‘Spitting’ on Cayman

| 18/10/2009

Few CNS readers will have missed the irony of the exposure of SPIT’s antics and capers being sandwiched between two local news stories reporting serious crimes. While the underlying causes of rising crime here are no doubt multifaceted, the impact of the ‘sunshine squad’ on the morale of the RCIPS should not be underestimated.

For two years officers from our own police service have been subject to secret and mysterious scrutiny by a bunch of UK officers backed by the country’s highest official authority – the governor — which sent the message that they were corrupt and incompetent, and all because the Special Police Investigation Team said so.

Not a morsel of evidence or corruption has been revealed and, as far as we at CNS can tell from piecing together what has been exposed during the court hearings, judge’s rulings and sources close to the investigation, SIO Martin Bridger (who, you have to agree, cuts a dashing figure in a rubber ring) has interviewed no more than a handful of people in this investigation and did very little police work to find evidence to back his outrageous suggestions and theories.

The idea that murders, drug dealing, arms smuggling and other heinous crimes were rife in the RCIPS was based on nothing more than the marl road and malicious gossip fed to Bridger from the company he was want to keep during his stay here.

As it appears now that he was so busy buying boats and condos, drinking champagne at the Ritz and beer in the Triple Crown or flying first class, there wasn’t much time to actually do the detective work required to find out if the marl road rumour had any truth to it.

All of the people arrested during this shambolic investigation and his theories for what was going on were based on documents Bridger received on arrival from former commissioner, Stuart Kernohan, and DCS John Jones. From that, with the gossip he heard, Bridger had put two and two together and got 22. He arrested Lyndon Martin, a high court judge and the deputy commissioner of police merely on his own theories of invented burglaries and cover ups.

Convinced, or more likely wishing, that the entire judiciary and the RCIPS were corrupt but with no evidence, Bridger bent the rules to suit his own agenda and by doing so fundamentally disrupted this entire jurisdiction without cause -_ a point noted by Sir Peter Cresswell, who condemned Bridger for abusing his position.

Despite that, the result has been that we are bickering amongst ourselves over who is to blame for the scandalous situation. Politicians are shouting across the floor of the House blaming each other for supporting/causing the investigation, the members of the oversight committee are pointing fingers every which way but themselves, the community is blaming ex-pat cops, the ex-pats are blaming the Caymanians … and so it goes on.

There are, however, just two people who should be made to answer for this fiasco and the impact it has had on all of us as well as policing in the islands, and that is the governor, Stuart Jack, and the lead investigator, Martin Bridger.

They are the two that should be held accountable and forced to make a public apology to the people of the Cayman Islands and especially to the officers of the RCIPS, both those who are still serving and those who have since left as a result of this ridiculous escapade.

Whether Cayman will ever receive fair compensation for this outrageous abuse of power by the UK’s representative and what can only be described as the contemptible and scournful behaviour of Bridger and SPIT remains to be seen, but a very public apology is the very least the country should expect and receive.

Our crimewave may have its roots in the economic woes, the influx of guns into the island or even poor parenting, but it seems likely that the brazen behaviour of criminals owes much to the recognition that the RCIPS is depleted both in numbers and in terms of its morale. For two years the leadership has been unstable, the force has been under the cloud of suspicion, it has, as the new commissioner has noted since he arrived, been looking in on itself and not out at the community. Some of the best officers have resigned and the others are overworked and utterly demoralized because they feel — lets face it with due cause — as though they were spat upon.

The governor’s blind and continued support of Operation Tempura and latterly Cealt must stop. This insistence that the thousands of hours of reports given to the consultancy firm working for SPIT have revealed very serious crime, I suspect, is again nothing more that malicious gossip and rumour. After all, commonsense tells us if there was even a scintilla of evidence, given Bridger’s track record, arrests would already have been made.

It is time for Cayman to demand that a line be drawn and for the apologies to be made. Then the country can begin a new chapter on 6 November when hopefully the new Constitution will give Caymanians the confidence to make steps towards ruling their own destiny, and finally shaking off the chains of colonialism which have no place in the modern world.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Viewpoint

About the Author ()

Comments (15)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Johnny Cake wid a cup of coffey(e) says:

    This was an great piece and could not have been stated any better…even by good ole Johnny.  Thank you for that Wendy.

    Unna keep up the good work.  I would strongly suggest you make this editorial a front page piece.  I would also send a copy as letter for printing in both our daily papers.

    thanks again.

  2. m miller says:

     God bless CNS ,Nicky and Wendy thank god we have some expats that  out there to blend in with this culture love their comments section and asap news reporting only, wish that one they poster will feel free to post their real  names with fear of personal attacks and freedom of speech continues to grow other than CNS this the only other out let to express ourselves even more than Crosstalk.

