Travelling incognito

| 05/01/2012

It probably came as no surprise to CNS readers to discover that the premier had hopped over to Jamaica this week to attend the swearing in ceremony of that country’s new prime minister. Jamaica is, after all, a close neighbour with enormous ties to Cayman and it is quite fitting that McKeeva Bush would want to attend along with other heads of state in the region. But why did we all have to learn about it from the foreign press and why has he taken five people with him?

There may be a very legitimate reason for the six strong delegation but despite emails and phone calls by CNS to the premier’s press secretary and his office, no one has supplied any information about who has accompanied the premier and why, how long he and his five delegates are staying or whether there will be any other important engagements while the officials are visiting Jamaica.

Bush & ellio.jpgWe know that Ellio Solomon is one of the delegates because The Jamaican Observer managed to get a snap (right) of the GT backbencher in his casual wear at the airport.
However, the other four remain a mystery. Although most of us could hazard a very educated guess as to the rest of the group, really we shouldn’t have to.

The travel itineraries of the leaders of democratic countries are not normally “official secrets”. In most democracies the government is usually happy to reveal the trips and adventures of their leaders and ministers when they go off visiting as it is a way to demonstrate not only how important they are but what ‘moving and shaking’ they are doing for the greater good of their country.

Here in Cayman, however, the travels and adventures of McKeeva Bush are rarely revealed to the public. On numerous occasions the premier’s globetrotting has only been revealed because he’s popped up in a foreign newspaper, or because of a chance comment or even a freedom of information request.  (Who could ever forget the premier’s spectacular and public attack on CNS when we asked for the costs and details of the premier’s travels during his first year in office.)

The public backlash against and the suspicion about the premier’s travels is fuelled by the furtive nature of his trips and the tight lips that surround the very legitimate questions whenever they are asked regarding his whereabouts.

The size of the delegations is also very rarely explained or justified, further irritating the public, many of whom these days can barely afford the fuel for a trip to Rum Point.

Leaders doneed to travel from time to time for a host of reasons and there is no need for secrecy. If there is sound justification for a trip and if costs are kept to a minimum, no leader should be worried about a public outcry.

The latest trip to Jamaica is probably not terribly expensive. The mystery delegates may also be holding very important meetings; they may even be staying in budget hotels and have taken their own sandwiches. But we don’t know because, once again, government has opted not to tell the people why, where and with whom the premier is travelling,

After all, we're only paying for it.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Soooooooooooooooooooo? What is the problem here. Did'nt Bruce Golding and his delegation attend the swearing in of Mackeeva Bush? Certainly, Mackeeva owed Jamaica one for that. and is only repaying the compliment.

    Since he may not know Portia Simpson that well, I am sure he needs to spend some time there to get acquainted. As the saying goes, Birds of a feather will always flock together.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Maybe we should stop worrying about when and why the Premier is travelling, and instead, focus on things that actually matter. The amount of money that these trips cost, is only a drop in the public fund bucket.

    Whilst we should be concerned with how our money is being spent, we need to give the Premier some leeway. With any position of power, comes responsibility and benefit. How do we expect him to perform his duty adequately when he is being persistently scrutinised and criticised?

    Our government isn't the only is the world to have secrets. 

    • The Spider Web says:

      Travelling incognito,  I think it is very good that the Cayman Premier attend the swearing in of the Jamaican Pprime Minister.  Why not.  Jamaica is our closest ties.  So we need to live good with each other.  I am sorry for those who want to get into the fight between Caymanians and Jamaicans, because they will get bet up by both parties.  Jamaicans and Caymanians are like husband and wife, so I would suggest stay out of their buisness the both put head on pillow together.

  3. Anonymous says:

    My friends if it wasn't for Mr. Bush this whole country would be upsided down!  Caymanians just stop una foolishness…the man need to travel because that's what comes with his job…Y'all are too darn bad minded for you would think its a New Year and some of you all would be change by now!  Get right with God people he's coming soon….I stay away from politics and politricks because it just makes u want to hate and judge people….Karen just for the record I have no affiliation with CNS …yet u said they should know better?  This has nothing to do with CNS… for they just brings the news to the people and we all need to know what's going on in our Country…we need to be more supported with these news agencies for without them we wont know a darn thing that's happening around here and in the world.  I live in the US and CNS does a great job.   The only way that I keep informed with what's going on  in my Country from the USA is through CNS! 

    • Anonymous says:

      The whole country is upside down and it is largely because of Mr. Bush. Any good things happening are in spite of him.  

      • so Anonymous says:

        "Don't forget  That when things are upside down those who should be at the bottom are now on top.  Caymans ruling class like it like this.  Cayman will have to fight and fight hard for things to change.  Or just wait until the whole thing fails and the rich Caymanians move away.  Given the amount of pull Caymans working class (civil servants are not in this group) has it will have to be the latter.  It would have all ready happened but for NON government intervention (Dart, financial district, UK interest, now Shetty).

