PPM spent $480k on lost election campaign

| 31/05/2021 | 37 Comments
Cayman News Service
Elections Office in the Bay Town Office Suites (1st Floor), 68 West Bay Road

(CNS): The Progressives and their Alliance members spent just a few dollars short of the absolute maximum spending allowed under the law on their election campaign, and more than half of it appears to have come out of their own pockets. According to figures released by the Elections Office on the election expense returns by parties and candidates, the Progressives and their four Alliance candidates spent CI$479,781.16, which is just under $219 less than the legal limit.

This averaged $39,981.76 per candidate in their 12 person line-up, though the law does not require spending to be broken down per head for political parties. Only three losing candidates from the 50 who ran in this election failed to submit returns on time.

Most of the money spent by the PPM apparently came from their own pockets or existing party coffers, as the party declared only CI$201,060 in donations or support through services, collected during the official 45-day campaign, which began on 1 March (Nomination Day). This was six weeks earlier than originally scheduled because the former premier, Alden McLaughlin, decided to call an early election because of the controversies surrounding McKeeva Bush and his conviction for a violent assault on a woman.

However, Bush was re-elected once again to his West Bay West seat, though his once significant majority was cut to just 25 votes. He was significantly outspent by his opponent, Mario Ebanks, who spent $38,616.75 on his very narrow loss but reported only $7,500 in revenue or goods and services. Bush reported receiving only $7,000 in revenue and spent just CI$17,000 on the campaign trail.

Overall, between them the 50 candidates spent more than CI$1.2 million on the 2021 elections. Some spent less than CI$3,000 and many collected no revenue, claiming to fund their campaigns entirely from their own pocket, while others collected significant revenue for their campaigns. Andre Ebanks, now the financial services minister, collected the most, with a massive CI$47,000 in revenue and donations, which exceeded his expenditure by almost CI$13,000. Wayne Panton was self-funded and spent over $38,500 to secure his seat in Newlands.

The successful candidate who spent the least was Bernie Bush, who was returned to his seat in West Bay North and is now the new home affairs minister. Bush spent just $6,550 on his campaign and collected $5,000 in donations and support, while his opponent, Rolston Anglin, spent $37,816.04, almost six times as much, with $34,300 collected in revenue.

Arden McLean spent $39,008.32 on his unsuccessful campaign in East End, the most by any losing candidate, and collected CI$6,500 in donations. Johann Moxam, who was entirely self funded, lost to Joey Hew in George Town North but came close to matching the average PPM per head spending of almost $40,000, having spent $39,000.

Campaign financing remains controversial, as candidates are required to disclose very little about the source of their funds and how much is collected and spent before Nomination Day. Elections Supervisor Wesley Howell said he looked forward to working with the Cabinet and Parliament on the modernization of elections legislation, particularly in the area of campaign finance reporting.

There are no penalties for losing candidates who fail to report on their campaign funding and spending. Elvis McKeever, Dr Frank McField and Richard Bernard have not submitted returns but all three men ran modest campaigns and between them got only 175 votes. Howell asked the candidates to nevertheless file their returns of revenue and expenditure.

The full individual candidate expense returns are now available for inspection at the Elections Office, Bay Town Office Suites, 68 West Bay Road in George Town between 9am to 4pm on weekdays.

The summary of returns is also posted in the CNS Library

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Category: 2021 General Elections, Elections, Politics

Comments (37)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Given this current government AKA PACT has not uttered a word since they were formed, I have every expectation that there’s literally zero coalition between all the independents given they all have their own agenda, and as such we will see some significant developments over the next month or two.

  2. Anonymous says:

    OK. So, how much did Wayne spend?

    CNS: The answer to this question is literally in the article, but you have to actually read it. There is also a link at the end of the article to the page in the CNS Library where you can find the document and look it up yourself.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wayne Panton was self-funded and spent over $38,500 to secure his seat in Newlands.

      • Anonymous says:

        How many candidates besides Ossie and Heather did he fund personally?

      • Anonymous says:

        Heather SAV Revenue $37,102.76 Expenditure $37,102.76
        Ossie BTE Revenue $38,598.79 Expenditure $38,598.79

        Those are very neat and exacting figures. I didn’t pose the original question, but I suspect that person was really asking how much of Heather and Ossie’s rev/exp came out of Wayne’s pocket.

        Therefore, it’s rather disingenuous to state that Wayne spent $38,500 to secure his seat without saying that perhaps he spent a lot more in “assisting” others to secure their seats as well.

  3. TopaZ says:

    When you have a sitting premier openly admit to secretly funding 4 candidates and their is no investigation into it. Do you honestly believe the so called elections report is going to dig into the real sources or their lodge friends and minions and benefactor’s source of funds. Take a good look at the panel of observers and tell me which average person on the streets of Cayman is going to talk to them or do they even know or associate with anyone like that . I will tell you what though Mr Martin Roper we the common people know who exactly who was out here handing out envelopes and who receive them! But that would mean that everything you all do and everything you write is a complete Farce and that is something you all will never tolerate or accept. There lies the real problem if we know nothing will be done, then why should we report it ?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Where is Alden?

  5. Hire private investigators says:

    I’d love to see a thorough investigation conducted by private investigators on vote buying and have this document published for all to see. This would shed light on the corruption and provide Cayman’s legal authorities with proof of corruption and force them to prosecute the scoundrels.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Is it just me that finds it utterly distasteful and ironic that certain candidates can spend $40k on an election campaign and expect the people to vote for them to live in abject poverty in a lot of cases? I won’t deny anyone the right to earn a good living but the massive disparity between the ‘haves and have nots’ here is literally frightening. And a huge part of all our the problems.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t forget the thousands of “have nots” imported by Mac for wotes.
      Those thousands have reproduced at a greater rate than NAU can cope,

  7. Anonymous says:

    So…. all candidates and “parties” spent money. All spent some of their own funds and campaign donations alike. Someone had to win and some had to lose.

    So, as long as it’s not public funds WTF does it matter?

    • Anonymous says:

      To 3:22pm: It matters, because the law only dictates that they must disclose expenditure for the month between nomination and election. What about the months before?
      Let us pretend that they accept 1 million each from say, a cruise line. What does that cruise line expect in return? Nothing? I doubt it. That is why it matters.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Are there break-downs of what each candidate spent KYD$1.2mln on in just one month? There are only so many AI Rental Podiums, campaign buttons and T-shirts…it just doesn’t add up.

  9. Anonymous says:

    So to be clear, you don’t disclose any donations before Nomination Day, its entirely optional if you disclose donations after Nomination Day, and even if you do disclose them as long as you are not stupid enough to disclose donations greater than the limit no one will even think of investigating whether you are telling the truth? Why do we even bother having political donation law if there are no penalties for not complying with it?

    • Anonymous says:

      Sarcastically said: Because it is like all other laws in Cayman – have the law because it is eye-candy; never enforce it (or enforce it in a biased fashion).

  10. Anonymous says:

    Sure Ken can spare it.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Did Dr. Frank every file his returns from the previous election that he lost?

  12. Anonymous says:

    If you believe these submissions, I got a bridge to Cayman Brac I’ll sell you.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Poor Rolston.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Shouldn’t the cost of all the unnecessary roadworks right before the election also be counted?

  15. Anonymous says:

    No wonder PPM was extra salty after their losses.

  16. Anonymous says:


  17. Anonymous says:

    Waiting for a ppm comment…”we didn’t lose..we just won a lot less that the winners”.

  18. Anonymous says:

    No wonder Alden is so upset. Congratulations to Andre for making a profit and winning a seat – now that is smart.

  19. Anonymous says:

    You do know they won right.

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