By Caribbean News Now contributor
GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands -- Former Cayman Islands governor, Stuart Jack, has denied allegations that he, along with two other senior officials, committed misconduct in public office, attempted to pervert the course of justice and lied to police.
Jack’s denial comes on the heels of a new criminal complaint filed with the Cayman Islands police by Martin Bridger, a former senior detective with London’s Metropolitan Police, who led a high-level corruption investigation in the Cayman Islands between 2007 and 2009.
This follows a similar complaint made by Bridger last year to the Metropolitan Police against the territory’s current attorney general Samuel Bulgin, former governor Jack and the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) adviser Larry Covington.
Following a review of Bridger’s initial complaint, Commander Allan Gibson of London’s Scotland Yard said that the allegations against Bulgin, Jack and Covington amounted to possible "misconduct in public office, attempting to pervert the course of justice and possibly wasting police time.”
Gibson wrote to then Cayman Islands governor, Duncan Taylor, “It is my view the allegations are serious and contain sufficient detail to warrant a criminal investigation."
Taylor subsequently ducked the issue by referring the matter to the Cayman Islands police, who apparently did little or nothing in that regard, no doubt prompting Bridger’s most recent complaint made directly to the local police.
However, allegations that he broke Cayman Islands law are “materially false,” Jack responded.
“I totally reject any suggestion that I acted unlawfully,” he said in a statement to local media. “These allegations are materially false and defamatory.”
The criminal complaints centre on what was the trigger for the corruption investigation in the Cayman Islands by Metropolitan Police detectives – a 2007 burglary purportedly in search of what was portrayed as evidence of collusion between the then deputy commissioner of police and a local newspaper publisher to supply confidential information about sensitive police operations.
The Scotland Yard detectives quickly concluded that no such leak existed but then proceeded to investigate the circumstances of the break-in itself, perpetrated by two employees of the Cayman Net News newspaper, based solely upon the fabricated assertion by one of them that there was such a leak and he had seen the evidence in the publisher’s office.
Following the discovery that then police commissioner Stuart Kernohan and one of his senior officers had been privy to the break-in as it was taking place, Kernohan was suspended and later terminated.
However, Kernohan has always maintained that knowledge and responsibility for the break-in went above him and has released a comprehensive statement detailing his discussions with Jack, Bulgin and Covington prior to the commission of the illegal entry.
Kernohan’s statement, if true, makes it clear that all three knew of and approved the burglary beforehand. According to Kernohan, Bulgin even concluded initially that there were insufficient grounds to obtain a search warrant but apparently nevertheless went along with the alternative plans for an illegal entry into the premises.
At the time, it seemed uncharacteristic to some local observers that an experienced police officer of Kernohan’s seniority would fail to get official and/or legal cover for what was an unauthorised entry into private premises, and this in fact now seems not to be the case, if Kernohan’s statement is to be believed.
In a similar statement to the Metropolitan Police last year, former Cayman chief superintendent John Jones alleged that Jack had attempted to “deliberately conceal” the level of his involvement in the break-in and illegal search of the Cayman Net News offices in September 2007.