      • Anonymous says:

        He didn't need to take FIVE people with him.  Himself and one other would have been enough.  They could have hopped on the plane and came back within two days.  No need to put up five people and feed them.  Does he really think anyone is going to recognize him.  He has more security then the president of the united states….lol…..

  4. karen says:

    All you people, commenting and complaining about McKeeva, are just a bunch of partisan freaks. CNS should know better. McKeeva has the power to abuse power because the UK and our constitution allows him to have that prevelege. Attack what's beneath the iceberg for a change, not the man, because trust me, it won't be too long we will be complaining about another Premier to come. Some of you commenters here need to grow up, mature and see that there is more than a face or personality. You should be going after the supreme lawmakers of the Cayman Islands. That is where your precious energy should be focused on.

    • Anonymous says:

      What's a "prevelege" and why does Big Mac get it and not the rest of us? OH WAIT! I know it's because the Bayers keep putting the Mac-ster back into office. YAY WESY BAY!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Simply because Mac CAN abuse power through loopholes in the constitution does not mean that he MUST abuse power.  It is HIS CHOICE to exploit the loopholes for his own personal and political gain.  I do not believe the people who worked on the new constitution ever dreamed that someone would so consistently exploit its' shortcomings to their own advantage.  By the way, if the Premier and the Cabinet are not the "supreme lawmakers" of the Cayman Islands, who exactly do you suggest we "go after"?

    • Anonymous says:

      I will agree that efforts should be directed more towards positive action rather than simple moaning and groaning. However, Karen, your fingerpointing implies that on some level you believe you are 'grown up', 'mature', and able to see the truth. Calling those you disagree with 'partisan freaks' does not suggest that. Nor does excusing McKeeva's abuse of power simply because, as you claim, others with greater power permit him to do so.

      A religious person may argue that God gave man choice, for example. By being granted such power by someone/something of a greater power would it legitamatize a person for choosing to kill another? Or would you blame 'God' for granting you that capacity? I've lived in countries where police will not even get involved in a theft crime unless it exceeded a certain amount. Doesn't that grant thieves the power to work within that limit?

      Your argument is greatly flawed and if you believe someone should be excused of their actions because 'mommy let me', you possibly need to look at yourself before judging anyone else. If we let our constitution and the UK send us into decline that is not their fault, but our own. No one will look out for us other than ourselves. McKeeva is one of our own, and if he is just bending over for 'the supreme lawmakers', than he deserves greater shame and we for letting him.

  5. Anonymous says:

    unfortunately Mac has delusions of adequacy! 

  6. Anonymous says:

    Cayman has not effect or infulence on Jamaica. Jamiaica hardly know that Cayman exists; and if they know we exist, they simply don't care.

     

    This trip was a complete waste of Cayman money. Full Stop!!!!!!

    • Pitta Patta says:

      Come on now CNS, if you were doing something wrong (or at the very least something that you should not be doing) wouldn't you want to keep it a secret?

  7. Anonymous says:

    In many cases it's not what the Premier does it's the way that he does it.  His approach to gowerment is despotic and demagogic, and he has failed to embrace the new political reality of politics in the Cayman Islands with FOI, a constitution, the concepts of openess and transparency, a free and critical media, and a sophisticated electorate.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Who wants to wager a bet that no other Caribbean island sent a 5-man delegation from the swearing-in ceremony?   Maybe the trip included visits and further discussions with their new-found Chinese friends, Elio's presence is suggestive of that.  

    • Anonymous says:

      "Who wants to wager a bet…"

       

      You will have to wait until the Chinese casinos are up and running on the Georgetown cruise ship dock before you can legally "wager a bet".

      • Anonymous says:

        Sorry, you'll have to wait longer because the casinos on board the cruise ships are not open while ships are in port, only at sea. LOL!

        • Anonymous says:

          Bermuda is in the process of changing their laws to allow for gambling on cruise ships in port. Grease the right palms here and we could have the law passed before Bermuda does. We can always say it had to be done in order to "encourage" the cruise ships to stop here.

  9. Anonymous says:

    First of all, and correct me if I am wrong, but does Jamaica ever send a delegation to Cayman for our "inauguarations" or other important investitures?  I think not.

    It is a tough job, but someone has to do it!  After all, Mr. Bush is in charge of "tourism" and "finance", therefore it is his job to travel every chance he can, spend lots of  money and promote Cayman.  But could someone explain why he has to have an "entourage" everywhere he goes?  Too bad all that money couldn't be spent in Cayman.  It would boost the lagging economy tremendously.

    And the secrecy is very worrisome.  If you have nothing to hide, you should let everything you do "for Cayman" be known to the Caymanians.  After all, they are spending our money.

