Bridger told oversight committee corruption was rife

| 16/10/2009

(CNS): Following the shocking revelations by Auditor General Dan Dugauy’s office in the special report concerning the spending on Operations Tempura and Cealt, the former chief secretary has also revealed how those on the oversight committee were told of rampant corruption by the senior investigating officer. Speaking to News 27, George McCarthy revealed that Martin Bridger had made outrageous claims of corruption running riot in the RCIPS, from murder to drug dealing. However, the former top civil servant said the investigation got out of hand.

He said Bridger told them that there was massive corruption taking place in the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service –“that murders had taken place, that there were people here involved in drug related activities, and all of these things,” he added.

McCarthy was chief secretary when he was asked to chair the oversight committee by Governor Stuart Jack three months after Operation Tempura began, but he said they were not consulted at the beginning and had they been, the advice may have been never to start such an operation.

“It would have been best for this country if this had not gotten to the stage it did,” he said. The former CS explained that the oversight group was supposed to simply advise on what should happen to officers allegedly involved in corruption.

However, during the more than two-year special police investigations, Operation Tempura and latterly Operation Cealt, Bridger did not bring any corruption charges against any police officers with the exception of Deputy Commissioner Rudy Dixon, who eventually went to court regarding a single incident where he was found not guilty of misconduct in a public office and perverting the course of justice. The sole corruption charge that the more than $7millon investigation brought was the accusation that Dixon had ordered the release of Rudy Evans, a former police commissioner after he had been arrested on a DUI. During the trial the court heard that Dixon had advised the officer in charge that evening to release Evans based on local case history and the circumstances of the arrest.

To date there have been no other arrests of police officers and certainly no indication that RCIPS officers have been involved in anyone’s death or dealing drugs.

McCarthy told the television station that the investigations went too far but that the oversight committee could not be held responsible. The governor also has denied any culpability in two statements released since the public circulation of the auditor general’s report. Duguay and his team revealed that by June of this year the Special Police Investigation Team had spent almost $7 million with expectations that the bill will reach around $10 milion before it is over.

Despite the whopping cost to the Cayman Islands public purse and not one single conviction, Jack said in a public statement released by the governor’s office yesterday that Operation Cealt would continue and the operations would be allowed to reach their full conclusions.

Operation Cealt is said to be the part of the investigation in which the specialist consultant firm BGP Training and Consultancy was hired to conduct the interviews and de-briefings of the individuals who came forward with allegations of police wrongdoing and cost $585,700.

However, a number of sources have told CNS that the vast majority of the information collected was merely unsubstantiated rumours that have not been verified. Despite that, however, the governor has insisted that there are serious criminal allegations which are currently being investigated. Following Rudolf Dixon’s trial, SPIT has now been disbanded and the UK Met and ex Met police officers have left the island. The team was finally wound up on 9 October.  

According to government sources the Cealt investigation will be conducted by a special internal unit within the RCIPS.

 Watch News 27 video

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Comments (18)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Jacko on Thurday 15th in a special press release said I quote " I do not hold the purse strings : I did not, for example, decide the contractual terms on which the government hired the services of the Tempura and Cealt  investigators".

    So Mr. Mac Carthy, who decided $30,000/month salary (300% increase) to Bridger???? 

    Did Bridger bill the government for the time he spent doing shopping for condos on the beach and boats as well?  Has anyone checked his time sheets to see how they spent time on the project?  The country needs answers…… I would have expected Mr. Mac Carthy being a former auditor himself to ask more and more questions when Bridger was exaggerating the issues in RCIP i.e murders and drug running etc.

    • Anonymous says:

      Everyone in Cayman knows that rumours are rampant — the unsubstantiated horrors that we spead about each other are a constant part of life here — sad to say.

      I heard reports of some of the things that were being told to Bridger as he went around the districts.  In one case, someone at a meeting regaled me with tales passed on second hand ostensibly from a Jamaican gardner about a high government official who was said to be linked to drug cartels in Jamaica.  How did he know?  Well he was from Jamaica, wasn’t he?

