Governor cautious on COLA

| 15/09/2011

(CNS): Despite the premier’s recent suggestion that the civil service could get the 3.2% cost of living allowance (COLA) returned to them by this September’s pay packet, the governor has greeted the idea with some caution. The recent surplus of $24 million is only one part of the public finance equation and with the capital expenditure for this year at around $60 million, among other issues, Governor Duncan Taylor said there was still some way to go to meet the requirements of the three year plan submitted to the UK. Following his announcement, Premier McKeeva Bush reportedly contacted the British government to get permission to give back the cost of living cut to public sector workers but no word has yet been received.

“I think there may be some good arguments for giving back the 3.2% to promote morale and inject cash into the economy, but when it comes to affordability we need to be careful when talking about the surplus,” the governor told CNS this week.

The current surplus announced by the premier only represents increase in revenue over spending for one year and may be down to some ‘one-off’ revenue raising measures such as cash from dormant accounts. It is also set against the backdrop of public debt and a public pension liability that remains unpaid for the last three years.

Asked about his position on the return of the money to civil servants, Taylor said the decision had to be made in context against the entire public finance picture. “The premier has already said he will consult with the minister and I imagine he is likely to expect savings to be made elsewhere in the budget if the 3.2% is to be given back,” he added.

The estimated cost of returning the cost of living allowance is around $4.5 milllion but there have been suggestions made in the public domain that the COLA could just be returned to those at the bottom of the pay grade, who were already struggling even before the cut.

However, the premier made the national announcement last month that he proposed to return the cash to everyone. The statement was delivered to the country in the wake of criticisms made of Bush by the governor regarding the premier’s attack on the auditor general’s office after its damning report on the tendering process.

As the criticisms over the Cohen loan in particular were aired in the public domain, Bush hit back and also picked the time to release government’s unaudited accounts, which suggested it had managed to end its operational budget with a surplus of around $24 milllion as well as his proposal to return the 3.2%.

Although both the premier and the governor had spoken about improved relations between the governments of the UK and the Cayman Islands after the departure of Stuart Jack, the previous incumbent at Government House, and the departure of the Labour government in the UK, more recently cracks have begun to appear locally between the elected and official arms of government.

In the wake of his own public criticsms of the premier over Bush’s attack on the audit office, the governor said this week that he continues “to try to have a good relationship with the premier” as he had since arriving in Cayman last January.

Category: Politics

Comments (37)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    How can the Governor be cautious on COLA when he has senior civil servants such as Gomez double dipping?

  2. slowpoke says:

    How will this be calculated?  What does this really mean, if it were to happen?  Was this just a COLA or a new salary?

    If your paycheck is $100 and there is a 3.2% cut, you have a new base salary.  If you then reinstate a 3.2% raise, you do not end up with $100.

  3. Oi oi says:

    Good to see the UK knows that this “surplus” is a joke.

  4. Concerned Caymanian says:

    Perhaps the government could use that money to start paying their bills.  Small businesses are suffering because they are owed huge amounts of money from government for work that has been done.  Ask any bank and they will tell you that small businesses are having to ask for higher overdrafts, and the need is directly due to government owing them money.

  5. Anonymous says:

    His Excellency Duncan Taylor, the people of the Cayman Islands really need your direct intervention in the direction of these islands.  The way that this country is being run cannot continue for much longer.  Cayman Islands are in dire need of good governance.   We can appreciate your laid back leadership style which is very similar to any good parent you guide the leaders of the country and give advice when and where you see necessary, however, there is also a time for intervention and in my opinion that time is now.

    Our country is becoming too unstable in just too many instances and it is very evident that the elected politicians are unable or unwilling to do anything about it, as the representative of the UK please help us with maintaining law and order in these islands. Thank you and may God continue to bless and guide you as you go forward.


    • Anonymous says:

      Pile of hog wash he intervenes and we become slaves again.
      God bless the Caiyman Islands

  6. Anonymous says:

    The surplus is creative accounting at its best, how can you not account for 3 years of unpaid civil servant pensions and call this a surplus?  Only the Good Lord will be able to help us with this surplus blows over.  All CS with love for country please decline the COLA refund and instead tell the government to pay it into the pension fund for your retirement.

    • Anonymous says:

      Tell the politicians to pay back the money that they have been wasting or stashing to cronies year after year!!! My elec bill is high just like yours, i need my COLA back!!


      Short-sighted politicians are the cause for the underfunded pensions, and those politicians that are getting paid salary plus pensions know that the well is drying up, that's why they taking theirs now too – tell them to stop taking their pensions now while they are members of the LA and we might consider not taking the COLA.


      A good leader leads by example – Mac is taking his now quickly coz, as Minister of Finance, he knows the money drying up, so i want my money due to me now too.

  7. CS says:

    I don't want the cola back…even though it wasn't a cola to me, I joined after the cola was implemented so it was just a cut.

