Mac lashes out at election observer plan

Telling a group of Bodden Town supporters that the United Kingdom was merely seeking to further embarrass the Cayman Islands, former Premier McKeeva Bush said he would urge local lawmakers to fight a plan to bring outside observers into Cayman for the 22 May 
general election.  

Mr. Bush said he would file a private members’ motion in the upcoming meeting of the Legislative Assembly asking elected members to reject the election observers proposal.  

“These observers usually come from all over the Commonwealth,” Mr. Bush said, addressing a group of a few hundred supporters from a podium Tuesday evening in the parking lot of the Bodden Town post office. “They are only held in countries where the deepest electoral problems exist; none of which exist or existed in these Islands.  

“We believe this is only one more attempt to embarrass these Islands and we are going to say no to it.”  

Private members’ motions in the Legislative Assembly can be brought by any elected member, whether government backbencher or opposition member. There is no legal effect if the motion is passed, other than to advise the government of members’ wishes on a particular topic.  

According to written communications read out by Cayman Islands Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly during a press briefing last week, the UK foreign minister Mark Simmonds asked Cayman to “invite” foreign observers to witness the 22 May general election.  

No specific reasons for why the UK would want election observers in Cayman for the 22 May vote were given.  

Ms O’Connor-Connolly did not immediately commit to either allowing or not allowing the observers.  

“We are not averse to this in principle, even though Cayman has had free and fair elections for decades,” she said. “We need to check if it would comply with Cayman’s Elections Law and it requires very careful presentation or it could be seen as very damaging to our reputation.”  

Minister Simmonds said he was “encouraged” to note that Cayman was not averse to the idea. “I support this,” he said. “It is good practice for mature democracies.” 

Minister Simmonds noted that other British Overseas Territories, including the British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands, had recently entertained overseas observers in their elections.  

However, Mr. Bush said Tuesday evening that another British Overseas Territory, Bermuda, recently rejected UK observers during its most recent election cycle without negative effect.  

There were no major problems reported during that vote, Mr. Bush said, even though the election led to a major shake-up in power and a switch 
in political parties leading the territory.  

“[Cayman] election officials have always operated at the highest level of integrity and honesty,” Mr. Bush said. “We have nothing to hide, but this request would give a negative impression of these Islands.”  

Former Premier Bush made no mention Tuesday night of the criminal investigation proceeding against him, for which he has blamed a conspiracy led by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office that he has said sought to remove him from power.  

Mr. Bush was removed as premier following his 11 December arrest in a ‘no confidence’ vote of the majority of Legislative Assembly members.  

He has not been charged with any crimes and has denied any criminal wrong-doing.  

That 18 December vote led to the formation of Cayman’s current ‘minority government’ of five members who do not represent a majority of the 15 elected members of the house. Mr. Bush has said he believes the current government to be ‘unconstitutional’, but has declined to challenge it in court.  


Mr. Bush

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the all-access pass for the Cayman Compass.

Subscribe now


  1. As a political Scientist I am appalled at the utterance of this man! If you have nothing to hide why block the plans of Election Observer. Having election observer shows the strength of the democracy in ones country and if Cayman pass the test of free and fair election then it will be an example for other country to follow! Come on Mr. Bush I expect better! Talk Issues! Talk Policies how to make Cayman Better! The Politics of the 1990s have no place in the 21st century!

  2. BWOY, the nerve of this man..ONLY thing embarrassing Cayman is YOU,Mac. Tell the truth,you don’t want international observation of the elections because you afraid they gonna Observe all your dirty politricks…

  3. I must support Mr Bush comments of the Cayman Islands objecting to an Election Observer, and surely andy Caymanian who have one bit of common sence should be insulted by this. What country in the world is this done except countries with Political unrest. FairAndbalance, you are not being honest in your approach to this. However I strongly believe that this is one election God will watch over. The praying people are too great and the tricksters are too few. Honestly do Caymanians think this sounds nice to the open world? It is not necessary, and I am truly sorry for you all.

  4. When I first learned about this my thought was that Mr. Bush would be the one to complain the loudest. If you have nothing to fear there is nothing to hide. let the observers in in Cayman does not need to fear. mac may have fears but what does that tell you?

  5. @ Hunter On May 4, 2010 A team of 11 observers from Commonwealth countries has arrived to watch how the UK election – The UK has not been a State with political unrest! Your analysis is wrong. I can show you many other states that is free of political unrest that have no objection to Election Observers! Election Observers are there to watch the procedures and make recommendation to make elections better across the world Just May be the Cayman System is s a utopia that other country can follow. Are you selfish enough to keep the Cayman model for yourself? SMH WHAT BUSH IS SAYING IS PETTY POLITICS! I AM THINKING NOW THAT IT IS TIME FOR HIM TO RETIRE!