      It was entirely untrue.  I am sure that Bridger got an earful.

      First, the Governor should have understood the community more than that to unleash a self-serving man like Bridger who was dazzled by the dollar and wanted to extend his stay.(Who wouldn’t at $27,000 per month).  How would Bridger know who to listen to, what was bull and what was truth?  He simply could not.

      Second, crimes are hard enough to investigate at the time they were committed, much less years later.

      Third, if these people knew so much, and were so unfraid as to speak up in a public meeting, why would they not have gone to the authorities at the time of the crime(s)?

      It was mostly marl road, unsubstantiated rumormongering — many times at the expense of hard working, decent people.

      And I do understand what the former CS is saying — they were told by the Governor to serve the role of monitoring the reports from Bridger — and God only knows what he was telling them.  Remember that he failed to give the necessary information to the JP who signed the illfated search warrant.  If he would do that, why not selectively report to the CS, especially when Bridger’s own self-interest was at stake?

      It is the Governor’s game — put your shoulder’s back, and be a man — you formed the Oversight Group, Governor, you gave members their terms of reference.  The buck stops with you.  You are being paid a massive salary to take responsibility.

      It looks rather unseemly for the Governor to now be casting blame to this committee, when he obviously wasn’t smart enough to lead properly and appropriately.

       

  2. noname says:

    Oh dear dear, George is waking up from a long sleep.  So tell us more and more.  I think still you are not telling all what you know.  Thank you to Hon. Auditor General for your wake up call.  George has a lot of expaining to do here.  Forget about introducing the New Zeland modeled accounting system for the time being sir……..

  3. Anonymous says:

    God Bless you Georgie! You must live a charm life since you have never been exposed to police corruption. Some people truly live in a utopia and others sure have a very short memory in this place. I can remember when the cries of injustice and people calling for invesigations into the RCIPS were so loud you couldn’t see or hear anything else.

    Becareful Cayman that certain serious criminal elements here are able to avoid exposure in this upheaval over Bridger"s Expenses & investigations which is terrible and exspensive but we should not delude ourselves to believe that we weren’t having serious issues before Bridger.

    A lot of Good officers left before this investigations it was blamed on Hurricane Ivan i guess it will be Bridger now. Summing up this whole situation and its origins we must not loose sight that it appears to be a power struggle in the same RCIPS who started this whole fiasco.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Everyone in this thread seems solely focused upon Bridger’s salary and are ignoring the part about corruption within the RCIPS.

    Were these most serious claims considered believeable by Mr McCarthy or does he now believe they were the red herring for drawing a huge salary?

    Given the terrible relationship between the public and the RCIPS such claims were probably believed by the oversight committee.

    These charges need to be closely examined.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      The point is not whether the Oversight Committee believed the claims when they were presented. Obviously they did. The point he is obviously making is that Operation Tempura has now been closed down and the only charges brought (against Dixon) were petty by comparison to those outrageous claims. Apparently the PPM did not have a monopoly on being misled.    

  5. Anonymous says:

    Yes, WHO APPROVED MARTIN BRIDGER SALARY ???

    Or was SPIT managed so poorly that Martin Bridger himself decided his own worth and salary, as well as his cronies who accompanied him ???

    Another question, the photos of SPIT having fun in Cayman, were they submitted to the press in the UK by one of it’s members who was disgruntled over his "sunshine squad" salary or his allowances ???

    XXXXX

  6. anonymous says:

    Who "approved" Bridger’s salary is MOOT.

     

    The Governor (FCO) is responsible for the RCIP, the Tempura and Cealt Operations….the buck stops there.  While I think it is common practice for the FCO to have the ‘locals’ become fall guys for their forays into the "territories", clearly Bridger said FCO sent him here (to be read- "at request of Governor"). See quote below. 

