2 churches get half the cash
(CNS): Of the $4.1 million dollars that the premier has given to 16 different churches and church groups over the last two years from the Nation Building Fund, more than half has gone to just two churches. The Wesleyan Holiness Church, with its primary base in West Bay, and the Church of God have between them received a total of almost $2.6 million. The remaining one and a half million has been split across 14 other church groups, including the Seventh Day Adventists, the Church of God Chapel and the Cayman Ministers Association. According to the release of information by the finance ministry following two Freedom of Information requests, one by CNS, the donations to churches are diverse, ranging from only $12,000 given to one church compared to more than $1.3 million to another.
The John Grey Memorial Church was given the $12,000 donation, which was described as "church based support". While the Wesleyan Holiness Church received around $1.3 million and the Church of God also received $1.275m in grants.
According to the records, the Wesleyan Holiness Church in West Bay, the church attended by the premier, received $250,000 in January 2010 to purchase land, it then received a second grant of $350,000 in May of the same year, the details of which were not revealed. Then again in September 2010 it received another unexplained grant of $400,000 and another unspecified donation of $300,000 in March of this year.
Meanwhile, the Church of God in Bodden Town received two grants in 2010, one for $400,000 in April and a second grant was given in May, described as "church based support", for $300,000. Then in March this year the same church received another donation of $300,000 for hurricane shutters. Meanwhile, the Frank Sound branch was given a $75,000 grant in March 2010 and the West Bay congregation also received $50,000 in April 2010. A further $50,000 was donated in June, which, according to the document released under the FOI, was for “starting a new church”.
The Chapel Church of God in West Bay received $250,000 in April 2010 and the Church of God Chapel in West Bay received $100,000 in June this year for what was described as “assistance in the completion”, but of what it did not say nor is it clear if these two are in fact the same church.
Other churches receiving six figure sums include the All United Pentecostal Church, which received a nation building grant in February 2010 of $100,000 and another of $75,000 in March 2011. The Seventh Day Adventist Church in West Bay also received $200,000 in April 2010 and then was given another grant “for assistance in completion” of $100,000 in June of this year.
The New Testament Church in West Bay also received $100,000 this year in June for “building assistance” as did a new church group, the Light of the World Church, in March, thought the purpose of the grant was not specified. The Covenant Moravian Church received the very specific figure of $104,990.62 for assistance in building a church hall.
All other grants were considerably smaller, with St. George’s Church receiving only $15,000 towards a land purchase.
The premier said last week that the donations to churches from the nation building programme were good value for money as it helped them to create more hurricane shelter space but also because of the importance of the churches to the Cayman Islands community.
“Perhaps the fundamental justification for supporting the churches, however, may be more readily grasped if we ask ourselves this: what would our society have been like; what, in today’s pressured realities would it be like, were it not for our churches? Where else would we get the enduring ethical guidance that our churches continue to urge upon us?” the premier asked his parliamentary colleagues last week, when he spoke about the nation building programme.
Listed as TP52 in the budget documents this year, the national building programme has been allocated over $3 million, bringing the total allocated to this item to more $10 million of public money since it was introduce into the 2009/10 budget. There is, however, no specific guidelines on how the money is given out and under which criteria according to the premier applications can be made to the ministry to the nation building programme and each is considered on its merit.
See breakdown of allocations to churches below
|Churchgrants 2009-10.JPG||98.41 KB|
The comments posted do not necessarily reflect the views of CNS or any individual staff member. All comments are posted subject to approval by CNS. Read more
- I am Caymanian and you are
1 hour 15 min ago
- Hey, leave America out of it.
1 hour 16 min ago
- I have never been a fan of
1 hour 20 min ago
- Thank you! Everything you
1 hour 21 min ago
- Hmmm... control of news
1 hour 27 min ago
- New and better government,
1 hour 28 min ago
- I believe from the 47% of
1 hour 29 min ago
- you should stay away from
1 hour 30 min ago
- Trying to analyze the numbers
1 hour 38 min ago
- I don't think you calculated
1 hour 53 min ago