Bush: House committee should review airport board

Opposition leader says he has evidence of violations of protocol

Updated: Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush’s motion calling for the formation of a select committee of the Legislative Assembly to investigate various allegations at the Cayman Islands Airports Authority was defeated late Thursday

Voting for the motion were Mr. Bush and West Bay MLAs Bernie Bush and Capt. Eugene Ebanks. Voting against the motion were Premier Alden McLaughlin, Minister Kurt Tibbetts, Minister Osbourne Bodden, Minister Wayne Panton, Minister Marco Archer, George Town MLA Winston Connolly, George Town MLA Roy McTaggart, George Town MLA Joey Hew and Bodden Town MLA Alva Suckoo.

Minister Tara Rivers, Bodden Town MLA Anthony Eden and East End MLA Arden McLean abstained from voting. Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell and North Side MLA Ezzard Miller were absent.  

Original story: Accusing senior airport managers and Cayman Islands Airports Authority board members of lying to legislators and interfering in personnel decisions, Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush asked Thursday that a special committee of the Legislative Assembly be convened to review exactly what was going on at the authority since December 2012.  

Mr. Bush produced what he referred to as “documentary evidence” of alleged violations of protocol and procedure that included airport board members ordering the conclusion of an internal personnel investigation into whether an IT manager used a government computer to access large numbers of pornography websites while at work. 

Mr. Bush also alleged that former acting authority chief executive officer Kerith McCoy’s decision-making authority was interfered with on numerous occasions prior to his “retirement” in 2013. 

Private members motion  

While debating a private members motion seeking the appointment of a House committee on privilege to review the issue, Mr. Bush read a letter Mr. McCoy wrote to the board of directors questioning some decisions that were taken without knowledge or consultation with the former chief executive.  

“This approach has put me in the tenuous position of not being fully involved in matters for which I am accountable,” Mr. Bush read from Mr. McCoy’s letter.  

“Don’t tell me that there’s no proof that somebody was messing around in public affairs,” Mr. Bush said.  

Mr. Bush said the claims Mr. McCoy was making about board interference in airport operations were the same as those the auditor general’s office had looked into regarding the previous airports authority board, led by then-chairman Dick Arch.  

Anti-corruption probe  

The opposition leader pointed out an anti-corruption probe that came as a result of that review and other allegations made against the former board had been investigated and that no charges had been laid against anyone. 

Mr. Bush said he had requested a similar audit be completed on the actions of the current airports board, but that he had received no response.  

“The uproar it caused with the last board, that came about with much interest form certain aspects of the media,” Mr. Bush said. “All that happened because they claimed the board was not conducting good governance.” 

Legislative privilege 

During the discussion, Premier Alden McLaughlin asked Mr. Bush about the relevance of introducing all of this information, including various board and staff communications during 2013 if what he wished to review concerned matters of legislative privilege.  

“I’m not sure how it relates to any breach of privileges of this House,” Mr. McLaughlin said.  

Premier McLaughlin later questioned Mr. Bush’s motives. 

“I have had to form a view that the reason for this motion was actually given by the leader of the opposition at the start of his presentation [Thursday] morning, when he went into the situation with the previous board that was appointed under [Mr. Bush’s] administration,” Mr. McLaughlin said. 

He added, “This motion has much more to do with retribution than actually dealing with any breach of privilege of the house,” he said. 

Mr. Bush said that the government was acting to protect the airports authority board it appointed “plus other things.”  

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