Mac blames perks on protocol

| 23/06/2010

(CNS): The personal benefits which the premier has received since taking up the new office come with the job, McKeeva Bush said during Tuesday’s Finance Committee hearing. Hitting out at the media, the Freedom of Information Law and the community over the criticisms about his bills being paid by the public purse, Bush said it was all down to the new Constitution. The issue came up during the finance deliberations as a result of questions asked by back bench MLA Ellio Solomon about the governor’s perks. Bush said that he had never voted for the Constitution and the perks were not of his making. He also told the committee that he had not taken all of the benefits that he had been offered.

When Deputy Governor Donovan Ebanks came before the committee to answer questions regarding the civil service, Solomon requested a break down of the bills and staff that were financed by the public purse for Government House and the governor. Solomon said it was in the interest of transparency so the people of the Cayman Islands could make a comparison with the benefits given to the UK’s representative with those given to the premier, which seemed to be causing a fuss.
During the discussion Bush noted that he had not asked for any of the benefits that he now received and that it was established by the Protocol Office. He reminded everyone that he had not voted for the Constitution, which had created the office of premier, and therefore it was not him that had created these new benefits. The premier also said he hadn’t taken all of the perks which the office said he should. He had not taken a cook because when he had people to dinner his wife and his son usually cooked, he said, adding that he did not hold cocktail parties.
Bush suggested that the public criticism was coming from certain people who believed that he, in particular, didn’t deserve the benefits or the office.   “It’s only because it’s McKeeva Bush,” he said. “If I had come from George Town it would be a different thing but it’s because of who I am and where I come from,” the premier said of the backlash over the revelations about the benefits.
A statement was released by the premier’s press office on Tuesday which said the list of benefits and privileges given to the premier was drawn up by the Cayman Islands Government’s Protocol Office after researching the perks given to other country leaders. The office had rejected some of what they described as protocol services as they were not feasible, including the idea of an official residence for the premier.
“A list of protocol services for the Office of Premier was put forward to Cabinet after the post of Premier and Deputy Premier became constitutional positions,” the statement read. “Much has been made about the premier having a cook. The Premier was offered a housekeeper and a cook. However, the Premier did not accept a personal cook but did take a housekeeper.”
Despite rumours to the contrary and surveys by the Planning Department, the premier says he rejected having a security wall built around his property, although according to the statement from the press secretary this is seen as acceptable for the residence of a territory’s highest ranking political leader.
The benefits attached to the office of the premier regardless of the individual that occupies the office are said to be as follows:
An official vehicle and driver; 24 hour security at residence; paid utilities; a housekeeper; and residential upgrades to the house and/or property as required for security purposes and public access.
The government has also paid for security systems in the homes of former ministers, and while the premier already had a security system, the police made recommendations for certain upgrades, which were paid for by the government. Bush also has an office in his home in which he conducts official business, the press statement said, and he also hosts community groups at his house which he pays for himself.
According to the breakdown given by Ebanks, the governor has one social secretary, two housekeepers, a chef and a house-manager and has his utilities paid at both his office in George Town as well as Government House, which is an official residence.
“On 20 May 2009 the people of the Cayman Islands went to the polls and decided to advance the Cayman Islands Constitution. In so doing, they also voted to elevate the office of Leader of Government Business to that of Premier. With that new office came more responsibility and visibility,” the press statement said in connection with the perks now given to the premier.
Speaking to CNS on Monday, Charles Clifford, the former minister of tourism and PPM representative for Bodden Town who lost his seat in the last election but had formed part of the government’s constitutional review team, said there was nothing in that document saying bills at a premier’s private residence  should be paid for from the public purse. “There is nothing in the Constitution that says a premier must have his utilities paid at his own home or benefits given to him in connection with a private residence,” Clifford said, adding that it was an insult to the wider civil service who were being told that their salaries needed to be cut while he awarded himself extra benefits.
In a recent FOI request by a member of the public it was revealed that utility and other household bills, such as Christmas lights, were being paid for at the Bush family home in West Bay, even though the property is not an official residence of the premier.
Bush said that it was Freedom of Information that was causing the trouble and said it had gone too far for this “little two by four country”. When Jennifer Dilbert, the Information Commissioner, finally came before the committee he told her the law was costing the country money to give people information so they could be scandalous and vile. He said he wanted to look at that law so that people could get information without being personal or threatening people’s lives.
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  1. Anonymous says:

    Freedom of Information is never a problem in any little "two by four" country, the real problem is always the lavish lifestyle of an "eight by ten" despot.

  2. A. Theist says:

    You forgot:

    God, the biggest fairy story of them all.

  3. Lodestar says:

    …the constitution should have had the required educational level of a qualified Premier for the Cayman Islands – the level to be above a high school graduate.  No, maybe, yes, no, maybe that did not cross the minds of the clueless copy cats who editted god knows which country’s constitution.  It is quite embarrassing having an irreverent Premier as the one we have now representing these islands and the people. 

    Every flagrant findings on Mac abusing OUR system are met with utter desrepect and desregard towards the indviduals or departments – in this case towards Ms. Dilbert.  A few months ago it was Mr. Duguay.  Mac must understand that an important factor in his role as a leader is to take responsibility even if it’s just a penny being disputed.  Transparency is a useful word utter by politians with no actions to back it up.  XXXXXX

    Regarding the Govenor’s perks – most his expenses are covered by the foreign office including the govenor’s salary.  Now please do keep in mind that we do need a baby sitter from the UK if we will continue to have politians as the ones we have here on these islands XXXXX.

    Furthermore, yea, yea, yea, we should have a Premier’s residence.  I agree that we should not be outfitting every Premier’s home with state of the art security equipments every four years.  Now that’s ludicrous, right?  But come to think of it, who the hell came up with all these astonishing ideas – comparing with other islands such as Turks and Caicos…with a 15 million dollar Premier residence.  Every four years the entire residence refurbishes and outfitted with new state of the art gadgetries, furnitures, cars, drivers, cleaners, gardeners, PRIVATE JETS, bullet proof walls, etc. for the lovely Premier and his lovely wife.  The problem is…where do we stop when our new Premiers requests new and costly things.  Can our POOR islands be able to foot these bills!  I can visualize now our islands heading down a path where half or more of our islands’ budget goes towards covering our lover Premier’s living expenses.  WHERE IS MY PRIVATE JET, Obama has one!!!!

