LA erupts over Op Tempura

| 10/10/2009

(CNS): The work of the Special Police Investigation Team (SPIT) dominated proceedings during the Legislative Assembly’s Finance Committee meeting on Friday following the disclosure of the auditor general’s special report to MLAs (a document which becomes public on Monday).  From the pointed probing of the attorney general’s role in the ill-founded prosecutions to a proposal to sue the Foreign Office and the governor, Operation Tempura was uniting the House in indignation until the LoGB accused the opposition of supporting the UK police probe and warned people about “finger-pointing".  Photo: SPIT during Op Tempura at Rum Point.

The accusation was greeted by utter and complete outrage by the remaining members of the opposition, in particular MLAs Arden McLean and Alden McLaughlin, who were both quick not only to point to their continued, sustained and vocal criticism of SPIT, but pointed out that Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush had himself played a part in triggering the investigation when he approached the former commissioner, Stuart Kernohan, about the information he had regarding Desmond Seales and Anthony Ennis, as revealed during former UDP MLA Lyndon Martin’s trial.

 “I am appalled and stunned at what was just said,” McLean told the House before a huge shouting match between the government and opposition benches ensued.

The outburst across the floor came on the heels of  a proposal by the independent MLA for North Side, Ezzard Miller, that the elected government sue the UK over the entire affair. Raising the idea as members were asked to vote on the $365,942 appropriation for the Chief Secretary’s Office for the continued “Special Police Investigations” in this year’s austerity budget, Miller stated:

“I ask the government to consider a lawsuit in London against the FCO, the Metropolitan Police, UK government and the governor for misfeance and/or malfeasance in office to recover the cost and possible damages of Operation Tempura, SPIT, Cealt and any other investigations that were or are being conducted in these Cayman islands and report the finding/results to this honourable House in the November meeting."

The motion was immediately seconded by Arden McLean, and even members of the government backbench also rushed to say they wanted to second it and argued about who should. Bush then acknowledged Miller’s suggestion but asked him to bring his motion to the Legislative Assembly as a private member’s bill instead of in finance committee as he said he did not think it fit with the committee’s standing orders.

Miller was, however, hesitant as he noted his concerns about elected officials being restricted in criticisms of the Queen’s representative in the LA and the limits that would set on the debate. Bush reassured the member that the governor’s actions could be called into question and a private member’s motion would allow for more scope in the discourse. Miller agreed and said he would table the motion on Monday and asked the House to get to it in the October sitting as waiting until November ran the risk of “the bird flying the coop.”

It was then that, through the chair of Finance Committee, Bush stated that lessons needed to be learned from Operation Tempura but that he recalled the leader of the opposition ,who was LoGB at the time, offering his support to the investigation when it was announced.

“The leader should have given greater thought to his support,” Bush said to the shock of the members, and added that the then administration should have “consulted the public” more widely about the investigation. He also said the whole investigation gave a lesson about accusations and finger pointing. “We have learned something about the creature we are dealing with — with the British government,” he added.

McLaughlin asked for an official transcript of the actual words Bush had just used to accuse the PPM leader, who was not present in the Chamber, and said that the outrageous accusation would be addressed. Miller then asked for a division as the members voted on the special investigation appropriation. Despite Bush’s accusations hurled at the opposition about their support for SPIT, he and all members of the government benches proceeded to vote to give SPIT more money, while Miller and the three members of the PPM in the committee meeting voted with an emphatic ‘No’.

The PPM government had started what eventually became an extremely vocal campaign against Operation Tempura as early as April 2008, which ended in their demand to have Bridger sent back to the UK. Only a few weeks after the presence of SPIT in Cayman was made public, the then leader of government business, Kurt Tibbetts, was already hinting at his concerns at a press briefing, where he said the elected officials were asking question but were being told very little.

By September 2008, even before Sir Peter Cresswell had revealed his concerns about the investigation during his ruling on Justice Alex Henderson’s unlawful arrest, Alden McLaughlin told the press that the entire operation was a gross over-reaction and was damaging to the Cayman Islands. He said that, based on the information that the elected Cabinet members were receiving, something just wasn’t right.

“I have expressed grave doubts and concerns,” said McLaughlin. “This just doesn’t feel right to me.”

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  1. still waiting says:

    So tell me Mr Ezzard Millard and all of the other Caymanian Goverment leaders…

    Have you accounted for all for the hundreds of millions of dollars spent by in the past few years?  All well spent, value for your money and all that?  None of it dissapeared into non traceable slush funds?  Can you prove it today to everyone?  If not it would appear that you are all the bigger crooks here.  If your not please don’t waste EVERYONES time and Argue with everyone about it just PROVE it.  Waiting ,  waiting ,waiting,

    O by the way…wasn’t someone or actually many people already paid to keep those accounts current.  Are they still being paid to not do their jobs?

