Jack can’t force top cop back

| 19/09/2008

(CNS): It appears that the neither the Governor nor the Senior Investigating Officer currently leading the independent enquiry into police corruption in the Cayman Islands has the power to force the return of the Police Commissioner to face questioning.  According to an e-mailed response from Bridger’s office, to CNS questions, the Governor as the “appointing officer cannot force” Stuart Kernohan to return to Cayman as part of the disciplinary process but “the process does not necessitate a face to face interview.”

Questions regarding the current whereabouts, status and salary of the Police Commissioner, who is on "required leave" with full pay have persisted since he was given permission to leave the island by HE the Governor, Stuart Jack, on compassionate grounds.  Earlier this month Governor Jack announced that disciplinary proceedings were being instigated against the commissioner after his failure to respond to official requests to return to the country. Although Kernohan’s precise location is unknown, he is believed to be in Scotland as he was granted compassionate leave because of the illness and subsequent passing of his father.

Asked on numerous occasions if the investigating team and the Governor are aware of the commissioner’s exact location, officials have repeatedly responded that investigating officers are in contact with Kernohan’s lawyer. On 10 September the Governor made a public announcement that Kernohan had reportedly ignored three requests to come back to Cayman

On 11 September, speaking through his local liaison, Kernohan said that he was more than willing to return to Cayman whenit was necessary in terms of the investigation, but so far the senior investigating officer in charge of the enquiry, Martin Bridger, had stated that Kernohan’s return was not essential.

“I have always made myself available when required by the investigating team led by Mr. Bridger. In fact, I have taken the initiative on several occasions to assure Mr. Bridger that I would welcome an interview with him at the earliest convenience,” Kernohan said.  “However, in a communication last month, Mr. Bridger did notify me that my presence was not required at this stage as part of any ongoing investigation. Governor Jack himself confirmed this in his statement.”

Bridger also re-confirmed to CNS that it is has always been his intention “to interview all people connected with those matters for which they are under investigation". He has also said publicly that he will go to the UK to speak to Kernohan if necessary.

Following the Governor’s public declaration, Kernohan, who up until that point had not communicated with the media, said he was disappointed that the Governor had aired the "dispute" over the terms of his employment in public and insisted that the Governor had no right to dictate where he should or should not reside during the investigation.

The investigation was first made public in March of this year when the Governor announced that a team of investigators had been working undercover in the Cayman Islands since September as a result of accusations of corruption made against Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis and local publisher Desmond Seales, by Seales’ former employee Lyndon Martin. Although Kernohan has never publicly commented on the circumstances of the investigation and his role, he was reportedly the one who went to the Governor with concerns and requested the independent enquiry in the first instance.

Once started, Bridger has said, the undercover investigation quickly cleared Ennis and Seales but threw up other questions surrounding senior officers and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service as a whole.

Since the existence of the now year-long investigation was revealed, very few details have emerged. Aside from Kernohan, Chief Inspector John Jones and Deputy Commissioner Rudolph Dixon have also been placed on "required leave" with full pay.

Rudolph Dixon has since been charged with offences relating to Perverting the course of justice and Misconduct in a public office. No charges have been made against either Jones or Kernohan, but the investigation regarding the two senior officers centres on their role in and the circumstances relating to the reported break-in into Seales’s newspaper office by Lyndon Martin in the wake of his accusations against Ennis. Martin, former UDP MLA for the Sister Islands, has also been charged with offences relating  to false reports and burglary.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    CNS apparently has a policy of censoring and manipulating some posts. I made an informative post about the views expressed by the UDP that the PPM’s proposals would lead us down a slippery slope to independence. To date it has not been published. 

    I also made a comment that the above article did not state who the e-mailed response came from. CNS first surreptitiously amended the article and then belatedly published the post without acknowledging that there was an amendment to the article. The reader is then left to think that the person posting did not read the article properly.     

    CNS note:  We have a policy of deleting anything that could be potentially defamatory (if I’m not sure I err abundantly on the side of caution). Sometimes I delete comments if they just seem mean or contain rumour or unsubstantiated "facts". Generally I just delete the whole comment but if I remember rightly I thought that the second comment you referred to made a good point and so left most of it. Usually I do in fact indicate whereI deleted a portion. In defense of not doing so on that occasion, moderating the comments is time consuming and we are a 2-person team. This is why comments are not always posted immediately.

    We provide a platform for people to comment anonymously (as most people prefer to do for whatever reason) but reserve the right not to risk getting sued and not to post hate-mail or gossip. Like it or lump it, I’m afraid. We are under no obligation to post everything sent to us, but stress that this is not dependent on a particular point of view but how it is presented.

    The emailed response in question came from the Governor’s office.


  2. Anonymous says:

    It is quite interesting to see how these events have unfolded in recent weeks.   Far as I can see, the same thing will happen to him as people like Ballyntne, Smalldon; they leave because of family emergencies, illnesses or some other blany story that sound good enough to swing by the public and then never come back.  One question that I ask the general public though is; Did you really think Mr. Kernohan was coming back? 

    In my opinion it is a waste of our hard earned taxpayers money to continue with this investigation cuz in the end you know it is just going to be the Caymanians that take the fall in all this. It already costing us well over 1 million dollars, do you know how many children and families that could have assisted. 

    The whole world is in crisis right now and government feels it important to waste the little money that we have on needless inquiries, one after the other, we all know that the poor Caymanians will go down for this thing anyways.   Of course Mr. Bridger would be willing to travel to England to interview Mr. Kernohan; its not his pocket it is coming out of!, its mine and yours!! Why should Mr. Kernohan have the benefit of having the investigator come to him, unlike any other person who is under investigation? Why must he get special treatment!!

    Another thing that puzzles me is; Didn’t the Governor know what his powers were in relation to bringing back Mr. Kernohan before he allowed him to leave? Where were his legal advisors when this happened? 

    I might sound crude but so what if his father was dying? How many people are in prison or on bail and have dying loved ones and don’t getpermission to go to the sides of their loved ones in their time of need. What significant ties does Mr. Kernohan have to these islands to guarantee his return; none!!  I suggest to the next foreign person that is on bail or in prison,  who has no significant ties here, whose loved one is on death bed or sick to ask the police or the Courts for permission to leave the Island, see what they say!! 

    Just once I hope that I am proven wrong about this investigation and what is to come of it. I will end by saying that I love my country and it is heart breaking to see what is going on recently.  Instead of rebuilding the faith of the people I believe these events are destroying it even more.

  3. Anonymous says:

    You have said very authoritatively that  "the Governor, as the appointing officer cannot force Stuart Kernohan to return to Cayman as part of the disciplinary process according to an e-mailed response to CNS questions".

    This begs the question an e-mailed response from whom? In other words, why is this statement so authoritative that an article may be based upon it? Without that critical item of information the article contains nothing new.