March 7, 2023
We agree with Premier Panton that the arrest of MP McKeeva Bush on charges of Indecent Assault is a most serious and concerning matter. We agree also that we can rely on our courts and system of justice to resolve the matter.
Where we disagree with Premier Panton is in his reference to Mr Bush as an “Independent Member” of Parliament. The facts are that not only is Mr. Bush a member of the PACT Government, but Mr Bush was instrumental in the formation of the PACT government, for which he was rewarded by the Premier with the Speakership.
It was Mr. Bush’s assault on a female in 2019 and his insistence to remain as Speaker following his conviction and sentencing for that offence in December 2020, that led former Premier Sir Alden McLaughlin to call for early elections in 2021. It was precisely because of our concerns regarding Mr Bush’s conviction that we refused to campaign with or form a Government with him following those elections.
Following the 2019 assault, now Premier Panton claimed he was resigning from the Progressives as a matter of principle because Mr Bush had been allowed to remain as Speaker following his conviction. However, despite his “principled” stance prior to the 2021 elections, Mr. Panton agreed to Mr. Bush becoming Speaker after the election in order to form the PACT Government. It seems that the Premier is now hoping that the public has forgotten this and is seeking to distance himself from Mr. Bush by asserting that Mr Bush is an “Independent Member” and not a part of his Government.
Premier Panton may also be hoping that the public has forgotten that Mr Bush, along with other members of the PACT Government, has signed a Parliamentary Code of Conduct which they published this past New Years Eve. We wait with bated breath to hear how the Premier will address the current situation under the Code of Conduct.