In the court of public opinion an explanation is required

| 03/05/2012

When the letter from Mr Bush to Mr Thomas was discovered two years ago it started two processes, and should have started a third. First, it started a legal process. As in any case of suspected crime, the process began with an investigation, which may lead on to prosecution, trial, conviction and sentencing. The question in this process is whether Mr Bush should go to jail. It also raised an important question for the court of public opinion.

The public hasno power to send Mr Bush to jail, but it does have the right to vote at general elections, the ability (we hope) to influence its elected representatives, and the right to honest government. The question here is whether Mr Bush is fit to be an elected representative and our Premier. To many of us this question is just as important as whether he goes to jail.

Those who suggest that the public should not consider that question until the legal process has reached its conclusion remind me of Governor Jack announcing the suspension of our senior policemen, without explanation but telling the public not to gossip or speculate. Completely unrealistic and completely wrong. The public plays an essential part in any democracy. It is important that the public should consider very important, very worrying developments such as the discovery of the Bush/Thomas letter. We cannot and should not pretend that nothing has happened.

Of course it would have been unfair and premature for the public to jump to the conclusion that Mr Bush had engaged in large-scale corruption. But the public certainly could expect Mr Bush’s explanation. Did he send the letter? What was the transaction under which he demanded payment from Mr Thomas?

This is one of the differences between the two processes. In the legal process the person under suspicion is not compelled to give an explanation. He does not have to help the police or the prosecutor. He can stay silent. But in the court of public opinion we can and should expect an explanation. And if no explanation is given, we can and should recognize the significance of that.

If there is a lawful explanation for the Bush/Thomas letter, Mr Bush could and should clear his name by giving it. The truth would free Mr Bush. It would also free the country. The suspicion that the Premier of the Cayman Islands is a crook is damaging.

But two years have passed and Mr Bush has still not given an explanation. He has acknowledged that he sent the letter, he has said it was a legitimate transaction, but he has not described the transaction.  He has not tried to clear his name. Instead he says we should trust him – blindly.

What does he expect people to think? What can people think – except that he is unable to clear his name because the truth would put him in jail? If the truth would free him, it is in his interests and ours to tell it, and put an end to the suspicion and the investigation. I would like to hear what could possibly be his reason for not telling it. We would all like to hear.

It is not an answer for Mr Bush to say that his lawyer advised him not to clear his name. That makes no sense at all. If the transaction was legitimate, it is obvious that the best course for Mr Bush – in the legal process and in the court of public opinion – would be to disclose it. The legal process does not prevent him from doing so. Mr Bush does not need a lawyer to tell him that. He cannot use the police investigation as an excuse for not answering the court of public opinion.

The third process that should have started when the Bush/Thomas letter came to light was consideration by Mr Bush’s colleagues in the LA whether to continue their support for Mr Bush. The MLAs have the power to replace the Premier immediately, without waiting for the next election. They must have given thought to that, in the interests of the country, and in their own interests.

They must have asked Mr Bush about the Thomas transaction. They must have asked him for an explanation. If the truth would set him free, what possible reason might there be for not insisting that he tell it to the police and the public? If they concluded that their leader cannot clear his name, why do they keep him in power?

So now Mr Bush’s silence and the continuing support of his colleagues puts them too under grave suspicion in the court of public opinion – of something almost as bad as their leader.

If the truth will notset Mr Bush free, he has few options, none of them good, but his colleagues have a better choice; they can defend themselves in the court of public opinion by withdrawing their support for Mr Bush. It is late in the day for that but the public might forgive a repenting sinner who does his best to make amends.

What else can they do if truth is not on their side? Give up politics? Hope to delude or confuse public opinion? And how can they hope to do that?

Will Mr Bush’s colleagues suggest that large-scale corruption at the very top of our government does not matter? Do they think the public cannot see that, if it is allowed, it can only get worse? More and more government decisions will be made for corrupt reasons. Everyone will be vulnerable to extortion. The economy will take a nosedive. And we can look forward to the same fate as the T&C Islands.

