Political meetings cost public purse $21K

| 16/04/2012

mac gt meet (244x300).jpg(CNS): Three public meetings hosted by the premier and the UDP MLAs billed as updates on the port and projects but which many described as political rallies cost the public purse close to $22,000. A breakdown released by the ministry following an FOI request shows that the meetings which took place in George Town, East End and Bodden Town were funded by the public purse and not the UDP. Although the meetings were advertised as an opportunity for the public to hear the latest on government’s proposed projects, the meetings focused heavily on government’s critics and opponents. Very little new information was revealed about the plans for the George Town cruise port or the other major projects at any of the gatherings.

During the meeting in East End, which cost government just over $5000, McKeeva Bush endorsed John McLean Jr, who plans to run in the district as an independent at the next general election, as the UDP’s preferred candidate. Bush also stirred up significant controversy when he said that he would be using money given to government by Dart under the ForCayman Investment Alliance deal to help McLean implement some local projects in the district, bypassing the East End incumbent and opposition MLA, Arden McLean.

At the Bodden Town meeting, the most expensive of all at over $9000 as government spent more than $6000 on advertising, a demonstration by campaigners opposing the relocation of Grand Cayman’s landfill to the district saw all of the MLAs, in particular the backbench UDP members, attacking the protestors from the podium but they gave no new details about the plans for the proposed waste-management project.

The first of the meetings, which took place in George Town and cost over $7000, also saw politics rather than the port take centre stage. Bush spoke for more than an hour and a half and made it clear that recent indications that he may be getting tired of the political fray did not mean he was going anywhere. Although wanting to see more young people step into politics, he said he was continuing on and would run in the next election. The speech heavily condemned his opponents, both in the legislature and in the community, as he accused the agitators of endangering the country.

All three meetings were seen as highly political, bringing into focus the argument raised by Bush himself when he was in opposition about governments spending public money on promoting themselves while in office and the fine line between a public update by government and a party political rally. During the previous government Bush criticised the then PPM administration for spending money on televised press briefings.

See FOI release and the breakdown of the public meeting costs below.

See advertisement promoting the George Town meeting here.

Category: FOI

Comments (28)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Let us all be thankful that these meetings were actually held in the Cayman Islands. Can you imagine the cost is the three meetings were held in Dubai, Venice, and Shanghai?

  2. Peter Milburn says:

    Why is everybody surprised that WE are paying these bills?The UDP have been WASTING our money for the past 3yrs with their frivolous trips hither and yon.Doing what is anybodys guess?.Certainly has not been shown to benefit our country in any way so far.and there will be more to come for sure Is the UDP running scared all of a sudden?.All of this posturing and blowing hot air about having the OMOV referendum in July is just another ploy to make sure that the UDP get back in as they know that so many voters could well be off island during that time frame.I say right now that we MUST prove this GOVT wrong and alter your/our plans to make sure we are all here(since our premier is saying that absentee ballots will not be accepted?Can this be true?How can one man make that decision?Proof that Democracy is sadly lacking throughout?)Here again is a case of desperation on Govts part and I truly hope that there are enough people in this country(that truly put country first)to make sure that this govt DOES not get back in.I will leave you all with this thought.Does anyone know why politicians never wear short pants in the house or elsewhere?

    • Anonymous says:

      Did they have baked goods at these "rallies"?

      Sounds like UDP are invoicing for these rallies like that baker from West Bay.

      Meanwhile we are paying a fortune for ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

      Way to go Mac.

      How the f**k do invocies totallling CI$21K come from these rallies????????????????

      Are they paying themselves to appear?

      FOI coming right up.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It's like the briefcase full of IOUs from "Dumb and Dumber"…"there's one for a Lambourghini, you may want to hold onto that one".

  4. Anonymous says:

    Dat a big plate of food bobo

  5. Cayman islands says:

    Too much fools BBm supporters

  6. Anonymous says:

    This should be paid out of the UDP's very large coffers (or more likely by their very large corporate supporters). If we do not put a stop to this, Macs campaign against OMOV will be paid for by all of us. I have posted on this again and again and am very happy to see this being directly addressed. Thank you CNS.

    • anonymous says:

      Of course the vote against OMOV will be from public coffers…are you surprised??

       

      • Anonymous says:

        Read the post carefully.  No there is nothing surprising about the vote being paid for from public coffers – so it should be. What must NOT be paid for from public coffers (as the poster said) is Mac's campaign against it. That is a party position and should be paid for by his party.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I am sure he will find a way to have government pay for his campaign against one man one vote also.  That is how he works: he uses public funds for his personal agenda.

  8. Knot S Smart says:

    Caymanians getting shafted – right, left, and center!

  9. UDP Supporter says:

    So what if these meeting cost $21,000? Our Premier and his colleagues in the UDP are doing what the people want them to do! Providing updates and information on these projects that will provide work for our Caymanian people! If these meeting had cost $20 million it would be worth it to see another Caymanian employed! What ever happened to Christian charity and respecting our Godly leaders???

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, alright Mac you carry on trying to convince yourself you right.

      Had these "meetings" (which were all more akin to UDP political rallies) provided updates on the issues they purported to address, and answered questions put to them in a civil manner, you  might have a point.  But the "update" meetings did little to update anyone on anything other than Mac's rants, accusations and pointing the finger of blame at various people, not to mention disrespect and contempt for his own people.

      Oh, and our leaders are not "Godly"… if only they were, we might not have so much to be so upset about. 

    • Anonymous says:

      $21,000 would have paid for one or two first class airline tickets so when the Premier spends our money on these political meetings he is doing it at great personal sacrifice

      • British Bulldog says:

        Indeed. The premier should be commended for agreeing to spend the money on shouting at the public rather than relaxing in first class. But, you know, that's what you call character, I guess.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am sorry, but you must be deliberately being sarcastic, because you could not be serious.  What ever happened to earning respect?   Christian charity and Godly leaders???  I am sorry, but if these are examples of "godly leaders,"  then I want no part of their religion.

    • Anonymous says:

      Is that you Mac? Foolio? If the meeting was about what it was supposed to be about, Govt should pay for it. However, that isn't what happened and even Foolio called it a UDP meeting.

  10. Another Anon says:

    Un-freaking-believable!

    Well, actually not so unbelievable. Anything is possible with this guy running things around here.

  11. Naya Boy says:

    Wha he crying bout now? YO Mckeeva stop carring Ellio on these trips and that should fix errryting.

  12. Anonymous says:

    And somehow we're surprised by this….come on people. Please.

  13. Anonymous says:

    any comment mr governor????

    • Anonymous says:

      Due to an extension of his royal contract, the Governor will be on the beach for the remaining of is appointment.

      Please leave a message after the bip

       

      BIIIIIP….

    • Guv says:

      Can't you all hear, I'm sleeping?  zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  14. Anonymous says:

    Nice. Maybe I can get them to do my next birthday party.