Premier hammers UK foreign office, opposition

Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush unleashed a verbal barrage against the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Thursday, stating that he was forewarned the agency would “try to ruin me” shortly after 
he took office in 2009.  

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service announced last weekend that Mr. Bush was the subject of two investigations into “financial irregularities” and was involved in a third criminal probe involving the unlicensed importation of dynamite into Grand Cayman.  

Cayman’s opposition party said the stunning revelations regarding the investigations – one of which was previously unknown to the media and the general public – should require Mr. Bush to step aside until those probes conclude.  

Mr. Bush said he would do no such thing and that Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin’s statements, along with those made by North Side Member of the Legislative Assembly Ezzard Miller, were merely political opportunism.  

“They have now found solace in the governor and commissioner’s [of police] attack on me and again jump on the bandwagon to begin their calls for me to step down or to be thrown out by my own colleagues,” Mr. Bush said.  

Mr. McLaughlin has said that if the premier did not heed calls to step aside by Thursday, he would present a motion of no confidence in the current government – the vote essentially aimed at the premier himself – to the 
Legislative Assembly.  

“The Constitution is clear: If they vote against me as premier, my entire government falls,” Mr. Bush said. “It is ludicrous for this power-hungry opposition to believe my government will vote against itself.”  

Mr. McLaughlin said on Wednesday that Mr. Bush “cannot be allowed to continue in office in the present circumstances”.  

To be successful, Mr. McLaughlin’s motion – which was filed on Friday – would have to gain 10 “yes” votes from the 15 sitting elected members of the LA.  

That means all government backbenchers, as well as Mr. Miller, an independent, would have to vote in favour of the motion in order to either remove Premier Bush from office or dissolve the government and hold new elections, since it is unlikely that any of the five elected ministers would choose to vote against their own government.  

 

UK targeted  

Some of Mr. Bush’s harshest statements, however, were reserved for the United Kingdom and “civil servants” in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that he described as “his enemies”.  

“The FCO [in 2009] tried to force me into instituting income tax, property tax, a 20 per cent reduction in the civil service and a 10 per cent cut in salaries,” Mr. Bush said Thursday. “I said no and that we would find the means to come out of this mess. 

“In the face of that kind of resistance to their dogma, my tenacity on behalf of my Islands, my opposition to the exploits of the FCO over the years – did I believe that the FCO liked me? I knew better and I was warned by friends in London that they did not and that they would try to ruin me,” he said.  

Mr. Bush said “every excuse” had been used to not support his government’s efforts to rebuild the territory’s economy, presumably referring to projects – including the cruise port terminal and the ForCayman Investment Alliance land swap with the government – that the United Democratic Party government has proposed.  

He also alleged that “rumours” of police investigations were part of the “long history of the FCO in the Caribbean”.  

“That’s a fundamental reason why they never give up the control of the police in any constitutional reform,” Mr. Bush said. “They control the police for everything they can get them to do. The Labour Party has had the worst record of this.”  

 

Police investigations  

According to an RCIPS statement released Saturday: “The RCIPS can confirm that there are a number of investigations currently ongoing involving the Premier of the Cayman Islands, the Hon. McKeeva Bush.  

“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. 

“All three of these investigations are actively ongoing. The governor and the FCO [Foreign and Commonwealth Office] are being kept fully updated.” 

McKeeva Bush

Mr. Bush

1 COMMENT

  1. McKeeva Bush Corruption Investigation: Time for US to step in; is the headline on a comment column made by
    Off Shore Alert.

    Their observations and comments in regard to which side the UK and the RCIP is on is quite different from what is been said in this article by Mr. Bush

    They said;

    In a blog four months ago, I cast doubt that a bona fide investigation would be conducted into Bush in Cayman and stated that: A viable alternative is to pass on the investigation to the U. S. Department of Justice on the basis that Stanley Thomas a property developer who was allegedly extorted by Bush is a United States national residing in Atlanta and part or all of the US375,000 in alleged bribes paid by Thomas to Bush took place or originated in the U. S.

    Just search Mckeeva Bush and up it pops.

    The US has Cayman gun runners set for trial, and now they have people calling for our leader to be investigated by their Justice department..

    I doubt if the Foreign Office is the problem here, they may have to help solve this problem though.

