Mac denies politics of grants

| 25/11/2013

(CNS): The opposition leader has condemned Premier Alden McLaughlin for calling out and identifying students who received scholarship grants from his controversial Nation Building Fund and denied that they were awarded on the basis of partisanship. McKeeva Bush said that he may have known some of the students’ families but there was a committee composed of civil servants, including a nation building scholarship coordinator, which approved the money, and all of those who received the grants were deserving students. He admitted that some students were paid more but said that was because they were attending specialist schools.

“Scholarships were never granted by the committee on political partisanship,” Bush told CNS following the revelations in the Legislative Assembly last week that some students had received more than three times the usual government scholarship annual amount and that money had gone to the children of UDP supporters.

“I don't know everyone who is UDP, PPM, C4C or any other political leaning. As a politician I have never operated in that way. That’s why I've been able to have support from across all spectrums to win eight consecutive terms and because I choose to help any and everyone who needs any assistance I can give.

"But I do know that scholarships were granted to very deserving students. I do know some families but … I will never divulge who they are. I have never done that and never will, as our students don't deserve that.”

Bush said there was no need for Alden McLaughlin to call anyone’s name. He said that making him (Bush) look bad was one thing but he should leave the students and their parents alone.

“The aim of the nation building scholarship was to ensure that students who are extra capable in the arts, sports or academics got a chance to progress. They could never do that with the Education Council grant of $20,000,” he said. “Surely you would not expect that a student going to the UCCI would receive the same amount as a student going to Miami Dade community college or other community college?”

He said students going to a community college would not get the same amount granted as a student who had the academic ability to get into Ivy League universities or to attend a school specialising in music and sport education and development.

“Naturally, some student received more help than others and more than the Education Council grant,” he said, justifying the large amounts given to a small group of students.

“That is what the nation building scholarship was designed to do. I'm proud that we could offer some help to the student and their families because every child should be given the opportunity to excel in their chosen career with their God given talent and abilities. Then come home and help build the country. That's a piece of the path to nation building,” Bush added.

During the Strategic Policy Statement debate last week, McLaughlin said that several grants of around $70,000 had been given and threatened to reveal the list of names, suggesting they were UDP supporters. However, it is understood that despite saying he intended to reveal the details, the premier stopped short of tabling the list of names. He did, however, indicate that one of the largest grants went to the daughter of Bush's political assistant when he was premier.

The government has now sought to regularise all the grants under the fund and at the start of the 2014/15 academic year the scholarships will be cut to be in line with all government scholarships. The grants to students not attending an institution or where they have failed to maintain the necessary grades will be stopped.

During the House meeting Bush took aim at McLaughlin for cutting the grants as he accused him of denying Caymanian students the opportunity of a decent education. As a result, the premier hit back and revealed more details on the controversial grants and challenged Bush to disprove the facts and show that he did not have a direct political hand in every grant.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    For once I have to agree with Mac in that the Civil Servants who made up the committee that dished out these funds are the ones to be held accountable!  It is about time that civil service be called out and exposed if they are doing wrong!  The next time that I read Franz's pleas for the 3.2% pay increase to be reinstated I'm going to puke!! What a nerve.

  2. Anonymous says:

    what i can't quite fathom is this… if the school didn't exist then who was the heque made out to?! I know that Governments can be dumb at times but please don't tell me they were handing out cheques in the names of the "Scholorship" recipient?!

  3. anonymous says:

    Did the money really go to the learning institutions? I see the parents of these children living the high life, driving new Audi car, taking trips every weekend, to every exotic places, dining out at expensive restaurants and always had money in hand. Did the money really go to these schools? Someone better start the investigations of where the money really went to.  These were not poor children, they are of parents that have money and could had well afford these tuition. They are other poor children with better skills that should had been awarded this funding.  Let Mr. Bush pay back every wasted cent of the Nation Building funds. XXXX. I believe he did not know that he had to calculate $71,000 times 3 or 4 years? This was not a 1 off payment, but a payment to cover the 4 years and might I remind you, I know of one of them being in High School and not college. Therefore, that same student will be coming back for College funding too.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I thought it was a Right to go away to school if the kid was accepted.

    Why should the parents pay.

    Thats Governments Job.

    That said its turns my stomache that people have this mentailty

    As they drive there  mercedes and fancy sports cars and live in 4000sqft McMansions

    I know of one man that makes 250k year and yet his kid gets the free ride from Govt

    And I know another with 4 homes taking the free ride

    That Said alot of the kids have participated in academic violations to get into the schools they are in with collusion from the local school board

    And for the most part I dont blame anyone of them.

