Governor should apologise to Cayman media

| 18/07/2014

(CNS): A former Cayman Net News journalist who became embroiled in the saga of Operation Tempura, the probe into possible corruption in the RCIPS, has taken the new governor to task for her comments about the local media in a letter to his local MP Liz Truss, who became a member of Cabinet this week. John Evans called Helen Kilpatrick’s criticisms of the press here “an almost unprecedented attack on the media in the Cayman Islands” and said that in his experience the problems lie not with local journalists but with “excessive secrecy in the public sector and the almost childish attitude of some civil servants and politicians to media interest”.

In his letter to Truss, Evans said the underlying response to Kilpatrick’s remarks has been “one of resentment from media who have always acted responsibly and, despite determined attempts to obstruct them, worked hard to cooperate with the very people who are now criticising them.”

He said, “Having myself worked out there as a journalist I know that there are issues with media coverage but in the vast majority of cases they stem from excessive secrecy in the public sector and the almost childish attitude of some civil servants and politicians to media interest.

“Far from being ‘wholly unregulated and uncontrolled’ as the Governor’s Office and/or the FCO allege, the media in the Cayman Islands is not only a model of self-regulation but the journalists out there spend a lot of time struggling to deal with a public sector that is not only itself ‘wholly unregulated and uncontrolled’ but is in many cases completely dysfunctional. I would suggest that what the Governor’s Office really means by this comment is that the media’s persistent and diligent oversight gives the public an insight into the way the Cayman Islands are being run that is often very embarrassing to the people supposedly in charge.”

Evans continued, “My concern here is that this ill-considered and ill-informed attack on the media sends out a very negative message about the role of the UK in governance of the Islands. It suggests that the Governor’s Office and the FCO not only fail to respect the role of a free press in an Overseas Territory but also that they do not recognise the rights given to journalists under the terms of the constitution. Bluntly, we are talking about what could be construed as old-fashioned colonialist attitudes that are completely incompatible with the 21st century.

“What I am seeking from the Governor’s Office and the FCO is a public statement on their policy towards the media in the Cayman Islands including a detailed explanation, with specific examples, of the basis for the allegations that any reporting of the requested documents would be unbalanced. Failing that I would like to see an unreserved apology made to all the hardworking journalists on the Islands for what I regard as a completely unwarranted slur on their professional abilities.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Local News

About the Author ()

Comments (69)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Mr Richards says:

    As a born and BRED Caymanian-    I really really dont understand why people are getting so emotional about Tempura and mandatory disclosure of ALL information???? Try and look at things from the government's, state's and Crown's position. We must trust our government- this is why we elected them and in the case of the UK – why we have chosen to remain loyal subjects of the Crown for decades vs. going independent like Jamaica or Bahamas (but even then those countries still have Her Majesty as rightful head of state). There is such an overriding concepts in law and practice- called "safeguarding national security” and “acting in the best interest of the public”  to keep certain matters private and confidential. It is ultimately up to our representatives to determine what info must be kept private or disclosed- full-stop. For example if there are- and just citing an example, if there are covert intelligence agents working in the field (in Cayman or elsewhere) do you want the Crown and the government to compromise these people and put their lives in danger and to destroy their cases and ability to protect the public from the bad elements??  We must trust our government to do the right thing. This is our current system- not saying it is perfect but we live in an orderly society with government officials who are charged to act in our best interests even if we cannot understand or fully comprehend matters. Like children we have a curiosity to peek behind the curtain to see what's happening behind the scenes but you can ask your 5 year olds- when allowed to do so- 95% of the times there is no POT OF GOLD- NO TREASURE and all that anxiety to peek behind the curtain was just about exercising the power to see behind the curtain.  It’s not so simple when it comes to safeguarding national security. 

    • Anonymous says:

      I think it takes the wisdom of Solomon to deal with this situation.  I would prefer that Cayman not get any more unjustified damage from this UK debacle.  And I think that is where this Governor is coming from in her decision making.

      Undortunately this plumb investigatory job was too hard to resist. the whole Tempura debackle was aimed at generating as much dirt as possible on Cayman so that the UK investigators could have a job stretching as far as possible into the future.