    We need to get a grip and stop the comparison our little migget’s ass with GIANTS like the US, Russia, China, etc.  Like Mac said we are lil 2×4 islands and we should treat it as such.  Our Premiers should not be high rollers.  As a matter of fact why don’t we compare our Premier to NY’s mayor, Mr. Bloomberg – pays himself one buck and takes the god damn train to work everyday.  Or better yet why don’t we compare our islands to Cuba maybe then our islands won’t be at the brink of bankruptcy and destruction.  Uhhmmmm, things that make us go UHMMMM!    

       

  4. Anonymous says:

    Another day in "Absurdistan" with MacDinejad at the helm.

    • Anonymous says:

      From this article: "Bush said that it was Freedom of Information that was causing the trouble and said it had gone too far for this “little two by four country”.

      I like that — has he considered that in mimicking what other countries’ have done, the Protocol Office may also have gone too far for this "little two by four country"?

      Monkey see, monkey do.

      I understand that he may need extra security, but don’t let the country pay for excess when you are asking the country to do without.  Come on, man.

      I do agree that the Governor gets all the perks — and I wish it were a Caymanian in that post getting it — and perhaps the Premier should also get it — but why add to the strain?

      It was a moment to show nobility, and I wished that he had passed that test in the eyes of the public.

      And please don’t shoot the messenger.  I rather like the fact that the Information Commissioner is making decisions based on how she interprets the law and not who is involved.

       

  5. Anonymous says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how often the cart is placed before the horse.

    OK – you all voted in a constitution that now has a "Premier". Did not anyone think that there maybe issues that should have been ironed out prior to implementation.

    This is a new position and apparently there needs to be a consensus regarding what is appropriate compensation.

    Then again — a label doesn’t make a person. It is obvious after such a short time that the current holder of the position is no leader and way outside his capabilities.

    • Hollyclubfoot says:

      Pretty certain it never occurred to anyone that it might be necessary to publicly explain or even to ask about the additional perks that would attach to a post that was only being renamed and given a few extra courtesy powers. As my cousin Holly Golightly would say too bad lets go to Tiffany’s and comp it.

      She always was a daft bimbo. This whole brouhaha is symptomatic of Government’s approach to public education and the public’s– as well as, to be honest, the media’s–  generally unenthusiastic and uninspired response.

      In fairness to all sides it may be that everyone was simply too saturated with information to demonstrate the kind of comprehension and analytical skills necessary to identify potential issues before they become a problem. Nor does anyone seem to have the communication skills to dialogue these problems out of existence. This appears true to the extent that it would be highly surprising, assuming any discussions were had internally by the persons making the policy decisions,  were shared with the persons responsible for communicating them. And odds are very great indeed that it never occurred to public sector or apparently private sector communicators to ask exactly what the new premiership entails.

      Could Expensegate have been avoided if the expense package for the new Premier and Cabinet had been publicly discussed prior to implementation? I think the answer is most likely. Yet the chance of this happening is equivalent to that of a positive response from the Chamber of Commerce or Cayman Finance if asked to discuss with the public whether the Caymanian sense that private sector institutions reward their employees much more generously than acknowledged when advertising in local papers, might be mollified by member institutions publishing the salaries of persons making more than KYD 100,000. (Bear in mind that the widely derided "native" Caymanians are not the only members of the workforce on Island who have the right to respond to want-ads.)

      It is possible to conclude that inside and outside government top down communication rules: you will learn from me only what I deem necessary for you to pass on to other people to accomplish my objectives (often even when I don’t know what my objectives are). This seems to be the public relations mindset of a great many of the great and good from all sectors. Makes me wonder if privatisation is really the solution to all of our problems that it is trumpeted  to be.

      In any case I support the call for a discussion of how the Premier should be remunerated.

      • Anonymous says:

        " In any case I support the call for a discussion of how the Premier should be remunerated".

        I say he work for free.  XXXXX  MLA’s like Mabry Kirkconnell worked for free.  No housekeeper, no bodyguards, no trips (did he ever pay CAL?), no wall, etc

  6. Al Nomadi says:

    James Madison (drafter of the US first amendment) once wrote that "government, without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or perhaps both". 

  7. Anonymous says:

    Clarification Please.

    It would be nice to have further clarification on his rejecting the wall.  What is the construction that is taking place at the perimeter of his property and what is the supply of block and sand for.  Could it be that everything was a "go" for the wall and then it got out to the people and embarrassed him into "rejecting" it.

    If the material has been paid for and is not going to be used I would suggest that it should be returned and not left on the property. If it was paid for by the people it should be used for a project that will benefit the people.

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe the Protocol Office is building a wall around his house without his permission. Remember they are the same crazy people who would not allow him to pay any of his own personal expenses. Maybe the reason why Mac travels often is so that he doesn’t have to be at home and take all those freebies the Protocol Office keep dreaming up.

  8. Dred says:

    Things Mr Bush missed blaming his perks on…

     

    Asteroids

    Aliens

    Spontaneous Combustion

    Pigs Flying

    WMDs in Iraq

    Al Queda

  9. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Bush does not like the FOI Law. He calls it a ‘scandal sheet’.  That’s because it has just shone a very bright light into the darkness of his grubby little dealings. Using $5000 of our money to put Christmas lights in his private house is an absolute scandal, XXXXX. To say it comes with the constitution is complete nonsense. And comparing it to expenses at the Governor’s House is ludicrous. The Governor has a personal home in the UK, I’m sure. And make no mistake; if it ever transpired that our money was paying for electricity bills and $5000 of fairy lights at his personal residence that would be equally as scandalous. You got caught McKeeva – by the FOI Law, let’s hope you learn a lesson this time.

    • Anonymous says:

      I thought Mr. Bush was all for openness and transparency. Didn’t he just table in the House  **litigation correspondence** from Joey Ebanks’s attorneys which he says shows that the PPM used "backdoor deals"?.   

