Commission of Enquiry
No call for Clifford’s resignation
Leader of the Opposition McKeeva Bush said he was satisfied with the outcome of the Commission of Enquiry into the actions of Cabinet Minister Charles Clifford.
The Commissioner Sir Richard Tucker’s report issued Friday found Mr. Clifford had acted wrongly in taking confidential government files with him when he resigned as the senior civil servant in Mr. Bush’s ministry, and in giving some of the documents in those files to Cayman Net News editor Desmond Seales.
‘I am satisfied the Commission has proved [Mr. Clifford] did wrong,’ Mr. Bush said. ‘They could only find what I always knew. There was no altruism in what [Mr. Clifford] did; he did it solely for his political gain.
‘The truth has come out.’
Despite the Commission’s findings of wrongdoing, Mr. Bush said the Opposition would not call for Mr. Clifford’s resignation, instead allowing the People’s Progressive Movement to deal with the situation itself.
‘Now he has to sit there and stew,’ he said. ‘Any decent Cabinet would take their own steps, do their own sanctions and do their own purging.’
Mr. Bush said the Commission’s findings did not reflect well on other members of the PPM cabinet.
‘This can’t go well that [Cabinet Minister Alden McLaughlin] was with [Mr. Clifford] when he carried the documents to [Mr. Seales].’
During the Commission of Enquiry, Mr. Seales testified Mr. McLaughlin was sometimes with Mr. Clifford at his office when eliciting information from the latter.
With regard to the two matters about which Mr. Clifford gave documents to Mr. Seales – the Boatswain’s Beach financing arrangements and purchase of property for the proposed West Bay cruise tender facility – Sir Richard stated in his report he did not believe the information provided to Cayman Net News represented evidence of any crimes. For that reason and others, the report rejects Mr. Clifford’s contention that he was acting as a ‘whistleblower’ reporting possible criminal activity of Mr. Bush.
‘As far as we’re concerned, [the report] vindicates me,’ Mr. Bush said.
With regard to Mr. Clifford, Mr. Bush said the public knows he acted improperly.
‘Nobody could agree with what [Mr. Clifford] did; nobody except the PPM, who benefited,’ he said. ‘The report has not vindicated him in any shape or form.’
Mr. Bush said that as a senior civil servant and a lawyer, Mr. Clifford had to have known what he was doing was wrong.
‘He had to take a professional oath for both and all he did was sabotage me,’ he said. ‘Any bar association would sanction him for what he did.’
One of the reasons the Commission of Enquiry did not recommend any legal or disciplinary action against Mr. Clifford was because the Turtle Farm/Boatswain’s Beach and the Port Authority did not suffer any damage from the disclosure of the confidential documents by Mr. Clifford.
Mr. Bush disagreed.
‘As far as the [Port Authority and Turtle Farm] were concerned, I think there was an effect, although it wasn’t a tremendous effect,’ he said.
‘But his actions did have an effect on the general elections because it made people mistrust me.’