Gives details of what happened during arrest
Blasting Cayman Islands Governor Duncan Taylor and Cayman’s police commissioner over his arrest on corruption and theft-related allegations earlier this month, former Premier McKeeva Bush provided a fair amount of detail concerning his arrest and the accusations against him.
Mr. Bush’s statements were made during a rowdy political gathering behind the George Town court house Thursday night, where some hundreds of supporters turned out to hear what the embattled politician, known as “the father of the house” for his 28 years in office, had to say.
The Caymanian Compass has published the full text of Mr. Bush’s comments with regard to the arrest and the allegations against him.
“After nearly three years of my being investigated by the governor and the commissioner of police, on Tuesday the 11th of December 2012 … a number of police, I believe about nine of them, attended my residence with a search warrant which they refused to show to the security officer,” Mr. Bush said.
“A search warrant signed by Justice Williams, the new judge that the governor brought, I believe, from Turks and Caicos, authorising the police to search my residence and my office at home for books and other items listed on the warrant on suspicion of theft of these items.
“The books were purchased by me on my government credit card in the House of Parliament book shop in London and another book shop in London because, as legislators we have no library. Our library was destroyed in the assembly by Ivan and I had to build a reference library in the Premier’s Office.
“The warrant lists these items: These books are from Thomas Telford bookshop in London, a selection of books titled ‘Crossline Structures and Break Waters’ ‘Dynamics of Marine Sands: Environmental Assessment’ ‘Coastal Zone Management’ – all to do with the problems we face as legislators.
The premier also listed a number of books purchased at the House of Parliament book shop. Some of titles he listed among the publications:
‘Sergeant for the Commons’, ‘Pistols at Dawn’, ‘Dodd’s House of Commons Procedure’, ‘House of Lords’, ‘House of Commons’, ‘A Radical History of Britain’, ‘The New British Constitution’, ‘Democracy’, ‘House Magazine MP Photo Guide’, ‘Times Guide to the House of Commons’, ‘the Coalition: Our Programme for Government’, ‘Constitution and Administrative Law’, ‘Britain’s Prime Ministers’, ‘All Will be Well’, ‘The Conservatives: a History’, ‘The Wicked Wit of Winston Churchill, Dishonorable Insults’, ‘The Clegg Coup’, ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’, ‘The Lost Art of the Great Speech’, ‘Westminster Hall’, ‘Order! Order! A Parliamentary Miscellany’, ‘Churchill: Power of Words and the Words of Our Time’.
Mr. Bush continued: “Personal items [requested in the warrant] include House of Commons A-5 notebooks, House of Commons marble pen with box and House of Commons marble pen. Other miscellaneous items listed on the warrant were from Fortnum and Masons London, a store in London: Four Fortnum and Masons canvass bags, a quantity of Fortnum and Masons embossed tea towels, ceramic goods purchase … all gifts for staff for the [Queen’s] Jubilee.
“I have an office at home from which I work and at which a number of government meetings are held.”
Here, Mr. Bush read the full text of the statement the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service released following his arrest on the morning of 11 December.
“The Premier of the Cayman Islands, McKeeva Bush (57), has been arrested and is currently detained in police custody in connection with a number of ongoing police investigations. Officers from the RCIPS Financial Crime Unit arrested Mr. Bush at around 7am this morning (Tuesday, 11 December, 2012) 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, and; Breach of trust, Abuse of office and Conflict of interest, contrary to Section 13, Section 17 and Section 19 of the Anti-Corruption Law 2008 respectively, in connection with the alleged importation of explosive substances without valid permits on or before February 2012.
“It would be inappropriate for the RCIPS to make any further comment in relation to these matters at this time. Further updates will be made available in due course.
Mr. Bush continued speaking about his arrest on 11 December.
“Contrary to rumours, I did not resist the search,” Mr. Bush said. “I was driven by the police to the Elizabethan Square building. They came, I asked them to show me the warrant; I asked if I could stay if they were going to search the house and they said no. I asked them if my driver could drive me in the vehicle, they said no. I went with them.
“Serious as it was when I sat down and listened to them I had to think ‘my God’. The public statements in relation to my arrest were orchestrated and issued prior to my arriving at Elizabethan Square and worldwide media was obviously advised in advance.
“The allegations in relation to the suspicion of theft relate to the purchase of the books which were in my home office and my paying for the pressing of clothes which myself and my wife wore to the Queen’s Jubilee celebration when we got there.
“The charging on my credit card for items for breakfast and some food items in the hotels where I stayed, and at the recommendation of personnel in my office, I had authorised the purchase of some items which are used to serve coffee, tea, snacks and lunches in my home and home office. The staff agreed that all of these items belonged to the government and at the end of my service as the premier would have to be returned to the Office of Premier. So I wasn’t to keep them.
“There were other allegations of use of my credit card in an allegation that my office had not been repaid approximately $10,000 over a period of four years,” Mr. Bush said. “All of these allegations are refuted and if charges are ever brought in relation to them, they will be rigorously defended and I am confident that those charges will be unsuccessful.
Mr. Bush then spoke briefly regarding the corruption-related accusations against him: “A further set of allegations in relation to a memorandum, which I sent to the collector of customs as premier and the minister of finance, along with a letter which was attached to the memorandum were made in respect of the importation of blasting materials by Midland Acres.
“My attorneys have written to the police in relation to these allegations many months ago, providing them a full explanation of the same. Additional allegations were made in respect of the ownership of Midland Acres. I refute the allegations. I have said publicly, I have done nothing wrong [or] unlawful. When any charges are ever brought they will be rigorously defended and I am confident that these charges will be unsuccessful.”
“They might have been right if they said I helped people, but not that I stole anything.
“It will all come to light in due course. My arrest on suspicion of these offences were made the day before I was to leave for Jamaica to receive an honorary doctorate. It is my opinion, and that of many others, that the arrest was carefully coordinated and orchestrated to disrupt my receiving the doctorate and providing the commencement address to the students of the university. And to engineer the removal or your democratically elected premier and government.
“On the advice of my attorneys at law, I was instructed not to answer any questions put to me by police. I was bailed to return to the police station in February 2013, God willing. I fully expect, as part of the orchestrated programme conducted by the governor and the commissioner of police that I will be charged any time prior to the election, which is due to be held in May 2013. My attorneys have advised that I should say nothing further on this matter at the present time.”