No fees relief in budget

| 03/05/2011

(CNS):There is little chance of a reprieve for the people of Cayman on duties and fees when the premier delivers his 2011/12 annual budget to the Legislative Assembly later this month. Despite announcements by McKeeva Bush that he has stabilized the country’s finances and anticipates a surplus at the end of this financial year, the education minister has said that government is still in no position to reduce any of the fees or duty increases made in the last budget. Rolston Anglin said that the country was still not compliant in a number of areas regarding the Public Management and Finance Law, and even if the year ended in surplus, the public finances still had some way to go to meet the required measures of fiscal responsibility.

“At this stage the country is still not in a situation where the government can actually start to reduce income,” he said. “The government needs income to produce quality services.”

Speaking at a press briefing last Thursday held by the parliamentary UDP membership to show support for the premier, the minister also noted that even if there was a surplus the government was failing in other areas of the law which governs public finances and this also had to be considered.

“A lot of times the debate centres around whether we have a surplus or not, but we are also failing on ‘days cash’ and we are also failing on the ‘debt service ratio’. So the only way to build up reserves is for government to make more than it’s spending and increase the general revenue and other funds that contribute to that calculation,” he added.

It is still not clear if government will have cash left over by the financial year end. Although government was running at an estimated $13 million at the end of the third quarter, the last quarter is always a low revenue generator for public coffers, and as a result it could still be facing a deficit. It is, however, likely to be less than the estimated amount of some $30 milllion as called for at the beginning of the financial year.

This year’s budget is the second year of a three year fiscal plan which was devised primarily to address the levels of public borrowing and to bring public finances back in line with the requirements of prudent fiscal management under the PMFL. The plan was approved by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in order to secure the UK’s approval to increase borrowing further during this year financial year because the net debt ratio had exceed the set limits.

Anglin further noted that, since the FCO had a hand in the country’s budget, the Cayman government still had to be very careful as it was dependent on the UK’s approval. Government has to remain within the parameters of this three year financial strategy, he added.

With the bottom line still in question and the need to navigate a still difficult fiscal landscape, Anglin said there would be no fee cuts. He said that the UDP administration had taken the view that the funding of government would be done via indirect taxes — fees and duty — not direct taxation, and the duty increases would remain.

Ellio Solomon, the backbench member for George Town, added that while he understood the difficulties people had regarding the increase in fees, he believed the majority of the Cayman people were happy and willing to make the sacrifice of paying that extra 25 cents for gas for the betterment of the country. 

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Elio “believed the majority of the Cayman people were happy and willing to make the sacrifice of paying that extra 25 cents for gas for the betterment of the country.”

    So sayeth the deluded who happily drive around in Government vehicles which are fueled at taxpayers cost. If they had to buy their own gas, bet you they would be crying like the rest of us.

  2. Anonymous says:

    And exactly what sacrifice is Elio and the rest of the government making for the betterment of the country may I ask??

  3. Anonymous says:

    No Elio & Co. ,I am not happy to pay the extra 25 cents, especially as you seem to fail and realize that this increase translates into everything (groceries, CUC bill, etc) and not just the gasoline you pump at the gas station.

    MAKE THE RITZ PAY FOR THE DUTY THEY STILL OWE TO THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY!

    Once you all got your crap in order and actually know what the hell you are talking about, then, maybe then, can you ask the people to make sacrifices.

    • Anonymous says:

      I sure wish I knew where these people get their nerve. Right now, instead of TELLING the people of Cayman that they are HAPPY with yet another atrocious fee increase, he should be shouting from the mountain tops to have them reduced as he so very sincerely promised he would be doing. Where is this all going to END?

