Archive for June, 2012

Diplomats enjoy short visit to Cayman

| 29/06/2012 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Deputy Governor’s office said recent diplomatic visits were to facilitate the development of good working relationships between the countries. Over the past month, Cayman hosted visits by the newly-appointed United States Ambassador to Jamaica, Her Excellency Pamela Bridgewater; as well as a visit by Cuban Ambassador Mr. Yuri Gala-Lopez.Both of these officials are based in Jamaica and have regional consular jurisdiction for their respective countries.  These familiarisation trips are commonly made by new appointees (as Ambassador Bridgewater is), and routinely, to bolster relations generally, officials said. 

“These meetings are especially important if there are pressing issues involving nationals of the respective countries, and have led to the development of treaties and memoranda of understanding in the past,” said Franz Manderson.

Whilst in Grand Cayman the American ambassador and local U.S. Honorary Consul, Gary Montemayor were treated to a luncheon by Governor Duncan Taylor, and made courtesy calls on Premier McKeeva Bush, the deputy governor. The visitors also met with the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, immigration officials; and held a town hall meeting with American citizens resident in here.

On his visit, the Cuban ambassador was accompanied by Minister Counsellor of the Cuban Embassy in Jamaica, Micaela Ramirez. They too met with local officials, including the Acting Governor, Franz Manderson, and other officials. Bernie Bush of the Pirates Week Office hosted a luncheon for the ambassador. 

The ambassador attended meetings with officials from the Department of Immigration, Passport & Corporate Services Office, the Customs Department, Cayman Airways and the Office of the Deputy Governor. Gala-Lopez was also guest of honour at a luncheon hosted by Bush.

 “Visits of this nature help to maintain the excellent relationships we enjoy with our neighbours,” said Taylor. “To increase the visiting officials’ understanding of why some of their nationals choose to live here; and, more generally, to promote the Cayman Islands as a destination for tourism, business and investment.”

Continue Reading

Marathon swimmer to tempt sharks again

| 29/06/2012 | 11 Comments

Penny+Palfrey.JPG(CNS): The international open water swimmer Penny Palfrey has her eyes set on another dangerous shark infested open ocean swim, this time across the Straits of Florida. Palfrey caused controversy in the Cayman Islands last year when sharks were reportedly killed to keep them from attacking her on a record breaking open ocean swim from Little Cayman to Grand Cayman. Palfrey has said she now wants to become the first woman to complete the unassisted 103 mile swim without the aid of a shark cage between Cuba and Florida.

The 49-year-old British-Australian mother and grandmother told the international media this week that she was inspired to take on this marathon swim when she flew from the Cayman Islands to Miami after the record breaking Cayman Islands event.

“I looked down, I could see this beautiful stretch of water, and wow!” she said. Palfrey got home and immediately began researching currents in the strait and its water temperatures, which are similar to those in the Cayman Islands.

As with her Cayman swim, Palfrey will cross the ocean without a wetsuit or a cage and rely on battery-powered shark shields attached to the boat and an accompanying kayak to keep the sharp-toothed predators at bay. During her Cayman swim, however, the sharks still came very close and the swimmer said that local white tips were cruising below her during most of the nighttime leg of her swim.

Although Palfrey's team denied that any sharks were harmed, eye witnesses reported that at least two were killed to prevent an attack on the swimmer

The swim will take around 40-50 hours and currents will dictate where she lands. A 44-foot (13-meter) catamaran will shadow her, carrying a support crew of navigators, kayakers, handlers, medical personnel and observers on hand to verify what would be a record swim. Every half-hour she’ll sip a carbohydrate drink for nourishment.

Palfrey traversed the English Channel twice and also has completed a continuous swim from Gibraltar to Morocco and back.

Last year’s 67-mile Cayman crossing is her personal best, but Palfrey said she’s in good shape and 20 years of marathon swimming has her well-prepared for the 103 miles of the Florida Straits.

“It’s further than I’ve ever swum before,” she said. “I expect it to be very challenging, but I’m very excited about it."

Continue Reading

Bush blames woes on PPM

| 28/06/2012 | 145 Comments

(CNS): The premier spent well over three hours on his feet berating the opposition on Thursday morning as he closed the Legislative Assembly debate on the motion for government’s stop-gap emergency budget. McKeeva Bush pointed the finger at the auditor general, whom he described as “a hit-man”, the governor and the FCO as well for preventing him from getting things moving but above all he blamed the PPM, and the party leader in particular, for his difficulties with this year’s budget.  During his response to yesterday’s debate Bush revealed that government expected to collect $75 million in revenue over the two month interim budget period.

