Mac’s arrest goes global

| 11/12/2012

rr21 (252x300).jpg(CNS): The news of the arrest of the Cayman Islands premier was picked up by the international media instantly on Tuesday, with the story running worldwide on television and hundreds of news media websites. McKeeva Bush was arrested at 7am at his home in West Bay on suspicion of theft and other corruption related charges in connection with the misuse of a government credit card and the importation of explosives. The UDP issued a statement at noon saying they understood the gravity of the situation but no comment could yet be made, adding that the elected UDP members were currently in caucus. Meanwhile, the leader of the opposition said he was confident that the law would take its course and that the authorities needed the opportunity to complete their work unimpeded.

Across the world, from the BBC in London to the Washington Post in the US, the story of Bush's arrest was a headline story with over 100 news sites picking up the story before noon.

Although police remained tight lipped about the arrest and refused to say where the premier was being held, sources told CNS that he was believed to have been taken to the RCIPS' new marine base location in Newlands.

The police revealed that Bush was arrested on suspicion of theft regarding the misuse of a government credit card as well as in connection with his part in the importation of dynamite without the relevant permits by a local company earlier this year.

Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin stated that, while this was a period of uncertainty for the country, people should remain calm and trust in the rule of law. 

“It is designed to deal with and ultimately resolve matters such as this," he stated, adding that the arrest was a hugely damaging body blow to the reputation of Cayman and its government. 

"It will do immense harm to our credibility as an international business centre and a place to work and do business,” the opposition leader stated. He continued, “The social and economic interests of these Islands depend on Mr Bush’s colleagues in the Cabinet and on the government Bbackbench acting swiftly and resolutely in this matter to return normalcy to the operations of government and to prevent the further hemorrhaging of the country’s image and reputation.”

He said that accepted international best practice and the conventions of the Westminster system of government provide clear guidance as to the course of action that ought now to be followed by Bush and his Cabinet and supporting backbench MLAs. “We will continue to closely monitor this grave situation over the course of the next 24 hours and will issue another statement as and when circumstances require,” McLaughlin added.

However, as Bush has not yet been charged, never mind convicted, there is nothing in law that preventshim from continuing in office. With the premier still believed to be in police custody, his press secretary on leave and the UDP party faithful behind closed doors, there was little indication of whether the premier intended to come out fighting and remain in office or whether he would step down pending the legal process.

As Bush had been under investigation for over 18 months, the arrest was not unexpected in Cayman. Nevertheless the reality of his arrest sent shock waves through the community.

The first on-the-record public comment came from Chris Duggan, the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce president, who said the arrest demonstrated Cayman's robust anti-corruption system.

Speaking on behalf of the business organisation, he said, “The arrest of the premier on alleged breach of trust, abuse of office and theft charges demonstrates Cayman’s robust law enforcement and anti-corruption systems and the Islands’ intolerance with any alleged unethical behaviour or corruption, even at the highest level of political office. The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service’s Financial Crime Unit’s investigation leading up to today’s arrest has been ongoing for several months and the economy has continued to perform robustly, providing quality services and products to the world’s financial markets, international visitors and investors. We are wholly confident that that same level of integrity and service will continue as the case works its way through the judicial system."

Duggan added, “The Chamber of Commerce unequivocally supports all actions by law enforcement officials to root out any unethical behaviour that may damage the reputation of the Cayman Islands as a leading international financial centre and as a quality jurisdiction in which to conduct business and invest." 

Charles Clifford, the former tourism minister and Bush's past permanent secretary, who has persistently questioned the integrity of the current and previous UDP administrations, said it was a sad and embarrassing day for Cayman. He commented, “From as far back as 2004 I have been saying that, as a country, if we did not embrace the principles of good governance that this day would come.”

Clifford, who is now a practicing attorney, also stated, “I recognise that the presumption of innocence must apply in all cases, including the arrest of McKeeva Bush. We shall see where the evidence leads.”

Independent members Ezzard Miller and Arden McLean planned to make a live statement at lunchtime, but Miller said that the arrest demonstrated that the rule of law in Cayman was strong and no one was above it.