    • Chris Johnson says:

      Thanks for reminding us about the money still owed by the Ritz-Carlton.In due course I imagine it will be written off and forgotten unless the new Auditor General keeps pressing the issue.I certainly know what I would do to collect the outstanding amount!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ok, so we’re all very angry at Elio….but thats about as useful as peeing into the wind….this guy Elio is irrelevant, as are most of them in govt (on all sides)…but all we’re doing is screaming, and then hiding again…..where are the pushes for referendums on legislation? where are the marches on the L.A? they are nowhere really…..and more importantly, where are the answers? i dont see any? do you know why? because there are no good answers and we’re angry about it….but you know what? Even if we didn’t foolishly vote BigMac back in, the other lot wouldnt have fared much better….certainly we’d be nowhere near the highs of the late 90’s and early 2000’s….times have changed…..population is down, that means income to govt and businesses is down….costs are up, not ONLY because of anything in cayman, simply because globally costs are going up…..the only way for govt to be able to get us out of this mess is to bring in tax…but who’ll do it? whoever does, will never be voted in again…..but they’ll have been right to do it……income tax, property tax, possibly a sales tax (but thats an admin nightmare)…they’re all coming out of necessity…….but here are 2 quick suggestions – one easy thing for govt to do, is to stop this utter nonsense about the currency fixed rates of exchange….the .8, the .82, and the .84…..do you know how much money of this the govt get? ZERO…..do you know where it all goes? to the BANKS!!! look at all these lovely bank buildings…..its all becuase they are stealing our money from the US to CI conversion….its MILLIONS a year in conversion fees….at the very least, if this conversion stays, give all the proceeds to GOVT …..but not the banks, becuase they wont even lend it out to us anymore……its daylight robbery……speaking of daylight, another easy fix to increase spending and fuel the economy is to go to Daylight savings time….its easy, and it means more fuel into economy and more exercise as we can play at night after work and school….so many easy fixes exist…but nothing happens….what is wrong with us? why will we end up voting for the same fools the next time? because you know we will……we cant help it

    • Anonymous says:

      You are delusional, just like what was thought of the $600miilion in funds that would have been derived from the dormant accounts…check see how much was realized.

  5. jeffery ebanks says:

    Please Allow me to comment on this issue.
    It appears as if everyone thinks their is a surplus in Government.

    IS THIER REALLY A SURPLUS. NO NO NO NO…..

    What IS happening (I am a lowly civil servant with inside knowledge and am sick of the side swiping) that because of all the UDP GOV’t cuts the Gov’t has saved ALOT of money. BUT AT WHAT COST. The Police can’t afford to fix ANYTHING, DVES can’t afford to fix ANYTHING, in fact ALL Gov’t DEPARTMENTS can’t afford to fix ANYTHING or even keep what they got running. This is leading to a sharp decline in services that are starting to and will have long term effects. ADD to this the FACT that the PREMIER has and WILL continue to fly all over the world (using the excuse of making money) costing the country thousands (i beg someone to ask a FOI on this), him and who else he takes (his WIFE), and FIRST CLASS at that.

    Lets stop this foolery and be honest about this stuff, you all say you are Christian, well I challenge you to show it true (not like that fellow Jimmy Sawaggert). Look into your self and your heart, not your bank account. Remember JESUS went to the hall and stopped the politicians and gambling?

    Remeber.

    I will pray for all of you, you all need forgivness. And if you need to speak directly to me I added my name.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Mr Ellio Solomon I wish CNS would really allow me to say what i want to you but i doubt they will. I am not sure which people you spoke to regarding hike of anything on this Island its easy for you Mackeeva , Rolston and the rest of the yes men because thats what you all are . To sit there and talk BS because none of you know what us the public is going thru to make ends meat for our family. But as the saying goes the bucket goes to the well so many time but one day the bottom will drop out. Well una bottom will soon drop out and when you get back to where you use to be which you same to have forgotten not even you will be able to pay your oil of olay to use.

  7. UDP&PPM AFU says:

     The real plan is for them to get as much personal money out of Caymans purse before Mama UK takes it back.  Think people.  Use your brain for something other than complaining.  The CIG does not have what it needs to Govern successfully and no one can give it to them period.  They will fail period.  They will not listen to professionals advice, only the loudest fool.  They can not even begin to understand what it takes to balance a budget much less try to.  Anything they tried to do to make it better to live here has made it harder and they are not finished yet.  They will fail and take Caymans current way of life with them. There is NOTHING anyone including the incompetent MLA’s can do to change this .  CIG will run this country to total failure and then the UK will be FORCED to step in and try to save what it can.  Plan on it.

