Ministry reveals travel costs

| 23/12/2010

(CNS): After more than six months, an FOI request by CNS on a full break down of the premier’s travels since taking office has been granted. The Ministry of Finance has supplied an account of who accompanied the country’s leader on more than 28 different trips over the past 18 months and how much each one cost. In total, as revealed by McKeeva Bush in a recent televised address, over $406,000 was spent on airfares, hotels and subsistence. The single most expensive trip was a two week tour in December 2009 that included London, Dubai, India and Bali, where the premier attended meetings to discuss the possibility of the Bvalgari boutique hotel chain coming to Cayman. The trip cost the public purse over $66,000.

The most costly trip for accommodation and expenses was one which included various meetings in Miami, New York, Singapore, Hong Kong and Washington in September of this year, when more than $32,000 was spent on hotels and expenses for the premier, Richard Parchment, Cline Glidden and George McCarthy.

The document covers the premier’s official travels from 4 June 2009, a week after taking up office, when he visited Paris, London Washington and New York, until 15 October 2010, when Bush attended the ASHRM conference in Tampa.

In a recent presentation to the country the premier defended the more than $400,000 on travels and said it was good value for money, averaging out at $22,000 per month.

“Government, including myself, has had to travel extensively to promote and convince the international community that these islands are open for business,” the premier said. “The cost is small in comparison to the benefits brought through the financial services and tourism industries to these islands.”

He said that besides Cayman’s placement on the OECD white list, the signs of a turnaround in the financial services industry were justification for the $22,000 per month spent on travel, which, while costly, was “certainly worth it to ensure the success of our key financial services and tourism industries,” he added.

The premier has, according to the list, travelled to 18 different countries for a variety of reasons, from business conferences to supporting Cayman’s first winter Olympic competitor in Vancouver early this year and the Miss Cayman at the Miss Universe pageant in 2009.

He has been accompanied by his political assistant Richard Parchment, MLA’s Cline Glidden, Elio Solomon as well as the chief officer Carson Ebanks. He has also been accompanied by specialist technical staff and consultants.

See trip schedule below

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Let us all eat cake.

  2. Anonymous says:

    All this money he’s using to travel the damn globe could be used towards scholarships for students! This is why they cut civil servants’ salaries? And these are the type of idiots we have running the country…..

  3. MER says:

    Government could have hired 12 staff on a $1800 monthly salary with $22,000 a month going on what I still see as unnecessary spending. Nothing can justify this nonsense, there have still been no changes in Cayman’s situation!

  4. John S says:

    At least there’s some numbers reported! Has no one looked at the AG report?!?!?!

    Wouldn’t be surpirsed if the UK comes down and takes over (ala TCI) – pretty scary report. The numbers are reported to the cent, so I’m sure there’s receipts that explain the travel – i.e.;
    June 4-21, 2009 travel total = $43,818.93
    ($43.818.93 / 17 days = $2,577.58 per day)
    June 4-21 2009 travel – Accomodations/meals/expenses = $27,442.17
    ($27,442.17 / 17 days = $1,614.25 per day)

    Hmm. Over $1,600 per day for hotel / meals? I’ll let others put the snide remaks in here, but that seems pretty posh to me – isn’t there some sort of cap on this stuff for Govt.?


  5. Anonymous says:

    It is hard to comprehend that there are people living and breathing among us that keep voting this dictator in.

    • Michel Lemay says:

      Please understand that it’s not necessary the people that vote them in only’s the many disgusted people who DON’T vote because they feel it will be the same all over again and that it doesn’t make sense for them to vote because of the lack of trust or whatever. THEY are the one’s who could make a big difference. Therefore it’s important to have people run in the election that we know can make a difference,trust and that will speak up if necessary. The party system makes that difficult and so does a bunch of independants getting together after the elections. What is the solution ? Have as many people as possible pay attention to the candidates that are running and have as many legitimate voters as possible vote. The difficulty is making the ones that we do elect accountable and make them understand that they are there to represent the people and if within a party and not pleased by what’s going on by God PLEASE do not keep silent but stand up,speak up and be counted. Let no one let you act against your beliefs and those of your people who voted you in the first place.Then we may get back to the good old time politics and remember you will never be able to please everyone but your concience will be clear and you will earn the respect of the people with time, and until we get it right!

