Allowing Bush to fail us is failing ourselves

| 08/06/2012

The ongoing farce of McKeeva Bush’s continued leadership in the face of three separate police investigations is now reaching the point of ridicule. In any other democratic country a leader facing such intense police scrutiny would have stepped aside months ago in order to allow investigations to be carried out swiftly and successfully and in order to prevent further damage to the reputation of the government and of the country itself.

But Bush’s petulant refusal to let go of his power even temporarily not only risks making Cayman a laughing stock, it also makes it very difficult to take his own political position seriously.

Who could seriously acknowledge Bush’s calls for fiscal prudence at the Caribbean Development Bank meeting, for example, in light of the knowledge that his own financial irregularities are under intense police scrutiny? Who will listen to a leader who urges others to exercise financial caution when the Stan Thomas letter, revealing his demand for a $350,000 payment which still remains to be properly explained, is in public circulation? Even if Bush’s claims that the payment was for ‘consulting fees’ are true, the proximity of his wife’s company’s involvement in the West Bay land deal seems too close for comfort for those who hope to see complete professionalism and impartiality from a political leader.

And when one reaches the point at which the highest elected official of the Cayman Islands goes publicly on record with a damaging, babbling and paranoid statement of aggression against the representative of the British government in Cayman, any voter must start to ask whether the price of keeping Mac in office isn’t becoming too high for that office to bear.

How great is the value of Bush’s questioned, debated and investigated leadership compared to the cost of irrevocably damaging the relationship between the premier’s office and the governor? Are we really so desperate to keep a man in office who we KNOW requested the release of an illegal shipment of dynamite despite a complete lack of proper licensing that we are prepared to watch him reduce the office of premier to little more than a public joke?

Bush’s insistence on remaining in office must inevitably damage the position of premier, as it has required him to make several weak attempts to swipe at the accusations against him, each one only resulting in making him look more desperate, as he tries to twist language and motive to conceal the truth rather than clarify matters. While Bush was quick to try to dismiss allegations surrounding the Stan Thomas letter by blaming his assistant, Richard Parchment for making a simple ‘mistake’, the sentence “I have ensured that all of the proposed re-zoning issues have been agreed and approved by Cabinet” is pretty hard to explain away as a misunderstanding.

Indeed, Bush’s subsequent letter, which he has provided as ‘proof’ that he immediately rectified the situation, reads “I need to clarify to save any misunderstanding that the bill sent to you today for the West Bay Seven Mile Beach purchase transaction is for consulting fees for work carried out and advice given by Windsor Development Corporation. The rezoning was done before and without Windsor participation.”

Yet it was not Windsor Development, but Bush himself, a member of Cabinet at the time as Leader of Government Business, who was in a position to influence the Cabinet decision on re-zoning. So whilst the claim that Windsor Development had no influence on the Cabinet may be technicallytrue, it is in fact completely beside the point and fails to address the issue of Bush’s influence at all. (Not to mention reports that a witness statement given to police casts doubt on Bush’s claims anyway.)

Of course, even if Bush’s claims about his involvement in the whole affair are completely accurate, they still present a worrying picture of a government minister deeply involved in and influencing local deals and land transactions in a way that many would consider inappropriate anyway. He told the Cayman Compass “My job was to convince Gil Freytag to sell the property to Stan Thomas,” with the Cayman Compass reporting that he added “there was another developer interested in buying the property, but he was able to convince Mr. Freytag to sell it to Mr. Thomas instead.”

Is this the level of influence and involvement we want an elected minister to be having in local business transactions? And can it possibly be ethical for him to be involved in this way when he also sat on the Cabinet which made the decisions about zoning to enable such schemes to go through, whether or not he claims to have acted impartially in this instance?

The deeper one looks at Bush’s administration and activities, and the more closely one investigates his attempts to deflect the allegations against him, the more doubtful it seems that he is the best person to lead Cayman forward in a fair, accountable and impartial manner.

What kind of political acumen and wisdom can we expect from a man who lashed out in an undignified and apoplectic fit to hurl utterly groundless accusations and conspiracy theories at the UK’s highest representative in the Cayman Islands? Even the very statement itself was highly embarrassing, with a confused and enraged Bush seeming to utterly contradict himself by both accusing Governor Taylor of having “done nothing for three years” and “doing nothing of substance” and yet simultaneously suggesting that he was “stealthily and insidiously” working against the success of Cayman.