  10. Anonymous says:

    The Country ought invest in an official residence for the Premier which applies is just about every country in the world, and in British dependencies smaller than Cayman like the BVI.  It can be a modest 4 bedroom residence with an office, reception area and perhaps an average size courtyard as it would on occasions be necessary to hold official receptions at the residence.  This is a buyer’s market now and you could probably pick up a very suitable residence for $1million in a nice enough area.  Perhaps another $200K of refurbishments and upgrades and there you go.  But to be spending Gov’t money on personal residences every time a leader changes is foolish.  The Premier’s official residence will owned by the Government and by extension the people of the country.  The grounds would be maintained as with any other house and perhaps, it would have a housekeeper and a guard.  Everything purchased at and for the residence will be used there.  If the Premier refuses to live at the residence and prefer to stay at his home the bills – elctricity, security guard, etc are for his account.

  11. Oliver says:

    have you noticed that Mackeeva, loves to bleams others for his doing????? why, but loves to benefit from it. Even thou he say he did not support the new constitution which I am sure he did, XXXX.

    I was a supporter of him, not the party up until a election but when he got in his colours stared to change. Really a small conuntry like ours don’t need this, They can drive themselves and pay their own bill regardless who is in power come on their salries are large just like everyone in the house.

    Reality check they all need to come down off their high horse. not becasuethey are elected they need these large benefits  it is not warranted at all.

    Take all the perks away a salary is all that is required. I still say the should be paid by the hour, just saying 🙂

  12. Joe Bananas says:

    If McKeeva Bush was the man you expected him to be he would have already taken a 30% pay cut AND never had taken ANY "perks" that would make him seem like he was taking advantage of the Caymanian people.

    But he is not.

  13. What a waste of time and MONEY says:

    Thanks Elio for asking such a salient question…yeah right!!!

    Elio is a master at asking questions that shed one-sided light on a topic.  I guess this must be part of his "…Every action and every deed be done to in the best interest of the people".

    I thought when he was the co-host of rooster he was advocationg that our leaders be practicle and flexible.  I remember him questioning the cost of the launch of the constitution talks and associated exercises for example.  Yes Elio, others also have long memories.  

    Not because the office entitles you to certain perks you can’t reject them.  Even the Premier opted not to get a cook or a wall.  Why couldn’t the Premieropt to not get the X-mas lights? Wonder if anyone knows how much Mayor Bloomberg of NY earns?  He earns $1.00.  His official salary is approx. 200k but because he doesn’t need it he only takes 1.00.  Because he didn’t support the new constitution and he claims that it was going to cost the country dearly, the Premier should now be conscious led and cut where he can.

    I can just imagine what Elio would be getting if he were Premier.  He would have a feast while his people starve.  Matter of fact the people of Watlers Road are STRAVING for opportunity!!! Don’t worry though he will be driving that Benz until the wheels fall of cause his time is coming to an end.

    • Concerned Caymanian says:

      Let’s not forget Elio’s website "caypolitics.com.  Do you all remember which CURRENT LEADER is was used for as a medium for constant bashing?

       

      Politics…….Sure does make strange bedfellows.

       

      But as we all know, Elios;s views have always been slanted in his direction.  Mouths can say anything when they learn to talk!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Oh, and in addition. Freedom of information IS necessary. We as the people of the Cayman Islands have a right to know what our country representative’s are doing as it relates to their public profile. Government paying for bills, chefs, travel, clothing, coffee, your big screen tv etc etc etc IS of public concern. XXXXXX

  15. Anonymous says:

    Why offer these "perks" anyway? He is awarded a high enough salary to which he can enjoy a high standard of living and obtain such luxuries for himself. I would be perfectly understanding if he made say, 60k per annum and then received a living assistance package. My biggest issue though isn’t the housekeeper or home upgrades, it’s the utilities and the unnecessary travel that he loves to classify as "work- related". XXXXX

    • anonymous says:

      Get used to the idea of having a Premier. There is a certain luxury that comes with holding the leadership position of any country anywhere in the world. Stop being so foolish and naive. If he had to pay for his bills he would have nothing left for his family. Your’e all making fools of yourselves. Get another real topic to discuss. Get Real.  If we wern’t paying his bills someone would complain that we need to help the premier pay his bills, so shut up stop complaining, this is what comes with a new constitution that gives you yourself some rights next round is in 2012!

      signed

      an Independent

       

       

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, we really believe that you are an independent. Who are you trying to fool?

      • noname says:

        I’d be willing tobet that you are not an independent but rather a supporter. He would be able to provide for his family after paying his own personal utility bills. We are aware of what his salary is, maybe you should be the one who shouldn’t be so foolish. There is a certain ‘luxury’, which he already has. He is not the Governor or the President. Cayman is not profitable. Please look at the big picture. Expensing personal things like the cost of Christmas lighting is unethical and financially irresponsible.

        A constitution is a wonderful thing for our rights however the people who had the power to influence it should realize the flaws and aim to correct the unnecessary "perks" in future. Why they were provided in the first place, who knows. If Bush is a man of the people, he will recognize that his decision affected the country and disappointed the people; he will admit that they are not of need but rather of want, and rectify the situation.

        Utilities are not a matter of security.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I suggest you all channel your frustration into identifying some young and capable professionals, encourage them and groom them towards politics, work with them on solutions for the country and put together a campaign so that in 3 years from now, there will be actually some choices to vote in some fresh blood. Otherwise, we will be stuck on the same old merry-go-round.

    Remember, there were some people who were not given a chance, and some of those people who were brave enough to put themselves out there were just mocked and cruzified.

    So unless you are willing to be a part of the solution going forward, please shut up. The whining isn’t going to get us anywhere. 

     

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with your comment.

      I also note that there were some good independents (and some not so good) in the last election and although I am unable to vote I went to a couple of small Q&A sessions to see what they had to say.  I was quite impressed.  Unfortunately they received a good number of the votes but not enough to beat out the parties.

      One of the independents was telling me that people made the comment to him "don’t worry you have our family’s votes."  Essentially in many cases as I understand, the entire family votes as the father or mother wishes without any thought of their own.  In my opinion, this type of voting can (and has) resulted in the same people getting in time and time again and it will not change until each voter takes a good hard look at all persons running for office and not casting their vote blindly.

