Citing the police investigation into former Premier McKeeva Bush’s government credit card expenditures, the Ministry of Finance, Tourism and Development is refusing to disclose how much money has been spent on Mr. Bush’s travels since he took office in 2009.
In response to an open records request submitted by the Caymanian Compass in April, officials released information indicating that Mr. Bush took 74 separate trips abroad from June 2009 to December 2012, with a total of 403 days for business and 142 days for personal purposes. In addition to travel dates, destinations and purposes, officials also released the names of individuals who accompanied the former premier on the trips.
Costs, however, are not included in the response, of which the Compass has requested a formal internal review.
“In view of the recent investigation being carried on the Premier’s Credit Card I am unable to provide you with the costs or expenses relating to his travel, as the requested information is on the Credit Card in question,” according to the response from information manager Patricia Ulett.
Ms Ulett cites a section of the Freedom of Information Law that states “Records relating to law enforcement are exempt from disclosure if their disclosure would, or could reasonably be expected to [...] affect (i) the conduct of an investigation or prosecution of a breach or possible breach of the law; or (ii) the trial of any person or the adjudication of a particular case”.
Police arrested Mr. Bush 11 December on suspicion of “Theft in connection with financial irregularities relating to the alleged misuse of a Government credit card” and “Breach of trust, Abuse of office and Conflict of interest, contrary to S13, S17 and S19 of the Anti-Corruption Law 2008 respectively, in connection with the alleged importation of explosive substances without valid permits on or before February 2012”.
No charges have been filed against Mr. Bush at this point.
Following two days of questioning, Mr. Bush was released on police bail until 13 February. On Tuesday, Cayman Islands lawmakers voted in favour of a “no confidence” motion against the ruling government, and on Wednesday Gov. Duncan Taylor revoked Mr. Bush’s appointment and named Cayman Brac and Little Cayman MLA Juliana O’Connor-Connolly the new premier.