The very idea is farcical, but what should concern voters far more is the arrogant selfishness with which Bush is prepared to throw around such damaging and unfounded accusations in order to defend his own precarious position, with utter disregard for the damage it could do to the office of premier and the relationship between the Cayman Islands and the UK.

In almost any other democratic country in the world Bush would by now have been forced to step aside before he drags the position of premier into the dust. No, there is no legislative requirement for him to do so as a result of his being the subject of police investigations, but this is probably not a constitutional decision so much as an assumption that a person in such high public position would naturally have the decency and respect for his office to do so voluntarily!

But neither have Bush’s political allies and funders shown the backbone required to force him to step out of the limelight – and this is where Caymanians are not only allowing Bush to fail them, but also failing themselves.

Category: Viewpoint

Comments (22)

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  1. Just Commentin' says:

    Alice, you are being too easy on the people responsible for the farce. The farce and failure are not just of late: the people of this land failed miserably long ago by allowing the current leading maroon to be voted into office in the first place. They failed miserably by putting up with his antics during his first stint in office. The people allowed him to bring disgrace to himself and us with impunity. Then, like a dog returning to its own vomit, the people of this land failed yet once more andelected him again!

    Christ Almighty! Who, other than utter imbeciles, would waste their vote like that? Who other than hopelessly ignorant morons would expect better of Bush? Who the hell is surprised about where he has led this land? I'm not.

    To cast the final failing grade upon the electorate of these islands is that Bush and his minions formed the ruling party and he ended up as premier.

    In my opinion, and in the opinion of thinking people outside these islands taking note of our politricks, we reached the point of ridicule long ago by electing people like Bush and his minions to be elected leaders. We deserve better. Or maybe not. The people of the Cayman Islands got what they voted for. Stupid is as stupid votes; and stupid deserves the consequences of stupidity. Idiots voted  for Bush and they also voted for a deficient Constitution that enables Bush to bring disgrance to the Cayman Islands and remain in office when in it is long past tolerable for him to so remain.

     

    In electing Bush and putting up with his antics, maybe we are not failing ourselves, maybe we are just manifesting our true nature.

    Lest I get flamed as being a "furiner" being overly critical of Caymanians: I am a Caymanian. However, I am not a stupid Caymanian – I did not vote for Bush or any of his minions. According to our last election results and judging by the performance of our current Big Failure, it seems like the voting pool is rife with stupid Caymanians. Why don't intelligent, logically thinking Caymanians start coming to the polls in greater numbers? That is our only hope. We will continue to fail if the electorate doesn't smarten up a lot. We as a people all can't be that dumb, can we?

    And lest some moron writes some tired old BS along the lines of, "If we are, as you say, such a stupid failure as a people, how come the Cayman Islands are such a wealthy success?" To you I say this: If your metric of success is based solely in terms of money, then flame on because you're an idiot, too. Moreover, the wealth is an illusion: we borrow money (and only with Mother's permission) to make ends meet.

     

    In our current sorry state of affairs, if stupidity and failure were gold, this land would make Solomon envious of our riches.

  2. Anonymous says:

    YES! EXACTLY!!! This is exactly what needed to be said for such a long time – not only why is our Premier acting so despicably and unacceptably for a person in such a powerful position, but WHY ARE WE PUTTING UP WITH IT!!! Well done Alice!

    • in credible says:

      Many many Caymanians put up with it because they are on the receiving end of the corruption game.  Accountability means no more easy, no responsibilities jobs, free healthcare,paved driveways, free gas, government contracts,new suv's after crashing the last one, etc., etc., etc.,  All of these losers will fight tooth and nail to keep Cayman in third world status.  Expect it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    "In any other democratic country a leader facing such intense police scrutiny would have stepped aside months ago' In a Democratic (fo real) country the leader is of the people. Bush is a leader.  But not of the people.  Unless you call all of the gas carded, overpayed but nonperforming, the Church of the Bushits, and all the happy Brackers the people.  Then it makes sence.  And the reason he won't step down is it HE will not benifit from doing that.  And neither would they.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I completely agree with everything that Alice writes but what also concerns me is that none of our current politicians seem interested in changing our laws and procedures to make sure that nothing like the past 3 years can ever happen again. We clearly cannot continue with laws that assume that all politicians are honest and working in the peoples' interest. For all the reasons that Alice points out and more, that assumption is disastrous. We need far more transparency, greater accountability and greater deterrents and punishments for dishonest politians.

    • Bogart says:

      I completely agree. It is all Alice in Wonderland stuff. The big question is which part is Bush playing? Well if the rabbit he must have pulled himself out of a hat or less likely a very big hole. Open to suggestions.

