Archive for December 13th, 2012

Bush talked on ‘integrity’

Bush talked on ‘integrity’

| 13/12/2012 | 76 Comments

Dr Mac Bush.jpg(CNS): The University College of the Caribbean confirmed Thursday afternoon that the Cayman Islands premier was delivering the commencement address that evening at the institution’s graduation ceremony but would not be receiving the honorary doctorate.The college said that McKeeva Bush had been rescheduled to speak, but despite reports in the Jamaican media that he was to get the special degree, the UCC said that was not the case. Bush, who is currently on police bail following his arrest on Tuesday and two days of questioning by the RCIPS in connection with an on-going corruption investigation, spoke on the theme "Integrity: the Language of Leadership". 

The embattled premier, who, despite mounting pressure, has categorically stated that he has done nothing wrong and will not resign as premier, left Cayman early this morning on a Cayman Airways flight to Jamaica. Soon after his departure his office released a short statement in which Bush professed his innocence and said he was intending to honour his commitment to UCC.

“My fellow Caymanians and residents, as you are aware, I was scheduled to travel to Jamaica on Wednesday 12th Decemeber for the conferral of an honorary doctorate upon myself and to give the commencement address to the student body at the University College of the Caribbean. I feel obligated to honor this commitment and have decided to attend.  I will be returning to the island this Friday,” Bush stated.

In a statement delivered in the wake of Bush’s announcement that he would not be resigning from office, the opposition leader said he was treating the matter of his arrest with utter impunity and was determined to return to business as usual, pointing to Bush’s decision to still go to Jamaica and speak about integrity, despite his circumstances.

The premier was arrested at his home in West Bay on Tuesday in connection with on-going police investigations that relate to the misuse of a government credit card as well as the premier’s connection to a consignment of explosives imported by local firm Midland Acres without the necessary permits.

Suresh Prasad, the MD of that firm who has already been convicted of four counts in Summary Court relating to the importation, was also re-arrested this week and questioned by police.

The premier is suspected of theft, breach of trust, abuse of office and conflict of interest, and although released from custody yesterday afternoon, he has been bailed by police to return for further questioning in February. In the meantime, the police have confirmed that the investigations continue both here and overseas.

At the time of Bush’s arrest the authorities also seized computers, books and other related items from his home and office.

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PPM:Premier must step down

PPM:Premier must step down

| 13/12/2012 | 59 Comments

Alden.jpg(CNS): The opposition leader has said it is untenable for the premier to remain in office and called on the UDP to oust him from the top government job. Alden McLaughlin said that if they do not take steps to remove McKeeva Bush by 3pm Friday, the opposition would call for a special meeting of the Legislative Assembly to hold a 'no confidence' debate, giving every member the chance to declare where they stand on the issue. He said Bush could not possibly continue as premier or a cabinet member while on police bail and suspected of committing serious crimes, including theft.  His sentiments were echoed bythe North Side MLA, who said the country needed to know if the UDP supported the premier in his intention to remain in office.

In a statement from the PPM, which followed a short release from the premier’s office Thursday that he was remaining as premier, McLaughlin pointed to the problems Bush now faces, given his arrest Tuesday, and the continued cloud of suspicion over his head by staying in the job.

“It is untenable that the premier of the Cayman Islands should have to obtain the permission of the police every time he is required to travel overseas to conduct the country’s business,” McLaughlin said. “It is untenable that for the foreseeable future business people will have to explain to any foreign investor or person doing business in Cayman how it is that the Premier of the Cayman Islands continues in office after having been arrested and bailed on suspicion of having committed serious criminal offences.”

The opposition leader said Bush could only continue as premier and a minister of the Cabinet with the support of his colleagues.

Speaking to CNS on Thursday, Independent MLA Ezzard Miller also pointed out that, while the premier had said he was staying put, no one had heard from the UDP and it was up to them whether he actually did or not. Miller questioned why the country had not heard from them and wondered if cracks were appearing in the, until now, steadfast loyalty among his government colleagues.

“We need to hear from them how they can justify supporting him in office and if they do not support him, in the interests of the country, I suggest they need to remove him at once,” he said.

The opposition leader said the Cabinet and the government back-bench could not remain quiet and hope that this blows over. 

“It is not going to blow over and arguments about 'innocent until proven guilty' are not relevant.  We are not prejudging the guilt or innocence of Mr Bush. That is a matter for a court of law, should he eventually be charged and prosecuted,” the PPM leader stated. 