      Given all the BS that is going on now…if this doesn’t wake voters up then nothing will.

    • Patricia X says:

      Cayman is reaping what it sows becuase of the ridiculous restrictions on who can stand for election.

    • Anonymous says:

      Whining is a great Cayman tradition in case you haven’t noticed and one of the main reasons people like Mac are choosen as "leaders".  Its also much easier than actully takeing responsibility for something on a 2 by 4 island where pissing off "certain people" means you and your family is on "the list".  Cayman is very much a modern day Banana Republic.  This will only change when the people change.  Not soon come.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I just have this bone with the Premier KEEP YOUR WORD and THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK.  If you say you will do this or that for the people like take a cut, don’t turn around and do otherwise

  18. livingcayman says:

    Cover up by Government is all I see. What the Premier, the Deputy Governor seems to fail to understand is that the Governors residence "DOES NOT BELONG TO THE GOVENOR" it belongs to the people/Government it is the responsibility of the people/Government to take care of out House.  

    If there was an official Premier’s Mansion OWNED by the People/Government then we would have nothing to say about paying expenses for it. 

    I do feel that the Premier’s (at his private house) some expenses should be paid in full to some extent (ie a security system for House should be one as security is expected in our current situations) However Utilities should be paid half and half, the decoration of his Private House for Christmas should have been paid fully from the pocket of the Premier.  Why can’t he use the services of the Police Department for security same as the Governor’s Mansion.  Someone told me that it would be at cost to provide that type of services by the Police at least the money would be reatined within Government.

    Because his XXXXX he wantsto call these Islands “little two by four country”.  Thinking that the Caymanians or the People of these Islands will keep quiet he may have some of us fooled and blinkers over our eyes, but then they are people like myself how know better.

    XXXXX

    Shame on you Mr. Premier!

  19. noname says:

    Hold on. Now he wants to look at controlling/censoring the Freedom of Information?

     

     

  20. Anonymous says:

    Gotta blame it on something
    Gotta blame it on something
    Blame it on the rain that
    was falling, falling
    Blame it on the stars that
    did shine at night
    Whatever you do don’t put
    the blame on Big Mac.

  21. SomeSense says:

    I am not even going to discuss the expenses as I find bebating $5000 Christmas light bills an insult to my intelligence.

    What I find disconcerting about the premier is his lack of respect for the laws of his country.  I find it unacceptable for him to continually undermine his country’s laws by consistently trashing a law (the Freedom of Information Act).  It is obvious he does so because it clearly exposes exactly who he is and how little he cares for this land.  A premier should never ever undermine the laws of the country he leads.  He should be exemplary in the support of these laws.

    This position is further compounded XXXX because what does he use to justify his actions?  The law (he constitution).  His defence is not that my expenses are resonable, … no, his defence is … "The law allows/gives this to me."

    This man is destroying a wonderful place and its citizens are allowing him to do it.

     

     

  22. Anonymous says:

    Mac always finds someone or something else to blame for his actions and the actions of his party.

    If he wants the perks, he needs to accept the responsibility and the accountability.   As the saying goes, if you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen.

    There is no such thing as a "leader" who makes excuses.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Our little "two-by-four" country should take some cues from the Canadian Prime Minister.

    Stephen Harper insisted on paying his own way to the Winter Olympics as he did not want his attendance to be ‘politicize’ the event. 

    While it is protocol for the Prime Minister to have security, transportation, a residence, etc.  His residence belongs to the country and he only lives there during his tenure.  More importantly he leads a country of over 30 MILLION PEOPLE!

    http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2010/02/10/12829376.html

  24. Pit Bull says:

    I don’t think that the phrase "2 by 4 country" is appropriate, surely "2 by 4 territory" is more accurate.  I think he makes a valid point that is often forgotten on discussions.

    • Anonymous says:

      The trouble is that he doesn’t think of Cayman as a 2 by 4 country on his programme of self-aggrandizement.

      I don’t see the fact that we are a territory helps Mac’s case or has any relevance to the issue.  In all likelihood you are a Brit and you see stating this as putting us in our place.     

  25. Anonymous says:

    I do agree that "Premiers" should receive some type of benefits in addition to their exuberant salary and double dipping pension (sarcasm), however I do not think that Big Mac deserves this! He has not done anything to show that he cares about us and the Island and he certainly has not done anything to get the Island back to its former glory. When the average person slaves all day at work and they get the job done, they get a bonus or perks for their hard work and loyalty, it should be the same for him.

    The best thing Big Mac could have done was to say "no thank you" to the offers from The Protocal Office. That way when the FOI report was requested he would have looked like a better man, who cares about getting Cayman back on track with our Finances – You lead by example. Instead, he says, I know we are broke and not sure what will happen to our country or its people, but free upgrades and utilities… Wohoo – XXXXXX

  26. I A Man Born Ya says:

    Blah, Blah, Blah. He obviously didn’t have any objections to these perks or else he wouldn’t have been accepting such things; especially when he’s forever ranting and raving about the finacial woes of this little ‘2x 4 country’. What diction he have ah? Any resonable person would say to the Poo Poo Office, ‘look, I’m making X amount of dollars every month, I can pay my own bills’. Does any one think that they would have pushed it on him? I’m sure that some of those bills had his home address on them, and were probably coming to his personal mail box (which I wonder, is the Government paying for his post box fees as well?.. FOI?) and someone had to have been submitting them to the Protocol Office in the first place. So sure, Mac. Blame it on the PPM, blame it on the Protocol Office… blah, blah, blah.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Chuckie please announce a march again……the last time you did so the Premier fled the island claiming "security reasons" and ordered the construction of an 8 foot wall around his house.

    I say lets march…..maybe this time he will actually build that wall without a gate and we can keep him inside and locked away from the outside world…….Lord have Mercy…….what an embarrassment !!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Look at who is speaking out against these benefits of the office of premier. Anyone without blinders can see it is personal its called sourgrapes and petty jealousy.

      The problem is that its Mckeeva and i hope the majority of sensible people in this country see the fuss for what it truly is.

      • Anonymous says:

        The problem is that its Mckeeva

        You would have shown that you understood what is going on if you left out 2 words.

        THE PROBLEM IS MCKEEVA.

