January 24, 2020

The Editor Speaks: Dan Duguay adds his spice to the Tempura mix and what exactly is the Judge saying?

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Colin WilsonwebFurther to my Editorial in yesterday’s iNews Cayman titled “Just what ‘game’ is Bridger playing?” we now have Cayman’s former saying “he would like to see government take another look into the funding for the ill-fated corruption investigation”.

Our main story in today’s iNews is the publication of Sir Alan Moses’ Judgment re Judicial Review against the ’s decision of disclosing the Tempura Records.

Tempura is once again back in the headlines.

John Evans, the man at the beginning, the middle and the end of all things pertaining to Tempura has been asking for some time why Cayman’s present Auditor General, Alastair Swarbrick, has signed off on Tempura? I have asked the same question. Swarbrick has made it clear, however, that he isn’t opening Pandora’s Box on that can of worms.

He said he didn’t see any value for in going back into the matter of Tempura, as it was likely to involve issues in other jurisdictions outside the scope of the Cayman Islands Auditor General’s Office.

Now, in an article in The Caymanian Compass today Duguay, who made a report on the Operation Tempura spending through January 2009 says, “We were probably about two-thirds of the way through the investigation … and there were additional investigative costs and there were other costs that people know about. I think the people need an accounting of what this [Tempura] actually cost.”

Estimates I have received of the costs including the various lawsuits range from $15M – $30M whilst the Compass’ own estimates are $10M whilst Duguay’s audit reveals $5.7M. However the Compass’ is from September 2007 and late 2009 whilst Duguay’s finished beginning of 2009. The estimates I have received are from September 2007 up to the present.

With Duguay citing his investigation into Tempura was the main reason behind his contract not being renewed I can certainly understand Swarbrick’s reluctance. His reason certainly sounds like a government directive.

And the Tempura mix, although a burning topic under a lighted burner is set to only simmer.

The 34 page judgment from Sir Moses doesn’t actually decide anything. His ruling seems to imply he doesn’t believe the Courts are the correct place to settle Freedom of Information disputes.

“There is no evidence one way or the other and it is up to the Commissioner, with her powers of investigation, to choose whether she wishes to investigate  the extent to which the views of the judiciary played or should have played a part in the decision as to withholding the reasons given for the summary dismissal of the allegations,” he says.

He judges: “I allow the appeal in relation to the order of disclosure and remit the question of disclosure for further consideration of the exemption under s.20(l)(d).”

Evans in an email to me says, “You could interpret it at a stretch as meaning he’s saying the decision of the Information Commissioner is final but I’m not sure that’s what he meant.”

So the mix is getting some spice but whether it actually gets cooked for Cayman’s public to eat is still a question for more debate and unfortunately more cost.

 

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