    Anything to get away from here at least they get to experience the real world

    • SSM345 says:

      09:15, newsflash, once you are rich, people give you everything in the hope that you remebr them and throw a crumb form the table. Thats how the rich stay rich and the poor man do him ting.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Wow, I did not realise that places like the Unversity of Miami was a "specialist school". I wonder if they know this amazing fact. What I do know is that such places incur significant costs.I think that having a fixed amount for every student is great. It makes the student responsible, firstly for making a scensible choice in school selection, budgeting to get the best for their funds, maintaining their grades to qualify for the funds in the next year (several fell foul of this for the current academic year), understanding that they or the surity must repay the funds if they drop out. All good training for the real world. I am fairly sure that none of this happened under the NBF.

  6. Anonymous says:

    All can be said is that this a moral, ethical and human disgrace. Why not just spread the NBF all over- get Curwell a haircut and some clothes, get Rudy a bicycle with rubber on the wheels, preserve Sam Puck-Puck boat as a national treasure, and last but not least get a mate for the donkey at Pedro St. James. That's spreading th NBF to nation builders. LOL

  7. Anonymous says:

    Has anybody ever heard Mac say that he was wrong?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes! I thought I heard him say it once, however I was about 2 miles away and could myself be mistaken.

      • Anonymous says:

        What he actually said was that the PPM and Ezzard and the Auditor General and the Police Chief and the Governor and the UK and Brian Tomlinson and all those guys that got kicked off the Port Authority Board and CNS and the FOI and all those folks that accused him of wrongly giving his church 2 million of someone else's money and all those folks that continue to accuse him of buying wotes with scholarships and fridges and permanent residency and nation building and touring the globe fruitlessly and in grand style and giving cohen half a million and giving our birthright to dart … and Richard, were wrong.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Mac is the Spin Master! "He admitted that some students were paid more but said that was because they were attending specialist schools." Since Mac don't want to name the students, tell us the names of these specialist schools so we can all sit down and shut up! He said "That’s why I've been able to have support from across all spectrums to win eight consecutive terms". No Mac, it is not like the whole island supported and elected you. The few WBayers with blinders on consistently follow the piper. That is also why you don't want "one man, one vote". "He said thatmaking him (Bush) look bad was one thing but he should leave the students and their parents alone". You dragged the students and their parents into this mess Mr. Bush so unfortunately they are collateral damage in exposing you. Sad but sometimes it happens that way. Come on, do you really want us to believe that those parents were really innocent, they had to know something was up when they approached you directly in the first place rather than going through the normal channel of the Education Council and for those who did go through the Education Council and was denied but suddenly Mac saves them and not only gives their kid scholarships but sometimes 3x more than they would have received from Education Council. We all have instinct and we know in our gut when something is not above board, some choose to recognize it and walk away, others choose to turn a blind eye and take the money. He said “Surely you would not expect that a student going to the UCCI would receive the same amount as a student going to Miami Dade community college or other community college?” Certainly I would not, I also would not expect that a student going to Miami Dade Community college would also get more than a student attending University of Miami and got their scholarship (20K) from Education Council. Not calling names Mr. Bush, just calling a spade a spade. "He said students going to a community college would not get the same amount granted as a student who had the academic ability to get into Ivy League universities or to attend a school specialising in music and sport education and development." Please name these Ivy League universities and specialist schools that these students are attending so that we, as tax paying citizens can be satisfied that our money was allocated without "political partisanship". Mr. Bush, I agree in assisting young Caymanians to excel and achieve their greatest potential but your words just don't ring true. I guarantee you that any student that was accepted to an Ivy League University, the Ernst and Youngs, Deloittes, Butterfields, Darts of Cayman would be more than happy to give that child a scholarship. How did it turn out that only a small amount of students were given these scholarships? Did all of those awarded get accepted to an Ivy League university or specialist school? Isn't it something that all the students who were awarded a scholarship from the NBF were part of or supporters of the UDP, whether you claim to know them personally or not. You said "there was a committee composed of civil servants, including a nation building scholarship coordinator" but who were those civil servants Mr. Busg, who was the NBF coordinator? The ultimate decision was with you so please don't insult us by trying to make us believe that this was all above board. and was fairly distributed.

    • ThIs WrItInG Is VeRy IrRiTaTiNg says:

      I am guessing that his objection to having his email and phone monitored by the police is somehow related to the these scholarship issues.  Perhaps there were some emails instructing the "committee" to grant scholarships to certain people that he does not want to come to light.  If money was given to students to attend schools that don't exist someone needs to be held accountable and brought to justice.  I hope the police are looking into to this in addition to all of the other things Mac did when he was in charge.  

