October 28, 2020

WAS IT CORRUPTION? – Governor to probe East End funding

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Governor Duncan Taylor said yesterday he would seek advice about allegations of electoral manipulation against Premier McKeeva Bush and his grant of ForCayman Alliance funds for East End community projects.

Responding to queries about the propriety of Mr Bush’s Tuesday announcement of a $200,000 grant of ForCayman Investment Alliance (FCIA) funds to East End, Mr Taylor offered an immediate “no comment”, but said he would seek further advice.

“The governor is trying to obtain a little more information on this reported announcement. In the meantime, he has no comment to make”, an official statement read.

Departing Friday morning, Mr Taylor said he would return on 12 March, and that he had “already commissioned advice on the matter”. Pending that advice, he indicated he would respond to a letter from PPM leader Alden McLaughlin, alleging corruption by Mr Bush in regard to his allocation of public-private ForCayman Investment Alliance (FCIA) funds, managed by declared East End independent political candidate John McLean Jr, for community improvements.

John McLean Jr, who on Wednesday affirmed his intended 2013 independent candidacy for the district, told iNews Cayman that the money would not come to him, but would fund five community projects built by local construction companies House Doctors, owned by Owen Rankin, and McLaughlin Construction Company, owned by Lennox McLaughlin.

He said he would not be paid for his efforts, seeking only to generate economic activity and “put people back to work” in East End.
Meanwhile, East End MLA Arden McLean, pointing to his own documented appeals to Cabinet for district funding, echoed Mr McLaughlin’s charges against Mr Bush, accusing him of corruption and lies, and offering his signature on the Opposition Leader’s letter to Governor Taylor.

“He just can’t do that,” Arden McLean said yesterday,” referring to Mr Bush’s grant to his political opposition, “especially when the elected representative for East End, early in his term, asked for things”.

“I am very concerned about it,” he said. “I don’t mind politics, it’s part of life, but you cannot change the truth, and the truth is I did my job and made my representations on behalf of the people of
East End.
“This smacks of official corruption, not just manipulation,” he said, rejecting Mr Bush’s claims that Arden McLean “had not come to government” seeking aid for the district.

The MLA pointed to a seven-page document detailing his 18 May, 2010, appeal to Cabinet for $750,000 worth of immediate community projects, including school improvements and policing, and another eight smaller projects.

“I have had no response to my requests,” he said, except for help from Minister for Education Rolston Anglin.

In an official statement, Mr Bush yesterday strongly denied charges of wrongdoing, calling them “preposterous and unfounded”, counter-charging his opponents with “just another tactic to delay getting the much-needed investment in the communities they were designed to help”.

Some people,’ he said, were “trying to create the impression that I am doing something wrong, when there is NOTHING [sic] wrong with allocating government money to community projects.” he wrote.

While acknowledging the $200,000 allocation, he said “the funds will not be given to John McLean Jr. He and other East Enders identified these projects and asked that government do something about them. He did not ask that we give him any funds. Government will fund the projects for the district as they have asked.

“The funds provided by the Dart Group under the National Roads Authority agreement were made payable to the Cayman Islands government and deposited with the Treasury of the Cayman Islands government,” he said, alluding to a December agreement for highway development in West Bay and community improvements.

“Any funding of community projects in East End, or in any other district, will be procured, dispersed and accounted for through the regular government processes.” Mr Bush said.

For the full news release from the premier, go to https://www.ieyenews.com/2012/03/statement-of-premier-mckeeva-bush-2/

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