Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush owed Cayman Airways more than US$75,000 at one point last year, the Legislative Assembly was told.
But Mr. Bush was quick to point out to the House on Monday that he had made payments on an ongoing basis and that his account with the airline was now in credit.
In answer to a question, Tourism Minister Charles Clifford said that shortly after taking up office last year, he was informed by the airline that there was an MLA who owed a substantial amount of money and ‘they were having difficulties collecting on the debt.’
He said he asked for details and was showed that Mr. Bush a total of US$75,821, which reflected invoices for private travel dating back to May 2002, after he had become the Minister responsible for CAL.
Mr. Clifford said he instructed that every effort be made to collect the debt, as with any other debt.
‘Since the June 2005 report, which showed a debt of US$75,821, there were additional charges on the account totalling US$22,950,’ said Mr. Clifford.
He said that following the tabling of this parliamentary question, the account was reviewed again and it showed that Mr. Bush had made numerous payment instalments, including the most recent on 23 February when an amount of CI$12,891 was made.
As a result of the payments, it appeared the total debts had been paid, said Mr. Clifford.
‘In the period spoken to by the Minister I was very, very busy in government and to my own detriment did not pay sufficient attention to what was happening with my own affairs, only to have my private business aired in the manner it has been in this House today,’ Mr. Bush told the Legislative Assembly.
‘At no time was I requested or told by CAL that my bill was at that amount nor did I try to get out of paying my bills, nor had a discussion with anyone in CAL about payment or non payment of bills,’ he said.
Mr. Bush said he had paid for and given away Cayman Airways tickets to many people for sickness, student travel and other reasons and had paid at all times for family travel on the airline.
Mr. Bush told the House he had checked with CAL on Monday and that his account was now in credit.