Truth and lies in the Cayman Islands: Tax haven’s former police chief calls for corruption inquiry documents to be released

 

For the career diplomat nearing retirement, there are worse postings than the Cayman Islands.

The grand residence of the Governor – who is appointed in London – backs on to the white sands of Seven Mile Beach and offers stunning sunset views across the Caribbean Sea.

After postings in Tokyo and Moscow, the islands must have held a strong attraction for Governor Stuart Jack. In his inaugural ceremonial speech to parliament he named disaster planning (for hurricanes) as one of his top priorities – along with law and order for the population of about 50,000 people.

So when he learned of allegations that a senior officer in his tiny police force had leaked sensitive information to the media, he must have thought it prudent to call in some of Scotland Yard’s finest to help him investigate.

Now retired and living in Kent, Mr Jack’s decision six years ago continues to follow him. The inquiry in the Caymans spiralled into a multi-million pound corruption inquiry and spanned two years – but fell apart in 2009 without anybody ever being charged.

And any possibility that the controversy might fade away has just been dispelled, with the Metropolitan Police asked to investigate whether Mr Jack – and other senior Foreign Office officials – misled Yard detectives.

The development once again throws an uncomfortable spotlight on the former Caribbean backwater that has become one of the most controversial of Britain’s 14 overseas territories.

The Governor is the most powerful man on the islands, with a beach named after him, not to mention presiding over the Cayman cabinet and appointing key posts like members of the judiciary and the police commissioner.

But Martin Bridger, a former senior detective who headed the corruption inquiry, Operation Tempura, claims that the former governor used his powerful position to authorise an apparently illegal search during the leak inquiry, and never told him about it.

The alleged failure to disclose the decision triggered the long-running investigation of the island’s police leadership, who were suspected of going “on a frolic of their own” by overseeing the search of a newspaper office in pursuit of evidence for the leak inquiry.

The investigation resulted in a £1m pay-out to a judge who was wrongly arrested, the ousting of the islands’ British police chief, and major criticisms of the inquiry in a judge-led review. The investigation petered out.

Mr Bridger has now responded, asking his former employers to look into the actions of Mr Jack and other senior FCO colleagues for possible misconduct in public office. The former Scotland Yard anti-corruption officer has vowed to hand over all the documents that he holds on the case to investigators – which could prove acutely embarrassing to officials in both Britain and the Caymans.

The governments have refused to release a report into the affair because it would have a “negative impact” on the islands and its financial sector. It could also raise difficult questions for senior Foreign Office officials in London about what they knew, and whether or not they were involved in discussions about withholding information, overseen by former assistant commissioner John Yates.

Mr Bridger says in his complaint to police: “They [Mr Jack and other senior officials] concealed from me, and the Metropolitan Police, the fact that they knew of the circumstances of the entry and that the Governor had directly authorised it.

“As a consequence over a number of months we conducted an investigation on a totally false premise.”

Mr Bridger’s request for a Met police inquiry is backed by one of the men he investigated and who was sacked as the island’s police chief as a result of the inquiry. Stuart Kernohan left the Caymans after he was suspended by the governor and was sacked when he refused to return. He has embarked on a claim for wrongful dismissal which is yet to be heard on the islands.

Mr Kernohan, a former senior officer in Merseyside, said: “At nearly every juncture, these probes have been resisted... this leads to the inevitable question: What are they hiding?”

Mr Jack, who spoke of the importance of increased transparency and openness in Cayman Island affairs, retired in 2009 after his final posting to the Cayman Islands, and moved back to Britain. He declined to comment to detailed questions sent by The Independent and referred all inquiries to the Foreign Office.

The Foreign Office official said: “Given this is a matter before the courts, we cannot comment further.”

Scotland Yard confirmed it has received papers on the case. Mr Bridger was interviewed last week by an officer from the department of professional standards at the Met. “We are currently considering our response. We have not commenced an investigation,” said a spokeswoman.

Mr Bridger made a complaint in 2010 about senior Foreign Office officials and members of the islands’ judiciary. The complaint was rejected but the 185-page findings have never been made public.

The Foreign Office has declined to release the report because it feared the fall-out could damage the Cayman Islands – and offshore banking. Mandarins felt that “disclosure of the information requested could lead to a loss of confidence within the international community.”

The island’s information commissioner has ordered its release but the islands’ current Governor, Duncan Taylor, is challenging the decision, a ruling without precedent.

“Show us the truth,” said Mr Kernohan in a statement. “I have nothing to hide.”

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Law Costs

    Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...

    Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF, BGP, Multicast, WAN)

    £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...

    DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, Linux, Shell, Bash)

    £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, L...

    Data Scientist (SQL, PHP, RSPSS, CPLEX, SARS, AI) - London

    £60000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A prestigious leading professiona...

    Day In a Page

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

    ... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
    Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

    Europe's biggest steampunk convention

    Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

    The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
    She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

    Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

    The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
    American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

    Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

    James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
    Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

    Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

    Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

    Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

    Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
    The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

    The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

    If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution