Divided house boots Mac from PAC

A majority of government and independent Legislative Assembly members voted late Thursday in favor of a government motion to remove Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush from his position as a member of the assembly’s Public Accounts Committee.

North Side MLA Ezzard Miller – an independent – will become chairman of the group which reviews and make recommendations to government based on reports from the Auditor General’s Office. Former chairman Roy McTaggart will become deputy chairman of the committee. The remaining members will be independent backbench member Winston Connolly, Progressives member Joey Hew and opposition member Capt. Eugene Ebanks.

“This motion has become necessary because the Leader of the Opposition [Mr. Bush] has, over the past year or so consistently made derogatory statements regarding the integrity and professionalism of the former auditor general and his office,” Premier Alden McLaughlin said. “Our concern is that those statements demonstrate the inability of the Leader of the Opposition to consider the reports and oversight of the Office of the Auditor General with any sense of objectivity.

“We are even more concerned now that the committee is about to consider the Auditor General’s report on the Nation Building Fund. The Leader of the Opposition has a history of bad blood with the Office of the Auditor General and the contention is not limited to the one who has just recently left Cayman.”

Mr. Bush, speaking on his own behalf during the debate on the motion, inferred that the government’s statements regarding “objectivity and fairness” toward the auditor general were largely political posturing.

“Bad blood? McKeeva Bush don’t hate nobody,” Mr. Bush said. “Not even the premier…who has attacked me more than anybody else I’ve come across politically. He’s desperately trying to get me out of the way. But I don’t need the PAC committee to deal with him.”

“[Mr. McLaughlin] is a hypocrite. The bad blood is because I recognized what was going on in this country, and what is going on.”

Mr. Bush referred during the debate to his long-held belief that his former United Democratic Party government was toppled in late 2012 by a conspiracy between British and some local Caymanian officials who wish to remove him from power.

Former PAC chairman Roy McTaggart stated during the motion debate that he has felt, since mid-2014, that Mr. Bush’s criticisms of the auditor general’s office amounted to “slander” and made his position on the committee “untenable.”

Nine Legislative Assembly members, including eight government members and Mr. Miller, voted to remove Mr. Bush. Two opposition members and government backbench MLA Anthony Eden voted against the motion. Mr. Bush abstained from the vote. Four members of the assembly were absent at the time the vote was taken.

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