The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has defended former Governor Duncan Taylor’s conduct during the investigation of McKeeva Bush.
An FCO spokesperson did not respond to direct questions from the Cayman Compass about emails sent by Mr. Taylor to a foreign office official as the inquiry into Mr. Bush’s use of his government credit card progressed, responding instead with a broad statement of support.
The emails were produced by the defense to support its theory that Mr. Bush was the victim of a plot by Mr. Taylor, the FCO and others to leverage the police investigation to oust the sitting premier from office.
The messages, excerpts of which were read to the court, appear to show the governor pushing for charges to be brought before the general election, tipping off journalists, and expressing a desire for police to be photographed carrying boxes from Mr. Bush’s home and office.
The FCO did not address those specifics in its statement, saying only that the former governor’s comments were “not relevant.”
The spokesperson said, “Governors of the British Overseas Territories take their constitutional roles seriously. Where there is evidence that someone in high office is suspected of wrongdoing, it is right that the governor ensures the allegations are properly and swiftly investigated by the competent authorities.
“It is right that the allegations against Mr. Bush were subject to a full investigation. The decision to prosecute was a matter for the independent Director for Public Prosecutions.
“The former governor’s comments are not relevant to the outcome of either the investigation or the trial. The verdict is a matter for the courts of the Cayman Islands.”
During a lengthy closing speech as the trial reached its climax last week, Mr. Bush’s lawyer, Geoffrey Cox, QC, who is also a member of the British parliament, indicated that he would be taking up the matter in London.
“They have heard me here and they will hear me in Westminster,” he said, describing the then-governor’s actions as a betrayal of the values that should operate in the administration of a territory.
He said the emails showed Mr. Taylor was desperate to have the investigation against Mr. Bush brought into the public eye, indicating a desire for his United Democratic Party colleagues to know the substance of the allegations, at one point expressing a hope that they would “rediscover their backbone” and replace him as leader.
“If there has been any misconduct in a public office, it has been from those who orchestrated and planned the subversion of a democratically elected premier in this territory,” Mr. Cox alleged.
In his summary of the evidence and legal directions to the jury, Justice Michael Mettyear said it was “no defense” to say the investigation was politically motivated.
He said the jury may conclude that ex-Governor Taylor’s emails had fallen short of the “restraint, detachment and independence” expected of his office. But he said the messages 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.