Alden: Govt schizophrenic

| 27/07/2010

(CNS): The opposition member for George Town has accused the current government of suffering from schizophrenia when it comes to its economic policy. Alden McLaughlin said that while on the one hand the premier talks about wooing investors and creating a business friendly environment, on the other he is increasing fees and taxes so much he is driving business away. The PPM member said it had reached the point where the community has become fearful when the Legislative Assembly sits because at every meeting since coming to office the UDP government has introduced a new fee. “Government economic policy is a disaster,” McLaughlin said last week, as he pointed out that the country’s financial woes went way beyond blaming the previous administration.

Speaking at a recent PPM public meeting, the former Cabinet minister said government was pursuing schizophrenic policies. McLaughlin accused the premier of speaking out of both sides of his mouth when he spoke about Cayman being much more business friendly and at the same time drastically increasing the cost of doing business.
 
The economic situation was dire, he acknowledged, because of the global economic situation and while the first deficit had occurred under the PPM’s tenure, the government was making the situation worse because it did not have a cohesive plan to deal with the world crisis. McLaughlin said government had spent its first year in office blaming the previous administration for everything instead of developing a strategy to guide the country through the tough economic times.
 
McLaughlin said he was not avoiding responsibility for the previous deficit but the problem transcended local governments and was due directly to the impact of the world recession. As Cayman was heavily dependent on outside forces for its revenue, the increase in fees was disastrous for business as it was driving it away at a time when the country should be making it asinexpensive as possible for people to do business here.
 
He pointed out that government should have learned that heaping fees upon fees had not worked during its first budget when it had increased work permits as well as a wide range of financial and business fees. “Government only increased revenue through these fees by $4million after predicting that it would earn $94million,” McLaughlin pointed out.
 
The George Town member said the increase in fees in the 2009/10 budget had the opposite affect intended, and yet the government had gone and done the same thing again in the 2010/11 budget with more fee increases that would directly impact business and the wider community.
 
The constant and deliberate vilifying of the previous administration had diverted government’s attention from the real issue of the global recession, McLaughlin suggested, and created further fears. “The government strategy to vilify the last administration by exaggerating the seriousness of the economic situation — which they could have managed better — scared investors way,” he added.
 
Repeating his often stated position that government had done nothing of substance to address the economic problems since coming to office, the opposition member said government had not reduced operational expenses or improved government’s revenue streams by creating new avenues but had simply increase fees and taxes.
 
He pointed out that there now seemed to be money for new projects but none to finish the schools. McLaughlin said he was not against government spending on tangible projects, as in a recession it had a duty to stimulate the economy. He said that was exactly why the PPM administration had continued with the major government projects when in office despite the recession.
 
“We could never have imagined the depth of the recession but we decide to go ahead with some of the projects as we understood the importance of keeping people employed. We weren’t building pie in the sky projects; they were critically important,” he added, saying people had remained in work as a result. All governments have an obligation to their people to keep the economy rolling even in tough economic times, McLaughlin said, but accused the current administration of failing to create new jobs and properly stimulating the economy, doing nothing to help those who were now really suffering.
 
“You have to decide whether you think government has got its priorities right,” the opposition member told the audience outside the court house in George Town as he urged  the people to put pressure on their representatives to change government’s economic policy before it was too late.
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  1. Dilemma says:

    You know what I call schizophrenic, when a politician forgets he was elected by the people.  Alden I will never forget your remarks as the minister of Education "Only God can stop me" . You forgot that the people had the power to stop you.

  2. **** BREAKING NEWS ****

    ***** THIS IS BIG*****

    British Prime Minister, JAMES CAMERON has ENDORSED Dr. Shetti’s Hospital.

    **** UDP ****

    ALDEN, UDP IS ACCOMPLISH SOMETHING!

    WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO THE HEADLINE???

    I am an Independent, but not one of those who are blind by party politics. So I don’t pick sides!  But QUESTION:

    Should not the UDP get some credit for introducing Medical Tourism in the Cayman Islands, A GREAT REVENUE PLUS FOR THE CAYMAN ISLANDS?

    • Anonymous says:

      The endorsement in no way means that the hospital will be built.

      sounds like someone is counting chickensbefore their eggs are hatched.

