Bodden Town representative and Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton bankrolled more than half of the People’s Progressive Movement political party’s campaign, donating a reported $183,000 during the six weeks from nomination day to election day, campaign finance records show.
The Progressives also outspent the United Democratic Party by more than $100,000 in the final weeks of the campaign, according to the reports that – by law – only have to cover the period between the candidates’ official nomination [27 March] and the election [22 May].
Campaign finance statements submitted by the UDP did not list specific donors who spent more than $5,000 during the period, other than listing two Bodden Town candidates. UDP candidate Theresa Pitcairn donated $10,000 of her own money during the six-week period and UDP hopeful Chris Saunders donated $6,000, both on failed election bids.
For the other districts, UDP expense reports list only “West Bay – $8,000”, “George Town – $31,600” and “National – $45,352.33” without identifying specific individual or corporate donors that gave more than $5,000.
UPD chairwoman Tessa Bodden said those donations were made by the party’s candidates in each district and that it was impossible to determine who spent what amount precisely.
The Progressives report lists 10 people or companies that gave $5,000 or more in either cash or in kind goods and services to the party’s election effort. They were: Bodden Town legislator Anthony Eden [$10,960], Caribbean Marine Services [$10,000], George Town legislator Kurt Tibbetts [$10,000], Gene Thompson [$7,000], George Town legislator Joey Hew [$22,084], John McKenzie [$5,000], Ray and Jacqui Farrington [$5,000], Chris Johnson [$5,000], Robert Watler [$8,200] and Wayne Panton [$183,000].
Those 10 donors made up more than 80 per cent of the revenue listed for the campaign period by the Progressives.
In total, the Progressives spent $336,808 during the last six weeks of the campaign, for an average of $22,454 per candidate. The UDP spent $225,326.37 among 12 candidates, for an average of $18,777 per candidate.
Campaign records also gave some insight into how the two major parties spent their cash. They reveal a marked difference in strategy, perhaps it could be summarised as a UDP ground battle versus a PPM aerial war.
The Progressives party spent nearly half its available cash on TV, radio and newspaper advertising. The UDP spent 19 per cent of its available funds on radio and TV advertising.
Meanwhile, the UDP spent a bit more on public meetings and printed materials [billboards, posters, flyers, etc]. Those accounted for 51 per cent of the party’s total spend. The Progressives’ spending on those items totalled only 43 per cent of that party’s available funds.
Cayman Islands Elections Law does not require any financial reporting for political campaigns outside of the six-week period between nomination and election days.
Two other political “parties” were listed on the campaign finance report by the Elections Office, the Coalition for Cayman and the People’s National Alliance.
However, columns for revenues and expenses on the report were left blank for both groups, who stressed during the campaign that they were not political parties.
Elections Office officials advised that any blank columns on the report indicated that no campaign finance statements had been submitted.
Instead of listing as parties, the candidates in each group reported individually how much they spent on the campaign and how much revenue they took in. The biggest spender during the six-week period for the coalition was lawmaker Winston Connolly at just under $30,000. The lowest-spending coalition candidate was Jacqueline Haynes, who forked over less than $23,000 on campaign expenses.
Of the People’s National Alliance candidates, West Bayers Cline Glidden, Jr. and Rolston Anglin spent most at just above $29,000. Now-Speaker of the House Juliana O’Connor-Connolly spent the least during the period at $14,223.
Seventeen other completely unaffiliated independent candidates ran in the May election, 10 of whom were not listed as having filed a finance report for the period. Those who did file included big spenders Stefan Baraud [$34,375.52] and Derrington “Bo” Miller [$35,568.20]. Both men were unsuccessful in the election.