        No other Caymanian would dream of taking so much of the poor people’s money for himself. $24,000 per month in salaray and MLA "pension" is not enough for the man? He is seriously out of control.

      • Anonymous says:

        For someone referring to sensible people, I think that comment was nonsensical. It is not personal. He is in the public eye, he is a representative of the people and he is abusing his power. It would be personal if we were targeted his relationships, eating habits, hobbies etc.

        Maybe he should use the money spent on these perks to pay for a speech writer?

      • Anonymous says:

        The "majority of sensible people in this country" do see the fuss for what it truly is. They are well represented by mosts of the posts on CNS. The only people seeking to defend the indefensible are the blind followers of McKeeva.    

    • Anonymous says:

      Why do you people continue to give Chuckie ratings that he doesnt deserve; the minister that did the least, achieved the least during the last administration is the one person you people are always putting on pedestal; something must be wrong with you – it is like asking a blind man for direction.  And yes, I am a registered voter in BT who had made that mistake by voting for him, but corrected it in the last election.  Chuckie needs to disappear and leave politics alone, and people need to stop swelling his head…he served no valuable purpose in the house.

  28. Anonymous says:

    What about Juliana? What is SHE allowed? She goes to the Brac, where she has a home, but stays in a hotel with a police escort in the room next door. Who pays??????????When she travels abroad she goes with a police (no uniform) bodyguard. Really necessary???????

  29. Anonymous says:

    As it happens so often Mr. Bush puts his foot in his mouth. A premier of a "little two by four country" should not be getting those perks.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree with what you say, but we are not a "little two by four country"!!!  We are the Cayman Islands:

      Grand Cayman,

      Cayman Brac, and

      Little Cayman

  30. Anonymous says:

    the protocol office jut got a big allowance from Govt even more than last year..hmmm

  31. Anonymous says:

    "Little four by two country"?  is that what the Premier truely thinks of our beloved Cayman Islands?  Too small for a constitiution?  Too small for a Freedom of Information Act?  Too small for open and transparent government? Will someone please tell Mr. Bush that although we are a small nation, we are a nation and not a Banana Republic.

    Mr. Bush must try to appreciate that as Premier he is a public servant.  We pay his salary and for his perks, and we have every right to know what he receives, right down to the last cent.  If utility bills and other services at his private residence are being paid by the public purse then his house has become an Official Residence, and he has not rejected this ‘service protocol" no matter what the Protocol Office says.

    The Premier must try to come to terms with the new reality of openess and accountability in government; a concept which obviously troubles him, probably because he never voted for the new constituion and therefore struggles to accept or defend it.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Is this newssite the only medium of protest against Mac? Why aren’t there people with placards shouting slogans against him everywhere he goes. XXXX There are ways of showing what we think of this premier, people. Protest is legal, let’s try some!

    • Anonymous says:

      we need a march at the very least…..

    • Anonymous says:

      Anon 7:26:

      In answer to your question: Because the silent majority agree with and support his efforts to put Cayman back on its feet.

  33. GR says:

     So the Premier doesn’t need to uphold the Constitution because he didn’t vote for it?  Does that mean that if I didn’t vote for the ruling party and the ruling party passes a law then I don’t need to uphold it?

  34. Anonymous says:

    Completely disagree. The End…

  35. Anonymous says:

    In response  to the writer of; "Most countries provide the President, Prime Minister or Premier with an official residence."

    The point in cases where an official residence is provided, is that that official residence belongs to the people and the said elected official can be forced to move out when he/she is no longer in office.  In Mac’s case, the people of Cayman are paying for permanent upgrades to his personal house which he gets to keep even when he out of office.

    In these economic times when austerity measures are required, if Mac had any degree of leadership, he would lead by example and show us how to live with restraint and humility. However, like Mugabe, he believes that he is superior and deserves to live in the lap of luxury while he terrorizes all who dare to criticise him.

     
    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps we should consider building a Premier’s residence, for all Cayman Island Premiers from now on.  But then the argument is… where?

      • Just Sayin says:

        That’s easy. There is a huge piece of land that would work perfectly, just off the Esterly Tibbetts Highway on your right hand side when you are heading North.

        • Caymanian 2 D Bone says:

          Love this piece of Real Estate it is PRIME property  LOL    good one !

  36. Say it Aint So says:

    Talk about taking a beating! What will we say when our next Premier whether he/she is a PPM, UDP or Independant is appointed to this same position and afford the same fringe benifts. Will we be more or less accepting of so call Protocol allowances. If we are to encourage talent in Cayman Politics we need to be sensative in our comments as not to discourage YOUNG CAYMANIAN talent from participating in politics.

    • Anonymous says:

      As a Caymanian I think that it is extremely important that any young Caymanian aspiring to a career in politics understands that the Caymanian people will no longer tolerate the self-serving, self-enriching practices of our current dinosaur political leadership. All our young people need to understand that looting the government treasury is no more acceptable than robbing gas stations.

      God help us if young people choose to go into politics so that they can be ferried around in a blinged out SUV, or to see how many condo’s that they can get at the developments in exchange for giving away duty concessions and depriving government that belongs to the people. 

      • Anon says:

        oh god maybe we need new blood cuz the older generation doesn’t want to do anything about the "old dinosaur" currently in power and who has been in power more than once! SHOCKING! Ppl lead by example..step up and the young will step up to. Older generation, younger generation blame game..either way we’re all in the same sinking boat.

    • Ivan McLean says:

      there is NO need for these perks….. there is a NEED however for politicians to FULLY understand that the role of a politician is to be a VOICE for the people and that he or she has been chosen to "REPRESENT" the people (not) take every cent possible R E G A R D L E S S of what some one or some thing or some office has said that he, she, it, &/or the old lady may deserve, want or covet in perks at the expense of the people………..(THERE HAS BEEN ASTRONOMICAL CUTS PUT IN PLACE AFFECTING THE ENTIRE COUNTRY BECAUSE OF MONETARY WOES)

      there are benifits to this office, expected perks (get’n seated 1st at a table/ some 1 give’n u right of way while driving / some 1 offering you 2 b 1st in line / a free t-shirt to help promote an event / PRAYERFULLY respected and be continually prayed for by the church for GOD’s leading) but not paying electrical bills and the like…….

      come on now brother…… STOP IT!

