Ex top cop settlement saved cash, says premier

| 11/04/2014

(CNS): The secret settlement with the former police commissioner has saved the government cash, the premier said Thursday as he justified the undisclosed pay out. Although sources have revealed an unconfirmed figure of around $600,000 government is currently obligated to keep quiet about how much tax payers’ money it has given to Stuart Kernohan as a result of the infamous Operation Tempura. Alden McLaughlin said mounting legal expenses following failed efforts at mediation had reached in excess of $1M and were set to escalate as the trial approached. With no guarantee government would win, if it didin’t not only would it face its own massive legal bill but Kernohan's as well.

Speaking in the Legislative Assembly, the premier said he could not say much about the case or the terms of the settlement.  Aware of the understandable calls for the terms of the settlement to be made public but, he said, it was not an uncommon for settlements of this type to be subject to confidentiality.

“All I can say is that, after careful deliberation, the government determined that the wisest course was to avert the mounting legal expenses associated with the case by negotiating a settlement, and that is what we have done,” McLaughlin added. “We are however confident in saying that, given the amount that was being claimed against the government,  by settling the matter in the manner we did, and the time we did, we  have managed to avoid incurring significantly more legal costs than if the matter had gone to trial.”

McLaughlin said he appreciated that a lot more needs to be said about what he described as the “sad chapter in Cayman's history” known as ‘Operation Tempura’. “I look forward to the day when a more fulsome statement can be and will be made,” he said.

The premier was part of the 2005-09 PPM Cabinet at the time of the ill-fated investigation which had agreed not to pay the operation Tempura bills because of the obvious flaws and issues relating to the costly investigation. This forced the then governor, arguably the least popular UK representative in recent history, Stuart Jack to use his reserve powers to take the money from the public purse. 

The story is a long way from over however, with critical documents still kept under wraps and side shows such as the battle between the SIO on the case Martin Bridger and Kernohan as well as the complaints that Bridger has now filed with the Metropolitan Police in London and the Foreign Office which Baines has been taxed with examining.

Kernohan had always said that the governor, the overseas security advisor and the attorney general knew about and had endorsed the covert entry into a local newspaper office. However, Bridger now alleges no one told him. He has claimed that because he didn’t know and assumed Kernohan and his colleague John Jones were going off on a “frolic of their own” this triggered the long and costly pointless probe that seemed to consist of a catalogue of bungles and incompetence by all the officials involved.

The total bill for Operation Tempura which began as an undercover Operation with two UK officers in September 2007 grew to be a massive scandalous affair involvingsenior police officers, high court judges and several costly court room productions is hard to estimate.

None of it solved anything and exposed no police corruption but when the UK undercover cops left the bill was already well over $10million and has been increasing ever since. In addition to that the government has spent almost $1.8million in litigation alone fighting the various suits or trying to keep embarrassing documents out of the public domain.
 

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Comments (5)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Stuart Kernohan deserved a decent settlement. His treatment was grossly unfair and he had every right to be extremely angry.

  2. Juanunos and was there says:

    Part of the problem is that this claim, which was headed for mediation back in 2010, got sidetracked by the issue of the 270-odd documents Martin Bridger removed from the Tempura records.

    Just remember that Bridger's defence of that piece of litigation was largely funded by his old mates at the Met.

    Makes you wonder what really was going on doesn't it?   

    • John Evans says:

      And how that Met funding was decided is a story in its own right. Thanks to FOI I've got a copy of the application and it makes very interesting reading.

      • Diogenes says:

        If you got it through FOI then post it instead of all this hint, hint stuff.

  3. Anonymous says:

    hahahah….cayman is a soft touch for easy money…bring on the next case…….