Premier gives breakdown on Dart funding

‘How can this be corruption?’

Some $5 million given to the Cayman Islands government following the signing of an agreement with the National Roads Authority to relocate a portion of West Bay Road through Grand Cayman’s main tourism district has been a source of nearly constant political uproar during the last few months.  

North Side MLA Ezzard Miller has filed a complaint with the territory’s Anti-Corruption Commission over it; opposition party members have raised concerns over money from the fund going toward some community projects in East End – at the request of Premier McKeeva Bush’s “preferred” candidate 
for the district.  

Last week, Premier Bush fired back at critics, listing most of what the funds were going toward including schools’ facilities construction, community programmes, housing repairs for the elderly and mortgage assistance for homeowners who are at least three months in arrears on their payment.  

“My mother told me there’s never a case of something for nothing,” Mr. Bush said Thursday night to a group of supporters in Bodden Town. “They can cuss Dart all they want. We are getting it and that is good for the people of these Islands and it’s all with zero 
debt for government. 

“Even if we could have borrowed, we can’t because the UK has told us ‘no’. That’s another of 
the PPM’s doing.”  

Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin said the funds for East End projects, provided at the request of John McLean Jr. and some others, “must be official corruption”. Mr. McLaughlin said it didn’t matter whether the funds went directly to Mr. McLean or not. Mr. Bush said that no cash was given directly to Mr. McLean.  

East End MLA Arden McLean, who defeated John McLean Jr. in the 2009 general elections, said the Dart projects funding amounted to the “country’s richest man buying votes”. Arden McLean has also questioned the premier’s figures on the budget deficit left by the People’s Progressive Movement government as it left office in 2009. The government’s reported figure on the operating deficit was $81 million, Arden McLean said he believed it was only $18 million.  

“That’s only because he can’t tell the difference between 18 and 81,” Mr. Bush said Thursday.  

“[Opposition lawmakers] claim that because we were able to secure this allocation of investment in education, social and community projects, that we are somehow being corrupt,” Mr. Bush said. “How can this be corruption? We told the public that Dart had agreed to make millions of dollars of investment for this community. It has been reviewed by the attorney general’s chambers and the Cabinet, where the deputy governor, the governor and the attorney general were present and they gave the go-ahead.  

“I’m not sure how much more transparent that could be. How can this be corruption?”  

The figures the premier provided for the $5 million in funding 
from Dart included:  

$2.5 million for mortgage assistance  

$200,000 for sports and youth programmes 

$600,000 for schools capital projects, namely Savannah and Bodden Town Primaries  

$650,000 for housing repairs for the elderly 

$250,000 to start a hospitality training school 

$200,000 for East End community projects  

$150,000 for Cayman Brac play field capital works  

The figures provided by Mr. Bush add up to about $4.5 million out of the $5 million from the Dart group of companies. He did not provide further specifics for the remaining $500,000 at Thursday’s public meeting in Bodden Town. 

McKeeva Bush

Mr. Bush
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10 COMMENTS

  1. Why would they be helping with mortgage assistance? So what the government is doing, is paying people who default on their loans. Good way to correct that behaviour.

    Oh sorry, DART is helping pay people who are defaulting on their loans.

    Why is it the governments business to help pay for people who are fiscally irresponsible?

    Another fact, that is quickly forgotten. Dart also paid the government salary for 4 months. To spell that out. Every government employee would not have gotten paid for 4 months, when the UDP took over 3 years ago. Because the PPM basically bankrupted the country.

    I dont’ know what else to call it. Government did not have the money to pay their employees. All of the government employees. For 4 months, until Britain stepped in.

    So who here can go 4 months without pay? Raise your hands.
    Ya….I thought so.

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  2. It is incredible that some politicians would suggest to their own people that they would be better off without things like this when it is so desperately needed. Surely they are not the ones who need assistance with their mortgage and have children that rely on public parks. The suggestion by one politician that he would burn down the park in his district that was donated by Dart just proves that these individuals would do whatever it take just to get into the premiers position even if it mean destroying public property and turning Caymanians against each other. Divide and conquer.

    All this foolishness does is make it easier to support Mac who in my opinion has been doing everything he can to bring money into the Country that won’t cost the people their shirts although I do not agreed with all of his choices (CHEC). When and if the PPM or an independent buffoon takes office it will be something to see what they do with the country, when they haven’t made one positive suggestion in this campaign of hatred. All I see from them is complaints and no recommendations, the whole dump thing in ridiculous. We obviously just can’t keep dumping garbage in the GT dump and no matter what district a new one goes in it there would be protests against it because that the norm in Cayman. The suggestion to the people the GT dump could be remediated mined and used for WTE at no cost to the Caymanian people is just downright ignorant and shows just how stupid they think people are suggesting a company like Wheelabrator would come to Cayman and cleanup the dump for free, I’ve even heard the rumor that it would produce free electricity.

    At the next political rally someone needs to ask the other guys what their plans are for Caymans issues. What they plan to do for the economy or the rising crime or the dump and how it will be paid for…

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  3. 2.5 million for mortgage assistance
    Let’s see. Using numbers (as if Mac does), that means the following:
    Assuming 3 months mean the banks are coming after you, and an average mortgage payment of 1,200 (which is about right for a 185,000 mortgage), then that means Mac helped 694 families. Really, there were THAT MANY people behind that needed help. FOI how many families got this, and I bet you will find they own houses of 200,000 which means they should have had a decent income to even qualify.

    So Mr. Mac, how many families did you help? Let’s figure out the average family here? Only in Cayman…h

    Heck, he even could have paid off the 200,000 mortgage for 10 families.

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  4. @ big bird – Just because someone loses their home, does not mean they were fiscally irresponsible – that is a narrow way to judge people. I can give you diverse stories on the way people have lost their homes and it had nothing to do with them being irresponsible.

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  5. It is sad that a non elected member has to seek support and assistance for his district while the elected member choose to seek power.

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  6. This is another case of Cayman becoming a nanny state. I understand the Premier’s train of thought on providing this assistance. Thankfully for the government Dart was there to give the money.

    Fiscal responsibility is paramount in running a country. I understand helping the elderly, and working with the schools. But, shouldn’t 2.5million dollars have gone to the schools rather than the financially irresponsible. This is what I am talking about, Caymanians have become so dependent on government that this reporting is considered acceptable.

    What brings income to the island? The economy. So why was none of that money invested in small businesses? Why money put to advertising campaigns to bring tourists? Instead 5million dollars of donated funds went to the likes out lined by the Premier.

    It is also interesting to note that this happened coming into an election year….

    The government needs to become fiscally conservative and stop the nanny that its rapidly becoming! This is ridiculous.

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  7. I am more troubled by the millions in deferred customs duty owed (and possibly now lost) in relation to the hotel project, but I completely understand why people also have questions about these handouts and who is actually benefiting other than politicians. If the money will come back with interest then fine. If this is vote buying then it is not OK.

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