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Statement from Acting Commissioner

Acting Commissioner James Smith



Two weeks ago, I met informally with the media and provided them with my initial impressions of the situation on the Islands. It is my intention to redress as far as it is possible the flow of information to the public but I hope that you will understand that in protracted sensitive enquiries delays in providing information are sometimes inevitable for a number of very valid reasons, not least of which is to protect the innocent. Sometimes, there is just nothing new to say.

Let there be no dubiety, in my role as Acting Commissioner of Police that my primary focus is to ensure that the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service is given strong leadership and clear direction with a focus on service delivery and continuous improvement. One part of my job is to be responsible for the team conducting the enquiry known as Operation Tempura. At this moment, I will continue to avail myself of the services of Acting Commissioner John Yates of the Metropolitan Police Service to assist in the regular review of the investigative process. Naturally, I will keep His Excellency the Governor Mr. Stuart Jack regularly updated.

To assist my direction of that enquiry I have established an advisory team called the Special Investigation Advisory Group (SIAG). This Group does not detract from my accountability or responsibility, it holds a purely advisory function and will help me consider financial, legal, administrative and budgetary matters. The Group will consist of the Deputy Chief Secretary and Chief Officer for the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs Donovan Ebanks, Solicitor General Cheryl Richards, Chief Immigration Officer Franz Manderson, Strategic Advisor to the Chief Secretary Peter Gough, SIO Martin Bridger and a representative from Government Information Services (GIS) to advise on media and community relations. This Advisory Group will normally meet weekly and I am very grateful to have this high level of support.

Since my arrival, I have spent time with Mr. Martin Bridger and his team and I have reviewed both the progress of the investigation and the way they conduct their business. I am satisfied that enquiries are being made with due diligence and speed and that the quality of the investigative work is to a very high standard. I understand that people want to see resolution as soon as is possible and I know that a close working relationship with the Solicitor General's office will aid that aspiration.

Concerning the matters arising from the 3rd September entry into Cayman Net News' offices, the investigative team is working to complete this enquiry and good progress continues to be made. I cannot set an exact timeframe because of matters out of our control; however I hope significant progress will be reported early in the new year.

I can confirm that recently Chief Superintendent John Jones was interviewed in the Cayman Islands in the presence of his attorneys by members of the Tempura team. In respect of Stuart Kernohan, arrangements are being made with his legal representatives and officers from the Tempura team for him to be similarly interviewed.

A formal assessment of the other allegations of criminality within the RCIPS is due by the end of January and decisions on any further investigations and areas for improvement will then be made in light of the facts contained in the report.

The Service finds itself in the spotlight for the wrong reasons but serious allegations have been made and I am determined to prove or disprove them, the people of Cayman need to have confidence in the integrity of its Police Service.

I am still relatively new to the post but with the strong support of my senior staff, I believe we can make a difference to the way we do business and play our part in securing the safety of the Cayman Islands.