Premier to increase campaign spending limits

| 08/01/2016 | 32 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): Candidates for the 2017 General Election will be able to spend considerably more on their bid for office than in past years, with changes in the works for campaign finance. Premier Alden McLaughlin has confirmed that when he brings the amendments to the elections law to provide for ‘one man, one vote’ in single member constituencies, the legislation will include a “substantial” increase in the expenditure provision for electioneering.

He told CNS that it was a long time since the current limits of $35,000 for individuals and $30,000 for party candidates were set in the law and it had to be reviewed. Although he did not reveal that figure that he is proposing, he said it would be a significant increase because the current amount was nowhere near sufficient to cover the costs of a modern campaign.

However, increasing the timeframe that the spending amounts cover, as proposed by MLA Ezzard Miller, was not on the cards, the premier said, noting that the difficulties of defining what is campaigning and what is ordinary politics is complex and the point at which would-be candidates begin preparing a campaign is always difficult to pinpoint.

McLaughlin said that the background work that is done to prepare for an election, especially by a formal political party or an alliance, may begin many months, even years, before candidates begin to directly appeal for votes. Given the ambiguity and the potential timeframes, the official start of the election campaign on Nomination Day, when direct campaigning to the voter begins, is clear easier to recognize as electioneering, he explained.

He said the changes to the legislation were expected to come to the Legislative Assembly before the budget meeting later this year, well ahead of what was going to be a “really interesting and exciting” election, although there have been doubts about McLaughlin’s full support of the concept on ‘one man, one vote’ in single member constituencies,

The PPM had campaigned on changing Cayman’s multi-member, multi-voting system, but there were signs of an apparent U-turn in the wake of the last election. However,  pressure from the independent MLAs combined with the results of the 2012 referendum led to the premier creating a new Electoral Boundary Commission and setting the process in motion last year.

In October, following the publication on the commissioners’ report, which created 19 constituencies, the government motion to adopt the recommendations was debated and passed in the House with support from the government benches and the independents on the opposition benches.

Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush, however, is still opposed to the system. Fearful of “garrison politics” and the issue that in small constituencies it can be easy for powerful families to dominate the voting, in October he revealed plans to challenge the decision via judicial review of the government motion.

CNS has contacted Bush for an update on whether or not he still plans to take legal action and we are awaiting a response.

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Category: Elections, Politics

Comments (32)

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  1. Sharkey says:

    With all the raising of campaign funds, everyone should take all the money and handouts from the rich candidates , then when you go to vote , vote for the poorer candidate that was not for raising the campaign funds. Then when they don’t get elected they would learn that money is not everything.

  2. Yo Mama says:

    Hello, people. This is totally reasonable. Ever heard of inflation? Those kitchen appliances cost more and more every election cycle.

  3. Joe B says:

    This says more about what kind of voters there are here then what kind of politicians.

  4. Fred the Piemaker says:

    So there is on average 1000 voters per constituency, and the Premier wants to increase the allowance to more than $35,000 per candidate per constituency – within the 6 week period, no limit outside that . Just how much is it reasonable to spend per voter? With a 1000 votes you could visit each one personally and provide them with a copy of your manifesto for way less than that. No need to spend heavily on national advertising, when you have only a thousand people to contact, all within a comparatively small geographic area.

    • Debbie says:

      Nothing new here. Our work permits holders will know that this is every day politics in their home countries.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I dont understand this at all. You reduce the geographic size of your target market, yet feel the need to spend more money to attract them.

    The should never be the need to advertise outside of a constituency .

  6. Anonymous says:

    All the money in the world won’t help Alden get elected again..But I appreciate him wanting to inject some of all that moeny he has been taking from us back into the economy.

    • Anonymous says:

      Alden already believe that he will be the next Premier wah wrong wid you Why you trying burst his lil bubble? Be nice nah!! ROTFL

  7. Anonymous says:


    This will help us to know which candidate is the fraud and is really representing special interests rather than the people … it’ll be the one(s) with the shiniest and most expensive campaign.

    (Sad to see Cayman slide down the slippery manhole into the cesspool of typical western “democracy”. Then again, we have been told we need to enter the 21st century of civility and progress. There you go …)


    – Whodatis

    • Anonymous says:

      Who. Give it a rest. You really are pathetic. Like the last 30+ years of cash handouts, appliance gifts, driveways paved, appointments to public authority boards, grant of government contracts and the list goes on and on hasn’t been vote buying. You wouldn’t know democracy if it slapped you up side the head.

      • Anonymous says:

        At no point did I imply voter influence / corruption does not occur in Cayman.

        However, these proposals are simply the first step to the full-on adoption of American and UK style “lobbying” and “fundraising” in the country. (Think NRA, Wall Street, House of Lords, City of London, etc.)
        Which is quite sad as we see a growing grassroots movement to reverse this corrupted stranglehold on “democracy” in the mentioned countries.

