Archive for December 12th, 2012

UDP gathers at Bush’s home

| 12/12/2012 | 17 Comments

bush house (225x300).jpg(CNS): Several members of the United Democratic Party were seen arriving at the premier‘s house in West Bay Tuesday evening after McKeeva Bush’s release from police custody following his arrest. However, there has still been no public comment about the party’s position on the premier remaining as leader of the UDP and leader of the government. The UDP released a very short statement yesterday (Tuesday) via the deputy premier’s ministry stating that the caucus was convened and the government understood the gravity of the situation. Since then, no further official statements have been made by any member of the party.

The 57-year-old premier, who has served as the representative for West Bay since 1984, was expected to be back in police custody Wednesday morning to face further questioning regarding his arrest in connection with a police corruption investigation.

Officers from the RCIPS Financial Crime Unit arrested him on Tuesday 11 December at his home in West Bay at around 7am. Although the police have given only broad information about the probe, a police spokesperson said Bush was arrested on suspicion of theft, in connection with financial irregularities relating to the alleged misuse of a government credit card, and various offences under the Anti-Corruption Law.

These include suspicion of a breach of trust, abuse of office and conflict of interest, contrary to sections S13, S17 and S19 of the law. The police said that this related to the importation of explosive substances without valid permits on or before February this year.

Bush has been under police investigation since 2010 in connection with the now infamous Stan Thomas letter, which the premier sent to the developer in 2004 from the ministry of tourism, where he was minister at the time, asking for $350,000 in relation to re-zoning of land owned by Thomas along the West Bay Road. However, Bush has persistently denied any wrongdoing in connection with the issue and described it as a real estate bill.

The police confirmed that an enquiry into that correspondence was underway in June last year. Then in April of this year the governor revealed that the premier was the subject of a second investigation. Shortly afterwards, the RCIPS commissioner confirmed that the police were following two further enquiries in addition to the Stan Thomas probe. It was confirmed that one related to “financial irregularities” and the second related to the importation of dynamite by Midland Acres without the necessary permits.

On Tuesday evening the police confirmed that a second man had been arrested in connection with the Bush probe and CNS learned that the man was Suresh Prasad, the managing director of Midland Acres. Earlier this year, Prasad pleaded guilty to four counts relating to the dynamite importation, admitting that the regulatory oversights were down to the need to rush the explosives consignment in order to meet a contract with the Dart Group to supply fill for the developer’s latest projects under the ForCayman Investment Alliance.

At the time that the explosives were seized by the authorities, the premier wrote to the NRA and collector of customs asking for them to release the dynamite. Bush also publicly statedon TV that the email requesting the release was an effort to assist his friend.

Prasad and Bush are understood to have had a friendship spanning many years and the local businessman was also involved in the financing arrangements for the re-development of the Cayman Turtle Farm, among other projects.

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