Mac calls for financial year-end move

| 01/07/2011

(CNS): Opening the last full Finance Committee session on the 2011/12 budget by chastising MLAs for arriving late for the proceedings, the premier said government should consider moving the end of the financial year to 31 December.  McKeeva Bush pointed to conflicts that arise because both public and private graduation ceremonies bump right up against the deadline for approving the budget before the new financial year begins 1 July. Noting that Friday’s session,which convened at 11:30am, was supposed to start at 10am, Bush said Finance Committee "suffers” because members were caught up in the graduation process. “This work is most difficult with the schools and the financial year ending at the same time.”

With these conflicts, he said, “we have a difficult time forming quorums,” adding that he needed to get members to address that issue, especially due to the challenging economic climate. “In these times, budgeting is not easy,” he said.

While MLAs spoke to the importance of attending graduation, Bush emphasized that the work of the Finance Committee must take priority. “This is our main responsibility,” he said, adding, “I didn’t get to one of my graduations.”

The premier suggested that reducing the number of members needed for a quorum might mitigate the issue. Bush noted that in larger parliaments, not everyone was required to be a member of the finance committee. “I won’t say what the proper proportion should be, but we need to look at it,” he said, complaining that “a lot of time is spent waiting” on MLAs to appear.

“(MLAs) need to come on time. The LA should be their first charge” unless a family matter or sickness prevents them from attending. If there is an emergency, it will create a problem in reaching a quorum, he said, expounding on his call to consider reducing the required number of MLAs to be present.

“We need to recognize that (the LA) is our first charge,” Bush said, but to solve the timing issue, “it is sensible to look at changing the calendar year so the government’s financial year ends 31 December.”

Before 2005, elections took place in November, giving the newly elected Legislative Assembly ample time to look at the next year’s budget.

Hurricane Ivan in September 2004 forced elections to be postponed until May 2005, thus allowing fewer than two months for MLAs to finalise the budget before the start of the next financial year. The May 2009 elections again resulted in MLAs scrambling to approve the budget.

Since then, politicians on both sides of the House have been reluctant to move the election date back to November as it means either cutting short or extending a term of office for six months.

However, it was the premier who changed the Public Management and Finance Law (PMFL) law last year to remove the requirement of government to bring the budget before the end of April. The decision to allow the budget to come before the parliament anytime before the financial year end date of 30 June saw both the 2010/11 and 2011/12 financial plans being presented by the premier in his role as Finance Minister only days before that date.

Category: Politics

Comments (19)

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  1. Just Commentin' says:

    Mac's reasoning for the change has to be the most idiotic rationale possible.

    Bush proposes that we trade people getting "caught up" in graduation time for the much more hectic and widespread involvement and commitments relative to the Christmas holiday season and New Year preparations. Let's see: besides holiday travel and family involvement, we have school programmes, church programmes, shopping, other special events…

    (Hey, Mac: What the hell are you thinking? Oh…yeah…"thinking"…my bad…. Sorry.)

    There are no words of disparagement or condemnation that I can find in the English language to describe a so-called leader who fails to realise that the winter holiday season would be a far more serious distraction and hindrance to dealing with the fiscal year ending than graduation time.

    I have lost all confidence in this man. Bush's lack of sound reasoning ability should utterly disqualify him from any position of leadership (yea or even the position of janitor to the LA) much less the highest office in our land.

    It is significant to note that the usual diatribes from rabid Mackites defending him from critical comments are conspicuous by there absence. Even his own realise that this is a stupid and indefensible idea.

    When are Caymanians going to wake up and put and end to this lunacy?

  2. Anonymous says:

    If it must be changed and I remain unconvinced then it should be like other major countries ie end of March/April.

    Because if we move it back to December this would prohibit people from well earned and valuable time with their families.

    However I am still unconvinced from the arguments that June 30th is a bad idea. The solution is for government to get more organised in its own time-management and budgeting process because it is not efficient as is.