     

    Mr. McCarthy must be furious they are trying to blame him and the "oversight" (to be read: "fall guys") committee.

     

    Mr. Bridger said, as far as he knew when he first came to Cayman, he was only investigating the initial claims made by Mr. Martin at the request of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. — Compass Newspaper Thursday 3rd April, 2008 

    • Frequent Flyer says:

      Not MOOT!!  No matter what the corruption is, the amount of that salary is NOT MOOT. That is the dumbest thing I have heard.

      Someone authorized a ridiculous amount to pay to a CONSULTANT.

      What a scam.

  7. Anonymous2 says:

    Can we get a straight answer, please?  Who approved Mojito’s salary?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, pleasenanswer that one………… who submitted the amount, basedmon what, and who approved it?

      What / whose budget were these people looking at? China’s?

  8. what a mess! says:

    Unfortunately George is just like most High Level Govt. Managers/Directors/CEO’s, Cheif Officers, Politicians etc….qualified mainly in the art of deniability.

    Let’s hold the young people responsible for experimenting with ganja….but when top level officials need to take responsibility..oh no!…deny, deny, deny…at ALL COST!!

    The hypocrisy is fueling resentment and all forms of Social ills….and cayman will continue to go downhill until we are willing to be a more honourable people….Cayman has become too greedy, too self centered, too judgemental, too unwilling to protect the vulnerable…..too hypocritical!

     

     

  9. John Evans says:

    So let me get this straight……

    Lyndon Martin gets charged with a criminal offence for, by his own admission, slightly over stating the facts in his complaint.

    At the same time the head of the investigation made, "outrageous claims of corruption running riot in the RCIPS, from murder to drug dealing," and got half a million for it.

    To say Tempura got out of hand is being polite. Officers engaged in the investigation broke the law withimpunity, falsely charging senior members of the RCIPS with crimes while they themselves were turning a blind eye to criminal acts then, when it all started to get sticky, conveniently vanishing back to the UK.

    I think it’s time for some of the main players in Operation Tempura to face their own corruption investigation, this time conducted at the expense of the UK government.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Well, he had to earn his keep one way or the other……

  11. Anonymous says:

    This type of madness only adds fuel to the levels of frustration and overall distrust of those in power.

    Here we have the most powerful minds at work…from the Governor, LOGB, Cheif Secretary, Commissioner of Police, AG etc, etc and yet NO ONE is responsible! Yet all these same people talk of Transparency and Accountability every chance they get…Surely they would know who was responsible if some real crime (of someone not a friend or family member) had come to light and been succesfully prosecuted.

    Hopefully Ezzard’s recomendation for a lawsuit may recoup something!

    So, we can WASTE $10 million for this, but cannot spend less than 2 million per annum to ensure proper defence in court for those accused. And more millions for a non-existant chopper….more millions for a what is called the Turtle Farm….more millions for the latest model SUVs for Govt…more millions in duty waived for the Ritz (where the current LOGB’s wifes Real Estate Co. gets the exclusive rights to sell Ritz development) and on and on…Seems the LOGB is saying the poor don’t matter so let’s just convict them with no chance of a proper defence.

    Security, Health and Education are the cornerstones of all modern Democratic societies. Not pie in the sky pet projects for friends and political cronies. Yet, it seems Mcdinijad is intent on blurting out and carrying out any and all ill-concieved ideas that pop into his head.

    He seems intent on protecting the richest 1-5% at the expense of the majority middle class and poor. After all they don’t really matter…and there is no REAL Human Rights laws here anyway….and no one has to worry about the churches (CMA) saying anything…as long as it’s not about gays…and as long as they get their cut.

    What in the world is Cayman becoming?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Oh Me Miserum! So George was completely innocent and unknowing of what was going on. What does that say about our Civil Service managers earning $140K a year?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Mr Mc Carthy i think you need to tell the public who approve the big salary for brigger   If you was in charge of the oversight team you must know something about, you was in charge three months before the huge salary started