THIS NEWSPAPER is in no position to comment on the guilt or innocence of McKeeva Bush, the premier of the Cayman Islands, who was arrested for corruption and turfed out of his job after Tuesday's successful no-confidence vote against his government.
But there are matters worthy of keen observation, and perhaps lessons to be learnt, by Jamaica from the developments in the British overseas territory to our north. The most obvious of these was the relative speed with which events moved after Mr Bush's arrest and the apparently bipartisan consensus over his ouster.
Indeed, once Mr Bush did not voluntarily resign, it was only a week until the confidence vote.
Further, the motion could only have carried if members of Mr Bush's United Democratic Party (UDP) voted with the opposition. Five of its nine members of the 15-member legislative assembly did, ensuring the two-thirds majority required for the vote to carry. Among them was Mr Bush's former deputy, Julia O'Connor-Connolly, who will now lead a minority government of those of her UDP colleagues, who bolted from the former premier.
The territory's British governor, Duncan Taylor, preferred this option rather than risking an early election and the embarrassment, and perhaps risk, of Mr Bush romping quickly back to power. Indeed, the dislodged Mr Bush has posited his arrest, ostensibly because of an illegal land deal and misuse of his government credit card, as a tussle for authority between himself and the governor, including over, Mr Bush claims, his attempt to treat Jamaican immigrants in the Cayman Islands fairly.
Whatever the truth of the claims and counter-claims, it is not a tradition of Jamaican politics for members of the legislature to support no-confidence votes against their governments. Indeed, it is far from current contemplation that a deputy prime minister would cast a ballot to oust his/her own administration, as Mrs O'Connor-Connolly did.
We can only assume that Mrs O'Connor-Connolly and her UDP colleagues acted in good faith and with clear consciences, believing that they acted in the best interest of the Cayman Islands. Having a premier in office with criminal charges hanging over his head obviously hurts the image of the country and undermines the authority of the administration.
We expect that there will be debate over the quality charges preferred against Mr Bush - a perception that the authorities opted for something that they feel would stick. There is something else significant about the premier's arrest worthy of note in Jamaica - the fact that it happened.
Beholden to political directorate
Few Jamaicans, we believe, could picture the arrest of a sitting prime minister, in part because of a perception that the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is beholden to the political directorate, despite legislation giving the police chief autonomy over operational matters.
Obviously, the constabulary (JCF) has a way to go in rebuilding its image and gaining the public's trust that it is not a tool of politicians. Achieving this requires, among other things, new systems of oversight and accountability of the police force.
Among these, we suggest, should be the merger of the Police Services Commission and the Police Citizens Oversight Authority into a Police Authority, to which the police chief reports on operational matters, and which has greater authority to periodically assess the performance of the police chief and his senior officers.
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