Bush still holds speaker job

| 11/05/2020
Cayman News Service
Speaker McKeeva Bush at the ceremony last Friday

(CNS): The representative for West Bay West, McKeeva Bush, still holds the substantive post of speaker, Premier Alden McLaughlin confirmed on Monday. Bush is supposed to be on leave from the senior position following allegations and charges against him for assault. However, he was seen in his full ceremonial robes last Friday presiding over the lying-in-state of the late Leola Esterleen Ebanks (74), a former legislator who died on 23 April.

Bush would have been expected to attend the important ceremony, given that Mrs Ebanks was a popular and highly respected resident of West Bay as well as a representative for the district between 1976 and 1980.

But the public expressed surprised to see Bush in his ceremonial gown at the sombre occasion, given the circumstances surrounding his leave of absence and the recent charges.

Bush is accused of assaulting the female manager of a Seven Mile Beach bar during a drunken evening. He took a leave of absence in order to deal with what he said were issues of grief over the loss of his daughter in 2011, which had led to his alcohol misuse. He has since been charged with assault and is next due to appear in court on Friday.

But McLaughlin stated Monday at the COVID-19 daily briefing that Bush still held the post but was on leave. The premier said Bush had taken the leave of absence for the incident, which has been widely reported, and that he had now been charged and was due to appear in court shortly. But McLaughlin said that until that matter was resolved, Bush would not resume presiding over any meetings of the Legislative Assembly.

“Obviously when those matters are resolved, decisions will have to be taken about the way forward,” McLaughlin said.”But he is still the substantive speaker. There is no acting speaker; the constitution does not provide for that; but you have a deputy speaker who has just been elected.”

The premier also said he was not prepared to comment on the speaker’s failure to wear his mask correctly during the lying-in-state ceremony.

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