Officials with the Cruise Port Referendum Cayman organisation said they have spent less than $12,000 so far in their campaign to stop the cruise berthing facility proposed for George Town Harbour.
The group said it was revealing its spending in response to statements by Premier Alden McLaughlin and Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell that CPR Cayman is well financed by wealthy backers, primarily those who operate tender boats that transport cruise passengers from anchored ships to shore.
Documents from the government show that it has spent more than $130,000 in advertising that supports the port project, as well as the equivalent of $87,000 in in-kind expenditure for ads on Radio Cayman. It currently is tendering bids for a campaign to educate and persuade voters on the port issue.
Owners of Caribbean Marine Services, Cayman’s largest tender operation, confirmed the company had not put any money into the anti-port campaign. General manager David Carmichael and Attlee Bodden, one of the owners, said they had not personally provided any money to CPR Cayman.
Another Caribbean Marine Services owner, Adrien Briggs, said that as a dive shop proprietor, he had contributed personal funds towards environmental organisation Save Cayman and to the referendum campaign. He said the total of those contributions was “less than $100,000”.
CPR members said they don’t release the names of individual donors. The largest single amount the campaign has received, they said, is $20,000.
The $12,000 the organisation has spent so far has gone for “radio, internet and cinema advertising costs”. The group did not provide any documentation to support the $12,000 figure.
In a strategy meeting last week, CPR member Katrina Jurn said the organisation was kicking off a fundraising campaign with the goal of raising $125,000. The money is expected to be spent mostly on advertising in various media.
- This article has been amended to correct David Carmichael’s position at Caribbean Marine Services