CoP:Tempura not truth v lies

| 28/08/2014

(CNS): The questions surrounding who knew what and when in the endless saga of Operation Tempura may never be answered as the commissioner of police (CoP) points out many of the questions over what happened relate to interpretation. Limited in what he can say because of court orders banning the release of certain information relating to Tempura by a high court judge, David Baines said that the accounts given by former CoP Stuart Kernohan, former chief superintendent John Jones, then governor Stuart Jack, Attorney General  Sam Bulgin and the OT Security adviser, Larry Covington, were all given “honestly and with integrity” and the issue is not a black and white case of lies versus truths.

The comments come from Baines following a miscommunication between the senior police officer and CNS over responses to questions sent to him at the beginning of August. Baines sent his answers to an incorrect email address, and despite efforts by CNS to chase the commissioner about the missing answers, we were never told that a response had been sent.

Nevertheless, CNS is now in possession of the response from Baines, who explained that although Jones and Kernohan both gave evidence during the trial of Lyndon Martin over the covert entry into Net News, where he worked at the time, stating that the entry had been approved by their superiors, it does not necessarily mean they were lying. Baines also said that just because the two men were presented as crown witnesses does not mean that he agreed they either were or were not witnesses of truth.

“The legal complexities make such simplistic contrasts inappropriate,” he told CNS.

“I will say that I have found the accounts given by Stuart Kernohan, John Jones, the former Governor Jack, AG Bulgin and Larry Covington to be given honestly and with integrity,” the commissioner stated. “I have no justification, reason, nor evidence to doubt the integrity of any of those concerned. At the centre of any variation in the accounts given is ' who was aware, who approved and who authorized the entry into the Net News Office'. It is clear that some (not all) were made aware of the proposed entry and that this was understood and interpreted as approval or authorization. That interpretation whilst honestly believed could never be the case as all operational and tactical decisions are the legal responsibility of the Commissioner of Police,” he added.

Baines stated that although he did not interview Martin Bridger, the original senior investigating officer on Tempura, or see the evidence that Bridger now claims he has indicating that the three officials were aware of Kernohan’s intended course of action, he found there was no reason to doubt what they said.

Baines stated in his response to CNS questions that he had made a full review of the allegations made by Bridger and compared them with the original documents, evidence and files as originally recorded. He said these documents are protected from disclosure or comment under a court order and explained that this is why he cannot not divulge any more details of why he arrived at the decision he did.

He further noted that the governor, the attorney general or the legal advisor to the OTs did not have any statutory role in making and authorizing police tactics or actions. He said their role was to provide advice and counsel, not to authorize.

The questions surrounding the events were stirred up by the revelations from SIO Bridger that he had been under the impression that Kernohan and Jones had been on what he described as “a frolic of their own” when they colluded with John Evans and Lyndon Martin, both journalists at Net News at the time, to look for evidence of alleged corruption in office of their boss, the late Desmond Seales.

The former discredited Tempura investigator, who is now embroiled in several legal battles to expose what he claims is the truth about the investigation, said that if he had been aware that Kernohan and Jones had consulted and received what they believed was authorization from the FCO officials and the AG, he would not have pursued the long and costly enquiry that the local tax payer is still financing.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Yes a very tired subject. What is of importance is who assesses the AG’s performance. It is not only the Commissioner who is a massive underachiever.

    • Dread On Dread says:

      Well it's UnderChievers Nomination time it seems. Well then pray tell why hadn't the illustrious progressives joined the list?. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Ummm…because they have only been in office just over a year and are already have accomplishments. More than you can say for McKeeav's 3 1/2 years in office. 

  2. History 101 says:

    Consider this –

    WWII effectively began on 3 September 1939 and is generally regarded as having ended on 2 September 1945 – that's six years and one day.

    Operation Tempura was kicked off by a search on 3 September 2007. Next week will be seventh anniversary of that but there's still no end in sight.

    Crazy isn't it?




    • Anonymous says:

      Not really, and the benefits of all that hard work will benefit Cayman for many years to come. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Yup, all that hard work! I wish someone would pay me £787 a dayto sit in the sun and drink Heinekens 🙂

  3. Naya Boy says:

    Tired Story and 13:52 yes we are all sick and  tired of this drama and yes we are even more tired of the UK and FCO hypocrites talking about good governance, transparency but what we want to know most all where is the accountability for Our friggin 10 million dollars and we are doggone sick and tired of asking for it too!

    The truth is merely a matter of fact whereas honesty is a question of attitude? and their attitude about this whole nasty situation is rather offensive and repugnant to say the least.

    • Anonymous says:

      10 million? Make that 30 million and change and you might be getting somewhere close to the true cost.

      And by the time the lawyers, ex-Met officers and all the other hangers-on have milked this poor old cow dry it'll be a lot more.   

    • Anonymous says:

      $10 or $30m? Chicken feed…now lets talk about CIG and CS accountability-oh, we can't! There isn't any! Hundreds of millions down the tube and no accountability whatsoever. Lets put this into proportion folks!

  4. Cayman Lawyer says:

    People of Cayman (or at least those rabble rousers)- leave this Tempura business alone. There is allot of work to be done in Cayman. Why are you consuming all of your time thinking about this?? Thanks Commissioner for responding to the media queries. Asked and answered so folks let's move on.

  5. Anonymous says:

    All I know is this. If it is not fact, then do not print it. SIMPLES. Duncan Taylor resigns as Governor, but before doing so, he appoints Baines for 4 more years as Top Cop. He solicited no input from the people and yet appointed this massive under-achiever. One only has to look at the crime figures, especially the break ins, robberies and burglaries.

