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Church Grant Returned

Minister of Finance, the Hon. Marco Archer receives a cheque from Pastor Dennis McCoy on behalf of the Wesleyan Holiness Church to return remaining funds received as grant from the Nation Building Fund, with the Premier, the Hon. Alden McLaughlin, MBE, JP (1 R) and WHC Assistant Pastor Aaron Wetherald.

The Wesleyan Holiness Church has returned to Government approximately three-quarters of a million dollars from a grant of $1.3 million that the church received from the Nation Building Fund.

Once the church has resolved the matter of a land purchase, it is also expected that the land or its full value will be returned to Government.

Minister of Finance, the Hon. Marco Archer accepted a cheque for $728,364.83, from the Wesleyan Holiness Church, on Wednesday, 10 July 2013, at his office in the Government Administration Building.

Minister Archer stated that church members cited their concern about the negative publicity that the grant had received as a rationale for returning the funds.

An additional reason was that the church recognised that Government could not afford to make such a grant in the present economic climate. The former Premier, Hon. McKeeva Bush, OBE, JP, had given funds to the church from the Nation Building Fund, which was administered by the Premier's Office.

The church also recognised it could not afford to build its proposed $2.6 million fellowship centre/hurricane shelter, and on Sunday, 7 July, its members voted almost unanimously to return the remaining money.

The church did retain 10 percent, or $80,929.43, for accounting, labour and administration costs, from the balance of $809,294.25 remaining from the $1.3 million grant, Minister Archer noted.

Minister Archer also received a letter outlining the church's vote. In addition he received a copy of the letter to the church from the former Premier, granting $250,000 to a) clear its then-existing building loan and b) use the rest as a down payment for the purchase of land adjoining the church.

Finally, he received a statement of accounts detailing the money received and spent so far by the church, including on its shelter project, and to pay off loans.

"I am extremely grateful to the Wesleyan Holiness Church for their decision to return this money to Government and to the people of the Cayman Islands," Minister Archer commented.

"I'm equally grateful to Hillside Chapel, Red Bay Church of God Holiness, Webster Memorial United Church and Fellowship Baptist Church who have also returned funds to Government," the Minister added.

A total of 28 churches in the Cayman Islands received $5,188,416.67 in grants from the Nation Building Fund between financial years 2009/10 to 20012/13, according to the Finance Ministry.

Five churches have so far returned $949,769.83, giving a net grant of $4,238,646.84 to the churches during that period.


For further information contact: Bina Mani