      • Anonymous says:

        I heard (from someone who was directly asked) that certain "connections" we invited to take these grants, rather than asking for them? 

  9. Anonymous says:

    More than 25 years ago I received a government schoolarship to attend university. My name was published in the local paper with details of the university that I would be attending and the course of studies that I would pursue.

    It was an honour and privilege, and it gave the local community an opportunity to congratulate me and all of the others who received government scholarships that same year.

    The fact that none of the Nation Building scholars want to be identified, but are hanging their collective heads in shame tells you everything you need to know about McKeeva's program.

    • Anonymous says:


      I dont think you are correct in saying the students dont want their names published.

      They are extremely grateful to this country for assisting them with a  higher education,and we should all be proud of them. What am I saying here! I forgot we as caymanians we are eager to tear our own down.

      You would never see comments like these in any other country, where they big up their own.Thats one thing the Jacans have over us, they are proud of their achievments.

      Maybe the reason this wont get published is, that  there are many PPM supporters that are on this list of recipients.

  10. Anonymous says:

    A blame the civil servants trick!!! now you see why he tried to control who gets the key positions in the service- but not anymore Mac!

  11. Anonymous says:

    I must say that I did not support the churches getting all these monies, however that was mostly julies baby. However I am in total agreement with Mack helping the students. Afew thousands cannot help these students per annum. I do believe that some of you are in the yesterday years when one thousand dollars meant what one hundred thousand is today. Wake up Caymanians and stop the kid stuff its time to put Mack aside now. Ispent everything that I had to send my child to University. There are some parents who dosent have a dime to send theirs. I thought that it would kind of me to give my childs space to some child who mdid not have parents that could afford to send theirs, and you know what it was was worth it as my child can now compete with any expat or Caymanian. Mack has his heart in the right place, so please stop the stupidness.

    • Anonymous says:

      Kindly ask the child you sent to university to proof read your next post before hitting the "Save" button.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps the disgraceful minister fro West Bay could tell us who this "nation building scholarship coordinator" (just a moment while I chuckle) is. Or is that shrouded in secrecy as nation building security? Snort. 

  13. Anonymous says:

    Have things really changed that much? 

    Granted, I went to university about 20 years ago, but back then I was able to go for free on a combination of academic and athletic scholerships from the university?  Is he saying universities now charge extra for that? 

  14. Anonymous says:

    There's no way that Alden can take away these NBF Scholarships unless he wants a very big lawsuit on the Gov, students signed contracts will entail that they will receive this scholarship for the duration of theur schooling. So I dare you premier to try and take away what these students have deservingly been granted.  

    • SSM345 says:

      16:39, you are an absolute genius! Are you one of these recipients? Hope you aren't studying law, because a thief can't sue for recovery of money they have stolen or for breach of contract when they are the ones that have breached it by committing fraud, dishonesty, illegal gain etc.

      Mac, the Board, the parents and the kids all know full well what they were doing and have done, they were committing an offence called theft and another known as  fraud.

      You ever got a scholarship before? The paperwork involved is mountainous. A kid going for a scholarship knows the max they are allowed to apply for in the first instance, so when their Uncle Mac gets them over 3 times said maxiumum amount, they say nothing and use the funds, they have "walked the plank". The parents as co-signers committed fraud.

      As someone previously stated, when a Caymanian was awarded a scholarship back in the day, it was printed in the Compass, with full disclosure on all the details and it came with a sense of pride for those recipients. Complete silence on these guys though, I wonder why…….? Oops I almost forgot, they f**king stole our money.

      Bet my left nut that these people all go to Uncle Mac's church.

      • ThIs WrItInG Is VeRy IrRiTaTiNg says:

        I'm sure all of this information is FOIable if people want to know the details

  15. Anonymous says:

    All you need to do is compare the list of agents/officers and in particular nominating persons for Mac & Co. in the general election to those whose children have received the highest scholarships from the Nation Building Fund. Add in the people who have received other "settlements" and the answer is very clear.


    • Anonymous says:

      I wish you sheep-minded "Mac" supporters will leave Alden alone.  Support him.  He and his government is the real reason why the UK has not started direct rule on us.  McKeeva got a big kick out of ridiculing the British, since he had already believed in his uneducatedmind that between his XXXX he was already the new prime minister of the Cayman Islands.  I wonder if he has removed the big sign from over his gate proclaiming him as the Premier.  I hope his charges go to court soon and he gets the sentence he deserves.  He is a disgrace to our government and our real Premier is like a breath of fresh air after the ranting and ravings of the WB XXXX.   