  10. Jacky Boatside from oldbush says:

    Look at our boy Ellio mann this place is in real troublei tell you!

    • Anonymous says:

      They don't broad cast their trips because no matter how legit the reason for the travel some people will still complain and post nasty bad minded comments.

      Can't blame him now for not wanting to make  his travel  plans public knowlege anymore.

      • Anonymous says:

        You forget who the Premier works for?  Us, John Public, we who pays his salary and those enormous perks and benefits !   So guess what?  HE HAS NO CHOICE IN THE MATTER.  HE IS SUPPOSED TO DISCLOSE HIS TRAVELS TO HIS EMPLOYER I.E. WE THE PUBLIC WHO PAY HIM.  HE HAS NO STANDING TO WITHHOLD INFORMATION, THE REASONS FOR THE TRAVEL, DETAILS OF ACCOMPANYING DELEGATES, ESPECIALLY WHEN HE TRAVELS IN THE CAPACITY OF PREMIER TO ATTEND ANOTHER COUNTRY'S PRIME MINISTER'S INAUGUARATION!!!   HOW DARE YOU SUGGEST THAT BECAUSE SOME OF THE PUBLIC POST BAD-MINDED COMMENTS, THAT THIS JUSTIFIES HIM WITHHOLDING INFO?  TRY THAT WITH YOUR OWN EMPLOYER, AND SEE HOW QUICKLY YOU GET FIRED !!!  JUST BECAUSE SOME OF OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS AND PUBLIC OFFICIALS BELIEVE THEY ARE ABOVE REPORTING TO THEIR PEOPLE, DOES NOT GIVE THEM THE RIGHT TO KEEP INFO FROM THE PUBLIC.

        • Anonymous says:

          I gave you a thumbs up, but unfortunately I was unable to continue reading after you hit the CAPS button.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I don't have a problem with any Premier going to Jamaica for this occasion. We have very close ties with Jamaica. However, set an example and go by yourself for a day and attempt to show this country that you know how to cut costs. IF you know how to cut costs.

    • Anonymous says:

      Did you happen to notice the article was not about whether it was proper or not for the Premier to be there but rather about the secrecy which seems to surround all the travelling done by the Premier?

       

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, I can read. However, I was agreeing with the question at the end of the first paragraph which read:

        "why has he taken five people with him?

  12. Anonymous says:

    "It probably came as no surprise to CNS readers to discover that the premier had hopped over to Jamaica this week to attend the swearing in ceremony of that country’s new prime minister. Jamaica is, after all, a close neighbour with enormous ties to Cayman and it is quite fitting that McKeeva Bush would want to attend along with other heads of state in the region. But why did we all have to learn about it from the foreign press and why has he taken five people with him?" 

    CNS, could it be that it is not a business trip, but merely to see the swearing in of Jamaica's new prime minister!  In other words, a vacation!  In other words, we are not really paying for his vacation!  And in other words, if he is having a vacation and blast of time in Jamaica, why should it be anybody's (or yours) business as to what he does during its course???  CNS, you are sounding more like an estrange wife looking for her estranged husband when he needs a break on his vacation time!  For God sake, it is just a trip!

    • Anonymous says:

      Please provide support for your claim that "we are not really paying for his vacation".  How did you come by this information?  Can you verify your sources?

      Or is your comment just more bullshit covering up for an administration that sees no problem in wasting money on whatever whim strikes their fancy?

       

    • Anonymous says:

      A lot of assumptions there. Does McKeeva always take Ellio with him on vacations? They say politics makes strange bedfellows but that is rediculous!  

    • Anonymous says:

      How do you know it is a vacation that he is paying for by himself. Does he take Ellio and 4 others on vacation with him? No way? This is an "official" trip that we are all paying for. No common sense, he should have gone by himself for the day.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow, do you think the Premier would have taken Elio on his vacation trip?  I knew the 'prentice in training' was close to our dear Leader's heart, but is he that close to be allowed to go with the Premier on a vacation trip?  And besides, isn't vacation a time for QUIET relaxation? 

  13. Theo says:

    Let us hear about your affairs CNS who do you travel with, who do you invite to dinner, what is your budget and your expenditures.  How much do you make from your advertzementes. 

     

    You are a an entity that is critical of what you deem as non transparency, show the public your wares, open up, open up.

     

    CNS: Politicians and officials are accountable to the public for their travel expenses (and all other expenses) if the public is paying for it. If they are travelling in their official capacity they should also let the public know the details because they have been elected (hired) by the public. Similarly, if you went on a business trip your boss would expect you to justify the trip, report on the outcomes and to bring home all expense receipts. CNS is a private business and as such the tax payers do not fund any of our trips abroad, dinners out, etc. Do you not understand the difference? 

