Taylor says conspiracy theories ‘without foundation’
A war of words has erupted between Cayman Islands Governor Duncan Taylor and the territory’s Premier, McKeeva Bush, over ongoing investigations into Mr. Bush.
The governor first informed the local media on 20 April that Mr. Bush was the subject of a second police investigation. That statement was followed up by a news release from Royal Cayman Islands Police Commissioner David Baines indicating Mr. Bush was the subject of two investigations and was involved in a third.
Responding to a number of statements made by Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush during the past two weeks, Governor Duncan Taylor said Thursday that claims his office was working against the Cayman Islands were ill-founded.
“The suggestion that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or I are working against the interests of the Cayman Islands is completely without foundation,” Mr. Taylor’s statement read.
Premier Bush, and other members of the United Democratic Party, have questioned publicly in both the Caymanian Compass and other local news media, the motives of the Governor Taylor and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office in announcing that a number of criminal investigations were proceeding that involved Mr. Bush.
“Can the governor tell us what he or the Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials have done to help the Cayman Islands?” Mr. Bush said in a statement sent to the local media Friday. “When Cayman is criticized in London have they stood up for us? No!
“We have suffered unemployment. Has he tried to help us? What has he done? He has done nothing of substance to help these islands. We received funding for housing. We set up a committee and he sent the auditor general in and frightened the daylight out of the civil servant working on it. He opposed Dr. Shetty’s hospital project and I had to tell him ‘you don’t like this but you have no vote in Cabinet’ He didn’t support me hiring Lord Blencathra. This is just a bit of what I’ve had to put up with.”
The governor maintained that he was always committed to serving the Crown and Cayman as well.
“The UK government’s vision for the Cayman Islands was set out clearly during the visit by the Minister for the Overseas Territories, Henry Bellingham, less than two weeks ago: a vision of a flourishing and vibrant economy, whose public finances are well managed and whose adherence to internationally recognised standards of governance enhances its reputation as a good place to live, work and do business. I wholeheartedly support that vision. “I have and will continue to devote all my energy to helping make that vision a reality. When I took up my responsibilities as Governor I swore an oath to ‘well and truly serve Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II … and the people of the Cayman Islands’. I am passionately committed to fulfilling the oath I made.
“During his visit, the Minister also made clear that he was confident that the Commissioner of Police and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service were pursuing the investigations which involve the Honourable Premier properly. I share that view and remain confident that the Commissioner will ensure that the RCIPS carry out their responsibilities in this regard objectively and fairly.”
Mr. Bush on Friday also accused the governor of essentially sneaking his own contract past the elected government.
“He went and got an extension of his time in Cayman without so much as a hint to me as Premier or to my Cabinet because he figured I would oppose it,” Mr. Bush said. “That is not how Governors are supposed to behave. Simple good manners would tell you that you should make your intentions known in such matters. “He has stealthily and insidiously undermined what I’ve been trying to do to get our economy off the ground and get jobs for people. Meanwhile he’s got an extension of time for his job where he’s never had it so good!”
Two of the probes now proceeding against Mr. Bush involve property transactions, the third – in which Mr. Bush was said to be “peripherally involved” – was linked to an alleged illegal importation of dynamite.
Mr. Bush has previously denied any wrongdoing and has stated he has never been formally interviewed.
“I have not done anything illegal to cause a probe into what is termed financial irregularities and I have not imported or caused to be imported any explosive material,” Premier Bush said in his Friday statement. “I implore the good people of Cayman to call for an end to this tearing down of reputations and the good name of Cayman.”
Mr. Bush has referred to the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office as a “common adversary” for Cayman, with which opposition party members have joined in attempts to “destroy” Mr. Bush.
The opposition has denied all such claims.
“We are not seeking to take the government down,” Opposition Leader Mr. McLaughlin said. “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.”
Mr. McLaughlin and North Side Member of the Legislative Assembly Ezzard Miller filed a motion of “lack of confidence” in the current UDP government, which they have asked to be placed as the first order of business at the next meeting of the Legislative Assembly. Both men have pledged to boycott the meeting if the motion is not taken up.