    • Anonymous says:

      If Young Caymanians are only driven by greed then we don’t need them getting involved in politics. What we need are educated, honest, balanced individuals that care about Cayman and are motivated to improve the islands and the lives of it’s residents, not just about fillling their fat faces in the trough.

      Yes they should be remunerated fairly, but these guys are pulling benefit packages higher than a lot of world leaders whose jobs are to run countries with hundreds of millions of people, not a small island with max 50,000 people.

       

  37. Anonymous says:

    That protocol office is a waste of time and they dont’ have a clue about protocol. That is another expense we do not need. They are going around advising the Premier to spend recklessly, even in these times.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Blame it on the Constitution. Blame it on anybody else but me. The Protocol Office that I control says it is OK so it must be OK. The man knows no shame.

    As for the Governor, the Governor is not the one who is collecting a $14,000 per month salary as Premier, and has also arranged to collect a $10,000 per month MLA "pension" for the previous times he was elected –  even though he is still an MLA. Our independant MLA, Mr. Miller, called what the Premier is doing "double dipping" but that is just too nice a phrase as far as I am concerned.

    Next time that I read that thugs have robbed a local business I will think to myself – when are they ever going to get this "double dipping" under control.

     

  39. Anonymous says:

     People!

    What do you want the PM to do? Tear his clothes and act beggar on the street. Any leader does deserve some basic recognitions. Please look at what other Carib nations do. May be then you will understand that this is a NORM.

    if you are elected as a leader. You also will have the same privilege and the current PM will LOOSE all these. 

    Love your nation and give some time for the leaders to act on something important instead of giving such silly headaches to them every now and then.

    • Kent says:

      Why would we want to follow what the rest of the world is doing?  We need to find our own way.  The fact is that yes in good times sure live it up, but these are not good times!  He is completely disconnected from us who live in the real world.  To him $0.25/gal is no big deal, for 90% of the rest of us the effect it will have is devistating.  This perks package is spit in my face!  What more does he need or could he want than $25,000 per month in pay?  Don’t justify this BS, get real, please.

    • Anonymous says:

      ummm, they had a year to act on something important, so far all they did and continue to do is increase the cost of living, rant like a crazy man on radio/tv for the entire world tosee, and take plane rides to promote inward investment……

    • Jon says:

      Sir, maybe you should ask yourself the question:  Do my wife love me (who I am) more than my status and the things we share?  In other words, does the Premier love his country and the people therein; or, does he love his position and what he can get out from the people???

      Unless you know him inside-out, you can make such statements to his defense, and I personally don’t see how you can make the "carib nations" an example for us to follow

       

    • Anonymous says:

      The recent fiasco in the Turks and Caicos comes to mind.  Wasn’t that a case of personal power and ego run amok thereby bring about the financial downfall of a country?   Looks like Bush is heading the Cayman Islands in the same direction.  The only thing he has to fear is someone finding out what he is doing.  The FOI has a definite place in keeping honest men honest and in identifying those who have a propensity to be otherwise.

    • Macman says:

      Please tell me that this posting was made with sarcasm in mind. No one with even the meagre brain capacity of a jellyfish (advance apologies to all jellyfish) would support what Big Mac (Mugabe) is doing to this country.

  40. Anonymous says:

    I say thank you Premier for your hard work and tireless efforts to this Country.    All over the world, including our Governor their perks are for the office and great for the person that occupies it.  

    We have to accept that if we are going to have a Premier we need to accept the costs.   

    Frankly speaking I believe we are getting a bargain when it comes to the current Premier, because he is a work-a-holic and gives a full 24 hours a day.   

    We need to stop being crabs in a bucket….this is our Caymanian leader and he deserves the same as our British leader.   

    • Anonymous says:

       You mean we should praise him for the title he holds 24 hours a day.

      Pretty hard work if you ask me. Kind of like a deadbeat dad who still expects to be called ‘father’. Real hero,yeah?

      The fact of the matter is that the man is pointing fingers at a constitution he would like to point out he didn’t vote for. If that is the case, it should be expected he disagrees with the constitution and thus should REJECT said perks as being a part of something he does not approve. It’s like you going ‘I really don’t like that cake, but they decided on this cake. Since this is the cake we have, despite me not liking it, i’ll take 1/3 of the XXXXX cake.’ Does that make any sense or are people being unreasonable when they cry FOUL at this XXXX

    • Anonymous says:

      Being a workaholic does not mean it is good work for country. He is the one who publicised to the world that these islands are broke and is calling for cut salaries for civil servants and within the private sector and yet he is collecting CI$24,000 per month from our financially strapped government coffers in addition to collecting the "perks" you refer to. I could use a few choice adjectives here.

    • Macman says:

      "Our" last British Leader was changed just a few weeks ago….yes our current leader deserves the same…lets get him out!

  41. Real Tea says:

     It may be protocol – but a LEADER would step up to the plate in these times and say "screw protocol – I get paid way more than my supporters, the citizens I represent, and I will BUCK PROTOCOL and leave the money in the public purse for the greater good of the country I (profess to) represent".

    BUT – then again, I said a LEADER would do that – a DICTATOR wouldn’t…

    You guys decide – do we have a leader or a power-hungry, money-grabbing dictator at our helm???

     

    • Anonymous says:

      A Leader, A Dictator, ummm – this is a no-brainer.  I said a very long time ago that McKeeva has all the ear-marks of a Dictator. Little did I know how right I was!

      Haven’t you ever heard the saying "actions speak louder than words"? This is true In McKeeva’s case because no matter how loud he shouts and rants in the LA, or in Meetings, or when he’s upfront in the Wesleyan Holiness Church in West Bay, what he does (his actions) speaks SO MUCH LOUDER!

       

  42. Dr. Watson says:

    Bush said that it was Freedom of Information that was causing the trouble and said it had gone too far for this “little two by four country

     

    Thank you very much Mr. Bush for clarifying for the people of the Cayman Islands, what, exactly you think of this country and it’s people…

  43. Seldom Wright says:

    Pull the other one Mac. The Protocol Office answers to the Premier and not the other way around. Not even the least intelligent of your supporters would buy the line that all of these perks were foisted upon you. It’s the Misick Syndrome, and you came down with it really bad.

