Cayman’s omnishambles

| 25/04/2012

Coined by a British sitcom writer, ‘omnishambles’ has become the new buzz word on the UK Westminster scene to describe political mess-ups of significant proportions. And it seems like the perfect word to sum up the current political situation McKeeva Bush finds himself in as he faces three criminal investigations. But given his defiance, perhaps it's not him but the rest of us that are the real shambles.

It seems that no amount of press coverage, cries from the opposition, outrage on talk shows or even general embarrassment is enough to pressure the premier to step aside.  With his party standing by him and most of the organisations that represent the country’s economic fortunes mumbling into their boots about hurrying things along but not a single request for him to step down, Bush won’t be going anywhere, except on his next overseas jaunt at the expense of the public purse.

Whether it’s because of a wider fear of the deputy prime minister actually taking over the country’s leadership (which, to be honest, is understandable) or because people really don’t care or think it matters that the premier is under police scrutiny is impossible to say but as the people that have the power, namely the UDP membership, its party funders and the business community, are not calling for his resignation, he won’t be stepping down anytime soon. Despite predictions to the contrary, Bush will stumble on yelling at his critics in is usual comedic fashion until May 2013.

The opposition can cry ‘no confidence’ till it's blue in the face, bloggers can blog till their fingers hurt and the talk shows callers can turn their throats hoarse but the only people that can really force the premier to face up to this situation is the party faithful or the party funders. So long as those supporting the UDP coffers continue to offer their support, Bush will not step aside, down or even back.

After all, why should he?

It might be unimaginable that this situation could happen in a democracy anywhere else in the world but that’s only because the pressure from the powerful would be unrelenting in most other jurisdictions.

One would expect that in a true democracy where the leader of a country finds himself at the heart of three police investigations, especially when one involves the illegal importation of dynamite, other members of government would likely seize the opportunity to bolster their own political fortunes and distance themselves from a potential political train wreck at the polls.

But here in Cayman it seems that voters don’t really mind that much and the politicians have very little faith in their own abilities.

Despite the revelations, unless Bush is actually charged and convicted of a crime, legally prohibiting him from holding office, he will stay in his post and will run at the next election. No matter the electoral format, he will win his seat. It is extremely unlikely that the UDP will gain a majority but, government or opposition bench, Bush’s backside will still be on one of them next May.

Most of the UDP members, with perhaps the odd exception, believe they cannot get elected without him and many of them are right. And while there may be grumblings in the business community, one cannot help wonder what it is that Bush knows that keeps them so reluctant to step up and say that he has to go.

While we may not exactly have a significant collection of captains of industry or business, none of the representative associations that fuel the local economy have called for him to be removed, despite the obvious implications for business and the economy. One can only conclude that Mac’s little black book is not that little.

It's obvious that the pressure from his opponents to step aside will continue and some media headlines will serve as a constant reminder that the country’s leader is facing criminal investigation over an illegal dynamite shipment as well as financial irregularities, but Bush’s recalcitrant position in the statement released at the weekend shows he has no intention of resigning, no matter what we write.

Of course, it is truly absurd that he accuses his critics of destabilizing the country when they object to his policies or because they wish to introduce a more equitable voting system, while claiming the fact that although he is at the heart of three police investigations, this has no effect on the country’s stability — but he believes it.

The ramblings of paranoia in his statement on Saturday demonstrate his genuine belief that there is some kind of conspiracy against him and that these investigations are all “nunsense” as he knows of “nun”.

Unless the Stan Thomas letter turns out to be a forgery and the “emails” that none of us are allowed to see because they “are part of the investigation” also turn out to be figments of people’s imagination, then of course it’s far from nonsense and there are obviously questions to answer.

But the problem is that the police don’t seem to be asking them and if the investigation continues to drag on without any advancement, either towards innocence or guilt, without him being questioned or cleared, the premier will continue in office, abusing his critics, defying calls for his resignation and washing his already clean hands.

Yep! It’s definitely an omnishambles …

Vote in CNS poll: Should Mckeeva Bush step down as premier?

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  1. O'Really says:

    While I understand the outrage of many of the posters on this and other threads, the situation is really quite simple. Stepping aside while even one police investigation is being caried out ( let alone 3 ) is the honourable thing to do. You will therefore never witness this behaviour from Mr. Bush.

    • R.U. Kidden says:

      You are right.   No one has ever accused him of being honourable

    • Chris Johnson says:

      Someone once sati that there was something rotten in the Kingdom of Denmark. Well we have moved on a few centuries and now it applies to the Cayman Islands. The matter of the Stan Thomas payments to the Minister of All Tings was raised by a well respected and eminent judge, justice Charles Quin, over two years ago. What has occurred to date? Zilch.