Or will Mr Bush’s colleagues join him in claiming that this is all a conspiracy by their political opponents, or by the UK, or by the press, to frame their leader? Surely no one will swallow that? Who wrote the letter to Stan Thomas?

Or will they shout the famous line that a man is presumed innocent until proved guilty? But in the court of public opinion explanations are required from an elected representative suspected of gross misconduct. Now that we have all seen the letter from Mr Bush to Mr Thomas and we have spent two years waiting in vain for Mr Bush to explain, what else can we think but that the truth would incriminate him?

The bottom line is that Mr Bush and his colleagues must give the public a real explanation, unless they want the public to conclude that the suspicions of corruption, and supporting corruption, are well-founded and threaten the future of this country.

Mr Bush and his colleagues stand before the court of public opinion. We, the people, are the judges of whether their conduct makes them unfit to hold elected office. They are under suspicion of things that would make them all totally unfit to hold any public office. If they continue to stand together, refusing to give the simple explanation that would set them free, only one verdict is possible.

Category: Viewpoint

Comments (47)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    There is just about universal agreement in condemning McKeeva from the author of this viewpoint and the respondees to this thread but whatever you do don't blindly turn to the PPM just because they are against McKeeva.

    The government is broke how will they deal with the country's problems? The PPM have been given a pass based upon the universal dislike of McKeeva but at some point they will need to provide solutions if and when they regain control of the government.

    As of yet I have heard no solutions from the PPM except universal objection to every McKeeva plan.  Without the ability to borrow money how will they solve the problem of the GT landfill?

    How will they stimilate the economy? How will they deal with the huge civil service?

    You can keep your heads in the sand and vote thumbs down but at some point these questions must be asked. In the next election there will be choices instead of simply voting in the retread political wanabees.

    I think having no one reelected couldn't do worse than what has been there in the last 10 years. Get rid of everyone even the darlings of the radio waves.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am sorry to the commenter above but you are incorrect! The PPM and Ezzard Miller HAVE indeed put forward a SIGNIFICANT solution to the debt and the Country's problems : McKeeva needs to step down – that would save the Country significant money in MANY ways, firstly the GIFT of the Cayman Isalnds that he is giving to the Chinese would save large sums of money, secondly the non-stop jaunts across the world for him and his companeros at the expense of the Government (US, the people) thirdly, the black-eye that he has put on Cayman to the rest of the world. I could go on but I think you get the message.

      Wake up West Bay, a blind man could see McKeeva Bush for who he is! I for one am tired of having an IGNORANT, UNEDUCATED DICTATOR run this Country!!! I don't think that ANYONE in the entire Legislature would be worse at the job than McKeeva, with the Exception of Elio Solomon.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Honable Mr. Mike Adam.

    Please read this viewpoint by Anton Duckworth and think very carefully about your decisions in representing the people or by your support of your Premier, not supporting your people. Sadly by continuing your support for your leader you are showing your people allot about your self which is actually ruining your reputation.

    XXXXX

  3. Anonymous says:

    I believe that one piece of paper could unearth many more pieces of paper, that could be the reason why the investigation is taking so long and the Police want to be precise with gathering pertinent evidence in this investigation.

    • Chris Johnson says:

      Agreed, but two years for an investigation about one man. Something here that more than meets the eye.

  4. Anonymous says:

    "Instead he says we should trust him – blindly."

     

    Sounds kind or religeous to me. Maybe he thinks he is god or maybe a saint or some other imaginary friend to the Cayman Islands.

     

    Maybe if we pray to McKeeva we won't get whacked by any more hurricanes. At least it is worth atry.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The suggestion that the premier can do nothing until formally questioned by the police is complete nonsense. Why does he not issue a formal statement sworn before a JP or notary explaining the Stan Thomas invoice and the explosives shipment? He could present this sworn statement to the police as he is clearly now aware of the investigation and he could read the contents to the public in a broadcast statement. That would clear up a lot of the cloud that is now hanging over government. The premier goes on the radio and TV to talk about much less important things all the time. Why does he not make a public statement on this very important matter?

