Smith backs Bridger as new investigation unfolds

| 11/02/2009

(CNS): Investigations into allegations of corruption within the RCIPS are now entering a second phase,  which may still be headed by SIO Martin Bridger. Meanwhile the separate and ongoing investigaiton, Operation Tempura will continue looking into the alleged unlawful entry into Net News with Bridger at the helm. Despite criticisms of the UK cop from a leading judge, Cabinet and the wider community, the Acting Commissioner said Bridger was an experienced professional officer who had done some very goodwork.

Following his briefing of Cabinet and Members of the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday regarding a new highly confidential report containing sensitive information that has been compiled by Bridger’s Special Police Investigation Team (SPIT), Acting Police Commissioner James Smith told the media that the investigation was about to move to a new phase.

This investigation would be based on the alllegations made against a small number of police officers in the report, which Smith described as entirely unsubstantiated, but he was now looking at how this next phase should be conducted. He said that every report that had been made by members of the community would be examined and he would report back to the peoplewho had come forward and say whether their complaints would be investigated further or why they would not.

The Acting Commissioner said the second phase would be named Operation Cealt (Smith said this is a Gaelic word for justice, however, according to Wiktionary the word  ceart means accurate and correct and ceartas means justice. There were no results for cealt in any on-line disctionaries or Gaelic sites.)

Its primary goal would be to put to bed suspicions and allegations about corruption in the RCIPS once and for all. He  stressed that it concerned only a very small number of people but the allegations were of a criminal nature.  

He said another concern raised by those that had come forward was that the RCIPS did not always handle confidential information very well, and one of his first jobs would be to examine the intelligence unit and put systems in place to protect confidential material and those who come forward.

Smith explained that there were a number of things for him to consider now about the way forward, not least who would head up the investigation.

“I need to consider a whole host of things,” he said. "Primary in that is ensuring I have the right people with the right skills in place." He added that the investigation would need to be headed by someone with the appropriate knowledge and skills to do it and the experience to lead a major investigation. The acting commissioner said that he was exploring possibilities in other jurisdictions where corruption investigations had taken place, such as Western Australia.

“Because of the nature of some of the allegations it is necessary to keep it separate from mainstream RCIPS work,” he added, explaining that an outside team would not necessarily completely exclude his own staff. He said RCIPS staff would support any team that would deal with Operation Cealt.

“This investigation is in response to community concerns and allegations that have been made over several months,” he said and added that they have been laboriously poured over and distilled down and there was now a pressing a need to get to the bottom of the allegations, some of which he believed had been heard in the community for a long time.

Although Smith said he would make the final decision about who would eventually head up the second phase of the investigation into these serious allegations, Bridger could well be that person. However, he would remain on island regardless since at the very least he would follow through with Operation Tempura.

When questioned about the criticisms of Bridger and the impact of the Henderson case, Smith vigorously defended the former Met cop but also said that the Henderson case had made a significant impact on him. “No one should pretend there is not an impact on everyone involved, not least Martin Bridger,” he said.

“Martin Bridger and his team have done some extremely good work on this island. Mistakes have been made and if I punished everybody who made a mistake by getting rid of them I’d have no one left,” Smith added. He said he was not minimising the gravity of the outcome of the Henderson case but he would not leap to punish people because of that. Despite Cresswell’s damning decision, he said that he had apologised and the team would learn from it.

Regarding the comments made by elected Cabinet officials and their decision not to support any investigation headed by Bridger, he said Cabinet members were entitled to say what they wanted but neither politicians nor anyone else should not be allowed to interfere with the work of a police officer.

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Comments (16)

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  1. John Evans says:

    But what about the outstanding complaints against Operation Tempura?

    This annoucement leaves out the fact that a number of complaints have been filed (I have lodged four so far) against officers involved in Operation Tempura. In my case one of these involves an officer of the team, who is a sworn RCIPS Special Constable, refusing to deal with complaints of criminal activity – an act contrary to both the Cayman Islands Police regulations and the regulations of his parent force, the Metropolitan Police Service.

    These complaints have been made to Assistant Commissioner John  Yates, who was ‘supervising’ the operation from London until James Smith took over and HE the Governor, but no action has been  taken.