This coupled with the $25 million overdraft is expected to cover government’s bills from now until the end of August. Government’s stop-gap emergency budget, which was approved by the UK, called for $102 million in spending and a $25 million overdraft facility.

The UDP government gained approval from the Legislative Assembly for the short term spending plan with the government benches voting yes. The opposition benches, including the independent member, abstained from the vote, indicating their disapproval but recognising the need for government to pay its bills.

In his response to Wednesday’s debate on the motion the premier revealed that his government was now engaged in a serious cost cutting exercise and he would bring the full budget for the 2012/13 fiscal year in a few weeks. He pointed to increases in liquor licensing fees and a possible 5 cent glass bottle tax on alcohol imports as new revenue raising measures likely to appear in the new budget to pay for the hospitality school.

Bush also announced plans for a new private sector development that was being posed by an unnamed investor that he said would create a new mixed-use town  with shops, restaurants, a cinema, a hotel and condos, straddling the districts of East End and North Side. He gave very few details but said the investment was worth around $300 million and the mystery developer required no special concessions.

Despite the issues associated with the port and the FCO’s difficulties approving the project until it is in line with international best procurement practice, Bush insisted he was continuing with his discussions with China Harbour and the Chinese firm was the best partner. He revealed that McAlpine, DECCO (Dart’s construction company) and Hurlstone Construction would all be working with CHEC on the project. (See more on this in separate CNS article).

Much of the premier’s speech was focused, however, on the shortcomings of the previous administration and its failure to manage the country’s finance. Although he was reading from a formal address, much of the speech was not from the script and saw Bush impassioned and animated as he yelled across the floor at the opposition benches, and took aim at CNS and the auditor general.

Bush said the mismanagement of the previous administration, which demitted office three years and one month ago, was the reason why he could not deliver a budget. It was they, he said, who had handed the power to the UK to approve the government’s budgets and control what he did. Instead of offering solutions, the premier said the opposition was “gleeful” about his inability to bring a full budget presentation before the year end.

As he railed against the regulation that he claimed was stopping him from getting anything done, he accused the opposition of enjoying the problems this bureaucracy was causing. “They are using that to be gleeful and sitting down eating carrots and drinking milk,” the premier said.

He pointed to the pressure the FCO was placing on him to follow international best practice and said the British were being “unrealistic” when they expected a small jurisdiction like Cayman to follow “some UN ideals” or World Bank standards.

Bush was particularly scathing about the auditor general, implying he was in some form of alliance against his government with the media, especially CNS, and the opposition as well, which he said was all “palsywalsy" with the auditor general and “brown nosing” with the governor and the FCO. Bush described Alastair Swarbrick and his audit office as “nothing but a hit-man” and revealed that he was suing the public auditor but did not reveal on what basis he was doing so.

Despite the major problems the UDP government now faces in trying to reduce operational expenses by a significant amount, Bush claimed that his government had made a turnaround in public finances. He then went on to say that the current budget crisis could be a major turning point as people would begin to understand that government can’t keep “spending and spending and borrowing and borrowing”.

Budget crisis aside, he told the Legislative Assembly that the country was “poised for better times” provide that the PPM and the North Side member didn’t get in power. “They think I’m weakened but I’m not,” he said at the end of his three hour plus address.

A much shorter scripted version of the speech delivered by the premier in the LA is posted below.

Continue Reading

Cop guilty in brutality case

| 28/06/2012 | 48 Comments

(CNS): A jury returned a verdict of guilty on Thursday afternoon following a four-day trial involving a police officer accused of brutality. Rabe Welcome was found guilty of wounding after he broke the arm of Adolphus Myrie as he executed an arrest while off duty in 2009. Speaking in the wake of the verdict, Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis said the RCIPS takes any allegation of assaults by officers extremely seriously. “Although there are occasions when officers do find themselves in situations where the use of force is necessary, they must be able to justify that the use of force was justified and proportionate to the circumstances at the time.”

Ennis added that in this case it was clear that the level of force used was “far from justified or proportionate”. 

Welcome broke the arm of the man in question as he arrested him at Red Bay Esso gas station some three years ago. The assault took place in the early hours of the morning when welcome and two other officers with him were off duty.

“Police officers we are sworn to uphold the laws and the guilty verdicts reached by the jury is a reminder that police officers are not above the law and will be held accountable if they act outside of their lawful authority,” Ennis added. “Unfortunately the actions of a few can blight the reputation of the many honest, hardworking and committed officers within the Service. We will continue to work diligently to maintain the highest professional standards within the RCIPS.”