  6. Anonymous says:

    If Mr Bush had a morsel of respect for us the public (his electorate) then at the very least Mr Bush ought to provide us with an explanation of these matters under police investigation.  Mr Bush is clearly determined to continue with his autocratic rule and to disrespect us.  We must stop him and demand that the Governor insists that he is 'suspended pending investigation.' 

    • Anonymous says:

      Everyone charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Mac is under suspicion of criminal misconduct and is being investigated by the police. He refuses to step down and his UDP colleagues supports him. But what happens if the Premier of the Cayman Islands is charged with a crime while in office?  This sounds like a formula for dog eating our supper! What a mess! What naive supporters that think it is perfectly alright for him to remain in office while he is under criminal investigation. What kind of Ministers Anglin, Scotland and Adam really are?

      • JTB says:

        It's true that any man, including the premier, is innocent until proven guilty.

         

        It's also true that justice must be done, and be seen to be done.

         

        McKeeva cannot stall these enquiries for years and pretend that they do not matter,or that people will not draw their own conclusions.

         

        In any first world country, he would be long gone by now

  7. Shock and Awe says:

    Well said Anthony, but you neglected one other explanation for the Premier's party associates being unwilling to sanction him: quite possibly XXXX. But your premise is right. The public should not have to wait for all investigations to conclude. Simply because the reasons for the long delay and the process may be something different than what we require. We require an immediate explanation for this substantial bill sent from a government fax. It was not connected with government business for one and it was for a company the Premier operates privately. But he is also paid substantially to conduct the business of the Caymanian people not his own. Unless he has the two confused.

  8. Chris Johnson says:

    An interesting assessment but it does not focus on the real problem that I have. Just why has it taken two years to investigate and produce no report. Cayman is a well respected financial centre and when things go wrong in the corporate arena investigators and liquidators are appointed. In the Government arena it appears on the surface that either a magic carpet appears for all to be swept under or professionals employed by the police or regularity authorities are not up to scratch in producing accurate and timely reports.
    Having observed the Special Investigation team employed in TCI who have been there for almost three years I note that twenty four persons have been arrested. Of these about ten been found to have a case to answer and the others will be subject to future hearings. Amazingly and rather worryingly some eight politicians or former politicians are amongst their numbers.
    Whilst I do not believe the extent of corruption in Cayman compares with that of TCI I do have reason to believe it does exist. It must be routed out as soon as possible. The international press is all over Cayman if no one has noticed and the continuous raves of Mr Bush are not improving the situation. For the sake of the well being of Cayman and it’s people it is time for him to resign and he can hand in his gong at the same time so some more fitting may reap the reward.

    • Dred says:

      My take on it is this.

      While I do believe this investigation is going a bit slow I believe that it is because of the depth and influence of our Premier that is slowing things.

      If you consider for a moment that MAYBE all we have seen is the tip of the perverbial iceberg. What if like TCI others are implicated also. Possibly other members of the UDP party, possibly other heads within government, possibly external figures who simply do business here in the Cayman Islands.

      I suspect but have no proof but my feel is that once you start digging and in the right spots you could well find a mass grave or a graveyard if you will of issues to weed through. I could be wrong but I believe it is possible why this whole thing is taking so long. I believe this time the Police or inverstigators do not want another Tempura on their hands. I believe they want to make sure things are air tight this time.

      Now the question could be asked "Then why the throw out of information?" Could it be simply something done by the Police to show people who are being manipulated that the polce are in fact serious in their investigation and that this matter goes up.

      I heard a lot of people around Cayman saying this will get swept under the rug. Maybe this is the Police way of saying this isn't going anywhere.

      Personally I do not believe we have seen the motherload as yet. I believe there is not only more to come but possibly a lot more. It might be this reason why certain people are manning the guns and preparing for war.

