Editorial for 11 May: The kerfuffle in Cayman

We at the Caymanian Compass wonder what our readers who live
outside of the country must think about the events occurring here over the past
few weeks.

To sum up, we’ve had a governor/police commissioner reveal
that a premier is under investigation for numerous matters, but not really say
what for.

Then we had a premier verbally attack the governor and
police commissioner and proceed to give all of the details of his alleged
misdeeds to this newspaper – saying they didn’t really seem like misdeeds at
all.

The premier’s political opponents set two separate dates for
him to resign.

When he ignored them, they decided to hold a ‘shadow
parliament’ on the steps of the country’s Legislative Assembly to debate an
apparently fictitious motion about whether or not they have confidence in the
premier and his government.

Not surprisingly, the motion passed unanimously.

Speaking from a purely journalistic perspective, we would like
to thank our lawmakers and territorial administrators for giving us a great
number of interesting subjects to write about over the past few weeks.

However, from the perspective of a business that has
long-time and deep ties to this community, we believe what can only be
described as an ongoing spectacle is not in the best interests of the country.

In our view, a few things are becoming clear: First, Premier
McKeeva Bush is not going to resign in the current situation.

Second, holding a faux parliament outside the Legislative
Assembly isn’t going to change his mind.

Third, the UK-led investigations into Premier Bush are
either going to end in charges or they will end in him being cleared.

Depending on what happens with these cases, Mr. Bush’s
government will have to decide how to proceed if and when the UK/local law
enforcement ever decides to do anything.

For now, dare we suggest the opposition and government both
sit back down in parliament and start putting together a budget?

 

 

 

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Your suggestion that investigations into Premier Bush are either going to end in charges or they will end in him being cleared seems simplistic. Is there no potential that the investigations do not produce a quantity of evidence which will guarantee prosecutors a simple win, leaving a situation that does not clear anybody? What about the issue of conflicts of interest at Cabinet level with politicians bringing motions to Cabinet in which they have a financial interest? When is that going to be investigated?

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  2. Excellent editorial, Caycompass.

    Yours is the only voice of reason speaking in Cayman at the moment, except for the voices of reason speaking on these forums…which may, or may not carry any direct influence…depending on who reads them.

    What I do know is that I’ve read a plagiarised paragraph from one of my posts here, pasted and copied into another comment on another forum; granted, that poster’s sentiments mirrored my own, he just ‘borrowed’ some better words to back his up.

    Either way, I have no real problem with that as none of this is copyrighted;we comment from our hearts on what we think is right for the Cayman Islands.

    Now that Premiere Bush has come clean, as a former employee of the Lands Survey Dept., I know from experience that nothing out of the ordinary has been done here in regards to a huge land transaction in Cayman; much of this is and has been standard practice for many years.

    Where questions arise is McKeeva Bush using his political office and associate, Richard Parchment, to conduct his own personal business, which should have all been done from his real estate business office, to avoid even a hint of political corruption.

    If this is all the British officials and political opposition has to claim that McKeeva Bush is under police investigation and should resign, then they are treading on very flimsy ice…

    As all the voices of reason on this forum have been saying all along.

    If they want the elected political leader of the Cayman Islands to resign because of political corruption, they will have to come up with much more than this.

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  3. Jose P

    You obviously know very little of the history of any of this.

    Let me bring you up to date.

    Cayman’s first national hero is a man named Jim Bodden; his statue is the one that you see in Hero’s Square, right there in the middle of George Town.

    Jim Bodden was the man who laid the foundation of Cayman’s political leadership being tied to massive development deals with wealthy investors, both as a land-owner and realtor himself.

    And was honoured as a national hero for his contributions to Cayman’s development.

    Some of Jim Bodden’s land deals makes this McKeeva Bush thing look like a ‘storm-in-a-teacup’.

    The accusations of Cayman’s cabinet(then Exco) passing laws to facilitate major land development projects has been thrown around for years and years now…

    By people who simply don’t understand how the real world of money and politics works…

    In Cayman…and everywhere else on this planet we call earth.

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  4. One cannot but wonder if the Opposition cannot expect to win the hearts and votes of the majority of voters so they have decided to oust the Premier in the court of public opinion.
    For me I would have more confidence in the Opposition putting forth well thought out alternatives to solving some of Cayman’s problems over the attacks being replayed daily.

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  5. Firery,
    I dare say that I know as much about the history of these islands as most, having lived more of it than most that are around today. As for Mr. Jim I knew him well.
    I find it very strange that you seem to suggest that improper things happened in the past and therefore we should welcome them in the present. We have had many honest hard working people who served these islands as legislators over the years. Mr. Jim certainly never pulled down a monthly salary of over 12,000 per month while at the same time double dipping a pension and benefits worth about the same. I say that Cayman and Caymanians cannot afford and should not tolerate political corruption and we should have a zero tolerance of political corruption. Our politicians are paid extremely well to be public servants and those that try to line their pockets from political office should be put in jail.
    Do you actually believe that we should turn a blind eye to any level of political corruption? If we are going to allow any corruption then where do we draw the line?

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  6. Firery, are you referring to the leasing deals on sites like Villas of the Galleon?

