Bridger breaks pledge to talk

| 03/12/2008

(CNS): Since stating on 9 October that he intended to keep the community informed through public meetings, and fortnightly statements to the media, Martin Bridger the Senior Investigating Officer, of the Special Police Investigation Team (SPIT) has attended only one public meeting and submitted only a four line statement to the press.  Despite enormous criticism of his investigation from elected officials and Sir Peter Cresswell, Bridger has remained silent.

 

Having announced his decision to change the way he communicated with the Cayman public he nevertheless said he would keep the community informed as much as possible but in fact he has made no public comments for several weeks and failed to offer any details of his investigation.

On 9 October he issued an official statement saying he would no longer communicate openly with the media following the release into the public domain of Anthony Smellie, the Chief Justice’s 54 page ruling. The legal document concerned Bridger’s application for search warrants for the homes of the senior police management team which were turned down as Smellie said there was no evidence of a crime. Bridger’s reaction to the publication in the local media of this ruling was to close down the open channels of communication with the press saying instead he would answer written questions and would issue a statement every two weeks.

 “Beginning today, (9 October) unless events require a more immediate report, a media update will be issued every two weeks.  Media questions presented in writing will be answered as fully as I can.”

Despite that pledge so far Bridger has offered only “no comment” to some thirty questions submitted over the last eight weeks by CNS.  His promise to meet directly with the people of Cayman has also been unfulfilled. Having said he would meet with them directly in various public forums it appears that he has only attended one crime prevention meeting held in West Bay in the wake of Estella Scott-Robert’s murder.

CNS requested details of any meetings that may have occurred with himself or any member of SPIT with local community groups or associations or any future planned meetings however, the answer from Bridger’s representative was, “no comment.”

Bridger said on 9 October that it was his experience in dealing with sensitive issues of this nature thatthe more informed the community, the better.  “To date, to a large extent, the community has heard from me only through the media.  As a consequence, the community’s views have, to a large extent, been informed by how the media has interpreted and reported my words.  That is no longer acceptable,” he had said “I recognize that within the community there are key stakeholder groups and individual stakeholders who, I, believe, should hear directly from me.  It is now my intention to put in place additional public communications to keep the community informed on these important issues.”

However, it appears that this has simply not been the case and Bridger has not spoken publically about his investigation since this statement with the exception of four lines delivered to the media in the wake of Sir Peter Cresswell’s ruling on Justice Alex Henderson’s judicial review.

On 24 October Bridger simply said in response to the UK judge’s damning 124 page ruling that he did not consider it prudent to comment but following careful analysis of the judgement with the legal team and other people affected by that judgement he would respond when he was able to do so.

Since that time Bridger has not responded to any questions or enquiries submitted by any media house regarding Cresswell’s ruling or any other aspect of the investigation dubbed Operation Tempura. Despite the fact that Henderson has been unequivocally cleared by the former Acting Commissioner David George of the investigation, that Stuart Kernohan the former Commissioner has been sacked and the elected Government has asked Bridger to leave, the former Scotland Yard internal affairs officer has made no official comments.

So far Bridger has spent at least CI$4 million of public money which some legal experts say may very well double once the claims for damages and costs are made by Henderson, Kernohan and Chief Superintendent John Jones who still remains suspended on full pay and has still not been interviewed.

Bridger has been conducting his investigating firstly undercover since September 2007, and overtly since March of this year and as yet the only charges brought have been against Deputy Commissioner Rudolph Dixon for releasing two men who had been arrested for gambling (during a time when there was an unofficial moratorium on gambling arrests) and one drunk driving offender on Cayman Brac who was reportedly arrested by an off duty officer rendering the arrest invalid.

As outrage grows in the United Kingdom over the arrest of Damian Green a Conservative MP who has been accused of leaking Home Office documents, the heavy handed approach of the Metropolitan Police in that case, especially the search of his office and community in the sanctity of the Houses of Parliament has seen people in the Cayman community drawing parallels with Bridger’s investigation. SPIT searched Justice Henderson’s home, computers, and offices in the court building on warrants signed by Justice of the Peace, Chief Officer in the Public Works Department, Carson Ebanks which were summarily dismissed by Cresswell in the recent Judicial Review.

