Bush admits flying on bank’s plane

Premier McKeeva Bush was merely hitching a free ride on a plane going his way when he flew on a private jet owned by a bank involved in the controversial Cohen and Company lending deal, he told a Public Accounts Committee on Friday.

Mr. Bush and his entourage were photographed disembarking in Cayman from the Gulfstream IV aircraft on New Year’s Eve last year, raising questions about his relationship with Banque Havilland, which, along with Scotiabank, was one of two banks with which Cohen and Company arranged short term loans of US$128.5 million last year.

Asked by Opposition member Kurt Tibbetts if he wished to clear up the issue of the plane trip, Mr. Bush said he had been given a ride on a plane owned by Banque Havilland, when he made a trip to Nassau, Bahamas to attend a meeting with a potential investor who was interested in making “a huge development for this country”.

“They gave me a ride, one the government did not have to pay for,” said Mr. Bush, who added the trip to Nassau had “nothing to do with Banque Havilland”.

“It was their plane, but it had nothing to do with them. They have a representative on the island … They came to pick him up and they gave us a ride – nothing wrong with that,” he said. Mr. Bush said raising questions about the plane trip was typical of scandalmongers who wanted to make people believe “there is something unsavoury, something nefarious going on”.

Mr. Bush was appearing as a witness before the Public Accounts Committee to answer questions relating to the Auditor General’s report into how the government manages its procurements. One of the case studies considered by the Auditor General was the Cohen and Company deal, which occurred as the government was trying to procure a US$185 million loan.

Auditor General Alastair Swarbrick described the process used to acquire the contract with Cohen and Company, which was cancelled in January 2011 as lacking in transparency and fairness, failing to offer value for money and costing the government an extra CI$450,000.

Cohen and Company had arranged for Scotiabank to provide a US$92.5 million bridging loan on 22 October, 2010, and for Banque Havilland to provide a US$36 million loan on 14 December, 2010.

Mr. Swarbrick, in his report, said Banque Havilland was owned by the Rowland family of Great Britain and had opened in September 2009, offering private banking to high net worth families and individuals.

The Auditor General said the practice of the government in previous borrowing activities had been to deal with top-tier banks and institutions, but that from the Audit Office’s review of worldwide financial institutions, Banque Havilland was not a top-tier bank or lending institution.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. It was their plane, but it had nothing to do with them.
    Isn’t that like saying Sure, i’m a director of the company, but I have nothing to do with it!

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  2. The Cayman Island’s Premier hopping onto private planes without proper security clearance should be of some concern to the public in general.I’m not sure who the Premier’s legal advisers are, but they certainly appear to not be looking out for his interest nor his safety.
    These actions is more serious than meets the eye, and not only a waste of the public purse, but also a breach in the country’s national Security. In the sense that the country’s top official or leader can thumb his way, hitching a ride as he puts it, and takes off in a private jet that could have ended in an unprecedented destination.This trip was indeed a bridge to nowhere and is costing the the country a half a million dollars to say the least.
    It is high time we elect legislators that are fiscally responsible, thinking about safety, national security and who will put the interest of the country first.
    Since this situation has so many elements of questions and confusion that can not be described in so many words, even by the most brilliant minds amongst us we conclude that a shorter more fitting prognosis is that we have all been hit by a case of Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia.

    I’m sure the good governor must be very concerned about the national security risks involved in this exercise.

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  3. Tiger

    Surely you don’t buy this ‘I was just hitching a plane ride’ hogwash, do you ?

    This buffoon is like the schoolyard bully who picked on a smaller but smarter kid and got ‘turned over’ and out-witted…and…

    When brought up before the headmaster, his only defense is, ‘please Mr. Headmaster, you can’t blame or punish me…can’t you see I’m too dumb, ‘thupid and thick to know any better?’

    And his only response is to ‘bully’ his own people with lawsuits, through the courts ?

