In the wake of revelations that there are now three police investigations involving him, Premier McKeeva Bush claims he has done nothing illegal and insists he will not resign.
Mr. Bush said he had received no formal notice of any police investigation into his affairs and accused the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office of timing the police announcement of the investigations as a political ploy to embarrass him during a visit by a UK minister to Cayman.
According to a statement issued by the premier’s press secretary Sunday, Mr. Bush was “confident that whatever these ‘so called’ allegations may be, they are baseless and that he has done nothing illegal whatsoever’.
The premier said he had “no intention of resigning”.
Police revealed in a statement Saturday that they were carrying out three investigations involving the premier.
The police statement read: “One involves allegations of financial irregularities in relation to a land deal. In addition, a further allegation of financial irregularities has been made, which is entirely separate from the first investigation. Finally, allegations have been made in relation to the involvement of the premier in the periphery of a recent incident where a quantity of explosives were imported to the Cayman Islands without the necessary permit.”
News that there was more than one investigation into Mr. Bush broke on Friday when Governor Duncan Taylor said Mr. Bush was facing a second investigation, although he did not specify any details. He made the comments at a joint press briefing with visiting UK Overseas Territories Minister Henry Bellingham at Government House.
The first investigation has been going on for more than two years, since the Financial Crime Unit began a probe in February 2010 into what Mr. Bush has called a “real estate bill” sent to Atlanta, Georgia-based developer Stanley Thomas.
In his statement over the weekend, Mr. Bush said he and his government colleagues and supporters believed the announcement of these investigations and their timing “were designed to coincide with the visit of the UK minister and to cause maximum embarrassment to the premier and the people of the Cayman Islands”.
“It is obvious to the premier that the announcement is carefully intended to detract from the positive relationship, which the premier has re-established with the United Kingdom government. The premier views these allegations and the timing thereof as politically motivated and calculated to detract from the many efforts that the government have been making to promote the success of the Cayman Islands and its economy; to stimulate the economy of the Cayman Islands and to create jobs for the many Caymanians whose businesses and personal lives and that of their children have been badly affected by the financial slowdown and the policies of the previous government,” the statement read.
It continued: “The continual rumours of investigations without any formal notice to the premier, the possible involvement of certain civil servants in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office are reminiscent of – and consistent with – the Operation Tempura fiasco and other attempts over the years, such as the Brian Gibbs and the David Ballantyne operation, (both of whom are now employed in the FCO) to destabilise and damage the government of the Cayman Islands.
“It has not been forgotten that Operation Tempura unjustifiably ruined reputations of respected Caymanians and others and cost the people of the Cayman Islands in excess of 10 million dollars.”
Mr. Bush said he was receiving legal advice from UK counsel.
The opposition People’s Progressive Movement party and independent Member of the Legislative Assembly for North Side Ezzard Miller were scheduled to hold a press conference about the investigations Monday afternoon.
Leader of the Opposition Alden McLaughlin over the weekend called for the premier to step down, saying Mr. Bush was doing “immense damage” to Cayman’s reputation of this country. “He can’t possibly perform his duties or the functions of his office under these circumstances,” he added.
Asked if Mr. Bush had been formally notified of the investigations or had been questioned directly in relation to them, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Force responded with a statement saying it had nothing further to add to its earlier release.
A full copy of the premier’s statement can be seen on page 10.