Staying put

 

KINGSTON — Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush said yesterday that he would not heed calls to resign, insisting his arrest this week on suspicion of corruption is a plot by political enemies who are trying to weaken him and smear his reputation.

Cayman Islands Premier Mckeeva Bush.

Bush shrugged off the allegations as he arrived in Kingston, two days after he was arrested by the British Caribbean territory’s police and a day after being released on bail until early February.

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service said they are looking into allegations that Bush misused his government credit card and abused his office by importing explosive devices without valid permits. He was arrested at his home on Grand Cayman on Tuesday morning and interviewed by investigators for two straight days.

No charges have been filed, but police describe their investigation as “very active”.

There has been a growing call for Cayman’s leader to step down since his arrest, which surprised many supporters and critics in the famed Caribbean tax haven. But after giving a commencement address to University College of the Caribbean graduates in Kingston, a defiant Bush said he had done nothing wrong and intends to stay on as premier.

Bush described Cayman Governor Duncan Taylor, who represents the British monarchy in the three-island territory, as his “enemy”. He implied his arrest was orchestrated by the Britain-appointed governor and other political foes.

“We are a British overseas territory and as such it is run by the governor and the commissioner of police. And so I can’t miss that it is nothing but a political, very vindictive political witch hunt,” Bush said.

A spokesman for the governor, whose post is largely ceremonial, did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Yesterday, Bush said he wanted to reveal the “whole story” behind his arrest but his lawyers advised him not to speak specifically about the allegations. He said he was confident he will be vindicated in coming months.

“I would just say that I have done nothing wrong,” he said. “I have made a lot of friends and I have made a lot of enemies. There are a lot of jealous people in a very small island.”

Bush had been scheduled to receive an honorary doctorate for public service yesterday from the UCC, but the school’s chancellor, Herbert Thompson, said school officials decided to wait on the outcome of the investigations. (Observer)

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