        Lest we / you forget; corruption by any other name or format is still corruption, my friend.

        – Whodatis

        P.S. I will not give it a rest, but I am happy to quit when proven wrong.

        (Your move.)

      • WaYaSay says:

        Anon 6.31 your hatred for Who is clouding your reasoning or you are just plain stupid or you are one of those people who sells your vote to the highest bidder or to multiple bidders.

        You claim to recognise democracy but chose to bolster your argument in support of Alden by pointing out all the ways that vote buying has been carried out in the psst 30 years. This make no rational sense.

        Knowing what you know you should be agreeing with Who and certainly you should be supporting what Ezzard proposed where all of this expense of vote buying for an extended period of time has to be reported and the cap should remain at $35 000.

        • Anonymous says:

          Thank you WaYaSay.

          And you are correct, blind hatred can blind us to the most obvious of self contradictions.

          – Who

      • Anonymous says:

        Anon @9:31pm Are you Alden or his mouthpiece? LOL….And you have a bone to pick wid Whodatis? Seems so however in your attempt to castigate him you proved his point you yahyah! In you puny attempt to belittle you proved exactly why we don’t need to increase the spending but then again he knows how expense those items can be as they sure bought a lot wid all those millions in 2013 from a newbie eh? Here’s some advice:- take yah head outta the sand BoBo! Or don’t write any responses wid a chip on yah shoulder! ROTFL

  8. Sharkey says:

    12:: 01 pm, where I live today ,politicians have to travel hundreds of miles ,and reach hundreds of thousands of people to get him/her elected , great expenses, that’s not the case in Cayman Islands. Do you know why politicians have to get so much money from donors , because some donors will buy the politican with their donation. For real big favors.

  9. Rp says:

    The article should be named “More Fridges and TVs to be distributed in 2017”

  10. Anonymous says:

    If politicians told the truth, they would not need to spend so much money on their campaigns.

  11. Gray Matter says:

    Increase in campaign funds for what ? its not like you have to fly here and there in a plane or helicopter , or stay in fancy hotels with your entourage , much less on the road with your tour bus.

    Come on , we are 22 ml long 7ml wide, 2 sister islands with max 2 trips.

    These people are jokers. The country is still in shambles.

  12. mckeeva bush- leader of the opposition says:

    Wendy I have no request from you about a court challenge to the boundary for omov
    I believe it was wrong not to come to the district of west bay to explain what changes they were proposing and why.
    However I do not have the funds for such a challenge.
    im preparing to meet any challenge to our incumbency in west bay and the CDP is preparing for whenever the date is set.
    the people will decide hopefully without the interference of the governor and fco. But i will keep an eagle eye on the process.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I’d be more impressed if they made the law require that all funding came from legitimate, verifiable sources. Whatever limits you put on spending there will always be a lot of unreported cash changing hands come election time and you can bet most of it won’t have been earned legally.

  14. Ambassador of Absurdistan says:

    The irony of it all is lost on Premier Alden McLoughlin.

    The OMOV system will result in less constituients to represent per voting precinct and less ground to cover in the districts during the campaigning cycle yet the government wants to increase campaign funding.

    Just Another Day in Absurdistan.

  15. Anonymous says:

    In Cayman they should not spend a penny. They can call meetings on the beach…

  16. Fred the Piemaker says:

    So Mr Miller suggests extending the official election period to stop richer candidates exploiting the system by spending heavily before the 6 week surveillance regime, and the Premier not only rejects that – allowing pre buying of advertising and marketing – but also says he is going to increase the limits within the 6 week period. Well that’s going to make things fairer, then – which of course is the point, isn’t it?

  17. Anonymous says:

    SMH. More proof of the priorities of Alden and PPM

  18. Anonymous says:

    I wish they would reduce the limit on vote buying handouts to $0.00.

    • Anonymous says:

      They don’t obey the the current rules so im sure they won’t follow the new ones either

  19. Sharkey says:

    I remember when a political candidate would start his campaign, and all he had to do was to hold town hall / community meetings, and no big expenses, but to day campaign funds have to be raised . What is this ? And why ?

    • Anonymous says:

      Where are you living these days? How does it work in that country?

    • Just Commentin' says:

      The reason is simple, so the wealthy candidates (or those supported by the wealthy and powerful) can consolidate and hold onto power; to weaken competition from independent candidates; to ensure the choking grip of the political parties on these islands. We are so far down the slippery slope leading to the enslavement of the working class by the elite that it is pitiful. We are so far down the slippery slope leading to the rich and powerful – rather than the broader population of citizens – being the deciders of policy, that we have probably passed the point of no return. Alden and his ilk are clear and present dangers to our land. By the time the people roun yah wake up to that fact, it will likely be well after the damage they have done is beyond repair.

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