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?”