    • Anonymous says:

      Was James Cameron not the director of Terminator? I’m sure the British Prime Minister is David Cameron, if I’ve got that wrong though, that’s really cool!!!

  3. Not affiliated says:

    So what is Alden’s answer to the issue of obtaining money if we are to reverse fee increases?

    Is he:

    a) proposing new direct tax?  If so what ones?;

    b) proposing significant cuts in civil service expenditure? If so how big a cut;

    c) Doing both a) and b).

    These are the only options available.  It would be poor form not to let us know the answer to these serious problems, if, of course, he has the well being ofthe Cayman Islands as his primary concern rather being elected into government.

  4. Bodden says:

    Our political system needs change – not positions, who is in power and who isn’t!  Until we learn that our Constitution and way of politics, have got us in the mess we are in now, we will always be making transitions in our government between UDP/PPM and not seeing any law that financially benefit’s average Caymanian people.

    To oust the Premier and call a General Election, is all within the same system of government. 

    Caymanians need to wake up and realize that certain wealthy individuals, special interest groups with UK connections, and well-off Caymanians who are detached from the low-wage Caymanians, are the ones controlling our government and the laws that establish governance on this Island. 

    Next election, will just be a new face to the same UK regime.

    From the start, our Constitution, should have been a document ensuring that all Caymanians (native to these islands), would have a government that FULLY REPRESENTS them and is not undermined by a UK Governor or some special interest group. The national document has nothing to secure lands and beaches from wealthy foreginors. The document has nothing to ensure the sharing of wealth amongst the citizens; one man or one group is allowed to "buy out" most (if not all) the island. The pastors, ministers, Governor, and certain elites discussed the Constitution behind closed doors. The document has nothing to secure the economic stability of allCaymanians. The money drawn from fees and indirect taxes, are amassed to benefit the well-off only. How can Caymanians be economically represented to the full, when our laws have it that those who control the pie, serve those well-off who sit at a high table; everybody else is bogged down by expenses?  In terms of wealth, there is no economic equality!

    Yet, we want a transition in government from one party to the next, as if that will change everything for the better. I SAY NOT NECESSARILY!  Who in the new party will stand up to principles over elites and love of money?

    PEOPLE…

    IF YOU WANT CHANGE, YOU HAVE TO GET IT AT THE ROOT!

    Mr. B

  5. Joe Bananas says:

    The true problem of Cayman Government is that there is NO skilled, experianced, persons who qualify that has the high morals neccasary to lead or help lead the government that would want the job.  Even the MOST qualified Caymanian knows that to be successfull he or she must first fight all the corruption and lazyness layer by layer before he or she has a chance of gettting anything done for the people.  What an incredible undertaking!  No surprise that any of Caymans successful business leaders would want the job.  So life goes on in Cayman just the way it always will.  Leadership looking out for itself and the people trying to do likewise.

  6. Walmarty says:

    It wasn’t me… I wasn’t even there!!! (Just to make it clear, my chain of stores is also not the Marty party responsible for that comment)

  7. Anonymous says:

    It would be easier to respect even support the opposition if they could muster some solutions instead of simply attacking the government.

    If you ask the opposition about cutting the size of the civil service the silence is deafening.

    The PPM are happy to attack the government but have no solutions of their own so they are not a true alternative with and fresh ideas or solutions.

    Instead of simply voting thumbs down please respond with some of the PPM solutions to the country’s financial problems.

    • Independant says:

      There solution is to treat the country like a sick person in bed.

      Spend, spend, spend… inject stimulating factors in the economy

      So it can get better!

      But there is nothing sad about reducing the size of government or the FCO’s initial recommendation to implement a "sustainable revenue measure" like payroll or property tax.

      I have heard nothing from them in terms of solutions! The UDP is hiking up fees, duties, and fines. Everyone is asking where is the money going – Is there not a simplier way?

