Published On: Wed, Dec 12th, 2012

Cayman premier released on bail amid calls for his resignation

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands – Premier Mckeeva Bush was released on overnight police bail on Tuesday night more than 12 hours after he was arrested at his home on suspicion of theft, in connection with financial irregularities relating to the alleged misuse of a government credit card.

Police said that Bush 57, who came to power in 2009, will return to the police station for further questioning on Wednesday.

The authorities said that a second person had been detained in connection with the ongoing investigation which involves Premier Bush.  The name or identity of the person had not been released.

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) said Bush, who had recently returned from London where he had been attending the Joint Ministerial Council meeting between the British Overseas Territories and the United Kingdom government, had also been detained on breach of trust, abuse of office and conflict of interest, contrary to S13, S17 and S19 of the Anti-Corruption Law 2008 respectively.

He is also detained in connection with the alleged importation of explosive substances without valid permits on or before February 2012.

Deputy Premier Juliana O’Connor Connolly said the government ministers met in caucus where Bush’s arrest had been discussed.

“The matter is the subject of police investigation and no comments relating to the particulars of this matter can be made at this time. We the Government fully understand the gravity of this matter. We confirm that caucus is presently convened, and further statements will be issued in due course.

“May the guidance of All Mighty God and the prayers of the righteous of this land be with the country as we enter these unchartered waters,” she added.

Governor Duncan Taylor in a statement said that the “conduct of criminal investigations in the Cayman Islands is a matter for the Police Commissioner.

“If evidence is brought to his attention which leads him to suspect that an offence or offences may have been committed, I expect him to carry out a robust, fair and comprehensive investigation, regardless of the individual concerned.  I am confident that the Police Commissioner will ensure that this applies to the ongoing investigations involving the Premier.

“I would like to reassure the people of the Cayman Islands of my commitment and that of the whole of the Cayman Islands Government to ensure the continued effective functioning of the government and the continued efficient delivery of services to the public,” Taylor said in a statement.

But opposition legislators and parties have called on Bush, the leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP) who is serving his seventh term in the Legislative Assembly, to resign.

Independent MLA legislators  Arden McLean and Ezzard Miller who held a news conference on Tuesday, said that Bush should step down.

The Coalition for Cayman said while it is not pre-judging the matter and is allowing the judicial system to run its course, it wanted Bush to step down with immediate effect.

“While today is a sad day for the country with the announcement of the arrest of the Premier, it is also a day that sends a strong message that the Cayman Islands will take the appropriate action to ensure it remains an attractive place to do business and create economic opportunity for all.

“We must always be careful not to prejudge anyone and allow the due process of the judicial system to run its course. However, as a nation we must be clear that we will not tolerate corruption in any form, and we feel it is in the best interest of our Country that Premier Bush step down from office immediately as the judicial process runs its course,” added Coalition for Cayman.

“It is a time for the people of the Cayman Islands to come together. We have an opportunity to set aside partisan politics and work together to create a better future for the Cayman Islands that includes independent leaders with integrity and competence who will always put Country First,” the Coalition for Cayman said.


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