    Like Diogenes holding his lantern in search an honest man, we the people will hold FOI up high and defend it.

  44. Rabble Rouser says:

    Keep diggin’ that hole ol’ boy, you soon reach Australia. At least now from Ellio’s line of questioning we are left with little doubt as to who has been assigned as the UDP’s official anonymous "blogger". That’s why we pay these people the big bucks.

  45. Anonymous says:

    What a pile of ****@!! Can we see  those recommendation from the Protocol office? What is the date of it??   I bet Mac’ll just get them to write somethingup to support this claim.  Kurt your must take a stand and challenge this as Mac is  claiming that you would have collected  these ‘perks’ if the PPM  had won! Please say it isn’t so…

     
    • Anonymous says:

      The present constitution was designed by the PPM. It should be easy to determine who designed the Perks.

      Unfortunately the votersassigned the perks to someone else rather than the designer.

      Well! I guess thats why we have this controversy.

      I really wonder if the PPM had been returned to power if we would be hearing any of these complaints.

      • Anonymous says:

        I suspect that if Kurt were Premier and was spending as much, then Mr. Bush would be raising holy hell.

        • Anonymous says:

          You make a good point. The question is, would the people also be raising holy hell?

          • Anonymous says:

            There is absolutely no reason to believe that they wouldn’t unless you believe the tripe about the controversy being because McKeeva is from West Bay. He is obviously saying this to obfuscate the real issue and to galvanize his political support in West Bay (which is the only political support he cares about). Typical demagoguery. No sensible person is fooled by this. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Absolutely not. Remember when Kurt took the bold step of addressing the cost of living by giving himself a hefty pay rise  – some feebleness about "the prestige of the office" or whatever – a while back? These same characters currently shouting from the rooftops never said a word. What a bunch of jokers we have in politics in this little " two by four" country of ours, party supporters included.

        • Anonymous says:

          I think you need an education on how the pay raise occurred. It occurred because McKeeva Bush when he became Leader of the Opposition in 2005 wrote to the then Chief Secretary and demanded a pay raise to fit the prestige of that office (which had been constitutionally recognized since 2003 when it was occupied by Kurt Tibbetts who had never demanded a raise). As a result the pay scales of the whole L.A. was restructured. That too was down to XXXXX the same person.   

      • Anonymous says:

        Obviously that is a lame excusethat would only be bought by a blind supporter of McKeeva. The Constitution does not require anyone to have $5,000 of Christmas decorations paid for by the taxpayer. Even the dimmest follower could not believe that. This is all about ego and self-aggrandizement. "I didn’t really want these perks, the PPM foisted them on me and now I have to accept them because it is protocol". Have a conscience man and do what is right!   

        We have this controversy because McKeeva is not practising what he is preaching, living high on the hog and taking the people for fools in a time of economic recession when most people are hurting.

        The love of money is the root of all evil.

  46. Anonymous says:

    It’s not my fault, the PPM made me do it!!!!

    It’s not my fault I didn’t vote for the constitution!!!!!

    We didn’t want the 3.2% cut the Civil Servants made us do it!!!!

    It’s not my fault the Protocol Office made me take these perks that I didn’t want!!!!!

    So on the one hand, people with legitimate contracts with rights and etitlements had those removed under the guise of austerity. Yet you must have your benefits because a civil servant in a Government Department prescribed them. Oh ok, I see how this works.

    When will you ever grow a spine and take some responsibility? Why is it always someone else’s fault?

  47. Anonymous says:

    I believe a number of remedies to this situation are follows:

    The premier indicated that there were benefits that were offered to him but never taken up.  Simple:  do not take up the offer of having a housekeeper paid for by the government.  I am a civil servant and should therefore have my housekeepers paid for if that is the case.  Also, the upgrades to his home should be taken back by the government when he is not re-elected in four years.

    Lastly, an more importantly, it appears that the premier is doing the opposite of a leader.  A leader is elected to unite in a bi-partisan manner, the peoples he was elected to leader.  Oh thats right we dont really even decide who the premier is.  My BAD.  Furthermore, his statement that it is where he comes from is perposterous, ludicrous and downright juvenile.  There are certainly WestBayas who dont think that is right.  Maybe they got a new fridge recently though. 

    As premier, I would expect you to behold the values that your office deserves.  Thus far, the bar has been set quite low.

  48. Kent says:

    Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should! 

    Get real BIG MAC, it has nothing to do with where you are from, a little to do with who you are, and a whole lot to do with the state our country is in, and the example you and yours set.  You are failing miserably at being a good example and leader, as far as I can see.

    Get over yourself and work on the real problems!

  49. Anonymous says:

    Are we comparing apples to apples when we compare the perks given to leaders of a country?  With only 60,000 people in this country, did they compare the perks with countries of the same size or just any country?

    I agree that he should have some perks to go with the office and the work that he is doing, no one would go into politics if there were no perks to go with a thankless job, but some of these things seem excessive.  I don’t work for McKeeva or even the government but it would be nice to learn that he is keeping his expenses in check rather than getting mad when someone questions his expenses.

  50. Anonymous says:

    Okay so let me get this straight.  Mac is saying that if he were the same person yet had been born in a different district, had the same name or had been given a different name that we would think better of him??  Ah, well let me think about that. Um, ah NOT!!!!  Mac goes on to say in his defense that he did not take "all the perks".  That may be so, but that is not an excuse.  Just because the perks were available he did not have to take advantage of them.  Lets face it McKeeva you love living in the lap of luxury and you could care less what is happening to the rest of the people.  When you campaigned you stated that you would cut your salary if elected, and from the time you said that you knew that you had no intention of honoring that statement.

     As for the cocktail parties I am sure that you would have hosted many of them but for the fact that no one would have come.  Lets face it you have taken what you could because you feel that so as "the position" was elevated by the constitution so must your status be elevated by virtue of occupancy.  You say that you did not vote for the constitution, well neither did I so does that mean that I can have back my share of the money that was paid toward your expenses?  I bet not.  You can keep blaming as you do every day, and probably even in  your sleep but you will never elevate yourself above the position of "XXXXXXX".  