    • Anonymous says:

      They are called      The church of god.


      • Anonymous says:

        Hey, not all of us. Although some preach that it is a sin to criticise the Premier.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone know if it’s possible for a FOI request to reveal the reason that McKeeva was stripped of his ministry back in the 90s? All that was ever said was that it had something to do with his involvement with First Cayman Bank.

    For a governor to have taken that extraordinary action suggests that it must have been something serious. Why can’t we know? Is it a state secret?

    Imagine if Obama had been kicked out of the senate for associations with a failed bank prior to his presidency but no specific reason or description of wrong doing was ever given. Do you think the US press and public would just shrug their shoulders and not demand to known?

    Why is Cayman not curious about this?

    • Anonymous says:

      He resigned from EXCO, or that is what the records will show. He as asked to resign by the other members of his government, but the Hansards from the LA for 1997 will show that he nominated JuJu as his replacement.

      The real dirt is in the liquidation files, and they are not subject to FOI.

      • Anonymous says:

        The reason for his "resignation" was considered at the time to be due to his being a director of First Cayman Bank, which went down leaving many Caymanians without their savings and this was thought to be bad for Caymans image as a banking centre. That alone wouldnt seem sufficient to exclude him from government, however some years later when he reappeared on the political scene, at the time of the elections in about 2002(?) or later, a paper was circulating, purporting to be a memo from the liquidator to the AG which laid out a set of circumstances which, if true, suggested more than simple mismanagement for the failure. Someone around will have copies of that paper, and others would be able to say if the paper was genuine! That might give you your answer, but I do recall that the contents were fairly incendiary so I doubt anyone is likely to go public. And that my lord, is the case for a FOI act!

        • Jonathan says:

          The First Cayman Bank, as I have been told, was a susidiary of a bank in the Bahamas which was owned by the royal family of the nation of Quatar. There is a connection with this bank and the fact that Saddam Hussein used them to hold his money. There seems to be a connection between the freezing of funds belonging to Mr. Hussein and the ultimate failure of the First Cayman Bank. I remember when I was in school I saw in Newsweek magazine a map showing the routes used to filter money in an around about way to allow Saddam Hussein to get past the various embargoes and sanctions levied against Iraq. Grand Cayman was where all of those red arrows in the map joined together and then from here went all around the world. I do not have the proof but if there is anyone with the ability to tie the facts together and bring the truth of this scenario to the light of day then I implore them to do so. The connection is there and simply by fate I happened to be delivering food at the time and when I delivered food to the bank I remember seeing McKeeva Bush there right before the bank crashed. The irony that the representatives of the nation of Quatar "passed by" the island recently is overshadowed by the fact that this country is saddled with the poor example of a supposed leader we have today, I shudder to think what is going to be next. XXX

          • Anonymous says:

            If I remember right, the "really nasty" part of the "paper said to be a report from the liquidator of the FCB to the AG" was that a major part of the remaining assets of FCB were transferred into a subsidiary company, which was then transferred for negligible consideration to……….the principal shareholders! Were they your recent boat people? The interesting question is of course, is any of this factual, and if it is, who signed off the transfer and sale?

            I guess its all in the papers of the liquidator!

      • Anonymous says:

        Half correct. His responsibilities as an ExCo member were removed by the Governor in view of his involvement as a Director of the Bank which was subject to investigation. Without a portfolio, and with pressure from fellow Exco members, he then had little choice but to resign as an ExCo member.

        He later claimed that he was not really a Director of the Bank (XXXXX) or that if he was he had not attended any Board meetings and had no knowledge of the Bank’s affairs.     

  7. Anonymous says:

    It’s no wonder government accounts are in such a mess when they can’t even provide a breakdown of official travel that make sense

  8. Anonymous says:

    Mac not so stupid – these fool fool numbers have been released immediately before Christmas – at a time when they hope most of us will not be paying attention.

