Bush’s ex-assistant admits daughter got $60k+ grant from NBF

| 28/03/2016 | 53 Comments
Cayman News Service

Ezzard Miller, Chair of Public Accounts Committee

(CNS): Richard Parchment, the former chief political assistant to McKeeva Bush when he was premier, has admitted that his daughter was one of only a handful of Caymanian students who received annual scholarship grants worth more than $60,000 from the Nation Building Fund to play basketball. Appearing as a witness before the Public Accounts Committee last week as members scrutinised the auditor general’s report on the controversial fund, Parchment said his daughter had received $69k to attend IMG Academy.

Angry, as he believed he had been singled out, Parchment launched into a statement before he was asked any questions by the committee members.

He said that the report was critical of the premier and his chief of staff but he was not mentioned directly and he was not a civil servant at that time. He questioned why no other private sector people or parents had been called to the PAC and implied that his daughter had been singled out, not just in the report but in the Legislative Assembly by the premier, who had named her. Parchment said none of the other 184 students who received scholarships from the NBF were ever named, including the other athletes who received larger grants to go to the same sports college in Florida.

As one of two rising basketball stars in Cayman in 2012, he said, his daughter and another young student were offered scholarships after being invited to attend the international college following a summer camp.

“The initial requests to support these two student athletes did not come directly from parents but were submitted by the technical directors of basketball and sports because of the talent level … and their acceptance at the world class institution,” he said. “Because of my connection to the office I did not participate in the application process.”

Parchment also revealed that a third student athlete also applied and was granted a scholarship at a later date.

Parchment said that Leonard Dilbert, who was Bush’s chief of staff and the co-ordinator of the fund, had created a rigorous selection process, a claim that was in stark contrast to the report by the Office of the Auditor General. Maintaining that the only thing he did was sign the scholarship form, he said that the NBF was down to Cabinet and the Legislative Assembly members, who approved the budget amounts in Finance Committee, and that parents or private citizens should not be held responsible. He said he was not involved in the policy creation and had nothing to do with the decision making process.

When Parchment finished his statement, PA Chair Ezzard Miller pointed out that he had not been called because he was a parent but because of his potential role in assisting people to apply for the Nation Building Fund grants and setting appointments with the premier.

But Parchment said he did not introduce people, particularly regarding the fund, to meet with the premier though his job was facilitating access to Bush in general. He said his role was limited to a number of occasions when he communicated with a parent or a pastor regarding approval of grants.

The grants for the sports college were more than three times the annual amount that students who received scholarship from the Education Council get for all study. The OAG report also found that, in addition to the excessive scholarships given to just 42 students, there were significant concerns that the institutions were not properly checked out and students were not held accountable.

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Category: Government Finance, Government oversight, Politics

Comments (53)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    My daughter was one of those that qualified and received a scholarship from the NBF for CI$25,000.00 annually for 3 years. I’m grateful thar Mr. McKeeva Bush saw the need fot this fund in order for his young Caymanians to attend University, otherwise a lot of them would not have had the privilege to get a college degree as some parents would not be able to afford a student loan.

    I do disagree with some receiving more funds than others because when my daughter applied we were told that the maximum amount that a student could apply for was $25,000.00 p.a. as this was across the board for all applicants. So I don’t see how Mr. Parchment daughter could receive such an exorbitant amount they are saying she received. I blame the committee that approved it and not Mr. Bush. It’s who you know and not what you know. I think this was all favoritism if you ask me.

    • Wha' I See Happenin' says:

      You are no better than Richard. There was and still is an established Scholarship Program. Those who don’t qualify don’t do so for good reason. Pay it back or keep quiet. Vote buying scheme and nothing else.

      • Anonymous says:

        In response to …What I see happening.

        At least my daughter did not receive $60k annually and I know that there is still a scholarship program. You keep quiet!!! Guess you think I’m a UDP supporter, which I’m not. Just giving credit to Mr. Bush where credit is due. At least he look out for his Caymanians.

        • Anonymous says:

          Looking out for the Caymanians he hoped would keep him in power has never been nor will ever be bush’s nor any other politician’s responsibility to this country. That is the precise reason bush has and will continue to lose the very power he craves to the point of having no problem whatsoever with disgracing himself and destroying his country for.

        • Anonymous says:

          He look out for wotes , that’s all he look out for.

    • Anonymous says:

      Err what committee?? Just because he said there was one doesn’t mean it existed. I think you need to wake up and realise that all awards under the NBF were at the determination of one individual, and one individual alone

    • Anonymous says:

      How convenient to have a issue to criticize Mac as news breaks of the British Commissioner of Police leaving the force with pay after continuous local and political criticism of him. Sounds like Governor and Judicial system against Mac round 2.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This is how banana republics operate and fail, don’t ever let that man get into power again.

  3. Anonymous says:

    So this is the type of government so many people seem to want to replace the PPM. I dont think so

  4. Anonymous says:

    I am sure the school “invited” her to attend based on her basketball playing ability and not because she was willing to pay $69,000! No doubt she is currently in the NBA.

  5. SSM345 says:

    I am going to assume that these 180+ recipients will be paying their scholarships back once they have completed their studies, correct? It took my sister the best part of 10yrs.
    Do these recipients also include those who received monies to go to Universities that do not exist on planet Earth? How does the PAC plan to deal with them and their parents who had to sign all the paperwork knowing full well it was sham?

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you for real 2:18pm? Can you share any more information about that? It would prove there was no “rigorous process” if the administrators of the scheme didn’t even do a google search to see if the university existed before writing the cheque.