He added that the issues were the degree of reputational damage being done to government and Cayman by Bush continuing as premier and the potential for the investigations to be unduly influenced by the mere fact that the subject occupies such a high office.

“It matters not whether the potential for undue influence is real or perceived for even the perception is damaging to the application of justice,” the PPM leader stated, adding that it was also certain that Bush would be distracted by the fact that he is being investigated for such serious criminal offences.

He called on all of the UDP Cabinet members and back benchers to take the necessary steps to remove Bush and appoint another of their number as premier.

“If they do not do so by 3pm tomorrow, I intend to immediately petition the speaker of the House to call a special meeting of the Legislative Assembly early next week to consider the recent arrest of the premier and his suitability to continue as premier as a matter of urgent national importance. Should the speaker decline to exercise her discretion to call a Special Meeting, I shall endeavour to obtain the signatures of at least seven members of the House to compel the speaker to do so."

Although Miller confirmed that he would give his support to the opposition leader, he said it was conditional.

"If there was to be another Lack of Confidence motion filed," he said, "it would need to have a secret ballot, otherwise it will not work as the opposition needs the support of the government back benchers to oust the front bench and, in turn, the premier, which is an unlikely scenario without anonymity,” he said.

Secondly, Miller said, there had to be a request added to the motion that, should it fail, the governor use his reserve powers to prorogue parliament andcall an election for eight weeks after the debate and let the country decide who should lead Cayman.

In an effort to sway the UDP members, the opposition leader said in his statement that the current situation could not be about what is in the best interest of Bush or the UDP government, but the best interest of the reputation and image of the Cayman Islands. McLaughlin also put out a wider plea to the community and public at large to also demand that Bush return to the backbenches until the election.

“We shall therefore be turning to civil society and all right thinking residents of these Islands for support in taking the first steps to restore pride, trust and confidence in our government,” McLaughlin said.

Although there have been various statements from the country’s industry and professional bodies and although there is very serious concerns about what the premier’s arrest could do to Cayman, all except the politicians have stopped short of actually calling for the premier’s resignation publicly.

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Guilty until proven innocent

Guilty until proven innocent

| 13/12/2012 | 22 Comments

The arrest of Cayman’s premier by officers from the Financial Crimes Unit of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, his detainment, questioning and subsequent release on bail without being charged has provided reasons for those who defend the ancient tenet of criminal law that a person is innocent until proven guilty to further suggest to that we should discontinue discussing this aspect of our politics.

In any case, this legal tenet seems to be a misnomer, and according to the US Supreme Court, the presumption of the innocence of a criminal defendant is best described as an assumption of innocence that is indulged in the absence of the contrary evidence. This is indulged within the court not equally within other instructions of society because the reality to most people is that no defendant would face arrest unless somebody – the crime victim, the prosecutor, a police officer – believes that the defendant was guilty of a crime. 

After many months of investigations by the police into the conduct of the premier, the police are satisfied that there is sufficient evidence of wrongdoing for them to have arrested the premier in yet another step in the collation of the evidence required by a rational court as proof of his guilt. The goal of the police has been and is to gain more compelling evidence of the premier’s guilt, not his innocence.

We may reasonably assume that the longer the period of investigation the more probable are the chances of his being charged, and if charged, convicted of some offence.  The fact that a person is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty should not impede the investigatory  process in its search for evidence to prove guilt and it should not prevent those dissatisfied with the premier’s performance from continuing to compile additional grounds for his dismissal from office.  

The tenet innocent until proven guilty was never intended to impede freedom of speech or political criticism and judgement of those empowered with the trust of the public. What is for certain is that a simple accusation by someone that another citizen has committed a crime begins a process of depriving the accused citizen of rights which he would not have been deprived of had he not been accused of having committed a breach of society’s rules.

If a citizen is accused by another citizen of having committed the crime or theft, rape, murder or any of these serious crimes, the police may use their power and judgement to deprive the accused of his freedom with the presumption that the person will be proven guilty by the courts. Therefore, we may like to believe that a person is innocent until proven quality but this principle of our jurisprudence does not protect an individual against arrest and imprisonment, nor from the moral and political outrage of the society.

