iLocal News Archives

The Editor Speaks: Can Tempura make Cayman even poorer?

Colin WilsonwebYES!!

The Tempura/Operation Cealt disaster is back in the headlines and we have another foreign story on it again from the Jamaica Observer – see iNews Cayman’s story today “Corruption allegations in the Cayman Islands”.

If you type the word “Tempura” in the iNews search engine on this site you will find a host of stories relating to Cayman’s costliest exercise in futility (over $20M and still counting) that, in fact, we did not instigate.

The whole blame lies with the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) who preach, quite rightly, openness with the overused word “transparency”.

Unfortunately, it’s the case of “don’t do as I do – do as I say” because not one word will they divulge of the full inquiry report because – “”disclosure could lead to a loss of confidence within the international community which could impact negatively on the Cayman Islands’ reputation and, more directly, on its financial industry”.

Have you ever read such “gobbledygook”?

Note the inclusion of the word “COULD”. Pigs could fly, too!

Even with a decision from Cayman’s Complaints Commissioner ordering the inquiry documents to be made public, the FCO ordered Cayman’s present governor, Duncan Taylor, to instigate a judicial review of the decision.

The FCO’s governor who caused all this was Stuart Jack. He brought in a supposedly crack team of Metropolitan police to investigate police corruption that wasn’t there. Martin Bridger headed up the team and was left as scapegoat for the whole debacle. There were photographs of him and his mates that made the international press showing their fun time in the sun at our expense – on the beach, swimming and diving with the odd drink or two at Cayman’s tourist bars. They were dubbed “the Sunshine Squad”.

Now Bridger, knowing he has been hung out to dry has turned on his employer, Jack, accusing him of attempting to pervert the course of justice. To which the Commander of the Metropolitan Police has written to Governor Taylor confirming Bridger’s allegations saying in his view the allegations against Jack “are serious and contain sufficient detail to warrant a criminal investigation.”

Now let’s see if the “slow boat to China” can be bettered at the response to this.

Cayman’s Auditor General at the time of Tempura/Cealt was Dan Duguay who was much maligned by politicians for doing his job and attempted to do an audit on Tempura. It was not complete before his contract was up and it was not renewed by the incoming governor, Taylor.


Duguay’s audit went up to 2009 and Operation Cealt, which carried on after Tempura was discredited, did not terminate until the following year. In October 2009, Jack is on record as saying during the wake of mass public criticism, the people are “deluding themselves” if they think there is no corruption in Cayman.”

“I believe that is in the interests of good governance and ultimately, of the well-being of this community. That remains true of the ongoing Operation Cealt, which is looking into some allegations of very serious criminality,” he said.

When the government refused to vote the funds in the budget to pay for Cealt’s continuance he used his reserve powers to take money from Cayman’s coffers to pay the bill. This was despite saying he didn’t “hold the purse strings”.

“I remain unable to say as much as I would like about Operations Tempura and Cealt for legal reasons. I must not prejudice ongoing investigations into … some serious matters,” Jack claimed.  “Nor must I prejudice ongoing legal proceedings. That is in part to protect the Cayman Islands from further expensive legal liabilities and in part to protect civic-minded people who have bravely come forward with information. I look forward to the day when the whole story can be told.”

So where is the audit for the following year? The incoming Auditor General, Alastair Swarbrick, has said he is satisfied with the 2009 audit and sees no need to re-investigate it. Yet in the Duguay audit (Sections 8 and 9) there would appear to be no disclosure of the contracts for MMB Associate Consultants that comprised Bridger and his three accomplices) and another one for BGP that were negotiated by Deputy Metropolitan Police Chief, the now discredited, John Yates. Yates was the police officer initially brought in by Jack to organise the corruption investigation.

There has been no investigation that I know of made into the expenses being incurred by Tempura/Cealt.

John Evans, the journalist employed by Cayman Net News (CNN) and was recruited along with fellow journalist Lyndon Martin, to break into his own boss’s (Desmond Seales) office to find documents the police needed to convict the high ranking police officer who was leaking sensitive police information to, has asked the same questions.

He has asked these questions directly to Governor Taylor’s office and has made the accusation the Duguay Audit was “tampered with”.

He’s a brave man.

The only way any of this is going to be answered is IF the FCO decides to investigate one of their own and/or the Judicial Review comes down on the side of the Complaints Commissioner.

Then Stuart Jack can have his wish come true – “I look forward to the day when the whole story can be told.”

So do we. But NOT if Tempura makes us poorer.




Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *