Premiers’ war of words heats up

Premier McKeeva Bush sent an open letter to the premier of Bermuda Paula Cox this week demanding she end her “antagonistic” behaviour towards him. 

In the letter dated 2 August and published in Bermuda’s Royal Gazette newspaper Monday, 6 August, Mr. Bush said: “As Cayman’s premier, I consider your statements, your behaviour, as the Bermuda premier — to be wholly unjustified, and downright antagonistic.” 

“I have lost track of how many occasions in recent times you have, in your capacity as premier of Bermuda made attacks on me, as Cayman’s premier; but there have been several. Until now, I have not spoken as premier of the Cayman Islands to ever rebut or answer you back. I have never, but now I say, please; this must stop,” said Mr. Bush. 

According to a story which ran in the Royal Gazette Tuesday, when contacted later by the newspaper, Mr. Bush said he was well within his rights to send an open letter to Ms Cox, saying the newspaper had run stories with attacks on him from “that woman”, referring to Ms Cox. 

“You have carried stories about myself from the premier of Bermuda… and not once have I replied,” Mr. Bush told the paper. 

The newspaper reported that when its reporter asked Mr. Bush about police investigations connected with him, he hung up. 

Cayman’s premier was apparently responding in his letter to Ms Cox’s recent comments in which she said Mr. Bush had disparaged Bermuda to cover up problems he was facing in Cayman. 

She told the Royal Gazette last month: “This is not the first time he has made disparaging remarks about other jurisdictions in order to cover up the problems that he has had to address in his own country.” 

She made those comments in response to a statement by Mr. Bush in which, justifying the imposition of a proposed 10 per cent expat tax, he compared Cayman to other jurisdictions, stating: “There is no racial tension here; people can own as many vehicles as they want; they can own property; they can buy their own home; and there’s no other kind of taxation. We have first class infrastructure here. None of our competitors are in as good a position as us.”  

In February, Premier Bush told the annual Insurance-Linked Securities Summit that Cayman aimed to poach insurance business from Bermuda – the largest off-shore re-insurance market. 

He said: “We have shown that we can grow, without the malice, without the inhibitions of race, without the inhibitions of transport – or have you seen many of you riding on scooters with a child on the back holding on for dear life trying to get to primary school?” he said.  

At that time, the Bermuda premier shot back, saying: “Bermuda is focused on extending its lead, while Cayman speaks about closing the gap.” 

In his letter in the Royal Gazette Monday, Mr. Bush told Ms Cox “to concentrate on what can help Bermudans survive in these critical days, just as McKeeva Bush is trying to do for Caymanians”. 

“The fact is, as Cayman’s premier, I have never attacked any other country, including Bermuda, not even when its premier consistently attacks me. I consider my relationships with all regional territories to be highly amicable,” Mr. Bush continued. 

“My advice is you should stop attacking me and use your energy to move the good islands of Bermuda forward,” Mr. Bush told Ms Cox in the letter. 

Paula Cox

Ms Cox

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