      • Anonymous says:

        He might see himself as a Caymanian Robin Hood.

         

        Rob the expat (and non-West Bay Caymanians); give to the West Bay voters and certian cronies (Little John John and Friar Tuck etc).

         

        It might explain a lot.

         

         

        • Anonymous says:

          When viewed from inside a very narrow tribal perspective, McKeeva's heart is indeed pure and his hands are indeed clean.

           

          The world is a tribal place; some tribes are bigger than others. Get used to it.

    • SKEPTICAL says:

      If you were a member of the Majority party pulling down $90,000 plus a year when all you had to do was turn up at the LA a few times a year, say nothing, and vote with the Party – would you rock the boat A career as a Cayman MLA has got to be on of the cushiest jobs in the World – and with a bloody big pension to follow if you get bored after a couple of terms. A comparison with the remuneration and responsibilities of a UK MP makes the whole thing laughable – and as for Ministerial positions – I won’t even go there.

    • Anonymous also says:

      Do not expect the fox to pass laws protecting the hen house!  It will not happen.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Excellent viewpoint.

    Our current anti-corruption regime and our shiny new Constitution have shown themselves completely unfit for purpose. However well intentioned those who drafted these arrangements, they simply provide far too much power to the powerhungry and far too much freedom for the corrupt. Neither political party seems to have any interest in doing away with corruption and abuse of office which is a very damning indictment of the state of politics at the moment. Our best hope going forward would seem to be that honest independants not looking to get rich quick will come forward to stand in the next election.

  6. Anonymous says:

    How about the $10mln he gave to his own church that has gone un-contested, or the tens of millions in other friendly and unaccountable transfers to his home district, like the Turtle Farm?  Do we really need any more evidence of misappropriation than these?  

  7. Libertarian says:

    There is no constitutional provision for "recalling" or removing the Premier whilst he is in power – that is our major problem!

    • Anonymous says:

      Lib, how would such a recall provision work? Remember that the Premier was not elected to that office by the electorate. He was elected as an MLA by his constituency and so they would have to recall him as an MLA. Do you ever see that happening in WB?

      • Libertarian says:

        People should be able to DIRECTLY vote for the Leader of Government (LOG) from a national slate of candidates. I would have rather "one man, two votes", meaning that the electorate on the same day would get to vote for his district representative and at the same time from an array of candidates, they would have the opportunity to directly vote for their LOG. Of course, the UK's FCO would have issue about this, because it wouldn'tbe easy to remove a LOG without international / UN scorn when the LOG is directly elected by / for his people. Do I still think we could have a "recall provision" when the people are not allowed to directly choose their Premier?  Yes I do. See it this way:- without the electorate there would be no MLA to choose from.   

        • FE says:

          That's a good idea. Maybe the PPM party can once again regain the public's confidence by changing the constitution they defined, and include one man, two votes. They same adamant that their constitution is a good one, but everybody knows that is not the case.

  8. Anonymous says:

    lets no forget the other upd mla muppetts who keep him in power

    • Anonymous says:

      That can all change with a YES on the One Man/One vote referendum.  Please get out and vote for this important matter, even if it is in July with a Public Holiday proclaimed – all designed by Big Mac & Co. to avoid a Yes vote.  There are Advance Ballots available – USE THEM!!

    • SKEPTICAL says:

      PRECISELY !!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Well put Alice! I couldn't agree more.  Bush's explanation of the Stan Thomas letter is a "the dog ate my homework" moment that shows how stupid he must think we are.  Even if everything he has said is true, which would require a superhuman suspension of incredulity, these issues still show serious conflicts of interest and personal profit making in the highest offices of the government.

    I don't think there is any question that Bush is an apalling leader and has to go as soon as his hands can be prised from the levers of power (or as soon as he spends long enough in the country).  I think the issue now, in light of the Gasboy scandal, the CINICO scandal, the state of the public accounts and the other instances of corruption and incompetence, is that the entire Cayman Islands Government has been shown to be riddled with theives and incompetents from top to bottom. 

    Is there anyone in this country honest enough and capable enough to lead us out of this mess?  Right now I think the answer is no.

    • Chris Johnson says:

      Whilst I agree with much of what you say, I do believe there are outstanding Caymanian leaders who can get us of out this mess. The real problem is are there enough Caymanians out there who are willing and capable of supporting a leader? This is probably the biggest problem any future Premier is concerned about. In other words before standing he needs to have the comfort of being able to put together a good team.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Excellent piece… very well put.