George Town – Cayman Islands governor Martyn Roper urged Speaker of the House McKeeva Bush to resign on Tuesday, saying that “inappropriate behaviour towards women should not be tolerated in any society”.
Last week, Premier Wayne Panton asked Bush, 67, a former premier, to step down following allegations that while intoxicated, he sexually harassed at least two women at a cocktail party hosted by the Tourism Ministry during a Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) conference.
“We all have a responsibility to call out this type of behaviour and support the victims,” Governor Roper said. “Like so many others in the community, I was shocked to see social media and press reports concerning the conduct of Speaker Bush at a regional gathering of tourism ministers and officials.”
Roper said that while these matters are currently the subject of a police investigation, he will not comment further about the allegations.
“In the circumstances, it is right that Mr Bush resign from his role as Speaker of Parliament as he has confirmed to the Premier and to the press,” the governor said. “I had urged him to do so in private correspondence.
“Our elected representatives have a responsibility and duty to uphold the highest standards of conduct and behaviour expected of everyone in public life.”
Premier Panton, who had travelled to London for the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, said he intended to deal with the matter later this week at the end of the official period of mourning.
“I issued a strongly worded letter to the Speaker suggesting that he resign on, or before, Friday, September 23,” Panton said.
“While a formal written resignation has not been given, I can confirm that I received several messages from Mr Bush…stating multiple times his intention to resign as Speaker.”
Opposition Leader, Roy McTaggart said on Tuesday he and his colleagues will also urge Bush to resign after respecting the 10-day period of official mourning for the Queen.
The Opposition Leader said that while the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service already indicated that it had launched an investigation into the matter “the thoughts of myself and my colleagues are with the women who have suffered the alleged assaults”.
“We must be clear that the behaviour alleged is never acceptable and those in positions of power have a duty to uphold the highest standards,” McTaggart said. “In the circumstances, there is no alternative for Mr Bush, but to resign his position as Speaker.”
This is not the first time that Bush faced such accusations – in December 2020, he received a two-month suspended jail sentence for assaulting a woman in February that year.
McTaggart said that the Opposition was also disappointed that 16 months after the Premier formed the PACT Government, he “has been unable to implement a Code of Conduct for all Parliamentarians”.