The governor's office also confirmed that a statement regarding the premier's arrest would be released sometime today.

Keep logged on to CNS for updates throughout the day.

See statements below

Category: Crime

Comments (47)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Todays front page news in some places is tomorrows toilet paper…a lesson to learn in avoiding be on the front page.

     

    Foreign News services are silent today on this matter.

    • Anonymous says:

      Quite right. There's nothinggoing on to get the outside media excited about. He's been arrested – so what? When (if?) he goes to trail that's when the media will take interest.

    • Anonymous says:

      No … they are still there and also available as stock articles for research, which is what generally happens in the lull between this happening and a more in depth feature written. If this was to coincide with something else due to happen in the near future, then all the better.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What about the honorary degree he's to recieve in Jamaica this week? What about his speech on integrity? I saw mention of this on Jamaica Observer…me thinks they now find this funny!

    • Anonymous says:

      Damn. Richard needs to write a letter to cancel the order for new business cards.

  3. Anonymous says:

    One contributor says, "the police must ahve a good case"

     

    You mean like Operations Tempura?

     

    Waken up people. This is politically motivated.  

    • Anonymous says:

      I am sure the police have learned much from Tempura and would not be repeating that mistake.

      There is no reason at all to believe that it is political.

      • Anonymous says:

        That sounds like the Governor's 'lessons have been learned' reaction to complaints about Tempura. The problem is that all the evidence dug up since shows nothing of the sort.

    • Anonymous says:

      Very difficult to form a different opinion.  Why has the police/AG gone down this road if they are not ready to formerly charge?  This is absolutely rediculous.  Everyone seems to agree with the arrest so why can't the police get it right for goodness sake.  Amateurs.

  4. Green Hornet says:

    It’s distasteful and a disgrace to see what our country has come to! People do we still want party politics?

    • Anonymous says:

      Nothing to do with party politics. Everything to do with the individual integrity of politicians whether they belong to a party or not.

  5. Anonymous says:

    UDP should be disbanded, they have failed as a political party and are guilty by association for letting McKeeva run riot all these years. It's not like they didn't know what was happening, all they had to do was read the comments onCNS.

  6. Anonymous says:

    True, this fiasco has been reported globally; however, the world looks at the news item with amusement, not concern.

  7. Zooropa says:

    It really is not that big a news story.  We have always known this type of place is riddled with corruption.  It is the inevitable side-effect of the immorality of making money as a parasite assisting the theft of the taxes from other countries.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone have suggestions on the best way to remove serial numbers from appliances?

  9. Anonymous says:

    UDP save yourselves and drop the spoil apple or go down as one lol!

    Caymanian

  10. Anonymous says:

    All I say is:
    Iron Law of Responsibility.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Stay tuned …… I think there is more to come!

  12. bart simpson says:

    Did they take his passport? We don't want him traveling "at this time"!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Ah UDP…unna diggin da graves though.

    Rollie drinkin n drivin

    Dwayne gone court fa violence

    Ju-Ju spendin up big bucks of tax payer money on trips

    Mac arrested

    Chhh…talk about linin' dem up to be hung. Ah boy.  

  14. Anonymous says:

    Good

  15. wow says:

    the chicken scratches at the bottom of the UDP statement by Cayman's leading men are emblematic of the quality found throughout the Cayman Islands – not to mention that they can't count…  this historic document will be archived and remembered for its chicken scratches and scratched out numbers.  wow

  16. NeoSurvivor says:

    I've heard it said many times today — accompanied by a sad shake of the head — "how must this look to the world?   We are disgraced." 

     

    I disagree.  We were disgraced BEFORE Mr. Premier's arrest.    A big event precedes a turning point.    This is a big event.   Regardless of the outcome of the Premier's trial, we have shown the world that we are watching, and that our police force had their ducks in a row prior to his arrest.   We have reached a turning point, and from there, we can only rise.  

     

    The Premier is innocent until proven guilty.   I suspect that the RCIP has an excellent case, or they wouldn't have shocked the nation by actually arresting him.    We now set out to reestablish our global credibility and that credibility comes easier with the acknowledgement of [part of] the problem with the arrest of Mr. Bush.   Now, the world will watch the proceedings, and in the meantime, we can again hold our heads high. 