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Mac not resigning

Mac not resigning

| 13/12/2012 | 98 Comments

_DEW7157-web-0_1.jpg(CNS): The Cayman Islands premier says he will not be resigning as he has done nothing wrong. In McKeeva Bush's first statement since his arrest on Tuesday, released by his office after he left for Jamaica Thursday, he made it clear that he was staying in office. “I have done nothing wrong and I shall not be resigning as premier. I also wish to assure one and all that the government continues to operate as normal," he said. Bush is expected to return to Cayman Friday evening when his supporters have asked that the people meet him at the airport to show their backing for his decision. On the advice of his lawyers, Bush said, he would say nothing more on the matter at present but would issue a further statement in due course.

Check back to CNS for more later today.

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Camana Bay Aquatic Club breaks national records

Camana Bay Aquatic Club breaks national records

| 13/12/2012 | 0 Comments

CBAC-swim-team.jpg(CBAC): The Camana Bay Aquatic Club (CBAC) travel team returned home from Toronto last week to a great reception from families and friends. The well-deserved airport celebration capped an exciting weekend of swimming at the 14th Annual Mega City Short Course Special and the North York Aquatic Club (NYAC) 30th Annual Youth Cup, between 29th November and 2nd December. The Mega City Short Course is a developmental meet for young emerging talent, while the Youth Cup is a nationally-renowned swim meet for competitive swimmers aged 11 to 17. Both meets are highly respected in the international youth swim circuit. The meets took place at the Etobicoke Olympia Pool in Toronto with over 1,200 Canadian swimmers competing, as well as 30 CBAC swimmers.

The two meets saw the young CBAC swimmers make significant strides toward their individual goals. “The Youth Cup was a very fast meet with many talented swimmers,” said CBAC Head Coach Katie Lambert. She added, “For some of the younger swimmers, the Mega City was their first international competition. Overall, CBAC achieved more than 150 personal bests, 60 top ten finishes, six bronze, ten silver and eight gold medals.”

Gold medals went to Isabella Tognazzo, 14, for the 200m Backstroke and 200m Breaststroke, Matthew Somerville, 11, for the 50m Butterfly, Jordan Crooks, 10, for the 50m Butterfly, Zororo Mutomba, 10, for 50m Freestyle, 100m Freestyle and 50m Butterfly, and Lauren Hew, 13, for 50m Freestyle. “We are hugely proud of Avery Lambert and Zororo Mutomba, who both broke national records in the 100m Backstroke and 50m Freestyle, respectively,” Lambert said.

The relay races were also a highlight for the team. Ben Somerville, Dylan Lewis, Jordan Crooks and Derek Peene held their place in a competitive race to earn Silver in the 10 & Under Boys 200m Medley Relay. The final race of the meet came to an exciting end when Isabella Tognazzo pulled ahead in the anchor leg to secure the 13 & 14 Girls 200m Freestyle Relay team third place. Also swimming fast in the race was Lauren Hew, Flynn Hope and Zororo Mutomba. Hew, Tognazzo and Matthew Sommerville also achieved CARIFTA qualifying times.

The Camana Bay Aquatic Club marks its second anniversary this month. In two short years, the Club has grown to almost 150 team members, spanning ages 5 to 15, and celebrates the launch of a new swim school in January 2013. “I am very proud of the teamfor working so hard over the past few months,” said CBAC President, Jeffrey Wight. “So many of the swimmers had set great personal goals and competing in the Youth Cup and Mega City meets is just the beginning. I would like to congratulate and thank the travel team swimmers, coaches and parents for their dedication, enthusiasm, and support and MaplesFS for their continued support and sponsorship. Keep up the great swimming!”

For more information on the Camana Bay Aquatic Club, visit or contact

For additional highlights from the Youth Cup and Mega City meets, and to stay up-to-date with the latest happenings at the Club, like Camana Bay Aquatic Club on Facebook.

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UDP: A picture of failure

UDP: A picture of failure

| 13/12/2012 | 15 Comments

The detention of Cayman’s Premier on corruption charges has dealt a severe blow to the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP). On the Marl Road we have more rumours than green iguanas in Cayman; rumours about who will be next, who has gone away, who has set fire to files, transferred assets and even computers flung over the drop-off, to mention a few.

The handling of this situation by the UDP has been in keeping with the party’s ineptitude of the past three and a half years. Its lack of leadership ability, structure and competence is woefully obvious.

At this crucial time the ruling party should be the heavyweights, the bright minds, the leadership that should be stepping forward to instill confidence in its followers, not to mention the world at large.

We as a people need to keep this picture of failure to perform in mind, when next we have the opportunity to vote for a representative. No longer can we vote for Mr Nice Guy or for Miss So & So, because theyare a church sister or part of a particular team or party.