      To this point, these guys went around to districts to try to gather information on people here — which was far outside their terms of reference for the narrow scope of what they were sent here to do — and some of the things they were being told about peoplein high places was just plain false gossip.

      for example, one supposedly upstanding citizen told me that she attended one of the meetings in her area and that a Jamaican Gardner had told the UK guys that one of our key legal professionals here was a "drugs man" in Jamaica.  I asked her how she or the Gardner could be sure of that — she was convinced on the flimsy evidence that the Gardner was from Jamaica so he should know.

      the fact is that the UK guys had no basis on which to evaluate what was being said in those public meetings.

      the fact is that this is evidence of the intent of UK investigators to broaden the scope of work beyond the original directive.

      Now the key investigator has made allegations that he or the media want published.  I noted that CNS had said that the UK investigator had been restrained from publishing the document by a court.  Does this not carry some suggestion that restraint may be required here?

      For all of these reasons I tend to want to trust the Governor's judgement on this.

      on the media side of the equation, I believe that they would have been able to handle the legal issues as to whether to publish or not, bearing in mind that their lawyers would have been evaluating the possibility of law suits, but still I feel more inclined not to want a document out there in the public domain that has the potential to damage the reputation of people and institutions.

      I must also comment on some of the largely inaccurate comments by John Evans about the public service.  I don't have the story in front of me right now to reference his comments, but some of his comments are quite  unfair to the large numbers of professional, hard working, conscientious public servants,

      I get it that some people delight in remai ing relevant, but I think it is time for Tempura and its tendrils to let go and for us to move on.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It is time to throw off the shackles of the corrupt UK Government and go it alone. The last people that will be elected will be these recent despots who have in fact been duplicit with the crown in ruining these islands.

    McKeeva Bush should have been prosecuted a long time ago and if this country was independent, his days as a viable politician would have been over long ago. McLaughlin has already shown his true colours by lying to the people over the OMOV "promise".

    Children, I know it is a stretch, but you do not need the UK. What have they given you? There are many righteous people here who are respected, honour their Creator and could be trusted to be transparent. The only reason why you have not stood before is that you know the system is corrupt and there would be nothing you could do.

    It is time for drastic change and if you leave it too late, the British will breed you out like they did to the Scots.

    jus primae noctis, a Latin phrase translating to "right of the first night."

    • Anonymous says:

      When you rely on Braveheart as your historical source its no wonder you come out with complete and utter bollocks like this post.  1.  There is no evidence of the "British" (it would have to be the English, surely, since the term British includes the Scots) "breeding out" the Scots, other than the completely invented fragment from Braveheart, itself based on a legendary concept of first night rights that there is no actual evidence ever existed and is almost entirely reliant on historical literarary references rather than actual laws.   2. The British are breeding out the Caymanians – really?  Like the British are the biggest minority nationality here, or the most active in "breeding" with Caymanians.  3.  If the country was independent McKeeva would not have been a viable politician?  Who exactly voted him into the LA, repeatedly?  British agents disguised as Caymanian voters?  Here in Cayman only Caymanians can vote, an only certain Caymanians with longstanding ties and residence are eligible to sit as MLAs.  Oh, and "shackles"?  The UK government has repeatedly said they will not oppose independence – its us that are asking to stay, my friend.  Probably something to do with the fact that our reputation and premeinent position as an offshore financial centre relies rather heavily on their continued involvement.  I know its tempting to blame Mother, but we have ourselves to blame for our home grown politicians.    I have to hope that your post is simply a mischevious trol, because if you truely believe this guff you are in serious need of help.  

    • Judean Peoples Front says:

      We stand with you brother. Let it be said that there is no man, well, apart from Reg who has a bad back, will not join you and discuss this at an urgent meeting of the revolutionary committee, two weeks on Tuesday.

      • Anonymous says:

        RIGHT! This calls for immediate discussion. Due to the information from sibling Judith, I propose that we present a resolution to take action…


        Once the vote's been taken.


        Well of course once the vote's been taken, you can't have a resolution without voting on it!

    • campaign for free galilee says:

      Romane eunt domus!

      CNS Note: For those unfamiliar with the Life of Brian heres a link to explain:

      • Anonymous says:

        Sadly the poor quality of Latin teaching in the Cayman Islands means that the humour will be lost on many who needed to click on the link (or "humor" if you do not write or read in proper English).  In fact one would have to be pretty dim to need the link, lacking the imagination to cut "Romane eunt domus" and paste it into Google. 

        Much more importantly, what have the British done for us?

