Updated 6.45pm Tuesday: Members of the United Democratic Party Cabinet arrived at Premier Bush’s West Bay home after dark Tuesday evening following his release from police custody.
Updated 5pm Tuesday: Premier Bush was released from police custody just before 5pm, according to the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.
Mr. Bush was released on bail and was expected to return to face further police questioning on Wednesday.
Update 12:30pm: The United Democratic Party leadership issued the following statement on Tuesday afternoon following the arrest of Premier and party leader McKeeva Bush.
“We, as a caucus, were informed [Tuesday] morning that the Hon. Premier was arrested.
“The matter is the subject of police investigation and no comments relating to the particulars of this matter can be made at this time.
“We the government fully understand the gravity of this matter. We confirm that caucus is presently convened, and further statements will be issued in due course.”
Update 10:15am: The ruling United Democratic Party leadership is said to be meeting in caucus at this hour to determine how the government will proceed, according to sources within the administration. There is no word yet on whether Mr. Bush will step aside from his leadership role as a result of Tuesday’s arrest by police.
Update 9:30am: A Caymanian Compass journalist on scene at Premier Bush’s home in West Bay reports that the house is now being searched by the RCIPS.
Initial story: The Premier of the Cayman Islands, William McKeeva Bush, 57, was arrested in connection with a number of ongoing police investigations, according to a press release issued by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Tuesday morning.
Officers from the RCIPS Financial Crime Unit arrested Mr. Bush at around 7am at his home in West Bay.
Mr. Bush has been arrested on suspicion of:
• Theft in connection with financial irregularities relating to the alleged misuse of a Government credit card
• Breach of trust, Abuse of office and Conflict of interest, contrary to S13, S17 and S19 of the Anti-Corruption Law 2008 respectively, in connection with the alleged importation of explosive substances without valid permits on or before February 2012.
No charges had been filed against the premier at this point.
Police had cordoned off an area around Mr. Bush’s home in West Bay Tuesday morning, letting only family members through.
Mr. Bush had been taken to George Town Police Station following his arrest, the newspaper has learned.
The stunning revelations that Mr. Bush was involved in three police investigations were made public this April as Royal Cayman Islands Police released a statement regarding the latest developments.
The police statement about the matter from April read: “The RCIPS can confirm that there are a number of investigations currently ongoing involving the Premier of the Cayman Islands, the Hon. McKeeva Bush.
“One involves allegations of financial irregularities in relation to a land deal.
“In addition, a further allegation of financial irregularities has been made which is entirely separate from the first investigation.
“Finally, allegations have been made in relation to the involvement of the premier in the periphery of a recent incident where a quantity of explosives were imported to the Cayman Islands without the necessary permit”
Mr. Bush’s political opponents called Tuesday for his resignation from the premier’s post.
Both the Coalition for Cayman political group and two independent members of the Legislative Assembly called for Premier Bush to immediately resign from office following news of Mr. Bush’s arrest.
“If the premier does not step down, the United Democratic Party should take appropriate action,” according to a statement released by the coalition.
“It does not serve us well to have someone charged of crimes and being our leader,” East End MLA Arden McLean said. “The UDP must realise now that [Mr. Bush] cannot effectively, efficiently or democratically lead this country.”
Members of the People’s Progressive Movement also urged Mr. Bush and his colleagues to follow “accepted international best practice”, presumably meaning that the premier should step aside although the PPM statement did not specify.
“The arrest of the premier is a hugely damaging body blow to the reputation of these Islands and to confidence in our government,” the PPM statement read.