Churches get $600K in 2013

| 22/04/2013

(CNS):  Although the government faced with one of its toughest budgets ever and had to increase taxes to produce a surplus budget under significant pressure, more than CI$604,000 was given to 11 churches during this financial year from the controversial Nation Building Fund. Despite the return of $50,000 from Hillside Chapel in Cayman Brac and the promised return of $100,000 from Red Bay Church of God, more than $450,000 was still given out for various programmes and projects to local churches, some of which have received previous grants in dramatically different amounts and all of which were directly approved by the premier.

The list of churches benefitting from the fund this year was released after a freedom of information request by CNS, made following an announcement by the current premier, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, during election season about a donation from the fund for the church she attends. According to the list, at least one church has had a second donation this year.

The Church of God in Frank Sound received $100,000 in this financial year, having already received $50,000 in the previous hand-out from the fund during 2011/12 for construction work at the church site. The grant amounts vary greatly, with some receiving less than $10,000 while others have received multiple grants since the fund was created, amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The reasons for the grants are also diverse, from the cost of repairs for property damaged in hurricanes to the purchase of buses, while the First Assembly of God received cash for its Singing Christmas Tree during this year’s annual holiday celebrations.

Since the controversial fund was established by former premier McKeeva Bush in the 2010 budget, some $10 million has been handed out to a variety of churches, charities, community projects and to students unable to get scholarships through the education ministry. In this financial year alone more than $0.4million has been handed out at what appears to be the sole discretion of the UDP leader. According to the current PNA Cabinet members, no committee was ever established to hand out the funds and each application was considered directly by Bush.

See the latest list of church grants below, and the list of previous NBF recipients.


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  1. Anonymous says:

    No Government should be giving money to Churches but the Churches who take the money should know better and should not have even entertained even the idea od taking the money.. Scripture is very clear on this matter.

  2. Anonymous says:

    How much was given to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?  His Noodly Appendages require support as well.  He only knows what would happen if the roof leaked and He got His Noodly Appendages soaking wet.  That could be a catastrophe!

  3. Anonymous says:

    How much was given to schools in an effort to ensure students are not going to school hungry?

  4. Anonymous says:

    It is easy to be generous with other peoples' money.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I am disgusted beyond belief.  I can not afford to pay my electric bill, or buy groceries because of all of the pig headed, "donkey faced" fees Mr. Bush and his minions have forced upon us,  all of the millions of dollars of wasted public funds to NOT build a dock, all of the businesses they have forced to close or driven from this Island with insane permit fee increases, and duty hikes.  What is especially disgusting is that many of these fees disproportionatly impact those least able to pay such as the fuel tax. YET they have 600K of OUR money to dole out at their personal whims???  Are you kidding me???  Mr. Bush and Miss Julie might be well advised to read some of those expensive, leather bound, history books lining their personal libraries that WE payed for, and turn to the page on on King George III's revenue enhancement measures, and how well that worked out for him.

  6. Anon says:

    This money could have been used to develop a public private partnership with institutions like Cayman LearningCentre or other established private tutoring centers on the island in every district to support our young Caymanians improve their literacy and mathematics skills.

    No more roofs and parking lots, let’s focus on core subject remediation programs for our children.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The Nation Building Fund is just the latest and most widely known example of this problem. You can get rid of the NBF and they'll just find another way to buy influence and favor. The real issue is the culture of dispensing public money without oversight and according to personal agendas. That is what needs to change and I don't believe any of the current MLAs have any intention of dealing with that underlying issue.

  8. Anonymous says:

    UDP and PNA MLAs all stood by hoping to benefit from this Nation Building Fund.  Voters should hold all of them accountable for this, not just Mac and Juliana.  

    I don't remember hearing Mark Scotland, John John, Mike Adam, Elio, Ralston, Capt. Eugene or CG denouncing this vote buying fund.  In fact, their silence is still deafening.

    • Anonymous9 says:

      How about all of the congregations of the churches getting hand outs?? ALL are as guilty as the MLA's that provided the funds.

      Ill-gotten gains!!!!! ALL should be ashamed!!!

      Think of what this money could have done for educating our youth!!


  9. Donkey Face says:

    Far from uniting the country, this "Nation Building Fund" has created a bigger divide and, in fact, appears to have had a negative result for the churches as even their own parishioners are up in arms – let alone those who sit on the religious fence.

    Seems to me the churches themselves have sold out the people…  The concept of 30 pieces of silver comes to mind…  How ironic…

  10. Anonymous says:

    Churches taking government money should only be eligible with a full independent set of audited accounts.

  11. Anonymous says:

    For such a small country there are way too many churches here. And the start for reasons of selfishness. For tge government to subsidize churches is an indication that they are poorly managed. What are they doing with the offering collected? Is that not supposed to be used for these types of activities? What happened to the church member completing these services? There needs to be accounting regulations on churches as they are supposed to be run as an organization.

  12. Peanuts says:

    Aa a Spritual person, the hypocrisy of those pretending to be "Christian" is disgusting. Adultery, Gambling, not to mention Prostitution that sourounds those who are trying to buy their in to what they belive will be everlasting life.

  13. Anonymous says:
    When it comes to bullshit, big-time, major league bullshit, you have to stand in awe of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims, religion. No contest. No contest. Religion. Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there's an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever 'til the end of time!
    But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money!George Carlin
  14. Anonymous says:

    God can create the earth, part the seas, and steer a hurricane. But to run an afterschool programme for children, that takesmoney!