  6. Tired Story says:

    My suggestion to all the journalists everywhere who keep writing about this Operation Tempura: we the people don't really care about this anymore. If you want to continue covering this story, start a Wikipedia entry on it, lay out the whole story there and update it accordingly as the developments continue.

    Problem sloved.

    Don't take it the wrong way.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Ahaaa! And there we have it! Grey is the new black and white!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I believe the Country is tired of the Soap Opera – bring some positive news please.

  9. Anonymous says:

    It seems that Baines' response has not added much clarity.  From the limited information I Have gathered over the course of following news reports, it seems that the Governor did have authority to authorize covert operations — but by the appropriate personnel — just not by the staff members — but that he certainly knew it was happening.  But that the fact that two staffers made an exploratory visit to seales's office all in the name of God and country would not have been regarded as huge offences with any significant penalties — if it came to that.

    And therein lies the complexity — and the hair splitting, etc. 

    And so everyone wants to claim they are right and the country ends up picking up the tab.

    I just wish that all parties would just come out and all eat a bit of crow and drop these stupid, expensive, time consuming law cases — including Bridger — who I have no doubt was told exactly the situation by kernohan — that is who knew what.

    my view is that this whole mess has derived from Bridger being wrapped around the late Desmond Seales' fingers and thus seeing an opportunity for himself (Bridger) to extend his time here in cAyman — trying to catch bigger fish and make a bunch of money and who knows what else.

    instead it all blew up in his face.

    Problem was that Bridger was completely out of his depth. He arrived green off the plane and did not know the local nuances and landscape — did not know who to trust –and God knows that certainly was not Desmond Seales — God rest his soul. 


    • Anonymous says:

      Good comment.

      I met Bridger and some of his team socially in 2008. Their attitude to the 'locals' was literally that they had all just climbed down out of the trees. Burmon Scott in particular was described in terms that under race relations laws would be a criminal offence in the UK.

      I'm white and British and I'm also ashamed that people with attitudes like this were ever members of any police force in the UK. That the FCO should choose to send these people to any Caribbean island is almost unbelievable.  

  10. Anyonehome says:

    lies vs lies vs more lies ……………….. there is no truth.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Do we know why Bridger decided not to cooperate with the RCIPS? In a previous story it was reported that he failed to attend a scheduled interview about the allegations and has now withdrawn his complaint. He's also apparently not produced any of the evidence he claims to have. 

  12. Anonymous says:

    Glad to see this list includes the major players in this saga:


    The Attorney General

    Former Governor

    Former Commissioner

    Ex-CI Jones

    OT Security Advisor


    at least the AG is not 'former' AG, good for him because if he was a Caymanian or Englishman, seems statistics shows he would have been terminated/fired/retired whatever but he would longer be in that position. When will caymanians see beyond colour/race and that works both ways.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you go back through prevous stories you can add few more names to this –

      OT Director Leigh Turner. He called the Met in and is now holding down a prestigious job in Turkey.

      Met Commissioner Sir Ian Blair. He took the investigation on at Leigh Turner's request. Blair resigned in October 2008 and was awarded a peerage in 2010. He is now Chairman of Bluelight Global Solutions.

      Met Assistant Commissioner John Yates. Yates oversaw Tempura and was involved in the recruitment of private consultants to run the investigation. It was under his leadership that the operation was able to grow into a multi-million dollar fiasco. He was forced to quit in July 2011 due to fall out from the phone hacking scandal but is now head of security at Westfield and based in Australia.

      OT Director Colin Roberts. It was Roberts who ordered the investigation that led to the Aina report. He is now Governor of the Falkland Islands. 

      So what we have are some very powerful people involved.

      And it doesn't stop there.

      Bridger's deputy, whose extra-marital antics during Tempura were exposed by the Daily Mail, was promoted last year and moved to a fairly senior post. Similarly Yates' Staff Officer, who was heavily involved in Tempura, has recent been seen heading up high profile investigations in the UK.  

      Too many people in the UK have too much to lose if the truth ever comes out so it wll never happen. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks but my point still remains, the AG is the only 'Caymanian' among the group……. if we look at my list and your additions, he's appointed by the FCO and still in position here. But do agree that too many people, in the Uk, have much to lose and God only knows whether it would have led to an improvement here.

      • Anonymous says:

        And as long as we are under the UK rule we will live this way. SAD, but true.

        Can we go independent?, no.

    • Anonymous says:

      The AG IS a Caymanian.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, and IF the Commsioner had been granted status,  he would be referred to as a Caymanian because that's the legal term but how long has the AG been a 'Caymanian'? 


        As a Caymanian, many have the 'paper' and as was said about the white partners in the law firm, we know how some got status….well some by marriage and not by years, same difference as white Caymanians. SO yes I agree, if a person is Caymanian (by status) they're Caymanian, so as a BOT why can't we have one of our English-Caymanians be placed in this position without talk of the UK is against us?

        Caymanians need to remove colour blinders and guilt, and realise that any foreigner who came here and has been granted status must be called Caymanian, it's not a colour or race issue. until we recognise that we will be perpetuating the social divide ourselves.

        Another example, why is it that a 'black' status holder being called to the bar is a Caymanian but a white status holder (who make have been born and raised here) is not referred to in headlines as 'Caymanian called to the bar'? Yes, it might be the journalist or subject of article themselves but all shows too much division.