      Let us compare this with the Turks and Caicos Islands. As of today thirteen people have been charged and Justice Ramsey-Hale has found cases to be answered by all. Several others cases remain to come before the judiciary. The former include then former President, Michael Misick and the former leader of the opposition. The work involved in investigating these persons has been huge and involved between 20 and 30 police and lawyers. So far the investigation has taken over two years but the monies eventually recovered will be well in excess of cost. In fact large sums of money and land have already been recovered. Frankly, knowing the team employed, I would not wish to be a defendant. Should they come to this island I would be seriously concerned should I be a corrupt politician.

      Now the real point of my dialogue is just why the Bush/Thomas investigation has taken so long? For a judge to report such a matter when looking at a civil case is very unusual indeed though not unheard of. It must have been very serious indeed for Justice Quin to report his findings. Now from that point I assume the report was givento the AG who with any sense would have done several things. One, get very nervous indeed, after all a judge is watching over his shoulder, second get a second opinion, third advise the Governor and get the fuzz on to it.

      As we all know nothing took place and no investigation took place. The magic carpet came out and all fell beneath it. Who is responsible you might ask? Well check out the AG and the Governor for starters. The police we do not know about but their fraud department record is not great.

      I should mention that our beloved leader was although he denied it at the time, a director of Gulf Union Bank, which was trading whilst insolvent and went into liquidation. Now our leader is the Minister of Finance amongst other Tings. He actually has no clue about finance. How on earth could he get involved in finance.

      In conclusion I say that there has been serious ineptitude on behalf of the Government, the AG, the Governor and the RCIP in not dealing with this matter expeditiously. When I read about the subject matter in the overseas press, including the Bahamas, I get very distraught. Many in the private sector have done our best to keep this place clean only to see the total incompetence of those in charge.

      Any minute now you can expect to meet FCO investigators but actually you will not recognize them. This will most certainly not be Tempora.

  2. Anonymous says:

    just another day in wonderland……. how many years have i being saying this?

  3. SKEPTICAL says:

    Let’s take a step back. There is almost a sad aspect to Bush’s vitriolic and intransigent response to the revelations of the past week. It is childlike, in it’s lack of intellect and understanding of what is really happening, and what it might ultimately mean for him, but more importantly – Cayman.
    Should any of the three investigations be proved to have merit, he could become a very pathetic figure – sadly, something he will never be able to acknowledge.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Mckeeva reloaded? read this statement from Kurt Tibbetts when he was leader of Government business 5 years ago, you would not believe the deja vu I experienced,2188399&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

    unfreaking believable, how did McKeeva get back in?I now have very little faith that the people of West Bay will ever rid this country of the tyrant.

    • Anonymous says:

      That should be required reading for every single UDP supporteron the face of this earth. And it should be read at least three times to every single UDP supporter on the face of this earth who can't read. What a complete disgrace this man is to our country. The very big question is WHERE ON EARTH is all this public money GOING? CNS would you PLEASE reprint this article for the benefit of our country and our people.

    • Truth says:

      Insanity at its finest.  The people of Cayman take a long time to learn a simple lesson.

    • anonymous says:

      A word of caution when reading the link, some of that has now been refuted by PAC…..example…Mr. Ezzard Miller, when he headed the PAC committee, completely threw out the Auditor General's Royal Watler report after the hearings.


      "In regard to the Royal Watler report, however, PAC were quite specific with their condemnation of the AG and said his claim that there was overcharging to the tune of $.4.2 million was not substantiated and was mitigated by witness evidence that the project was expanded in scope.

      The committee is of the position that such unsubstantiated comments by the Auditor General’s office … are concerning to say the least,” Ezzard Miller, the chair of PAC, read to the LA as he submitted the four reports to the House. “Such unsubstantiated comments may cause damage to the reputation of individuals or business, and that in drafting of such reports the utmost due care and attention must be given"- (close quote).


      • Anonymous says:

        My friend, see the forest, don't focus on the tree, this article was brought to your attention for morethan one reason. You'llsoon be hearing again about one of the players named in report concerning the dynamite case. Read the article then sit back and wait, when you hear the name, ask yourself if this is mere coincidence.

  5. dartanian says:

    The article is so right that one is left to wonder if Ezzard's miller grestest fear for his children as expressed several times on Rooster and repeated again this weak is real and not a figment of his zenophobia;

    "The business people, shopkeepers, bankers, lawyers, accountants, pastors, church elders who decide who will be in Government no longer desire, want nor openly promote an honest  Government where process trumps substance"

    Most of us are suffering from the economic downturn and the Premier's screwups but make no mistake there are those who are doing extreemly well and are not concerned about the actions of the Premier that are not good for the majority. No their concerns are about jealousy and greed and if only they had received the benifits of the wrong decision to further line their pockets with more gold, never mind that it may be ill-gotten.