    By all means please reply to your people…Waiting….

  2. Anonymous says:

    Don’t say I never told you so, that’s what una get.  You all voted them in so stay in that sinking boat.  Am in, but not by the help of my vote.

    Thats what una get, take ever cent Mac and give it away.

    Rudy Dixon see if you can cash in too.

    The Attorney General should be shame of himself. 

  3. Anonymous says:

    15:45 That is true PPM all said NO and the "eyes" got it pass.  Anyway it should also be noted that Mark and John John said "eye"



    • I just would like to ask the leader or Premeir to please lay of the angry confrontation that is going on in the house and outburst that the people on the streets and the press pick up on and it goes overseas and it makes us all look like fools.

      So Mac as smart as we all think that you can be, stop the outbursts.

  4. uffa says:

    How about some pictures of the Goverment and civil services  "working" to put things into perspective?  Does anyone that can read actually belive that the leaders in goverment have never done anything that is illegal?  Just because they can’t be caught and or alligations proved does not mean they are not guilty.  When the investagation first started there where some very worried and quiet people in Goverment.  Now all the yelling starts.  You can fool all of the people some of the time etc. etc.

  5. Anonymous says:

    People this is what WE are paying big bucks for every month – the current Govt. to argue and accuse when they should be working their butts off to get this country back into the black. To all of you who voted for this, hope you are happy!


    Why would UDP vote to give them more money! that’s crazy

  7. Anonymous says:

     Many persons initially welcomed the investigation when it was thought corruption might be removed from the RCIPS.

    When it became obvious that the whole endeavor was a sham, nobody was more vocal in their outrage and opposition to the continued presence of these shysters with badges than the PPM Ministers.  Time and again they spoke out against the cost of the investigations and condemned the investigators growing lack of credibility.

    For Mr. Bush to get up in the LA and imply that former Ministers were steadfast in their support for the investigations is a twisting of the truth, known in some parts of the world as a lie.

    When, oh when, will McKeeva Bush stop bad mouthing the opposition, grow up, and be the leader that he promised this country during his campaign?

    Remember what granny said, "When you’re pointing a finger at someone else, that means there’s four fingers pointing back at you."

  8. Anonymous says:

    Honestly….no one can convince me that this man (McKeeva) is not crazy….and his croonies are no different! Jesus! Rolston….are you going to sit back and allow this to continue?!

    • Anonymous says:

      Well I think we already are convinced of that but I truly feel he thinks we are crazy and have no memory. How else can he justify his downright lies about PPM supporting Tempura and Bridger when it was the PPM who refused to continue to fund Tempura and suggested that Bridger go back to the UK and then have Govenor Jack using his "extraordinary" powers to override the PPM and fund Tempura. I suppose he will now tell Cayman that it was Kurt who sent Solomon into the studios of Crosstalk and expect to have us forgotten the truth and believe him – the man is having some serious problems but it affects us, The GOOD people of Cayman. Bush, Solomon and Jack should all be leaving Cayman for the good of Caymans future!

  9. Anonymous says:

    It is my belief that there were a large number allegations of corruption passed on to Operation Tempura of which they sought to achieve enough actual evidence to bring to trial. Given the country has no actual tax structure there is very little paper trail for the tracing of monies based upon said corruption. Without the basic tax structure to use as a guide line, I have no idea how they expected to make a case beyond a reasonable doubt.

    As to giving the public information, that would be very difficult because of libel laws thus the secrecy and subesquent mistrust of the public about the value of the investigation.

    I am a baffled as to how the Operation Tempura group could or would bring cases to trial that were not winable.


  10. Anonymous says:

    If Mac and the rest of the UDP want to waste money by giving SPIT even more funding it should come out of all their slush funds they’ve built into their new budget!

    It should be noted that  the PPM opposition voted an EMPHATIC NO to doing so!

  11. Theresa Pitcairn says:

    I would like to support Ezzard’s suggestion that a proper lawsuit be mounted against the UK government/FCO/MET and that every effort be made to appoint Panick post haste  to assist.  The risk that Ezzard would obviously run and as he rightly mentioned if he presented it as a private member’s bill would be one which limits the successful articulation of arguments and issues on the floor. This whole mess has affected our police force and judiciary and indeed our local and international public image. Britain cannot on the one hand say that it acts in our best interest on the one had when the manner in which the investigations have been disclosed suggests the contrary.

    Mounting an action against the UK government/FCO/MET would at the very least speak to the our collective disgust with what transpired and invite the UK Government to do what is right by us under the circumstances by taking financial rsponsibility for what happened (since our public image has already been sullied in the internatonal press.)

