Minister questions Governor’s judgment

| 21/11/2008

(CNS): Facing more questions from the press regarding the Special Police Investigation Team (SPIT), Minister Alden McLaughlin made it clear yesterday that he believed Governor Stuart Jack had made some poor decisions regarding Operation Tempura. The Minister called his judgment into questioned and said he did not see how it was possible for the Governor to  continue to support Bridger and his investigation given the things that had happened so far.

Speaking at the post Cabinet Media Briefing on Thursday morning (20 November) McLaughlin said that he thought the Governor had been ill-advised andhad exercised poor judgment with regard to the investigation. He added that it was ironic that the Governor had always championed the issue of good governance but was also championing Martin Bridger the head of SPIT, who it was now clear could not hope to prevail in any kind of tribunal or legal hearing.

“Bridger must be disqualified from this situation for two good reasons,” McLaughlin said. “Not only did Justice Cresswell determine that he acted in bad faith but he has breached every rule of law. To add insult to injury he has said that the Chief Justice can’t be trusted.” The minister said that the Governor has been intent in his pursuit of good governance and therefore McLaughlin questioned how he could then allow Bridger to continue given he was now the one in breach of the rules.

“What tribunal is going to convict anyone based on evidence given by Bridger now?” asked McLaughlin. The minister based his arguments on the findings of Sir Peter Cresswell who presided over the Judicial Review which quashed, as unlawful, the search warrants obtained by Bridger and SPIT to search Justice Alex Henderson’s home and office. (See http://caymannewsservice.com/2008/10/29/bridger-abused-process).

McLaughlin illustrated again the problem with the current constitutional arrangement that allowed the Governor to make decisions in isolation and without consultation with the elected officials and that this was the best possible illustration of the need for more people to be involved in police matters so the risk of one person exercising poor judgment could be mitigated

The minister said the investigation, which was already running at over $4 million and would certainly be far more before it was over, was simply throwing good money after bad and while it was unfair it was the constitution that was allowing it to happen and in the end the elected officials could only hope the Governor would listen to their position. “Hopefully the Governor will hear our recommendations,” added McLaughlin, “We are not going to support Bridger.”

Even though the elected government has effectively been frozen out of the investigation regarding the senior officers within the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and members of the judiciary, the people’s representatives have recently began to speak out vociferously against it, particularly in the wake of Cresswell’s ruling.

Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts, commonly more reticent about revealing the divide between the elected officials and the Governor more often noted by his colleague McLaughlin, has said that he also hopes the Governor will start to take heed of what is clearly a significant disagreement on continuing the investigation and that the elected government would not vote for any more money to support it. “We hope that logic will prevail and the Governor will not use his reserve powers given the level of the divide between us now,” Tibbetts said.  

Although the elected ministers said they were not promoting the idea of stopping an investigation where it was required, they said that given the circumstances surrounding what the LoGB termed the Henderson fiasco Bridger had to be disassociated.

He also said that Henderson was back at work on the bench and that it was lucky that the Cresswell ruling had prevented that situation from going even further than it did, despite the fact that it was obvious the Henderson situation would cost the Cayman Island money to put right. He noted too that now Kernohan had been dismissed he hoped the rest of that matter could be quickly put to bed and he trusted that the Governor had made thatdecisions based on proper advise and that there would be no adverse consequences.

Tibbetts said he expected the Governor would make a statement shortly on the circumstances surrounding the investigation going forward but that all in all given Cresswell’s findings it simply was not in the best interest of Cayman for Bridger to remain here.

Although Bridger has refused to speak with the media, he said to be speaking regularly with Desmond Seales, editor of Cayman Net News, and he was reported in that publication saying that his investigation was not over.

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Comments (6)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Everybody please open the September Chamber commerce magazine page 59 and see where the minister really stands on this matter Boy he looks sharp.

  2. Anonymous says:

    That was pretty incoherent although the gist seems to be that writer is in favour of more reckless investigations. How many lawsuits against us does she want? If there is corruption clearly Mr. Bridger has lost all credibility as the man for the job. No doubt the Governor was well-meaning but has clearly lost his way and has thoroughly lost control.      

  3. Sheila S. Smith says:

    Who to say he is not the Rat!

    In God I trust is all I can lean on!

  4. Twyla M Vargas says:

    DONT STOP NOW

    PICTURE THIS, Mr Governor, all eyes are on you now.  There are  rats still running loose and you got to get them or they will get you.    HE, do not let anyone intimidate you into stopping this investigation of Mr Martin Bridger. there is too much at steak.  The reputation of this country which is going to lay on your shoulders as not being capeable of running things.  There is a stinking situation going on here and it is high time the corruption stop. STRAIGHTEN YOR SHOULDERS  MR GOVERNOR AND DO THE JOB YOU WERE SENT HERE TO DO..  Too much dodging behind the Queen is going on and people are getting restless.

    The ACTING TOP COP did the right thing by QUITTING while he is ahead.  This is no place for him now if he has any sence.  IF you do not understand the people of Cayman and what they stand for you are in trouble here and better stay out.

    Now I see the people of Cayman obtaining a "No noncense" talk, its good and about time we stand up and be counted, the days of passiveness is done.  So you are either with us or against us.

     

    • Hanklin Ebanks says:

       

        I must wholeheartedly agree with all that Miss Vargas has stated in her comments.

       "STRAIGHTEN YOUR SHOULDERS  MR GOVERNOR AND DO THE JOB YOU WERE SENT HERE TO DO.." 

        Do not let the "Ministers" talk detour you sir, they are just trying to pull a wool over your eyes and crying because "perhaps" an error has been created.

        If and when we start talking about "Errors" and financial errors, then we take a look at the 1.5 Billion Dollars not accounted for.

       Then we have the Sayeed fiasco where hundreds of thousands of dollars has been lost and no recovery has been placed on, where "We were misled".

        Then we have the Matrix fiasco where the Government of the day is still "Owed" hundreds of thousands of dollars….  and Millions of dollars worth was taken away that again has no recovery in sight.

        Then we have the Kernohan fiasco where 1.8 million dollars was invested and a final cost was almost 3 Million dollars was paid for the project….  No recovery.

        And the list goes on and on, until we wil get to the some 15 Million dollars that will fall short in the 2009 Budget. (right around the corner) This all makes 4 Million dollars look like a drop in the bucket.

         Mr. HE Stuart Jack, please tell the "Ministers" to fasten their seat belts and sit back and relax and enjoy the ride to weed out Corruption in Cayman Islands… And be careful the  "Investigators do not come knocking on their doors".

        If for whatever reason Mr. Bridger and the SPIT Team has to leave the Cayman Islands, then an "Immediate Team of Investigators will meet Mr. Bridger and the SPIT Team here to releave Mr. Bridger and his Team to take over duties.

       As HE Mr. Jack has stated, "The Investigations Must Go on". A very clean cut statement, now lets see the action….  My Money is involved here also.

       

      • Anonymous says:

        In light of the latest ruling by Sir Peter Cresswell that the arrest of Justice Henderson was illegal (conceded by Solicitor General Cheryll Richards) and reflected "gross incompetence" it is apparent that the Governor is not acting in accordance with the advice of his newly formed SPIT Advisory Committee of which Ms. Richards is a member when he declares that Mr. Bridger’s work has been "exemplary". That characterization has itself been repudiated by Sir Peter. It seems that Governor has not only exercised poor judgement but is also failing in his fundamental responsibility to ensure good governance and is in fact contributing to poor governance. This is causing loss and damage to Cayman.  If our elected representatives have the intestinal fortitude they should ask HMG for his recall.