Coined by a British sitcom writer, ‘omnishambles’ has become the new buzz word on the UK Westminster scene to describe political mess-ups of significant proportions. And it seems like the perfect word to sum up the current political situation McKeeva Bush finds himself in as he faces three criminal investigations. But given his defiance, perhaps it's not him but the rest of us that are the real shambles.
It seems that no amount of press coverage, cries from the opposition, outrage on talk shows or even general embarrassment is enough to pressure the premier to step aside. With his party standing by him and most of the organisations that represent the country’s economic fortunes mumbling into their boots about hurrying things along but not a single request for him to step down, Bush won’t be going anywhere, except on his next overseas jaunt at the expense of the public purse.
Whether it’s because of a wider fear of the deputy prime minister actually taking over the country’s leadership (which, to be honest, is understandable) or because people really don’t care or think it matters that the premier is under police scrutiny is impossible to say but as the people that have the power, namely the UDP membership, its party funders and the business community, are not calling for his resignation, he won’t be stepping down anytime soon. Despite predictions to the contrary, Bush will stumble on yelling at his critics in is usual comedic fashion until May 2013.
The opposition can cry ‘no confidence’ till it's blue in the face, bloggers can blog till their fingers hurt and the talk shows callers can turn their throats hoarse but the only people that can really force the premier to face up to this situation is the party faithful or the party funders. So long as those supporting the UDP coffers continue to offer their support, Bush will not step aside, down or even back.
After all, why should he?
It might be unimaginable that this situation could happen in a democracy anywhere else in the world but that’s only because the pressure from the powerful would be unrelenting in most other jurisdictions.
One would expect that in a true democracy where the leader of a country finds himself at the heart of three police investigations, especially when one involves the illegal importation of dynamite, other members of government would likely seize the opportunity to bolster their own political fortunes and distance themselves from a potential political train wreck at the polls.
But here in Cayman it seems that voters don’t really mind that much and the politicians have very little faith in their own abilities.
Despite the revelations, unless Bush is actually charged and convicted of a crime, legally prohibiting him from holding office, he will stay in his post and will run at the next election. No matter the electoral format, he will win his seat. It is extremely unlikely that the UDP will gain a majority but, government or opposition bench, Bush’s backside will still be on one of them next May.
Most of the UDP members, with perhaps the odd exception, believe they cannot get elected without him and many of them are right. And while there may be grumblings in the business community, one cannot help wonder what it is that Bush knows that keeps them so reluctant to step up and say that he has to go.
While we may not exactly have a significant collection of captains of industry or business, none of the representative associations that fuel the local economy have called for him to be removed, despite the obvious implications for business and the economy. One can only conclude that Mac’s little black book is not that little.
It's obvious that the pressure from his opponents to step aside will continue and some media headlines will serve as a constant reminder that the country’s leader is facing criminal investigation over an illegal dynamite shipment as well as financial irregularities, but Bush’s recalcitrant position in the statement released at the weekend shows he has no intention of resigning, no matter what we write.
Of course, it is truly absurd that he accuses his critics of destabilizing the country when they object to his policies or because they wish to introduce a more equitable voting system, while claiming the fact that although he is at the heart of three police investigations, this has no effect on the country’s stability -- but he believes it.
The ramblings of paranoia in his statement on Saturday demonstrate his genuine belief that there is some kind of conspiracy against him and that these investigations are all “nunsense” as he knows of “nun”.
Unless the Stan Thomas letter turns out to be a forgery and the “emails” that none of us are allowed to see because they “are part of the investigation” also turn out to be figments of people’s imagination, then of course it’s far from nonsense and there are obviously questions to answer.
But the problem is that the police don’t seem to be asking them and if the investigation continues to drag on without any advancement, either towards innocence or guilt, without him being questioned or cleared, the premier will continue in office, abusing his critics, defying calls for his resignation and washing his already clean hands.
Yep! It’s definitely an omnishambles …
Vote in CNS poll: Should Mckeeva Bush step down as premier?
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