Archive for April 27th, 2012

Put away your ego and step aside, Mr Bush

| 27/04/2012 | 141 Comments

The barbarians are at the gates of Cayman.  But they are inside the gates trying to keep them closed to the righteous advocates of democracy and good governance. Caymanian nationalism is the latest pawn in this game of political control and backside protection that has been going on for the last several years.  Suddenly it is un-Caymanian and unpatriotic to call for the Premier to step down because it happens to also be what England would think is right.

Some mischievous Englishman at the FCO caused the Premier to draft, sign and fax a letter to Stan Thomas demanding a payment of the balance of $350,000 for apparently accomplishing a rezoning of property on West Bay Beach. Some mischievous Englishman at the FCO set him up by having one of his associates illegally import enough explosives to take down half of George Town and he unwittingly involved himself by apparently ordering the release of the explosives, despite the serious nature of the offence involved!  And some mischievous Englishman concocted some complicated circumstances which formed the basis for some other investigation of “financial irregularities”!

So the story goes that it is some English agenda, some English conspiracy, against the Premier, all cleverly orchestrated by the FCO. Clearly the English want to have Cayman fail and become another Turks and Caicos. They want to be stuck with a bitter pill three times the size of the one they had to swallow with TCI and a liability to guarantee of $1.5 billion. And they are committed to this objective because they don’t like McKeeva Bush and simply want to get at him? I am sure Mr Bush thinks that highly of himself but I can assure you that a country dealing with their own economic problems of a double dip recession in the midst of a political and sovereign debt crisis in Europe has more important issues to focus on.

Why is it that a country of intelligent people should accept any of the nonsense described above? It is completely illogical and defies belief.  In the absence of an Arden McLean approach to immediately clear one’s name, you must blame someone else. Who better to point the finger at than the usual English boogeyman that despots of other current and former British territories have held up as a distraction to conceal their behavior and give the people someone else to direct their ire at?

Mr Bush is the subject of three separate criminal investigations, one of which involves the illegal importation of enough explosives to take down the whole of Camana Bay. And he maintains that there is no reason for him to step aside until the investigations are complete? Let me list some reasons why he must do that which any adult would comprehend:

  • Avoid or minimise the reputational harm to the country
  • Minimise or eliminate the potential that the Premier could use his office to  intimidate or pressure witnessescompromise evidence
  • Minimise or eliminate the potential that the authority of the Premier could be used to 
  • Minimise or eliminate the potential that the Premiercould intimidate the investigators
  • Minimise or remove the potential that the Premier could generally interfere with the investigation
  • Ensure that the investigation can be conducted fairly and completely
  • Demonstrate that  the Premier is not above the law in any way and is treated the same as anyone else in the eyes of the law

It is important to note that for the things under his control it is the possibility that it could happen and not just the likelihood that it would happen that is important. I am not suggesting that the Premier would necessarily do some or any of these things.

Imagine that the Commissioner of Police was the subject of these criminal investigations and not Mr Bush.  Who do you think would be out there screaming vitriol against the Commissioner and demanding that the Governor immediately remove him despite his protests of innocence? He would say it just wouldn’t be right and it is incomprehensible that he could remain in office and expect an investigation to be carried out fairly, and anyway the Commissioner is not above the law and there is no way he deserves to be treated differently than any young civil servant facing such an investigation. If that was Mr Bush, he would be right. But of course his “substance over form” approach and his value of himself is such that the rules are what he says they are and he says they don’t apply to him, and his colleagues all follow the Deputy’s lead and curtsey in agreement.

The constitution does not have a provision to cause the Premier to resign or step aside in the face of criminal investigations because it assumes that the person holding such a post will be a man amongst men, possessed of a degree of honour and capacity to immediately recognise what the appropriate course of action would be. It assumes that he would immediately step down to avoid damage to his office and his country. There is a presumed back up if that assumption should prove flawed. The other leaders of the country should surely be capable of summoning the necessary degree of honour and strength to cause the Premier to be removed either permanently or temporarily in the best interest of the country where he is too weak as a leader to do so himself.

We appear to have had one question answered and will have to wait and see whether the rest are equally weak or if they do indeed possesses the honour and strength to put aside self-interest and shoulder the interests of the Country.  

Continue Reading

CI premier voted VP on new regional council

| 27/04/2012 | 63 Comments

Caribbean OCT heads of delegation (300x293).jpg(CNS): The Cayman Islands premier was elected as vice chair of the Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories Council (COCTC) on Thursday by regional leaders at the council in Curacao. Despite McKeeva Bush’s difficulties on the domestic front, with three police investigations currently surrounding him, his regional high level colleagues offered him their support and confidence with the election to the new regional body. The ten Caribbean leaders have agreed to establish a regional Overseas Countries and Territories Council to coordinate their relationship with the European Union.

“The formation of this council is an important step for regional territories, as it is essential for our small territories to coordinate and cooperate if we are to make real progress in our relationship with the European Union, and other supra-national organisations,” Bush stated in a release from the premier’s office. “I appreciate the confidence shown in me by my counterparts, and I look forward to the vigorous development of this council."

