Outrage grows with speaker’s return to job

| 21/08/2020 | 215 Comments
Cayman News Service
Speaker McKeeva Bush in the LA (file photo)

(CNS): McKeeva Bush’s decision to return to his job as speaker of the Legislative Assembly while facing charges of assault on a female beach bar manager has fuelled public outrage this week. Meanwhile, Bush has reaffirmed his support for the premier, along with the education and health ministers, who had all been cited as part of a coup attempt by the opposition to bring down the Government of National Unity over the Domestic Partnership Bill.

The return of the veteran politician to his post came as surprise to many, including senior government leaders, and has caused significant public concerns, which has been expressed widely on this site, on social media, the radio waves and in other quarters.

Speaking about Bush’s return to work, Premier Alden McLaughlin told CNS that the West Bay member was the substantive speaker who had been voted into the post by the House and that it was up to the House to decide whether he should remain in the post.

But the premier also pointed out that, given that Bush’s case was still live, it would not be possible for the Legislative Assembly to debate a no-confidence vote in the speaker because of the sub judice rule.

While it is true that Bush was formally elected into his post, his nomination and guaranteed majority vote came about as part of the deal that established the Unity government following the inconclusive election result in 2017 and following a weekend of backroom deals and horsetrading.

Bush had volunteered to take a leave of absence in the wake of his arrest over the assault earlier this year. He spoke about the need to seek counselling to deal with his grief over the loss of his daughter, which had led to alcohol misuse. His return to work has not been marked with any official explanation, though Bush told the Cayman Compass that he had never claimed to be taking an indefinite leave.

“I said I needed to take some time to deal with grief management,” Bush was quoted as saying by the paper.” I did that while still managing my responsibilities as the member for West Bay West and certain responsibilities with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.”

Despite facing serious allegations of violence against a woman in the workplace and expected to face trial in December, the speaker was dismissive.

“So what if there is a trial?” he asked. “Am I not innocent until I’m proven guilty? And if I’m proven guilty, then the House has the recourse if they want to. I don’t know who [would] want to… Justice cannot be decided by social media, the press or public opinion. Justice cannot be decided by hearsay.”

Given the current disquiet in government, even if the frontbench is not yet ready to bring down the administration, Bush has made a clear political point. With the Domestic Partnership Bill creating very clear divisions in Cabinet, McLaughlin is very unlikely to force the speaker’s hand, despite his previous comments that he would not be involved in the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly until the trial is over.

MLA Ezzard Miller, who was the first to raise concerns about the constitutionality of Bush taking leave and still holding the job, told CNS that because of the way the premier had handled this, there was no way to stop Bush’s return to work without a no-confidence vote.

“The premier has told us that the speaker was not going to sit in his substantive position as long as his case in court is pending,” he said. “But now, having allowed him to decide to take leave, there is nothing to stop him from deciding to return. And with the threat of a pending coup to make the opposition leader premier, it is very unlikely that Mr McLaughlin would move the motion of no-confidence in Mr Bush.”

Bush joined Education Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly in dismissing their part in the potential opposition coup yesterday. In a brief video statement (see below) the education minister did not deny being playing a part in the coup but claimed to still be part of the government and that, despite voting her conscience on the Domestic Partnership Bill, she still had confidence in the premier.

Health Minister Dwayne Seymour has also denied being part of the opposition plans to bring down the government over the DPB, even though, like O’Connor-Connolly and Bush, he is vehemently opposed to the bill and the governor’s move to implement the legislation under his reserve powers.

Seymour told the Compass that he supported the premier and had the confidence in him to lead the country. He added that he had “no interest in” the no-confidence motion currently being proposed, saying “that makes no sense at all. It is insane to think about something like that.”

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Comments (215)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    If he were your average CS worker, he’d be on paid suspended leave pending the outcome of his trial. Why is this man allowed to just do wtf he wants and continues to get away with it? He must have some serious dirt on certain ppl. smdh

  2. Do What is Right says:

    I think defective moral compasses must have been on sale the day this joke of a man and the cheeto up north got theirs.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Is in any wonder that Cayman politics is regarded by all as a joke ? The only thing that our politicians stand for, is their own re-election, and will do all in their power to remain in those positions for as long as possible.

    With Big Mac, yes, as an ordinary citizen he’s innocent until proven guilty. But as an elected politician and person of huge standing in the community – whether you like him or not – any suggestion of improper conduct should result in him standing aside temporarily, while (and until) the matter is investigated and concluded, not just for a few weeks. As an example to others no less.