  9. Time Tells All says:

    LOL, I find this quite funny, as it is just now that these figures ahve become public that people are questioning the justification for these trips, thwe man spends 70% of his time off island, and why does he have to travel first class, get in the back like everyone else. If he wants the lavish life, PAY FOR IT YOURSELF.

    UDP supporters, thanks you yet again.


  10. EyesWideOpen says:

    Anything done in dishonesty is theft!

    The sad thing is, not all dishonesty is punishable by law.

    This country should be and must be ran as a business therefore all Govt officials, INCLUDING MLA’s, should and must produce receipts for all expenses being paid from the CAYMAN ISLANDS PURSE.

    MLA’s – you need to always remember, you are NOT the Cayman Islands but merely the representatives of its people.

    You are NOT at liberty to spend on anything other than for the good and in the best interest of ALL of us citizens AND according to the wishes of the citizens.

    This squanderous acts of spending is profoundly lawless and extravegant. I pray to God that, specially, the people of West Bay, will open their minds to full understanding of your ways and in disgust, remove you all completely from the political arena in 2013!!

    There should be a law against such, should you fail to produce receipts and proper financial records of any ministry, that these expenses should be deducted directly from your salary or failure to pay should result in prosecution+prison term.

    I pray that God will judge and set over you, the same ill-fate that you are doing unto us!! May He have no mercy on you!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you know for a fact that no receipts were presented? Before raising your blood pressure and any one else own please verify that first. okay. Then make your case.

      • Anonymous says:

        The Ministry admitted that they were sorting through credit card bills to get these numbers and that they could not break down the costs into the more detailed categories as CNS requested. The FOI Law would have demanded that receipts be given out if they were available because that’s what CNS asked for – a more precise breakdown.

        I’m personally bewildered that they don’t have a file for each trip including all receipts, invoices AND credit card bills for every single expense. Doesn’t that just make sense?

        Please take off your McKeeva blinders and think about the facts instead of trying to pick ONE thing that someone said and say "oh that can’t be true" and therefore try to claim the criticism is not credible.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Real costs? Who really knows the true cost? Not with the state of government accounts. I bet there are many unpaid bills that have not been accrued and other costs spread over other ministries. Just look at some of the breakdown, nonsensical to say the least.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Before we get all crazy about the lack of significant information in the record created for the release, I’d like to point out this might not be the information manager’s entire fault. It’s very possible that plenty of receipts/bills were not kept, and that due diligence in record-keeping didn’t take place. It’s certainly possible that this is all the information that was available to the IM, which might indicate severe neglect on the part of the individuals responsible for filing all records from the Ministry.

    There has certainly been a major failure here, but it’s possible the failure falls on multiple individuals. I’d like to see the Ministry audited in regards to these travel costs to find out what’s gone missing.

  13. Jonathan says:

    It is a crime against this country that McKeeva Bush was allowed to run in politics at all after the fiascos he has subjected this country to before which led to him not being allowed to again seek office. It is ludicrous that he for some inane reason has been allowed to hold the office of premier of this country. He does not now or ever did or ever will represent me.  Term limits are something that this country needs now more than ever. Shame on those who put [him] at the helm of this country for their own greedy, shortsighted and insipid reasons at the expense of the Cayman Islands and the very concept of democracy and good governance.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Please look at the airline ticket costs for these trips and you will clearly see that it was first class all the way when you divide the number of people in the entourage into the airline cost.


  15. Anonymous says:

    The person providing this list should be charged under the FOI law. It is a complete fabrication and seeks to mislead the public. CNS, if you wish to verify, you carried several stories which stated that the Financial Secretary accompanied the Premier to London, New York and a few other places I cannot recall at the moment, yet the list provided does not show the Financial Secretary on any of those trips with the Premier.

    What you should ask for is a printout (not filtered or manipulated) of the IRIS account for official travel in the Ministry of Finance. You should then give Jennifer Dilbert that printout along with what they gave you as the answer to your FOI request and tell her to do her duty.

