Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital founder Dr. Steve Tomlinson contributed more than $194,000 to 10 political candidates during the final eight weeks of Cayman’s 2017 general election campaign, according to Elections Office records examined by the Cayman Compass.

Dr. Tomlinson handed out almost as much in contributions as the entire Cayman Democratic Party spent between Nomination Day on March 29 and Election Day on May 24. The CDP listed $232.461.34 in expenses during that period.

The Progressives party outspent both, with expenses totaling more than $509,000 during the same period. The Progressives listed a number of donors who gave “above $5,000” in the last eight weeks of the campaign, including its own candidates Wayne Panton and Maxine Bodden, who contributed a combined $171,667. Mr. Panton gave just under $112,000 and Ms. Bodden gave $60,000. Both were unsuccessful in the election.

The contributions made to a political campaign do not indicate that the money was all spent by the candidates or the parties. In some cases, the candidates had money left over after election day, and in other cases they had a deficit.

However, the contributions listed give some idea of which individuals or businesses were backing candidates.

Any contributions and expenses made before March 29, 2017 are not reported in the campaign finance records. The reports must be delivered to the supervisor of elections 35 days after the general election, when they are made available to the public.

Although Dr. Tomlinson said many times that he was backing various independent candidates in the run-up to the general election, he did not state who all of them were when asked by the Cayman Compass.

Campaign finance records show that Dr. Tomlinson gave contributions to 10 candidates, all of whom stated they were running as independents: Ellio Solomon ($30,000), Catherine Tyson ($25,000), Burns Rankin ($25,000, in three separate contributions), Raul Gonzalez ($20,000), Kenrick Webster ($20,000), Kenneth Bryan ($20,000), Arnold Berry ($20,000), Sarah Orrett ($12,623.12), Laura Young ($12,000) and Austin Harris ($10,000).

Only Mr. Harris in Prospect and Mr. Bryan in George Town Central won seats.

Dr. Tomlinson may have made additional contributions to candidates outside the reporting period between Nomination Day and Election Day, but those contributions would not have to have been reported in the campaign finance forms filed with the Elections Office.

Progressives

In addition to Mr. Panton and Ms. Bodden’s contributions, the Progressives received money from other candidates or former candidates.

Those contributions included sums from Premier Alden McLaughlin ($20,000), Minister Joey Hew ($10,000), former Minister Kurt Tibbetts ($9,000), Minister Roy McTaggart ($20,000) and Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell ($25,000).

A number of other contributors to the Progressives included Watler’s Metal Products ($5,000), A. L. Thompson’s ($5,000), The Security Centre ($5,000), Kirk Freeport ($10,000), Brook Investments ($10,000), JT Holdings ($5,000), L7 Holdings ($5,000), Consulting Services Ltd. ($20,813) and Rafiki Ltd. ($5,417).

All of the contributions reported involve donations of $5,000 or more. Political candidates and parties are not required to report campaign contributions of less than that, although some do.

The Progressives spent most of its money – $413,060 – on advertising, including newsprint, radio, television and internet ads, including $134,159 on political rallies and events. Other expenses went to campaign staff salaries and office expenses.

Unlike the other candidates and parties, the Progressives did not report individual candidate expenses. By law, no candidate can spend more than $40,000 between Nomination Day and Election Day.

The Elections Office indicated the Progressives made a “party submission for 15 candidates.”

The CDP

The Cayman Democratic Party, which ran 11 candidates in the general election, did not file an overall party campaign report, but listed the specifics of its spending in each candidate’s individual filing.

Individual CDP candidates reported receiving between $10,000 and $29,000 in contributions during the reporting period. If the contributions were worth less than $5,000, they generally were not reported.

CDP party leader McKeeva Bush reported receiving $25,000 of his more than $29,000 in contributions from Radsk Ltd. CDP candidate John Jefferson Jr. reported a $5,000 donation from Junk Ltd. and another $1,000 from Crighton Properties.

Candidates’ disclosures regarding financing varied widely.

For instance, some candidates, like George Town South’s Alric Lindsay, stated that they funded their own campaign entirely out of pocket. Others, like East End’s John McLean Jr., submitted detailed letters from their contributors indicating how much money was received and when it was paid. Mr. McLean received $30,000 in three tranches from Oasis Land Development.

Other candidates reported receiving “donations,” but did not specify the source of the funds or whether they were paying their own expenses.

Little transparency

A group of international elections observers who stayed in Cayman during the week the general election was held determined there was limited transparency here in revealing who paid for a politician’s campaign and how much they paid.

“The transparency of campaign finances was limited as there are no requirements for contestants to submit, or for the authorities to audit or publish, reports on expenditure before [election] day,” the preliminary report of the elections observers states.

Commonwealth observers’ head of mission Steve Rodan said the group had received some complaints from residents that this allowed political parties to “pay in advance” for campaign-related expenses or services they received between Nomination Day and Election Day.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Although there seemed much vote buying among named candidates this election, what I saw was that no matter how much money was paid out; people just wanted a change. I followed the actions of all MLA’s and Ministers from four years ago up to voting time this year; and to see the outcome , I was not surprised. At least 75% of representatives, more in ministerial positions, had just turned back on their people in general. The poor was being robbed so that the rich could survive. Ministers insulted people, looked down their nose on the ordinary man on the street and behaved in a way that was down right disgusting.
    Would not have anyone take phone calls, would not set up a district council office, Ran a MLA office on if you belong to another group beside the elite; then you get on the back burner. It was sad, sorrowful, sickening, and anything begin with an S that spelt disaster for the people of Cayman.
    Check out what and how the government departments were handled. There was so much to complain about on talk shows that people eventually felt there too, they were only paying lip service.
    Work permits got out of hand, resident applications climbed the wall while others prepared to sue the government for what they called “Their rights” Ever heard such a ting in your life.
    The question was who was allowing these things to happen. I am sure we all know, but how many of us are brave heart to say so.
    Some moneys in some districts were spent on pure foolishness, which we can now see it was wasted cash. Some held unto the money like Uncle Scrooge, just for the sake of having to say we saving, while our people were dying and could not buy food, get job, pay bills and loosing their homes. Many people do this same thing, save up money while the doctor is telling them they are terminally ill. The economy was left to rot, while could only talk about saving money.
    Ok now we have a new Government, and “TOWN TALK” is that some Ministers is still interfering in the progress of New candidates. Leave them alone and let them do their job. Do not for one moment think that the people are not aware of private secret meetings held here there and every where, hoping for the down fall of the new government. Many Caymanian people fought the good fight, sacrificing family and friends for a change; so one of the things I am looking forward to is to having that sacrifice honored. The people of Cayman wants representatives who are going to be there for its people and not sell us out for money and power, and I truly believe those who were voted out last election should start looking for another job, when you remarry the same person, it does not work.

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