‘No confidence’ motion filed against United Democratic Party

Once again, it appears – if the Speaker of the House agrees – that the Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly will debate a no confidence vote on the current government. 

From Premier McKeeva Bush’s vantage point, certain United Kingdom civil servants are using local opposition politicians in an attempt to bring down his government and the Cayman Islands 
along with it.  

According to Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin, that statement by the premier is a “distraction”; an attempt by Premier Bush to divert from the issue of whether he should step down for the good of the territory in the wake of three criminal investigations involving him.  

“[The opposition and North Side MLA Ezzard Miller] are so blinded by their thirst for power and control,” Mr. Bush wrote in a statement released to the Caymanian Compass on Thursday. “The only way to get that is to destroy me, so they joined forces with our common adversary, the [UK] Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to their supposed good, yet to the detriment 
of these Islands.”  

Mr. McLaughlin said Friday it is statements such as this one by the premier that will be to the detriment of the Cayman Islands.  

“On Thursday night [19 April], we had the premier extolling the virtues of the minister [referring to UK Overseas Territories Minister Henry Bellingham] … that over the course of the last few years they’ve forged these friendships and relationships. Now, what we have is the generation of a huge number 
of conspiracy theories. 

“There’s no question that the [foreign office] and the UK’s involvement in matters such as these [investigations] in the territories have not been good,” Mr. McLaughlin admitted Friday. “We had Operation Tempura and Operation Cealt; both which have been disastrous. Before that we had the situation with David Ballantyne and Eurobank. Some would say the way they’ve managed the situation in the Turks and Caicos Islands is anything 
but exemplary. 

“Certainly, nobody on my side is saying the premier is guilty of anything,” Mr. McLaughlin added. “It is his continuing in office under the weight of these investigations is doing serious damage to the country internationally … and it’s going to continue as long as he remains premier.”  

Mr. Bush responded that Mr. McLaughlin and the tenure of his previous government’s administration were “no better”, leaving the Cayman Islands government in a weakened financial state with massive debts and two high school projects that, once again, look in danger of not being finished.  

“In fact, if certain officials were worth their salt, much more would be uncovered with contracts on the two schools and its related contracts,” Mr. Bush said.  


Long dispute  

In a lengthy statement provided to the Caymanian Compass last week, Premier Bush sought to establish a long history of events citing reasons for why certain “civil servants” within the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office simply didn’t like him.  

Attempts to elicit a response to these claims from Cayman Islands Governor Duncan Taylor last week were not successful. The Compass will publish any such response from the governor’s office in the future, if and when it is received.  

The statement, in part reads: “In 1980-84 Roy Bodden, AJ Miller, the late Jim Lawrence, and I had to battle against the dirt and injustice of the then commissioner of police. He didn’t resign or step down, he left when the government changed in 1984. Between 1984-90, I led the charge against a governor and I managed to move him as President of the Assembly. 

“In 1990-96, I fought the officials of the FCO against the removal of capital punishment. In 2001-05, I refused them the introduction of homosexual marriages. I fought them and broke up the scandal of the spy operation and the bugging of the chief justice’s phone and their spy operation in the closure of Euro Bank – by their chief operative (senior police officer) Brian Gibbs and our then Attorney General, David Ballantyne. We retained one of London’s best QC’s for that battle. We refused to offer them support for the ‘early release’ of the life sentence murderers.“In 2005-09 Alden [McLaughlin] allowed all kinds of transgressions by the FCO against the wishes and without the knowledge of the people of these islands. This included giving away to the FCO our financial sovereignty in all our budgetary matters.  

“They wanted me to sign these islands up to the European Savings Directive in it’s original form, relating to taxation. I said no and they offered to give me constitutional changes if I would support their efforts, I said no, and took them to the EU court of first instance – and we won, they lost!” 

On Friday, Mr. McLaughlin said all of the claims by the premier regarding civil servants in the foreign office being “his enemies” were an attempt at distraction.  

“The issue which is being skirted by the premier and those who say we shouldn’t have these calls for the premier to step down until he’s been charged … is the convention which exists throughout the Commonwealth, which is based on Westminster principles. When the allegations are such that they call into question the reputation of the government and of the country, the honourable thing to do … is for the MP or minister to step aside until those investigations are concluded.  

“We are not seeking to take the government down. We are more than happy to wait for the next elections in May. It is entirely possible for [the United Democratic Party] to do the internal reshuffling for the deputy premier or somebody else to assume the helm and the business of government continue as usual. 

“Even if the lack of confidence motion carries … what the Constitution provides for is for a new government to be formed from the existing members of the house. It is only when the governor concludes that can’t happen is when he would call for the new elections.”  


