Cops investigating their own

| 26/11/2009

(CNS): The police commissioner has said that the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) is establishing its own anti-corruption satellite unit, which will look into the allegations made against police offices during the Operation Cealt investigation. Using that information as a spring board, he said, within six months action could be taken to exonerate or charge officers in the service if enquiries prove that any of the allegations are true. David Baines (left) said that some of the allegations are of a very serious and criminal nature, but he also noted that the accusations were easy to make but difficult to prove.

Giving evidence on what he knew about the Special Police Investigation’s Operations Tempura and Cealt and the spending on those enquiries, he told the Public Accounts Committee on Wednesday that he would no longer require extraordinary payments for this area of police work. He said that once the subsequent disciplinary hearings and legal cases associated with the UK team were settled, the spin-off investigations would be brought in house to the RICPS and would be paid for from the 2009/10 normal police budget appropriation.

Baines admitted that Operations Tempura and Cealt were tainted as a result of what had happened, but he emphasised several times to the committee that serious allegations had still been made against a number of police officers which had to be investigated and put to rest so that the RCIPS could begin to build trust again with the community.

He said the goal now was to look at which of the allegations were corroborated by more than one witness and where there was evidence to support the accusations to bring charges. He said, however, some were dated and unsubstantiated and they would be seeking to clear officers where the allegations were unfounded.

Baines said that some of the allegations were not only very serious but they seemed to be widely known to a lot of people in the community and therefore if there was any truth to them they had to be addressed.

Given the problems with the special police investigation, however, Baines said he had discussed the allegations widely with the remaining members of the special investigation team who are still in the Cayman Islands working with the RCIPS. He said he did not believe that the officers who were here from the UK were merely on a fishing expedition but that they were operating under the law. Despite what people might think, the accusations that were made to the UK officers could not be ignored, he said.

“What we have seen is some serious allegations made that if true would undermine the credibility of the RCIPS,” Baines told the committee, adding that if he has 20 or 30 accusations against his officers, the only way to rebuild trust would be to investigate as they could not just be left hanging.

Asked how much longer this would go on for by the committee members, Baines said he could not say with certainty as it depended on the investigations regarding each accusation, but he believed they would be in a position to see some results in the next 4 to 6 months.

In the end, he said the service had to deal with perceptions of leaks and corruption, and while they would use Operation Cealt as a springboard, it would be an entirely new team that would conclude the investigations that would not be tarnished by what had gone before.

He said building a new internal satellite unit would also meet the requirement of the RCIPS leadership to create its own internal anti-corruption unit that would deal with internal police investigations in the future.

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  1. Joe Average says:

    There may indeed be some truth to allegations of corruption.  And if so they need to be investigated.  The basic problem is the wrong people were chosen to carry out the investigation.  A close-to-retirement officer who treated his job as an extended vacation with exorbitant pay and some of his cronies. This was not an investigating team, it was a bachelor party at public expense.  Asleep, with bare feet up on the desk?  Really.  Somehow that wasn’t very convincing!  Now, as some say, this farcical operation is going to be replaced by an internal investigation unit in order to root out any wrong doers. How effective that will be remains to be seen.  Anyone seen the movie Serpico?

  2. Bluff Rat says:

    I wonder which one of our ex police officers with an excellent record and who has served his/her country well are going to get their lives turned upside down and thrown in jail this time? What a pile of sh*t this is! A very nice officer decided not to ticket me the other day for parking on a yellow line. I guess he’s counted as corrupt now too. And no, I’m not an ex nor current member of the RCIPS; I’m a Caymanian who’s sick and tired of hearing about police investigations!


  3. Anonymous says:

    This issue of "very serious allegations" of corruption made against local RCIPS officers should not be taken and swallowed as if we are Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico or some other parts of the world where corruption could likely be seen by a blind man. 

    Do you remember Martin Bridger saying these same words ("we are investigating very serious allegations of corruption in the RCIPS") and at the end of the day, what corruption did he bring before the court after two years and millions and millions of $$$$$$ spent.

    An unlawful arrest and search of a well respected Grand Court Judge of his home and office which resulted in about 2 million dollars to settle, charges supposedly connected to a gambling case which were all withdrawn even before a trial commenced and other alleged unlawful acts of attempting to pervert the course of justice releated to an alleged drunk driver who was released from police custody.

