Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush on Tuesday told a roomful of people, which included the current and past Cayman Islands’ governors, that he might not seek a Cabinet position or the premiership if he were to win a Legislative Assembly seat and his party were successful at winning the government in the next election.
The premier made the comments at the annual Cayman Islands London reception on Tuesday night.
“I said that I didn’t know if I would be seeking executive office,” Mr. Bush said on Thursday during a telephone interview. “I said I was tired, that I had a distinct disrespect and weariness of the atmosphere existing in the relationship with the Governor’s Office and the UK that I am put through today because of the financial mess left by Alden McLaughlin and the PPM. I said I was praying about the decision, but I would decide by the time of the party conference in January.”
Mr. Bush is travelling with a delegation in London for the annual Joint Ministerial Council meetings between British Overseas Territories and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and other UK government ministers. The Cayman Islands London Office reception is a usual part of the meetings.
In the telephone interview, Mr. Bush said he said something similar to what he said at the reception in a sitting of the Legislative Assembly last week during one of the debates.
Although the premier said he had made no definitive decision about seeking executive office, he said he had already decided that he will once again pursue a Legislative Assembly seat in West Bay.
“I will definitely seek reelection for my constituency in West Bay, which have elected me seven times,” he said. “I have served them with the best of my abilities and the people are better off for it… which is now recognised throughout the Caribbean.”
Mr. Bush said the consideration of possibly not seeking a Cabinet position or to be premier had nothing to do with any of the police investigations involving him that were announced earlier this year.
“This is not because of a police investigation or a dynamite issue that never existed – the dynamite non-issue, I call it,” he said. “This is because of the financial mess that Alden left that has given the control of our budget now to the UK.”
Mr. Bush said it has been very tough putting the Cayman Islands back on the right financial trajectory.
“Whether I’m seeking executive office or not, if the country wants to get ahead, it had better leave Alden McLaughlin behind because the country cannot deal with four more years of his arrogance, bullying, borrowing, spending and mismanagement.”
Mr. McLaughlin didn’t take much stock in Mr. Bush saying he might not seek to be premier again.
“More likely than not, it is just one of Mr. Bush’s political stunts,” he said on Thursday, adding that the country has heard Mr. Bush say on many occasions that he might not run for reelection or he might step aside from the UDP leadership.
“It is something that he ought to have done some time ago… from the moment he came under investigation by police he should have stepped aside as premier,” he said.“This is coming rather late in the day.” Mr. McLaughlin said there’s a present perception in Cayman that any party led by Mr. Bush is unlikely to win the government in the next election.
“Indicating to the country that he would not be the leader may improve the chances of other UDP candidates,” Mr. McLaughlin said.
Compass reporter Brent Fuller contributed to this article.