Payoff aids Tempura cover-up

| 02/04/2014

(CNS): The decision by Stuart Kernohan to settle his wrongful dismissal claim without a court hearing will aid the cover-up of the truth regarding Operation Tempura, the former senior officer on the ill-fated probe has said. Following news yesterday that the former police commissioner had accepted a secret payoff from the Cayman government, paid for from the public purse, the details of which have been sealed, Martin Bridger said Kernohan was still pursuing his now separate legal action against him. But the former Tempura boss added that he was surprised the ex-commissioner had settled when he had previously been so keen to ensure the truth was revealed and those responsible held to account. 

“I am very surprised that Mr Kernohan has felt it necessary to go against his stance of ‘individuals responsible for this fiasco will not walk away without being held rightfully accountable for what they have done',” Bridger told CNS Tuesday.

Following news about Kernohan's pay-off, Bridger was asked whether he and Kernohan had settled too, as Bridger was also included in the wrongful dismissal suit and damages claim.    

“I can confirm that the settlement between Mr Kernohan and the Cayman Islands government does not involve me,” he said in a statement sent by email. “I was not party to any discussions. I was not expecting Mr Kernohan to reach a settlement with the Cayman Islands government.  I had no knowledge of the settlement until I read it in the Cayman press on Monday 31st March. As far as I know Kernohan is still pursuing the claim against me.”

Bridger said that on Mondayhe had sent documents, which he would be relying upon in his defence of the Kernohan action, to his solicitor, Shaun McCann, at Campbells.

Although Kernohan had included Bridger in his legal action against the Cayman Islands Government (CIG) authorities because of his part in the Tempura probe, in recent times Kernohan and Bridger had been moving closer together on their position regarding the investigation. Kernohan and John Jones, a former RCIPS senior officer who also fell victim to the probe, had both accepted that Bridger was never told that the covert entry into the offices of local newspaper Cayman Net News, which triggered the investigation, was authorised by the governor, the attorney general and the overseas territories security advisor.

Bridger said that Kernohan had given a statement to the Metropolitan Police in London stating that both Attorney General Samuel Bulgin and the then governor, Stuart Jack, had authorized the entry into the Net News offices. This was a position Kernohan had revealed during the 2009 trial of Lyndon Martin for burglary in connection with the alleged break-in to Net News, when Martin and his co-worker were hunting for evidence of police corruption.

Kernohan and Jones had always taken the position that they had met and discussed this option with the governor and the attorney general and the OT advisor, Larry Covington. The senior officers said their Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) bosses had authorised the decision to use staff to uncover any evidence, if it existed, pointing to a corrupt relationship between the paper and police management before taking further action.

However, despite the position of the ex-police commissioner and the now retired ex-chief superintendent that they had approval from the attorney general and the former governor, they have denied giving the top cops the nod, implying that the senior officers were lying, even though Jones was reinstated before his retirement.

Bridger also states that he was led to believe by Bulgin and Jack that the senior cops were on a frolic of their own and he considered that the entry into Net News was a burglary. Bridger said Kernohan knew his investigation was conducted on the basis that he had ordered the entry without authority.

“Had I known such authority had been given then Operation Tempura would not have proceeded on the basis that it did and the events involving Judge Henderson and others would not, in all probability, have occurred," Bridger said, referring to the arrest of the high court judge which resulted in a more than $1.2 million dollar damages award to Henderson.

"Furthermore, the legal advice I received and the reviews undertaken by Assistant Commissioner John Yates were also provided on the basis that no authority had been given for the entry,” Bridger told CNS.

“I find it very difficult to see how Mr Kernohan is going to pursue his intention to hold people to account now that he has reached a settlement with the very people he was accusing,” Bridger added, as he raised concerns that any investigation into who lied to him that led to the costly probe was now even further from being revealed.

The Tempura investigator has filed a complaint with the FCO as he now believes that not only could the authorities in Cayman have deceived him, but the UK Metropolitan police force as well. That complaint was passed by the FCO to the current police commissioner, David Baines, and Bridger said that Baines “continues to assess my allegation of crime but has still not yet made a decision as to whether the matter warrants investigation.”

With continuing legal action against him, Bridger said he was still restricted in saying much more about the investigation.

It is now almost seven years since Bridger arrived in Cayman to conduct a covert operation posing as a real estate agent. The investigation remains a mystery to the wider public while the public purse continues to pick up the growing tab for the bungled enquiry, which is now believed to be in the region of $20 million.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Crime

About the Author ()

Comments (22)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    When will the Attorney General be replaced? I am so tired of his office being involved in these costly incidents and why should is the UK still leaving the appointment of same legal advisor for UDP then PPM, then UDP and now PPM???? Where is the transparency?

    Does the AG now have lifetime tenure regradless of the competence of his legal team? We hear about removing the CoP so shouldn't we call for removal of the AG as well?