    But seriously, we should not take back the cola until the Government can make good on it pension obligations! I care more that the( our) people who have depended on retirement funds continue to get them.  Me, I am still in 20's (not for long) but I can put up a few extra dollars in CUC shares each month until I get where I need to be.

    Some people are like those children who can't wait to spend lunch money…belly full in morning and crying in the evening when the pot is empty on the stove and saying there is nothing to eat.  Better to ration what you have and your belly will always be full…common sense

    So for the good of our collective bellies I will say give me a little less now but make sure the pot is full when I get there…or someone I love gets there for me…


    Some peoples belly is always too full I think…good way vote…when you see a big gut or cut gut you know that person belongs in a kitchen not a cabinet!!!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    To 11:15.  There is nothing called 'The poor Jamaicans'.  Jamaica is rich in many ways including, the GOOD, the BAD and the UGLY. And you forgot something, Cayman was once a parish of Jamaica.  So let's unite and live good. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman was never a parish of Jamaica. Cayman was officially a dependency of Jamaica but history reflects that in practical terms we were not actually dependent on Jamaica which gave us little assistance and left us to fend for ourselves. 

      • Anonymous says:

        correction:2340 The English speaking colonies had to make a decision whether to become a independent Federal State or failing this, go independent individually. Cayman being a dependency, like Turk and Cacious Islands, had to decide what to do. When the Federal Experiment failed because Jamaica and Trinidad and later Barbados opted out, jamaica choosing Independence, Cayman had the option of coming under direct rule from mother UK with their own Governor or go independent with jamaica. Note that before this the sitting Governor of jamaica, Sir Kenneth Blackburn, was Governor of both Jamaica and Cayman. For administration purposes, Cayman fell under the parish of Westmoreland with responsibility for defenceand external affairs remaining with Governor Blackburn. Immigration was tightly regulated by local Administrator apointed by the Governor of Jamaica . Cayman was very suspicious of it being overruned by a lot of Jamaican of African descent(black Jamaican as they called them).Cayman opted to become a Crown colony and directly under their own Governor and their local elected House with a Leader of Government Business

      • Anonymous says:

        Brethren the bulk of the Money in Cayman don't belong to Caymanians. Cayman is a Banking Center. Mr. Dart, The Hedge Fund Managers, and international investors. Don't boast about it because you can't touch the people's money and jf everyone decide to pull out their money ,where would Cayman be? The money in Jamaica,on the other hand, belongs to Jamaicans, althugh I must admit it is not equitably distributed(just like Cayman) among the 2,700,000 of them.

  9. Ubelievedat says:

    2011 News Flash!!

    All you accountants operating in the Cayman Islands should now be aware that the Premier and the UDP govt has now created a new method of accounting principles and standards called the BUSH .  (ROTFLMFAO)

    I would imagine that if you now implement this new BUSH accounting principles and standards, you will find that your Balance Sheet, Income Statement, Realised Gains and Losses will reflect significant prosperityfor your company.  (ROTFLMFAO)

    My guess is, the BUSH standtards now replaces the GAP and IAS!!   (ROTFLMFAO)

    Oh! and while you're in the process of change, "tear up" everything else if you don't like what it says,   (ROTFLMFAO)

    Yup, Vote for UDP………..A new way forward!!!………..Which by the way appears to be going backwards.   Niw this is a SERIOUS matter 



  10. just a bloke in these islands says:

    Money gone, Civil servants stop grovelling. You should be thankful you got jobs. Money is being spent wisely on this crime ridden rock our boys will soon be here to sort these local scumbags and thugs out for you. You sure are lucky this is an OT.

  11. Anonymous says:

    You know who isn't suffering at all, and hasn't felt the pinch of the recession for even a microsecond? The MLAs.  It is disgusting that they reach into other people's pockets but never their own even when they're overflowing. The COLA should go back to the civil servants and any shortfall should come from the LAs lavish travel and accommodation budget or McKeeva's $10m slush fund, or their "pension" payments (wish I could get a pensionwhile I'm still getting a fat salary and a load of perks) or the secret backhanders we normally don't even hear about.  Stand up for yourselves!

  12. bradley says:

    Ha!  if you ever leave it to the British and their Governors, they will end up cutting the civil service 10% like they did in Turks and Caicos Islands. They know little about running a country and the economy aright. ––CAICOS_7523965


  13. Anonymous says:

    Promises, Promises…

  14. Know the facts says:

    England would none the less want to see us starve to death again, as she did in the beginning when she claimed the Cayman Islands as hers, when in fact we belonged to Spain.  My Grand parents told me that England did nothing for the Cayman Islands.  They said that the people of Cayman was treated badly by England.  To get a little food to eat, they said we had to depend on Jamaica and Cuba and Hunduras..  Of course it was not for free, but it still had to come from Jamaica, and Honduras and Cuba.  At one time  Jamaica was governing the Island.