      From the start the UK suggested we implement a taxing system. But we wanted a way that would ensure that we are able to sustain ourselves economically without tax. So UDP is focus on two things: nation-building or increasing our revenue and increasing fees and fines. Their policy entail more stress and hardache for the hardworking Caymanian people. What did you expect?  No one wanted a fix tax-system that would drive away business and clients. But were the impact of certain tax-systems implemented here ever studied before criticism? No… we yield to the fear that ALL TAX would be destructive!!! And then their was a group so adament that we CUT, CUT, CUT, reduce the size of government, but even if we cut and reduce, would it matter, would it pay off the debt we are in. If you want a company to perform its best, would cutting its staff salary sustain morale and performance? We talked so much about cutting, yet we failed to realise that it has consequences. We need Police officers, we need teachers, we need doctors… They should all be well paid!

      The route I see that will make a difference for the Cayman Islands is to implement what the FCO initially recommended:  "sustainable revenue measure" or TAXING SYSTEM. But everyone is scared of tax because they say it will drive away business and clients. However, there are different types of tax, and were they investigated and studied by this government. I recal Tim Ridley had good suggestions, and there are certain tax that are harmless to the banking industry and less controversal. We can always still tax and nation-build. In fact, it would make nation-building alot more easier.

      But don’t listen to me… Alot Mac to continue hiking up fees and giving everybody more stress and diverse expenses to deal with. and still we don’t know where the money is going. I am sure it is not aiding or going towards 100% in helping the Caymanian people and those 2000 locals that are unemployed. When money is being sqeezed from the people in all directions, there is the chance that some of the monies will go in politician’s pockets.

      I am appealing for ONE direction or ONE avenue to which we can transparently see where are money is going – AND THAT IS TO IMPLEMENT A SIMPLE TAXING SYSTEM where we can use it to build this country and help the unemployed and those in need.

      But call people like me mad and don’t know what they are talking about! Continue with the UDP policy (Fees, Fines, more duties and expenses), the PPM mindset (spend, spend, and more spend), and the false hope that we can CUT, CUT, CUT our government and police force so small that we could manage 50,000 people so easily.

      And why aren’t the Independants speaking out!!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Because some of the Independents were NOT really independents and now are enjoying kickbacks from the UDP witih consulting contracts etc. The others have been silenced by not being able to get ahead in this community so now they are kept busy just trying to find food for their families.

      • Dick Shaughneary says:

        Did anyone else stop reading after seeing the words "independant" and "there" ?

        • Independant says:

          sorry, when I write, my grammer is succumbed by emotion

          • Dick Shaughneary says:

            It is not emotions that seem to be your problem, you appear to be borderline illiterate.

            In one sentence containing 10 words you have made 5 errors.

            1. The "s" in "sorry" should be capitalised.

            2. The second comma is incorrect.

            3. "Grammer" is a spelling error.

            4. One succumbs to something, it cannot be used in the passive voice.

            5. Sentences end in a full stop. 

             

  8. Anonymous says:

    I am no longer a PPM supporter; I am with those who must hope and believe that there is a better way forward for these Cayman Islands than ANY OF THOSE PRESENTLY SITTING.

    However, I must agree (or disagree) with Alden on the following points.

    1)

    "The PPM member said it had reached the point where the community has become fearful when the Legislative Assembly sits because at every meeting since coming to office the UDP government has introduced a new fee. “Government economic policy is a disaster,” McLaughlin said last week, as he pointed out that the country’s financial woes went way beyond blaming the previous administration.

    He pointed out that government should have learned that heaping fees upon fees had not worked during its first budget when it had increased work permits as well as a wide range of financial and business fees. “Government only increased revenue through these fees by $4million after predicting that it would earn $94million,” McLaughlin pointed out.

     
    The George Town member said the increase in fees in the 2009/10 budget had the opposite affect intended, and yet the government had gone and done the same thing again in the 2010/11 budget with more fee increases that would directly impact business and the wider community."
     

    I agree with Alden that INCREASED fees at a time of severe recession (and I do not consider that I am exaggerating when I say SEVERE) is a disastrous (FINANCIAL) plan. We must look at NEW sources of revenue from a completely new base. That is why I have to disagree with Alden that NEW fees are disastrous (FINANCIALLY) . Investors will likely pay whatever fees they have already promised to pay IF MAC GIVES APPROVALS TO THEIR PLANS. That is how money works. Therefore, it may not be financailly disastrous to implement NEW fees as it can possibly mean substantial revenues but it could be SOCIALLY disastrous as the country sells it’s soul for the sake of these NEW fees. 

