Reactions to Mr. Bush’s arrest were widely varied – BP watching how the British does it!

RCIPS officers check traffic going to and from Premier McKeeva Bush’s house Tuesday on Boltins Ave. Photo: Norma Connolly

Cayman Islands Governor Duncan Taylor released the following statement Tuesday afternoon:

“I am aware that the Honourable Premier, McKeeva Bush, has been arrested this morning in connection with a number of ongoing police investigations. The reasons for the arrest have been set out in the statement issued by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.

“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.”

The opposition People’s Progressive Movement called the premier’s arrest “a grave situation” for the Cayman Islands in a statement released around noon Tuesday.

RCIPS officers check traffic going to and from Premier McKeeva Bush’s house Tuesday on Boltins Ave. Photo: Norma Connolly

“The arrest of the Premier is a hugely damaging body blow to the reputation of these islands and to confidence in our government. It will do immense harm to our credibility as an international business centre and a place to work and do business.

“The social and economic interests of these Islands depend on Mr. Bush’s colleagues in the Cabinet and on the Government Backbench acting swiftly and resolutely in this matter to return normalcy to the operations of Government and to prevent the further hemorrhaging of the country’s image and reputation.

“Accepted international best practice and the conventions of the Westminster system of government provide clear guidance as to the course of action that ought now to be followed by Mr. Bush and his Cabinet and supporting backbench MLAs.”

“I’m truly sorry for what is happening to our premier,” said Ed Solomon. “I totally respect him. I know that he’s a commendable leader and a good person. The allegations against him I don’t know, so I can’t make any comment. But I will truly keep him in my prayers and God bless him and keep him.”

“Being a supporter for years, it’s a pity,” said Ted Gray. “He’s one of the most decisive, go ahead people there is.”

“This isn’t the first time a leader of a country has been accused and you’ve got to be careful,” Sarah Clarke said. “It’s like Lance Armstrong, who did a lot of good and he had to step down because of what he did was wrong.”

The Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce released a statement about the arrest: “The arrest of the Premier on alleged breach of trust, abuse of office and theft [allegations] demonstrates Cayman’s robust law enforcement and anti-corruption systems and the Islands’ intolerance with any alleged unethical behaviour or corruption even at the highest level of political office. The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service’s Financial Crime Unit’s investigation leading up to today’s arrest has been ongoing for several months and the economy has continued to perform robustly providing quality services and products to the world’s financial markets, international visitors and investors.

“We are wholly confident that that same level of integrity and service will continue as the case works its way through the judicial system. The Chamber of Commerce unequivocally supports all actions by law enforcement officials to root out any unethical behaviour that may damage the reputation of the Cayman Islands as a leading international financial centre and as a quality jurisdiction to conduct business and  invest.”

The Cayman Islands financial services sector also responded to questions about the arrest.

Anthony Travers, senior partner at Travers, Thorp, Alberga, commented on the arrest:  “It is too early to comment on the substance of these matters .The timing given the recent arrest of Mr Misick, the former Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, however does not appear coincidental and if these charges are found by the Court to be ill-founded, then that aspect will need to be considered. Under the Constitution, the financial services industry operates quite independently of the political arm of the Legislature under the regulatory regime of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority and is unaffected by any change in government leadership.”

David Marchant, the publisher of Offshore Alert, actually took a more positive view on matters: “Strange though this might seem, I believe it will have a positive effect on Cayman’s reputation internationally because it demonstrates the jurisdiction is prepared to take action against individuals regardless of status. The measure of any country or jurisdiction is not that scandals occur but what it does about them when they surface. The worst thing any jurisdiction can do is bury its head in the sand. This has been the traditional approach in Cayman and the jurisdiction’s reputation overseas has suffered because of it. With one action today, that has changed for the better.”


  1. Update 12:30pm: The United Democratic Party leadership issued the following statement on Tuesday afternoon following the arrest of Premier and party leader McKeeva Bush.

    “We, as a caucus, were informed [Tuesday] morning that the Hon. Premier was arrested.

    “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.”

    Update 10:15am: The ruling United Democratic Party leadership is said to be meeting in caucus at this hour to determine how the government will proceed, according to sources within the administration. There is no word yet on whether Mr. Bush will step aside from his leadership role as a result of Tuesday’s arrest by police.

    Update 9:30am: A Caymanian Compass journalist on scene at Premier Bush’s home in West Bay reports that the house is now being searched by the RCIPS.

    The Premier of the Cayman Islands, William McKeeva Bush, 57, has been arrested and is currently detained in police custody in connection with a number of ongoing police investigations, according to a press release issued by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Tuesday morning.

    Officers from the RCIPS Financial Crime Unit arrested Mr. Bush at around 7am at his home in West Bay.

    Mr. Bush has been arrested on suspicion of:

    • Theft in connection with financial irregularities relating to the alleged misuse of a Government credit card

    • Breach of trust, Abuse of office and Conflict of interest, contrary to S13, S17 and S19 of the Anti-Corruption Law 2008 respectively, in connection with the alleged importation of explosive substances without valid permits on or before February 2012.
    It would be inappropriate for the RCIPS to make any further comment in relation to these matters at this time.

    No charges had been filed against the premier at this point.

    Police had cordoned off an area around Mr. Bush’s home in West Bay Tuesday morning, letting only family members through.

    Mr. Bush had been taken to George Town Police Station following his arrested, the newspaper has learned.

    The stunning revelations that Mr. Bush was involved in three police investigations were made public this April as Royal Cayman Islands Police released a statement regarding the latest developments.

    The police statement about the matter reads: “The RCIPS can confirm that there are a number of investigations currently ongoing involving the Premier of the Cayman Islands, the 
Hon. McKeeva Bush.

    “One involves allegations of financial irregularities in relation to a land deal.

    “In addition, a further allegation of financial irregularities has been made which is entirely separate from the first investigation.

    “Finally, allegations have been made in relation to the involvement of the premier in the periphery of a recent incident where a quantity of explosives were imported to the Cayman Islands without the 
necessary permit.

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