They were labeled “the cutthroats” by McKeeva Bush supporters during the last election, but three former members of government who voted “no confidence” in the administration formerly led by Mr. Bush said last week they probably would have done the same if faced with a similar decision now.
The Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly voted 11-3 in favor of a “no confidence” motion brought by then-Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin on Dec. 18, 2012. The vote, supported by then-United Democratic Party members Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, Rolston Anglin, Cline Glidden Jr., Mark Scotland and Dwayne Seymour led to Mr. Bush’s ouster as premier and the formation of a minority government in the run-up to the May 2013 general election. Ms. O’Connor-Connolly and Mr. Seymour did not return calls or emails seeking comment.
United Democratic Party [now known as the Cayman Democratic Party] members Mike Adam, Ellio Solomon and Capt. Eugene Ebanks voted to oppose the no confidence motion. The vote came a week after Mr. Bush’s arrest on suspicion of theft involving a government credit card and anti-corruption offenses related to the importation of explosive materials. The former premier saw those allegations against him dropped and ended up facing trial on public misconduct and breach of trust charges in the credit card case, for which he was acquitted on Thursday.
The former education minister, Mr. Anglin, said he and his party colleagues at the time could not have known the outcome of a criminal trial that took place nearly two years after the no confidence vote and also did not know specifics of the police investigation at the time they took the decision.
“You have to look at circumstances in front of you at the time,” Mr. Anglin said. “How many people would even get married today if they knew now what they knew then?”
He and his four colleagues broke away from the UDP and formed the People’s National Alliance to become the interim government after the no confidence vote in the sitting government.
Mr. Glidden said he stood by the decision made by members of the People’s National Alliance in December 2012, but noted that what Mr. Bush was accused of at the time turned out to be quite different than what he ended up being charged with in March 2013.
“They arrested him and said … charges are going to be forthcoming for theft,” Mr. Glidden said. “You have to assume that they’re making the decisions in the best interests of all parties involved.
“They shared no information with us. They said ‘he’s been arrested and we feel we have the information to charge.’” Mr. Scotland said he wouldn’t have done anything differently.
“The decision in 2012 had nothing to do with [the outcome of the trial],” the former health minister said. “We asked McKeeva to step aside because he was arrested, not because he was guilty. I’m glad he was found not guilty.”
Mr. Glidden concurred. “As a friend of [Mr. Bush’s], I’m glad he’s done what was necessary. He has always said that he was innocent now and he’s defended that. That can only be good from a justice standpoint.”
Mr. Glidden said he didn’t believe emails sent back and forth between former Governor Duncan Taylor and Foreign and Commonwealth Office official Tony Bates that were released at Mr. Bush’s trial amounted to a U.K. conspiracy in and of themselves. However, he said the move to arrest Mr. Bush at his home on specific allegations of theft in December 2012 that were dropped in 2013 were of more concern.
“Are you saying that when that arrest was made, the legal powers-that-be were not in the possession of the evidence to see whether that charge would stick or not?” Mr. Glidden asked.
Mr. Anglin said there was an issue of accountability in the prosecution of Mr. Bush and said he felt the members of the former government had been lied to.
“[The authorities] did seek to simply try to utilize what McKeeva Bush did on his own time to try to convict him in the jury’s mind,” Mr. Anglin said. “We have too many people in this country who are not held to any level of account. Some people that hold powerful positions that are around the judicial system.
“We need to stop dancing around that. There are too many positions of power that people have no real level of account.”
For his part, Mr. Bush said he harbored no ill will toward any of the members of the People’s National Alliance and would even consider taking them back into the Cayman Democratic Party’s fold.
“The party hasn’t thrown out anybody,” Mr. Bush said. “The party’s open for anybody of good repute to join. I’m not a person that holds grudges and hard feelings.”