    This is rubbish and I can’t believe civil servants are stooping this low to try and protect the Premier and his extravagant spendings.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I am sorry but I do not see value for money and some of the expenses do not make sense. I do agree that some may have been necessary but follow up trips monhtly do not make sense with all that entourage,such as Paris etc. Mr. Parchment could have been more produtive as well as out Minister of Education and others, setting much of that from home as a follow up.If Bulgary hotel boutiques wants to open in Cayman let them come at their expense and have a special evening for them here at home. Their Jewellery collection is already available at Kirk Freeport and Paris well are we to bring a Cartier Boutique hotel with cabarets shows and all.Common whlle your own civil servants at home had to tale pay cuts with moral at and all time low I really feel for them.And to had injury to the situation no ONE is allowed to comment. But we are broke.Do you know Mr. Premier how many Caymanians people are really hurting here this year just to pay bills. I don’t know who you are trying to impress but myself and many others are not. That could have bought much groceries for those who cannot afford it this year and get in more debts. Come down you high power trip Mr. Premier. A very concerned citizen with a family of 8 votes. You other elected officials ENJOY your Chrismas with your new found friends.We will not forget. Oh by the way have you by now realised the Crime Situation.Pay your Police officers OVERTIME so they are motivated to really catch the criminals instead of demoralising them. Oh, sorry that’s the silent Governor responsibility.Don’t need to go overseas to meet with him do you? My new friends in the Oppossition if you want our votes you better get involved, elect a new leader asap because if we have to we will voye in a Motley’s Crew.We might as well, at least we may have more of a say with them.Thanks for nothing Mr. Premier and His Silent Excellency but a blessed to all in the Cayman Islands that deserve it and are still working hard regardless. Mr. Baynes why not blame the many beerand Alchol factories all over the world for the many alcoholics we have her in the caribbean. That way you got it all covered.We’ll discuss the Drug problem next time. Need to go to work in the morning with a fake smile.Thank God for Jesus.

  17. Anonymous says:

    These figures are completely bogus. There are several instances when the press releases showed that Mac took many more of his cronies on these trips.

    At this link, (,4508990&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL) we can see that Michelle Bahadur, Ken Jefferson, Juliana O’Connor, Langston Sibblies and Paul Byles also went to Germany in June.

    At this link ( we can see that again Michelle Bahadur, Hon Sam Bulgin and George McCarthy also went along to Washington

    At this link ( we can see that Paul Byles, Michelle Bahadur, George McCarthy, Ken Jefferson, Langston Sibblies and Juliana O’Connor also went to the UK in June.

    At this link we see ( that none of this travel was necessary at all, as it could all have been done by courier!

    Come on Mac! Stop lying to us! We’re not idiots. The information on who went on these jaunts is already in the public domain so don’t think you can get away with this going unnoticed. The Information Commissioner should investigate this submissions of false information to the public. Heads should roll!

  18. Anonymous says:

    In response to the FOI request, the Premier’s office indicates that he went to Washington by himself at the end of March 2010 to sign the TIA with Australia. The Ministry of Finance press release of the time says otherwise. Could it be that some expenses of those travelling with the Premier were not actually accounted for in the response to the FOI request?

  19. The Monkeys Back says:

    I think we have long passed by a time where enticing high rollers to the Cayman Islands translates into a benefit for the people.

    We need to set our sights on a sustainable standard of living, and and sustainable future. I recognize that ‘sustainable’ has become a flashword in many instances — a concept without a realized meaning.

    What if a mere $35,000 were spent on assisting farmers? What if instead of a new SUV, we sent two Caymanians to the U.S. for college and a future that they could bring back home to our benefit?

    We need to concentrate on producing our own food and resources. No, we don’t need industry, but we do need to look backward to a time when there was a balance between monies produced and related budgets. These big businesses shouldn’t get ‘incentives’ — they should compete for space here the same as everyone else. We need fuel. We need food. We can produce much of the latter, and that is where our dollars should be going, not to expensive travel and elbow-rubbing that benefits only those who seek to run with the big dogs.

    What are your goals, Caymanian people? What are your goals, Mr. Bush? Are they at all similar?

    We are all going to have to tighten our belts more than ever before in the very near future. I would very much like to believe that our government feels the pinch of the working class and is on our side.

