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UCC's Thompson threatens to sue Cayman newspaper

Published:Tuesday | May 21, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

Dr Herbert Thompson, the chancellor of the University College of the Caribbean (UCC), yesterday threatened the Cayman News Service with legal action and at the same time accused the media entity of political bias.

In an email addressed to Wendy Ledger, the reporter who last week penned an article which said Cayman Island police and the Anti-Corruption Commission there were investigating a money transfer of US$1 million made allegedly to the UCC in relation to an honorary doctorate that former Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush was scheduled to receive from the institution, Thompson said his comments, as used in the article were taken out of context.

"I have consulted with our UCC lawyers and before we proceed to take the appropriate action, we demand that you publish in full your letter to me and my response to your letter," Thompson wrote yesterday.

He further demanded that the publication be done "with immediate effect or we will go to all media houses in Cayman and expose the facts re your seeming political preferences based on the twists which you have put on my letter to you".

Arrested in December

Bush was arrested last December in his homeland following investigations by the Financial Crime Unit of the Royal Cayman Islands Police. Bush was formally charged with corruption in March.

Bush has denied the allegations.

Last Tuesday, Ledger wrote to Thompson seeking his comment on the saga. In her letter, the reporter said she was following up on information from sources in Cayman that indicate a significant sum was donated to the UCC ahead of the planned honorary doctorate being bestowed on the former Cayman Islands premier at the end of last year. She added that following Bush's arrest, the donation was returned after the doctorate was not bestowed.

Thompson responded a day later saying "I have shared your request with the UCC administration re gift to the UCC Foundation last year. As you have noted, Mr Bush was not conferred and the gift was returned.

"The UCC administration is satisfied the matters were amicably and adequately handled and does not wish to make any further comment at this time."

Meanwhile, the UCC chancellor yesterday declined to comment on the allegations contained in the article saying a press release would be sent out by the institution yesterday. However, none was received at press time.