  8. 345Str8Talk says:

    I am a young Caymanian, and I’ve been pondering  on this question for a while now! Can someone give me a realistic answer please? Why are "jewelry, fragrance, cameras, and alcohol (at certain tourist shops) duty free?" In the times that we’re living in now, shouldn’t government consider making food and other necessities duty-free? Just asking…. Oh, and while I’m in the typing mood, why don’t those high school graduates in the L.A reduce the maintenance cost of the prison. I don’t mean cutting the prison officers’ salary… I mean reducing the money that the government pour into that "resort!" Prisoners are living better and have less worries than the hard working people of Cayman. This is PREPOSTEROUS! May God help us!

  9. Anonymous says:

     He can save a lot of money by cutting down on their travel and taking a nice big pay cut.

    If we have to work for $3.00 per hour: they should too. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually we should probably be giving them four since they are really doing so very much for their country.

  10. The lone Haranguer says:

    Yeah McKeeva give me the 25 cents back on the gas because I need the break so I can run my two Mercedes benz’s and my boat cheaply and I can go to miami every month. Thanks.
    O the national debt, screw it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Speak for yourself! You might have all of that but I certainly do not!

      • The lone haranguer says:

        So you live in a hovel without A/C and drive a Daihatsu Charade, so that 25 cent tax is going to cost you $20 more per month, I burn gas I use electricity, I need a break, this tax is going to cost me $200 per month.So you see I am going to be actually paying 10 times the amount of tax as you are. Yes I am loaded, but is that fair?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Someone needs to give me some of what Ellio’s been smoking. Then maybe I can forget about scrimping and saving and worrying because I can barely afford to drive my car or buy food to feed my kids. Maybe I can get high enough to stop searching for a 2nd job to try and get the bills paid – although I won’t have any time with my kids. Maybe I can also forget about not being able to save for a rainy day, afford to take my kids on vacation or or buy a house. Maybe I can stop worrying about getting laid off (like so many of my colleagures have been) and losing my much-needed health insurance. Maybe I can stop wondering why living is getting harder instead of easier despite my university degree, strong work ethic and professional experience.

    Or maybe since Ellio is making so much money every month for doing bleep all, he’s just so out of touch he can’t relate to the people who were dumb enough to vote for him the first place!

    This bunch disgusts me and has really got to go.

    • Maverick says:

      what a bunch of clowns playing politicians. FFS Cayman, get a grip of these idiots.

    • Patricia X says:

      It might be a good start if you stopped wallowing in over-dramatic self-pity.

      • Anonymous says:

        thumbs down say it all patsy!

      • Wondering... says:

        Does anyone else think that this Patricia X is really just some ugly, hairy, beer-swilling tosser who got beat up just a few to many times by the cool kids when he was growing up, and now gets his kicks pretenting to be a woman and trying to piss off those same cool kids who went on to be successful in life while he simply failed at life and turned out to be, well, just a big ugly, hairy, beer-swilling tosser ? I do…

        Is this him?

        http://www.ebaumsworld.com/pictures/view/323674

  12. Scrooge McDuck says:

    "the only way to build up reserves is for government to make more than it’s spending" WTF? 

    There’s another way that makes more sense to us:

    The government could spend LESS than it’s making. That’s how you save.

    What makes government special? That’s what we have to do. But we can’t. We just can’t keep up with the government:

    It always spends MORE than it’s making. Don’t do that.

    Why do we have to explain that?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Seeing as though we never saw financials to show that we were bankrupt, how do we know that it was not a total lie? I firmly believe that the PPM left money as per the financial statements produced by the FS prior to the election. McKeeva and his crew have spent a good portion of it flitting around the world at OUR EXPENSE, how in the world can they possibly think that any one would believe a word they say. I am not happy paying this fuel increase. I have not had a raise for almost 3 years. My bills go up every month. I have a good job with good benefits in the private sector but it is getting harder and harder to make ends meet. I can only imaginewhat some lower paid people with 2 or 3 or more children are going through. Stop wasting our money, sit your backsides at home and try very very hard to see if any of you can come up with a plan to cut the cost of living. Even your invisible investors are not going to stay here long with the cost of living. Your people are suffering. Your elderly and young people especially. It is your duty to help your people. They deserve much much better than you. If you can’t do the job – GET OUT NOW!!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Did you hear about the new book written by Elio and McBudget entitled “All we know about Government Finances”?
    Its a 756 page hard cover book and every page is blank!