      • Anonymous says:

        Did you really mean this as a reply to the post your comment is beneath? If you think that poster is a Mac supporter, you can't read.

  16. Anonymous says:

    There is nothing wrong with giving out scholarship to deserving children to better themselves and better the country.  The names should not be revealed – that is completely irrelevant.

    BUT if only one student received a scholarship for $70,000 instead of several at $20,000 – then the children of Cayman were robbed.  

    How many $70,000 scholarships were there?  

    Let's do the math:  5 @ $70,000 = $350,000 which could have been 17 @ $20,000 = $340,000

    The 12 Caymanian children that were left behind are the ones that suffer. 




    • Anonymous says:

      Very good point. However, if these same students also have other siblings who got the most expensive NBF scholarships instead of applying for the regular $20K scholarship (which is taken away if certain grades aren't met) and their parents also received "settlements" from the NBF and they live in a 1.5 million dollar house in a gated community, that is UDP building, not Nation Building!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Sorry Mac…I don't believe your excuses.

    Clearly "the board" was selected / approved by yourself as those you could "wuk wit"!

    Congrats Mr. Mclaughlin on moving ALL scholaship grants back to one body…the Ministry of Education.

    And please scrap this entire Nation Building Fund excuse for a Slush Fund for one person to hand out at will.

    "Power currupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely"!

  18. Anonymous says:

    In the real world, that means outside of the Cayman Islands, when you get a grant, it is because you are from a low income family that can't afford to send you to higher education. And there is nothing to be ashamed of/no reason to keep it a secret.

    When you get a scholarship, it is because of your very good grades or because you excel in a particular subject. Most scholarships and grants are competitive and you must qualify as there are standards to meet. You go through an application process which proves that you are a deserving candidate. You must qualify and it's not a secret as there is nothing to be ashamed of/no reason to keep it a secret. You don't normally get them because of who you know.

    AND IT'S NOT A SECRET!!! Because there is NO REASON for it to be a secret. In fact, usually, people in the US are proud that they have gone through the process, been vetted and selected since not everyone will be successful. It's a good thing, not a secret thing. It means that you are good enough, smart enough, you are motivated and you will make the most of it.

    And did I say you must qualify? You must qualify. Also, it's not a secret thing.


  19. Anonymous says:

    Oh come on McKeeva! Do you think anybody believes that "clean hands pure heart" stuff any more?

  20. Bayah says:

    Politricks as usual!  Why is anyone surprised?

  21. Weapons Grade Bollocks says:

    We need a national electionrecall provision whereby a member in one district can be removed from office by the electorate as a whole.

    Otherwise we will always be afflicted with scumbag deadbeat politicians from rotten boroughs.

    • Anonymous says:

      You need to think that through. OK so he is removed by the electorate as a whole and a by- election is called. Don't you think that the same district electorate would vote the culprit back in? 

    • Anonymous says:

      We dont have boroughs, only districts. Didnt you notice know it all?

  22. Anonymous says:

    “I don't know everyone who is UDP, PPM, C4C or any other political leaning. As a politician I have never operated in that way. That’s why I've been able to have support from across all spectrums to win eight consecutive terms and because I choose to help any and everyone who needs any assistance I can give"… there's a wide political spectrum in the UDP stronghold of West Bay?! News to me…

  23. Anonymous says:

    See McKeeva has spoken and has done nothing wrong. It is these English lovers who are out to get McKeeva for standing up for the rights of Caymanians.

    Unless McKeeva is not telling the entire truth.

    • Anonymous says:

      There was no comment regarding schools and colleges that did not exist I notice!  Seriously, I'd love someone to investigate just how much of the grant money given, actually went to the cause it was given for.

  24. Anonymous says:

    And all I ever hear about when the topic of unemployment comes up is how there aren't enough opportunities for Caymanians coming out of school. 



  25. Knot S Smart says:

    It wasnt me..

    Was dem bad civil servants…

  26. Anonymous says:

    C'Mon Man everything in this island is about politics 


  27. Anonymous says:

    Dear PPM

    Scrap the NBF and set proper guidelines so scholarships for academics and arts can be vetted and awarded to deserving individuals.

