FCO backs ex-Governor Taylor

Duncan-Taylor-L

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.  

Duncan-Taylor

Former Governor Duncan Taylor

1 COMMENT

  1. Even Justice Michael Mettyear had to conclude that ex-Governor Taylor’s emails had fallen short of the ‘restraint, detachment and independence’ expected of his office. Not even this the FCO was able to acknowledge and I think that does speak to the need for reform within the FCO and a reset of the relationships between the UK and the overseas territories.

    One can only hope that Mr. Cox follows through on his commitment to take up the matter in London and that they do hear him in Westminster when the matter is raised.

    We have a lot of bigots in Cayman so I know that this comment will not be well received.

  2. We should not have really expected anything different from the FCO.
    Mack you are absolutely correct and it is time we put personal issues aside and focus on the truth.

  3. OK, I will ask the question; where was the accounts security team that would allow their leader to be at risk of such an investigation. All kinds of red flags should have been raised to alert the leader of a minefield ahead.

    People are just moving too slow, F.O.I, wire tapping, anti corruption legislation, the Turks and Caicos example. Like Mr someone said, people need to think bigger, and they need to think faster.. The soon come mentality meets the get it done yesterday and it makes for obsolescence termed redundancies.

    Finance need to get its act together, if this was a similar threat to physical security, as it was to accounts accountability, sad, and too late the hero..

    I say finance again, because they are in charge of the public purse, there should be no gray areas in regard to dispensing or collection of their charge. I will dock your pay should be their motto, first and last word. Mr Premiere I will dock your pay!.. Hey FCO, I docked his pay!. Reprimand? not my department..

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