    Here are a few examples;

    -Investigation 4 – XXXXX

    Investigation 5 – 26 persons/companies got duty waived by the Premier between July1 to Dec 31 201. These range from Christmas decorations, to furniture, to medical supplies, to general merchandise, to building material. During the same period the Collector of Customs only did 3 and the FS did 12. You wonder why he stays in power. The Auditor General need to investigate how these duty waivers were granted.

    Investigation 6 – Rooster talk show host said today that Hurley's entertainment has been told by the premier that if they want their duty concessions renewed for their new venture in TV they have to fire Austin and Gilbert effectively closing down crosstalk – why have they not reported this shakedown to the police. 

    See where we are headed, but not to worry my uncle Ken Dart will soon own them all but atleast his CEO claims that he treats his employees well after all, I hear they are building a big new house may even get the duty waived if they ask nicely or as they boast continue to treat their politicians well at Caymana Bay. 

  6. Anonymous says:

    The Business Community knows that Bush at his worst is better than that clueless xenophobic bunch called the PPM.

    • Anonymous says:

      McKeeva at his worst is likely to bring another TCI situation. Hardly good for business.   

    • Anonymous says:

      A xenophobic PPM?  It is the UDP that is forcing so many expats to leave the islands.


    • Chris Johnson says:

      Judging by the various emails and the poll most people want Bush to resign. Whether guilty or not of anything untoward that arise from the investigations he has lost the faith of the Caymanian people. He is under the spotlight of the press and in particularly the financial media. His conduct will be the subject to questions and discussion at forums, seminars and meetings across the globe.
      He blew it the first time round when Gulf Union Bank and First Cayman Bank went into liquidation despite warnings from Coopers and Lybrand the auditors who by no coincidence were fired by the banks for uncomplimentary remarks in their factual audit reports. He was a director of at least one bank and denied it notwithstanding his name in the Register of directors.
      Since then there has been a multiple of disasters relating to the wellbeing of our islands whilst this man remains not only the Minister of Finance but the Minister of All Tings.
      Whilst complaints and criticism flow it is sad to see so many persons who by fear or provocation will not put their name to their often very valid remarks.

    • A struggling merchant says:

      I'm part of the business community and I sure don't know that!

      • Anonymous says:

        He's talking about the business community that trades votes for fridges.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Well said Wendy !!!

  8. SKEPTICAL says:

    IF Bush was removed as Premier but remained an MLA , whilst being replaced by the Deputy Premier, we could be looking at the Cayman equivalent of Vladimir Putin as First Minister of Russia, pulling the strings of Dmitry Medvedev who was “supposed” to be President. Plus ca change – as our French pals would have it.

  9. Knot S Smart says:

    This article is  very well written, a good unbiased analysis of the situation, and quite humorous!

  10. Democracy Now says:

    Your questions are rhetorical CNS because they neglect to take into account human nature. Which includes not only honesty but stubborness,avarice,and greed. In the realm of work for value, politicians have some of the best jobs going. The hours put in associated with the pay are every worker's dream. Where else can you vote tourself a raise and increase your benefits and perks?  They don't have to run the business of government at a profit and are not held personally accountable for their failings. Oh, they may lose an election here or there but it only results in becoming members of the Opposition with a slight reduction in pay, less visible work, and even less accountability. In other words, it's not a bad profession. But why do we put up with it?  Somewhere along the line there was a disconnect between government and ourselves. We began treating the government as something nearer the church and it's representatives, our representatives, as priests. Whether we did this out of laziness, or by default, is immaterial. In the case of Cayman unfortuantely, an individual became premier who thoroughly embraced the view that government knew best, it was like a church, and he could preach. It need not, because of this disconnect answer to the people once in power. His followers, fellow party members who he views as his disciples know which side their bread is buttered on. They will not confornt him because of the aforementioned best job going aspect and have their hands as deep in the cookie jar as he has. The connections to be made once in political office can not be discounted also witness the revolving door syndrome in Washington and elsewhere. Somehow, we need to turn this thing around and I believe accountability and performance based pay is the key. No one should be making 12-14 thousand a month CI for doing as little or spending as few hours at work as our MLA's. If they can show where they have made improvements for the average citizen in their way of life and their economic situations then perhaps we could agree to give them a raise above say…10 dollars per hour. But until that is proven,wages should be clawed what most people have to live on. Don't be afraid of this concept, and don't fall prey to the notion that because someone is in government they are better than you simply remember the fact that THEY work for YOU.

