October 28, 2020

Cynical reaction to Bush announcement

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Alden McLaughlin

Political leaders yesterday reacted cynically to suggestions by Premier McKeeva Bush that he may step down from the nation’s top job at the 
next election.

Pondering the political future, Leader of the Opposition PPM Alden McLaughlin and North Side independent Ezzard Miller agreed that, in any case, Mr Bush was unlikely to gain sufficient electoral support to retain the top post, making his retirement as premier a quiet recognition of reality. “He usually says this when he’s under considerable pressure or his government is unpopular,” Mr McLaughlin told iNews Cayman yesterday.

“It doesn’t change our game plan at all for the ballot next year. We’ve been gearing up organisationally in the past couple of months and it’s always been our aspiration to run the next government,” he said, while declining to comment on the possibility that he might accede to the post.

Mr Miller denied any personal ambition to replace Mr Bush as premier, and said his own political soundings indicated the West Bay politician was 
increasingly unpopular.

“The general feeling I get is that while he can probably get elected in West Bay, he is not in a position to
be premier. But, Mr Miller conceded, “Mr Bush has floated this idea at nearly every election, about five times now, so there is nothing really startling about this time either.”

Premier Bush, citing constant opposition, emotional strain and exhaustion, suggested on Wednesday that he might retire from the top spot at May 2013 elections, seeking only to retain his West Bay LA seat.

Accusing Mr Miller of “a very dirty campaign” against him, the premier said he had grown weary of interference by local bureaucrats, the UK government and “finger pointing” by political opponents.

“I will come to the West Bay people and ask for their support,” he said.

Mr McLaughlin said the suggestion the premier might step back
was overdue.

“Rather than announcing his imminent retirement, he should have stepped down because he is under criminal investigation,” the PPM chief said, alluding to an ongoing police probe into allegations of 2004 financial irregularities involving Mr Bush and Atlanta–based real estate developer
Stan Thomas.

Ezzard Miller

Mr Bush has steadfastly denied wrongdoing, and rejected demands by political leaders to step down while investigations continue.

“The fact he has continued in office has created considerable uncertainty and damaged the country,” Mr McLaughlin said. “Many people I have spoken to are very concerned about it, particularly those in the financial-services industry.”

Mr Miller rejected charges of campaigning against Mr Bush, saying he was “unaware of any campaign”, but again calling on him to quit.

“I’ve always said he should step down just because it’s the right thing to do,” the North Side MLA said. “While I do not think he would ever influence an investigation, the mere fact that he remains in office discourages it.”

He dismissed any ambition to accede to the highest post, saying “I have no mind to become premier … unless it were thrust upon me, and then only for a period of two years.

“But I am not going to be in any competition among his group to be premier,” although he thought Mr Bush’s retirement would
generate “some changes in the UDP”, involving Rolston Anglin, Cline Glidden and Deputy Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly.

“People vote a straight ticket in elections,” he said, “so they will vote for whomever is on his [Mr Bush’s] ticket, and that puts him in a leadership position.”

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