     
    2)
    "He pointed out that there now seemed to be money for new projects but none to finish the schools. McLaughlin said he was not against government spending on tangible projects, as in a recession it had a duty to stimulate the economy. He said that was exactly why the PPM administration had continued with the major government projects when in office despite the recession."

     
    “We could never have imagined the depth of the recession but we decide to go ahead with some of theprojects as we understood the importance of keeping people employed. We weren’t building pie in the sky projects; they were critically important,” he added, saying people had remained in work as a result. All governments have an obligation to their people to keep the economy rolling even in tough economic times, McLaughlin said, but accused the current administration of failing to create new jobs and properly stimulating the economy, doing nothing to help those who were now really suffering.
     
    I agree with this almost completely wholeheartedly (I know that appears to be contradictory-sort of practicising my "speaking-out-of-both-corners-of my-mouth" polictics). But here is what I mean. I agree wholeheartedly that it is Govt.’s (the people’s) obligation to keep the economy rolling by stimulating the (LOCAL, I HOPE HE MEANT) economy. But I have to differ on two matters.
     
    It is the OBLIGATION of "Govt" (read the Leaders of the people) to "imagine" all possibilities; a total DEPRESSION or other and try to have a plan in place including building a SURPLUS to deal with eventual recessions-everyone knows they come, BEFORE it gets to a point of no return. And it was not the obligation of the Govt. to stimulate the ecomony of any other country by hiring a new and unproven construction company to undertake such a significant task as the schools (and I know that there are those who think that the Govt. must "go with the lowest bidder" etc.) . But leadership requires prudence and prudence requries hearing (I did not use listening for a reason) to those who they think may only be "crying wolf" even if those criers don’t wield the kind of politcial and financial clout that the leaders are accustomed to LISTENING to. That is why the PPM LOST. They would not LISTEN to those who begged them to do something BEFORE it was too late.
     
    So in summary, I must admit that Alden is correct about what the UDP is doing to the country by increasing taxes on its smallest base; the locals. But I must disagree with Alden that NEW taxes on a larger/new base is disastrous as there is no other logical way to address a widening gap between declining revenue and increasing costs. I do not agree with cutting jobs or the civil service DURING a recession; the PPM and previous Govts. should have cut those jobs in better times when the people had a better opportinity for other employment-I know that that would have taken imagination and vision… Then maybe if they lost THOSE JOBS in this recession, the Govt. would now have the FINANCIAL ability to stimulate the economy and create jobs. That is the kind of "imagination" I expect from our leaders WHO ARE PAID VERY WELL to "imagine" (have vision).
     
    And surely, it took no imagination to see that CRIME was getting out of control… I consider that it is time for leaders with vision. God willing, out of hundreds of us complaining and suffering everyday, we can find 15-18 COMPLETELY new leaders over the next three years?
    • Independant says:

      WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS RID OURSELVES FROM THE PARTY SYSTEM ALTOGETHER!

      Why must we follow Mother country with her corrupt politrix?

      And why must we give puppet-masters control over our LA?

      I thought before a law is pass, there is proper dilerberation, debate, screening, and analysis; NOT

      WHAT ONE MAN SAYS, EVERYONE FOLLOWS!!!

       

  9. Anonymous says:

    I am outraged that one of our politicians would make such a thoughtless comment as to say the government is “schizophrenic”. Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that many people in the world and in Cayman suffer from. I’m appalled that you could be so insensitive.   

     
    It’s because of comments like these that the community doesn’t look at mental illnesses seriously or choose to ignore it all together. Guess what is does exists more often than persons are willing to admit and the more people working within the mental health field try to educate the public about mental illnesses and overcome the stigma associated with it everything goes down the drain when an insensitive remark like this is made.
     
    Living in Cayman with a mental illness and be accepted is very difficult, you have offended many and you should be ashamed!
     
    I believe the mentally ill and persons who work (tirelessly) within the mental health field deserve a public apology.
     
    • Dr. Phil says:

      The precise psychological term that Alden was searching for is sociopathy.