  2. Enough of all the finger pointing and foolish accusations. It’s time for some concrete evidence and charges to be filed if justified. If Bush has done something wrong that could be proven I’d think they would have already brought it to light. It’s no secret the that US and the UK hate the Cayman Islands and will do anything they can to bring down the Tax neutral environment here. So I have no doubt that they as well as their boys do whatever is necessary to seize control as they have done to so many other place that they diem to have something they want. The UK has clearly instituted a campaign of divide and conquer in the Cayman islands stating with the institution the two party Government which has clearly pitted Caymanian against Caymanian.

    The last thing an invasive entity needs is for people to start working together and stand as one. In any game of chess the best pieces to use in order to win the battle are the pawns. Anyone who plays the game should surely see what’s going on here.

    In my opinion as if it matters, with all the hatred for Bush, if they truly had something on him they would have acted on it already.

    I am now just kind of sitting back to see what happens at the next election which will come faster than most people may think. This will truly show what the bulk of Caymanians feelings actually are. The UDP is currently at the helm and if most Caymanians want a change it will show at the polls in the next election. I think that most politicians have their own agenda and Bush is no different, same goes for the PPM and Independents,. They will all do whatever it takes to get in the big seat and that includes manipulating the population whether its destructive to the community or not, they all just want what they want and what’s is in their own best interest. They are all full of talk and are the masters of their game.

    If you ask me, if the political opponent of Bush and the UDP actually thought they had a chance of winning the people confidence in the next election, they would be focusing on that and sharing their innovative ideas of how to make thing better for the Caymanian people instead of putting all their energy into discrediting the current person sitting in the big chair.

    To all the opponents of the UDP. Caymanians will be at the polls before you know it, its time of convince them that you will do a better job so let us all hear what you have to offer. I for one am sick of hearing what Bush has are has not done, I want to hear what you are going to do. And if you’re going to be better for the job.

  3. Put your ego aside and step aside Mr Bush. As bad as this is for the reputation of our country, this can and will get worse if you dont. Your suggestion that it is the big bad lion of England that is after you is rubbish. Are they stopping you from providing any explanation in respect of the allegations as well? In the interest of clearing his name and avoiding shame on his former office and the country Arden McLean was proactive and didnt wait to be interviewed. He was exonerated from your baseless allegations in a few short weeks. Your actions and behavior falls far short of leadership. Step aside from the office sir until your name is cleared or otherwise.

  4. Wayne,

    I’m no supporter of any political party or politician, especially not McKeeva Bush, but, as a lawyer yourself, do you really think that your statements here are fair ?

    Suppose McKeeva came to you and asked you to represent him in this matter; what would your first question and action be ?

    Would your first question not be to David Baines, Please, sir, could you let me have all proof and evidence in your possession against my client so that I may properly represent and defend him, as is his legal right ?

    As a lawyer with your reputation, I would certainly hope that would be the case.

    Unless and until David Baines presents the findings and evidence that his investigations should be turning up, to McKeeva Bush, Governor Duncan Taylor, the Foreign Commonwealth Office and the world…and decides to charge him with an offense or crime or exonerate him for lack of evidence…

    Every single thing that McKeeva Bush has said in his own defense has merit…

    Given the history of the FCO and the Cayman Islands.

    Have you forgotten the Eurobank operation/trial…one of the most sordid and failed covert operations ever conducted by the FCO in an overseas territory.

    I’ll guarantee you one thing, you guys in the Cayman Islands DO NOT possess the same rights that we enjoy here in Britian…that’s for sure !

  5. Enough with all this talk about Mr. Bush being investigated! Oh my goodness! It is disgusting the way the people are carrying on about allegations against the Premier! The man is a fine leader, with the utmost amount of opposition against him. The explosives that were imported here to these islands were more than likely legit and necessary for development and construction projects here in Cayman. Either someone forgot/missed a piece of customs paperwork (or perhaps customs themselves messed it up…that wouldn’t be a surprise, now would it?!)and the entire thing was COMPLETELY blown out of proportion!!! All this call for blood is ridiculous. Stop embarrassing Mr. Bush! He has your best interests in the forefront! These islands are small…but I suppose that leaves room for all the complaining…welcome to Grand Complaining Island…

  6. I do not subscribe to the rhetoric that arises from time to time that suggests the UK are out to destroy us. If you look at the facts objectively, Operation Tempura, Commission of Enquiry, ongoing investigations and so on, are all a result of information provided locally (in most cases no doubt Caymanians themselves).

    It is also worthy of mention that the UK is constantly under pressure from the European Union and the USA, where they point out that most of the world’s offshore financial centres are British Territories!!! The laws established to make these financial centres (Cayman Included) are all made with the consent of the UK before they become law.