No confidence  

Mr. McLaughlin and Mr. Miller on Friday filed a motion of “lack of confidence” in the government of the Cayman Islands.  

Both men threatened the motion’s filing a week ago if Premier Bush had not stepped aside from his leadership position by Thursday in the wake of three separate criminal investigations.  

On Friday, just before noon, the motion was filed. It was the second such lack of confidence motion to be filed against Mr. Bush’s government during its current term in office. The first taken in the Legislative Assembly failed on a party line vote.  

According to the 2009 Constitution Order, a two-thirds vote of assembly members is required to effect the removal of the government. If 10 out of 15 “yes” votes on the motion are received, the governor would have two options – reform the government under his own authority or dissolve parliament and call for a general election.  

Mr. McLaughlin admitted Friday that the opposition party does not particularly care for either option. He urged the ruling United Democratic Party government members to act and replace Mr. Bush as premier with either Deputy Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly or another Cabinet member.  

The UDP has not issued any statements on the matter, although both publicly and privately members have defended Premier Bush. Mr. Bush has refused to step aside.  

The motion filed by Messrs. McLaughlin and Miller will require a formal waiver of the five days notice given to LA motions by the Speaker of the House.  

“This is not a matter which we could have anticipated prior to the start of the current meeting,” Mr. McLaughlin said, asking for the Speaker to set aside the normal timeline to hear the motion as a “matter of national importance”. 

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  1. In my dealings with the FCO in the UK over the last 18 months or so I have learned that you can trust the whole lot of them about as far as you could throw them and I am sure they are, whatever the truth or otherwise of these interesting allegations, quite capable of engaging in the activities described above.

    However, what I find really strange about all this is that the FCO have refused to release the Aina report into complaints made by two former members of Operation Tempura on the grounds that doing so would prejudice relations between between the UK and the Cayman Islands and interfere with good governance. In the appeal they also argued that releasing the Aina report would harm the status of the Cayman Islands as an offshore financial centre, this despite the fact that a substantial amount of the original complaint has already been leaked to the Financial Times.

    Yet Duncan Taylor feels it appropriate to publicly announce that the Premier is currently the subject of several police investigations but then he does nothing about it. This does nothing for UK/Cayman relations, hardly demonstrates good governance and does not exactly help the image of the islands as a major financial centre. Maybe he was just trying to look good in front of his boss, Henry Bellingham? If so it failed miserably.

    So the defamatory allegations of two disgruntled members of a discredited investigation can remain secret, presumably because they might embarrass the FCO, but the existence of on-going RCIPS operations is a matter that should be made public.

    It makes about as much sense to me as Duncan Taylor’s decision to ignore clear evidence that some of the financial aspects of Tempura/Cealt appear to have involved acts that could be deemed to have been fraud and false accounting because he was not in post when it all happened.

    Mr Taylor if the Premier is under investigation for serious offences it is your job as Governor to suspend him from post, not for you to engage in whispering campaign (which is what some sections of the UK media regard it as) designed to try and force him out.

  2. John,

    Or force his subordinate, the Commissioner of Police to make a public statement on the current state of at least the first investigation, with an update on its standing.

    I couldn’t agree with you more on your comments made here.

    There is not enough information in the public realm for Cayman’s citizens to even know whether there are serious issues within this first investigation; a faxed real estate statement is not enough to indicate any serious misconduct, without further evidence or proof; the news of the other investigations isquite new, particularly this situation with the imported dynamite so no one really knows what level of involvement McKeeva Bush is being investigated for.

    IMO, these unsupported allegations DO NOT provide proof of an investigation into serious matters, without further evidence to back them up.

    To be honest, McKeeva Bush stepping down now as Cayman’s first premiere would do more damage in international reputation for the Cayman Islands than any unsubstantiated allegations of misconduct being investigated by the RCIPS is currently doing.

    What it would indicate is a failed constitutional exercise in which the continuing of the constitutional development for Cayman would be seriously compromised, seeing that the 2009 Constitution was not a well-thought out and conducted process to start with.

  3. @ John Evans,

    Very interesting post you have submitted.

    I have similar suspicions about the FCO, but have never dealt with them personally so my opinion has been formed by observing them from afar.

    However, it is very disheartening, although enlightening, to hear from those, such as yourself, with more hand-on experience with this entity.

    For some time now I have regarded them with much mistrust – I only wish more Caymanians would open their eyes to the true nature of this organisation.

    Unfortunately, when an individual like myself tries to highlight certain blatant truths about this situation he is regarded as paranoid, a UDP supporter, or afflicted with a colonial chip on his shoulder.