      • Anonymous says:

        Reg: Furthermore, it is the birth-right of every man..


        Stan: Or woman.


        Reg: to rid himself..


        Stan: Or herself.

    • Dread on Dread says:

      John Evans, me son you will not go down in history as being the One. You and all the Tempura folks have a lot on your mind and that's why ya keep coming back, ya conscience biting you sah, tell de truth and nothing but the truth then all spirits in this sad tale will be set free. Jah Rastafari.

    • blessed are the meek says:

      "Do not cast off the shackles, cast off one sandal"

      • Anonymous says:

        You lucky b**tard. Proper Lil Jailor's Pet aren't we.


        What?! You saw him spit in my face!


        Ooohhh, sometimes I hang asleep at night dreaming of being spat at in the face.


        They had me in manacles!!


        Oooohhh, if only I was allowed to be put in manacles.., just for a few hours. They must think the sun shines out your ***!!

      • blessed are the cheesemakers says:

        No, he has left his gourd for us to follow. Do not cast off the sandal, follow the gourd!

    • blessed are the cheesemakers says:

      "And at this time, a man shall lose another man's hammer and those little things will be missed, even though you only put them away the night before"


    • pontius privates says:

      The poster has gweat spiwit. Thwow him to the floor woughly.

  3. Fuzzy says:

              Someone needs to control or rein in the Cayman Compass.Since it changed owners recently the Compass has turned into an anti -Cayman  anti -local,snobbish publication,which I no longer purchase. ( I read their biased editorials on line.)    Caymanians ,we all need to speak with our wallets and boycott  the Compass until  they show us respect. If that does not work ,then boycott advertisers and let them pressure the Compass editors to show respect..Remember there is choice in media ,including newspapers,so no one should feel compelled to use the Compass.

    • common sense says:

      Hey, you could always do it yourself and produce your own.

      • Fuzzy says:

               18:24 Not sure what "it" refers to,but if your statement is suggesting that I can protest ,then you need to reread my post as I clearly say that I no longer purchase the Compass (as a form of protest).If you are suggesting that I produce a newspaper,again the comment states that there is already another choice in existence ( The Cayman Reporter) so no need for me to produce one.

        • Anonymous says:

          Cayman Reporter aka Cayman Net News? You can change the name but it still remains the same product.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I remember when Ezzard wanted the AG to go after the Compass reporter in the LA and a majority of MLAs followed Ezzard's play.

    You can say that is just Ezzard and his foolishness but freedom of speech is a new idea in Cayman and going after people who disagree is still common here.

  5. Anonymous says:

    08:27 I'm not sure if it is a healthy thing for someone who left in 2007 (I think his term was 'fled') to still be involved in this but what is the alternative? No one else seems to be doing a damn thing about it. Remember the old saying, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." The problem is I don't see many good local men (or women) doing very much here. Like you they'll moan, bitch and criticise but when it comes to action they're just all hot air.

  6. Knot S Smart says:

    John Evans has almost as much staying power as Mckeeva…

    Let it go John – for the sake of your health and heart..

    Mac – you should keep on plugging… Your heart is pure…

  7. T says:

    John, you are well informed. Please take care of yourself. You are an asset. There are many wolves in sheeps clothing.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The journalist in the past used to work so hard they would break into offices to obtain documents.  I can't remember the name of who did that.  Who was it again?

    • John Evans says:

      Childish comment.

      As you well know there was no 'break in' – the search was authorised by two senior RCIPS officers (one of whom even returned to duty in late 2009) with the apparent knowledge of the Governor, a senior FCO officer, a senior Met officer and the FCO's Director OT. Both Stuart Jack and the AG have confirmed that the 3 September 2007 search was conducted within the terms of established police practices.

      In fact the search had nothing to with my role as a journalist. It was a last-ditch attempt to sort out what was really going on and possibly avert what became the Tempura fiasco. Unfortunately, by that time the Met had made their mind up to get involved and the rest, as they say, is history.

      With hindsight my only regret is that if I had been allowed to conduct the initial search on 30 August 2007 rather than being bought in after that was botched this whole sorry saga might have been killed off before the Met took control and turned it into an expensive jolly for all their old mates.      