    But to answer your rhetorical question in this case I believe a majority of the people want the premier fired for incompetence and insubordination. Anyone of his disciples who doesn't agree should have their pay witheld.

    • A. Pastafarian says:

      Democracy Now, you are so right!!!   Well… almost right… The politicians are SUPPOSED to work for us.  In truth, they work for themselves.  That's why a democracy never lasts for long.  When the sheeple realize they can vote in the people who give them the most, it goes downhill from there.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Very well said!

    I know my fingers hurt and my throat is hoarse.

    What an embarrassment our Cayman Islands have become.

    Please "Powers that be"…pressure Mac to step aside!

    Though i doubt this will happen. It's likely that we're headed for a TCI situation.

  12. Objective? says:

    CNS: Your commentary read fine until you indirectly accused/implied that the business community is involved in innapropriate activity. The fact that the business community or any association has not called for the leader to step down is not evidence that they may be in his "little black book" This is absolutely a huge jump in logic (and sensationalism).

    You are basically saying those that do not call for him to step down are corrupt just because they don't agree with taking such action at this stage or whenever they deem; Bear in mind that they have a right as anyone else does to make the decision on how to respond to these events. And you have no foundation to cast aspersions on  the business community with your cute "one can only conclude that his little black book is not that little" comment. 

    Try to stay objective CNS. You can continue to advocate for change without casting aspersions on those who may or may not support your views or who simply choose to take their own choice of action at the time they deem appropriate, depending on the circumstances (as they see it).

    • Anonymous says:

      CNS, obviously you came very close to the truth and have hit a nerve – continue with your good work.  I also wonder about the mumbling and shuffling of the business community and trade organizations that represent them – maybe some got favors and some don't want the truth to come out if the police probes go too far and widespread.  LOL !    Any practical, right-thinking groups would realize this situation Cayman finds itself in is untenable and start to speak out strongly for the right thing to be done – but no, they sit on the fence and backpedal as usual when they need to take a stand.  Cowards, all of them !

      • Anonymous says:

        It's a valid point CNS and stick with it.

        Back in 1984 the Daily Telegraph in the UK observed that on the day of the Brighton bombing all the demonstrators outside the Conservative Party Conference had disappeared, the implication being that they knew something was going to happen. The Telegraph was vilified by the left-wing press but they were proved right.

        The business community in the Cayman Islands is not just part of the political process, it funds most of it and their silence right now suggests that some of them know they backed the wrong horse in this particular race.


  13. Plumbago says:

    You are so right in "Viewpoint".  I have always contended that his own Party and fellow politicians are afraid of him XXXX they dare not utter a word. It has nothing to do with allegiance; instead it is simply a crippling state of fear. Imagine, educated , experienced adults carrying on like half dead zombies.  Apparently the other groups such as the Chamber of Commerce are in the same boat.  I have come to the conclusion that the reason why those of us who are honest, hardworking  and in no fear of  the Premier's rants and back-talk is because we did not stoop to the embarrassing  low habit of running to him for hand outs, be it material things, jobs, work permits etc. Today my family and I are fearless of any retributions that could come from Bushbecause we owe him no favours.  Our motto as a family during this time in Cayman's History is simply " We prefer to lose without him that to win with him" .  Those sucking up to him for "things" failed to realise that they will forever owe their souls to him. He will never let them forget.  They are running around with the look of "a deer caught in the head light of a vehicle"; frightened out of their wits!.   WHAT HAVE WE BECOME??

  14. Anonymous says:

    Good piece but……nayyyy to 'throat horse'…:)

  15. Anonymous says:

    Shambles is right.

    If someone in charge of the till in a store was under police investigation relating to the disappearance of money from the till then any prudent business owner would move the person under suspicion to a less sensitive position until the investigation was over. Only a fool would suggest that the person under suspicion should be left in charge of the money unless or until they were convicted of theft months later.

    If a book keeper for a business was under police investigation relating to the disappearance of money from the business then any prudent business owner would move the person under suspicion to a less sensitive position until the investigation was over. Only a fool would suggest that the person under suspicion should be left in charge of the company's books unless or until they were convicted of theft months later.

    If someone who worked with school children was under police investigation relating to concerns over possible abuse any prudent administrator would move the person under suspicion to a less sensitive position until the investigation was over. Only a fool would leave a person under suspicion in this context in a position to do harm.

    Those in high political office also hold positions of trust. Why in any sane environment would a politician under polce investigation be left in a sensitive position until they are convicted?