Published On: Wed, Jul 26th, 2017

Cayman House Speaker claims wrongful arrest after alleged butt grabbing incident in US

MacKeevan BushGEORGE TOWN - The Speaker of the House in the Cayman Islands says he regrets the attention his “wrongful arrest” for allegedly grabbing a female casino worker’s buttocks in the United States has caused, but he’s adamant he committed no crime and that he will be exonerated.

McKeeva Bush, 62, was arrested last Monday night at a casino in Coral Creek, Florida and spent a night in the Broward County Jail before being released on a US$1,000 bond. His attorney, Keith Seltzer, subsequently entered a written not guilty plea on his behalf, to a misdemeanor count of battery, which is punishable by up to a year in prison and US$1,000 fine on conviction.

The Florida State Attorney’s office has 30 days from the date of the arrest to decide whether to move forward in prosecuting Bush.

“I regret the attention and concern that my wrongful arrest has caused to all concerned overseas, my constituents and the great citizens of Cayman,” Bush, a former premier, said in a statement after his return to the Cayman Islands last Friday. “I am certain that once my attorney and the prosecutor have an opportunity to review the evidence, the only conclusion that will be reached is that I committed no crime.”

A spokesman for the Seminole Police Department in Florida, Gary Bitner, said Bush was arrested after the alleged victim was interviewed and surveillance video from the casino reviewed.

“Mr Bush allegedly wrapped his arm around [a female casino employee’s] lower back and forcefully pulled the victim towards his direction. According to the arresting officer, the surveillance video showed Mr Bush allegedly wrapped his arm around the victim’s lower back and forcefully pulled the victim towards his direction…..The victim alleged he grabbed her buttocks while pulling her with his right arm,” Bitner said.

Bush, the leader of the Cayman Democratic Party (CDP) which formed a coalition government with the People’s Progressive Movement (PPM) following the May 24 general elections, has dismissed calls from the Opposition for him to step down as Speaker of the House, following the incident.

He accused Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller “and his band” of wanting to “destabilize the Government and upset the country”.

The Cayman Islands is currently governed by a 13-member coalition that comprises CDP, PPM and Independent members.

PPM leader, Premier Alden McLaughlin has so far not commented on Bush’s arrest or calls for him to step down.

 

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