Welcome, who has been suspended from his post since the incident, was bailed to return to court in August to be sentenced.

Continue Reading

UK officially publishes white paper after early error

| 28/06/2012 | 3 Comments

william-hague-pic-getty-images-310344797 (275x300).jpg(CNS): The new policy document setting out how the UK will be dealing with its overseas territories in future has finally been officially published on the FCO website. The document was revealed briefly in error on Monday but withdrawn from the site later that day. As reported on CNS on Monday, the official paper reveals that the UK will be taking a more hands-on approach and keeping a closer watch on finances, good governance and the potential for corruption across the last remnants of empire. In exchange, Britain will offer more expertise to the territories local governments from across the UK adminsitraiton.

The foreign secretary stated that he expects to see the same high standards of government in the territories as in the UK.

See full document here

See related story on CNS:

UK wants high standards

Continue Reading

No interim revenue revealed

| 28/06/2012 | 45 Comments

magic numbers.gif(CNS): As legislators debated late on Wednesday evening, no details of how government intended to fund its request for $127 million were revealed. Although the premier has statedthat he needs to cut government’s core operational expenses to well below last year’s figure, there are no cuts in spending for the interim plan, which averages expense of almost $63.5 million per month. Bush did not say what government’s projected earnings would be for the next two months but has requested an overdraft facility of $25 million. If government was to continue spending at the same rate for the rest of the year it would need to cover expenses of around $760 million.

Although McKeeva Bush said the two month spending plan should not be translated as “2/12ths” of the amount that government will spend over the next fiscal year, he did not say how the expenses would be paid for or how he would then hone down the next ten months to an average monthly spending of less than $40 million to reach a balanced budget for the rest of the year.

Bush said the FCO is insisting on further reductions to the premier’s original spending target of $498 million. This means he will need to reduce operating expenses for government over the remaining ten months to an average of less than $37 million — a task which seems almost insurmountable without major legislative changes and the cancellation of many government programmes.

Bush has turned his sights on the liquor trade for an increase in fees but it is understood he is seeking to raise around $800,000 in order to fund a hospitality school. No other new revenue raising measures have yet been revealed, nor has government shown any figures reflecting the earnings it expects to see this fiscal year from its major revenue streams, such as work permits, duty and or financial services fees.

In the stop-gap budget government appears to have opted for business as usual and has included almost ¾ of a million dollars appropriations to the Nation Building Fund and a $2 million subsidy to the Turtle Farm, among other major costs.

The premier revealed that the UK had twice rejected his proposals over the last week. The FCO declined to approve the original budget proposal, which had included some $59 million of long term borrowing as well as the government overdraft. Bush then proposed to deliver the budget without the long term borrowing and to negotiate that with UK officials separately. However, the British also declined that proposal and said the premier needed to cut spending.

The UK has offered to send an economics expert to Cayman to help government shave its spending and present a balanced budget before the end of August.

Legislators return to the LA this morning at 10am, when the premier will deliver his response to yesterday’s debate on the motion for the stop-gap spending plan and for the House to vote on the motion. Given that not a single member of the government benches has ever voted against or deliberately abstained from a motion presented by the premier, the emergency budget is likely to pass.

See government’s motion for a stop-gap budget and the premier’s accompanying speech below.

Continue Reading

Voters have 2 more weeks to apply for absent ballot

| 28/06/2012 | 5 Comments

postal voting instructions_1.jpg(CNS): With just three weeks to go before the Cayman Islands goes to the polls to decide on how it will vote in future elections, the Elections Office says registered voters have two more weeks to apply for a postal ballot or to be treated as mobile voter. The deadline is 6 July and officials warned after that electors will have to go to the poll to have their vote count. Once a voter has applied for and received a postal ballot, it must be delivered to an election official before 6pm on referendum day 18 July. Forms are available online at www.electionsoffice.ky or from a registering officer or from the Elections Office.

For those who want to take advantage of the mobile polls because they are unable or unlikely to get to the polling stations because they are in a hospital, rest home or other similar institution, are infirm and housebound or because of the general nature of their occupation, service or employment, the units will be available as listed below;.

West Bay- 12th July, 2012 at the John A. Cumber School Hall for electors that are unable to go to the polls because of employment/service or occupation commencing at 9:00 A.M. until 1:00 P.M. In the case of private residences/hospitals/rest homes or other similar institutions a mobile team will visit between the hours of 9:00 A.M. and 6:00 P.M.

