PPM denies role in release of Bush assault footage

| 21/06/2021 | 161 Comments
McKeeva Bush attack on female bar manager, from evidence video

(CNS): A decision by the Cayman Compass to publish the CCTV footage of McKeeva Bush assaulting Livia Kwong, the bar manager of Coral Beach Bar at the time in February last year, has become embroiled in politics, given the timing of the release. The publishers claim they secured the video with the help of a local law firm, despite it being accessible for some time and openly offered to the press in the wake of the election when the PACT Government had made the unpopular decision to include Bush in the new government’s line-up.

CNS and other media houses opted not to post the footage based on the victim’s wishes. But now its release has the community pointing fingers at the opposition.

Following the release of the footage on Friday, all eyes immediately switched to the Progressives as being behind the release, given that the opposition has begun to mount direct attacks on the current government, initially seen in the politicizing of the management of the border opening. The publishing of the video footage now has a potential negative impact for PACT, in contrast to the very different impact it would have had prior to the election.

PPM Leader Roy McTaggart released a statement Saturday denying that his party played a part in its release or publication, but also made the most of it.

“This video reminds me why the Progressives refused to campaign or form a government with Mr Bush following the elections,” McTaggart stated. “We could have come to an agreement with him and retained the government but chose not to do so. That was not a serious option we could consider again after his admission of guilt and conviction by the courts. Mr Bush’s sentence was suspended for two years until 2022. We remain satisfied that we took the right decision.”

Having said that, McTaggart then went on to deny that the PPM would use the issue “to gain political advantage”. He stated, “We wish to categorically state that we were not aware that the Compass was publishing the video until after the fact.”

McTaggart said it was important that everyone, particularly young people, understand that the type of behaviour displayed in the video is not acceptable and cannot be condoned. “As a society, we have a lot of work to do to raise awareness of and eradicate violence and harassment towards women,” he said.

The video has been released in full but in the absence of the numerous witness statements from staff, the victim and the people Kwong had called to come and get Bush before the violence began in earnest. The footage shows how intoxicated the speaker of the House was when he arrived at the bar. It captures him stumbling from his vehicle and staggering into the bar area before he fell over. Bush then lay prostrate on the floor for some time before Kwong was alerted to the situation.

According to the evidence revealed during Bush’s sentencing hearing, as Kwong tried to help Bush to his feet, she also called individuals connected to him and to the bar to come and assist and remove him from the bar. But soon afterwards the violence began. The struggle is largely obscured by a row of beach umbrellas standing between where Bush fell and the camera, but after he got to his feet much of his violent assault was caught on camera. The footage shows him throwing bus trays at Kwong and then later throwing her around the kitchen.

But the video is being seen out of context and in the absence of supporting witness statements.

Releasing the video before the elections may have made a difference to Bush’s political fate and the dilemma Wayne Panton faced in deciding whether to work with him to form a government of independent candidates, reflecting the wishes of the voters given the unclear result. But releasing it at this time is leading to a reinterpretation of the footage. Social media is now fuelling a backlash against the victim, Kwong, in support of Bush and a reinterpretation of the violent incident in accordance with the views of those watching.

It is also raises the question of why the video was not released before the election, which Bush won by just 27 votes. In his response to the Compass over the weekend Bush said, “The people spoke and they’re seeing now.”

During his sentencing hearing Bush had claimed to have no memory of the incident because he was very intoxicated. However, this was not before his attorney had tried to persuade the magistrate that Bush had been attacked by Kwong during the part of the footage that is unclear. On the campaign trail Bush had maintained that was what happened and had outlined claims that indicated he was not being completely truthful about his loss of memory.

CNS has contacted PACT and Premier Wayne Panton about the release of the video and we are expecting a statement later today.

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Category: Crime, Politics

Comments (161)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I see a fat POS “man” being aggressive with a women. You call it whatever you want, but the fact this person was not arrested and still holds a position, pretty much defines Caymans’ political culture 💩

  2. Big Mac hater says:

    Big Mac is trash. Has no respect. People that support him is just like him. So what happens? He is guilty and now is Speaker of the House? What the hell is wrong her? Wayne Panton should be ashamed to cater to this cruel behavior of Big Mac.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians open your eyes as see what’s happening to us. stop this carb mentality they are winning with their divide and conquer tactics. Wake-up time is running out!!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    When are we having new elections?

  5. Anonymous says:

    To commenter 21/06/2021 at 12:51 pm. Did you also put this as an op-ed on Loop? Sure looks that way. You may not be a ” Bad Man” but you sure have a “Bad Mind” (to borrow from your post). You present your opinion as if it is fact. Apparently you have no idea what a ‘Shadow Minister’ is so you pass it off as if it is something that PPM “conjured up to give voters the impression that the losers have some special standing or title. This is totally deceptive and misleading”. Had you bothered to google it you would find that Wikipedia states “The shadow cabinet or shadow ministry is a feature of the Westminster system of government”. Also had you used Google you would have discovered that two Ministers in the current PACT Govt were named as shadow ministers by Leader of the Opposition Ezzard Miller during the last Administration. See:https://caymannewsservice.com/2017/06/opposition-organises-a-shadow-cabinet/
    What do shadow ministers do? Shadow ministers have the important responsibility of scrutinising – closely examining – the work of the government and individual ministers. It is quite obvious that you just do not understand shadow ministries when you say in an op-ed on Loop (May 14, 2021) that “independents ….may, from time-to-time, consider the advice of members of the losing side who were previous ministers. Such advice could be set in motion under a proposed regime of “shadow ministers”.Honestly speaking, the losers completing functions of shadow ministers will simply result in the mandate of the losing government to continue. This should be avoided where the path is proven to not be in the best interest of the people. Instead of allowing the losing team to be shadow ministers for the independents, the independents should utilise their own team of advisors to help execute the economic sustainability mandate of the independents.”
    I hope my post will give you some clarity when it comes to Shadow Ministers and their roles.

    • Anonymous says:

      @ 7.48pm Apparently the poster at 12.51 on June 21 mistakenly believes a ‘shadow minister’ is the same as a Parliamentary Secretary or Councillor.

  6. teaaf says:

    “McTaggart said it was important that everyone, particularly young people, understand that the type of behaviour displayed in the video is not acceptable and cannot be condoned. “As a society, we have a lot of work to do to raise awareness of and eradicate violence and harassment towards women,” he said.”

    Too little, too late Royo, the PPM had many a chance to say or do something about domestic assault or violence towards women…but alas I can’t remember any campaign to do so.

    Not one red wearing man OR woman on your “unity government” raised a single shred of awareness against violence toward women.

    Did any one of you “walk in her shoes”, or attend any of the many BPW’s silent walk? or use govt funds to hold town halls and listen to girls/women speak on their harassment/abuse/stalking stories?

    Stop acting like a gong and sit down, and shut up…please.

    (Mutters under breath) Roy mussa tink people fool-fool.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I am sorry there is no way she was the aggressor. He fell and she tried to help him up and he went crazy because he is a crazy alcoholic. We need two embarrassments removed from Cayman asap. Bush and the Dump!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Move along nothing to see here …

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