Cayman Islands premier to sue opposition leader
GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands - Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin said he had received no response at close of business on Friday to his request for an apology from former premier now opposition leader McKeeva Bush regarding allegations Bush made in a private member’s motion about a conspiracy to topple the former leader from office.
McLaughlin told CNS that he was disappointed that Bush had not responded and, as a result, he had instructed his lawyers to issue a writ to his political opponent. McLaughlin said that Bush’s allegation was a “particularly vicious lie which is hugely damaging to my reputation”.
The premier added that he had given Bush an opportunity to deal with the matter by apologizing but he was disappointed that the opposition leader had made no effort to contact him or his lawyers by the deadline set out in a letter sent to Bush the previous Friday.
”I have no option now but to have him show his proof in a court of law or pay damages,” the premier said, adding that he had every intention of prosecuting the matter to its end, and, at the conclusion, “the country will know which one of us is a liar.”
CNS contacted Bush to ask him about his position with regard to the premier’s legal action but he did not respond to calls. However, on Friday night he sent a text message stating:
“There was once a certain minister of government in an overseas territory who was accused of getting a business for granting an oil licence to a certain oil company. The minister demanded an apology. When the member of the House refused. The minister took him to court. The member of the House produced the document in court showing that indeed the minister had made a deal with the oil company to get a gas station.”
Asked if that meant he was not apologising and standing by his allegations as he had the supporting documentation, the opposition leader refused to confirm that but he sent further messages in which he said if McLaughlin took the allegations “I have made so seriously, I challenge him to step aside until the case his heard,” echoing the comments expressed by the premier when he was in opposition and Bush was arrested.
It is understood that Bush did not receive the premier’s first letter requesting an apology regarding the allegations made in his motion until Tuesday evening but the deadline set by the premier was close of business on 1 May.
As well as making allegations against McLaughlin and others, Bush is calling for an independent public enquiry into what happened to him in the motion regarding his criminal case. But having leveled the accusations against the premier, the motion will now be frozen in legal limbo until such a time as the two men settle the legal action or until a civil trial takes place.
Bush has implicated numerous people in his downfall, including McLaughlin, the former governor and the police commissioner, among others, claiming that they conspired to oust him from office when he was premier in connection with charges against him for abusing his government credit card.
Bush was arrested in December on charges of theft and abuse of office, accused of using his government credit card to draw cash in casinos in the US and The Bahamas to gamble on slot machines. McLaughlin, who was then the opposition leader, filed a no confidence motion in Bush as premier, which was supported by several members of the then ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) administration and resulted in him crossing the floor to the opposition benches with fewer than half of his former government colleagues.
Bush was charged before the 2013 election but theft charges were later dropped and he was tried solely on misconduct charges. After it became clear that there were no government rules against officials using their credit cards how they liked so long as personal expenses were paid back, he was acquitted.
However, the damage was done as, by that time, the UDP had lost every seat outside of West Bay in the 2013 poll and, for the first time in a very long time, Bush was not able to carry all four seats in his West Bay stronghold.
Calling the whole thing a witch-hunt, Bush had threatened to take legal action himself against those he believed were involved. However, earlier this month he announced his intention to bring a private member’s motion to the LA to debate what he claims was his undemocratic ousting from office by UK officials.
Source: Cayman News Services