The aim of the council, which was established through the signing of an MOU, is to work on a joint agenda for sustainable development and a roadmap to establish a Caribbean Agenda with respect to the new Agreement of the Overseas Countries and Territories that is currently being prepared by the EU and should come into effect January 1st 2014, government officials stated.

The council, it is hoped, will help the countries ensure their needs and interests are incorporated on the European agenda.

It also provides a formal institution to work together among all Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories on areas of common interest. Through this council, knowledge and experiences will be shared and joint initiatives will be taken to ensure project funding from the EU on topics that are of joint interest, officials stated.

During the discussions the participants were said to have “embraced the concept of sustainable development" as their starting point and specific areas for cooperation, included transportation and logistics, capacity building, human capital development, waste management, climate change and renewable energy, the development of public-private-partnerships, as well as disaster management and the relationship with the EU.

On each topic specific working groups have been initiated and will present a Working Plan by 1 September. The Cayman Islands will be represented on a number of the working groups of the council, and leading on at least two. The Caribbean OCT Council will meet again on 23 September, prior to the next EU-OCT Forum.

Continue Reading

Fund directors’ database debated

| 27/04/2012 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): A database of Cayman hedge fund directors and the funds for which they act was called for during a debate on corporate governance oversight at last week’s GAIM Ops Cayman conference. It was suggested that if the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority allowed for a database of directors to be available to bona fide investors, this would aid in investors’ quest for transparency and accountability, a suggestion that CIMA’s Head of Investment and Securities said the authority was already looking at. Cayman directors and representatives for investors went head to head during a panel discussion at the conference, with investors airing their concerns that they had not properly spelt out their expectations of directors, while directors in turn agreed that investors’ expectations were not sufficiently clear. Read more on CNS Business

Continue Reading

89% say Bush should go

| 27/04/2012 | 138 Comments

Mckeeva 1.jpg(CNS): More than 850 CNS readers voted in this week’s online poll and 89 per cent of them say the premier should step down in light of the revelations that he is the subject of three police investigations. From the 857 votes polled by Friday morning, 765 people said McKeeva Bush should step aside while only 92 felt he should stay in office. On Saturday the RCIPS revealed that the premier was not just under investigation regarding a letter sent by him in connection with a land deal in 2004 involving Texan developer Stan Thomas but for two other issues as well, including an illegal shipment of explosives.

More than 550 comments have been posted on the Cayman News Service website and on CNS Business over the last week on the issue,since the first revelation on Friday evening that Bush was the subject of more than one criminal investigation.

Most of those comments have pointed to the damage that Bush continues to do to Cayman while remaining in office. There has been some support from a few CNS ‘bloggers’ who have agreed with the premier’s often quoted claim that his “heart is pure and his hands are clean” and this is a conspiracy. However, the majority of commenters on the site are calling for the premier to resign.

Bush, however, is refusing to resign or temporarily step aside while the investigations are resolved, despite the pressure, and at least two of his ministers have publicly stated they are supporting him in that decision.

The opposition members have filed a 'no confidence' motion in the Legislative Assembly, and they are asking the speaker to place it at the top of the agenda when legislators meet again next month. At this stage, however, it appears that all of the UDP members will be supporting Bush and the motion will be defeated.

Although the premier, who is also the finance minister, has not been arrested or even questioned by the police in connection with the three probes, a spokesperson for the RCIPS said that two of the enquiries relate to financial regularities. The third investigation concerns an unlicensed shipment of dynamite, which arrived in Cayman a few weeks ago and was subsequently seized by the authorities.

The probe into the illegal explosives shipment may be very recent but one of the investigations relating tothe financial irregularities began more than two years ago.

A letter sent by Bush on Windsor Development headed paper, a real estate company of which he is a director, was found in a civil case file in which the then leader of government business was asking Stan Thomas for $350,000. The letter referred to the clearance of zoning changes by Cabinet but did not explain what the significant payment was for.

Since the letter came into the public domain Bush has referred to it on one occasion as a “real estate bill” but has never clarified for what service the fee related to or explained the content of the correspondence, which was faxed from his office at the Glass House in October 2004.

The police have given no further details into the second enquiry regarding financial irregularities or when that investigation was opened or how it was triggered. Police have refused to comment further on the investigations or why Bush has not yet been interviewed by the investigating officers.

In the wake of revelations last week  that there are three live police probes, Bush has stated through his press secretary that he has had no formal notice of any investigations and the allegations are “baseless” as he has done nothing wrong. He has suggested that they are part of a Foreign Office Conspiracy against him.

Bush accused the former attorney general, David Ballantyne, and head of the financial reporting unit, Brian Gibbs, of being part of this FCO this conspiracy designed to discredit him and destabilize the Cayman Islands government. However, the governor’s office confirmed that neither Ballantyne nor Gibbs, who both resigned from office in Cayman in the wake of the Eurobank scandal in 2003, now work at the Foreign and Commonwealth office, as suggested by the premier.

See CNS poll: In light of revelations that Mckeeva Bush is at the centre of 3 police-investigations should he step down as premier?

Continue Reading