The government has detailed on what it has been spending several thousands of dollars to promote and explain to the public the controversial cruise berthing facility project.
Last November, Judy E Powery, Administrative Officer with the Ministry of District Administration, Tourism and Transport, responded to an FOI request asking for details relating to government spending on all advertising relating to the proposed cruise berthing facility from 1st January 2018, including radio, TV, newspaper ads and online advertising. A local PR and marketing agency, Fountainhead, was contracted by the Ministry from August 2018 to January 2019 (subsequently extended), employed on a retainer of CI$5,000 per month to assist government with providing the public with information on the project, the Ministry representative stated in response to the request.
For that cost, Fountainhead have been employed to provide a number of public relations services, such as the creation of a landing page website, creating a social media campaign strategy and content, writing press releases, organising town hall meetings, creating a video-based campaign and producing monthly newsletters.
Following an FOI request in July of this year, Ms Powery advised that the cost of promoting and explaining the project from 1 January 2018 to 4th July 2019 (the date of the FOI request) was CI$75,613.50, the majority of which was spent this year (CI$60,333.50).
According to a breakdown of the payments made by the Ministry to promote the project as revealed by the FOI request, the Ministry paid CI$16,992.90 in print media for advertisements from the end of August to the middle of October last year. It also spent CI$8,040 in radio advertisements from mid September to the end of November last year, CI$7,920 with DMS broadcasting from April to May of this year and CI$8,432 on Support Our Port television advertising with Cayman 27 from May to June of this year, among other payments.
Each FOI request wanted to know all spending by the Ministry on the Support Our Tourism group, to which Ms Powery explained that the Support Our Tourism campaign was being administered by the Ministry’s PR Manager and Fountainhead and that there were no other contracts, salaries or expenditure being incurred by the Ministry with respect to the Support Our Tourism campaign. The Ministry also stated that they did not have any contracts in place with Cayman’s Port, Cayman’s Future groups, nor did it pay any salaries, advertising expenditure nor any other form of expenditure with respect to that group.