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Freedom of Information – Statement from the Cayman Islands Governor’s Office/Reply from John Evans

Her Excellency Governor Kilpatrick has considered the latest ruling of the Information Commissioner (15 February 2016) on the disclosure of both a complaint made by Mr Martin Bridger and Mr Martin Polaine on the police investigation that became known as Operation Tempura and former Governor Taylor’s written response dismissing all the allegations contained in the complaint.

The Governor challenged earlier Information Commissioner rulings that this material be released as she considered it important to establish in the court whether the unjustified and libellous content of the complaint (and as reproduced in the Report) was a basis for invoking the public interest exemption. Whilst the Governor continues to believe that it is not in the public interest to publish either a complaint that was found to consist entirely of false allegations or Governor Taylor’s response which discussed and dismissed those defamatory allegations, she accepts the Information Commissioner’s latest ruling. She therefore recognises that she is under an obligation to release material in accordance with the Freedom of Information Law 2007. Today Governor Kilpatrick has disclosed the original complaint, Governor Taylor’s written response to it and two letters from the Chief Justice to Governor Taylor, on the Governor’s Office website – The Chief Justice’s letters are disclosed at his request. Former Governor Taylor agreed that these letters would be disclosed if and when the complaint and his response to it were released.

In his ruling of 15 February 2016, the Information Commissioner held that some of the information was to be exempted from disclosure at this time on the basis that it would, or could reasonably be expected to, affect the conduct of an ongoing criminal investigation. The redactions made to these documents are those suggested by the Information Commissioner in his ruling. The Governor recognises the limited application of this exemption and will consider disclosing an unredacted copy of the information as soon as a current police investigation and / or possible prosecution have been concluded.

To download the documents go to:

Reply from John Evans with his permission for publication. These are his views only and are not necessarily the views of iNews Cayman or its editorial staff/and or management:

All this statement is on the record –

This report cost almost $2000 a page to prepare then in round figures a further $5000 a page in legal fees before reaching the point of release to the public and what did we get? I read through it into the early hours of this morning and couldn’t detect anything that was confidential, defamatory or that in any way remotely justified all the excuses made over the years by the FCO and the Governor’s Office for non-disclosure. In fact it was all a bit of a non-event. The findings of the report don’t even vaguely resemble the highly sensitive material that the FCO in London claimed it contained when this went to an FOI appeal in the UK. All of which once again begs the question why did the FCO fight so hard to keep it all secret?

One of my contentions from day one is that the way in which Aina’s investigation was conducted breached the rights of a number of people as outlined in ECHR Article 6, Right to a Fair Trial. That at least has been confirmed. In fact one of the ironies of Aina’s report is that the section referring to Desmond Seales’ rights under Article 8 of ECHR contains the most blatant breach of Article 6 in that it finds three people guilty of criminal conduct without giving them any opportunity to prepare or offer a defence.

I can’t speak for anyone else but to suddenly discover that in 2010 Aina had conducted a secret investigation into the 3 September 2007 search of Desmond Seales office and, contrary to numerous assurances from both the RCIPS and the Tempura Team in 2008/9, had determined that my conduct constituted Criminal Trespass under Cayman Islands Law was a bit of a shock. To read through his findings and discover that this ruling had been made on the basis of flawed information and without making any attempt to interview me in person makes nonsense of the whole investigation. He apparently didn’t even deem it necessary to contact the other two people directly involved in the search (one of whom was still a senior RCIPS officer at the time) although his report concludes that they were also involved in a criminal act.

For legal reasons I’m not going into details at this point but I found six clear instances where Aina’s findings were based on material that was compromised, incomplete, inaccurate or just plain untrue. There are also some serious omissions in his report, facts that would have been uncovered if a proper investigation had taken place and might well have changed some of his conclusions. At the end of the day you have wonder just what he did to justify the $335K price tag on this 185-page document and maybe that’s been the FCO’s real problem all along. What releasing the report shows is that the Governor’s Office threw away a third of a million dollars on a report that is hardly worth the paper is was printed on and on an investigation that they had quite clearly been advised was unnecessary. The fact that a further $1million has now been thrown down the drain on lawyer’s fees to reach this point just compounds what seems to me to be a blatant abuse of the Governor’s office.



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