We must now look for qualities that will enable our representatives to lead, think and act in a responsible manner. Cayman is in the Caribbean, however it is not to be governed by the same ignorant and corrupt politics as some of our neighboring Islands. We have long passed that point.

I ask that you consider the sitting UDP members of government; weigh their accomplishments, moral behavior, principles, honesty and leadership examples. I have, and I find them lacking in strength of character and courage. They are not good examples to young Caymanians, nor are they competent to represent Cayman as we face the crucial time ahead.

The UDP is a dying dinosaur of old style carpet-bagging politics. It is on its death bed and Cayman will be better off when the party is taken off life-support by the voters.

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Port finally releases withheld documents as ordered

Port finally releases withheld documents as ordered

| 13/12/2012 | 9 Comments

port office.JPG(CNS): Almost one year after CNS submitted a freedom of information (FOI) request regarding the negotiations with the former proposed cruise port developer, GLF, to develop the cruise berthing facilities in George Town, the Port Authority has finally released all of the records in accordance with the findings of the information commissioner’s October decision. On Monday, 10 December the Port Authority’s legal counsel informed the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) that their client would not seek a judicial review, one day after the 45 days the authority was given to release the information, delivering the documents to the commissioner’s office at 5pm.

The ICO checked that all of the records were present and passed the binder containing hundreds of documents to CNS.

The records include minutes from the board meeting in which members began to realize their vulnerability to legal action following the decision by the premier to abandon talks with GLF and switchto negotiations with China Harbour Engineering Company, and details of the final US$2.5 million settlement paid for by the Cayman taxpayer.

The documents also include correspondence from the premier in response to GLF’s threats of legal action and show that the withdrawal of GLF's original FOI request at the beginning of this year, which triggered the CNS request, was part of the settlement agreement between the port, government and GLF.

CNS will be examining the documents in detail over the coming days and will reveal their contents to readers as soon as possible.

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Election writs issued

Election writs issued

| 13/12/2012 | 6 Comments

election writs.jpg(CNS): Cayman Islands Governor Duncan Taylor issued the election writs to the sixreturning officers Wednesday, triggering the official start of the election calendar. The five men and one woman are officially responsible for conducting May’s national vote in each of their respective districts, including checking the accuracy of the electors' register, managing the nomination process and ultimately returning the elected candidates. Taylor said that in the same way he had remained confident that government would amend the necessary legislation in time, he was confident the officers would ensure the election was well organised and fair.

The governor said the election was an exciting time and was the “very cornerstone of democracy” when voters in Cayman will have their say.

The governor made no mention of this week’s turn of events and the arrest under the anti-corruption law of the current Cayman Islands premier, McKeeva Bush, who had been released on police bail just before the writs were issued after two days of questioning.

Kearney Gomez, the supervisor of elections, described the May 2013 election as his "swan song" as it would be his last, but he said it was going to be “a very serious election” and everyone would need to be “on their ps and qs”, ensuring that candidates are familiar with all of the relevant laws, including the anti-corruption legislation.

He said he had every confidence in the returning officers, who were all veterans. Gomez noted that that the team had run many elections, several by-elections and two referendums. He was positive that this one would run smoothly too but said there was a lot of hard work ahead.

The five men and women who will be managing elections in the districts are all veterans of the process, though Philip Martin Jackson, the new returning officer in East End, and Ned Solomon in Bodden Town previously served as deputy returning officers. Meanwhile, Philip Barnes, Delano Solomon, Dave Tatum and Jennifer Kaufman are all old hands and have served as returning officers in the referendums and previous elections.

The issuing of the writs formally launches the election preparations and confirms exactly how many people will be returned in each district. That significant detail was only confirmed on Monday evening when government finally brought the elections amendment law to the Legislative Assembly to change the number of candidates to be returned in George Town from four to a whopping six members, and in Bodden Town from three to four. For the first time in history the premier’s district will have less influence on government than the capital, and Bush made it clear he was not happy about it.

Nevertheless, the amendment passed through the house on Monday hours before the premier was taken into police custody, and then published in the government gazette on Wednesday.

The next most significant date on the election calendar for the public is 2nd January, which is the last day those who are entitled to vote can put their names on the register. The Legislative Assembly will be dissolved on 26th March and nomination day will take place on 27th March, when all of the candidates planning to fight for a seat in the country’s parliament will formally declare their hand. The campaign will then begin in earnest leading up to Election Day on 22 May.

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