    This Auditor General isn’t one that McKeeva Bush can intimidate or scare and the job that he’s doing will only reveal more about Bush and his dealings, as time goes by.

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  4. Firey,
    You can rest assured I or no one else is buying this smoke screen.
    They say ignorance is bliss. Ignorance or innocence claimed by modern day politicians is just simply a Hollywood act to gain sympathy for their own wrong doings.
    This regime is digging so many holes for their downfall that even if no one publicly attacked them by way of radio, newspaper or otherwise, they are doing a good enough job of destroying themselves without any outside interference.
    There is corruption here, corruption there, corruption everywhere.
    Hopefully the anti-corruption chief Commissioner David Baines roots out corruption at the highest level. I have a feeling that if Commissioner Baines convinces us that he can and will indeed go after the rich and famous powerful crooks in this country that he will gain the affection and respect he has lost with the people of this country. for decades politicians have enjoyed living above the law while the poor working class have been dragged and hurled into court and criminalized by the local Police and court systems for menial meaningless idle acts that have no impact on society whatsoever. The manner in which the country is being run is having a grave impact on our society and we should be very concerned.
    The governor supports the Commissioner of Police and the the Auditor General 100%;but we are all waiting in anticipation to see if their anti-corruption investigations of government officials are really genuine with consequence or not OR whether they will allow a double standard where high officials will continue to get away with not even be charged, while the little poor man is charged, dragged through the court systems and criminalized.
    People want to know will anything change.
    We don’t know that yet.
    That part of the system has not been proven.

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  5. Or its like what’s happening, Mike Adam is the cabinet Member who is responsible for Housing development, yet only the Housing Development officials had to resign and the elected member goes scott free?! something is wrong here. Who is ultimately responsible, did he not know what is happening in his portfolio? Mr. Adams, there are too many things you claim not to know about, like when they resigned and who resigned, UDP not good at being transparent.

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  6. Very well said, Tiger

    I couldn’t agree more.

    Your views open up another credible avenue for thought…

    I’m sure if the Auditor General had been appointed head of the Ant-Corruption Commission, as he could very well have been, by his qualifications and duties…

    Might we not have had an answer by now on the RCIPS investigation into Mr. Bush’s ‘real estate bill’ issue, an issue brought to the atttention of the Commissioner of Police by the country’s very judiciary…non-the-less ?

    Don’t you agree that that an investigation requested by the highest legal authority in the Cayman Islands should be given the priority it deserves…

    And an answer provided by now?

    Gives you food for thought, doesn’t it ?

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  7. We must be coming very close to the point where the UK Govt will have to consider appointing an outside independent Commission to enquire into the fiscal competence and honesty (that is, the possibility of corruption as being more than sheer incompetence) of the Government. Bad days for Cayman.

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  8. Firey,

    Food for thought indeed. Comm. Baines must prove that he is a trusted Commissioner of Police and will not be caught up in the political party system nor any scandal or scrutiny by the public.
    Cayman is waiting a demonstration of transparency, and equality for all coming from the higher echelons.
    Cayman is also awaiting an answer on just who’s vehicle hit and run killing Mr. Jervis last year. Was it a drunken elected official, was it a police? was it a rich developer? was it a UDP party member?

    It wasn’t God, so who was it?
    Is this person above the law and can Police Commissioner Baines must prove that the person whose vehicle in a hit and run accident killed dear Mr. Jervis, bless his soul, and that person is guilty of manslaughter of the first degree, can the Commissioner prove that such a person is innocent? I suspect that it was a drunken politician who should have showed more responsibility and own up to the accident like a respected individual instead of hiding behind the Law.

    We tend to forget all too quickly and must continue to put pressure on enforcement to act responsible and accountable to the people.

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  9. Is there such a thing as a Guidebook of Ethics and Exemplary Deportment for public servants? I hope there is because it appears that if any one is in dire need of one is the Honorable(?) Mr. Bush

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