    Peaceful Christmas to all. We can make it together, IF we’re all together.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Honestly why are we even bothering to investigate – he doesn’t care what we think or say and will continue to travel and spend as he wishes and we will as usual be full of hot air and continue to complain and do nothing!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Some of the numbers are not even plausible, like 6 people spending up to 18 days in hotels for a total of $1500 in Nov 09, that is compared with a thousand per night per person on other trips.

  22. Anonymous says:

    More than one thing simply does not add up with this “disclosure”.

    Perhaps the expenses of some persons who went on these little jaunts were paid from some other public sector sources so as to keep the Premier’s number under a million.

    By way of example, I recalled reading about a number of people going with the Premier on his excursion to Singapore.

    Sure enough the reports at the time indicate other people from the Premier’s office going that are not on the official list provided.

    There is other stuff as well.

    There is the roughly $1000 per person per night for the little May Bahamas jaunt for hotel and food and a similar amount per night in London in June.

    This is all being paid for by those of us who are having a hard time making ends meet.

  23. Anonymous says:

    This is what happens when there is no accountability.

  24. Anonymous says:

    He said besides Cayman’s placement on the OECD white list, the signs of a turnaround in the financial services industry were justification for the $22,000 per month spent on travel which while costly was, “certainly worth it to ensure the success of our key financial services and tourism industries,” he added.

    But of all the cheek!  He’s now trying to take credit for the Financial Industry slowly coming out of the recession, because there aint no other turnaround signs in this industry so far as I am aware, and if there are, I am darned sure Macs international trips got nothing whatsoever to do with it – more likely down to the work of Tony Travers.

    • The Realist says:

      At least someone and his cronies not suffering!

      But its because of things like this that is making the Cayman suffer and will have the worst Christmas ever financially, but:

      At least someone and his cronies not suffering! 

  25. Ray says:

    How are we supposed to believe these figures? In several instances the figures do not make sense. For example, Nov.8-27, 2009 where 7 persons travelled for most of the time with an air fare cost of $29660 but the accomodation, etc. costs were ONLY $1554? This does not compute. Even if they all shared one room it would have cost more for that number of nights. Then there are the short Florida trips with zero accomodation costs eventhough they were overnight!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I believe that a lot of money can be saved on hotel accommodation if one is willing to spend the entire night in a casino or strip club instead of sleeping.

    • Anonymous says:

      I bet the Ministry is just talking about what they spent. Mac and his taggers along probably also spent money from the budgets of CIMA, other Ministries, Portfolio of Finance, Attorney General, DoT, Cayman Airways, etc, etc.

    • Anonymus says:

      I was particularly reassured by all the ones where the Premier aparently travelled unacompanied.

  26. Anonymous says:

    wouldn’t Perlina et al’s travel expenses be interesting to see

  27. Anonymous says:

    Its all a waste of money. No one can promote the Cayman Islands as a business friendly place as long as we have the current immigration policies, incompetent boards, and a vocal anti expat community. I wonder how much poorer we have to get before this is realized? Cayman has been on a downward trend for several years now. The problem is from within and no amount of external promotion can fix that.

  28. Shock and Awe says:

    How much would it cost for him to not come back?


    comes with own entourage

    runs on hot air

    no reasonable offer refused

    reply to:
    People of the Cayman Islands

    • Anonymous says:

      You better pray to God you got makeeva. (11:07)

      I have never seen so much jealousy for Mac, This site looks like it is owned by the PPM.

      Maybe you should post even comments from both sides of the parties, positive and negative.


      • Mad as Hell says:

        No, no, no, no, no! You’re not getting it. This isn’t about jealousy toward Bush it’s about a flagrant disregard for public finances and- a lack of accountability.  Picture this for a moment:

        You run for office on the same old blustery *hite you’ve been using for years.  You don’t really care if you win because you have real estate interests and are pretty well set-up with a government pension, etc. from all the other times you were able to hoodwink the voters.  But it’s something to do and it supports your ego.  You know the rap you can use:

        "It’s all everyone elses’ fault."  And there are enough dumb-downed people who will believe it for awhile and you don’t really care if you win the next election or not for the above reasons.  Politics is after all just a way to have fun and spend other peoples’ money.  