    This posture of contempt is necessary in my mind not only because Caymanians would be taking a bold step to try and recoup certain financial loss, but is a form of liberation for the Caymanian people, which is a gift of self confidence.  There is a turning tide; increasing number of Caymaniians and persons who call Cayman their home are recognising some challenging truths about ourselves and the contradictions involved when we  remain as a dependent territory. Many of us are realising that our views should not merely be seen as a footnote.


    Theresa Pitcairn

    • Mr. Winfield says:


      Please tell me you don’t have any belief that there is any merit to a claim in misfeasance in public office or that there is any other cause of action?  I don’t mind an unqualified politicians mouthing off populist speeches, but a lawyer? Really?  Who is going to sign off on a claim alleging bad faith, malice or intention to cause harm?  David Pannick won’t!  (It might help if you could even spell his name correctly). 

      Three Rivers, Railtrack – these obviously mean nothing to you if you believe the nonsense you are posting.

      The proper conduct of attorneys here would be to calm the situation down and tell everyone that this lawsuit would be a huge waste of money.  It is not to add fuel to the fire.  There is no claim here. 

      Mr. Winfield

      • Caymanians for good governance says:

         Mr. Winfield,


        The UK Government must learn that sometimes when they are holding a knife at any Overseas territories that they find that they are actually holding the blade.


        The old colonial mindset that they are just playing "chess with the natives" must end.  I, for one, support Theresa on her stance even if it costs us another $10M and we loose…we would have freed ourselves from the archaic belief that the FCO/UK/Governor are all somehow looking out for the Caymanian’s good (and boy, have we not heard this Governor say that so many times!)…….they are looking out for the UK’s best interest, that is all–and I understand that and I believe that is core of Theresa’s central point.


        The UK over the decades, and indeed centuries, have made mischief, created chaos, presided over internal division (can you say UDP/PPM in one sentence??), have downright lied to the ‘territories’ and have done what they want to, many times in the most irresponsible ways. A good read is "Empire-by Niall Ferguson" and this article on the Chagos Islands at …


        Video of the Chagos fiasco can be found at


        In a few years, there will probably be a video on BBC called "Stealing of a Financial Centre – The Cayman Islands". The trailer will start off with a beautiful shot of the seven mile beach ( complete with some dilapidated hotels) but will quickly pan to a few lost Caymanians souls in the rain and under a tin roof saying  "and we thought the UK really meant good for us back then, they said so".   The next screen shot would show a confidential memo dated 2007 from FCO to Governor Jack……I could go on but I leave that image in your mind…do you, or your children, want to star in this documentary?? Not me and not mine.


        The Cayman People must realize who we are dealing with. We should be no longer lost in the blinding light of the Colonial flagged armada nor the behind the scenes "deals" and "agreements" with our politicians, who are all coerced into signing treaties, passing laws, making statements for a few crumbs of power, a few indiscretions here and there, while the FCO manipulates the system from the background.


        This MUST be the wake up call for the Caymanians. We must learn what is really happening to us and act appropriately.  This Governor and by inference, with the UK/FCO instruction, has presided over the biggest, most visible, manipulation of justice, chaos and order that has ever seen in the Cayman Islands.  They clearly have to answer if this is just gross incompetence run amuck or if this was an orchestrated and deliberate act.


        If the later, not even the British colonial masters should get away with in the year 2009- not here and not now. They espouse "freedom of Information" well, lets have the memos Mr. Jack….I think you will find that they are not covered under your Freedom of Information act..hmmmm…probably a "national security interest situation".


        So Theresa, no need to answer "Mr. Winfield"….probably a manipulated post from FCO anyway….(even if He does not even know it is!!). It is time for Caymanians to stand tall, realise how the system works, read, follow the internet, and do not be blinded by the accent. 


        Question your Governor and FCO, question your politicians and yes, sue over this debacle…even if it is not "win-able" in court, you will have made the UK think twice over the next covert operation, the next tempura or cealt or sushi, and the ‘good governance’ stance they so happily dispatch as a part of their remit.  You would have freed your mind in the process!- definitely worth $10m.


        • Nonnie Mouse says:

          Cayman has its place as a financial centre because it is a British territory.  Your post proposes the ultimate example of cutting off your nose to spite your face.  Even bringing this fantasy lawsuit might cost local jobs by scaring our customers.  And to compare what the UK did in the 1970’s in the Chagos Islands to following up allegations of corruption is pathetic.

          The UK could close down the Cayman offshore industry overnight if it wanted.  It hasn’t.  Go your own way if you want, this place will degenerate into a crime ridden cess pool faster than you canimagine.


