(CMR) The opposition People's Progressive Movement (PPM) is questioning the Premier's stance amid the latest scandal to hit McKeeva Bush.
Bush has been accused of rape and indecent assault in relation to an incident that happened over 20 years ago. He was arrested and charged on Wednesday, 28 June.
The opposition said that while Mr. Bush has denied the allegations and is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise in a court of law, there are facts that cannot be ignored.
The Progressives pointed out that Mr. Bush is currently facing other serious charges against him involving two females and will be tried in this matter later this year. They also pointed out that the West Bay West MP pleaded guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct and two counts of assault on a female in 2020.
The Progressives said in the recent past, it was only when it brought a motion of no confidence against the former Speaker of the House that the Premier was able to get him to resign from the position. The Opposition party said it was surprised when Mr. Bush was recently appointed to the Public Accounts Committee despite charges before the courts.
“We now ask whether Premier Panton intends to continue allowing Mr. Bush to remain as part of the PACT Government, and sit on the government benches, and to also allow him to continue as a member of the Public Accounts Committee,” the Progressives asked in a statement issued Thursday.
Mr. Bush has denied the allegations against him, suggesting the allegations were malicious and an evil plot against his political career. He said the charges come on the heels of an outcry that he was at the forefront of granting Caymanian status to people who had shown commitment to the development of the Cayman Islands.
“I am due to travel in a couple weeks' time overseas, representing the Cayman Islands at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Business Session. And here comes this malicious accusation and charge against me, said to have occurred 20 years ago,” he added.
The recent charges against the former premier have drawn international attention appearing in major news media such as the Associated Press. News of the charges also made it to almost all news media throughout the Caribbean.
“All I have to say in relation to this, the latest in the series of malicious charges against me is the “Truth will come out. This is done by someone I have never had any contact with,” he told AP News.
Meantime, Premier Panton said the charges are serious, but said since the matter was before the court, he would not comment further at this time.