UK plans to keep tight control on TCI finances

| 09/05/2012

Gov-Ric-Tood.jpg(CNS): A draft law in the Turks and Caicos Islands will see the British government retaining a tight grip on the country’s financial situation for several more years, even after it returns to an elected government. The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) bill will ensure that post remains a UK appointed position, which officials said would protect the Ministry of Finance against any "intentional or unintentional Ministerial interference” that could undermine the territory's public finances.  Meanwhile, the governor has also announced that an increase in revenues for this financial year of around 20% coupled with a cut in public spending has led to a budget surplus for the TCI government of around $4 million.

Given the financial problems of the islands as well as the allegations of corruption and mismanagement of public funds, even when the UK returns the territory back to a democratically elected government, it will be picking the person who will guard the public purse strings.

The continuation of a UK appointed CFO after the election is an essential condition of the $260m loan guarantee. “The agreement allows for the CFO to be retained for as long as any UK loan guarantee is in force, currently up to 2016, and for the UK to nominate the person who will hold the office of CFO," TCI officials stated.

In December 2010 FCO ministers Henry Bellingham and Alan Duncan said the UK Government had stepped in to prevent the TCI’s finances from collapsing and in return it intended to retain sufficient control over public finances following elections in order to ensure that TCI emerges from its financial crisis and that the temporary financial UK support was no longer needed.

The bill sets out the authority and powers of the CFO and has been prepared to ensure that it not only meets the requirements of the UK Government, but also reflects the needs of the TCI, officials said. The law will also clarify the division of responsibilities between the governor, minister, and the CFO.

“The draft Chief Financial Officer Bill will be of interest to everyone,” Governor Ric Todd stated. “UK Ministers have seen the Bill and are broadly content with the powers it sets out for the CFO.  The provisions of the Bill are wide-ranging and necessary to continue to reinforce financial control standards after elections, and to ensure TCIG reduces its debt and builds a track record of surpluses that should allow access to commercial finance by the time the loan guarantee expires in 2016.”

He said it empowers the CFO to work with an elected government to safeguard public finances, and although the local TCI Advisory Council and Consultative Forum could provide comments, requests to dilute the intent of the bill were unlikely to be accepted.

Todd also said that the draft Budget for 2013 projected a total revenue of around $200m and a return to a fiscal surplus, which was moving TCI to a position where UK financial support would no longer be required.

Pointing to the achievements of the current government, Todd said that when the interim administration took over in 2009 the TCIG spending was over $50m more than its income, and it owed around $75m in unpaid bills. “Given the global financial challenges that existed then and now, to turnaround this situation where we are now predicting a surplus of $4m this financial year, after funding the capital programme and bond repayments, is a considerable achievement,” he said as he indicated that there would likely be money for local infrastructure improvements at schools and on the roads.

Officials said the surplus was achieved by a combination of increasing revenues, reducing costs and improving how government business is done in the TCI. The TCIG voluntary severance scheme has also created “a civil service of a size moreappropriate to a country of our size,” officials added. The government also said investor confidence was returning as new legislation would ensure “the excesses and mismanagement of the past” were not repeated.

Category: World News

Comments (19)

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  1. Whodatis says:

    Why is it that the British government can "fix" and "govern" every society but their own?

    Double-dip recession anyone?

    High unemployment anyone?

    Nationwide "benefits" culture anyone?

    You get the basic idea.

    (Check out what this recently emigrated British father of 12 had to say about his former homeland.)

    Yet some wonder why some of us refuse to hitch or wagon to that horse.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why is it that you bad mouth the UK whatever the article is about?

      • Whodatis says:

        Pre-emptive strikes in the efforts of providing relative context I suppose.

        Similar to why I used to constantly highlight the acts of the FCO in regards to other B.O.T.'s – as an example.

        We see what is happening today.

        I would like to believe that educating the masses to certain historical realities goes some way to our assessment of our current situation.

        Who knows – my "bad mouthing" of the UK may help to provide some much needed context later down the road. Maybe we will soon be under "direct rule" and try to be persuaded to adopt all of their failed policies.

        Anyway, to speak the truth is not to "bad mouth".

        Perhaps greater efforts ought to be made in changing "the truth".

        Granted, some may be offended but frankly, that is not my intention or concern.

        * Btw, it is nothing personal against the UK. Had we been a colonial power of say, Austria and they exhibited failures and inhumanity similar to that of the UK then my focus would be on that country instead.

        I do not randomly dislike any nation – I simply care about the future and well-being of my own and unfortunately, the UK is inherently involved in our matters.

        Hope this helps to answer your question.

        • Joe Mammas says:

          You can't fix your own country so you try to bad mouth others to make you look good?