 

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Comments (9)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    CNS I have noticed that your reporting isn’t always accurate nor grammatically correct. For example, Mr. Carson Ebanks is not the Chief Officer in the Public Works Department, rather he is the Chief Officer of the Ministry of Communication, Works & Infrastructure. While this Ministry has responsibility for the Public Works Department, the information still isn’t accurate.

    Please do your research before you report. I know that you pride yourselves on getting information out before anyone else, however, if the information is incorrect then you are just quickly misleading the public. Even though I subscribe to your news service I still wait to hear it on the radio to confirm the validity. Just food for thought.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Very biased reporting, you’ve decided the outcome before cases have been heard in Court…….

    • Anonymous says:

      ‘Biased’ – what rubbish.

      Bridger and his team, by the very nature of their jobs, are publicly accountable and are currently trying to hide their wrongdoings behind a veil of secrecy. The criticism they now attract is of their own making.

      If this was the UK or the USA the media would be ripping them, and Assistant Commissioner John Yates who is supposedly in charge of the whole fiasco, to pieces. Keep up the good work CNS, make them come clean about what is really going on.

       

    • Anonymous says:

      As an interested observer in the UK, I am struck that so little has been made of the role of the investigation’s legal advisor or ‘lawyer’, Martin Polaine. The scathing judgment from Sir Peter Cresswell highlighted a number of decisions and actions which, presumably, were only taken after legal advice had been given. How about the lawyer getting his share of the blame?!

       

      It is telling, I think, that this is not the first time that Mr Polaine’s advice has had doubt cast upon it: have a look at a book published here a few years back: ‘Untouchables’ by 2 investigative journalists; Gillard & Flynn. Questions get raised in that about his role in the anti-corruption investigations into the Metropolitan Police which took place in the 1990s.

       

      • Anonymous says:

        An interesting point coming from the UK concerning Martin Polaine, for which I totally agree that we seem to have left him out of the picture as to his involvement in this fiasco. It is widely reported that while he was in Cayman giving what turns out to be such misguided advice to Stuart Jack and Martin Bridger, he didn’t even have a work permit or licence to practice law in the Cayman Islands.

        Imagine that !!!!!! Then again, only in the Cayman Islands does S*** like that take place under the watchful eyes of those in authority who really don’t have the Cayman Islands or their people true at heart.

        Their sole purpose is to enter, disrupt, divide, conquer and rule. That’s always been the "UK Way" of doing business for hundreds of years around the world and the Cayman Islands is no exception today.

        Ever notice how all of them have now gone underground and silent these days and don’t even want to answer crucial questions posed to them from the media or the public ??? Don’t worry though, they are not asleep, just planning their next attack on how to finish put the Cayman Islands into the "Gutters" once and for all !!!!!!

         

         

  3. Anonymous says:

    There is no doubt that it is the intention of the British to impose a police state in Cayman. We do not want a police state. Mr. Bridger, please go home to an environment which will embrace your mandated values. The people of the Cayman Islands are tired of being dictated to by a morally bankrupt society. I beg the incumbent government to throw these reprobate influences out and return to life the way we once knew.
    No to Britain and yes to Cayman. Independence under God!

  4. Anonymous says:

    They need to send Bridger and company back home to england if there will be "No more of the Judicial System Investigation.

      He/they will only be here sucking up more 4 million dollars and allowing a "Soar" (caslled Corruption) to continue festering in Cayman Islands that will drive us down and all the way down to where Crime will only get worse.

  5. Travis Ritch says:

    That just about says it all.  The UK has just made the strongest argument for constitutional advancement for us without realising it! 

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hardly surprising as the whole Operation Tempura fiasco is under ‘independant investigation’ by officers believed to have been drafted in from Royce Hipgrave’s home force, East Sussex. Apparently persistent media enquiries in the UK forced this response.

    Bridger is effectively on ‘gardening leave’ while this takes place and other officers have alledly been returned to the UK to assist in the investigation. John Evans is on notice that he might be required to assist the enquiries.

    Looks like things have turned all the way round, doesn’t it?