    The question that this raises is very simple, "Who is policing the Operation Tempura team?" They seem very quick to tackle the alleged failings of others but are being allowed to operate without any checks and balances when it comes to their own conduct.

     

     

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Since you are part of the original allegations and stated you will not return to testify in court  and your complaints are being ignored why is it you don’t TRUTHFULLY tell the Caymanian people all you know about this or are you holding out hoping for a million dollar pay out too?????

      • John Evans says:

        In reply to the lastcontributor, it’s a very fair comment.

        If you can guarantee my safety I will return. However, with my former employer allegedly making threats on my life and the possiblity my return could be a one-way trip into Northward Prison that seems unlikely.

        And no, I’m not looking for money – only justice and there’s precious little of that around right now!

    • Twyla M Vargas says:

      SOMETHING TOO FISHY

      Read John Evans comments?………………I say something fishy is going on.  There is too  much He said, She Said.  We are going around in circles with fingers pointing at everybody even the Governor.

      How will this ever end, I support that the corruption neads to be cleaned up and it is about time, because this is not only happening now, it has been going on for about 30 years or more. 

      Police evidence  of murder used to disappear between here  and miami in the hands of police officers.  People shot at by police and gun cleaned and covered up, people planted with drugs to make a case,  Police bank account investigated and found to have  a million dollars in the seventies, Drugs stolen from defendants and put back on the street, One Million Dollars in cold hard USD cash disappeared from the hands of police off a yacht in George Town harbour, and too much more to mention.   Cover up, Cover up, Cover up.   Listen my friend I can talk this because I was there and knew what took place.  So sue me if you want  the stories told.   You want to see cover up Mr Martin Bridger, you ask for all the files from that Complaints and discipline Department in Elizabethan square.  I am sure when you done investigating, you will turn Commissioner of Police.

      There has to be a clensing, take place, but if it is going to cost that much money I suggest Mr Bridger be put on a salary for a certain amount of time.  I believe it should help.  Not sure.   But there is cleansing needed.

  2. Anonymous says:

    If ever a time to say GO HOME!!! its now. 

    Where are the people we elected to represent us? Why are they sitting on their bottoms doing nothing?

    If none of them do anything about this situation  they ALL (PPM & UDP) should be voted out come election day. 

    Its time for the people of the Cayman Islands to march, not just talk about it, lets get to action. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Three suggestions and one comment.

    First, would one of our elected politicians please step forward and bring a motion in the LA requesting a unanimous vote of no confidence in Mr. Bridger. I can just about guarantee that any such motion would go a very long way toward securing re-election. Hopefully this formal censure would send a clear message just in case the Governor and the FCO are incapable of understanding our politicians previous statements and gestures.    

    If any of our politicians is sympathetic with our new Acting Police Commissioner and thinks that it is a good idea for more of our money to be wasted on these ridiculous investigations of Marl Road gossip with their silly names, then let the RCIP and not the Governor find someone with at least a semblance of credibility in another jurisdiction, someone who is not a buddy of the Commissioner, to conduct the waste of money and end this farce.

    Second, would our elected politicians please pass a second unanimous motion instructing the Attorney General to file a complaint on behalf of the people of the Cayman Islands with the Independent Police Complaints Commission in the UK regarding the conduct of SPIT. The AG might wish to supply the IPCC with copies of the findings of Sir Peter Cresswell. The IPCC has responsibility for investigating complaints relating to officers from the MET and would likely be quite interested in the conduct of our very special MET constables. Information regarding the IPCC complaints process is found here:

    http://www.ipcc.gov.uk/index/complaints.htm

    Third, would our politicians please consider establishing our own version of the IPCC. If we had an IPCC the UK would at least have to think up new excuses to waste the resources of the Caymanian people.

    My comment is as follows. I refuse to accept the moral authority of the "good governance" claims of the Governor in relation to SPIT, particularly given that the UK government which he represents makes a routine practice of terminating police investigations that might adversely affect the economy of the UK. I suggest that anyone who thinks otherwise should do their homework.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/feb/01/bae.saudiarabia

     

  4. Anonymous says:

    It never ceases to amaze me what ¨some people¨can do in another´s jurisdiction, and get away so much wrong doing.