  6. Our first/worst former Premier has never missed an opportunity to hit below the belt. His quotes are inflammatory, condescending and insulting. We are not children and there are many of us that don’t follow the puppet master. The Governor can and should make the observers happen for this extremely important election. There’s just too much at stake with serious allegations sounding the leader of a party vying for control of our government. We do need the observers plain and simple.

  7. Everyone here has a good points, I do agree that if there is nothing to hide observers should not be an issue. But I tend to side with Hunter on this, that it will produce an unnecessary negative impression of the Cayman Islands election process to the rest of the world and rope them in with other countries that have major issues. And it is not outside of reality to think that this may be the intention of certain folks. So my position would be that unless they have valid reasons or concerns for feeling the need to observe this election process they have no need to be there.

  8. I think Mr. Bush is right on this one. If this country has not had the problems that other countries have had in their elections, why now does the UK want to come here? It gives the wrong impression to the outside world. The UK should stick to their own problems as their economy is faltering with their rating being downgraded. And it is those people that want to give us advice? Please. The worse part is that some of these ignorant people who in their quest to continue bashing Mr. Bush also continue are being most detrimental to the Cayman Islands. Shame on you people! You are probably the same people that think we should live off of planting mangoes and fishing and that you don’t need to travel to get business done.

  9. We believe this is only one more attempt to embarrass these Islands and we are going to say no to it.

    McKeeva Bush…YOU are the real embarrassment to the Cayman Islands and the real reason the UK sees any need to suggest independent observors for the May 2013 general elections.

  10. Transparency, this is what we all cry out for; so why are people objecting the UK observing our election process. Could it be because some individuals receive gifts from politicians during election season and do not what this to stop or because there have been rumoured campaigning done at various polling stations on election day.

    Personally I feel the UK should come and observe and that all those opposed have something to fear. Bad press has always been a burden for the Caymanian people to bear given our past in the financial industry. The best way to counteract bad press is by showing that we have nothing to hide.

    Stop being so naive we are under UK rule and they have the right to demand to observe; but they were pleasant enough to ask first.

  11. Normal democracies invite all democratic countries to bring in observers for elections. Meaning all, who wants to come. Because for democracy it is very important to be transparent and countries should support democratic processes in each other. This applies to all Europe and maybe other countries.

    Some super democracies, like US, as far as I know, who forbid any foreign observation at their elections. I leave for US Citizens to judge how transparent / democratic it is.

    So, what’s the deal for Cayman joining to this? Increased transparency. Ask UK to invite Cayman representatives to UK elections too, if you feel intimidated.

  12. Boy, the haters are out in force today..Election observers are nothing new, nor are they to be feared or do they have secret agendas. We should ALL be glad that someone is providing oversight in an election given the allegations of election misconduct which were reported last time and not acted upon because of political pressure..

  13. So many comments bashing Bush. Could we not speak about the issues? The issue is Transparency versus our Reputation it seems. An expat can always take our reputation lightly because they don’t live here. Then again, some amongst us may want an election where they can break the rules.

  14. I think what bothers me most about this is that the Cayman Islands has a free, and mostly non-aligned, media who are by the nature of their profession going to be observing these elections. In all likelihood media organisations from outside the Cayman Islands, whose representatives are specifically excluded from work permit requirements, will also be in attendance.

    So just what the heck is Mark Simmonds trying to prove here?

  15. Good Point Bodden, the election is what 90 Days or so away. And maybe I’ve missed it but what ideas or solutions have any of the candidates brought up ? I heard them point out what the other has or hasn’t done. But I’d would really have a lot of respect for the first one that come out and speaks about the issues and valid realistic and sustainable suggestions on how to deal with them. It would be nice to see someone who is less concerned about the past and has a good idea of how to take Cayman into the future..

    I am sick of hearing one bashing the other while nothing gets done.

  16. Evjon and NJ2Cay – I think we are all aware that Cayman HAS had issues with elections in the past in particular in the 2009 elections where the reminder cards were handed at polling stations with the names of candidates of the UDP on it. But aside from that overseas observers are not as strange as many posters seem to believe. According to the linked article
    …having outside observers has become a relatively standard procedure in elections, for instance in all member countries of the Organisation of Security and Co-operation in Europe, so that the last US and UK elections had observers.

    The two most recent elections in Overseas Territories, in the British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands, had observers from invited Commonwealth Parliamentary Association branches.

    – See more at:

    My concern would be that we may not have sufficient observers to cover all the polling stations or that they are not sufficiently vigilant and give us a clean bill of health when that may not be so.

    As for conspiracy theories, this is just more propaganda from Bush and his supporters so that the gullible will defend him if and when he is finally charged.