Cayman Islands lawmakers Ezzard Miller and Arden McLean last week warned Premier McKeeva Bush not to risk the territory’s long-established relationship with the United Kingdom by attacking British-appointed Governor Duncan Taylor.
Yet a review of Legislative Assembly Hansard from late 2009 indicated that both men used similar language to criticise former Governor Stuart Jack during a debate on a private member’s motion that considered taking legal action to recover costs from the infamous Operation Tempura investigation.
In a letter sent to the Caymanian Compass by Mr. Bush on 26 April, 2012, Premier Bush gave numerous examples involving situations where he said he’d fought with the United Kingdom over issues involving Cayman. Mr. Bush said these political arguments over the years led to some hard feelings.
“In the face of that kind of resistance to their dogma [referring to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office], my tenacity on behalf of my Islands … 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.”
In a separate statement made to the media last week, Mr. Bush wrote: “[Governor Taylor] has stealthily and insidiously undermined what I’ve been trying to do to get our economy off the ground and get jobs for people.”
A joint statement released by Messrs Miller and McLean shortly after Mr. Bush’s comments noted that the premier “should not risk the long-established and mutually beneficial relationship that Cayman and the UK have enjoyed by his unwarranted accusations and attack on the UK’s representative. The difficulties that Mr. Bush finds himself in cannot be overcome by attempting to pit the Caymanian people against the UK’s representative.”
During the 22 October, 2009, LA debate regarding Mr. Miller’s private member’s motion on the recovery of Operation Tempura costs, Mr. Miller questioned both the management ability of ex-Governor Jack and alluded to concerns he had about the UK’s intentions.
According to the Hansard, Mr. Miller said: “I wrote a letter about 18 months ago to the media, which was published, where I said that if the governor’s management ability, as observed from the decisions and the effect of the decisions that he had been making, was that of any middle management-level civil servant, he would have been terminated for lack of performance. I have questioned some of his intents.”
The debate records continue with Mr. Miller speaking: “As one looks over the history of the Cayman Islands, in particular the events post-Ivan and what we got and what we didn’t get, the kind of international criticism we received, it is beginning to become increasingly difficult for an optimist like me to continue to accept or believe that these events are just coincidental or perchance, and are not really a determined effort to destabilise and ruin the Cayman Islands.
“The continued suggestion by the administering powers, the continuing reminder of what has happened in the Turks and Caicos Islands and, in my belief and opinion, the threat that they will do the same to us is disturbing to me.”
From the same debate later on in the day, Mr. McLean is quoted in the Legislative Assembly Hansard: “And no one can prove to me that [Operation] Tempura has proven – now [Operation] Cealt, or whatever it is, is still going on. No one can tell me that Tempura has amounted to much more than spending $6.8 million out of the people’s money unnecessarily? And I should continue to support it? And then the governor comes out bashing me?”
A bit later on Mr. McLean continued: “I am convinced … that every one of them is trying to destroy my country. It is my position … it is my opinion that every one of them is on some ulterior motive to take my country down. I will not allow them to do that! Not as long as I can stand on my two feet!”
In Mr. Bush’s 26 April e-mail to the Compass, the premier stated, referring to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office: “I have now come to expect that anything will be done to me. Any, and every, excuse has been found by officials of the FCO not to support my efforts in rebuilding the economy. Never, ever giving me the benefit of the doubt. It is simple, they can’t rule me the way they wish and so they are prepared to try and ruin me, and my reputation. Announcements of investigations cause politicians to lose support. It’s part of the long history of the FCO in the Caribbean – if you can’t handle them, then ruin their reputation.”
“It is simple, they can’t rule me the way they wish and so they are prepared to try and ruin me, and my reputation.”