Premier: Bush’s role to be reviewed after court case decided

Says Bush still holds"substantive post" of Speaker

West Bay MLA McKeeva Bush continues in his role as Speaker of the House but will not preside over the Legislative Assembly until his legal issues, concerning charges of common assault and disorderly conduct, have been resolved, Premier Alden McLaughlin said during Monday’s press briefing.

Bush took a leave of absence from the position earlier this year following allegations that he was involved in the assault of a female bar manager on 21 Feb. Those allegations were elevated to formal charges against Bush in April and he is expected to make his second court appearance for the matter on Friday, 15 May.

Speaker of the House McKeeva Bush
Speaker of the House McKeeva Bush, in his formal attire, at the Legislative Assembly building on Friday. – Photo: Alvaro Serey

Questions about the MLA’s continued speakership resurfaced over the weekend, when he appeared in his official attire at the Legislative Assembly on Friday for the lying-in-state of former lawmaker Leola Esterleen Ebanks.

McLaughlin said that while Bush had taken leave, the Constitution does not permit for an acting Speaker to be named in his place.

“He still holds the substantive post as Speaker,” McLaughlin said.

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“Merely because you are on leave doesn’t mean you have given up the post. So, what I can say is that until that matter or those matters are resolved, he will not resume presiding over meetings of the Legislative Assembly.”

Once charges against Bush have been settled, McLaughlin said a decision will have to be made on how to move forward.

When the House last met on 22-23 April, Savannah MLA Anthony Eden was selected to preside over the sitting.

George Town South MLA Barbara Conolly assumed the role of Deputy Speaker on 24 April, after her election in the Legislative Assembly the previous evening to replace West Bay North MLA Bernie Bush, who resigned from the post in late February.

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  1. The Speaker seemed to think he had the right to claim unilateral indefinite leave of absence. As he is not permitted to perform his duties until his assault case is heard, he should forego his Speaker’s salary if he is also being paid as an MLA. He is already claiming a substantial pension. If the traffic case of Mr Wong is anything to go by, Mr Bush could be receiving his Speaker’s salary for years whilst sitting at home as he is now. I assume he will not be wearing his official attire at his next court appearance.