Bush raped woman in mangrove clearing, crown tells jury

| 08/07/2024
McKeeva Bush in parliament, Cayman News Service
McKeeva Bush in parliament, 26 April 2023

(CNS): Former Cayman Islands premier and the longest serving member of parliament, McKeeva Bush, has been accused by a woman of raping her on the ground in a mangrove clearing off the West Bay Road more than 24 years ago. As Eloise Marshall KC opened the historic rape case against Bush on Friday, she briefly outlined the allegations the woman has made against him. Bush has not only denied raping her but has denied even knowing her. In a police interview, Bush said the incident, as alleged, never happened.

As Marshall outlined the prosecution’s case, she told the jury that the woman, who was 27 at the time, had gone to a George Town bar to collect her mother, who had been drinking. The woman says that local politicians were at the bar celebrating an event, including Bush, who at some point asked her if she would drive him home in his car. As they drove along the West Bay Road, he asked her to pull over. She assumed he needed to urinate, so she stopped near a mangrove clearing.

But when she stopped, Bush began to kiss her, and she completely froze, Marshall told the jury. When he got out of the vehicle, he coaxed her out of the car as well and carried on hugging and kissing her, but the woman did not respond to him. During her interview with police, she had described how he had struggled to get on the ground, and when he did, he pulled her down, too.

The prosecutor told the court that although the woman had told Bush to stop and made it clear she did not consent, he had raped her. The woman recalls that it had not lasted long, and she remembers him “slobbering all over me” and making noises as he lay on her body. She has said he felt very heavy because she was very slim at the time, and his body felt huge.

The woman says she was confused and frightened and did not know what to do because she knew he was in the government and a powerful person. (Bush was at the time a minister in the Executive Council, as Cabinet was then known). When it was all over, he seemed pleased and told her to get in the car, and then she drove him home.

The prosecutor said that the woman had kept the entire incident to herself and told no one at all at the time; she had simply blanked it out because she did not want to believe it had happened. But in 2021, she began suffering from flashbacks, Marshall said. The first person she told was her mother, and soon after that, she told two friends and then her pastor. Tired of being triggered, keeping the secret and reliving the ordeal, she decided to make a report to the police.

Marshall said that when Bush was arrested, he gave a prepared statement but did not answer the police officers’ questions. He had said he did not know the victim, had never been anywhere with her, and there was no truth to the allegation. Bush told the police he had no idea why she would make such an allegation, and said it was persecution.

The case continues.

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Category: Courts, Crime

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