      • Anonymous says:

        John, I think it may be helpful if you were to provide the readers with your/the story (publish it in viewpoint) from point A to point Z, beginning to end, in order for the average reader to understand exactly what happened.  Provide as much info and background information as is helpful…  I, and many others, keep reading your commentaries and various rebuttals to comments without the requisite knowledge of what has happened.  Though it would be a long story, break it up into 4-5 different parts…  I think there are far too many people who do not understand the course of events and as a result keep taking pot shots at you. 

        • Anonymous says:

          Nice touch of sarcasm there. Pity it's going to be lost on most of the people who read it.

          • Anonymous says:

                           03:41.   You say  that it is " Pity it's going to be lost on most of the people who read it." Don't blame this on the readers as they would need to be mindreaders to determine the poster's intent.  Unfortunately for the writer,sarcasm is best delivered in the spoken form;in the written form one is left guessing as to the intent or mindset of the writer.

        • Michel says:

          John I agree with Anonymous 19:51. We are All kept in the dark in this massive Cover – up. Your story would be greatly welcome. I miss you old friend. Michel Lemay

      • Diogenes says:

        So…authorising two members of the public to enter a working premises after normal working hours and search someone's private office is "within the terms of established police practices"?  Where exactly?  I rather thought that even a police officer would require a warrant – seem to recall a case was thrown out here recently because a police officer didnt provide sufficient or appropriate information to a JP in obtaining a warrant.  Perhaps he shouldn't have bothered, and just got a friend or employee to have a quick shufti.     

        • Ex-copper says:

          The use of 'participating informants' comes under a piece of UK legislation commonly known as RIPA. As long as the PI doesn't break the law by making a forcible entry into the premises, entering premises where they have no right to be or removing everything the search is perfectly legal. In this case the PI (as the records clearly show) was used to determine whether or not an application for a warrant was justified and they determined it was not. It was a justifiably cautious approach – would you have preferred it if RCIPS had arrived mob-handed wih a warrant torn the place part and then been sued. 

          In fact the only reason the search has gained such notoriety is because within weeks of Tempura kicking off those involved realised it was a convenient (there being nothing else to investigate) excuse to drag the whole jolly out almost indefinitely. In the UK the follow up would have lasted possibly a couple weeks then been shut down but the weather in Grand Cayman was so much nicer in November they decide to stay on a bit. 

          • Anonymous says:

            Which section extends RIPA to the Cayman Islands?  It seems a case of criminal trespass.

            • Ex-copper says:

              Better address that one to Stuart Jack – in February 2008 he used RIPA as the justification for the search. In fact as the Met were allegedly in overall control of the operation on 3 September he probably got it from them. 

              • Ex-copper says:

                Sorry, that should be February 2009.


              • Anonymous says:

                Your the one spouting off about it.  Now it seems you accept you don't know what your talking about.

          • Anonymous says:

            Breaking into 'a part of a building' to which you do not have permission to access, with intent to steal, is burglary. John Evans is not a police officer to be granted permission to enter that property via warrant, even if one was granted, which it was not. No such policy existed in the RCIP at that time. He was not registered with the RCIP as an informant. Hogwash! They were all burglars, and should have been charged and imprisoned. End of story.

      • Anonymous says:

        "There was no break in"???? Just because there was some dubious authority for it? So Seales was just fine and dandy with you going in his office when he was not there? All I can say, Evans, is you godamned lucky it was not my office. Back out of our lives here in Cayman, bobo, you have had your 15 minutes of fame.

    • Fred the Piemaker says:

      Wasnt it the same guy who went out drinking with the Tempura team to be "debriefed" for months afterward, who now says they were all incompetent or bent?

      • John Evans says:

        That should be 'Fred the Pork Piemaker' because you mate are talking complete porkies here. In 11 months of contact with the Operation Tempura team I only ever went out with them for a drink once. That was with Martin Bridger and another officer (who I won't name because he is still serving) about two weeks before the investigation went public. 

        In fact Tempura illegally retained me on Grand Cayman for three months after my work permit at Net News ran out. While Martin Bridger was earning £787 a day I survived on money sent to me by my elderly (she passed away in February 2012 just short of reaching 100) mother. Right now Tempura still owes my late mother's estate about £5000.

        It's idiots like you posting daft comments like this that give the Governor and the FCO grounds to slag off the media.        

