Former top cop to fight on

| 20/11/2008

(CNS):  Despite the announcement by the Governor on Tuesday accusing the Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan of severing his own contract and ultimately sacking him, on Wednesday afternoon the top cop made it clear he would fight on and intended to pursue damages over the entire affair which has seen him placed on required leave for 8 months as a result of a mystery investigation.

David Legge, spokesman for Stuart Kernohan, said on Wednesday 19 November that the former Commissioner had confirmed receipt of a letter of dismissal on Tuesday afternoon from  Governor Stuart Jack, which came through his attorneys. “Mr Kernohan rejects in their totality theassertions made in Mr Jack’s correspondence and will pursue all claims and entitlements, including damages, through the proper legal channels,” Legge said on Kernohan’s behalf.

The formal announcement that Kernohan had been dismissed came in the wake of the release of a letter which had been sent to the Governor in early October asserting that Kernohan had committed no crime and that the Governor’s actions in keeping him on “required leave” were for no good reason.

Kernohan’s attorneys, who sent the letter, said that the Governor had lied to the public about the circumstances surrounding the Special Police Investigation led by Martin Bridger as it related to Kernohan, as well as breaching the Commissioner’s contract of employment, an unlawful and irrational exercise of the power of the Governor and depriving Kernohan of his job. The letter made it clear that the top cop was seeking reinstatement, a public apology and damages. (See  Kernohan accuses Governor)

Although the full details of Operation Tempura, the investigation led by Bridger, remain a mystery, a ruling by Chief Justice Anthony Smellie, which was leaked into the public domain several weeks ago, regarding an application made in February of this year by Bridger for warrants to search the homes of Kernohan and Chief Superintendent John Jones (who is also still on required leave on full pay) indicated that neither officer had committed a crime.

A judicial review granted in the wake of the arrest of Justice Alex Henderson in a matter linked to the investigation regarding search warrants obtained by Bridger, presided over by Sir Peter Cresswell, which he found to be unlawful, confirmed Smellie’s ruling and also inferred that none of the wrong doing alleged by Bridger had actually occurred.

So far Bridger’s Special Police Investigation Team (SPIT) has spent more than $4million investigating an alleged unlawful entry into the offices of Cayman Net News by two of the paper’s employees, Lyndon Martin and John Evans, who as staff writers both had full and free access to the offices and would not need to break in.  The reporters were supposedly seeking evidence to support allegations that Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony Ennis was in a corrupt relationship with Desmond Seales, the paper’s Editor in Chief.

Bridger’s accusations against Kernohan and Jones hang on the premise that Kernohan encouraged this entry, unlawful or otherwise, even though he knew Ennis was not corrupt. However, it has been revealed that the Governor, the Attorney General, Sam Bulgin and Larry Covington, who has oversight for police matters in Overseas Territories, were also all aware of the circumstances surrounding the alleged entry. Ultimately it was Kernohan who called in an external team to pursue the allegations against Ennis, which the former commissioner has asserted he had an obligation to investigate.

Although Operation Tempura has been labeled an investigation of corruption within the entire RCIPS, it appears to be limited in scope. Aside form the removal of Kernohan and Jones from office, Bridger has charged Deputy Police Commissioner Rudolph Dixon with two counts of misconduct which relate to incidences that took place in 2003 regarding two different arrests where Dixon instructed the arresting officers to free the prisoners.

Although Bridger and SPIT have been in Cayman since September 2007 it is believed this is as far as the investigation has reached. No other areas of the RCIPS has yet been revealed to be under investigation.

At the beginning of this month, the elected government made a public announcement requesting that Bridger wind up his investigation and leave Cayman as given the evidence of what Bridger had done so far, they were not convinced that his investigation had done anything more than bring the islands into disrepute.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    back to you anonymous – i put cap locks as though speaking with a louder voice cause of so many being hard of hearing yes.

    Kernohan was not ordered to come and return to work, he was ordered to return, but not to return to work, now you get it straight.

    so what if it is my money also that he will be getting, so much of my tax payer money gets wasted by the governments anyway, i rather Mr. Kernohan get it!  Cayman government should be very wealthy and money should never be a problem to them.  It is bad management that causes financial distress in the government inclusive of corruption!!!   Cayman is not a God fearing nation, i’m so sick and tired and sick and tired of hearing that.  Cayman is become a nation of selfishness, jealousy, money love, greed, hypocrisy, self worship and misery.  When God looks at the Cayman Islands, he doesn’t see a God fearing nation, He sees hypocrisy!  Yes of course there are some good God fearing people here, but few being the key word.  In the Bible, Jesus says the way is narrow and only few find it. 