    Don´t you think for a moment, that when Stuart Jack appointed James Smith the Act- Commissioner and soon to be the Commissioner, he appointed someone he knew, who would  support him and Bridger, despite their outrageous SCREW UPS in the last 2 years or so ?????

    I wonder what would happen to any Caymanian or other native Caribbean Overseas Territory police investigator(s), had he/she conducted such an investigation with resulted in such astronomical ¨SCREW  UPS, as did Bridger and his croonies ???????

    I reckon the ¨DEATH PENALTY¨ would have been re-instituted and carried out on them by now, with no option for appeal neither !!!!!!!

    Don´t worry though, one of these days in the very near future, the native son´s and daughter´s of the Cayman Islands soil, will no longer sit down or shut up, but RISE UP in such proportions that it would take more than JACK THE CAYMAN RIPPER and BRIDGER, THE BRIDGE TO NOWHERE, to halt them !!!!!!!!

     

     

  5. Anonymous says:

    I hope that you all see that all they want to do is steal money from this country and so far they have been doing a good job at it.

    Another investigation???? you know what the sad part is we cant do anything about it.

    DAMM EXPATS!!!! GO BACK TO LONDON!!!!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    It is all very well and good to talk about cleaning up the problems — the question is going to be — is there proof.  We all know our local situation — lots of talk that is not necessarily reliable and truthful. 

    I, for one, do not believe that this whole stragegy is a good one, because we could be counting our eggs before they are hatched — and end up with a lot of egg on our face.  And that with a lot of wasted money that we can ill afford.

    Suggestion — appoint an ombudsman responsible exclusively for the police force and let him deal with situations as they arise.  it is hard enough to solve crime within the first 48-72 hours, and it becomes more difficult over time.

    An ombudsman will also send a strong message — be careful, or you may be subject to investigation.

    Along with that, provide strong directives to police chiefs on the expected protocols and institute careful monitoring that these protocols are followed.

    These are far more likely to reap positive results that this retrospective fishing expedition.  I havppened to have heard an example of an allegation that I am sure has made its way to Bridger’s ear — and coming from a responsible member of the community.  And to my ear, gthe allegation is more than likely pure and simple unreliable gossip, knowing the individual who is the subjec of those allegations.

    We have to be enourmously careful who we listen to — and how can Bridger judge that?  He does not know the community!!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    As the old saying goes "to have good followers we must have good leaders" I expect Smith to do nothing more than say Bridger is a good officer and has done some good work but has the good out weighed the bad? One bill $1.275 mil and more to come, people’s reputation tarnished, show me the good. I wonder if the beautiful Cayman sun have a blinding effect on the Met team? How can the RCIP be any better if we still continue to reward bad with good?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Is it racist  that many Caymanians are tired of the operation? Why do you assume that if someone posts and states that they are Caymanian that means that they are not white? FYI Caymanians come in all colours

  9. Anonymous says:

    I hope these men keep up their important and good work even in the face of at times racist comments. 

    They have already apparently been willing to uncover allegations of a corrupt police officer which had been swept under the Cayman carpet.  Let us hope they find more, we all know it is there.

    Good luck Mr. Smith and Mr. Bridger, your presence is appreciated by those with nothing to hide or fear.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sadly, it is ‘those with nothing to hide or fear’ who have suffered at the hands of Operation Tempura, not the criminals they were supposedly targetting,

      As somebody already posted, the new ACP is nothing more than a deniable asset for the SIO and his team.

  10. Anonymous says:

    here we go again…………..

  11. Anonymous says:

    How dumb can one get .Is it true Smith was Bridgers BOSS back in the UK ? If so do you think for moment he is going to find any fault with him NO .Nothing is going to change UNTIL WE CAYMANIANS RISE UP AGAINST THEM .

    CNS Note: Yes, Acting Commissioner James Smith has confirmed that he was Martin Bridger’s Superior Officer in London.

  12. CCC says:

    Mistake……….If you cost your employeer $1,275,000 what would the outcome be?

    Fine, don’t fire him, put him on a payment plan to repay the Cayman Islands then