Both the Coalition for Cayman political group and two independent members of the Legislative Assembly called for Premier McKeeva 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.
“It will do immense harm to our credibility as an international business centre and a place to work and do business.”
The Coalition for Cayman sought to put Tuesday’s arrest in a positive light.
“While today is a sad day for the country with the announcement of the arrest of the Premier, it is also a day that sends a strong message that the Cayman Islands will take the appropriate action to ensure it remains an attractive place to do business and create economic opportunity for all,” the coalition members noted.
“We must always be careful not to prejudge anyone and allow the due process of the judicial system to run its course. However, as a nation we must be clear that we will not tolerate corruption in any form, and we feel it is in the best interest of our country that Premier Bush step down from office immediately as the judicial process runs its course.”
North Side MLA Ezzard Miller struck a similar tone in his comments during a press conference at the Legislative Assembly building.
“It sends a clear message to the local and international community that we are a country that respects the rule of law and no one is above the law,” said Mr. Miller.
Mr. Miller said in some ways, Cayman’s reputation could be enhanced by Mr. Bush’s arrest.
“It should strike a serious blow to the perception that we are a very corrupt society,” he said.
The People’s Progressive Movement called the premier’s arrest “a grave situation” for the Cayman Islands in a statement released around noon Tuesday.
“The social and economic interests of these Islands depend on Mr. Bush’s colleagues in the Cabinet and on the Government Backbench acting swiftly and resolutely in this matter to return normalcy to the operations of Government and to prevent the further haemorrhaging of the country’s image and reputation.
“Accepted international best practice and the conventions of the Westminster system of government provide clear guidance as to the course of action that ought now to be followed by Mr. Bush and his Cabinet and supporting backbench MLAs.”
Governor Duncan Taylor also issued a brief statement about Mr. Bush’s arrest, disavowing any direct involvement in the matter.
“The conduct of criminal investigations in the Cayman Islands is a matter for the Police Commissioner. If evidence is brought to his attention which leads him to suspect that an offence or offences may have been committed, I expect him to carry out a robust, fair and comprehensive investigation, regardless of the individual concerned. I am confident that the Police Commissioner will ensure that this applies to the ongoing investigations involving the Premier.
“I would like to reassure the people of the Cayman Islands of my commitment and that of the whole of the Cayman Islands Government to ensure the continued effective functioning of the government and the continued efficient delivery of services to the public.”