    Take the politics out of scholarships and education and build Cayman for a better future instead of votes

  28. Anonymous says:

    Why are people surprised with this story? UDP and PPM do the same things when they are in power always have always will. It happens in politics especially with the parties look at Jamaica, Barbados, Bahamas, Bermuda, Turks and Caicos, Canada, USA, UK to name just a few.

    It is "Pot calling kettle black" while they all look out for their supporters with scholarship grants, board appointments, contracts, jobs in an attempt to reward campaign and party loyalty.


    • Anonymous says:

      i hear they call it Cayman kind

    • Anonymous says:

      You are so right! They all do the same thing and look after their party loyalty persons and ensure they get the best jobs, promotions etc.

    • Anonymous says:

      Everyone knows that is false. You cannot point to one single instance where the PPM has done anything that smells of corruption. And don't bother with the thumbs down and LOLs; put up or shut up. 

  29. Anonymous says:

    Let me guess his hands are clean & his heart is pure once again lmao! Gt voter

  30. EthicalDeedle says:

    I have been on my Facebook reading posts relating to this kind of stuff for awhile.

    I've seen pictures of the 'dorms' and the cars…I knew something was wrong. 

    I, just like many other people are here who would love to go to further our education, unfortunately, we can't. There's no more funds. Why? It's all been given to Bush's supporters, and their kids- basically to do as they please. 

    Alden, please release the names…I know of 2 or 3 that are on my FB page…bet they are gonna post some crap like "leave them alone…at least they are getting an education" 

    Probably even tell us, we're JEALOUS.

    Can I request an FOI??

    • Anonymous says:

      Don't forget certain relatives having birthday parties at the infamous Ritz condo and bragging about it. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes you can request a FOI.  Please share the results with us all here on CNS.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Alden is an idiot.  First, he's amending laws to give "deserving" expats more rights in Cayman, yet he's not in favour of Mac providing grants to deserving Caymanians!

    Cayman! There are all examples of why we're in this mess today; we're always promoting the expats and dragging down the Caymanians!  

    The US gives their students education grants……some more than others! 

    • Anonymous says:

      Hey 9:42

      Yes they do, BUT!!!! You must qualify, there are standards, you go through an application process, you must must qualify and it's not a SECRET!!! You don't get them because of who you know.

      You can get them because you are from a low income family but you also must have the grades to deserve it. You must qualify.

      AND IT'S NOT A SECRET!!! Because there is NO REASON for it to be a secret. In fact, usually, people in the US are proud that they have gone through and been vetted. It's a good thing, not a secret thing. It means that you are good enough, smart enough, you are motivated and you will make the most of it.

      And did I say you must qualify? You must qualify.

      Idiot… I think you are.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don't know how anyone could accuse the PPM of being pro expat. In fact, its their achilles' heal. 

    • Anonymous 2 says:

      Dear Anonymous 09:42,      

      U B D idiot.

      Sincerely,                                                                                                                            Anonymous 2                                                                                                            



    • Anonymous says:

      YOU ARE THE IDIOT! Three students could be getting scholarships that McKeeva has given to ONE of his family or friends! If he was truly looking out for Caymanians and not looking out for his family & friends, he could have helped THREE times the amount of students than the ones he did. In giving THREE TIMES the amount than a regular Scholarship provides to his family & supporters children, he has stopped TWO other students from getting Scholrships and those that he has denied an opportunity of a scholarship, may be in more need than the "favours" he has granted to the children of friends & family! So please "Idiot", pull your head out, but maybe you are family to one of McKeevas chosen few!


    • Anny Omis says:

      What you talkin’ bout? Alden is and has always been honest and genuinely concerned for the welfare of this country and its ‘Caymanian’ people. But when it comes to expats he is over the top xenaphobic, and borderline punitive in his policies. That is why so many in business were leary to elect him.

      Having a vibrant and thriving expat community boosts the local economy. It means more money for you and yours. More rental units occupied, more products purchased, more dollars flowing.

      As to US govt. giving scholorships, good luck with that one. The US backs student loans, which must be repayed, but Federal govt. scholorships are few and far between.

      • Anonymous says:

        One minute Alden is said to be pro-expat and anti-Caymanian, and the next he is said to be anti-expat and pro-Caymanian. It sounds like he is evenly balanced then.   

  32. Anonymous says:

    The names should be revealed.

  33. Anonymous says:

    I would love Mac to be asked to name the Ivy League universities. . . . how many to you reckon he wouold get?

  34. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if his holiness can explain why he gave his church two million of the utility bills that we have grown calluses trying to pay every month?

  35. Anonymous says:

    What a crock!

  36. Anonymous says:

    Er, why can't we know who was given our money?