      Only time will tell to be honest.

      I am but one Caymanian. I am middle of the road in my years upon thsi earth but as a Caymanian I have never felt as bad as I do now about my country. I see tourism down, crime on the rise and then there is this. Being lead by someone who I am basically ashamed of. If we ever have a wall of shame he is the first to be nominated from thestatus fiasco to all he is doing now. Never before have I ever seen some one so hellbent on destroying my country.

      Let's look at all that has transpired:

      1) He wants to give our country away to someone who could afford to buy it (7 Mile Beach & the supposedly ForCayman Alliance)

      2) He wants to destroy our country and our nature beauty (Dump and the supposedly ForCayman Alliance)

      3) He wants to trade our future away (CHEC and the Cruise Berthing)

      I dare say if ANYONE has an intention of doing damage to our country it is not the UK or its FCO Office it is our Premier and his UDP party. I would dare ask WHY would the UK or their FCO office do it when our Premier is doing such a wonderful job all by his lonesome self.

      1) He raised taxes which crippled our ailing economy driving many small business out of business and causing many larger businesses to reassess their global position.

      2) The above has lead to previously unknown highs in Unemployment.

      3) Then he attempted to do an Oil Refinery which would be the nail in the Tourism coffin.

      4) Then he was on the bawagon for the Mega Quarry and if we ever got another Ivan they would be mopping us up for possibly years.

      5) Then there is the ForDart Alliance cause it surely ain't ForCayman Alliance since he gets our 7 Mile Beach basically for free if you think about it. I mean he needs to build that road thru his property going to West Bay anyhow and now he gets a prime beach front land also. Who in their right mind wouldn't want that deal?

      6) As if all that is not enough we have half million given to Cohen and Cohen and then 2-3 Million to GLF. Let's not forget the Churchs 10million.

      Maybe the dynamite was to finish us off. I really can't think about anyone or thing systematically destroying us like this cancer we call UDP. I really can't. 

      I hear all the McKeevaites shouting well what is PPM plans to return the country. Where can they even begin. The have to unravel all the stuff he did to ruin us. How can you even think about turning the country around when you can't see 10 feet in front of you for all the weeds he has planted.

      He reminds me of Brother Jonesy. I have never before in my life saw so many people sho high on his brand of coolaid. I honestly thought some of the UDP MLAs had brains. They could not have proven me more wrong if they tried. He's like a Piedpiper. What saddens me even more is I know a few of them. Mike, Mike, Mike. Why?

      2013 People. People Power!! The day we take back what is TRULY ours.

      • Chris Johnson says:

        Good response Dred but put your real name next time

        • Dred says:

          One day Chris I will when I find myself in a more secure position. I still have things I need to do and some of these things are tied to the government and can be manipulated by him and his supporters. I do not need to complicate my life further at this stage BUT I also can not stand back idly and allow his Jim Jones style speeches which make NO RATIONAL sense and not attempt to lay the SIMPLEST OF LOGIC on the table.

          I have a great respect for you and I read all that you write with great interest and I must say I learn so much from your writings.

      • Anonymous says:

        Mike Adam, of all of them, is the biggest disappointment – expected much better from him.  Only shows that good people enter politics with the best of intentions, and then something strange seems to happen to them along the way…..SAD.  Best thing is to dismantle party systems and go back to independents who will really represent their people and not party interests.

    • Anonymous says:

      Chris, I don't follow. You keep asking why it has taken 2 years in Cayman for the investigation and yet express your admiration for the investigators in TCI where it has taken 3 years to issue an arrest warrant for their premier. I expect that arrest warrants will be forthcoming here within thenext 12 months which would place us right on schedule with TCI..   