    I remember writing that up as a story in 2007 and receiving threats because we had dared to make the then secret negotiations public.

    If anyone missed out on that, depite strong public protests, the 99-year leases taken out in 1950 on several packages of Crown land were renewed early for a relative pittance to retain the value of the buildings on the sites.

    Under the original lease the land should have reverted to the people of the Cayman islands in 2049, it now remains under outside control until something like 2105.

    CIG made a relatively small amount of money out of the deal but the owners or developers of the sites stood to make millions from the enhanced property values.

    The paperwork is available online if anyone wants to check out who signed off on this.

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  7. Jose P

    In case you haven’t noticed yet…if Bush’s version of this story is complete and honest, nothing illegal has been done here.

    And in the event that a police investigation that has taken two long years to AS YET BE COMPLETED…no official version has been presented to challenge his version of events….

    So, without proof to the contrary, we have to accept Bush’s version of events.

    The only issue that could have been investigated as official corruption here is if it could be alleged and proven that McKeeva Bush, as LOGB, had influenced Cabinet to re-zone land, from which he then profited by its sale, as the real estate agent who brokered the sale…that is the ONLY situation that could produce charges of official corruption.

    By all accounts, the Cabinet decision to allow the re-zoning of the land was a collective one and if there is corruption involved, they would ALL have to investigated along with Bush.

    This is now really beginning to look and sound like what McKeeva Bush claims it to be…

    A public opinion kangaroo court contrived by his enemies to drive him out of office before having to face him again in the upcoming 2013 elections.

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  8. Firery,

    Only a few people know all the facts and I am not one of them and I don’t think you are one of them either. Like many I hope that nothing wrong has occurred.

    I agree with you that no one should be convicted of anything without due process, but that does not mean we should blindly accept what we are told and not ask questions. As citizens who employ the politicians we should ask questions, particularly when things look unusual.

    That being said your conclusion that there is only one way in which a politician can misuse power is simply wrong. There are as many possibilities for corruption as there are crooked politicians. Rather than considering any specific situation, consider a hypothetical situation in which a fictional politician refuses to put forward a matter for consideration by government until he is paid by the party needing government approval. That would be illegal in most developed countries and in that scenario collective responsibility at the level of a cabinet would not even arise as the other politicians presumably could not be aware of what happened before the matter came before them.

    I don’t believe that there is any kangaroo court, but I do believe that there are lot of concerned citizens asking reasonable questions that should have been answered as soon as the issues arose, rather than letting things build up pressure for so long. Perhaps in the future politicians will avoid questionable actions and when questions arise future politicians will provide quick answers to citizens questions. At least we can hope.

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  9. Jose P

    Thanks for your direct response to my comments to you; I take it as a mark of mutual respect even though we might differ in views on this partiualar matter.

    First of all, let me address one statement made by yourself which needs clarification…I did not say that there is only one way a politician can abuse power…those are your words, as your own interpretation of mine.

    What I did say is that there is only one ‘legal’ interpretation of political corruption for which Premiere Bush could be charged and prosecuted and that is if he had, in some way influenced the re-zoning of the land in question…and then profited from its sale as the real estate agent brokering the sale…criminal charges are not a matter of opinion…they must be based on the law and backed up by evidence to prove them.

    Otherwise, anyone’s enemies could cook up all sorts of false accusations against them…and have them suffer the consequences, while being totally innocent of any wrongdoing.

    Another key point here is that…no direct allegations of any wrongdoing has been made by anyone against Bush.

    What has transpired is that this ‘real estate bill’ came up as evidence before Cayman’s courts in another matter and raised the concern of the judge overseeing the matter…the wording of the ‘bill’ and the fact that it was sent from Bush’s govt. fax would cause such concern.

    The judiciary then asked the RCIPS to look into the matter…no allegations can be made against Bush until and unless this ‘bill’ proves to be evidence of a politically corrupt act…until now, it has not.

    Bush’s explanation of the ‘bill’ and circumstances surrounding it are entirely plausible…if he did not dictate the wording of the letter/bill and his assistant used the wording that he did use initially..yes, the wording of the letter raises concerns…but a letter alone is no proof of anything.

    If, as Bush claims, with much cedibility to back it up, that this situation is being used to unseat him, then it is now up to the RCIPS to prove him wrong by…

    Wrapping up this investigation and bringing its findings forward to either refute Bush’s version of events or exonerate him from all suspicions of corruption…and they will have to present evidence that will stand up in court that Bush is lying…

    And evidence to prove corruption charges.

    While I am no Bush supporter, I actually detest the man…

    I believe in fair play for all…especially when one faces the prospect of criminal charges and the possibility of conviction.

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  10. Let us not overlook that your Editorial commenced with, We at the Caymanian Compass wonder what our readers who live outside of the country must think about the events occurring here over the past few weeks. and continued…. we believe what can only be described as an ongoing spectacle is not in the best interests of the country.
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    As one of those readers outside the country I wondered how long it would be for this question to be asked of us, and thank you Compass for raising it.

    Amongst our group the spectacle you also refer to, certainly is an embarrassment. I have no intention of being a harbinger, but doesn’t the Bible say a house divided against itself, will fall? And guess who is waiting to pick up the pieces?

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