        • Fred the Piemaker says:

          My mistake.  Must have misheard you when you stated at the Offshore Alert conference that you went out to be debriefed by the Tempura team on a regular basis after work each day.   As for the slag off the media point QED.  You are absolutley right – I can make any daft or unsubstantiated comment I like, and for that matter, you are more than happy to post your view of reality to ypur hearts content.  CNS publishes it all.  Please explain how its appropriate for my comments to be censored, but yours not, when neither of us or apparently CNS have any accountability?  Wasnt that the Governors point? 

          • Anonymous says:

            Because John uses his real name.

          • John Evans says:

            Fred, where did I say your comments should be censored? All I was pointing out is that people have a responsibility to engage their brains before posting anonymous comments here. The harsh reality of life is that if people like yourself abuse the right of free speech it can be taken away from you. ECHR Article 10(2) contains exactly that provision.   

        • Dread on Dread says:

          Oh Dear John, Slag Off youth!.

  9. Anonymous says:

    John Evans comes across as an obsessve man. John you have left Cayman islands, quit trying to be in the news each and every time Tempura is mentioned. We are not interested. You should move on, for your own sanity

    • Anonymous says:

      You think he is obsessed?  I reckon his letter to the MP will go into the "nutters" pile.

      • John Evans says:

        Why? She's responded to all the ones before and got me good responses including a meeting last year at the FCO.

        It's known as living in a democracy, something that the Cayman Islands seems to struggle with at times. Over here we don't only get access to our politicians because of family connections, which church we go to or how much money we put in their pockets. Our representatives do exactly that – they represent or interests.    


        • Anonymous says:

          Bet you don't get freezers delivered just before election time either?

      • Anonymous says:

        Typical troll comment. Attack the poster by trying to besmirch his character. In doing this, you have only nullified your own comment and given Mr. Evans more credibility.

        No, I don't know Mr. Evans.

  10. Coconutz says:

    Pretty much says it all.  What he ought to have added is that the Cayman Islands do not require a governor – it's all "window-dressing" anyway…

  11. Truth Seeker says:

    Thank you John Evans for saying what too many here are afraid to say.

    The attack on the media by the Governor's office is an attack on one of Cayman's fundamental freedoms and takes us down a slippery slope. After CI$10m spent what does the country have to show for this Operation Tempura fiasco besides lawsuits, settlements and proof of incompetence at the highest levels of government? Sadly the lessons of EuroBank were not learnt and continue to this day in Cayman. 

    This is Governor Kilpatrick's first faux pas hopefully it shall be her last because she sounds as paranoid and nonsensical as our elected leaders.

    • Anonymous says:

      CI$10million++++++++++++ I'll bet the true bill for Tempura runs to at least three times that. Aina and the FOI alone has cost over CI$700K. It seems that everytime one of the lawyers involved in this sneezes another CI$10K goes on their bill. 

  12. Anonymous says:

    It is so refreshing to see that there are still some people who understand and cherish the right to free speech.

    Helen Kilpatrick's implication that our press should be muzzled or 'regulated' as she put it, is indicative of the draconian measures that the British Government would like to impose on us.

    Let's just take a little look at the UK. Their government turns a blind eye to unregulated immigration, the high streets are ghost towns, unemployment is at unprecedented levels and hard-earned tax-payers money is tossed around like candy in the form of benefits to lazy, slovenly folk who refuse to work.

    Even foreigners can show up in the UK and start applying for benefits and when the Brits start complaining, they are told not to violate these freeloaders' human rights.

    They have a ridiculously lenient judicial system and serial violent offenders are frequently released to re-offend.

    The public school education system is a failed experiment and not even the politicians send their children to them.

    To make matters worse, what used to be a great symbol of the traditional British culture, the "Bobby" has now been replaced by a thuggish element who see their purpose is to intimidate the trusting public.

    This has not happened overnight. The rot started slowly at the top. The UK elites are currently struggling desperately to suppress a sexual scandal that reaches into the highest echelons of politics and royalty.

    Ms. Kilpatrick, I would suggest that the Cayman Islands are the least of the worries of the Crown?

    • noname says:

      Was with you up to the point about the public school system.  That, my friend, is not an issue on which Cayman is in any position to throw rocks at the UK..

      • Anonymous says:

        No problem there. I am not saying that Cayman has its education right, it doesn't, but the majority of the influence and curriculum is from the UK.

        We have some very good teachers here from the UK, but they are the exception and not the rule.