By Caribbean News Now contributor
GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands — Former premier of the Cayman Islands, McKeeva Bush, who is currently facing a number of criminal charges, has threatened to sue the territory’s auditor general over allegations of political interference in the hiring of two Port Authority employees.
A report by auditor general Alastair Swarbrick released this week documented the hiring of two employees by the Port Authority – once in 2004 and again in 2009 – on specific instructions from Bush.
On Thursday Bush denied he had done anything wrong and said, “I’m going to sue him [the auditor general].”
According to the report, two Port Authority workers were initially hired in 2004, when Bush was leader of government business and also chairman of the Port Authority’s board of directors.
In 2005, the two employees were terminated from their positions, presumably following a change of government.
In 2009, Bush, then the newly re-elected premier, instructed the Port Authority director to reinstate arrangements with the same two employees at a salary of $1,000 per month, the auditor general reported.
“Up to February 2012, a total of $90,000 had been paid to these individuals without any evidence of work being done,” Swarbrick’s report noted.
“The action identified above is a clear example of undue political influence and override that undermines the ability of an organisation such as [the port authority] to operate effectively,” Swarbrick continued.
Cayman Islands anti-corruption law makes it an offence to “influence or negotiate appointments or dealing in [public] offices”; however, that must be done while seeking a reward or advantage of some kind.
Meanwhile, on Friday, Bush returned to court in relation to the eleven criminal charges against him, including allegations that he used a government credit card unlawfully to withdraw some $50,000 in cash from ATMs in US casinos.
A trial date in March 2014 has tentatively been “pencilled in” according to the Crown prosecutor.