Bush drops Florida court action against FCO staffer

McKeeva Bush

Cayman Islands Speaker of the House McKeeva Bush has abandoned an attempt via the American courts to retrieve years’ worth of emails and other documents from a U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office employee as part of a lawsuit Mr. Bush filed in 2015 claiming wrongful prosecution.

In January, Mr. Bush asked a U.S. federal court in Miami to help him obtain communications he believed Florida-based U.K. law enforcement adviser Larry Covington held. The Speaker, who is the former premier of the Cayman Islands, alleged those records were related to a U.K.-led conspiracy to topple his United Democratic Party government during 2011-2012.

Mr. Covington recently signaled his intention to fight Mr. Bush’s court application on a number of grounds, chiefly that the U.K. representative would not be legally required to produce such records through diplomatic channels. Also, Mr. Covington stated Mr. Bush had produced no evidence that the U.K. law enforcement adviser was involved in any way in Mr. Bush’s criminal prosecution.

“While [Mr. Bush] disagrees with the various contentions raised by Lawrence Covington …. [Mr. Bush] has decided to concentrate his resources in furtherance of endeavors other than seeking to subpoena Covington in the United States of America for purposes of deposing him and requesting documents from him,” according to Mr. Bush’s filing Thursday with the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida.

Mr. Bush, while serving as 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.

Mr. Covington was not named as a defendant in Mr. Bush’s conspiracy claim, and according to the U.S. court records filed in January, he never will be. Rather, the initial request stated 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.

According to Mr. Bush’s initial application for judicial assistance, Mr. Bush and his attorneys have asked for copies of all emails sent or received by Mr. Covington between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2014, “relating to the intended and actual investigation and subsequent prosecution and trial of Mr. Bush.”

“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.”

The last claim is the one Mr. Covington said Mr. Bush could not support.

“In short, there is no credible evidence to establish that Mr. Covington was in any manner involved in the prosecution of Mr. Bush, which is the basis for [Mr. Bush’s] civil claims,” court records filed in Miami last month read.