* Premier arrested last week in corruption probe
* Premier has said he is victim of witch hunt
By Shurna Robbins
GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands, Dec 17 Members of
the Cayman Islands' ruling party failed to reach a consensus on
Monday to oust Premier McKeeva Bush, who was arrested last week
on suspicion of corruption, a party official said.
Key members of the United Democratic Party met on Monday to
determine if they would withdraw their support for the embattled
leader, said Ellio Solomon, who represents the party in
Bush has said he will not resign over the corruption
allegations, but his support among ruling party legislators
appears to be weakening and he could be ousted by a no
confidence motion in parliament.
Solomon said some members who would like to see Bush resign
had reached out to opposition leaders about trying to force Bush
from office through a no confidence vote.
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.
Bush has faced growing pressure to resign. Opposition leader
Alden McLaughlin said last week that allowing Bush to continue
as premier after his arrest would undermine confidence in the
In order for a no confidence motion to succeed a handful of
ruling party members would have to break with Bush. 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.
Solomon said he did not support ousting Bush since he has
yet to be formally charged with any wrongdoing.
"It is my personal opinion that it is a very dangerous
precedent that we would actually be setting," Solomon said.