    Something about this entire episode stinks to high heaven and I have a feeling that we are about to venture into some very turbulent times.

    Thank you for sharing, and please continue to forward your posts as I always find them to be very interesting.

    – Whodatis

  4. John Firery,

    Two very good posts! I happen to agree with you 110%. Having our first Premier step down from office would do more harm to our international status and reputation, especially when the allegations are unsubstantiated. There is a lot of speculation out there, and the track record of the FCO only makes matters worse, not to mention political motives.

    Unfortunately the opposition and Mr. Miller do not care about the reputation of the Cayman Islands, or the people’s wellbeing. Anyone who thinks this public charade of No Confidence and demanding that he step down is anything but self-serving, well you’re kidding yourself. They are only thinking about themselves in the upcoming election, how a public campaign to remove McKeeva from office would benefit THEM, and how McKeeva stepping aside would improve their chances of victory. Greed and political opportunism is all it is, and they will do anything to improve their chances to sit in the big chair. Problem is, they won’t know what to do if they ever get there.

  5. Liberalkman you hit it right on the nose, the same thing I’ve been saying for a long time. One thing I will say is that it does seem like there’s a good chance the PPM will be in office after the next election. From the looks of the comments on CNS it seems like the majority of Caymanians love the PPM and Hate the UDP, although I do suspect a bit of tampering by their editors to make it appear that way, which is something I think only displays the worst of the worst when it comes to people that report the news. Newspapers are supposed to report the facts in a neutral manor, nor use it to try and manipulate the public, they’re no better than useless lying politicians with their own self-interest in mind.

    My prediction is that when and if the PPM take over all they will do is try to complete the same project started or proposed and envisioned by the UDP and say they were their own, while their supporters praise them for doing exactly what they said they didn’t want the UDP to do..

  6. Liberalkman

    A part of the problem is that many of Cayman’s citizens are easily led; the believe everything they hear or are told, as gospel.

    A more worldy-wise approach dictates that when accusations are made against anyone, an objective view shoiuld be taken before jumping to conclusions and let the evidence speak for itself.

    For too many people in Cayman, if the police or anyone else accuses anyone of anything, the assumption is that they MUST be guilty; its an outdated view but still very much alive in Cayman.

    That the opposition politicians have everything to gain by hounding McKeeva Bush out of office before the next election must be oblivious only to a blind man…

    Or to those who agree with them.

    On analysing Baines statement, we see where he’s said absolutely NOTHING of substance except to blame the public for asking him the relevant questions and coming up with lame excuses as to why the first investigation is taking so long to conclude.

    Mr. Baines is lucky he has a cushy CoP job in Cayman because, were he to be in the UK, at his current levels of performance…

    He would have been out of a job much quicker than McKeeva Bush.

  7. Sorry NJ2Cay, while I agree with 99.9% of what you post, I have to disagree with your prediction about the PPM. They would NEVER continue with the current projects by the UDP, it’s not in their best political interest, even ifs what’s best for Cayman. The problem with Caymanians is they want everything to get better, but they don’t want anything to change. They expect government to do everything for them, from putting hurricane shutters on their house, solar panels on their roof, give me a job, pay my mortgage when I fall behind, and on and on. UDP is guilty of this in many ways, but nowhere near as bad as PPM.

    What’s worse about the PPM, they have no ideas for development. What projects did they propose when they were in office? A few schools with no way to pay for them? They left a huge wake of fiscal irresponsibility that has damaged our country’s credit. When they took over, times were pretty good, can you imagine what they would do with another 4 years at the healm in these tough times, and Kurt, the brightest of the bunch, is not even in charge anymore. At least McKeeva is proposing new ideas and possible developments, a marina in East End shot down by the people, the Shetty hospital, a new waste management facility that is being constructed for FREE, Dart building a new road and 4 star hotel, an oil refinery. Half of these projects are shot down by the public who usually have no idea why they are opposing it, other than its going to change the way things are now. PPM is so concerned about protecting the bitter 1% of Caymanians who spend most of their time calling political talk shows (most of which are unemployed) they don’t act in the best interest of the Country.

    Take the rollover policy as an example. Sure, government needs to protect Caymanians but, to a certain extent. The 60/40 rule is excellent (must be 60% Caymanian owned,) work permits are difficult to get for foreigners so businesses will hire Caymanians whenever possible. 95% of Caymanians are hard-working, but the other 5% are lazy, they want to work half as hard for twice the pay, and they think they are entitled to a job because they are Caymanian. The rollover policy hurt this country’s economy tremendously, ex-pats did not want to invest b/c they were worried about their long-term future in Cayman, why buy a car or land or a house if I may be leaving soon? So they lived as cheaply as possible, saved their money, and took it with them when they left. Meanwhile, the rollover policy only benefits the 5% of lazy Caymanians that expect a job for nothing and demand government do everything for them. Sadly, those 5% make us a large portion of the voting population, they protest everything they can, and they scream the loudest on Cross Talk, so that’s who the PPM listens to.

