Premier accuses Bridger of extortion

| 08/06/2016 | 40 Comments
Cayman News Service

Premier Alden McLaughlin

(CNS): Premier Alden McLaughlin has accused the former head of the corruption probe into the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service of blackmail. Following two letters sent to McLaughlin by Martin Bridger, who continues to be engaged in various legal issues relating to the fallout of Operation Tempura, the premier said the former Scotland Yard officer was attempting to extort government into giving him money by threatening to expose incriminating documents.

Speaking in the Legislative Assembly Wednesday, McLaughlin said that Bridger was threatening to release information and had asked for some kind of settlement. But the premier said he would not get “one red cent”.

McLaughlin told his colleagues that Bridger was misguided if he believed he could get anything more from the Cayman government, given the history of Tempura and the previous PPM government’s refusal to foot the bill.

The public purse was forced to swallow the cost of Tempura when the governor at the time, Stuart Jack, forced the government to pay via an order in council.

Cayman News Service

Martin Bridger, SIO of Operation Tempura

Although Bridger does talk about a settlement in one of the letters he does not mention any figure. However, he also wrote to the premier about a number of other issues relating to the continued fallout of the ill-fated probe, including the long and drawn out enquiry by the recently departed police commissioner, David Baines, into Bridger’s own conduct, which has never been outlined.

Recent revelations indicated that there has never been a real investigation into Bridger’s part in Tempura, despite what the courts were told by Baines during the well-documented and controversial FOI legal case.

Bridger sent his first letter to McLaughlin in May, in which he raised concerns about the unresolved matters and said that the full truth about Tempura has still never been revealed, though McLaughlin made no mention of these issues when he accused the former Scotland Yard cop of extortion.

Having received no response to his first letter to the premier, Bridger sent a second letter on 1 June (posted below) in which he outlined the ongoing and outstanding issues relating to the Tempura investigation, which began almost nine years ago.

Suggesting that there are those who still wish to “bury the truth”, Bridger said there needed to be an enquiry to “allow all the facts to be independently scrutinised” but he suggests that to do so, there would be “a high risk of exposing wrongdoing by individuals, causing significant embarrassment to the FCO, the Cayman Islands government” and serious reputational damage.

Bridger suggests that when government officials are faced with the potential exposure of “unethical behavior”, they behave even worse, entering “into a cycle of disruptive and manipulative activity to conceal the wrongdoing”, as he implied that this was exactly what was happening in the case of Tempura in relation to the FCO and its representatives in Cayman.

“It is clear from all of the documentation in my possession and which I know is in existence elsewhere, that … this is exactly what has happened in the case of operation Tempura Operation Cealt and the other events that have unfolded.”

Speaking about new evidence he now has, as well as previously collected documentation, Bridger said he believes there has been deliberate concealment of evidence, misrepresentation of the facts, and that individuals holding high public office have behaved unethically in their individual and  collective desire to have matters “swept under the carpet”.

Bridger raises the fact that there is still much evidence relating to Tempura that has never been subjected to investigation or made public. But, as noted by the premier, he does make a veiled threat regarding possible compensation.

“I am sure you can understand that I want to put all of these matters behind me and move on with my life and if possible avoid the significant damage that exposure of all the evidence I hold would bring to senior officials both in the Cayman Islands and the UK and the significant reputational damage to the Cayman Islands at the global level as to how they ‘in reality’ deal with issues of wrongdoing,” he wrote.

Inviting the CIG to enter into without prejudice discussions to resolve the issues amicably, he stated that he would be willing to be a part of a negotiated settlement “which included comprehensive and without prejudice discussions whereby ‘learning for the future’ to assist in moving away from a culture of ‘brushing matters under the carpet’ is achieved.”

But Bridger threatened that should the CIG underestimate his resolve to have the issues dealt with and not move to resolve matters amicably, he reserved the right to deal with the issues in the best interest of his family and himself.

McLaughlin was clearly not impressed, suggesting that Bridger was attempting to extort money, which he would not get, but he made no comment on the serious matters raised by Bridger and the secrecy that still surrounds much of the controversial probe.

Bridger has told CNS that he will be making further public statements regarding the issue shortly.