    And by the way I read above that the wall around your residence was justifiable as you are the "territory’s highest ranking political leader".  Can someone explain to me which territory this refers to?  Is it the territory of West Bay???

  51. Anonymous says:

    Typical bully tactics. Caught with both of his hands, arms and the rest up to his belt buckle in the cookie jar so what does he do – of course he attacks the Freedom of Information Law.

    He had no choice with these ripoffs – what a pile of rubbish.

    The Protocol Office came up with a list and he just could not say no – completely ridiculous.

    I am Caymanian.  I do not belong to any political party and never have – and absolutely disgusted that we have a Premier like this. I am also disgusted with the rest of the MLAs who condone his actions. There must be a way of removing him from office.

  52. A Guy says:

    Yet again you are missing the point Mac. You could refuse the perks, you could pay for these things yourself, show the people that you are making sacrifices also. But no, why should you? You are the most Important person on the Island right?

    And please stop trying to deflect criticism by rolling out the fact that you are from West Bay. That is one of the most pathetic statements you have ever come up with (which is really saying something) No one cares which district you are from. What they care about is that they can’t feed their family, or fill their car with your new super dooper expensive gas!

    Look after the people Mac, not yourself.

  53. Lachlan MacTavish says:

     Personally I don’t care if The Premier is Mr. Bush from West Bay, Mr so in so from GT….Eastend, Northside , Bodden Town etc etc. I believe that the majority of the voters critizing remunerations are not attacking Mr. Bush personally. The Premier and the elected members make enormous amounts of money with benefits and perks and every time we turn around something else pops up like pre paid advanced pensions funds. The country is borrowing money to pay for the CIG. The voters children will be paying off money borrowed through taxes. it just seems unbalanced when the elected members and The CIG get more and more and the people get less and less.

  54. Anonymous says:

    OMG – rather than handling this debacle through informed and relevant PR advice our illustrious leader is once again lashing out in his very own special and unique small-minded, petty and paranoid manner.

    It is not outrageous that the perks are going to him because he is McKeeva Bush – it is outrageous that any elected official in our country should be receiving these benefits in a disastrous economy.

    What is indicative of the man McKeeva Bush is that he would not only accept them, but then make excuses for doing so while also pointing the finger at others in blame.

    When will he learn the old adage about glass houses and stones? Sigh – I guess he never will because West Bay will vote him in until his dying day.

    So sad that this is the leader of our country!

  55. Anonymous says:

    Boo hoo hoo.  Somebody give the poor man a tissue.

  56. BORN FREE says:

    Once again McKeeva Bush is blaming someone! Now he is blaming the protocal office for his wrong doings, & I call it "wrong doings" because if he wanted to turn down the perks (as he claims he did with the cook) he can do so. It is his choice, the buck stops with him. But he knows it is selfish of him to be accepting some of these special perks at a time when he has told the world that Cayman is broke, & at a time when so many Caymanians are suffering. The Cayman people suffer while he lives like a king at our expense, UNREAL! Christmas lights? Get real!
    And just because other countries give perks to their leader does not mean that we must copy them, especially in such dire times.

    The premier has accepted well over CI$100,000 in special perks over a 6 month period, according the report (over $87,000 on security alone! And what is this about Christmas lights? For his personal residence?).
    What is very upsetting is that I remember last year soon after the elections, McKeeva Bush & the UDP cancelled our annual Miss Cayman beauty pageant because they claimed that the government could not find the $100,000 needed. Isn’t it a crying shame that these same hypocrites have accepted these perks for the premier even though they could not find $100,000 for our annual Miss Cayman pageant? McKeeva Bush should be ashamed of himself, & no amount of explanation can justify giving himself these perks.
    He deprived a young Caymanian beauty of representing her country in order to give himself a lavish lifestyle. This is shameful & disgusting & for him & his colleagues to try & justify it simply makes it even more insulting.

    There are hundreds of Cayman people suffering & all he can do is think about himself? SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!

  57. Too much now! says:

    Perks on protocol?

    This man is unbelievable.

    After recieving all these perks as Premier, he now votes against a motion by the Leader of the Opposition to cut MLAs wages by up to 20%.

    He wants us to pay for everything for him and he doesn’t want to cut his own pay, and this man has the audacity to say he cares for the people of Cayman and Caymans future – Give me a break!

    As one lady caller said, he only cares for his future!

    Time to remove the Dictator!

  58. Anonymous says:

    I worked with Ellio when we were both civil servants. He was constantly disgruntled and complaining about how much better paid everyone was than him, especially, of course, the expats.But he was not admired by we, his own Caymanians, as a hard worker who saw him as wanting to go to the top without actually earning it.

    He makes an ideal MLA.

  59. Anonymous says:

    The Protocol Office is a joke – a dumping ground for those who were non performers in the departments they were in prior to its establishment. Ah so it go.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are absolutely correct, glad to see someone calling a spade a spade

    • Anonymous says:

      You are so right! That so called Protocol Office needs to be closed as part of the govenrment’s cost cutting exercise! It is a complete waste of time and money and the gang who are supposedly managing it are obviously out of touch with reality. If indeed they are the ones responsible for making such outrageous suggestions for this country to spend money that we do not have it begs to question their good senses. My suggestion: Close Protocol Office down immediately and send the known non-performers home to join the rest of us out here who are struggling with unemployment. Perhaps they will start performing then.  

  60. Anonymous says:

    Most countries provide the President, Prime Minister or Premier with an official residence.

    Why should our Premier not receive the same benefits.

    Just as a house is provided for the Governor, so should the Premier be given a house with all associated expenses paid for.

     

     

     

    • Anonymous says:

      I totally agree there should be an official residence for the Premier. 

      I am no UDP, or PPM "Fan Boy", but to think that the leader of your country does not deserve any the personal benefits afforded to him is ridiculous.

       

       

    • Anonymous says:

      The Governor does not own the governor’s compound, and does not get to keep those upgrades and perks after the completion of their term.  Mr Bush’s contemptuous classification of Cayman as a "2 by 4 country" should enrage all constituents.  His Party members should already be asking him to step down, like any other statesman would after making such remarks.  Failing which, one would hope the governor would step in and force the issue.