George Town- 11th July, 2012 at the Elections Office at 150 Smith Road for electors that are unable to go to the polls because of employment/service or occupation commencing at 9:00 A.M. until 1:00 P.M. In the case of private residences/hospitals/rest homes or other similar institutions a mobile team will visit between the hours of 9:00 A.M. and 6:00 P.M.

Bodden Town- 10th July, 2012 at the James Manoah Bodden Civic Centre for electors that are unable to go to the polls because of employment/service or occupation commencing at 9:00 A.M. until 1:00 P.M. In the case of private residences/hospitals/rest homes or other similar institutions a mobile team will visit between the hours of 9:00 A.M. and 6:00 P.M.

North Side- 9th July, 2012 at the North Side Primary School for electors that are unable to go to the polls because of employment/service or occupation commencing at 9:00 A.M. until 1:00 P.M. In the case of private residences/hospitals/rest homes or other similar institutions a mobile team will visit between the hours of 1:00 P.M. and 6:00 P.M.

East End- 9th July, 2012 at the William Allen McLaughlin Civic Centre for electors that are unable to go to the polls because of employment/service or occupation commencing at 9:00 A.M. until 1:00 P.M. In the case of private residences/hospitals/rest homes or other similar institutions a mobile team will visit between the hours of 1:00 P.M. and 6:00 P.M

Little Cayman- 6th July, 2012 at the Public Works workers accommodation building for electors that are unable to go to the polls because of employment/service or occupation commencing at 9:00 A.M. until 1:00 P.M. In the case of private residences/hospitals/rest homes or other similar institutions a mobile team will visit between the hours of 1:00 P.M. and 6:00 P.M

Cayman Brac- 9th July, 2012 at the Aston Rutty Centre for electors that are unable to go to the polls because of employment/service or occupation commencing at 9:00 A.M. until 1:00 P.M. In the case of private residences/hospitals/rest homes or other similar institutions a mobile team will visit between the hours of 1:00 P.M. and 6:00 P.M

Continue Reading

US teen inventor inspired UCCI audience

| 27/06/2012 | 0 Comments

nate-6.jpg(CNS): A seventeen year old high school student from Denver, Colorado who has been inventing stuff since he was a kid, was promoting the mysteries of the ocean this week at a special presentation at UCCI. Officials from the university said marine biology advocate Nate Newman gave an inspiring presentation to an audience whose ages ranged from six to 60+ on Monday. Involved with Wild Goose Imaging, a designer and manufacturer of the first-ever self-cleaning submersible web camera housing used for underwater data collection, surveillance and seabed imagery, he also spoke about non-profit organisation Teens4Oceans, which seeks to encourage young people to take an interest in marine biology.

“Nate spoke passionately regarding his interest in technology, and enumerated a number of his past inventions which included a popsicle holder and innovative tent designs,” a UCCI spokesperson said.

He said his role model was inventor Elon Musk, co-founder of SpaceX, Tesla Motors and Paypal and looked back on his childhood experiences, sharing how his parents, who are both teachers, encouraged his enthusiasm and creativity.

UCCI President Roy Bodden, said “I know that this young man will go on to pursue great things. I see in Nate the next Steve Jobs.”

Nate’s organisation Teens4Oceans is embarking on a project to deploy a communications buoy system and accompanying suite of data and video equipment to perform research on coral reefs off East End. He encouraged students to establish a local chapter of Teen4Oceans and join the growing network of young men and women who are share marine adventures all over the world.
 

Continue Reading

Androgroup remains undefeated

| 27/06/2012 | 0 Comments

(GCFFA): The Dart Women’s League under the Grand Cayman Flag Football Association took a surprising turn during the fourth week of action. The team most anticipated to take the championships, Burger King Wolverines, suffered their first loss, and the Hot 104.1 Cheetahs, comprised mostly of rookies, celebrated their first win. Kicking off on Friday night was last year’s championship team, Hammerheads Lady Sharks defeating Subway Stingers 26-0. Quarterback for Lady Sharks, Hong Nguyen, continues to fill her role in fine form as she completed 15 of 20 passes with one interception thrown.

Sophia Foster led the Sharks’ offense with five receptions, including one for extra points. She was followed by rookie Trina Gordon with four receptions, including one for a touchdown. Serena Yates added to the score with a second touchdown catch.

It was the interceptions that Lady Sharks made on defense that sealed the game for them. Sue Nixon led her team’s defense with five tackles and one interception which led to a defensive touchdown. Scimone Campbell also intercepted and ran in the ball a good 40 yards for a defensive touchdown. Judy Rivers had a huge game with five tackles and two interceptions. Meghan Boccaccio also contributed to her team’s defense with five tackles.