    Surely they dont want us to be a burden on the UK tax payer, which is exactly what would happen if we implode. The UK Minister while here just reiterated that Cayman is important to the City of London, which is the largest financial centre in the world.

  7. Firery

    good comments.

    On of the things that disturbs me about all this is that, whatever happened and whatever you think of the current leadership, the Premier has rights under ECHR that are clearly being ignored.

    Ignore that at your peril because if it’s him being taregted today, it could be you tomorrow.

    ECHR Article 6 states –

    1.In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. Judgement shall be pronounced publicly but the press and public may be excluded from all or part of the trial in the interest of morals, public order or national security in a democratic society, where the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties so require, or the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice.
    2.Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.

    3.Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights:

    (a) to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him;
    (b) to have adequate time and the facilities for the preparation of his defence;
    (c) to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing or, if he has not sufficient means to pay for legal assistance, to be given it free when the interests of justice so require;
    (d) to examine or have examined witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him;
    (e) to have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in court.

    Have these rights been recognised? I don’t think so. In fact this whole matter seems to be being conducted in much the same way as Operation Tempura tried to dig itself out of a deep, dark hole by selectively leaking information to one media outlet at the end of 2008.

    As for the FCO? Well I’ve been dealing with them in the UK, using FOI and the Data Protection Act, for the past 12 months and the stunts they have pulled to mislead the public have to be seen to be believed.

    One of the most disturbing things that has emerged over the past the months is the way in which obscure officials with no direct contact with the Cayman Islands are happy to represent themselves as acting on behalf of all Caymanians while lying through their teeth.

    You can trust the FCO if you want but I for sure do not.

  8. Firery and John,

    Thank you for your comments.

    In fact I do think I am being fair. My position is that Mr Bush needs to at least temporarily step down to deal with these matters in his personal capacity. That is what you would expect and probably see several times a year there in Britain. I did not comment on whether he was guilty or not.

    As a proud Caymanian I object to him staying in office while lobbing conspiracy and other distraction grenades and failing to provide any plausible explanations.

    My original comments were therefore from a political perspective ie what he needs to do vis a vis his office in these circumstances.

    I think he had two choices initially. One is that he could have responded to the allegations on the first investigation which he knows fully (since it was in fact Mr Bush that disclosed them to begin with) to proclaim his innocence and if on the face of it there was a plausible and believable explanation (and no it was a real estate bill is not plausible) then he can continue in office unless he gets charged. The second is to step down and conduct himself in the investigations in whatever public or private way he sees fit. He has chosen to ignore the first approach for whatever reason and therefore I think he must do the latter. To do otherwise makes a mockery of and impairs the credibility and integrity of his office.

    The rule that one is innocent until proven guilty is fundamental and in this case Mr Bush has not been even charged with anything yet so certainly he is entitled to due process as much as anyone else.

    Any lawyer representing Mr Bush should ask what is going on with the investigation but he would know that until Mr Bush is charged with a crime the police do not need to tell him anything. And in fact it is often times prejudicial to a police investigation for the police to tip their hand before they believe they are ready to question the person being investigated a fairly obvious rationale. That can be quite a while sometimes and for investigations involving political figures there is the added complexity of the potential influence and intimidation of witnesses etc which may add yet more time.

    In respect of your general comments John, until one is charged I don’t think one has the benefit of the ECHR protections that you refer to.

    Lastly John, while I know you are no longer resident here, I applaud you for using your name. We all have the right to voice our opinions on issues that concern us but here in Cayman certainly that is becoming an obligation and I respect people who are willing to do so in their own name.

  9. Well the one thing that is blatantly obvious is that whether he’s done something wrong or not, he has already been tried and found guilty in the court of public opinion. I certainly hope none of the folks instigating this whole witch hunt never find themselves in the same position.

    Remember what goes around comes around..

  10. @ Wayne Panton – You need to not only consider innocent until proven guilty but learn to accept the principle and allow the investigators to do what needs to be done to prove an offence.

    Much is at stake as we speak. McKeeva Bush has allied with Dart to boost Caymans economy and certain deals are to be actualized. If McKeeva steps down, it will slow down the process or work this government is trying to accomplish. I notice everything the opposition is opposing. Why not try to unilaterally at least support one project that will be an economic benefit to these islands. Stop listening to what people say or CNS say. If you love your country, do something for its economy.