  15. AFU says:

     Face facts people of Cayman.  When the best you got is not good enough the smart thing is to change it.  The stupid thing is to just let it go till the bitter end.  Smart people should startplanning for just that.  End of story.

  16. Anonymous says:

    yo elio and rest in government…go read the miller shaw report again!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Ellio thinks that the people don’t mind paying an extra 25 cents for gas so McKeeva can take him to London for budget talks with the FCO. That’s like having “extra” teats on a bull.

  18. Blood Caymanian not Paper says:

     Oh please Elio, you cannot speak for the people of the Caymanians any longer.  You certainly cannot speak for me.  How can your Govt. justify the 25cent gas increase?  It is not helping with the services to go any smoother in this country and that’s a given fact, it is only making it easier for your Govt. to have more money to go on whirlwind tours around the world filling up your passports with stamps to show how wasteful you have been.  I cannot find one ounce of reasoning that shows or demonstrates to me that these world tours has brought one shred of new business back to this country.  If  you want to save this country educate your ignorant Govt. in the act of emails and go-to-meetings etc. this is the way of the future and many other countries are using technology and the internet to save money.  

    Your people are starving, loosing their homes, children are not going to school, using the public restrooms to clean themselves and you have the audacity to say you believe the majority of the Cayman people are happy to make the sacrifice.  What next do you want from us our first and second born??  How much more of a sacrifice do you expect this country to make before they have nothing left to sacrifice but their heads on the chopping block??

    This face of riches and wealth that is being painted by Elio’s Govt. is only a demonstration of deception to the rest of the world.  We are a dying nation of people, Caymanians have been raped and defrauded of their future by the hands of the UDP Govt. and their lobbyist.  

    If any Caymanian have any sense they would sell everything they own, get their british passport their ticket out of this mess and move away like many are doing.

    Elio’s Govt. has torn this country apart and forgotten about the people who gave them their jobs.  I hope you enjoy that fancy car Elio, soon you will need to put that between the last two slices of bread you have and eat it!!

    • 345Str8Talk says:

      The people of Cayman deserve all of what is happening. If we did not cast our votes based upon who can give us the most gravel for our yards or who can give us the biggest turkey at Christmas, we would more than likely not be in this situation right now! For years now Caymanians have been putting in and taking out Mckeeva and his team just as many times that they have done it Kurt and his team. We need to stop awarding M.L.A positions to people with High School Diplomas (at the most), and vindictive attitudes. Incompetent Caymanians have totally ruined the Government. Now we have a Premier that is only looking out for himself and the well-being of DART! If illiterate people continue to manage this country our children (not even grandchildren), will be insignificant in Cayman in 5-7 years! May God help us!

  19. Michel Lemay says:

    Oh yes Elio we are ssssssssooooooooooooooo happy to pay more for gas and everything else not to mention CUC bill, WATER bill and everything else brought in. Have you notice the last 0 .40 cent increase too. Now you either have a weird sense of humour or your making fun of us. At the rate you guys are spending with all the trips and lawsuits coming we are pretty sure the country will be broke if it wasn’t before including the surplus we were suppose to have.” You can fool some people some of the time but you can’t fool all the people all of the time ! Sir Bob Marley”

    • Forelock says:

      Whilst Bob Marley said many a memorable thing, the saying quoted was actually made by Abraham Lincoln and only paraphrased by Bob.

      ‘You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time’ Abraham Lincoln

  20. B. B. L. Brown says:

    It is so easy to leave government-enacted fees and taxes etc. in place and continue taking from the people.  Would you like to make a bet on just how long these fees will continue….. or how long before they are raised again? 

    Mr. Anglin says, "So the only way to build up reserves is for government to make more than it’s spending and increase the general revenue and other funds that contribute to that calculation”.  The only way?…. Has no one ever heard of reduced spending?  I don’t get to raise my income when I get in debt… I have to cut back on unnecessary expenditures.
     

