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Cayman Islands Premier arrested, accused of theft

Just days after the former premier of one British-dependent territory was arrested on corruption allegations, another island leader has been accused of breaching the public’s trust and misusing his office.

Cayman Island Premier McKeeva Bush was arrested -- and then released -- Tuesday by officers from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Financial Crime Unit. In addition to being accused of misusing his office, he’s also accused of theft in relation to the misuse of a government credit card.

"The Premier of the Cayman Islands, McKeeva Bush (57), has been arrested and is currently detained in police custody in connection with a number of ongoing police investigations," the Royal Cayman Island Police said in a statement on its website shortly after Bush’s 7 a.m. arrest at his home.

By late afternoon, police issued a tweet on Twitter saying, “Premier Bush has been released on overnight police bail and will return to face further questioning tomorrow morning.”

Cayman Islands Governor Duncan Taylor said he had been made aware of the arrest and criminal investigations are matters for the police commissioner.

“If evidence is brought to his attention, which leads him to suspect that an offense or offenses may have been committed, I expect him to carry out a robust, fair and comprehensive investigation, regardless of the individual concerned,” Taylor said in a statement. “I am confident that the police commissioner will ensure that this applies to the ongoing investigations involving the premier.”

The premier’s chief of staff, Leonard Dilbert, reminded Caymanians not to rush to judgment and said up to now the premier “has not been charged with any offense.”

“Being suspected of having done something is far from it having been proven that you did that thing,” he said.

Bush, who has been in power since 2009, is the second head of a British-dependent territory to be arrested in days.

Last Friday, Brazilian authorities arrested former Turks and Caicos Islands Premier Michael Misick on an international arrest warrant issued by Interpol. Misick, who had been on the run, was being sought after by British investigators who three years ago launched a far-reaching probe into rampant corruption by the Turks and Caicos government. Proceedings are underway to extradite Misick back to the British territory.