Offshore premiers go to battle
(CNS): The Cayman premier has not confined his attacks to local critics but has also hit out at a fellow overseas territories premier. The Royal Gazette reports that McKeeva Bush has written to Bermuda Premier Paula Cox describing her recent comments about him as “antagonistic”. Cox said Bush had been making disparaging remarks about rival jurisdictions to cover up problems in his own country. In response the Cayman premier told Cox to concentrate on what she can do to help Bermudians survive in these critical days as he said he was doing for Cayman. “As Cayman’s Premier I have never attacked, any other country, including Bermuda not even when its Premier consistently attacks me,” Bush wrote.
Earlier this year when Bush boasted that Cayman could end Bermuda’s lead in the insurance market, he went further with his criticisms of Bermuda and its immigration policies.
“In the mid-Atlantic they say they ‘may’ reduce some fees," he had said, referring to the rival financial jurisdiction. “We have reduced fees. They are still talking about their immigration policy and make long statements, but I say this boldly — while Bermuda has been the champion, be assured that we can grow. We here can do it without the malice, without the inhibitions of race, without the inhibitions of transport.”
In this letter to Cox, Bush said he had every right to promote the Cayman Islands, “even if you read into it, that it is something competitive to Bermuda.”
Bush said Cayman had other competitors and he didn’t attack their leaders as he told Cox that he was busy working and asked what she was doing for Bermuda. “My advice is you should stop attacking me and use your energy to move the good islands of Bermuda forward,” he wrote.
The Royal Gazette reports that Cox has declined to comment on the latest salvo and the paper has not been able to reach Bush, who CNS understands was on a trip to Jamaica.
A local opposition politician in Bermuda, Kim Swan, told the Royal Gazette that he found the spat “disturbing” and called on the respective governors to broker talks between the two territories. However, the problem now is that, at present, Cayman’s own governor and Bushhardly appear to be on speaking terms.
“It is unfortunate that the Cayman Premier would choose an open (public) letter to the Premier of Bermuda, which makes a futile attempt to ‘mend fences’ with Bermuda,” Swan said. “I recall that it was the Cayman Premier who made derogatory comments about Bermuda in February 2012 which didn’t sit well me and others at the time.”
Swan said the world was watching as he queried the message the letter and disparaging comments achieved for either island.
Recently the Cayman premier has been hitting out at all of his critics as he faces a massive crisis in his role as minister of finance and his inability to produce a budget that will satisfy the UK without introducing a controversial form of payroll tax.
See full letter here
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