      • SSM345 says:

        4:55, Pretty sure I read it in a previous CNS story on this subject. It has also been said that the cheques that were handed out were actually made out to the Individuals and not the schools they presumably attended, so its anybody’s guess as to whether these schools actually received the monies. How many of these students granted scholarships actually got a degree? How many dropped out but kept collecting? From all accounts this Fund was treated as a free-for-all depending on where your allegiance lies.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I am all for digging up all the dirt that has been swept underneath the rug, but all of this only serves a purpose if there will be actually some consequences.

    Caymanians tend to forget quick and whilst some may be embarrassed for 5 minutes to have been shamed in the media, everyone will quickly come up with a pile of excuses and point fingers left, right and center and by next week we are back to square one!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Is Richard saying that he didn’t even have to login to Big Mac’s computer and send an email for his daughter to get the money?

  8. Anonymous says:

    They should have asked him how he afforded the mutli-million dollar home he built on an “Assistant” salary…hmmmm.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Way to go PAC. Bring out all the dirt the people of this country deserve to know about. We can’t wait to know all the reasons why the last two auditor generals got chased out of this country.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Women’s basketball. The version of basketball no one watches.

    • Anonymous says:

      Even Mr Parchment would have to admit that the people’s money should be spent in promoting Caymanians who will return with a skill that is useful to the society which funded their education.
      Another $69,000 a year wasted by Mac on wote buying without conscience or concern.
      Disgusting disgusting disgusting.

      • Island Boy says:

        I also heard that Arden nephew got a full helicopter scholarship out the Nations Building Fund!!! Ezzard please investigate and clarify this!!! ??

        • Anonymous says:

          Helicopter pilot is at least a useful profession that can benefit Cayman….don’t mind spending money on that, but Basketball…….? give me a break.!

    • Feminist! says:

      6:18 pm. You are a misogynistic pig.

  11. sonia says:

    Shame on all of you involved in this fiasco

  12. SKEPTICAL says:

    Sounds as though he was trying to pre-empt the questions he expected the PAC would ask, driven by a matter of conscience?

    • Anonymous says:

      Sooner or later Richard and a lot more people will understand that anyone who associates themselves with you know who will eventually be brought to shame.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Conscience” is not a word in the UDP dictionary.

  13. VBS says:

    How embarrassing! You didn’t even wait to be asked any questions. You just rattled on. You were angry, we the Caymanians should be angry at you. Why? Because our children will never get that amount of funds for a scholarship.
    All of that information that you provided when down in the Hansards!

  14. Anonymous says:

    $69,000.00 to learn how to play basketball? I wonder if they would consider giving me the normal one third of that sum to learn how to place blame???

  15. Anonymous says:

    Well i guess dat means Richad’s hans is clean too.

  16. Anonymous says:

    A tell unna long time it wa da Richud unna woo unnastand.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Shouldn’t those who provided the funding for these crazy abuses be investigated?

  18. Anonymous says:

    I watched this on TV. Parchment did come accross as very defensive.
    Truly sad thing here is that no one will truly be help accountable.
    “Good Governance” here really means “smoke and mirrors”

  19. Anonymous says:

    Richard, Richard, Richard! “A rigorous selection process”????!!! Please stop thinking we are all complete idiots. We know what the “selection process” involved.

    • Anonymous says:

      Same process as the cabinet status grants. Illegal then, illegal now.

      • Anonymous says:

        That chip on your shoulder has been there for a long long time. Let it go.

        • Anonymous says:

          No. I think it was an overt abuse of power and is destroying the country I love. It was wrong. It still is.

      • Anonymous says:

        This all makes me wonder why we even bother to have a police force or an ACC. Even if nothing improper happened in this instance the scope for abuses in public office seems enormous, and no-one seems to give a damn.

  20. Anonymous says:

    The role of Leonard Dilbert in getting himself, with Bush’s support, promoted out of a job in government where, like all his other jobs, he was a total non performer, into Mac’s Chief of Staff is something the Audit Office should also investigate.It was a big scandal inside the civil service at the time but it was all kept quiet because McKeeva was so strong at that time. Parchment was another one of those who thought Mac’s power would go on forever and cover up all these nefarious wrongdoings. Shame on you Richard and Leonard. You are Caymanians like the rest of we and should not have been involved in this sort of chicanery.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I always thought that American universities/colleges give scholarships to promising overseas athletes. If Mr Parchment’s daughter was a rising basketball star as he claimed why was Government shelling out $69,000 a year to send her to this “Academy”. Of all people, as the Premier’s Chief Political Assistant he must have been aware of exactly who was responsible for the allocation of NBF funds.

  22. Anonymous says:

    And who has been charged? Only 1 company with an actual contract? WOW … talk about pure crap!

  23. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know Mr Parchment’s daughter.

    But I assuming at $60,000 a year or more she must have been one fantastic basketball player.

    Which makes me wonder why a school did not pick up that tab.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Regardless if he was signaled out or not, she is a Caymanian!!! I know for a fact that a Canadian that was given status in 2003 (her family and her) she has lived abroad now for a couple of years, came back just to get a scholarship to go back to school…presently she is in her late 20’s. She is now living again in the states going to school on a scholarship that should belong to a Caymanian. I know that Caymanian children, whose parents own businesses and could damn well afford to send their kids to college all got scholarships from the government, and not because they were A students….

    • Anonymous says:

      Family must be a Big Mac UDP donor.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am curious as to what you would recommend she do instead.

    • Anonymous says:

      When someone “gets Status” they legally become Caymanian – with all the rights and privileges. Good for her for qualifying.

      • Anonymous says:

        Qualify for what? A potentially corrupt handout while children and elderly in our community are homeless and there are no funds available for them?

    • Expat Andy says:

      Good for the Driftwood, would it be acceptable if a “Caymanian” was milking the system in her place?

  25. Diogenes says:

    Same guy who took the blame for the Stan Thomas letter. No doubt a simple coincidence.

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