House Speaker McKeeva Bush has revealed details of the events at Coral Beach which led to his conviction for assault and sparked the chain of events triggering early elections.
Bush, responding to questions on Thursday from the Cayman Compass about the status of the no confidence motion filed against him and the new election date, said he “wished a thousand times I hadn’t let that woman get that close to me because of arguments over gratuities for the staff”.
His comments on Thursday contradict his initial claims last year that he could not recall the incident. Bush, after news broke about the 21 Feb. 2020 encounter, issued a statement apologising while simultaneously stating he did not recall the incident.
The West Bay MP maintained he was not the aggressor in the incident last February at Coral Beach. In December, he was convicted of assaulting the female manager at the bar after pleading guilty to two of the three charges laid against him. He was found guilty of the third.
“I’m no woman beater and I have the doctor’s certificate to show the licks I took and the professional videographer showed on the videos whose hands were in beating motion, and who hit me in the head and was going to do so again if I hadn’t defended myself,” he said Thursday in a message to the Compass, reiterating his argument in court.
“I pleaded guilty and I apologized… All the videos were not given up to the police which had to summons them because someone took them the night of the incident,” he said.
The West Bay West veteran politician was not sentenced to serve jail time, although he will have a conviction recorded against him.
He was sentenced to two months’ imprisonment on each assault charge to run concurrently, which was suspended for two years. He was also ordered to adhere to a curfew of 6pm to 6am, Monday through Sunday, which is expected to end this month. He was also fined $700 for disorderly conduct and will have to pay $4,279 in compensation to the victim for medical expenses and emotional distress.
The Speaker also told the Compass he was ready to face the no confidence motion filed against him and he had, in fact, filed a motion of his own for lawmakers to decide his fate.
Bush said that if Opposition Leader Arden McLean had been able to secure a special sitting of Parliament for the motion, he would have stepped aside and allowed the process to continue.
“If they had got seven members, I would have set the date and gave [way] to the deputy chair and go on the floor and move that motion which I gave the Clerk notice of before the letter was sent to me and then democracy would take its course,” Bush said.
On Wednesday, McLean released a statement explaining that six MPs had signed his request to call a special sitting of Parliament for the purpose of debating the no confidence motion.
However, hours after that statement, Premier Alden McLaughlin triggered early elections, thwarting efforts to call a special meeting and any chance of the motion being debated to remove Bush from his post.
The West Bay West MP said he agreed with the decision to call the election.
“The premier is a man committed to the welfare of the country and has made the right decision. The election is the right thing to do,” he said.
McLaughlin, in a statement following the governor’s announcement about the election change, said he determined that it is in “the best interest of the country for Parliament to be dissolved immediately, which will have the effect of vacating the seat of the Speaker”.
Bush also revealed he had filed a motion of his own asking for Parliament to express its opinion whether he, as the MP for West Bay West, must resign his position as the Speaker.
A second feature of his motion sought a resolution that steps be taken to amend “all Rules in Standing Orders, and the Constitution if found necessary, pertaining to resignation of a member from any position he or she holds by virtue of being a member of the Parliament, including the Speaker, to make absolutely clear on what grounds and for what reasons must resignation be carried out”.
Bush, in response to his detractors, told the Compass “Those trying to make me the “scape goat” in this election and using the incident to try to build up their political support should tell the people what they did for them rather than to do nothing but yap yap all day long.”
In his motion, seconded by West Bay Central MP Captain Eugene Ebanks, Bush also called for discussion on incidents of domestic abuse.