GEORGE TOWN — The leader of the Cayman Islands was arrested on suspicion of corruption, officials in the British Caribbean territory said.
Premier McKeeva Bush was arrested Tuesday at his home in the West Bay section of Grand Cayman Island by officers from the financial unit of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, spokeswoman Janet Dougall said.
The 57-year-old Bush was detained “in connection with a number of ongoing police investigations,” Dougall said in a statement. Those include probes into suspected theft related to misuse of a government credit card and breach of trust for the alleged importation of unspecified explosive substances without valid permits.
Authorities did not provide any details about the allegations. “It would be inappropriate for the RCIPS to make any further comment in relation to these matters at this time,”the statement said. “Further updates will be made available in due course.”
Bush was elected premier in May 2009 when his United Democratic Party won nine spots in the 15-seat Legislative Assembly, defeating the People’s Progressive Movement. Bush created the UDP in 2000 when he was tourism, environment and transport minister.
Bush wields great power within the territory because he is finance minister, as well as head of government. He also is the longest-serving member of the Legislative Assembly, having first been elected in 1984.
Following the elections, Bush has focused on retaining foreign finance firms and generating more revenue for the British territory. The Cayman Islands is the world’s sixth largest financial center, with $1.6 trillion in officially booked international assets.
In July, Bush proposed a 10 percent tax on expatriate workers who earn more than $20,000 annually. He scrapped the plan following an international outcry.
Bush had been the target of several police investigations prior to his arrest. In late 2010, police began investigating allegations of financial irregularities. In April, police said they had opened another investigation that Bush has said is politically motivated.
*Pictured above is McKeeva Bush.