  15. Anonymous says:

    I can't believe that Fellowship Baptist is getting even more money from government than what they received right after Paloma.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Nothing but a racket. The churches are having a field day with the public's money. It is a disgrace to listen to julie trying to justify giving money to her church. If she wants to make her own personal contribution to a church that would be fine, but leave the public's funds alone.


    • Anonymous says:

      Indeed, this has to be the most divisive issue in the whole election so far..the disgust is so great that I cannot see anyone voting for JOCC or Mac. It is a disgrace and the whole NBF should be investigated by the FCU.

      I hope all voters see this for what it really is and that they understand that they cannot vote for the instigators of such a corrupt fund nor the people who perpetuated it. And that JOCC keeps trying to justify it makes it even worse…give up woman, you have been seen for what you are!


      Now Cayman look really closely at what is left and choose from them.

      • Rrp says:

        Looks to me that sister islands have no choice based on bracers comments on cns. So jocc looks to be coming back paving, I mean clinching, one of the seats in may.

        I hope there are a lot of thumbs down on this post from sister island readers.

      • Anonymous says:

        Is it divisive though?

        I only see the thumbs going the same way

  17. Anonymous says:

    "Prayer works and God answers all prayers, as the Bible promises."


    "God can do anything and with him we can do anything."


    "But we need money to actually get anything done–just like everybody else."



    hmmmm. . .

  18. Diogenes says:

    The government has money to pay for a singing Christmas Tree but not to repair or replace its garbage trucks?  To pave a church parking lot, but not to provide meals for school kids whose parents cannot or will not feed them before school?  Where are the prioirties. 

    • Anonymous says:

      KYD$15,000 for the essential singing Christmas Tree.  Praise the Lord!

    • Anonymous says:

      "Where are the prioirties?"


      Five star travel budgets, vote buying, high salaries for well connected stooges, Joey's salary advances, drivers for the premier, gasboy cards ……….

  19. Anonymous says:

    caymanian churches know little of true christianity

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, (9:34) you are exactly right!


      True Christianity is not about climbing into bed with obviously corrupt politicians. The true church is not about trading the votes of sheep for money. True Christianity is an ancient fairy tale based upon human sacrifice and the worship of a magic zombie who wants his followers to eat his meat and drink his blood. Christianity is a beautiful belief system about a loving and forgiving god who condemns most people to eternal torture.

  20. Anonymous says:

    And yet children still go hungry in school, shameful

    • Anonymous says:

      Is is very shameful.  Can you imagine "Singing Christmas Tree"  Could'nt the Church put that on through their members tithes offerings.   I am sure they could have taken up an offering on the night of the event to cover any costs incurred. I did'nt go  but it would be curious to know if indeed an offering was taken- which would create a "double wammy" I wonder exactly how much actually went to the project.    I believe that the 2 Premiers have set back the work of God in these islands big time.  People who were skeptical of Churches now have a real reason.  God Help Us All.

  21. Anonymous says:

    CNS please find out what has happened to the Home Improvement Loans that where under McKeeva's control funded by Dart.  There was supposed to be another ghost committee considering the applications but the Ministry is not responding. The longer they are allowed to hide these slush funds the more money that is givin to those who are not in need.

  22. Anonymous says:

    The big question is "all of which were approved by WHICH premier"?

    • SSM345 says:

      09:03, can you read or do you read the news regularly? Mac approved but JuJu would have done / will do the exact same thing. It need not matter which.


      • Anonymous says:

        With a name like that I'm not surprised at your level of comprehension. The fact is we are only supposed to have ONE premier in this country. If juliana is acting on McKeeva's wishes or instructions as she claims to be then something is drastically wrong. If she is going down mckeeva's road by following her own wishes then something is still drastically wrong, but that is a different matter altogether.

    • Anonymous says:

      Paint them both with the same brush.  The one with tar on it, to be followed by a generous application of feathers.  That's about what they deserve.

    • Anonymous says:

      I cn't see that it much matters! They're as alike as two peas in a pod!

  23. Anonymous says:

    Government giving money to charitable organizations such as  churches is not a bad thing in itself. Unfortunately, in many cases, such as this one, the motive behind the giving is the real issue. In could be construed that the government's hidden agenda is for voters support from those churches.With the system of party politics in Cayman, and given the history of voter buying in particular the West Bay and Cayman Brac districts, one can't help but view with suspicion grants given by government. The real question that citizens must ask themselves is, Why do we keep voting for people whose motives cannot be trusted? If you can't trust them when they give, why trust them to run the country?

    • SSM345 says:

      08:52, that is why the church seperated from the state in just about every other country in the world that claims to be Christian some 500yrs ago, for precisely that reason, vote buying.

  24. Anonymous says:

    The Nation Building Fund has been nothing other than another of the UDP's many, many forms of Vote Buying.

    These Vote Buying activities are being done under the noses of the Election Office and the Anti Corruption Commission.

    One of the weakest ever excuses for not enforcing laws was by both the  Election Office and the Anti Corruption Commission was they are basically doing nothing becasue they have not had any reports of Vote Buying.

    There will not be reports of Vote Buying because nearly ALL of the politicians, candidates and their supporters are doing Vote Buying themselves.

    Do you believe that the preachers who are the handlers of the funds will report the Vote Buying to the Election Office and the Anti Corruption Commission?

    These preachers are the same preachers who want no accountability on the expending of church funds and they fought the Charities Law.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I am sure this would have gotten JGHS a little farther than it is now.

  26. UDP Truthalizer says:

    "Nation Building Fund" = "Vote Buying Fund"