    • Anonymous says:

      You know CNS, Theo does have an excellent point. Besides, aren’t you as well accountable to the public for fair and unbiased news coverage?

       

      CNS: Theo's "excellent point" was that, unlike every other private business, the public should have access to our expense accounts simply because we are calling on the elected government to tell the people how they are spending the people's money. Anyone who claims to believe that is either being mischievous or has a problem understanding the difference between public and private.

       

      As to our news coverage, as with any other business, you have a choice as to whether or not you use our service (read our news, leave a comment) and whether or not you buy our product (purchase ads). That is how we are accountable. The free market at work. The quality of our news coverage is, like all media, entirely subjective. We do our best to bring to the public information that they should know, which sometimes includes issues that some people would rather remain in the dark. Whether we succeed or not is for our readers to decide, not with their feet perhaps but with a click of a mouse.

      • Anonymous says:

        Just when you thought that people can't get any dumber, out pops Theo and his posse of Dumb Dumbs…

    • Paul says:

      Theo, are you as stupid as you appear to be?  If one of CNS staff goes on a trip, who pays the expenses?  Let me tell you.  It would either the individual or CNS.  Among those who wouldn't pay a penny towards it are you and me.

      When Bush and his companions travel anywhere, every single cent of their flights and accommodation is paid for by the Caymanian people and they, I assume, includes you.

      If Nicky ever invites you for dinner, the cost of the food will come out of her pocket and not from the Caymanian people.

      I know of no other place where the country's leaders make furtive trips with no advance notice.  Aren't you at all curious as to why attempts are always made to keep these trips outside public knowledge?  They continue to get away with it because of people like you. 

      I despair of Cayman's future with people like you believing and writing nonsense like this.

       

    • Anonymous says:

      Theo, you're an idiot if you do not understand the difference between a private business entity and a government representative whose salary and expenses are paid by the public purse.  Retard!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I think you are completely missing the point, Theo. CNS is not a public servant carrying out public affairs. That is why the public has a right to know especially when weez broke!

    • Whodatis says:

      Anyone else confused as to how to rate this comment??

      🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      My thumbs up is for the CNS response, to such a ridiculous statement.

      Hello, CNS is not the Bloody government spending up all the peoples money! 

    • Anonymous says:

      CNS-thumbs up.  10:29-thumbs down

    • Anonymous says:

      1.  Ummh, duh, I hope your looks make up for your IQ.

      2.  Now I know why Einstein's IQ was so high – he got more, you got less.  It all equals out in the end.

      3.  Sometimes it's best to say as little as possible Theo – unless of course you really want to prove to the world that stupidity is not as hard to catch as one thought.

       

    • Vincent says:

      Starry, starry, night… and people thought that I was the crazy brother!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Here's an anology: imagine if you are an employer (we are McKeeva's employers remember) and you caught an employee filling their pockets from the stationery cupboard. They explained they needed to do some work at home, so you let it go.  But frequently you notice that there's more missing or somebody mentions seeing that employer taking stationery, so you ask them what they're working on at home and it is really necessary. They accuse you of harassment, refuse to reveal any information and continue taking from you every week despite your obvious displeasure and suspicion.  Is that reasonable behaviour?  No. At the very least it's arrogant (and, for a real employee, risky) to ignore those you are accountable to, because there's no other reason for being secretive if your actions are justified.  And at worst it's a misappropriation.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Very well put!  This is it in a nutshell.  Everyone knows McKeeva needs to travel but when he takes big entourages and won't reveal the costs, the duration, or the nature of the accommodation and is generally secretive about it all of course  there will be suspicion that's its a luxury gravy train for him and his buddies.  Why else would he hide it from us?  And don't tell me that McKeeva isn't politically savvy enough to make a big play of it if they did fly economy and take their own sandwiches so I think we're entitled to assume that is not their preferred travel style.

     

  17. so Anonymous says:

    Cayman does not have a true democracy.  Its more like a third world try at democracy.

    As to why he can get away with disregarding the basics rules and laws of Democracy is because he can.  
    Same as Castro same as Quadafi and all the other dictators in the world.  The Caymanian people do not have what it takes to unify and get/keep him in line.  The public purse is his money to spend as he likes because he belives it is and no one will stand up and tell him its not.  End of story.

    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman is not a true democracy because it is colony of the UK.

      • Anonymous says:

        A colony?  I think our status now has changed since then.

        • Anonymous says:

          Change of name (British Overseas territory), no change of status. The point is that whatever the people or their elected representatives decide can be overruled by an unelected Governor and an unelected Privy Council can pass laws for us against our will. That point remains whatever you want to call us.  

          • A person says:

            That's not your problem. Your problem is the country being run by someone who was not elected to run the country. Bush is elected as MLA for West Bay, he was NOT elected to run the country, but he does so with impunity and without accountability and no-one seems able or willing to do anything about it.