Police clear premier of vote-buying allegation

Police: No offence committed by McLaughlin's tourism stipend comment

Premier Alden McLaughlin has been cleared of vote buying allegations levelled against him, police have confirmed.

“We have determined that the concerns relating to statements made by Red Bay candidate, the Hon. Alden McLaughlin, do not amount to any breach of the Elections Act 2021,” Chief Inspector Patrick Beersingh said in an emailed response to queries from the Cayman Compass on Wednesday.

Beersingh, who heads up the special police unit designated to investigate election offences, said the determination on the matter was made “after careful consideration”.

The complaint relates to McLaughlin’s promise to increase the current tourism stipend if re-elected.

Premier Alden McLaughlin speaking at the Progressives Alliance manifesto launch last month. Photo: Reshma Ragoonath

In his statement on Wednesday, Beersingh indicated that “a public undertaking by a political candidate, as to how public funds may be deployed in the event of their election, is not intended to be captured as an offence under the Elections Act”.

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McLaughlin, in a comment to the Compass on this latest development, said he was not surprised by the decision.

“As I’ve said before, these baseless allegations of wrongdoing by my administration and myself are the last resort of the desperate who know they are losing. Their efforts would be better spent explaining to voters how they would form a government, who would be the Premier and what their plans are to reopen our borders safely and to rebuild the economy.  That’s what voters need to know,” he said.

No action will be taken in relation to the report that was made to police.

“While we do not condone spurious allegations and will investigate false complaints, in this case the matter amounted to information provided to the police, since no virtual complainant is required by law for the offence of bribery,” Beersingh said in a further comment to the Compass on the matter.

Last week, Beersingh confirmed to the Compass a report was received at the George Town Police Station on 1 April expressing concerns about public statements made by the Premier at an event on Tuesday, 23rd March 2021.

“This matter is being reviewed by the RCIPS,” Beersingh said then. Prior to the 1 April report, no formal complaint had been lodged, despite social media reports claiming as such.

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