a stunning ruling, Cayman Islands Information Commissioner Jennifer Dilbert
ordered the release of a controversial complaint filed by the former chief
investigator and the ex-legal advisor for the ill-fated Operation Tempura
Dilbert also ordered Governor Duncan Taylor’s office to release a response that
evaluated the claims put forth in the complaint filed by Martin Polaine and
Martin Bridger. Governor Taylor said the complaint was without merit following
the issuance of a 185-page review done on it by a UK-based Queen’s Counsel.
open records requests for the complaint documents filed by the Caymanian
Compass and a private citizen in the United Kingdom were foiled when the UK
Foreign and Commonwealth Office declined to release them on the grounds they
could prejudice relations between Britain and its overseas territory.
similar request, made by John Evans – a former witness in the Operation Tempura
investigation here in Cayman – was filed with the governor’s office. It was
rejected on the grounds that releasing the records would cause Mr. Taylor’s
office to publish materials that were defamatory.
complaint filed by Mr. Polaine and later carried forward by Mr. Bridger
involved certain allegations against members of the Cayman Islands judiciary
and representatives of the attorney general’s office in connection with the
Tempura was a two-year, $10 million investigation into alleged misconduct
within the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service that was active in between
September 2007 and roughly the end of 2009.
Thursday Mrs. Dilbert wrote to Mr. Evans and to the governor’s office informing
them of her decision. In it, she made the groundbreaking declaration that a
section of the Cayman Islands’ Freedom of Information Law – which seeks to
prevent the release of defamatory matter – was “not justifiable in a democratic
consider that subsection 54 (1) [of the FOI Law] disproportionately restricts
the right to free expression,” Mrs. Dilbert wrote in a lengthy ruling.
is one of the most impressive and detailed FOI decisions I have ever seen and
if the governor challenges it he’s just wasting time and public money,” Mr.
Evans said Thursday night.
money was one of many deciding factors in Mrs. Dilbert’s decision. She cited
the fact that the 185-page evaluation of Mr. Bridger’s complaint cost Cayman
Islands taxpayers more than $300,000 to complete. Attorney Benjamin Aina, QC.,
performed the review.
governor’s office now has 45 days to seek to challenge the release of the
records in Grand Court. If it does not do so, both the complaint and the
response to the complaint must be published
see more on this story in upcoming editions of the Caymanian Compass…