          • Anonymous says:

            Nonnie – the UK should be playing by the same rules it demands of us. It has failed repeatedly to do so. Two solutions, one using the rules and the judiciary, and the other, extra-judicial. Which course do you prefer? 

          • Caymanians for good governance says:

            The Chagossians probably thought like you as well at one point….many have now committed suicide.


            Our beloved Governor is always talking about "Good Governance and transparency"….let us see him apply that to the Tempura/FCO files…..don’t wait up or hold your breath.  Want something more current …try the UK Government’s corruption scandal with the BAE /Saudi deal…now that is real corruption….when they do it, they do it well and from the very top.


            I give absolutely no credence any longer to your myth that being a colony of the UK is in anyway "helping" our financial system.  We will probably do better without them than with them at this point.


             A stable government, fair and free judiciary, good local expertise, free money transfer, low taxes and low crime are more important…..hmmmm…sounds like a run down of the Tempura attack plan couple with Minister Bryant’s tax letter to McKeeva recently…I sure hope our colonial mother country does go after these financial system elements or we will be in big trouble..sigh!


            Nonnie Mouse, think instead of spewing the old lines that you have been brainwashed with…."none but ourselves can free our mind"- B. Marley

        • Anonymous says:

          ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ! please wake me up someone

      • anon1 says:

        Dear Mr. Winfield,

        Three Rivers, Railtrack …. not being an attorney I have no idea what you are referring to….. can you or Ms Pitcaren educate me?

        However this is not why I write. I am curious as to why you chose to speak if the merit of the proposed lawsuit at this time. If you are so concerned that we do not waste money on this lawsuit (I too really do not want to waste any more money if indeed this will be the result) however I am left to wonder why, with all your obvious legal knowledge, you chose to be quiet on this forum while the waste of money on failed investigations were taking place.

        Perhaps if you had spoken out at a more appropiate time we would have $10 million in the treasury today.

        You say there are no grounds for misfeasance action, is this also your opinion on malfeasance? Is there a more appropiate suit that should be brought? You sound like an educated attorney, is there other grounds that you would suggest be used that would meet with more success?

        Explain to the public why this proposed lawsuit is a waste of money and I too will join you in supporting no further action (or action of another form). Until then I support Ms. Pticarn’s and Mr. Miller’s position wholeheartedly.

    • Anonymous says:

      Theresa, please inform us as to why you are getting involved with Mac in this legal aid business? This is what you should talk about. You dissapoint me.

  12. Joe Average says:

    Nothing wrong with the photo.  They are simply waiting for their order.

    Tempura.  a popular Japanese dish of deep fried battered meats, seafood, or vegetables, or facts.

    First shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate (pronounced cay-man  don’t ask me how but it is) reportedly loved tempura so much that he died after eating too much.

  13. Tim Pura says:

    The only error made by the Tempura team was their treatment of Justice Henderson and that was partly because the relied on bad legal advice.  They investigated misconduct, dimissed various allegations and discovered possible conduct which merited a criminal trial, trials where the defence seemed to rely upon the bad name given to the Tempura team that the evidence.

    • Anonymous says:

      Must be nice on your planet. Is Martin Bridger with you? If you see him, could you ask him what he did with our $10 million. On this planet, we still think he’s a plonker, but we’re so glad he had a nice time fishing while he was wasting all our money.

    • Anonymous says:

      LOL! That is self-evident nonsense. This was a botched investigation that yielded no fruit. No one "gave" Operation Tempura a bad name; that was richly deserved.  Now to add insult to injury we find that our money was wasted to tune of millions of dollars! The fact that SPIT were impressed by Desmond Seales says it all. What a bunch of cowboys!

  14. Anonymous says:

    So Mac & Jack are to thank for this fiasco. Too bad only one is leaving in November….

    • Anonymous says:

      It is astounding that, after McKeeva Bush had falsely accused the opposition of being in support of SPIT & chastised them for doing so, he & his udp cronies/cohorts voted to throw away more money by giving SPIT even more funding, while the PPM opposition voted an EMPHATIC NO to doing so!

      In the words of the "criminal trespasser" Elio (Cayne West-Solomon) "I want the public to record" that the UDP government voted to further support SPIT, while the PPM voted no!

  15. anon1 says:

    CNS …. why are you showing us those coconut heads again? Shane on you ….. no I meant shame on them but I am sure other posters, and the Auditor General’s report will give them all the shame they deserve.

    Can anyone help me to understand what exactly would have happened if the majority in finance committe had voted NO to this expenditure like Ezzard and the PPM did?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Good money after bad.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Is public confrontation a solution?  Let’s be mindful that 2009/10 Public Finances may still need to go to Plan ‘B’.