  3. Anonymous says:

    At least one news organization has the integrity and gumption to stand up for Cayman. Thanks, CNS! Tell it like it is.  

    • Anonymous says:

      JACK MUST APOLOGIZE…and the UK should be footing the bill not Caymn. Right Jack ? Right ? say it…say it…

  4. Anonymous says:

    Inadvertently, I’m sure, you entitled your piece ‘Spitting’ on Cayman. The first two letters you were looking for were not "sp" but "sh".

  5. Anonymous says:

    This article confirms many comments I have heard that the reporting of various recent matters on CNS related to the SPIT investigation and related court prioceedings have had a distinct spin to it.  The SPIT team investigated serious allegations which were falsely made but seriously made, the SPIT team did discover sufficient evidence to merit two criminal trials, trials where more play was made by the defence team of the fact the prosecution originated from SPIT than the underlying evidence.

    "Whether Cayman will ever receive fair compensation for this outrageous abuse of power by the UK’s representative " This one sentence makes  the spin point.  They did their job.  They investigated the actions and allegations.  The only posssible "abuse of power" was the arresting of Justice Henderson.  He has received compensation, and perhaps compensation could and should be claimed from those who provided such bad legal advice to the SPIT team.  Aside from this there has been nothing but misguided hysteria, hysteria whipped up in no small part by the local media.

    • Pale Rider says:

      Martin Bridger…Nobody wants to hear any more from you..stay off of CNS…

      • Anonymous says:

        Wendy was writing an "editorial", a comment on SPIT so, everyone knowing that, she was entitled to have her say and we can agree or disagree. Where I have and have had a problem with CNS-God bless it, though!- is when there is a report/article/whatever on something (especially the Governor/SPIT etc but not exclusively so) and the journalism is not objective and factual but tinged/tainted with Wendy or someone else’s spin. I have posted about this before and it has been printed so maybe I need to get a life.

        A final comment. I am NOT Bridger/Met etc and consider SPIT/ the Governor/UK a disaster, but there WERE things came out in the recent Dixon trial about "policing" in Cayman which were disturbing and which some of us Caymanians have been chatting about in our social gatherings. I have posted twice on this but both were rejected. I hope, CNS, this was on legal grounds (though I tried to be balanced) and not because XXXXXX.

        CNS: Yes, they were rejected on legal grounds. Could you provide an example where you think the reporting on CNS was not factual?

        • Anonymous says:

          It was very noticeable that posts about Lyndon Martin’s previous convictions for offences of deception were not posted on the board at the time he was being lauded as some sort of national hero after his acquittal.

          • Nicky Watson says:

            Well that must have been you because no one else would have noticed. You did not question it at the time (see CNS comment policy) so I cannot say now because I don’t remember why your comment was not allowed. Perhaps it was just too bitchy. Generally when people complain about their comments not being posted they assume CNS bias instead of thinking about other possible reasons.

          • John Evans says:

            It is worth observing that details of Lyndon’s convictions were not part of any testimony given during his trial simply because they were not admissable.

        • Anonymous says:

          Every single news article you will read will have some piece of the author in it. To completely dissociate oneself from their writing, even with the best of editors, is rather near impossible. Furthermore, I would venture, it’s not desirable to try and divest the journalist’s personality from any piece in question. In my opinion, really good journalism requires analysis as well as factual reporting, and analysis would be lacking if it didn’t have an infusion of personal opinion. Luckily we have three different written news sources here, so you have the opportunity to read multiple takes on the same facts, and perhaps have a richer understanding for it. I’ve yet to see the core of any article here stray from facts, so I’d give CNS a rave review for their work in providing up to the date news (as well as the opportunity to voice your opinion to the community freely). In the greater scheme of things, they do a fantastic job.

    • da wa ya get says:

      I dare say, your assessment is incorrect. This viewpoint speaks to the glaring deficiencies in the actions of the governor and SPIT. It also speaks to the sentiments expressed in the community at large.

      The governor and SPIT should be answering and apologizing to the public and the RCIP; yet what we receive are platitudes.

      Keep up the good work Wendy (and Nicky), you have the support of the public.


    • Joe Average says:

      My friend you’re missing the point.  We’re not hysterical.  We’re down right pissed-off.  That a country which can’t get it’s own house in order should have the effrontery to send in a group marching around like Gestapo on the orders of our Govenor based on the allegations of a nutball editor. And then when the damage is done to our police force, and we have paid millions of dollars for that priviledge neither that country nor our Governor will accept any responsibility.  Instead, as you say we are subjected to spin.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Brilliantly written Wendy, and very much appreciated. While I doubt Gov. Jack or Mr. Bridger will offer apologies of their own volution, we might only hope that the light cast upon their actions will allow someone in the UK government with some semblence of common sense to order it done, and perhaps that we receive some form of restitution. Thank you for a very nice article on the matter.