    Regardless of who is in power next year, government needs to focus on two things.
    1.Close Mt. Trashmore and create a new facility elsewhere. Multiple studies by both governments came to the same consensus, the dump needs to be located almost precisely where it’s currently being proposed. This deal with Dart will fall apart with PPM in power, and if a new facility is built (unlikely) the people will have to pay for it.
    2.Construct a Cruise Berthing facility. Its amazing we still have cruise ships coming to Cayman, and we are the only major destination without these facilities in place. We are so desperate for this, I could care less who builds it at this stage. Will someone please GET IT DONE!!

  8. Liberalkman, Great reading, it is refreshing to read clear and concise comments that actually make sense I guess to could be wrong about what the PPM would do, I am however dying here what they offer to voters when the big campaigns start and to hear their list of solutions.

  9. Case and point, see Youngblud’s comment about an oil rig. Again, people objecting to an idea who have NO CLUE what they are objecting to. No one ever talked about an oil rig which is used to drill oil. The proposal was for a REFINERY.

    Currently, Cayman imports oil already REFINED. This is in the form of gasoline, diesel, AV Gas, etc. Rather than importing the finished product as we do now, we import crude oil and refine it locally. It would be transported the same way it is now so there is no increased risk of spilling or fire or whatever. The refinery would change the crude oil into whatever we wanted, gas, diesel, kerosene, jet fuel, propane, you name it. Jobs would be created, and we could even export the refined oil to other countries, bringing revenue to the country. Best of all, its ZERO emmissions so its no negative environmental impacks. Did I mention gas prices (and your CUC bill) could be cut by 30% OVERNIGHT!

    But, low and behold, the people heard the word Refinery, had no clue what it was and envisioned an oil rig, and protested against it. Is anyone surprised?

  10. Liberalkman

    I haven’t read such an accurate, honest appraisal of the Caymanian political culture,in a very long time, if ever.

    Only an honest, intelligent Caymanian could present such detailed knowledge, based on knowing the people and situation very, very well.

    I’ve been convinced for some time now that many of the talk show participants are paid political activists, from either side, who’s job it is call in with vitriolic, aggressive comments to undermine their opposition.

    This all goes back to what I said in my last comments about Caymanians being easily led, on the basis of patronization and promises.

    When I lived in Cayman, I’ve had PPM politicians express their disapproval that I am my own man, think and speak for myself and not follow the example set by ‘mummie and daddie’, who happen to be their life-long friends, long before Cayman’s political culture has become what it is.

    Your assessment of the two major projects that needs to be completed in Cayman is spot on.

    You can be certain that if they are not started before the next election and McKeeva Bush does not return to power, they will not be continued by any new government.

    It is this problem of non-continuity in Cayman’s politics that has cost Cayman much, much more in economic losses than the results of any recession.

    A recession can be recovered from but destructive habits live on and by all current indicators, this remains the case in Cayman.

  11. Thanks for the compliments Firery and NJ2Cay. It’s good to know there are some like-minded, intelligent people out there, not just the chronic complainers, gullible protestors who believe everything they hear, and feel the only way to get involved is to protest.

    Hell, if you want to get dirty, why not ask politicians why Cayman Brac and Little Cayman pay no import duties, and Bracers seem to be exempt from every law that is ever written. This seems to be one of those hush-hush policies that NO political party wants to address, because its bad politics. Frankly I am tired of carrying the load of the sister islands, and in these tough times, I feel it’s only reasonable that everyone pay their fair share. Why should they be tax free to the burden of Grand Cayman residents? What’s worse, half the island seems to work for government. I would love for the Caymanian Compass to do some investigative journalism a run a story on this. How much income did the sister islands generate last fiscal year, how many people work for government over there, what was the bottom line? I bet it’s a huge number, and we might not have that 19 million deficit if Bracers were paying their own way.

    Not only are the Grand Cayman people covering their bills, but they have no incentive to buy goods from Cayman businesses. Why would they buy goods from a company in Grand Cayman and ship it over (after the local company has paid 22% import duties), when they can go to Miami and bring it in themselves with ZERO import duties? What a bum deal we are getting, but hey, as long as no one is complaining, right?