No U-turns on investigation funding says LoGB

| 13/03/2009

(CNS): Government has said there were no U-turns regarding the funding for the special police investigations, and suggestions by Acting Police Commissioner James Smith that Cabinet was very supportive were misleading. Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts said that Cabinet was always prepared to support genuine investigations, once Bridger was removed, and Minister Alden McLaughlin added that any support coming from government was based on very specific conditions.

The LoGB explained that Cabinet had not approved any funds for either Operation Tempura or Operation Cealt but had agreed to allow the request for more than CI$915,000 to go before Finance Committee for the fifteen members to have a chance to vote and have the police explain the need for the money.

Tibbetts said after seeing an exit strategy for the lead investigator, Martin Bridger, whose appointment the government had concerns over because of the compromised situation regarding the various legal judgments by Sir Peter Cresswell, it was able to accept that the request for funding could go before the committee.

We were accused by the media of not being prepared to fund the investigations but we refused before because of the compromised situation and thought money would be wasted,” said Tibbetts. “Part of this new request for money is for the second phase of the investigation to determine if any of the new allegations that have been made have any basis in fact. He said the government was in support of the police but it had experienced a fundamental difference of opinion on specific matter.

However, Minister McLaughlin said he felt the acting commissioner may have exaggerated when he said that Cabinet was particularly enthusiastic about supporting the investigations, as this was not the case, and that any support they may offer was based on very specific conditions. “A pre-condition of any support is Martin Bridger has to be gone,” said the minister. “Second, there are to be no more no reckless arrests of people, no suspensions or placing people on required leave, and definitely no arresting of judges.”

He said that there was a need to see evidence rather than speculation and he said he had little confidence in the commissioner saying that all sorts of dire things were going on in this jurisdiction that needed to be sorted out without coming with the evidence.

McLaughlin added that there was a need to strike thebalance of ensuring serious allegations were investigated against the context of what we know about how badly this issue has been managed so far. “This is not Cabinet embracing these investigations; there are lots of conditions imposed on how this is going to work. If the commissioner and the governor dont play game correctly Cabinet’s support will fall away.

McLaughlin said that the vast majority of the money requested would be to deal with the legal cases which are going through the court system with regards to Lyndon Martin and Rudolph Dixon and to close down Operation Tempura. He said only around $150,000 of the request would be spent on the new investigation known as Operation Cealt.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    hold back funding all you wont detract from the failures of BOTH the governor (because he has faiiled in a major way) AND the Cabinet for letting it all happen on their watch. i know of soem politicians back in the 1970s who would do more than raise hell and they would cause things to  change if this were happening on their term in office.

    you are the ones that are elcted by the people not mr jack., start acting like elected representatives.

    • Anonymous says:

      First, Minister Tibbetts:  In your statement, "We were accused by the media of not being prepared to fund the investigations…."  I have not seen "media" accusing the Cabinet on this — I have seen one media house doing this.  I would not place much store on that — not even sure if that media house qualifies to be classed among "media".  The Cayman public is mostly well aware that that media house has a major axe to grind and is not acting out of best public interest, but out of its own self interest.  And with very sad results for Cayman for those people who cannot sift out truth from a fictionalised version — or for those who do not understand the local subterranean.  So Mr. Tibbetts, you need not worry too much about that message from that medium as far as the discerning Cayman public is concerned.

      Second, I could support Cabinet’s position on allowing funds to winding down this debacle, that anyone with a grain of administrative experience should have been able to avoid, if the charges that were before the courts were of any signifcance in the case of one, or if they were winnable in the case of another.  The allegations against Actg Commissioner Dixon’s need not have come before the courts — they could have and should have been dealt with administratively, and supported by a reform in the procedures and protocols within the RCIPS.  That would have been message enough to potential miscreants.

      The other matter is a toss up right now, and I am waiting to see if the charges will stick.  As one commentator said, however, it should not take a three quarters of a million.  Unless, of course, they are factoring in provisions for compensation for Actg Commissioner Dixon — if that is so, will take more than that!

      I can, however, support at least one of the Cabinets conditions — that no judge is arrested in the process!!!

      And so this sad spectacle goes on.  I will concede,  however, that Cabinet was not fully in charge constitutionally, and hopefully that will be resolved once the new constitution comes into effect.

      As for the Governor, I was not one of the original conspiracy theorists, as that is not my nature, but I am now more inclined to believe that this is exactly the outcome that the UK would like — bringing Cayman, one of its key conpetitiors, to its knees. Fortunately, they have not achieved that.  In fact, they have done us a favour — they have put us under a microscope and thrown away a lot of our money (to try to achieve their purpose) but have not been able to come up with anything to bring Cayman’s institutions to their knees — though they did give it a good try!!. 

      A friend of mine with UK connections told me that, based on a conversation he had had with a former high-level govt official in the UK, the Governor was allegedly sent here with one mission.  Well, as I said, if that is true, it did not work; in fact the damage has been done to the UK and its machinery — not to Cayman. 

      I have also heard that this Governor’s role in the past was that of an inspector, going around to find problems in the outposts and bringing miscreants to justice.  So, presuming that is true, we know why he was chosen.

      I had had high hopes that this one would have been a good governor.  He appeared to have had a good head on him.  Unfortunately, that is not all that is required of a governor.  The man that is chosen must have rounded administrative experience to run a complex and constantly perculating island nation. 

      My hope for the future is that the governor’s role will be pared down to that of a figure head with no administrative responsibilities; if we can’t achieve that, I hope that Cabinet will have more say in profound decisions affecting the territory.

      Clearly this current situation was not in the best interest of Cayman — no matter how much the Governor touts that lame defense — that he could not brush things under the carpet.  More than one way to skin a cat, my friend — check page one of Governance 101.





  2. Anonymous says:

    can the minister explain why so many caymanisn police have left the force? and why traijning and career development is basciaally non existent depsite the govt promises to invest heavily into the rcips? how is it that when things are going bad they try to blame the governor but whenj they are good they try to take the credit?

    we know that they have far more responsibility and ability to influence thinsg than they claim and that they dropped the ball in this area. I am a former police and would be willing to return if thinsg were to improve. But i feel that the government (and i dont mean the governor) has a lot to explain for the failiures of the rcips.

    i am aware of 4 other officers that are looking for jobs elsewhere due to low moral in the forcde right now.

  3. John Evans says:

    Let me get this straight!

    The funding requested represents CI$765,000 (or just over three quarters of a million in real terms) to quote, "deal with the legal cases which are going through the court system with regards to Lyndon Martin and Rudolph Dixon and close down Operation Tempura."

    Lyndon now faces just two of the original 13 charges Operation Tempura made against him and Rudi Dixon faces two fairly minor charges. That isn’t going to cost three quarters of a million to process.

    When I came back to Cayman last August for what turned out to be a five-minute court appearance I did not even get, although my fares and accommodation were paid for, compensated for loss of earnings then had to make my own arrangements, and pay part of the additional costs, to fly home on Friday rather than, as had been arranged, Saturday. I am also still owed some £5000 in expenses for the period from 1 May to 31 July 2008 when I was retained on Cayman as an essential witness despite having no employment on the island. So the money is certainly not being freely handed out.

    So where is all the money going?

    I know that an FOI request for a detailed breakdown of the costs relating to Operation Tempura has been refused – I also now understand why.