Mac denies probe against him
(CNS): The Cayman Islands premier said Thursday that he knew of no investigation against him, as he answered the call made by the opposition member for East End to come clean about the police probe into ‘financial irregularities’ relating to him. Despite the acknowledgement by the governor that a fax sent by McKeeva Bush in 2004 to Texan developer Stan Thomas asking for $350,000 in relation to the zoning of land was at the heart of a police investigation, the premier denied knowledge of a criminal investigation against him. In a short statement broadcast on Radio Cayman, he said he had heard the opposition talk about an investigation but he knew "of none".
Bush denied any wrongdoing in the face of the challenge thrown down by Arden McLean on Wednesday.
The former PPM Cabinet minister was cleared by the Anti-corruption Commission (ACC) after a very short investigation into whether he had abused his position by not paying power bills while in dispute with CUC for twelve months. McLean had cooperated with the investigators from the start and was proactive in ensuring his name was cleared as quickly as possible. When he received his letter yesterday from the police commissioner concluding that he had committed no offence, McLean called on the premier, who had asked for the corruption investigation, to do likewise regarding the probe into the letter that Bush sent to Thomas.
However, Bush not only denied accusing McLean of corruption, he denied knowing anything about the investigation that people were talking about. The premier said in his short broadcast statement that he had reported McLean to the ACC because the PPM member had admitted that he had not paid his electricity bill for more than a year during the time he was negotiating with Grand Cayman’s monopoly power provider.
The premier said that he had heard his opponents talk about an investigation but it seemed odd that there would be one into him when it was McLean who had negotiated what he called a “sweetheart deal” with CUC while he was a minister and had not paid his bills.
“While Mr McLean and his cohorts have done their endeavour best to smear me and I hear them say of an investigation I know of none,” Bush stated in the recorded message, even though there has been clear indication from the governor’s office that a police investigation is underway into the premier.
“It strikes me, though, rather odd that there would be a criminal investigation of me while he was a sitting member he could negotiate such a lucrative agreement with CUC while not paying his electrical bills,” Bush added as he denied knowing about the police probe.
Bush criticised McLean and other opposition members, stating that he was not surprised that they did not recognised the “dangerous game of international politics that is being played against the Cayman Islands”, which he claimed was “using me as a scapegoat to do so”, and McLean and “his pals” were facilitating this by “scandalizing” him.
“I have done no wrong and I therefore can say my hands are clean and my heart is pure,” Bush stated.
It has never been made clear, despite the acknowledgement by the governor that the now infamous letter to Stan Thomas is the source of the police investigation into Bush, if the premier has ever been interviewed as part of the investigation. Although few details have ever been revealed by authorities, leaked documents have shown that the director of public prosecutions has written to Thomas asking for his cooperation in the enquiry.
Other witness statements have also been given to the investigators but David Baines, the police commissioner and chair of the ACC recently stated that allegations of corruption being dealt with by the commission which occurred before 2009 were difficult to prosecute as the new law isn’t retroactive.
In his short broadcast to the government radio station, Bush also hit back at McLean’s criticism over the benefits the premier was receiving as a result of his position and that despite the difficult economic times he was drawing his full pension as well as his salary.
Bush said all the benefits he had he was entitled to and had earned as a result of being returned to office seven times. He also said he had wanted to cut politicians salaries more and the PPM had objected but he had cut his own pay as well as the opposition leader’s salary.
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