    Mr. Soloman said he "believed the majority of the Cayman people were happy and willing to make the sacrifice of paying that extra 25 cents for gas for the betterment of the country."  I cannot agree with you, sir.  I DON’T believe the people are happy about paying extra fees and taxes.  I’m not!

  21. Anonymous says:

    No, Ellio, we are not "willing to make the sacrifice of paying that extra 25 cents for gas for the betterment of the country".  Not while your government is wasting 8 plus million on a shelter in the Brac, paving private parking lots,  wasting money on the Premiers house,  ugly fences, and needless travel.  You "leaders" need to get your head out of the sand .   Life may be good for you but not the rest of us.
     

  22. Anonymous says:

    Ellio, how many millions are we gonna spend on the Clean-up this Dec 2011? You could do without hiring 250 people for two weeks and make 15,000 people happy by reducing the Fuel TAX. The islands could still be cleaned up by those ALREADY hired for that job – or use prison labour.

    • The lone haranguer says:

      The fuel tax gets a lot more money out of the rich people than the poor people by a factor of between 8 and 10.

      The increase in import duty gets more money out of the rich people by a factor of of mabye 1.5 to 2.

      The fuel tax is a great tax that collects way more money from the rich people who have big houses with pools that use a lot of electricity and big cars and big boats that use a lot of gas.

      Think about it, we should reduce the import duties and increase the fuel duties.

      • Lachlan MacTavish says:

        20:24….tell that to someone who works two jobs and needs to drive to work and is not rich and cannot pay for the increased power bills and and. Think this through.  

      • Anonymous says:

        You must be one of McKeeva’s financial advisors to be so wrong, and yet so sure of your wisdom. lol.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I wish the government would use some of my  fees to hire proper accountants to produce government accounts so I can actually see where my fees go. Then again, that would be in the best interest of the country and not the politicians. 

    The fact is we have moved away from "democracy for the people" and gone to "democracy for the politicians". I can safely predict that these selfish, incompetent, self enriching, bungling idiots will make our lives more difficult. 

     

  24. Lachlan MacTavish says:

    On the flip side this is nothing but weak "political speak and sound bites".

    This government or Mr. Bush is incapable of reducing the cost of running the Government. We will see no reductions in the CIG. 

    The present system is failing the middle and lower class who are extremely pressed to keep up with the increases in fee’s, duties and taxes. I do not know where Ellio gets off by saying that the majority of people are willing to make the sacrifice with the 25C gas increase.

    If the 25 cents is not a hurt give the thumbs DOWN.

    The MLA’s are paid so well they are out of touch with the public.

  25. Anonymous says:

    No fee relief in budget … more trips being planned. 

  26. Anonymous says:

    Using the words “Mckeeva” and “Budget” in the same sentence creates a paradox!

  27. SOS says:

    For those waiting for the UK to come and save us could you tell me exactly what from, the people we elected? This is nothing short of a sick little mind game where or Premier is threatened by the FCO minders about his deeds everytime he doesn’t play ball.Only when he threatens the interest of UK financial interest here will action be taken only then will something be done and he is always very careful not to do that. Poor old Cayman soon come.What a joke!

  28. Anonymous says:

    How does our MLA’s say they understand the difficulties the people are having, especially the samll businesses, I do not think they care, much less understand, shortly after elections they were driving around in their expensive mercedes benz, not giving a hoot about the people who put them there. This UDP need to put what little brains they have together and not only cut back on fees, but get their heads out of the sand, because under their leadership these Cayman Islands are sinking & suffering. God help us when this budget is brought before the house, if any more increases are made we may as well shut down our businesses, they are closing very fast anyhow,we may have to go back to walking and riding our bicycles and catching more fish and growing more breadfruit trees, only the very rich, and even them are complaining, will survive. So Mr. Elio I really don’t think you understand at all what is happening under your rein, but enjoy every moment of it because it won’t be for long. Signed: A Sufferer.