    I might add, we all know what a competent jury did with that case. They returned a NOT GUILTY verdict on all counts in a record time of two hours which included their lunch break.

    We also know that most if not all of these allegations that Cealt is now  investigating, would have been on the table of Martin Bridger and Tempura while they were here. Do you really believe that Bridger having the choice to pick the most serious allegations to investigate, would not have choosen the most serious allegations in nature for maximum exposure and publicity ???

    Bearing in mind what Bridger brought before the court, I do not believe that CP Baines has anything more serious in his file cabinet to investigate than what Bridger brought.

    Therefore, I totally dismiss this notion of "other serious allegations of corruption to investigate" by Cealt or any other anti-corruption team that is formed.   

    That is a load of cow and horse manure !!!!


  4. Dred says:

    While you are at it can you investigate why its taking so long to find about the GT Elections issue which seems to be swept under the rug.

    CNS: We continue to inquire periodically. See Cops silent on polling enquiry.

  5. tim ridley says:

    In January 2010, the Anti Corruption Law and the Anti Corruption Commission go live in Cayman. It is time the community at large tooknote of this important development.

    The Commission will have a statutory obligation to investigate public/official corruption. Unfortunately, the Commission will not be truly independent (as it should be to be fully effective) as its Chairman ex officio is the Police Commissioner. This comment is not intended as a criticism of any particular Police Commissioner but simply to make the public aware that there is work to be done to make the Commission a body that meets the needs and expectations of the community and enhances Cayman’s credibility internationally.  

  6. Anonymous says:

    this is deeply disturbing on so many levels.

  7. John Evans says:

    One comments sums it all up –

    "He said he did not believe that the officers who were here from the UK were merely on a fishing expedition but that they were operating under the law."

    Well there is plenty of well documented evidence and more than a few people who know for a fact that this was not the case.

    CoP Baines needs to take time out for a long hard reality check before making any more comments like that if he expects to be taken seriously.

    If he has any doubts about what really went on I will happily fly back to Cayman and fill in any gaps in his understanding of the investigation.

    • Anonymous says:

      John – You’re forgetting that Mr. Baines knows what is being investigated. Unlike the rest of us.

      • John Evans says:

        Does he?

        Look at the track record of the Operation Tempura team.

        They lied to get a search warrant and arrest a member of the judiciary.

        The SIO deliberately exaggerated the extent of the suspected wrongdoings within the RCIPS to retain his position.

        The transcript of Lyndon Martin’s trial shows a number of serious issues arising from the investigation including what looks like one prosecution witness lying under oath and another being deliberately evasive.

        And it goes on…..

        Baines knows what he has been told, nothing more, nothing less and he clearly doesn’t know the facts.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you really are John Evans then what on earth do you know about the investigations?  You were not part of them in fact you were on the receiving end of them!!!  This is the trouble too many people are trying to get on the band waggon of slating the Tempura team and you are just another one of those people who are misinformed and havent got a clue what went on.  The only people who can tell the truth are the Tempura team and they worked hard for the Cayman people.  The truth will out as they say, and John you do not know the truth.


      • John Evans says:

        I am and……

        Not only do I know a lot about what is being investigated but I also know the source of most of the complaints.

        After all I did work for him for two years.

        I was never the ‘subject’ of the investigations but, as a white british ex-pat, a trusted source who was privy to a lot of information about the operation that Mr Baines et al would now rather see buried.

        My only problem was the fact that the team thought I would stick with them through ‘thick and thin’. An assumption that backfired on them when the investigation decided that breakingthe law was acceptable if it produced the results they needed to continue their highly profitable activities.

        Whoever you are (and I suspect you might be a former member of the team) it is you, not me, who are either misinformed or trying to misinform the people of the Cayman Islands.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m sorry Mr Evans, but your previous comments in this and other forums have ensured that your statements cannot be made objectively or with impartiallity, in addition to which I have never seen anything to suggest that you were any closer to the heart of this investigation than more other people. Are you seriously suggesting that the people from the UK did nothing other than go fishing during their time in Cayman? It is well documented that some of the photographs that made it into the press were not even taken in Cayman. Added to which, do you really suggest that we should expect these people to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?  Given your loudly voiced disagreement with RCIPS over your own expenses, I think not. I certainly am not defending Bridger and his team – and I don’t think anyone at RCIPS would leap to their defence, but we must be realistic. Bridger did a very bad job, but it seems that his poor performance is being used to gloss over the central issue: Have there been, and do there continue to be, corrupt officers in the RCIPS? If the answer is no, then the public can  move on happily, but if the answer is yes, what is being done about it now???

