In a private members’ motion filed Tuesday with the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Bush asserts that he has in his possession “irrefutable documentary evidence” of a triumviral conspiracy — involving U.K.-appointed officials, rival Cayman politicians and Cayman civil servants — to overthrow his democratically elected local government, in violation of rights protected by the constitution, the United Nations Charter and European Union regulations.
Specifically, Mr. Bush alleges that from 2011-2012, while he was under investigation in various criminal probes (eventually resulting in charges related to alleged credit card misuse), meetings were held and communications exchanged to discuss his removal as premier and the possible composition of an “interim government.” Mr. Bush says his evidence consists of written correspondence between then-Governor Duncan Taylor, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office and local officials.
While Mr. Bush has long maintained — before, during and after his arrest, trial and acquittal — that he was the target of a concerted, wrongfully motivated effort by British authorities, his new private members’ motion is an explosive elaboration on the earlier courthouse revelation of emails, from Governor Taylor to an official named “Tony,” that criminal charges against Mr. Bush would call for a “quiet bottle of bubbly” and engender “a huge sigh of relief across the Cayman Islands, including a loud one from this office.”
When asked Tuesday for a comment, now-Premier Alden McLaughlin quipped, “I think the Leader of the Opposition has finally taken leave of his senses.”
Off-the-cuff though it may have been (and, therefore, somewhat understandable), Premier McLaughlin’s response appears overly cavalier and not equal to the gravity of what is being alleged — especially since much of what Mr. Bush is claiming has already been demonstrated as veracious (and persuasive) in court before judge and jury.
By submitting the motion, and requesting an independent inquiry into the circumstances of his removal as premier, Mr. Bush is attempting to situate the debate in Cayman’s version of the Roman Colosseum: the Legislative Assembly, where, for elected members engaging in political blood sport, there are few rules and only one referee — House Speaker Juliana O’Connor-Connolly.
Readers will recall that Ms. O’Connor-Connolly succeeded Mr. Bush as premier in the interim 2013 government (before she pledged allegiance to the Progressives government after the election). Her ability to remain neutral and objective in moderating what promises to be an extremely contentious floor debate on Mr. Bush’s motion presents an apparent concern.
It is important to note that lawmakers enjoy two unique powers in the Legislative Assembly, “parliamentary privilege” and the ability to “table” documents. Those privileges will enable Mr. Bush — and Mr. McLaughlin, and any other member of the Assembly — to assert, allege or even scream about anything they want with legal impunity.
By tabling documents, such as evidentiary emails, they also have the ability to make public immediately almost any piece of information they so choose — without the oversight of a judge ruling on its relevance or admissibility.
Of one thing we are certain: If this motion makes it to the floor of the Legislative Assembly, which it certainly should, it will be political theater of the highest measure with a local and international audience.
The Compass has already reserved its seat — in the front row.