Candidates spent $1.22 million during election campaign

Candidates in the 14 April General Election spent between $3,000 and $40,000 during the six-week election campaign this year.

A breakdown of expense returns filed by political hopefuls released by the Elections Office shows that candidates and parties spent a total of $1,228,657.09, while they received $548,016.27 in revenue from third parties during the period from 1 March to 14 April.

The Progressives Alliance was the biggest spender, with an average of $39,981.76 per candidate – just shy of the allowed maximum of $40,000. The total spending of the political group ($479,000) was only partially offset by $201,000 in donations.

Political donations and contributions of goods and services ranged from $0 to $47,103.70 per candidate during the reporting period.

André Ebanks ($47,103.70), Osbourne Bodden ($38,598.79), Heather Bodden ($37,102.76) and Rolston Anglin ($34,300) were by far the biggest fundraisers among the candidates.

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Three candidates – Richard Bernard, Frank McField and Elvis McKeever – have not yet submitted an expense report.

Elections Supervisor Wesley Howell said in a press release that current legislation has no penalty provisions for non-submission of returns from candidates who are not sitting members of the Cayman Islands Parliament.

“Nonetheless, I urge the remaining three 2021 candidates to file their returns of revenue and expenditure,” he said.

Howell added that he is looking forward to working with Cabinet and Parliament to modernise the elections legislation, in particular campaign finance reporting.

Under current legislation, candidates have to submit a return of all expenses within 35 days of the election. Any campaign expense of $30 or more must include the particulars and a receipt.

But, crucially, spending limits apply only to the campaign between nomination and Election Day. Outside of the campaign period, candidates can spend a limitless amount without having to report it.

Under the Elections Act, the candidate expense returns are available for inspection at the Elections Office, Bay Town Office Suites, 68 West Bay Road in George Town from 9am to 4pm on weekdays.

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