Premier, Hon. McKeeva Bush said on Tuesday (17) that there was nothing wrong with any government funding a campaign to inform people of the position it has taken.
This was in reply to opposition leader, Hon. Alden McLaughlinâ€™s call to Cayman Islands Governor Duncan Taylor to investigate the premier over alleged misuse of public funds, arising from governmentâ€™s campaign for a â€śNoâ€ť vote in the One Man, One Vote (OMOV) referendum held on Wednesday 18th July.
Mr. McLaughlin confirmed that he has sent a formal letter to the governor, auditor general, the Commission for Standards in Public Life and the Anti-corruption Commission accusing the premier of abusing his office and misusing public funds in relation to the UDP campaign against the government referendum.
He lists almost half a dozen examples to support his argument that include full page newspaper ads, TV and radio commercials and a series of public meetings all funded from the public purse.
McLaughlin said what â€śappears to amount to an abuse of office and misuse of public funds and may as well amount to election offences. This is the flagrant abuse of the office of the premier and the blatant misuse of public funds to pursue the agenda of the UDP. I therefore request that these matters be investigated and the appropriate action be taken following your findings.â€ť
The opposition leader has publically complained that not only is it odd that the government would embark on a campaign against its own referendum question, having hi-jacked the peopleâ€™s campaign for OMOV, but it was wrong for the government to use public money to push specifically the â€śNoâ€ť vote without educating the people on the pros and cons of both sides of the debate.
Mr. Bush said at the UDP Referendum Rally in West Bay it was spending around $100,000 campaigning against the referendum.
It has been noted by everyone attending any of the UDP â€śeducationâ€ť meetings concerning OMOV that the premier has not only mounted a full scale assault against OMOV, he has also spent a lot of the time berating and criticising the supporters of OMOV and the opposition, including talking about his governmentâ€™s general policies. There has been very little spent on the pros and cons of the two voting systems.
Mr. Bushâ€™s reply to the accusations was reported on CITN-Cayman 27 as, â€śthere is nothing wrong with any government funding a campaign to inform people of the position it has taken and to seek support for that position. Our campaign is nothing more than what Alden McLaughlin and the PPM did for the constitution in 2009.â€ť