Tuesday was a dark day in the history of
the Cayman Islands as the country’s first premier, McKeeva Bush, was arrested
for suspicion of theft and, contrary to the Anti-Corruption Law 2008, breach of
trust, abuse of office and conflict of interest.
The news of his arrest spread almost as
fast around the world as it did throughout the Cayman Islands. Although Mr.
Bush has not, as of press time, been charged with any crime, – let alone been
convicted of one – his arrest is nonetheless a national embarrassment and it
will affect investor confidence in the Cayman Islands as a financial services
We have no doubt that Mr. Bush’s arrest
will lead to some anti-UK conspiracy theories, particularly when considering
the timing of his arrest. After nine months of a highly publicised
investigation, the police finally made an arrest the very day after the Legislative
Assembly adjourned for the rest of the year and just prior to a Cabinet meeting
with some important matters on the agenda. The Legislative Assembly can now not
bring a motion of no confidence against Mr. Bush until the next meeting of the
House, probably in late January or February.
Regardless of the timing issue and
regardless of whether Mr. Bush is actually charged or eventually convicted of
an imprisonable crime, his remaining premier going forward is untenable. The
Cayman Islands simply cannot have, as the leader of the country, someone who
has been arrested on suspicion of committing serious crimes. If a leader of
another democratic country were to be arrested on similar charges, he or she
would do the honourable thing and step down. Mr. Bush must not only stop down
as premier, he must also step down from his Cabinet position because he should
not be in a position to dictate national policy for the country after his
The eyes of the world are now focused on
the Cayman Islands and watching what happens here. If Mr. Bush refuses to do
the honourable thing and step aside at least until the police say they aren’t
going to bring charges or he is exonerated, the world will view our country as
something akin of a Banana Republic. This cannot be allowed to happen.