* Premier arrested last week in corruption probe
* He has said he is victim of witch hunt
By Shurna Robbins
GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands, Dec 17 Members of
the Cayman Islands' ruling party met on Monday to debate whether
to oust Premier McKeeva Bush, who was arrested last week on
suspicion of corruption, party members said.
United Democratic Party leaders met late into Sunday night
and resumed their meetings on Monday, according to participants
who did not want to be identified.
Bush, 57, was arrested on Dec. 11 by members of the
Financial Crime Unit of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.
He was released on bail until February, pending the possible
filing of criminal charges against him.
Authorities have declined to give specific details of the
investigation but said it included allegations of theft and
misuse of a government credit card.
The three-island territory has about 55,000 residents and is
a global tax haven and offshore home to more than half of the
world's hedge funds.
Bush, who has served as premier since 2009, has denied
wrongdoing and said he had been the victim of a political witch
hunt by the British-appointed colonial governor.
"The governor and my opposition have some of my people
stabbing me in the back," Bush told the Cayman 27 television
station on Sunday.
Steve Moore, who runs Governor Duncan Taylor's office,
denied there was any political vendetta against Bush.
The governor's office said on Monday it had not received any
official communication from the ruling party regarding a change
in Bush's status.
Bush has faced growing pressure to resign. The opposition
People's Progressive Movement had urged the head of parliament
to call a special session to hear a no-confidence motion to oust
Opposition leader Alden McLaughlin said last week that
allowing Bush to continue as premier after his arrest would
undermine confidence in the Cayman government.
The United Democratic Party holds nine seats in the
parliament, which has 15 elected members. The opposition has
four seats and there are two independents. General elections are
scheduled for May 22.
The territory is among the wealthiest in the Caribbean and
Bush has suggested he was targeted because he was a native-born
son of the Caymans and "I come from a side of the street that
some of them don't like."