Letter to Alden Mclaughlin from Martin Bridger, 1st June 2016

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Comments (40)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Is this the same Premier who called out the opposition for saying stuff about the police commissioner and said that was political interference.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I read the letter. I think I like Martin Bridger now. Letter was well written, open and complete and in no way is asking for extortion money. As he states in the letter, those with something to hide will look for ways to deflect.
    Come on Martin. Just move forward and let us see what evidence you are talking about. The head in the sand people of the Cayman Islands need to finally see what everyone else is talking about when they talk about corruption.
    Time for show and tell

  3. Anonymous says:

    Bet the spineless coward will not say those things outside the LA! He talks big when he is covered by privilege. If he believed what he said he would step outside and repeat his claims.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It might be interesting to see how the contents of Bridger’s letter stand up against this piece of UK legislation –

    Section 21 Theft Act 1968 – Blackmail.
    (1)A person is guilty of blackmail if, with a view to gain for himself or another or with intent to cause loss to another, he makes any unwarranted demand with menaces; and for this purpose a demand with menaces is unwarranted unless the person making it does so in the belief—
    (a)that he has reasonable grounds for making the demand; and
    (b)that the use of the menaces is a proper means of reinforcing the demand.
    (2)The nature of the act or omission demanded is immaterial, and it is also immaterial whether the menaces relate to action to be taken by the person making the demand.
    (3)A person guilty of blackmail shall on conviction on indictment be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

    The letter boils down to ‘give me money or I’ll make public things that will be embarrassing to you’. In common parlance what he’s asking for is simply ‘hush money’. If Mr Bridger is aware of matters that require investigation the evidence he has should either be handed over to the proper authorities or released (as it would be in the UK) to the media not used as leverage for personal gain. What’s really disturbing about this is the way a retired senior police officer is not only holding onto what he claims is significant evidence of wrong-doing in the Cayman Islands but also offering to keep it secret in return for money. I’d say that any reputational damage caused to Mr Bridger by Tempura so far will pale into insignificance compared with the fallout from this little stunt.

    • Anonymous says:

      I must admit to immediately jumping to the conclusion that Alden was being, in my view (based on previous occurrences!), “typically overly dramatic”. And the use of the term “extortion” might be considered by some a little extreme to convey his thinking on Mr.Bridger’s letters. However, in reality, he (Mr.Bridger) does appear to be demanding some kind of award under threat of releasing information harmful to others. I would say to Mr.Bridger, if you are in possession of the truth, simply release it and let it see the light of day. It is the honest thing to do, sir.

  5. Just Watchin says:

    Another dramatic response from our Premier.
    What is amazing is that he never told Helen Kilpatrick “not a red cent” when she was spending our money to keep us from seeing Aina’s report. She and the FCO have been hell bent on covering up Jack’s incompetence and Covington’s disappearance. Instead, he gave her hundreds of thousands of dollars for lawyers fees that she wanted, as well as the Jaguar that Jack had tried to get when he was here:).
    And he never told Kernohan that he couldn’t pay him public money without giving account for it. Instead he “fibbed” about the Court ordering non-disclosure. He knows, as does every practicing attorney in Cayman, that the Court doesn’t impose confidentiality provisions in a settlement agreement. The Court simply satisfies itself that the agreement is mutually arrived at as the outcome of a writ which was filed with the Court making whatever allegations against the respondent (in this case CIG). Kernohan would have had his reason why he didn’t want disclosure but CIG didn’t have to agree and the settlement agreement would not have included that provision. All the Court ever did was accept the agreement presented by lawyers for Kernohan’s and CIG. The Premier needs to stop talking out of both sides of his mouth and take a definitive position, something that he obviously has difficulty doing.
    I wonder how many people realise that the “weed” that started Tempura was a particular conviction in Grand Court, upheld by our Court of Appeal but overturned by the Privy Council and the letters that subsequently appeared in the Caymannetnews criticising our Courts. Those are the weeds and their offshoots that Cayman will have to own one day if it wants to be better off rather than worse off as a result of Tempura.
    It’s easy to make Bridger the villain for trying to be the ‘herbicide’ while the ‘farmers’ retain their office and lobby for the destruction of the very records that Bridger has told the Premier he can review.
    I pray that our next Premier isn’t another condescending lawyer who is obligated to uphold the judicial/legal system.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr. Premier you are a qualified lawyer and my suggestion is that you stop getting Jamaicans to write your speeches.

      Did one write that to Legge’s article that made statements which so many got upset with?

      Caymanians stop and think for a moment, every time you attack expats the majority of time isn’t a Jamaican friend or spouse not there pushing you to do so?

      Who talks about too many Filipinos and what the ‘white man’ has done?

      Usually the Jamaicans or other West Indians and Indians of former British colonies.