    But this is all determined by key traits – integrity and honour. If he had any of either, he would take a leave of absence – and call it what you like, recusal, absence, counselling, sabbatical, vacation.

    So what do we read into his refusal to stay away ? No honour, no integrity, but plenty of greed, and lust for power, to a place (the House) where he can say what he likes and get away with it. Its time for fridges and tarmac to get some integrity too, and vote this man out at the next election, even if it means silent Bob (the Captain) stands and wins instead. Remember, we only get what we deserve.

    • Anonymous says:

      The last time Mac got in trouble in 2013, his colleagues told him he needed to step aside and he refused, they brought a motion of no-confidence and moved him. The next election every one of them lost their seats and Mac, Bernie and Eugene won. You don’t think Alden and the rest learnt a lesson from that. Don’t mess with Mac if you want to get re-elected.

      • Anonymous says:

        Common people! If he is so powerful, almighty, he must be God? Hitler? Stalin? No. He has delusions of grandeur for sure who needs help in that department..

        Why do you all argue for your limitations? You’re not living in North Korea.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Welcome back Mr. Bush. Dear public thank Arden for this. His power hungry dialogue gets him nowhere fast.

    • Anonymous says:

      Explain how Arden is responsible for this ? Alden has the majority in the house why isn’t he responsible ?

  5. Social-Me-To-Yuh says:

    how is it…that a beautiful lil’ Jamaican student with Locs can’t go to school because of her hair yet these people wear these bootleg-left over from colonial MASTERS-out of place-silly looking wigs???

    *aKsin’ for a friend…

  6. Anonymous says:

    6:41pm so true and disgusting

  7. John Smith says:

    Everyone has a right to know what really happened in this case; and a jury of our peers have the responsibility to decide the outcome. Whether the individual is innocent or guilty of a crime. It’s time to ask why this case and many others take so long to get to trial and a decision is made. The legal system is taking too long and this means it’s not fair to anyone. I would ask the Attorney General to sponsor an independent review of the Process and find ways to speed it up. So we can all get on with our lives.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because the defence lawyers run the courts and are not held accountable for the delaying tactics they use

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed. We have not even started an investigation into the status grants yet. I will look forward to the Attorney General’s independent inquiry into that fiasco too.

    • Anonymous says:

      Does Cayman have presumptive ceiling for the length of a case in the Cayman Court?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Our baby Trump really has had a remarkable career. You almost have to respect it if only for the endurance and bombacity. His scandals go back so far but he just keeps on going. The West Bay voters are a strange lot indeed. I guess a few driveways and washing machines go a long way in Cayman politics.

    Wait until he dies. Mix a little time and forgetting with standard historical whitewashing and he’ll be rehabilitated. Go ahead and laugh but one day there will be a statue of him in Georgetown and little children will be taught that he was a hero.


    • Anonymous says:

      I will personally remove and or disfigure any such statue.

    • Chris Johnson says:

      Agreed he should be erected ( not elected) next door to Jim Bodden as they are birds of a feather. Both confused other people’s money with that of their own. At least Jim did not have a CIG credit card! . An interesting coincidence is that it was Jim who insisted on the bank licence for First Cayman Bank when the application had previously been turned down. Subsequently Bush became a director and later the audit report was heavily qualified by Coopers and Lybrand who met with Government and suggested the licence be terminated.
      Government declined and one year later the bank was placed into liquidation.

      It is odd that almost 25 years earlier the same firm qualified the audit report of Interbank owned by Jean Doucet. The CIG missed the message. The bank went bust with little or no return for investors.

      Contrary to this is that CNB prospered with two politicians on their board, namely Mr Benson and Mr Truman. The big difference between them and the speaker is both of those gentlemen had previously worked in a bank rather than a garden business or selling real estate.

      The message here is that financial entities need choose their boards wisely and that the regulators keep a watching brief which they have not always done in the past.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mac Baby, your baby Trump is in his own class. Though Trump may be many of the things ascribed to him, he is by far the best choice when compared to the Democrat candidates – and so are his policies.

      • Anonymous says:

        My god, imagine how twisted and apart from reality one must be to look at Donald Trump and see a smart, ethical leader.

      • Anonymous says:

        Screw Democracy. America needs a real dictator. Trump can do it.

