Bernie Bush walks out of Crosstalk debate

A Cayman Crosstalk district debate was momentarily derailed on Tuesday as West Bay North incumbent Bernie Bush refused to participate in the discussion after claiming he “could not support the programme on a point of principle”.

He then walked out of the studio in the middle of the show.

Bush was expected to debate challenger Rolston Anglin as part of an ongoing series of constituency-based debates on the Rooster 101 morning talk show. Initially, both candidates agreed to participate and were told to attend the studio for the debate’s 8am start. However, Bush arrived late to the debate, having attended the wrong location.

When he arrived, Anglin had already answered the first question which was submitted by a constituent on the topic of speeding in the West Bay district. Bush was then given an opportunity to respond to the same question. He declined and opted to read from a handwritten statement.

Watch the debate in its entirety here:

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Crosstalk District Debate: West Bay North

Crosstalk District Debate: West Bay North

Posted by Cayman Compass on Tuesday, March 16, 2021

“A lot of people in the public and myself feel, the way Woody DeCosta[’s] dismissal was handled was one hundred precent wrong,” said Bush. “Nobody should be treated that way with such disrespect and I have a problem with promoting or supporting anything that acts with Caymanians that way.”

DaCosta was the former host of the Cayman Crosstalk talk show.

Bush went on to add, “I believe that Caymanians like Woody should be treated with dignity and respect.”

Bush then took aim at Anglin.

“I accept that my opponent has been out of the community for eight years and needs to make his voice and views heard on any medium, so I respect that,” said Bush. “My continuous 40 plus years of unbroken service to West Bay and the Cayman Islands speaks to constant care for my community.”

During his speech Bush also took a gab at Anglin’s previous DUI convictions.

“I believe that discipline matter. We already see the challenges in our schools and that is why, more than ever, we need leaders who respect our values and not spend time in and out of courtrooms,” said Bush. “I am running for service in Parliament, not for service in a barroom.”

At the conclusion of his speech, Barrie Quappe, the Crosstalk host, noted Bush’s “actions served as a disruption to the programme”.

Co-host Andrel Harris, added, “It is important to note that [Crosstalk] has retained its purpose, which is to provide a voice and a platform for persons, case and point is that Mr Bush who was invited here for a singular purpose, turns up and does the complete opposite and was afforded the voice to do so.”

Bush was invited to remain and participate in the debate, but he declined. At the end of the show Anglin was given the opportunity to refute Bush’s statements.

“I say to the voters of West Bay North, vote for someone who, first off all is going to show up, not make excuses about late notice,” said Anglin.

“All of us got the same notice,” said Anglin. “I got the notice almost two weeks ago and confirmed that I would be on the show. … the bottom line here is that he did not want to sit here and answer the tough questions as to why he invites people to come to his yard to see them and all they see are… two biting dogs coming at them when he says he is not at home.”

Following the show, Compass Media owner James Bergstrom issued a brief statement saying, “Mr. DaCosta left Crosstalk prior to the change in ownership.”

Editor’s Note: Cayman Compass reporter Andrel Harris, the author of this story, was moderating the debate on 16 March.

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