    Of course, the Premier is not perfect. Of course, he may not be of good character. But looking at the overall picture, do we need to now cripple government by removing its Premier and lesser MLAs.

    I agree with John. I cant trust the FCO myself. Have you ever studied the history of the FCO? The many times they have changed their names. The many times they have been responsible for removing leaders and draining economies.

    Panton, please watch your words and where you stand. It could just be that the side you are on, is the enemy. You are man, and men dont have the forsight to know the distant future. Only God knows. So…. just how do you know you are speaking for God by making it look like McKeeva is guilty and ought to step down? Note I read your article on CNS and to me, it looks politically motivated.

  11. In fact I do think I am being fair. My position is that Mr Bush needs to at least temporarily step down to deal with these matters in his personal capacity. That is what you would expect and probably see several times a year there in Britain. I did not comment on whether he was guilty or not.

    As a proud Caymanian I object to him staying in office while lobbing conspiracy and other distraction grenades and failing to provide any plausible explanations.

    My original comments were therefore from a political perspective ie what he needs to do vis a vis his office in these circumstances.

    Wayne,

    This is fair commentary, from your own personal perspective, which is entirely your right…as is the right of anyone else making comments on this issue.

    However, what you would not see in Britain, under similar circumstances, is an investigation into allegations against, say…David Cameron, or any British MP taking two long years to NOT BE COMPLETED…and yet calls from their political opposition to resign their position over unproven allegations; this is the point that both John and myself are making.

    What you would see is that the politician and his party colleagues, along with his legal counsel and the British press demanding that Scotland Yard (the Metropolitan Police)complete their investigation, press charges if necessary…or publicly drop the investigation and inform the subject AND PUBLIC that they have done so…and, in Britian, this would have already happened many months ago.

    How this is being handled only gives ammunition to McKeeva Bush to accuse his accusers of trying to railroad him out of office, an opportunity that he is taking with much alacrity, in case you haven’t noticed.

    Cayman does not have a sophisticated two-party system like the major democracies; I would go as far as saying Cayman is just now in its embroylic stages as a democratic country, which is already being seriously undermined.

    McKeeva Bush well understnads that if he resigns his position, his entire government must resign as well; Cayman’s political parties has no efficient structure in place for his subordinates to run the government, in this respect, HE IS the government.

    If he steps down, the Governor will be forced to call early elections, or institute direct British rule in Cayman until elections can be called and a new government installed, which could very well turn out to be…McKeeva Bush and his UDP party again.

    If David Baines and his RCIPS finds evidence to CHARGE McKeeva Bush with any crime, then he will be FORCED to step down, or have the Governor legally remove him from office.

    Cayman, and whoever else that wants McKeeva Bush gone would better serve their own purpose if they pressure David Baines to come up with the goods and charge the man…

    Until that happens, ole McKeeva !!??

    He ain’t going nowhere, as he’s already made quite clear.

    As for not commenting under one’s own name…

    That has its own implications for Cayman of which I’m sure that you are quite aware, being Caymanian, same as me…

    And, really, sometimes the message is much more important than the messenger.

  12. There are two important points that are being misunderstood.

    Firstly, it is beyond question that politicians who are subject to criminal investigations in the commonwealth WOULD STEP DOWN. The most recent example is the Speaker of the Australian Parliament stepping down because of mere ALLEGATIONS of sexual harassment and fraud. It is the protection of the office and the reputation of the country that is paramount. Any insistence on holding on to political office in these circumstances is putting personal interest ahead of the country’s best interests.

    Secondly, if Mr Bush was to do the right thing and voluntarily step aside (from his ministerial posts and but not as an MLA) or his party colleagues were to insist that he do so, that DOES NOT bring down the Government. The UDP would remain in Government and there would be NO early elections. In fact this is precisely what happened in 1997 when his fellow Members of Executive Council (as the Cabinet was then called) rightly insisted that he resign from Exco in connection with the First Cayman Bank fiasco.

    Accordingly, the call for Mr Bush to step down is in the best interests of the country and would not and does not change the government. It therefore does not have any direct impact on the UDP policies or projects that are ongoing.

  13. Mr. Editor, why is McKeeva Bush photo is on this article. I would like to see Wayne Pantons face. At least I will know no to go to him when I need representation.

    No Mr Panton the Premier should remain in office and continue with the countrys business. He should also continue seeing those projects come to fruition. I am one Caymanian that is not prepared to be under a British dictatorship, support by British taxpayers like the people in Turks and Caicos Islands!

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