      • Owl says:

        Allow me to assist.  The TCI process has special funding and staffing.  The investigation is into people who no longer hold office which makes it much easier.  The political will is there to see the process through.  The international press is aware of the situation.  The UK was shamed into acting by its own Parliament.  If it takes them 3 years to issue warrants, then it will take us 10, which is long enough for key personnel to leave, winds to change direction, and the very large carpet to be wheeled out once more.  A significant part of the population feel genuinely aggrieved and that a crime has been committed against them, and want to see the punishment for that.  Justice delayed is justice denied.  Not one spare minute should be spent living under alleged corrupt leadership.  Every contract he signs, every person he speaks to, every decision he makes, does long-term damage to our prospects as a society.  That is why investigations of this nature must proceed with all haste – because there is no time to lose.

        • Chris Johnson says:

          Thank you Owl. Whilst there is special funding in TCI to investigate the wholesale corruption I see no reason to provide special funding to investigate the ramifications of one letter. To date no one has given any explanation for this serious delay.

          The authorities must furnish a plausible explanation as to the delay. Otherwise the FCO will be all over us and rightly so.

          • Anonymous says:

             

            what are your talking about? it is the FCO's investigation. they run the police.

      • Chris Johnson says:

        Mr anonymous 7.33 clearly you did not read my response properly so I will elaborate in order to increase your edification of the subject matter. 24 arrests have been made. These include 8 former politicians including the former Premier now wanted by Interpol, no mean feat to get on their list, and the former leader of the opposition. Of these 24 about one half have been found to be answerable and will appear in the Supreme Court in due course. The remainder will appear in front of a judge in due course to establish if there is a case to answer. This is likely to take place in the next few months.
        The fraud and corruption is extensive and the amount into the hundreds of millions. If I was to hazard a guess the number of charges against all defendants will be in excess of 100 and could be 200 or more. Now in addition to that in my opinion there will be other arrests.
        Now tell me how you compare this extraordinary amount of work to investigatings one piece of paper with one individual in two years?
        For your further edification most of this information is contained on six news websites in the TCI.
        I rest my case.

    • Anonymous says:

      Chris, I am no lawyer and the extent of my legal experience is going before Judge Hercules on a speeding offense, but I would imagine that there is an issue of a fair trial that has the Chief of Police and Legal Department in a bit of a conundrum.

       

      Love him or hate him, and I lean towards the latter, but McKeeva is entitled to a fair trial. Conversely, the Crown should also get a fair shake of the stick. Without a doubt McKeeva would call for trial by a jury of his peers.

       

      With McKeeva's defense attorney having the ability to challenge potential jurors (I've seen this on Law & Order on TV) the most likely outcome is that you will end up with a jury that will find him "not guilty" no matter how overwhelming the evidence may be to the contrary.

       

      I believe one of the problems (solutions?) in TCI is that the interim government had to abolish trial by jury in order to get convictions. These are very difficult issues, and I certainly don't have the answer(s). Term limits for ALL politicians might help, or as some wit put it "Limit them all to two terms, one in the LA and one in Northward".

      • Chris Johnson says:

        No where did I say Bush was guilty and of course he is entitled to a fair trial. I am just saying that it taking far too long to complete the investigations.

      • Anonymous says:

        "…the most likely outcome is that you will end up with a jury that will find him "not guilty" no matter how overwhelming the evidence may be to the contrary".

        Good thing they passed a law saying the Crown can appeal an acquittal. Also, verdicts can be overturned if they are perverse.
         

    • Anonymous says:

      That's all fine but you're changing the subjrct.

  9. Mclaughlin says:

    Anthony, are you speaking for the public?  I did not designate you to speak for me. My opinion is loud and clear:  IF YOU WANT TO REMOVE THE PREMIER, NEXT ELECTION IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER WHERE THE PEOPLE WILL DECIDE.  Good Night

    • Dred says:

      Just another one drinking the coolaid like it was water. Don't worry Brother Jonesey gonna save you. Well right after he takes a cruise around the Galaxy with the little green men.