      As for flying back to Cayman ‘to fill in any gaps in his understanding of the investigation.’ I’m sure that you will be the first person Mr Baines will call should he have any questions, just make sure you get your expenses agreed before getting on the plane.

  8. Anonymous says:

    we need 100% expat police force, locals cannot be trusted to be independent….. this is not anit-caymanian statement… it is the same anywhere in the world

    • Thankful says:

      ahhh boy…there goes the key employee argument.  What a pile of rubbish!

  9. candice says:

    I personally think that there needs to be a second independent law-enforcement body or investigative team in the Cayman Islands with no ties to the RCIP. So we can have the RCIP policing them, and them policing or investigating the RCIP

    I fail to see how the RCIP can investigate itself without any possibilities of corruption

  10. Anonymous says:

    It s a fact that internal Police investigations are inherently conflicted. It is impossible, indeed ludicrous to expect the public to take comfort from such a development. This model has failed globally…why is the RCIPS adopting it?

  11. anonymous says:

    Sounds like a lot of blah, blah, blah!

    "Undermine the credibility of the RCIPS"…are you kidding?… So, the Police who are suspected of crminality will investigate themselves…excellent!…i feel much more hopeful now…NOT!

    • Anonymous says:

      Dear Blah, what do you expect?

      You Caymanians slated the UK police officers and accused them of being on a fishing expedition.  Why would anyone else in their right minds want to come to the Islands and try to help you? Now you have to put up with your own police investigating  themselves.  Dont forget if it were not for the UK police officers coming to the Caymans then these alligations would never have come to light.  They have actually done a lot for the Islands but you can not seem to grasp that fact.  

      • Anonymous says:

        These allegations came to light prompting the governor to bring the UK officers over, not the other way around.  Okay, let’s pay millions for someone else to come in and assess a situation we know has been ongoing for years? Puh-lease. Informants are dying to be paid off with a fraction of the price paid for your under-worked, overpaid brethren.

        • Anonymous says:

          I rather think that the problem with ‘Informants dying to be paid off ..’ is that they can hardly be described as reliable. If we have to pay people for information, any lawyer worth his salt will be able to pull a prosecution case apart. How to destroy a witness’ credibility : ‘How much were you paid to tell RCIPS that Mr X was accepting bribes?’ Trial Over.

          Internal investigations can work, the rest of the world does use the system, and as long as the unit is insulated from other parts of the RCIPS I think we whould wait and see what happens. Mr Baines should be judged on his performance – not on the all to frequently encountered arguments of ‘It stands to reason’, ‘I don’t see why,’ and ‘Everyone knows’.  Let’s see what happens in the next 4-6 months – we don’t even know what Mr Dixon’s fate will be yet.

      • Anonymouse says:

        I could only see things your way if I were blind.

        Because I am not blind I see things the way they are.

      • anonymous says:

        I was one of the caymanians that welcomed the UK police coming here to investigate…initially.

        However the UK police were so incompetent and wasteful of Caymans money (Judge Henderson arrest for a non-arrestable offence) that they have lost all credibility.

        And have you seen the pics of them at work?….looks like a fishing, drinking, partying expedition to me.

        Point is; Mr. Bridger and his team were wholly incompetent at investigating anything of value here…and "should" be held accountable.

      • anonymous says:

        You must be out of your mind!

        "Why would anyone want to come here to help us"?…errr $27,000 per month tax free (while out boating, drinking, fishing)…and all travel, living, vehicle, meals and more expenses, paid for.

        Not to mention; no one to be accountable to! Who wouldn’t want that type of "fishing expedition".

        Look, i’m not building up nor tearing down any nationality…i don’t stoop to that level…you started your post with "you caymanians" and have no idea who i am…sounds quite prejudiced eh!

        I just think that any Police investigating themselves is a bad idea…and i also believe that even UK police are sometimes incompetent…as has clearly been the case with Mr. Bridger and his team.

    • Anonymous says:

      Corruption enables the kind of crime we’d all like to see end.  Only a criminal-minded person would oppose efforts to root it out.