Minister questions Bridger’s continued presence

| 07/01/2009

(CNS): The continued presence of the Senior Investigating Officer of Operation Tempura, Martin Bridger, is causing growing concern among the country’s elected government ministers who say the former Scotland Yard officer has lost all credibility and  Governor Stuart Jack should have removed him from the current RCIPS investigation some time ago. “We continue to be gravely concerned over the stubborn refusal of the governor to remove Bridger,” Alden McLaughlin told CNS this week.

In the wake of Sir Peter Cresswell’s second ruling regarding the unlawful arrest of Justice Alex Henderson, which will result in the Caymanian tax payer not only covering Henderson’s legal cost but an estimated $2.5 million of damages as well, the Minister for Education and a former practicing attorney who has consistently voiced his doubts about the credibility of the Special Police Investigation Team (SPIT), has stated that given the results of both judicial reviews it is absurd that Bridger is still here in the Cayman Islands .

“Considering what this man has done — the immense damage he has caused to this country as a result of his mismanagement of this investigation and his total lack of regard for the rule of law in the Cayman Islands — for anyone to now think he could have any credibility in prosecuting anything in a court of law here after what has happened is clearly deluded,” McLaughlin added.

Since the arrest of Justice Alex Henderson in September 2008 by officers from SPIT and the subsequent unlawful search of his office and home, all of which have been proved to be entirely unlawful, the elected administration has begun citing its concerns regarding the integrity of Operation Tempura.

In the last few months Minister McLaughlin, in particular, has been steadfast in his call for the closure of the investigation and the removal of Bridger. However, most of the Cabinet elected members have said they would be reluctant to vote for any further appropriation of funding regarding the investigation and would be prepared to force the governor to use his reserve powers to appropriate the necessary cash.

Given the extensive legal costs awarded to Henderson, on top of the expected damages and SPIT’s own legal bill, which included an expert UK team of various briefs and advisors, the Cayman tax payer will be footing a bill which could reach as much as $3 million dollars just for the Henderson arrest alone. Any other legal action coming from former Commissioner Stuart Kernohan, suspended Chief Superintendent John Jones and others could also add to the bill.

Costs for the investigation itself are already, according to some government sources, exceeding $4 million for a project that is now more than 16 months old and has yet to reveal any serious corruption or crime among either the police or the judiciary. The only charges so far brought by SPIT include two counts of falsely accusing a police officer, down from an original tally of 17 charges against Lyndon Martin, a former employee of Cayman Net News and 2 non-criminal charges against Deputy Commissioner Rudolph Dixon for misconduct, which involve the senior officer’s decision to release two men on two separate occasions in 2003 and 2004 from custody. These are unrelated to the original investigation, which focuses on accusations that are now said to be false that Cayman Net News publisher Desmond Seales and Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis were in a corrupt relationship.

However, Bridger has not only remained in post but, as noted by McLaughlin, despite his shortcomings, he has even been promoted by the governor and given a place on the latest so-called ‘oversight committee’. “This is how this seems to be working — you mess up and you get promoted,” added McLaughlin in frustration.

McLaughlin also noted that Henderson’s cost will be discussed among elected Cabinet officials over the coming days as this was an issue seen in isolation from the actual running costs of SPIT, which McLaughlin reiterated the elected government would not be prepared to sanction.

“There is no way that we can countenance the continuation of this investigation given the evident failures of Bridger, and as the elected government we will make a decision on how we can deal with this,” added McLaughlin.

 

 

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It amazes me that a Met officer that has difficulty pronouncing simple words correctly is in charge of us.  This "new sherriff" should be shooed out of town before the insult of his presence brings us to the brink.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It is incredible that Mr. Bridger remains here.  The longer he remains in Cayman, the more urgent is the need for Mr. Jack to resign.  No right thinking person can have any confidence in either of them.  Neither has credibility or integrity.

    Cabinet should refuse to allow any further government expenditure on this farcical duo and force Mr. Jack to resort to his reserve powers.

    It is an outrage and an affront to these islands that Bridger & Jack remain here.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree why are they both still here .I personally feel if Mr Henderson is going to sue anybody it should be  Mr JACK and Mr BRIDGER not the Cayman iSLANDS. They should have to pay out of there pockets as they have already made us loose millions .