    When you have lost a loved one by brutal murder, then you can come talk to me, and then we’ll see how people look at things with different perspectives.  Never ignore perspectives and trying to blame them on emotion.  it’s all about perspective.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder they say.  It is beauty to lay eyes on a Chief who will truly fight crime!  But i guess for some reason your perspective has been blocked on that aspect and you can’tsee but from your own shallow perspective.

    I hope whatever future Chief we have will truly fight crime, or we’ll be living in little Kingston here soon at the rate robberies, murders, assault, rapes, and violence are going!  I think Mr. Kernohan was doing a great job and wasn’t even given enough time to prove himself.  Probably because he is too good for this island!  This island wants hypocrites it seems!

    I am not a hypocrite.  And i observe all that is going on.  And i am disliked because i won’t play along with the hypocrite games going on in this island.  I am the unpopular one.  But in God’s eyes, i’m honored.  Are you?


  2. Disgruntled Caymanian says:

    Hold on here anonymous who is not one bit surprised!  you said,

     "I am suggesting to the Governor Mr. Jack that this country file a suit against Kernohan for the full refund of his salary for the months that he was on leave and refused to return to work "






    • Anonymous says:

      To Disgruntled Caymanian:


      First, didn’t anyone tell you that it is bad netiquette to type in caps as it is the equivalent of shouting? 

      Second, you need to get your facts straight. "Cayman" did not suspend Mr. Kernohan, the Governor, based on Mr. Bridger’s investigation, did.

      Third, so long as you are an employee, whether or not you have been placed on leave you are subject to the reasonable directions of your employer. You need to re-read everything. Mr. Kernohan refused to return to these Islands when directed to do so by the Governor saying that any interviews necessary could be done over the phone. 

      Fourth, I hope you understand that Mr. Kernohan making a lot of money (which is your hope) means that the people of Cayman – not the Governor, or Mr. Bridger, who made the decisions – will have to pay. That includes you by the way. Clearly, you have some sort of emotional attachment to Mr. Kernohan that is not based on the facts or rational thinking. 



  3. Anonymous says:

    Exactly! Why are we looking for police once more from one juristiction which already dominates the police force and once they gethere they never return home!  Maybe it is a perception but generally it is viewed that police officers who come from Britain exhibit much more respect and helpful attitude when dealing with the public. Even in arresting people they still treat people with dignity. There is less of the aggressive, bullyism, and beat you over the head cave man behaviour when dealing with the public. We should not be bringing anymore Police from Jamaica period!  We should be looking from other juristictions since they can’t seem to find Caymanian police! Why?because the decent Caymanian Police that do stick it out inside there go through all sorts of pressure and victimization just to stay there. Therefore, the young Caymanians are discouraged from even trying out for the police. I know personally of a case of a young Caymanian who had several years of law enforcement experience in the Immigration Service and after leaving to attend Law School submitted an application for the Police Force. He never had a reply and when contacting the recruitment was told that they were not hiring then but would get back to him. That was over a year ago. One can only speculate that the reason for that is the Recruitment office is also dominbated by foreigners! It pains us Caymanians in this country to see that our Police Force is dominated by foreigners! Yet if I had to choose give me the British anyday. Besides I don’t know why we don’t see recruitment from other British territories or even the US.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Kernohan states in correspondence to the various news agencies that he WAS more than prepared to return to Cayman to be interviewed, and that such a request was never made to him by the Governer. So this comes down to a case of who you believe.

    As to the Commisioner being sacked a long time ago WHY? Just because an accusation is made against a person it does not make them guilty? Whatever happened until ‘innocent until proven guilty?’ It is not Kernohans fault that Bridger has dragged this investigation out for months is it? It would seem that according to many on Cayman as soon as an accusation is made against any person in any employment they should be sacked on this basis, no matter how unsubstanciated.

    Kernohan is unfortunately being ‘tried’ by the ‘kangaroo court’ of the Cayman community.

