detramental to his elections in May of 2009.

      The Government throw away alot of money in their currupt activity and now because the Curruption is being exposed, they dont want that to be so.

       I think Mr. Tibbetts and Mr. McLaughlin are all about hiding the Dirt the Cayman Islands has inside it, and they dont want it exposed anymore because they maybe afraid of something coming at them.

     Lets even ask for another term for this Governor and see if by the time he is ready to leave on his "Next Term" if we can CLEANUP the beautiful Cayman Islands and RID Cayman of this Curruption we are buired into here.

         Mr. McLaughlin and Mr. Tibbetts, please understand this, "If you have nothing to hide then Please be  patient as You all have wasted more money in this Country than what Mr. Bridger will ever cost. And You all are NOT helping anything by trying to coverup more Dirt.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Your comment is great. Maybe things are getting a little too close for comfort for some.
      Sending them away doesnt make the corruption go away.
      Government corruption is like stealing from eveyone, we cannot afford to stand by and let it happen. Dont cover it up and pretend it doesnt happen. Get it out in the open,deal with it and put systens in place so it doesnt happen again. Be accountable Cayman!!!

      • Anonymous says:

        "Maybe things are getting a little too close for comfort for some…Dont cover it up and pretend it doesnt happen".

        Has this person actually been following the news?! It is those persons who fall under the Governor’s direct responsibility who are being investigated by Mr. Bridger, not the politicians. In any event it should be clear to any thinking person that and independent judge from the UK (which judging from your mindset will be really impt to you) has found Mr. Bridger to be guilty of the same abuse of power that he is supposedly investigating. Did you miss the fact that Cayman Govt. is likely to be sued by the aggrieved persons and it is we the taxpayers who will have to pay? If this were a real investigation of real corruption and actually accomplishing something positive then no doubt Mr. Bridger would have the full support of the community and the Government. Instead, it has been a spectular waste of limited resources at a time when the budget is likely to fall short to the tune of $15m. You had better chuck the Kool Aid!