Connolly: ‘The Caymanian people lost’

Independents don’t agree on verdict

The two non-Progressives party members on the Cayman Islands government backbench expressed divergent views regarding Thursday’s “not guilty” verdict against former Premier McKeeva Bush.  

George Town MLA Winston Connolly was disappointed in the jury’s verdict.  

“The Caymanian people lost [Thursday] and the message sent to our people is a sad one,” Mr. Connolly said in a written statement. “However, the process was in accordance with the rule of law and we showed the world that no one is above the law. We arrested and put on trial the highest office in the land for alleged wrongdoings. 

“That is the only thing I’m proud of with this result. If people don’t have an issue with this, then I feel sorry for us all and where we are as a country.”  

George Town MLA Roy McTaggart was more reserved.  

“Our judicial system has worked,” Mr. McTaggart said. “Mac [referring to Mr. Bush] was judged by a jury of his peers and found ‘not guilty.’ As far as I am concerned, that should be the end of the story.”  

Mr. McTaggart did not elaborate. But Mr. Connolly went on to state that the territory’s former governor, Duncan Taylor, was “desperate to see the situation change and his words were unfortunate.”  

During the trial, numerous email communications between Mr. Taylor and a U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office official were revealed, noting, among other things, that Mr. Taylor intended to have a “quiet bottle of bubbly” once criminal charges were filed against Mr. Bush. The former premier has alleged that the emails were proof of a conspiracy that the United Kingdom and some local officials were determined to remove him from office.  

During his summation of the case, visiting Judge Michael Mettyear had explained that, even if were proved that the governor and others had a political motivation for removing Mr. Bush, it would be no defense to the charges against him.  

Mr. Justice Mettyear said ex-Governor Taylor’s emails to the U.K. foreign office may have fallen short of the “restraint, detachment and independence” expected of his office. But he said the emails and the suggestion of a conspiracy had little bearing on the guilt or innocence of the defendant. He said there was no suggestion that any evidence against Mr. Bush had been fabricated.  

“If you think the former governor believed, rightly or wrongly, that the defendant was corrupt and his actions were to the detriment of the Cayman Islands, you may view his apparent enthusiasm to have Mr. Bush charged and his celebratory attitude … in a different light,” the judge noted.  

Mr. Connolly defended his initial words about the governor and trial verdict on Friday.  

“I’m a simple man, raised in a Christian household by Christian parents,” he said. “They taught me right from wrong. I’m also a proud Caymanian who wants the best for my country and my people. I stated my opinion and my viewpoint and in a democratic society that is my right. Just like those who have a different viewpoint.  

“If I don’t stand for integrity and principle what message am I sending my son and my family?”  

1 COMMENT

  1. Is Mr. Connolly suggesting that Mr. Bush should have been found guilty even if he did not commit a crime because it would have been in the best interest of the Caymanian people. I don’t think that is the case but this article would seem to suggest otherwise.

    Most people that I know do have an issue with how public funds have been spent by politicians over the years and would like to see controls put in place to prevent any further abuse of the system; but no right-minded person would ever suggest that someone be sent to prison if they have not committed a crime.

    Mr. Bush he was judged by a jury of his peers and found ‘not guilty’ and that verdict should be respected.

  2. In just a few words I am going to say Mr Winston Connolly, you of all people have surprised me. Really surprised me. I will leave it right there, because Everything good fe eat is not good fe talk.

  3. I don’t vote in West Bay and I have mixed feelings about Mr. Bush. However, he received a fair trial and was vindicated when a jury listened to the evidence and found that he had not broken the law. Surely that is nothing to be distraught about? Would you have preferred that a jury found that he had not broken the law but convicted him anyway? That type of outcome might be expected in places like Iran and North Korea, but not in the Cayman Islands. There is no doubt that Mr. Bush made some poor choices, but he didn’t break the law when he gambled in Las Vegas or the Bahamas as it is legal there. The use of his government-issued credit card to temporarily fund his gambling was also not illegal. It’s a shame that so many will disagree with my comments supporting the sanctity of receiving a fair trial in this country, whether or not the verdict was the one that the thumbs-downer wanted to see.

  4. Mr. Conolly…

    As a career lawyer, we would expect better from you except that you are now a career politician, so that excuses you from any real criticism, which I don’t wish my comments to the taken as.

    Even with an educated layman’s understanding of the law, it is evident that the legal point on which Mr. Bush was acquitted was retroactivity of a law or regulation.

    As a lawyer, I shouldn’t need to remind you that one cannot have broken a law or rule that was not officially in existence or effect at the time of the alleged criminal offense…if there is no law or rule, there can be no offense…its as simple as that.

    If your views are based on a personal opinion or viewpoint of a moral issue, that is an entirely different thing altogether.

    In a courtroom, however, when a person’s entire life can be riding on the line, only the law counts for anything and you would have wanted to judged by those same principles as Mr. Bush has been had it been you standing in the dock.

  5. What you can clearly see from the comments in this story and some of the responses is that the FCO have at least partly achieved what I suspect were their aims here.

    Nobody in their right mind would have expected McKeeva to be convicted on what were at best legally questionable allegations and when Duncan Taylor’s insane emails to Tony Bates surfaced the outcome was inevitable.

    So what were the FCO really up to? My guess is this was all simply a move to exploit differences within the Cayman Islands community and undermine any cohesive moves to stand up to the Governor’s authority in future.

    If I’m correct they’ve done a pretty good job. At least one senior civil servant has been made to look like a complete idiot in court. Political divisions and distrust have also, thanks to another online forum, been very publicly raised (what we’d call back in the UK a slagging match) to fever pitch.

    And while everyone has been focused on this nonsense attention has been distracted from the real issues of things like crime, unemployment and the economy. This is the old diktat of corrupt leaders throughout history – If things look bad start a war – and that’s just what the FCO appears to have done.

    My advice – walk away from this and concentrate on the real issues.