  29. Anonymous says:

    In other words: “due to our brilliance we have a surplus, but not the kind of surplus that we can pass on to you peasants”

  30. Anonymous says:

    How could there be relief with Mac’s and JuJu’s excessive travel?

  31. Anonymous says:

    Reduce expenses OR raise revenue.

    Reducing expenses is not acceptable here.

    Two ways to raise revenue.

    Increase price to customers OR get more customers.

    The problem with just increasing the price is that you end up losing customers. 

  32. Blind Guides says:

    Here’s a few suggestions:-
    1. Get a couple of million dollars of gold and silver bullion over here. It will soon be worth 5 times that. Insist on physical merchandise, not just on paper.
    2. Start planning for when the US Dollar is worthless, because that is not far away. When it goes, we go with it into hyper-inflation. Seriously, it will be a day’s wages for a loaf of bread.
    3. Whoever enforced that the pension funds of the Caymanian people could not be used to own Cayman Real Estate should be dragged before the people and publicly flogged. Cayman real estate is a precious commodity and we don’t have anywhere else to go. Why should we tie up our retirement on worthless derivatives that could lose their value overnight?
    Change this rule immediately and start investing the pension funds in Caymanian assets.
    4. As the Premier what qualification he has to be in charge of the Finance Portfolio? It’s like having the fox guard the hen house.

    Please folks, Wake up! I am appealing to qualified Caymanians to debate these suggestions because our future and our children’s future depends on us getting it right.

    • Anonymous says:

      The last thing we need is Cayman politicians getting their sticky fingers on our retirement funds. The money is put in the hands of fund managers to get the best return on our investment, not to provide extra play money for elected officials.

      • Perfect Timing says:

        Nobody is suggesting that the politicians have access to this money and surely some of the best fund managers reside here.
        These funds should comprise investment vehicles that have shares in….CUC, Water, commercial rental properties, gas stations, groceries and local produce.

        When the government needs a loan, it can darned well come to the people. (After they get their accounts properly audited) Wouldn’t that be something, the people owning the government. Isn’t that what democracy is?

        Things would get straightened out pretty quickly. Stop investing money overseas. It is not necessary, we have NO control over what happens there. Who are we going to hold accountable when our pensions are worthless because some inaccessible fund manager screwed up?

  33. Anonymous says:

    Fees relief – please de man got big big travel plans for the next two years.

  34. Financial expert says:

    When balancing the books the Minister of Finance must remember that credit items are nearest the window.

  35. Sachamo says:

    While I agree that the fiscal problems facing the country are enormous I am not sure how much more the people can take at this time. The cost of living is simply horrendous and serious consideration needs to be given to this going forward. As a voter i still resent the former government for the wreckless way they spent the publics money and now we are the one to suffer the consequences. NOT RIGHT!

  36. Diggleson Prod says:

    With the cash flow that the government has experienced in the past, we should be one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
    Now that the cash is not so abundant, rather than looking to generate more with schemes that may or may not work, our first steps should be to trim the fat and that WILL work.

    Public borrowing is a very serious thing and should not be entered into lightly as the future generations are impacted by our debts.

    There is a time and a place to borrow money, but not before the cost-cutting exercise and it should only be short term.

    Public borrowing actually creates indirect taxation because someone has to pay as all the prices go up from everything to food, water and fuel and government services.

    With all the Caymanian bankers, lawyers, accountants that we have paid full scholarships for (Yes, we paid for you to go to school), it’s about time we got a little return on our investment. Present yourselves to thegovernment and the people and offer to help. Form a think tank and step up to the plate.

    From the early 90’s until now, the financial affairs of this country have been an utter disgrace and those involved should be ashamed of themselves. Yet we reward them with high paying positions in other equally useless government departments.

    A public apology is not enough. The people should expect a full audit of the government together with a coherent plan for solvency.

  37. Anonymous says:

    “Ellio Solomon, the backbench member for George Town added that while he understood the difficulties people had regarding the increase in fees he believed the majority of the Cayman people were happy and willing to make the sacrifice of paying that extra 25 cents for gas for the betterment of the country.”

    What???? How is the current government making things better? Methinks the extra 25 cents per gallon goes straight to McDinejad’s travel budget!