          It didn't work for UDP. PPM, or the Caymanian unemployables.  But it is understandable as thats all you got left.   P.S.  Your beloved country is failing faster and faster every day and the real blame goes to you and yours.

        • Anonymous says:

          Anyone can use 'truth' of another country to avoid the reality of what's happening in front of their eyes and the influences from other nations.

          I agree with bloggers who have noted the focus of the comments by Whodatis and I personally think observations are not that the truth is spoken, but simplay that the use of the truth against one nation is stated even when the points are not relevant and necessary.

          The use of the catch phrase that the UK is involved in all our affairs is not directly applicable to all situations but your 'job' appears to be to use it whenever you can, hence the possibility of simply "bad mouthing" one nation may be inferred.

          For eg, the alleged corrupt practices, consistently high murder rates in say even other Caribbean nations that have a greater impact on our culture and politicians are never mentioned when there are articles about these countries/leaders.

          In my opinion our legal system, civil service and leaders are more influenced more by Caribbean nations on a daily basis, so where is the concern for the future direction of Cayman with ties to those nations vs being tied to the UK? 

          How many British people do you know are active members of the local political parties? What 'nation/s' will/are have/having a greater impact on our future, the local/direct leadership and policies? 

          So should there also be concern to speak the truthful facts about other "nations inherently involved in our matters" and their current impact?

           

    • Slowpoke says:

      Austerity budgets during a recession = FAIL.

    • Truth says:

      the Bad in Cayman still makes the UK look like heaven in comparison.  Your pride in your country matches Bush's pride in himself.   Both your falls are coming and even the UK can't stop it. (But they will come and fix it for you.)

    • Whodatis says:

      Dear respondents,

      Your dislike of me or my words is absolutely pointless in reality.

      Anyway – I provided a link to the opinion of what has to be the most (previously) patriotic Brit today – considering he produced 12 more of his "people".

      However, he was so disappointed and disgusted with what has become of his country that he decided to jump ship – entire tribe in hand – and bid farewell!

      Read the article, read the comments below the article … those are the opinions of actual Brits – not Whodatis.

      Insult me all you want but it is what it is folks.

      I'm done. To discuss the affairs of a broken nation is not really worth much more of my time and attention.

      • Anonymous says:

        'thumbs up' for you 'being done'……whew, thought you'd never stop talking about corruption in the UK as if that was THE factor, only influence on governance of Cayman.

        • Judean People's Front says:

          You mean you actually got to the end? Normally when I see the poster name it tells me to subconciously skip to the next as it is usually a xenophobic, Anti UK axe grinding session.

  2. The lone Haraunguer says:

    We need England to do that here.

    • Chris Johnson says:

      One interesting thing about TCI is their budget process which is closely monitored. They produce timely quarterly financial statements and compare them with budget. Cayman did away with quarterly statements because they found the accounting too difficult. As to a budget, that is useless becauseMr Bush keeps dreaming up new gift processes so in accounting jargon the debits will always exceed the credits.
      There is however severe hardship in TCI where they now have introduced VAT. If Bush keeps going on the way he is you can expect VAT to arrive in Cayman.
      Mind you VAT on commissions of $700,000 would go down well.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hey Big Mac, look what the British Interim Government is doing in TCI.

     

    http://www.tcijournal.com/newsite/content/may-9-2012-tcig-budget-update

     

    “While I do not want to give too much away, before the AC and CF have time to consider and debate the budget measures in greater detail, the improving situation should allow us, providing we are on budget and therefore have the cash available, to further commit to important capital investments: the construction of Ona Glinton Primary School, H.J. Robinson High School Administrative Block and much needed improvements to the water supply in Grand Turk; creating additional capacity at the overcrowded Clement Howell High School in Providenciales; the repair and ongoing maintenance of the Caicos Causeway between North and Middle Caicos.”

    They are just as bad as the PPM, spending the people's money on schools and roads! Don't they know anything about building bell towers to their Christian heritage? Or hurricane shelters with individualized climate controls? And how do they expect to get anything done without a Nation Building Fund?

     

  4. Anonymous says:

    I don´t think TCI would survive this UK's intervention! The entire population is struggling the high living costs and new laws. VAT next year will be our death sentence.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The UK interim government has shown what can be achieved when there is no local pandering to special interest groups or hand-outs to friends and relatives. The current government is a lost cause but this should be seen as the standard that the next government sets for itself. Is the PPM ready to do this or do we need to beg the UK to step in here too? I'm leaning towards the latter.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I wish they'd keep tight control of Bush's spending too…

  7. Truth Hurts says:

    Nice…..put some proper, prudent management in place and anything is possible.