Budget credibility in question

| 15/03/2012

1_1_3.jpg(CNS): The opposition leader has raised concerns about what is really going on with the country’s budget process after what he said was another puzzling move by government in the supplementary budget hearing this week. Alden McLaughlin said that the NRA money, which reappeared Tuesday having been kept off-balance in the original budget, demonstrates that government is making major financial decisions outside of Finance Committee. He queried what other issues are being handled this way, which was causing the whole budget process to losing credibility.

McLaughlin said the inexplicable move regarding $8 million that was not included in the original budget’s revenue predictions, which would have been earmarked for roads, raised a bigger question about what else was in the budget that was not being properly explained.

He said the return of this revenue to the books this week was not recorded in the news supplementary appropriation documents, and even after the committee meeting there was no real explanation about why government had kept the money out of the original budget.

“I have had to struggle with what this is all about after more than twelve years dealing with these things,” McLaughlin said as he noted the difficulties the man in the street may have with what was happening with the budget and government spending for this year.

The opposition leader said he could not say with any certainty what had gone on but he said it appeared the funds were initially withheld from this year’s original budget because of planned changes to the NRA’s structure and the possible privatization of road works.

He said the $8 million was not counted in government’s expected earnings and only around $600,000 had been allocated in the budget for the NRA, which was an unrealistic figure given that the authority is still legally responsible for road maintenance.

The mysterious move with the roads funding had led to Cabinet appropriating money directly to the authority each month, which McLaughlin said "all seemed a bit contrived", as he pointed to the lack of transparency.

The opposition leader said he had concerns that there could be other unorthodox accounting going on that was not asobvious as this particular move, which would mean that the opposition, and by extension the public at large, were simply unaware of and not able to query.

“What else was left out of this unrealistic budget?” he asked rhetorically. Although McLaughlin acknowledged the pressure on government to bring a budget last year within the tight parameters set by the UK, the opposition leader said the need to appropriate a further $50 million showed that the premier had still delivered a budget to the Legislative Assembly that he knew was unrealistic, further undermining the credibility of the entire process.

“There is no doubt that it’s very worrying,” the opposition leader added. “We are left to wonder if this is nothing more than a house of cards,” as he pointed to what government was now claiming would be an entire public sector deficit of $7 milllion.

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Category: Politics

Comments (24)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Costs ballooning again? It's the PPM's fault of course.  

  2. Anonymous says:

    Don`t worry. Cayman will muddle through all this. It isa British legacy.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Can you imagine what would happen if this country goes independent ?


    • Anonymous says:

      The poor will get poorer. The middle class will become poor. The rich will get richer.

  4. Dreadlock Holmes says:

    This should get rid of any confusion. The proper term is Fudge-It.  This is different than a Budget and allows more imaginative leeway. It was a misprint when released by the government and should have read 2011-2012 FUDGE-IT. 

  5. Anonymous says:

    clear as mud…. thanks alden….

  6. Anonymous says:

    I don't think the premier actually knows any better. He came up when every deal was cut in the back room.

  7. Anonymous says:

    NOW its in question?  Was it ever not in Question? Why can't you people ever learn?  Did anyone here go to school past the 5th grade?  Can anyone remember?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Kettle calling the pot black!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Alden you are slower than Kirk! I thought u were a leader but u r like Kirk a follower!!!!
    U r not we want!! We need someone who is 110% Caymanian!!! Sorry Alden u r not leader!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you talking about Captain Kirk of the USS Enterprise or can you not spell?

    • Anonymous says:

      Please, purely for my amusement and the curiosity of others, define what a 110% caymanian is…and "u r not we want"…where is the *who*? Do most of you re-read to check for spelling or grammer mistakes? & who is we?! Talk on your behalf and your behalf alone!

  10. Anonymous says:

    "Budget Credibility in Question"    A more appropriate title would have been 'UDP Credibility in Question"

    • Anonymous says:

      I disagree. The UDP’s credibility is not in question. They have presently have none.

  11. Oddaban Society says:

    If there is one animal that doesn't like to be examined too closely it's the budgie. They are very shy and elusive and like most birds, can't count.  What the government is doing is letting it's budgie fly freely in the legislature without any questions being asked.  Mr. Bush, a bird lover, wants the government budgie to be allowed to spread it's wings and fly away. Wherever it wants to. Maybe it will go south. He's right it's really no one's business what the government does with it's budgie

  12. Anonymous says:

    No disrespect meant, but in my opinion, the leader of the opposition is either dense or playing politics on this one.

    I heard the Premier read him a full explanation about this, why he still doesn't get it is beyond me. What I also find puzzling, is that he and his colleagues who are supposed to be the checks and balance for the public purse sat through the entire finance committee last year and no one on that side noticed that the NRA money was missing.

    The shadow Minister for Works should have been the first one to point this out, numerous stories ran in the public media about the NRA not being paid and no light bulbs went off, now they blame the Government for not telling them and wonder what else is missing.

    Perhaps they should scrutinize the documents they were provided with and tell us the public what else is missing, not sit and wait for the Government to come and tell them, I think the opposition members are paid a pretty penny for the small amount of work required, you fell asleep at the wheel on this one, just admit it, it is a bit of egg on your face.

    Next year, perhaps the Government will show up without funding for the hospital just to see if anyone notices.

    Ok, so now I await the thumbs down 🙂

  13. O'Really says:

    "Budget credibility in question." Now that's a surprise!

  14. Anonymous says:

    WTH, really, I don't think anyone can understand all this, but maybe that is the whole point!

  15. Anonymous says:

    McKeevanomics?  We have a new course of study for everyone in the Cayman Islands to take.  Unfortunately, it is at the School of McKeeva and only him can come up with the correct answer.  X+Y=2 it doesn't matter what X or Y is.

    • Anonymous says:

      I thought it was 1 + 1 + 1 = 2

      no one will say anything about the missing 1. That for me.