  10. Cayman2012 says:

    Mr. Bush doesn't have to prove anything to the public opinion, because he already made his declaration of innocence. The onus is now on the Governor and the Commissioner of Police who is handling the investigations to come forward with them so that Cayman's name can be vindicated or cleared.

  11. Chris Johnson says:

    My particular concern is how on earth can it take two years to investigate this one piece of paper? A very competent judge reported the matter, one who is well versed in financial matters so why the delay?
    By comparison the Special Investigation Department in TCI have investigated 24 individuals, charged twelve whom Justice Ramsey found have a case to answer with regard to nine with three hearings to go. The hearings for the remaining twelve are outstanding. This has been achieved in almost three years. Substantial monetary recoveries have been made to date with a lot more to come.
    If the local constabulary cannot expedite this matter they need bring in specialists recruited with the assistance of the FCO or alternative utilize local expertise that is readily available. Failing that the inevitable comparison with the corruption in TCI will continue with journalists chomping at the bit.

    • Anonymous says:

      Chris, do you mean 'specialists recruited with the assistance of the FCO' like Martin Bridger and his motley crew?

      If so you will still be writing about all this in five years time and the islands will be many millions of dollars poorer.

      There isn't the incentive for the UK to come down on this as hard as they did in TCI because whatever is (or is not) happening here is relatively trivial. Bring in outsiders and what you will get is another half-hearted mess, run under the 'old pals' act and turning into an all-expenses paid vacation for those involved.

       

      • Chris Johnson says:

        Do not agree. There is one big reason why the FCO should be interested. They do not want a repeat of the TCI government corruption. As to Tempora clearly there was something amiss but it got swept under the carpet. Please no repeat performances.

    • Lachlan MacTavish says:

      Chris…I agree completely. One piece of paper 2 years. Time is killing Cayman. Time is Bush's friend.

      Lachlan MacTavish

      • Dred says:

        And his enemy. However it is up to us to keep the pressure on him and his worthless party.

  12. Anonymous says:

    excellent article, mine fields and all.

  13. Anonymous says:

    The really scary part of ALL of this is the question I have:

    "How many of the voting public see things as you have laid them out in this view point?"

  14. Anonymous says:

    Excellent piece, Anton. Clearly, elegantly and persuasively stated.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I do not always agree with Mr. Duckworth but this Viewpoint is well written. The only point that he could have made more forcefully is that any suspicion that politicians are corrupt causes legitimate local and foreign investors to avoid investing. At the same time a suspicion that politicians are corrupt acts like a magnet for con artists and other criminals looking for an environment in which they can "do business" with likeminded decision makers who are willing to sell governmental decisions in order to line their own pockets.

    • Anonymous says:

      But what if, although He hath founded it upon the seas, we hath buildeth it on corruption – and of the two, frankly, the latter seems most plausible.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Well said.
    Hopefully all the voters read this and vote accordingly.

    • Anonymous says:

      Read an article and vote with conscience, versus selling your vote for ANOTHER a free washing machine. I see where this is going for the voters in West Bay…

  17. Anonymous says:

    And it is we the people who should follow EVIDENCE before judging someone or insinuating that he is guilty. Opinion is one thing Duckworth, but EVIDENCE is another thing!

    • Dred says:

      I believe we already have a quite a bit of EVIDENCE that points a mighty big finger at Mr Premier. Something which he has yet to give a LOGICAL explanation for. Well unless you call aliens and little green men an explanation. Well actually he hasn't used that yet but trust me its coming.

    • Anonymous says:

      The letter IS the evidence, it might be evidence of a completely proper transaction, or it might be evidence of a corrupt act, what is missing is not evidence but explanation. It is extaordinary that given the evidence, the police cannot conclude the matter. And, as Anton has eloquentlty pointed out, it behoves the "premier" to give an explanation to because his failure to do so is damaging to them.

    • bear baiter says:

      Nevertheless, it has been said that, "where there's smoke, there's fire.". Me thinks it is high time to step back until all investigations/legal proceedings are complete.