    As I grew up and became an adult, I still did not see England do anything for the Cayman Islands, in fact we fought our own battles, and swam our own ocean and did it all on our own.   Cayman got to this point because of good representation of the Older folks who have died and passed on like the Mctaggarts and the Pantons, and the Boddens, and a few others.  Those were the Corner stone persons who built this country from nothing, and made good decisions.

    I see the English wanting to crowd and take over now,  Not socially good, since we have became an eye in the Caribbean.  I appreciate the English man in some ways, but they need to stop their hands on selfishness and believing that they are the best and the boldest,  all of that attitude.  Take for instance, the poor Jamaicans who I would say practically raised us.  They will stand up and fight for us, but only for their own gain.  That is not good either.   So as I see it we are still paddling our own Canoe.  Confused as McKeeva may be by trying to please every body, I think it is high time he realize that we have some ungrateful people, and he will never please them all.  So what I would say keep on paddling Mr Bush, we will reach land sometime.  Mr Governor, please accept that the Civil service not only want the return of the 3.2% but they need it .

    • Mephisto says:

      Er, when "Jamaica" was helping and governing Cayman it was "England" too.

    • Bracca says:

      YOU ARE SO RIGHT!!!!!


    • Anonymous says:

      Wow!  Now I can see with my own eyes how a person can be so gullible (look it up) as to belive anything.  This is easily as good as the 40 virgins story they tell suicide bombers.  WOW!  did they also tell you that 3.2 percent comes out of the Premeirs ass?  Its true.  And there is a lot more where that came from.

    • Anonymous says:

      What a truly astonishing post!

    • Anonymous says:

      WOW!!!!! How can any sensible and objective person disagree with11:24?

  15. Anonymous says:

    To promote moral and inject cash into the economy, perhaps the government should considering giving civil servants a bonus, rather than giving back the COLA.

    • Eck O'Nominist says:

      Or maybe they can just say, "if you don't like what you have go elsewhere" and save the cash.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Be careful as Mac feels he can do as he pleases.

    He threw a proposed Bill in the bin that was put forward by the Opposition in disrepect for the people and I am not surprised that he did throw the names for the West Bay District Council in the bin as everyone named on that list are his chosen "yes-men/women".

    Life goes on without a hitch for BigMac, until ………………………………!!!!!!!!!!!

    What a celebration we going have!

    • Anonnymous says:

      Sorry to burst your bubble 11:09 – but evidently you're not acquainted with all of the members of the West Bay District Council.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not everyone on that West Bay counsel  list is a yes woman. Know Darlene and Cora personally and know that they stand up for what they beleive not what somebody tells them. Quite outspoken they are and for sure they would not appreciate being called rubber stamps as they work hard to make their mark in the community  in which they reside. They are ideal members for the counsel no matter what any body says and I am from West Bay with no political leanings. They keep their noses clean!

  17. Anonymous says:

    HOw can they call this a Cost of Living Allowance???????????

    This was our hard earned salary that they took. Are they willing to give back the same % of what the Cost of Living has increased to now??? 

  18. Anonymous says:

    Governor, tell Bush, his MLAs and those cronies at the top to take the paycut they had promised to take themselves, which they had promised at the beginning, and return the cuts to the civil servants at the lower level who are struggling.   If they do it, the Opposition will follow suit.  Top managers in the various Govt. Ministries, Depts and Agencies must continue to have their pay cut.  They should lead by example.  Only those at the bottom of the salary scale should get theirs back. 

  19. Anonymous says:

    I know things are tough right now and have been for a while but I think the government should keep the 3.2% for another year at least and give it back to the civil servants next year, Oh by the way I am a civil servant and an low paid one at that – but we have done without these funds for 12 months another 12 wont hurt us and it will certainly help the country.

    • Anonymous says:

      What a breath of fresh air – a totally selfless comment, putting country above self. I applaud you. 

    • YEA, YEA< YEA says:

      Have you considered yourself to think like UNCLE TOM.  He did not want to be a free slave either.

    • Anonymous says:

      You don't get it do you, if the money is left in the politicians control it WILL BE WASTED AWAY!! More world tours, transfer payments to cronies and lazies, etc. Give the 3.2% back now.


      Giving money to 3,000 people who will spend it right away will prove more useful to the economy than the politicians keeping it and buying land for their church(es)!!

    • Anonymous says:

      $4.5million less 10% for pension = $4,050,000 divided by 3,600 civil servants = $1,125 each on average. Are CS' gonna save that or spend it right away into the economy? Spend it most likely.


      $4.5million in the hands of 5 Ministers of Govt = $900,000 each on average = WHAT A WORLD TOUR THIS GONNA BE!!!!!!!!!!!!