    The AG's status is same as any white AG so hoping this isn't case of reverse discrimination but is this the case of MLAs being easily intimidated by a big Jamaican man? Poor us…

  2. ex-Tempura says:

    Martin, a friendly warning – don't try to drag John Yates into this. He's already dumped on you once during the documents hearing last November and you are just inviting him to do it again here.    

  3. Anonymous says:

    Tempura was one of the best things that could have happened to the Cayman Islands.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Your own tick bites the hardest.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I WISH BRIDGER WOULD DO MY COUNTRY A FAVOR AND LEAVE US ALONE Martin please go off into the sunset and never allow your self to come near the press again. It seems quit evident to me that your inability to investigate finds us in this position, because if you were a true investigator you would have been able to decipher what was BS and what was evidence and believe me you failed miserably. You were content on destabilizing us of which you almost succeed now please leave us be and don't cause us no more money. You have caused us enough and enough is enough.

  6. Anonymous says:

    "They need us more than we need them anyway."


    Are you sure about that?

    • Anonymous says:

      of course you need us they love this money capital in paradise. why else would you be here then? fishing? missonaries? sting ray city? the beach? or because you make more money than ever being tax free here?

  7. John Evans says:

    Sorry Martin but you're not making any sense here.

    Three years ago you signed a non-disclosure agreement that has prevented us from seeing the Aina report. Yet you are now criticising Stuart Kernohan for simply agreeing not to make public the terms of his well-deserved settlement?

    In fact this could have been settled at least two years ago. The delays have only been causedby two expensive court hearings to determine the ownership of material that had been removed from the records of Operation Tempura. And remember the fact that anything was missing only came to light thanks to the responses to two FOI requests that I filed. That apparently forced you to admit you had the documents and belatedly try to introduce them as evidence in your defence.

    This settlement will not have any effect at all on moves to find out what really went on, in fact it may actually speed things up. The irony in your comments is that, after nearly five years working on this, the only cover ups I've uncovered relate to the conduct and funding of your investigation team.  


    • Anonymous says:

      How can you troll someone posting under their real name? There are clearly two morons out there.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Yaaawwwwwnnnnnnn!!!!!! Sorry Mr Bridger but you're beginning to sound like a stuck record.

    You may believe this nonsense you're spouting but we don't any more. Why don't you just pay Mr Kernohan what you owe him and shut the XXXX up?


  9. Anonymous says:

    And we now can understand why McKeeva don’t like the UK standards of bossing us around. We always left with the tab every time. It like we are the ugly step children. PPM need to man up and DEMAND them to put back in our public purse. Every major player involved in this foolishness was assigned by the UK government. Slavery days long gone. Enough of this ass kissing. They need us more than we need them anyway.

    • Anonymous says:

      22.32, it was way past your bedtime when you wrote your comment, and suspect you had been smoking something illegal. Very handy to have a go at teh UK over what I admit is the ONE shambles that exists in that yard..mmm…how many shambles in Cayman yard? Why don't you spend some time doing something about that? Oh right, too bone idle and easier to talk. At least this one is going through the courts, however painfully slow.

      • Anonymous says:

        Like yourself at 8:59, I too was at work surfing this site at my other job at said 22:32 hour. Not smoking like you imply. But hear yah now, nuff wondering about that. I want you to listen up to this. Just because we don't agree with your head people bossing us around like a bunch of freshmen leaders, it doesn't mean we have a problem with all of you. It's just that smart ass know -it -all foreigners like yourself, that makes bonding difficult. So now cheers to you and heres my good ole fashion Caymanian parting words to you.."up your's brudda man"!!! And please stay out of my peoples business. You probably waiting to sue our government too. So like we say, haul yah ass.

        • Anonymous says:

          Bawhahahaa. What a little plug out that was.

        • dr kananga says:

          Don't like it…. There are planes leaving daily. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

    • Anonymous says:

      "they need us more than we need them anyway" – I'm used to idiocy on this website but…wow

      Regardless of what happened in this shambles of an investigation, it has cost the public purse far too much money and the private sector far too much work. A complete waste of time (viewed in its very best light). Lets get this done and move on…

  10. Anonymous says:

    That’s why the govt cut the budget by 12milliin because they gave away our $$$! FOI on this issue CNS please?

    • Anonymous says:

      That makes sense. The govt. has to make a payout so the result is that it has cut expenditure. lol. It looks like CNS is populated by idiots.

    • Anonymous says:

      You do realize that ANYONE can file an FOI request?  It's not a privelege extended only to CNS.

      • Anonymous says:

        Good suggestion 13;45


        But it na too many caymanians got the balls to do so! they full of hot air and too busy tearing down their own.

    • dr kananga says:

      Why don't you do it yourself?