    I hear that some civil servants were waiting for nearly two weeks to be called to Parliament. And the PPM was no better because they had civil servants up at 4am in budget meetings.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It’s sad that adults complain so much about the declining work ethic in young people these days when MLAs are habitually late for work…and apparently not by just a few minutes. How can we complain about entry level employees being late when the highest officials cannot manage to be on time either. Although I am not saying anything about our Deputy Premier’s politics, the woman is NEVER on time for anything regardless of what it is. Functions are held up sometimes for hours because of her.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Premier – we will if you will.

    • Cicero says:

      Move the financial year-end, move the clock, move West Bay Road, move the freight dock, move the auditor general [ and replace ] Sounds like the Premier is on the move. Any further ideas anyone, before I move.

      • Anonymous says:

        Move a motion to redistribute the days in the month so that each month will have exactly 30 days. It's very confusing for him right now when his hourly rate for work changes from month to month. The five or six extra days would be used to create a new month called Macember.

        He has come up with a plan to stimulate tourism during the slow season in Macember where people would have the option of dressing up like pirates and getting drunk in the streets, or dress up in old clothes and cook food on a caboose for those dressed up like pirates and getting drunk in the streets.

        Five of the new months would be renamed after famous Caymanians selected by the premier, and the other seven would be available for purchase at $5 million each. Legislation will be enacted to prohibit the names Kurtember, Aldember, Ardember and Ezzardember in the Cayman calendar.

  5. Anonymous says:

    ITS pathetic to know that we pay our (so called) representatives each over CI$10,000 per month and the best excuse they can come up with is that school graduations are hindering them from getting the country's work done.

    Note to the representatives: Excuses dont cut it.

    Buckle down and do what you are paid to do, efficiently and transparently.

    If not, resign and attend all the graduations you feel like without  interrupting the running of the country and making nonsensical excuses which are published in the media.

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe part of the job of the Minister of Education is to attend graduations so if he didn't, he wouldn't be doing part of his job! 

  6. Anonymous says:

    Strategic thinking is probably too much to hope for but by moving the year end to be 6 months out of phase with the May elections perhaps they think that come May 2012 they will be able to mask the disaster they left the economy in until 6 months after the new government comes in.

  7. West Bay Resident says:

    On the other hand they could sort out the budget inthe newyear ready for the end of June, instead of waiting until June 29th. The original change from end of year to June 30th already caused a headache for the Civil Service because the employee holiday year, insurance year, etc was out of step.

    • Anonymous says:

      Only for these useless Chief Financial Officers (not all of them) who didn't know how to or were too lazy to accrue leave or anything else for that matter. Why should they bother? No one has ever been disciplined for not doing their work in the civil service so there's no incentive to perform.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Oh ya, moving the fiscal year end to Dec 31 thats a great idea, no one will be on holidays, or away for the christmas season, or distracted by upcoming new years events. Are any govt departments even open during this time??? Another great idea Mac!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    So I guess that they will just abandon all standards dealing with transparency and accountability. Perhaps they have and are just announcing it piece by piece – that seems to be where they are going anyway.

  10. Anonymous says:

    hahahahahhaha, so that's the problem!

  11. One for Another says:

    Great Idea Mac!

    Move the financial year to clash with Christmas & the New year.  I can really see everyone making the extra effort working Christmas Day,  Boxing day & Late New Years Eve to make sure everything is on time. 

    Why not try like the US or UK Governments & do it at the end of March or September when there are no significate holidays around?

    No thats right you can't solve one issue without making a bigger one to replace it.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Actually the country suffers because those folks were not involved in graduation processes years ago.

  13. Financial Bobo says:

    What utter rubbish! The pathetic logic this man employs in trying to justify his dealings is an insult to us all.

    • Anonymous says:

      AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!  Your comment seems to make a whole heap of sense, but anything sensible will never get pass the "PREMIER".

  14. Doomed says:

    Lets change it to Feb 29 then we need only do accounts every five years.