Overseas territories used as pawns, says Bush

| 04/10/2013

(CNS): The opposition leader and former Cayman Islands premier has accused the British of using its overseas territories as pawns and pointed to the need for the UK to begin debating the issue of self-determination and independence. Speaking at the 59th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, last month from what he said were his own experiences, McKeeva Bush pointed out that while the UK talks about territories being allowed to determine their own future, the reality is very different. He said the constitutions agreed between Britain and its territories undermine self-determination efforts because they block any effort of the OT governments to be self-sufficient.

“The Cayman Islands have no mandate for independence nor has the question arisen publicly. Although the older I get, the more I realize that it ought to be debated,” he told the delegates in South Africa. While the UN points to the rights of self-determination, when the matter arises with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, he said, OT governments get a “mixed bag of answers”.

“We do get a constitution of sorts from the FCO but it always contains wording that gives the governor much leeway, to say the least, that can stop self-determination efforts and can kill self-sufficiency efforts. Self-sufficiency is, as far as I am concerned, the main ingredient to make it possible to be self-governed.”

The opposition and UDP leader said when efforts are made towards self-sufficiency, such as attracting inward investment, the UK forces territories to follow their way, under the guise of international norms, as he implied that between the UK and Cayman it was the competition that made the administering power impose its will. “None of their actions assist us on the way for self-determination, nor help us to be self-sufficient, and certainly do not lend itself to self-governance,” he said.

Bush had gone head to head with the FCO during his time in office over the process by which he had attempted to kick-start major capital projects. The biggest clash was over his plans to enter into a deal with the Beijing based firm, China Harbour Engineering Company, limited to build the cruise berthing facilities in George Town without following the process for such projects set out in Cayman’s own public finance laws. Despites warnings from the FCO that Bush, who was also tourism minister at the time, should put the port plans back in line with international best procurement practice, he ignored them until Mark Simmonds, the OT minister, issued an order to Bush not to sign a deal with CHEC.

Speaking in South Africa, and clearly reflecting on that incident, Bush said that in his experience in government, more and more pressure was put on the territories to “kow-tow to the views and standards of those with whom we would be negotiating our self-determination,” he said. “What kind of fairness and equality could we expect, where we compete for the same business? How would we be self-sufficient?"

Pointing to a need forwider education on the whole subject of independence, Bush warned that territories are often manipulated.

“At one time or another, all colonial territories are used as pawns,” he added.

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  1. noname says:

    It is clear that Mr Bush wants to achieve another first.  I was first Premier; he was first Minster for Financeand now he wants to be first Prime Minister of an independent Cayman Islands. I'll starting thinking about getting an escape route now: Prime Minister Bush is Cayman's ruination!!

    • BLUE RAT says:

      We should pass a law in Cayman where any elected officials who uses the word INDEPENDENCE will be fined 10% of their salaries…

  2. Anonymous says:

    The Macster has one good point.


    The Cayman Islands are a pawn.


    That's the reality of it.


    Get used to it and act accordingly.

  3. Anonymous says:

    That's all Cayman needs to go straight to hell. Independance with Mac at the helm.

    • Bear Baiter says:

      The only independence we need is independence from Mad Mac and his lot!!

  4. Anonymous says:


  5. Anonymous says:

    Yes, so true Mr. Bush- it's terrible when people are used as pawns even worse is when an entire country is used to further an agenda.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Boy that Bush could talk some non sense.  Being self sufficient?  You mean like when one sends a fax to someone else with certain demands?  No Bobo.  We glad we got the UK to protect us from politicians who don't like to follow rules and we remaining British.  You got that?

  7. Knot S Smart says:

    How much was it that govt said it cost the public purse to send him on this tour?

    And what is his total take per month? including pension, salary and other perks?

    And finally – when is his trial coming up?

    Ok then I will just answer my own questions

    'Too much' to the first one. 'Way too much' for the second question, and 'not quickly enough' to the third question…

  8. Captain Obvious says:

    Obviously, this is the type of rant that we would expect from Mac. However, this time it is just fancied up by a speech writer and given in a new setting.

    How is it that while the Progressives are trying to heal the releationship with the UK, Mac is allowed to go to overseas conferences to represent Cayman and continue to bash the UK?

    Obviously, while he is under investigation and continues to work against the direction of the majority government he should not be allowed to travel to give this type of speech.

    • Jonas Dwyer says:

      And you captain obvious must be family to the other so called captain. You are spewing nonsense.  The man is an elected politician, do you understand that, he is whether you like him or not. He has the right as you do to speak freely, so stop showing how ignorant  you are and go get a real job, Captain obviously clueless.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Why is this person invited or allowed to speak anywhere on behalf of anybody or anything!!!!!

    • The Caymanian says:

      Because he is still the tribal leader of the Bushits!  Can you imagine the Bushits without a leader?  Who would they be able to talk to and get understood?  I think Bush is confusing self governing with self distruction.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Oh, like this guy has some credibility all of a sudden. For cryin' out loud, he's up before the courts facing criminal charges and we're supposed to have an interest in what he thinks? He shouldn't be allowed to continue as an MLA and I'm paying his salary, which really gets me steamed up. What a disgrace.

    • Anonymous says:

      Malcom X and Martin Luther King as well as Mandella where all also stood in front af the court as criminals. and the crime was not giving in to the status quo. I think the law says a man is inocent untill proven guilty, unitl the courts actually find him guilt of something and he is proven guilty I refraine from casting judgement. Whenyou start convicting people without a fairtrial, noone will be safe from mistreatment. 

      • Anonymous says:

        "Innocent unitl proven guilty" is simply a convenient shorthand for a more limited legal presumtpion than most realise.  We are all entitled to have our own views.

  11. Anonymous says:

    ROTFLMAO!!!!!! What complete BS. What he really means is that if effective UK Government oversight was removed the elected leaders (and I'm pointing no fingers here) could do what the heck they liked. Mind you a new freezer, TV, free food and drink or whatever else is being handed out at election time always comes in useful so maybe he has a point.

  12. Cheese Face says:

    Someone please just lock him up!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Pot calling the kettle…… talking about the need for wider education! LMAO.

  14. And Another Ting says:

    And we aiill always be used, unilwe have men and women who truly understand the process of self determinatio and who are willing to assisti the ducation of the Caymannian people.  Far too long w e have spoken to this, and our leadership fails to bring it to an open and detailed discussion, which should include amle education of the people.and anoter Ting.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Ranting and rambling at an international event…all paid for by the people of the Cayman.

  16. CYM - from G.T. says:

    "He said the constitutions agreed between Britain and its territories undermine self-determination efforts because theyblock any effort of the OT’s governments to be self –sufficient."  Amen … that's the most intelligent thing I heard McKeeva Bush said. Now if he ever gets re-elected will he keep to his words and expose the truth of modern day colonialism. 

  17. Anonymous says:

    Look where self determination got the rest of Africa and some (most) of the Caribbean. A good audience to be preaching to, for support!

    Talk of independence is often put forward to gain political leverage and for scare mongering tactics.

    If Cayman had a robust import/export market and was not a net importer of consuables, I would say you might have a case…..but we do not.

    Business follows opportunity and likes a stable environment in which to operate and flourish. Independence would more than likely scare off potential business and would cause existing business to re-evaluate their own futures in Cayman.

    Without capital inflows, the current business model on which Cayman is based-will cease to exist, in any feasible form.