      Caymanians, if you want to get some hope of fairness stop listening to any group who tries to put you against another while looking you in the face as they reap benefits of being status holder.

    • Anonymous says:

      9:57 pm

      My hat off to you…one that didn’t buy the distorted response from our Premier…one that is not a damn fool.
      And i can tell you we got plenty of them on our Islands. They bought the premier’s deceptions hook line and sinker….he portrayed Bridger’s message as trying to distort money from the CIG.

      They failed to see the other side of the message that Bridger brought and offer the Cayman people. Corruption in high places;

      ” new evidence he now has , as well as previously collected documentation, he says he believes there has been deliberate concealment of evidence, misrepresentation of the facts”
      “Individuals holding high public offices have behaved unethically and collective desires to have matters swept under the carpet”

      ” evidence i hold would bring to senior officials both in the Cayman Islands and the UK significant damage to the Cayman Islands at the global level as to how they ‘in reality deal with issues of wrongdoing’ he wrote.
      To assist in moving away from a culture of ‘brushing matters under the carpet.
      He reserves the right to deal with the issues in the best interest of his family and himself.
      Come on Caymanians! you all need to open your eyes…this man is innocent. your officials are the corrupted ones and need to be jailed.

  6. Dog says:

    The Dear Premier’s knickers are wound up tighter than a cheap $2 watch. It’ll take a lot more than a little dram for him to relax. For starters, he needs to put an “Out of Order” sticker on his head…

  7. Anonymous says:

    Bridger wants to sell Alden his secret recipe for Mojitos.

  8. whatever says:

    No real surprises here. I am sure that when he arrived here, Bridger felt that this would be a nice tropical getaway, where nothing much could really go wrong. Surprise!!! By the sounds of it, in the course of his investigations he dug himself a hole which he couldn’t dig himself out of. I mean seriously, does anyone think that those in power, whether in Cayman or England, would simply allow him to divulge to the public all that he became aware of? So instead of allowing the public hear all the dirty laundry, it appears that Mr. Bridger became a convenient target and scapegoat… I mean how hard was it to turn Bridger into the villain??? All one had to do is put out the word that he was responsible for the “wasted” millions – thereby discrediting all the information that came to his attention. The public wants this done once and for all. They’re so sick and tired of it, they really don’t care what the truth is. And that’s exactly what those in Power wanted – drag it out ad nausea. All one has to do is look at the great lengths that government, the AG and consecutive governors have gone to, since the investigation, in order to keep certain information out of the public domain. If there really isn’t anything to see, why go to such extraordinary measures??? Bridger isn’t the bad guy in all of this (other than the fact that he took the job under the assumption that it would pay nicely for not a lot of work)… I’ll take his word over government’s (England and Cayman) any day of the week.

  9. Anonymous says:

    One wonders where the FCO finds these people. They all come out looking like idiots (three governors in a row, for example) but I guess thats better than some of the alternatives.

  10. Anonymous says:

    How many of you still think that the COP should have been allowed to stay on this rock. Do not give him a penny- he has gotten enough already. Let the chips fall where they may. This will separate the sheep from the goats!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Two questions –

    1. Why was a ‘Confidential’ document released to the media in the first place.

    2. Why was it written by Bridger and not his lawyer (who I could name but won’t)?

    I think Alden correctly assessed it for what it is – complete unadulterated BS.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Go on Bridger, your bluff has been called. If you really have something expose it…however if it’s fantasy aimed at a settlement…be prepared for a shi*storm

    • Anonymous says:

      He can’t do that because based on previous rulings everything Bridger has in the way of ‘evidence’ was taken from the Cayman Islands illegally. The only mystery here is why he was never prosecuted for what to most people looks like simple theft. Why did the AG pursue a civil case against him rather than let RCIPS and the UK police treat it as a criminal offence?

  13. Anonymous says:

    What ‘legal issues’? All the court cases he was involved in have been concluded.

    • Diogenes says:

      No – action viz Bridger still live, which is the basis of his suggestion that if CIG does not cough up hush money embarrassing facts will be made public. Answer: either “how much” or “publish and be damned” coupled with criminal charge for Bridger. Of course, ever so lightly complictated by the fact that the real target is the FCO and MI6 and not CIG who are being asked to pay the hush money.

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree with you Diogenes. All of this is on the FCO and what they cojoled the Cayman officials to do on their behalf. You know some still think if masa / mama said so then it must be so. We get so caught up in the stuffy cockney accent that we do not even try to read between the lines and just fall in line with yes sir, yes madam. Please realise that the FCO would have thrown us under the bus long ago on this. They are saving their own face or another part of their anatomy while we pay the bills.