      • Anonymous says:

        3:33, If you were smart you would realise that Trump has no real policies. He wings it every day particularly with the COVID 19 policy situation. The only thing we know is that the man he admires most is Vladimir Putin and his dictatorial ways.

        But if I was in real estate in America, I would vote for Trump as he is every real estate developers dream and his tax cuts were wonderful for the American real estate sector.

        Made a lot of my American friends richer than they already are.

        • Anonymous says:

          I am not a Trump’ fan. But even I can see that mass media is having a field day at his expense.
          Unprecedented bullying of a sitting President. No self respecting individual or an establishment would do that.
          Granted, he is not a politician. But he was elected. Have a decency behave decently toward someone you don’t like. Especially if that someone is President. Embarrassing him you embarrass yourself.

          • Anonymous says:

            I suppose the thousands of Republicans who are publicly abandoning Trump and saying they’ll vote for Biden are embarrassing themselves, too? You should stop watching Fox News only. Seriously – you’re a big part of the problem that is tearing the US apart.

          • Miami Dave says:

            If Trump did not say so many stupid things and would stop bullying and attacking people and leaders personally, he would not be attacked by the media so much.

            The brilliant con man has brought it on himself and people now realize that the con is finally up.

            America does not want a dictatorship.

          • Orlando Mike says:

            People would behave differently if Trump was not a pathological liar. The guy just lies and lies and lies. Incredible for a Presidents.

            Bus contradictions and hypocrisy is beyond belief and I voted for this turkey 4 years ago.

            But not in November thus time. I have had it with Trump’s BS.

          • Anonymous says:

            I think your problem is that you cant admit that you are in fact a trumpfan! The man lies about everything every damn day and he is totally incompetent. The media cant help that they have to report truths about the state of America. The only network that makes it up to please trump is Fox. The rest of the world thinks he is a moron too and now America is pitied in its massive decline rather than respected! Cut the crap – the truth must be told or we fail history’s lessons and end up with another hitler and holocaust!

          • Anonymous says:

            hmmm… maybe you should tell Trump the same advice! As President, he acts like a damn baby- certainly not like the leader of the free world! He name calls pretty much every day!

      • Anonymous says:

        The Republican Convention started today and they announced that there would be NO/NO platform or policies. 3:33, you have no idea what Trump’s policies are. He simply makes them up every day.

    • Anonymous says:

      God’s gift to the brilliant people of West Bay. The best and brightest of the Caymanian people loved by his people for all of his sinning.

      Free McKeeva.

      • Anonymous says:

        it really makes me cringe when people assume every voter in WB is a Mac fan! WE ARE NOT!!! I’d gladly vote in the head rooster on the block to take his place if I could… at least I know they wouldn’t get wasted and beat up a woman!

        • Anonymous says:

          You are one of a tiny minority in West Bay. Bet you never got a turkey and refrigerator.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The person to blame for McKeeva being allowed to stay on as Speaker is Kenneth Bryan he refused to support Ezzard and the
    Opposition when they wanted to remove Mac from office-

    Kenneth owes the people of George Town Central an apology

    I am a voter in George Town Central me and my family will not be voting for Kenneth he should be a shame of himself but wait I just remembered Kenneth was a drug dealer in his hay day- Disgusting

    • Anonymous says:

      Allen is the one that put bush as speaker for sake of him to be premier,what the hell ye blameing Kenneth for, Bryan did the right thing , he didn’t put him there, now get off your you know what and tell Alden to move him,you will never see that happen to mash up his dolly house,,,,,let me explain something to you, if Bryan even voted with the opposition of no confidence it would have to be voted in the house,you think they could win? By the way i can’t vote for Bryan, truth be he’s the only one i see around, and you sound like a lot of hate is in you. 5th generation caymanian.

      • Anonymous says:

        Wow, Caymanians are so divided now that everyone is trying to outrank each other by stating their generation!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes Kenneth made it all about “Kenneth” they all needed him and he would not move against Mac. I hope he realizes what damage he has done to himself! Mac should not be coming back and Alden and crew don’t have the balls to tell him that. The Opposition were prepared to remove him as Speaker but Kenneth being Kenneth got in the way and took the bullet for Mac. I wonder why?

    • Anonymous says:

      McKeeva has so many political IOU’s which he has been using to the maximum this year and will continue to use as he regains power next year.

  10. Anonymous says:

    What a clown show

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