  10. Me says:

    This is offensive to those suffering from this dreadful affliction.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Yes, one personality is Ahmadinejad, one is Chavez, the other is Lenin.

    One one shoulder sits Ryan and the other is a many headed beast called Cronies.

  12. Man says:

    Okay Mr. McLaughlin, I agree, they appear to be schizophrenic statements and actions. However, there is a plan emerging from the chaos, and yes, I may simply be hopeful and/or wrong.

    See CNS, I am not listing my candidates!

    The taxes were necessary to balance the budget, allow for borrowing and capital projects.

    The speed with changes to the laws such as planning is to facilitate development.

    The projects are necessary to stimulate the economy.

    Once the Government funded projects commence, investor driven projects will follow.

    And lastly, the PPM projects were not during the recession, had the projects been delayed, as advised due to the USA recession, the commencement of those projects now would be to the countries benefit. However, because the PPM leveraged Governments assets so heavily, rising of taxes is necessary to resume the projects.

    Please do not attempt to disguise your personal political ambition with economic stimulus during a robust economy. This UDP Government is not introducing anything new, simply attempting to take advantage of a recession, uncertainty and people’s fears to push old publicly rejected ideas such as development in East End (from refinery to Cargo Port), dredging the North Sound, building your schools, further development on the Brac (I suspect your Mr. Kirkconnell and the Deputy Premier are in agreement behind closed doors on this as his family are heavily invested in the Brac).
    So is the UDP suffering from dementia praecox? No! They have bet everything on the economy recovering before the next election, by my estimation, eight months before. A move that is likening to Niccolo Machiavelli’s Fox and MAY, be to their detriment.
     

    • Man says:

      I love when the PPM and the UDP agree with the many thumbs down!!! And that is the total membership!!!

  13. Sick of it says:

    Didn’t Mac give major discounts and breaks to this new hospital? What will that do for the country? Where do you think the people coming here for surgery or whatever, stay? Will there be rooms for rent at this facility? Do you honestly think that people coming for these appointments will stay on in hotels and whatever it may be. Think they would have choosen here by now if they were!!!!!

    Mac, you need to go.

    XXXXXXX

     

     

  14. Wally says:

    OMG never thought I would see the day as a storm hell bent UDP member that I would agree with Alden.

    Big Mac, (well little mac now) dont know who you are listening to, but we cant take this much longer.

    • Walling Whittaker says:

      Dear CNS,

      On a point of clarification, I would like to make it abundantly clear that this poster (Submitted at 09:39) referred to as ‘wally’ is NOT me Walling Whittaker also commonly known as Wally.

      Thank you for clearing this up.

      • Anonymous says:

        No one would have suspected that posting was yours Wally….we all know where you stand.

        • Walurus says:

          And also for the record I do would like to make it known that I am not the Wally that posted that comment.  I am busy making little kids happy at Sea World to get into that Cayman Islands Mess you all have over there.

        • Independant says:

          NOTE OUR BIG MISTAKE:

          THIS "VOTE STRAIGHT" CRAP!

          I hope next election people realize that if we get an entire party in power, we get only puppets. The LA House is better well mixed because members tend to debate and think before passing a bill into law!  If the House is predominantly one party, members tend to follow and depend on their leader instead of thinking about what is being passed.

          PEOPLE, TO VOTE STRAIGHT IS JUST FOOLISH!

          I HOPE NEXT TIME YOU VOTE SOMEONE YOU KNOW FOR YOURSELF AND NOT BE SWAYED BY PARTY POLITICS. IF YOU DON’t KNOW ANYONE WHO YOU FEEL IS NOT GOOD FOR THE COUNTRY – THEN DON’t VOTE AT ALL!

          Don’t be misled by this crap "Vote Straight" UDP, PPM, or some other party. The more mix the House is, the better I feel

           

        • wally says:

          I am sometimes called a wally but actually I am not one.

      • Where's Waldo says:

        For clarification it is also not me. For I am also often referred to as Wally.

    • Big Mac says:

      As a worldwide brand of hamburger, I want to make it clear that I am not the Big Mac referred to in this post.

      Thank your for making this clear, I was really worried that someone gave a hoot.