  14. Mr. Smith says:

    CIG paid out Stuart Kernohan, Justice Henderson, David Baines and everybody else who touched Tempura so they will reach a settlement with Martin Bridger because the Premier cannot afford to upset his masters in the FCO going into an election year.

  15. Tipple says:

    The Dear Premier only knows histrionics. First it was “treason”. Now “extortion”.

    Have a wee dram and relax.

    • Dread Pirate says:

      Feels like he is playing Part of a comic play the way he dramatically speaks these vague single word bombs. TREASON! EXTORTION!

      What next? INCONCEIVABLE?

      Do you think the words really mean what he think they mean?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Bridger going fix Alden for his arrogance.

  17. John Evans says:

    If it’s ‘Private and Confidential’ then why did Bridger release of copy of it to CNS?

    I last spoke to him on 19 April 2016 and bluntly he sounded totally delusional then – this just backs up that impression.

    If I was the Hon Premier my response to this nonsense would simply involve sex and travel.

  18. Anonymous says:

    i have to say, after reading the letter from Bridger, its difficult to understand how the allegation of extortion and threats of exposing incriminating documents for money, came about. In reading the letter, it very much sounds like a man who feels that he is innocent, has been misled and is persecuted/a scapegoat and is warning the government that if they don’t wind this investigation up quickly and amicably they run the risk of serious embarrassment. He is absolutely correct in that he doesn’t deserve to have this hanging over his head indefinitely. He proposes a meeting to resolve the same amicably with a negotiated settlement. Settlement doesn’t necessarily mean he would be walking away with lots of dosh. it may mean payment of legal fees or each pays their own. What his letter does sound like, is truthful, in some respects. I am still trying to understand why the Governor spent so much time and energy to stop the publication of the tempura doc against Liebers instructions (which cost us a bag of money). When I did read it, I was very disappointed in our judiciary! If he has the docs that he says he has (and is using that as a means of calling for a quick end to this matter), I also find that concerning. The letter from Bridger is no smoking gun of extortion to me…but it does sound like he may well know what he is talking about.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bridger’s message here is simply ‘If you don’t work with me I’m going to put material in the public domain that will be embarrassing to you’. Under UK Law (and that was presumably written in the UK) to make a demand like that is is an offence under Section 21 of the Theft Act 1968. If Bridger had simply released the material and said he wanted to talk about the implications he would, as I’m sure he is aware, have been in the clear but by making it a condition that he would only release the material if CIG refused to cooperate it became extortion or blackmail. When he copied the ‘confidential’ letter to the media he should also have released the relevant material. Basically, he’s stuffed himself and Alden’s response should be, as John Evans has already commented, that he can go fxxx himself.

      Any damage to himself, his family, his reputation or anything else he cares to dream up looks completely self-inflicted to me.

      • Anonymous says:

        I seriously doubt he will be charged under the Theft Act! I’m more concerned that he actually does have evidence which confirms corruption at high levels . It’s only a bluff if he doesn’t have it. And I’m now even more concerned as to why the Governor tried to prevent the disclosure of the tempura docs. I certainly don’t want Bridger to get a penny of our money but that’s not actually what he asked for. Which is why he seems to go to great lengths to exlplain the entire process albeit flawed process that he operated under. Strange the FCO wouldn’t want those documents to enforce good governance in Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed, Bridger isn’t asking for money, (but as usual, everything in the Cayman Islands mentality MUST be about it) he is asking for a without prejudice settlement, the two are not necessarily the same.
      I hope that Bridger does have some serious crap and then sues the hell out of Alden for his over dramatic and irresponsible ranting. Extortion is a serious charge and CIG have overstepped the mark with an unfounded and possibly defamatory charge.
      If there is serious allegations of wrongdoing in the CIG or FCO then let’s have it, I do not agree that such matters should be ‘settled’ by Bridger or anyone else.

  19. Anonymous says:

    If Bridger knows some “damaging” truth but is willing to conceal it in return for compensation, what exactly does that reveal about his character?

    • Shhhhhhhhhh. says:

      Maybe he wants the material out so that certain people get scalded, BUT, he wants immunity from prosecution also. Is that complicated???

  20. MI6 in Paradise says:

    Lots of people in power and former big shots will be embarrassed if Bridger shares the information. Corruption is systemic in the Caymans

  21. Anonymous says:

    *why does this horse not move when i constantly flog it…..*but doens’t give up the whipping.

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