    Give the guy a fair go, and fair trial. At the moment no one even knows what the strength of evidence is against him, if any at all, and yet everyone is still so eager to see him crucified. I feel sorry for Kernohan, Bridger knows he needs to dredge the barrel to find something to stick to Kernohan, to justify his expensive ‘jolly,’ or he is going to look like an idiot. In these kind of circumstances Bridger will try and come up with any old garbage to save himself.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Playground politics.

    No one will win, except the lawyers.

    Can’t they grow up and save our country yet more expense on their behalf.

    Eight months full pay and refusing to return to work, how many of us could get away with a deal like that?

    I hear there’s plenty of jobs in the UK for helicopter pilots.

  6. Annonymous says:

    I am not one bit surprised that the Governor has finally made a decision to close the contractual arrangements between the CI Government and former Commissioner Kernohan.

    What is incredible to me is that why did it take the Governor so long to come to this decision.  Any normal CEO in a private firm whose management had disobeyed a direct order to return as the Governor Jack stated in early media releases that he had written to him on several occassions and requested he return to work, which obviously went on death ears by Kernohan.  Therefore, Kernohan clearly engaged in the actions of being insubordination.  When that occurs and as a former HR Manager you know then that the ties are severed and the only resolution to the situation is making a decision to release them on this basis. 

    WhatI am concerned with is that for the months that Kernohan refused to return to work he was being supplemented with a full salary.  I am suggesting to the Governor Mr. Jack that this country file a suit against Kernohan for the full refund of his salary for the months that he was on leave and refused to return to work without as much as an explanation to the people of this country who pays his salary his full reasons why he ignored the Governor (his boss) request. 

    I was one of those persons who in the very beginning was sceptical of Kernohan, and I simply sat back and waited for the mixer to start stirring in the septic tank around him.  Well, it did, and I feel the same way today as I did the first time I heard of him when he turned up on our shores with question marks hanging over his head.  My question then and still is till this day "How is it that we can put a person in so much authority who has a questionable background in charge of the security and policing of our country".  I suppose Ricardo Tatum’s letter in the Cayman Net News today (Nov 20th,) says it all.  The UK and the Judiciary in our country are at war among themselves, and when they are finished fighting only one thing will be left for us to do as Caymanians and that is to pay the bill.  Those who have created and crafted this war have no accountability to this country or it’s people and they are now doing everything in their power to tear this country apart.  The true position the UK takes on any country it embarks on – to conquer and divide!!!

    What makes me mad as hell is that our government leaders namely Kurt Tibbetts and McKeeva Bush are busy ignoring this very serious situation as the two of them fight over toys in the huge Government ‘Sand Box’, and keep telling us the people out here that their hands are tied.  Well, I hope that the people out here remember that line when they go to the poles in May 2009 – Lets tell those two examples of living healthy heads of the ruling government parties that in 2009 our hands too will be tied and that is why we cannot vote either of them back into power. 

    I hope that Judge Levers will be reinstated to her post, she is an exemplary Judge and I hope that all accusations against her will be proven to be false and those involved in making these accusations will be re-arrested and this time more competent cops will be in charge and not botch things up. 

    I have to agree with Ezzard Millers letter in the Caymanian Compass today as well, we need to look for a replacement Police Commissioner from within our very own.  I suggest that they pursue this vigorously and put a Caymanian in charge of our Police Force.  Looking for a cop from an area that is limited will not benefit us at all; we will only be putting another person in charge that is looking for a long-term island paradise vacation.  We have had our fill of those former commissioners, time to change the system that is not working for this country any longer.  Time for change, change is now.

    God bless this country as we head into the storm of recovery from all our broken arenas.

    (Thank you CNS for posting my opinion on this matter)


  7. Anonymous says:

    This was always going to end badly. The question is why CIG was being required to pay Mr. Kernohan for these many months since it was inevitable that Mr. Kernohan would never return to his duties as Commissioner.  We have simply supplied him with the finances to launch a suit against CIG, ie. the taxpayer. I am afraid that this whole affair has been badly mishandled.   

  8. John says:

    Whats up with this Police hiring situation. The Royal Cayman Islands Police service is under investigation for corruption Yet we have certain senior Police officers travelling to another jurisdiction that is Notorious for having Corrupt Police Officers and hiring Police. Could someone explain to me the logic of this.We should be hiring from the local resident population if thats the case.It would certainly be cheaper in hard economic times as these. Come on Cayman we can do better than this. It simply does not make sense.