     

    Much respect to the RCIP;  I confess, I didn't think you had it in you.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Global credibility, what global credibility? if you have been reading the global news publications you will realise that the Cayman Islands financial industry is implicated in so much scandal that the arrest of the Premier pales in comparison to what is about to happen to our financial industry.  For starters HSBC Cayman was a lead story in all the international press about the launering of billions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels and as a result HSBC was fined $2 billion dollars by the USA and told to clean up it acts and placed on probabation for 5 years (know your facts).  The USA and the EU are about to pass laws that will pretty much cripple the financial industry like the OECD and FATF did.  This is just the tempest in the tea cup the arrest of the Premier.  Watch out for the real big deal that is coming soon.   Take you heads out of the sand and face the truth and reality.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Whoooo hoooo! We’s global now!

  18. Anonymous says:

    If the opposition and the government actually want to do something really useful for the Cayman Islands right now, they better shut up telling everyone what a tragedy this is and so on, and tell the outside world that it is "business as usual" here, that CIMA is an independent authority not affected by this issue, that the due process of law will prevail. If Mac is released then he has to step down now to defend himself, but he has to be ready to name a successor so that the outside world sees a normal process of handover and that he does not scare off investors by holding on. If he is later found not guilty, he will be applauded for having done the right thing for Cayman and be free to re-enter politics. If he is found guilty, well, that is his issue but he cannot drag the people of Cayman into his private world of sh!t. It is his business, nottheirs.

    If he tries to hang on, and there is a danger he might in his current mad state of mind, then it is time for the alliance and all Cayman to go protest and demand his resignation.

    • Anonymous says:

      Be careful what you ask for…….if he resigns then is Miss Ju Ju our Premier?

       

      The cure might be worse than the disease.

      • Anonymous says:

        The democratic process means they are still the electd party, at least until May, unless they go for early elections, if that is allowed…

  19. Anonymous says:

    Anybody know where I can go to volunteer for jury duty?

  20. Anonymous says:

    UDP MLA's can't even count to 8. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Picky point! But they seemed to get a bit lost around 4!

      Strange really because when they travel they manage well into tens of thousands!

  21. Anonymous says:

    He did say he would travel the world, but he didn’t say how……

  22. Anonymous says:

    "It will do immense harm to our credibility as an international business centre and a place to work and do business”

     

    That's true, but it will do less harm than letting McKeeva continue in office and in the long run it will restore some of the credibility he destroyed.

    • Anonymous says:

      How true, remember First Cayman when apparently a deal was done to avoid prosecution involving him standing down, if that is the case it was an expensive compromise!

  23. -- says:

    In related news, global airlines and hoteliers issue downward earnings forecasts prompting a decline in stock pricing.

     

  24. Anonymous says:

    We all should have listened to Chuckie a long time ago, he saw it coming and no one believed him. We need more men to stand up like he did, but in politics good men are hard to find. Chuckie I believe in you, and wished you had more input when you were in PPM, they should have paid more attention to you and what you had to say. Chuckie for Premier, a honest, hard worker who cares about his Islands and his people.

     

  25. Ed says:

    I've been in London all day.  I was driving back up the M1 when I got stuck in very slow moving, stop-start traffic.  

    At 6:23 pm the BBC Radio 4 Newsreader read out that, The "Prime Minister" of The Cayman Islands has been arrested.  

    At that precise moment the car out side me ran straight into the back of the stationary car in front of him.

    Coincidence?  I don't think so.  

    The driver was obviously seriously distracted.  The whole world is celebrating.

    • Knot S Smart says:

      In that case I think we can safely have a headline story:

      'Arrest of Cayman Premier in Cayman causes a car accident in London'

  26. Anonymous says:

    Love how media only picks up the negative…what a pathetic world we live in!

  27. Anonymous says:

    Bet you wish he was not called “Premier” now.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Who will run the UDP since 3 UDP officials are caught up in court? Foolio lmao?

    Caymanian