Bush takes leave of absence as Speaker

Premier welcomes Bush’s decision - “This will enable him to deal with the personal issues he identified in his previous statement and also allow the investigation currently underway to be completed unhindered by perceptions.”

Speaker of the House McKeeva Bush

House Speaker McKeeva Bush has said he will be taking a leave of absence from his post with immediate effect.

In a brief statement issued to the Cayman Compass Wednesday evening Bush shared his decision.

“After careful thought and advice I will take an immediate leave of absence from the duties of speakership.

“I will be doing the grief counseling and emotional stress management sessions that I spoke about and that I should have done a long time ago. May God continue to bless all of you,” Bush said in his statement.

Bush’s announcement follows a meeting with Premier Alden McLaughlin in London in the wake of allegations that the West Bay West MLA was involved in the assault of a female bar manager on Friday night.

McLaughlin, in a statement to the Cayman Compass Wednesday night, said he welcomed the Speaker’s decision.

“This will enable him to deal with the personal issues he identified in his previous statement and also allow the investigation currently underway to be completed unhindered by perceptions,” the Premier said.

McLaughlin added, “I wish Mr. Bush the very best as he seeks to resolve his personal issues.”

Bush, who is deputy chair of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Small Branches Executive Council, was in London for a previously arranged CPA meeting.

McLaughlin, who is also in London on official business dealing with the European Union’s blacklist, took the opportunity to meet with the Speaker about the allegations.

There was no immediate word on how long a leave of absence Bush is taking or who will fill in as Speaker in the interim.

West Bay North MLA Bernie Bush, who is now an opposition member, remains deputy Speaker of the House.

On Monday, Bush issued a statement on the incident saying he did not recall what had happened but was told he “reacted badly” when he was being assisted to his feet after passing out and falling down at Coral Beach on West Bay Road.

He said he has been dealing with the grief of losing his daughter who passed away at the end of January 2011.

He pledged to get professional help and to stop drinking alcohol.

The Compass has reached out to the Opposition for comment, a statement is expected.

Check back for more updates on this developing story.

McKeeva Bush’s full statement:

“I wish to make the following statement to my constituents my colleagues and all of the people of the Cayman Islands:

After careful thought and advice I will take an immediate leave of absence from the duties of speakership. I will be doing the grief counseling and emotional stress management sessions that I spoke about and that I should have done a long time ago.
May God continue to bless all of you.”

Premier Alden McLaughlin’s statement:

“I welcome the decision and public statement by the Hon. McKeeva Bush OBE, JP that he will take an immediate leave of absence from the duties of speakership. This will enable him to deal with the personal issues he identified in his previous statement and also allow the investigation currently underway to be completed unhindered by perceptions. I wish Mr. Bush the very best as he seeks to resolve his personal issues.”

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