Courts could unseat MLAs

| 28/03/2013

(CNS): At least four of the candidates who have been nominated to run in the May General Elections are currently facing legal proceedings, three of which, if the cases led to convictions, would unseat them if they were elected. The three candidates are all accused of offences that relate to dishonesty and are currently in different stages of proceedings. All candidates are legally entitled to run for office and be returned unless they have been convicted of a crime of dishonesty or sentenced to twelve months or more for any other offence. As a result, voters could return MLAs in May who during their term in office run the risk of being ousted from their seats by the courts.

Joey Ebanks, the former ERA managing director, was recently arrested on suspicion of various offences including theft. He is currently bailed to return to the police next month but he has not yet been charged. He lost a bid for the North Side seat on the PPM ticket in 2009 and is running in 2013 as an independent.

McKeeva Bush, the former premier of the Cayman Islands and current leader of the UDP, is due in court on Friday 12 April facing 11 charges relating to corruption offences and theft, all of which he has vigorously denied.

Lyndon Martin, meanwhile, a former MLA, is expected to go on trial accused of stealing $926 from the Creek and Spot Bay School PTA on Cayman Brac on 25 April. He has also denied the accusations. 

As all of these cases relate to dishonesty, if any of the candidates be returned and later convicted, they would be ousted from office, regardless of the sentence.

Dr Frank McField, the fourth candidate dealing with legal proceedings, would be less likely to be unseated if he were elected, whatever the outcome. McField is currently defending accusations made against him in relation to obstruction in the Summary Court. As it is not acrime of dishonesty, even if the George Town hopeful was to be convicted he would be unlikely to face anything close the necessary custodial sentence of twleve months that would oust him from office.

These four are not the only candidates who have faced difficulties with the law in recent years. Osbourne Bodden, a PPM candidate in Bodden Town and a PPM MLA from 2005-2009, was tried  in 2011 for assault after he was accused of beating a local man with a five foot cow-cod, but  was acquitted.

Also running in the district of Bodden Town on the new PNA ticket, Dwayne Seymour, was a sitting UDP MLA when he was tried and acquitted by a jury after he was charged with perverting the course of justice in relation to a fight he had with a man he believed was having an affair with his wife in the car park of a Seven Mile Beach Hotel. And most recently, Deputy Premier Rolston Anglin, who is also running on the PNA platform but in West Bay, was in court just last week when he was banned from driving for one year and fined $500 after he was convicted of drunk driving.

Lyndon Martin, who is running as an independent in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, was the UDP party whip when it formed in 2001. He has faced a number of clashes with the law, including in connection with Operation Tempura for which he was found not guilty, and was convicted of immigration offences in April 2009, right before the previous elections.

McField, an Independent candidate in George Town who was a minister in the 2001-2005 UDP administration, has also been convicted in the past and fined following a dust-up with the RCIPS at a road block in 2006.

Kenny Bryan, a first time PPM candidate, was also convicted of a drug related offence in a ‘honeytrap’ case in a West Bay Road night club several years ago and was sentenced to 45 days in jail.

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