AG to review SPIT spending

| 09/01/2009

(CNS): The auditor general has initiated a value for money review of Operation Tempura and the Special Police investigation Team (SPIT). Following the governor’s announcement on Rooster’s Crosstalk on Friday morning, Dan Duguay (left) told CNS that his office had decided that persistent questions surrounding this investigation relating to how much has been spent and on what deserve some answers.

“While we may not be able to comment on what Operation Tempura is doing, we can comment on how much is being spent,” said Duguay, who noted that the review was in its very early stages as the decision to undertake a value for money report by his office was only made on Thursday 8 January when he informed Governor Stuart Jack.

“This has only just begun and I know nothing more about Operation Tempura than what has already been revealed in the media. I have no evidence of any specific allegations of wrongdoing over the expenditure on the investigation. I believe the people need to know whether or not the expenditure so far is legitimate. I had my first chat with Martin Bridger at 5:00 pm yesterday afternoon, so I do not yet have any details of the terms of reference except we will be examining the entire costs of this operation.”

Duguay explained that the decision was based on the fact that the cost of the investigation is being questioned extensively and he wanted to bring about some transparency regarding that issue. He added that his office would not be looking at what Operation Tempura was investigating, merely what they were spending, and he would then report on that. He said he would look at everything, including what was spent defending Justice Alex Henderson’s application for a judicial review, as well as the day to day running cost of the investigation.

“My goal is to provide people with a clear understanding on what has been spent and where,” he said. “And while I appreciate this is a moving target and one would normally like to do these things after it is over, given the speculation regarding the potential costs, we believe it would be wise to get a better understanding now,” said Duguay.

As well as announcing that Duguay was going to conduct the review, the governor also told the Rooster audience that mistakes had been made regarding Operation Tempura but he did not elaborate. He did, however, say that he still had confidence in the local judiciary in the wake of its direct criticisms of him at the Grand Court opening on Wednesday, and he also indicted that ‘Netnewsgate’ would also be cleared up by the end of this month.  

The governor also wrote to the Caymanian Compass on Wednesday in response to editorials in that publication stating that he was committed to good governance, to high standards in the public service, and that he would not shy away from tackling inappropriate behaviour wherever it occurs, although he did not elaborate on that point or indicate what behaviour he was talking about. He said the intense interest in the investigation didn’t surprise him and was a healthy sign of the media doing their job: questioning government policy.

“But some of the discussions in the media can obscure the basic principles that are at stake," the governor said in the letter. “Once serious and credible accusations have been made – not just gossip – I cannot simply ignore them. Feedback from the public leads me to believe that many people in the Cayman Islands don’t want me to sweep complaints and allegations under the carpet. To do so would be the most damaging action I could possibly take for Cayman’s reputation. Once these investigations are over, the world will think more of Cayman, because we have had the courage to insist on the highest levels of probity in our police service. If allegations are disproved that is as good an outcome – indeed maybe a more reassuring one – than sackings or prosecutions.”

He said he has listened very closely to the public debate on the cost of the investigations and the length of time they are taking.

“We will continue to look very closely at the costs. It is not easy to put active investigations on a definite timetable anywhere in the world. The police cannot simply ignore any new allegations because they arise at an inconvenient time,” he added.

Again, he did not elaborate on the allegations or indicate if other officers or members of the judiciary were in question, saying he cannotand should not interfere in the operational decisions of the team.

“We should leave those decisions to the police under the capable interim leadership of Acting Commissioner Smith and to the Legal Department,” he said.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    We are not paying for these wasters’ vacation. Period!

    British Airways flies direct. Goodbye.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Very wel stated, and in my opinion, a truthful point of view.

                "The Governor also wrote"  

    The  AG, himself on the other hand is about to polish it for the benifit of saying "They did wrong … but did no harm", and finds nothing Wrong in the spending of four million dollars in the run up of this unworthy investigation.

      There is still problems in the Judicial System and now Mr. Chief Justice is asking the Governor, Mr. Stuart Jack to compromise and work with the Judicial System. A place where HE Stuart Jack saw Problems inside of, and started an ivestigation into…. that  HE Stuart Jack became cold footed into and caused  another great sums of money to be paid out by poor Caymanians.

     Yes,  "Investigate the Judicial System" there are problems there with "Unjust" rulings and before we start Get Mr. Bridger and the SPIT Team(s) out of the Cayman Islands, and replace the them with "Worthy Investigators" and cleanup the Judicial System.

    • Anonymous says:

      We have to be very careful about alleging "injust" rulings.  The question is, from whose point of view?  In most cases, the person(s) on the losing end will always feel, rightly or wrongly, that the outcome was unjust.  That’s human nature.

      I am also not aware that there is any inquiry into rulings by the Court, now or in the past.  The recent fiasco in which Sir Peter Cresswell ruled that both the search and the arrest of a judge were illegal was entirely unrelated to any judgements or perfomance of duties.

      The writer also refernced: "HE Stuart Jack became cold footed into and caused  another great sums of money to be paid out by poor Caymanians."

      Not sure I understand the point correctly, but needless to say the failure of the cases and unwarranted spending had nothing to do with the Governor being "cold-footed". 

      The Governor is in charge of the executive branch of government, and cannot interfere into or obstruct the work of the two other branches — the judiciary and the legislature.  That’s how democracy works.  The only thing the Governor can do is to call for a Commission of Inquiry, if there is just cause — and that has to be assessed on basis of constitutional and legal advice — and then he has to step back and let that process take its course, without any interfrence from or influence by himself.

      In the recent case, the overall investigation stemmed from a request by former Commissioner of Police Stuart Kernohan to the Governor for an independent investigator to deal with the allegations about matters having to do with netnews and a deputy commissioner of police. (Incidentally, as an observer, that seemed a sensible thing to do — so that the police did not have a conflict of interest in investigating one ot its own, which in mind speaks to professionalism and not, as some allege, because of his own sense of guilt of wrong doing.) 

      With regard to the overall investigation, as far as has been reported so far to the public, some $4 million and 15 months later, there is nothing to show — except for the embarrassing recent court fiasco in which a judge was illegally searched and illegally arrested — and for which the RCIPS and the met team have jointly apologised.

      I hope this brings some clarity to what I know is a confusing state of affairs.




  3. Anonymous says:

    "The governor also wrote to the Caymanian Compass …stating that he was committed to good governance, to high standards in the public service, and that he would not shy away from tackling inappropriate behaviour wherever it occurs, although he did not elaborate on that point or indicate what behaviour he was talking about".

    To put words into action the Governor can start by tackling Mr. Bridger’s inappropriate behaviour. However, it is clear he means everyone else besides him since he represents the golden standard of "exemplary" behaviour. Look out Chief Justice!