Bush seeks help from U.S. court in ‘conspiracy’ claim

Cayman Islands Speaker of the House McKeeva Bush has sought a Florida court’s assistance in retrieving years of emails and other communications between a Miami-based British law enforcement adviser and former Cayman government officials who Mr. Bush sued, claiming they plotted the demise of his United Democratic Party government in 2011-2012.

According to an application for judicial assistance filed Thursday with the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida, Mr. Bush and his attorneys have asked for copies of all emails sent or received by U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office law enforcement adviser Larry Covington between Jan. 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2014 “relating to the intended and actual investigation and subsequent prosecution and trial of Mr. Bush.”

The request for the court’s assistance also seeks, “all notes, reports, memoranda or other documents of any kind” created during the same time and relating to the same subject.

“Mr. Bush also seeks that Mr. Covington attend a deposition to answer questions as to the role he played in the prosecution of Mr. Bush and to explain the documents that he produced,” the Jan. 18 application states.

“Mr. Covington appears to have been closely involved with the investigation and subsequent prosecution of Mr. Bush. It is simply not possible that no documents have been sent to, or generated by, Mr. Covington during the entire process.”

Mr. Covington has not been named as a defendant in Mr. Bush’s conspiracy claim, and according to the U.S. court papers filed Thursday, he never will be. Rather, the request states that no other parties involved in the Cayman Islands legal dispute have access to the records Mr. Bush believes Mr. Covington possesses. It is asserted in the court request that Mr. Covington possesses those records in Miami-Dade County, where he is based.

“[The] application is not filed for the purpose of violating, circumventing or frustrating any Cayman Islands law …,” the court request states. “[It] is filed only for the purpose of obtaining relevant evidence in the possession of Mr. Covington for use in the Cayman action.”

Mr. Bush, while serving as Cayman Islands premier, was arrested in December 2012, removed from office by a vote of no confidence in the Legislative Assembly and then charged with corruption-related offenses in March 2013 – two months before a general election. Although Mr. Bush was re-elected in his home district of West Bay, his UDP party lost control of the government in the May 2013 election.

The next year, Mr. Bush was acquitted on charges that he improperly used a government-issued credit card for personal expenses, including gambling trips to various casinos in Miami and the Bahamas.

In October 2015, Mr. Bush sued former Cayman Islands Governor Duncan Taylor, then-Police Commissioner David Baines and the Cayman Islands government, claiming that Mr. Taylor and Mr. Baines had “breached their respective constitutional duties” in the alleged conspiracy to remove Mr. Bush from power. Mr. Baines and the governor’s office in Cayman have consistently denied all such allegations.

The U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida had not taken any action on Mr. Bush’s request for judicial assistance as of Friday, other than to assign a judge to the case.

The application for judicial assistance is accompanied by a lengthy affidavit from Mr. Bush’s Cayman attorney, Michael Alberga. “As the law enforcement adviser for the Caribbean Overseas Territories, Mr. Covington is a key person in these proceedings as his role was and is, amongst other things, to provide guidance and advice to the Cayman Islands’ authorities, as well as to the [Foreign and Commonwealth Office],” Mr. Alberga’s affidavit states.