90 F Clouds
Tuesday, May 28 2024, 03:37 PM
Close Ad
Back To Listing

SPEAKER BUSH QUITS BUT QUESTIONS PERSIST

Front Pages 06 Oct, 2022 Follow News

SPEAKER BUSH QUITS BUT QUESTIONS PERSIST

By Staff Writer


 

In a dramatic turn of events in the ongoing political saga surrounding him, Hon. Speaker of Parliament McKeeva Bush has abruptly tendered his resignation.

In a statement released on Wednesday evening, October 5th, Mr Bush announced that he has written to Hon. Premier Wayne Panton advising him that he was stepping down effective November 30th.

In a recorded message Mr Bush referred to Tuesday October 3rd as the date of his letter. October 3rd was in fact this past Monday.


 

“In light of the circumstances. I have taken the decision and tendered my resignation on Tuesday, the third of October to take effect the 30th of November…I do so in the interest of all parties.”


 

The circumstances he referred to are allegations of recent misconduct towards women in which he has become embroiled resulting in the Premier and the Governor calling on him to resign, and the Opposition filing a motion of no-confidence in him. That motion was dramatically blocked by the Deputy Speaker yesterday (Wednesday 5th October).


 

In a previous letter dated September 15th, Hon. Premier Wayne Panton had given the Speaker an ultimatum to resign by September 23rd over the widely circulated allegations.

Mr Bush has not been charged with any offence regarding those allegations and the RCIPS has called on anyone directly involved to come forward to make a formal complaint. To date, no one has come forward.


 

RESIGNATION DEMANDED

In his letter to the Speaker concerning the serious allegations, Mr Panton had referred to “the unfortunate incidents at the cocktail reception held on Tuesday evening last at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, and considering your history of similar incidents, in respect of some of which you have existing convictions and an outstanding suspended sentence, this makes these latest incidents wholly intolerable.”


 

Mr Panton was referring to Mr Bush’s previous conviction in 2020 for assaulting a woman.

He went on to state: “It is clear that your conduct is inconsistent with the integrity and decorum required of the Speaker of the House of Parliament of the Cayman Islands. It is my strong view, a view shared by many, that it is now in the best interests of the people of the Cayman Islands if you were to tender your resignation as Speaker on or before 5pm September 23, 2022…”

A RELUCTANT RESIGNATION?

But in his recorded message announcing that he is stepping down, Mr Bush said he was doing so despite his supporters and family urging him to remain in the post.

“Despite my constituents, colleagues, and friends among others who insist I should remain in office as a Speaker of the House, I have given the matter serious consideration. (I am) very much fully aware of the political nature the matter has taken on and the negative impact and toll it continues to take on my constituents, my colleagues, my family, the wider country and the diaspora having emotional distraught, it caused grief, mental anguish and various damages to our well being."

He declared: “In light of the circumstances, I have taken the decision and tendered my resignation on Tuesday, the third of October to take effect the 30th of November…I do so in the interest of all parties.”


 

The outgoing Speaker, a former premier who is also a sitting MP and long-standing member of Parliament, also defended his record in public office.


 

“My record of service and contribution to the Cayman Islands will stand the test of time and history will show that I have done as much for the growth and development of this country, taking care of our people as best as we could over the years as any other elected member of the honourable House.”


 

While he has not been charged with any offence related to the recent swirl of allegations of misconduct towards women, the issue has marked a fractious period in Cayman politics.


 

Mr Bush was due to preside over a meeting of the Parliament this Friday October 7th in which the Opposition had tabled a motion of no-confidence against the PACT government of Premier Wayne Panton.

RESIGNATION QUESTIONED
 

In reaction to the Speaker’s resignation statement the Opposition Progressives were sceptical and put out statement titled: ‘Speaker Bush Again Promises To Resign’, calling the move unacceptable.


 

“A statement from the Speaker to Radio Cayman late Wednesday evening stating that he is resigning effective November 30th is unacceptable to the Opposition and should be unacceptable to every member of Parliament. We are of the view that it will also be unacceptable to the majority of the public. Further, this is the second pronouncement of the Speaker that he will resign. Where is the resignation letter?” they asked.


 

The Progressives had also issued a previous statement saying that the Deputy Speaker, Katherine Ebanks-Wilks, had blocked a separate motion of no-confidence that they had filed against Speaker Bush.

Saying the decision was “unprecedented”, leader of the Progressives, Roy McTaggart said: “The motion complies in every material respect with the Standing Orders of the House, and it is therefore surprising and alarming that it appears to have been disapproved arbitrarily as no reason was given. This action in my experience is unprecedented.”

MOTION RENDERED MOTIONLESS
 

In their current statement, questioning whether Mr Bush will in fact step down, the opposition party’s leader Roy McTaggart, also raised the matter of their blocked no-confidence in the Speaker.


 

“The Deputy Speaker wrote to me at 4:55 pm this afternoon(Wednesday) advising that she has been too busy with constituents matters to provide reasons for her refusal to approve our lack of confidence in the Speaker motion. She has said that she “will provide the detailed explanation for refusing the motion of lack of confidence in the Speaker no later than 12:00pm on Thursday 6th October 2022. We look forward to her response.”


 

He insisted that the motion of a Lack of Confidence in the Speaker complies in every material respect with the Standing Orders of Parliament.


 

“We insist that our motion of a lack of confidence in the Speaker must be heard. It would be both an affront to democratic principles and a breach of good governance for our motion to be hijacked by the Deputy Speaker,” Mr McTaggart wrote.


 

He also said it should be noted that the purported resignation of the Speaker will not take effect for another two months, if at all.

“The lack of confidence motion will bring clarity and certainty to this unfortunate situation as well as ensure confidence in the Parliament.”


 

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

With Mr Bush now announcing that he is stepping down effective November 30th, it was still not clear if he will be presiding over this Friday’s sitting of Parliament or if he will be stepping back from his duties until his resignation takes effect.


 

What is also unclear is if Premier Panton will accept the Speaker’s resignation as dated, given that he had set Mr Bush an ultimatum of September 23rd to quit, or if he will demand that the substantive Speaker steps down forthwith.


Comments (0)

We appreciate your feedback. You can comment here with your pseudonym or real name. You can leave a comment with or without entering an email address. All comments will be reviewed before they are published.

* Denotes Required Inputs