        In the meantime while the fun lasts you can:

        – Act like a big-shot statesman by signing everything put in front of you wherever you go.

        – Travel the world with your friends, stay in nice hotels and ride around in limos, and eat fine food, drink fine wine and spoil yourself like there’s no tomorrow.

        The people back home might complain but what are they ultimately going to do about it:  Note vote you in again?  Who cares???  Certainly not you ’cause you’re collecting an enormous salary- AND a substantial pension- AND you’ve still got your business and investments. 

        No this isn’t about Bush.  It’s about all the small-thinking tinpot useless uneducated uniformed uncaring self-serving wasteful spending politicians xxx.  So you see it’s nothing personal it’s just that we care about him as much as he has proven by this extravagance:

        He cares about any of us.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I’m not often moved to express comment but I am staggered by the amount of public money spent on travel for the Premier and his entourage…..but there again why am I not surprised.

    Of course the CI has to be represented internationally from time to time but some of the trips on this list ?? 

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi 11:03 would you like to take a trip, I will pay for your ticket.

      Whats the big deal, you guys making out of our Premier’s traveling…you all sound like a bunch of kids.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Hasn’t he heard of Skype?

  31. Anonymous says:

    Of course the international meanderings of this inarticulate windbag have not contributed in any way to securing the financial services industry here. To claim his net contributions exceed those of the 1000s of qualified professionals employed full time in that role is disingenuous, arrogant and rude.

    This spreadsheet demonstrates that he really is the Michael Misick of Cayman. The Premier spends with the flamboyance of a Czar or Sheik, yet is employed as a servant of the public. The opposition floor should demand that the auditor general query these itineraries in detail and seek refunds on behalf of the public treasury. But wouldn’t this be obvious?

  32. Anonymous says:

    This is not intended as any disrespect to Manny because I think he is a wonderful guy, but if the Premier thinks that it’s OK to take his driver along to the Bahamas and Jamaica on one week jaunts, then how does he expect us to believe that he has been frugal with the government purse?

    This stinks of xxxxx and along with JuJu taking her "driver" to a Parliamentary Conference in Kenya, should be investigated and the two ministers responsible should be made to pay the money back from their personal salaries.

    • Anonymous says:

      What a share and disgrace!

    • Anonymous says:

      He is just as frugal as President Obama. 14 Trillion dollars in debt, but the Americans didn’t act childish when he took his private vehicle ( by air) on his trip.

      Get real, if you cant admit he is the Premier of the Cayman Islands, then go find somewhere else to live, cause he is all you got at the moment with the balls and gusto to keep this country from going under, and from you all becoming  unemployed, you should be greatful.


  33. Anonymous says:

    2 more years of this and we will spend around 1 million in travel alone!


  34. Anonymous says:

    September 19 – October 10 2010 “Opening of Hong Kong Office” – what is that?!?

    • Anonymous says:

      & how long does it take to cut a ribbon?

    • Anonymous says:

      good point, is there a Hong Kong office now?

      who’s in it and doing what and how much is it costing us?

  35. Anonymous says:

    Hundreds of thousands in travel expenses to promote the Cayman Islands, yet it seems not a dollar to have some child update our national web resources and event calendars.

  36. Anonymous says:

    the fact is alot of this could have been achieved at a fraction of the cost by sending am educated high ranking civil servant (if one exists?) who could have traveled alone, stayed in modest hotels ..etc.


     unfortunatly we have a bunch of uneducated politicians who just see being elected as an excuse for one big jolly…..

  37. Anonymous says:

    Outrageous. I think it’s the trips to the Winter Olympics and the Miss Universe pageant I find the most shocking. How could anyone even attempt to justify those trips?

    • Businessman says:

      I agree that there are excesses and these 2 you point out are clear ones.

      On the big picture however, the overall number is not that high given what we had to deal with (OECD, US, Debt issues, etc)

      Personally 20k a month sounds even low if we were really doing what we should be doing, the issue is not the number but what are we doing. The winter olympics or the beauty pageant is obscene wtih the issues that we have at home. The Premier going to meetings with technocrats instead of ministers or heads of state is also inapropiate, he should delegate more.