Prosecution closes its case against former premier
McKeeva Bush, the former leader of the Cayman Islands, declined to answer any questions from police about his credit card use, labeling the investigation a “witch hunt,” and remained silent during interviews, the jury in his trial heard.
Details of Mr. Bush’s arrest and interviews were read into evidence, along with a transcript of a media interview with the former premier as the prosecution closed its case on Wednesday afternoon.
“I am of the opinion that this is a witch hunt designed to embarrass me in my political office and to tarnish the reputation of the Cayman Islands.
“I have done nothing wrong. I don’t wish to make any statement or answer any questions at this time, and I have been advised by my attorney at law to remain silent,” Mr. Bush told police officers during an interview on Dec. 12, 2012. He declined to answer any further questions.
He was interviewed again on March 19 of the following year and again remained silent, stating only that he was the victim of a “politically motivated witch hunt.”
Mr. Bush did give some response to the allegations against him in an interview with the Cayman Net News on Jan. 30, 2013.
The United Democratic Party leader told the interviewer that the business of the country could not be conducted in “bars or at domino tables,” and that travel – though expensive – was necessary.
He said he had tried to cut costs on foreign trips by ironing his own clothes and washing his own “socks and underclothes,” according to the interview transcript.
He told the interviewer that he had incurred expenditure on his credit card for security guards, an expenditure he had been required to repay, stating that he was not provided with any “armed security by the powers that be,” despite receiving threats.
“I paid for my armed security when I went overseas and I was advised to do that by two regional bodies … security is security and you’re not supposed to let anyone know who your security is, especially when I knew I was being watched …. I took it off my credit card and I paid it when the bill came back,” Mr. Bush told the interviewer, according to the transcript.
“Who is going to steal from a credit card? You get your bill every month,” he added.
The interview transcripts were submitted into evidence along with various documents, the details of which are not disputed by the prosecution or the defense.
Those documents included detailed records of transactions on Mr. Bush’s personal credit cards and government credit card, as well as his slot-machine activity.
The prosecution says the records show that Mr. Bush withdrew more than US$400,000 on his personal cards and nearly US$50,000 on his government card during 11 trips to the U.S. and the Bahamas in 2009 and 2010.
They say at least some of the money withdrawn on his government card was used to gamble in slot machines.