Although enduring their third shut-out in a row, Subway Stingers played an improved game, spending much more time on offense rather than defense. Missed flags, interceptions and fatigue played a major role in their loss. Quarterback, Christina Pineda, completed 15 of 25 pass attempts, with four interceptions thrown.
Latoya Cover and Keisha Anglin each had five receptions, followed by Joanne Remillard and Dionne Anglin with two receptions each.

On defense, Joanne Remillard came hard with eight tackles. She was followed by Timisha Edwards with four tackles, and Latoya Cover with three tackles and one interception. Nikki Ebanks showed no fear as she rushed past the blockers for the Lady Sharks, sacking their quarterback an impressive four times.

The Dart Women’s League continued Saturday morning with the Hot 104.1 Cheetah’s taking their first win against Maples Bliss, 7-0. Kimberley Rivers, quarterback for the Cheetahs, continues to improve her game, completing 20 of 30 passes.

Jamesette Anglin led the Cheetahs defense with four receptions, including one for extra points. Jennifer Cotarelo had three receptions, including the catch in the end-zone for the team’s lone touchdown. Jessica Richards and Sophia Dilbert added to the offense with three receptions each.

Dilbert also shone on defense with four tackles. Tonia Ebanks-McLaughlin, Shalisa Barnett and Amanda Nelson each had two tackles, and Nelson also sped through with two sacks to Maples’ quarterback. Tracey Seymour, Barnett and Cotarelo each had an interception, disrupting Maples’ attempt to move the ball down the field.
  Ellenor Berry returned as the Maples Bliss quarterback, completing 11 of 25 passes, including three interceptions thrown.  Jessica Maxwell led her team on offense with four receptions. She was followed by Maliqui Awe, Marleena Smith and Somali Small with two catches each.

Berry showed her versatility, leading her team’s defense with four tackles. Maples nearly made the score board as Berry prevented the extra-point conversion by intercepting the ball and running it past the entire Cheetah’s offensive line to the opposite end of the field and into the end-zone. Unfortunately, due to an infraction by her defensive line, the play was called back and the extra-points never counted.

Dianerra Whittaker and Catherine Hines each had three tackles, and Maxwell and Smith came up with two tackles each. Smith also was a force when rushing the Cheetahs quarterback, coming through with three sacks. Maples pressed the Cheetah’s to equalize until the final whistle, never giving the defensive line a moment to breathe.
 

Androgroup Killa-Panthers remain undefeated with their 19-7 win against Lone Star JagerMonsters. Christina Hefner, quarterback for Androgroup, was at 50% throwing with 15 of 30 passes completed and one interception thrown. Her favorite receiver continues to be Cassandra Bodden, currently the top ranked offensive player in the league, who made four receptions including two touchdown catches, one of which she ran in from the 40yard line in her usual flair, her flags elusive as she darted past no less than three defenders in her efforts to secure a touchdown.
  Lisa Malice was Hefner’s next favorite look, completing four receptions with one being a touchdown. Ann Marie Douglas added to the Killa-Panther’s score with her reception in the end-zone for extra points.
  On defense, Suyen Coe made a stealthy five tackles and interception. Bodden, Delicia Ebanks and Heather Roffey each had two tackles. Ebanks also added a sack to her defensive play, and Bodden got the second interception of the game. Denise Delpesh also sacked the JagerMonsters’ quarterback twice.
  For Lone Star JagerMonsters, quarterback Tricia Miller had another rough game, completing just 14 of 32 passes, with two interceptions thrown.
  One of the most spectacular plays of the day was by JagerMonster receiver Monique Roberts, as she dodged the Killa-Panthers defense, rushing the ball 45 yards for a touchdown. Melanie Lewis had four receptions, and Renee Thompson and Erica Bosch each had two receptions to add to the defense. One of Thompson’s balls was a catch in the end-zone for extra points.
  Christina Ravdas is quickly standing out on defense for the JagerMonsters, leading her team with five tackles and one interception. Thompson had three tackles, followed by Lewis and Roberts with two tackles each. Marline Williams also came through with a sack to the Killa-Panthers’ quarterback.
  Call it voodoo or call it strategy, the Zulu Warriors gave the biggest surprise of the week as they defeated Burger King Wolverines 6-0. Quarterback for Warriors, Jessica Pawlik may not have had the best throwing game, completing just 13 of 30 passes including one interception thrown. But the one pass two minutes into the game to Maggie Ebanks in the end-zone that resulted in a touchdown was the most important throw of the day for the team.
  Ebanks proved to be Pawlik’s favorite look, receiving six balls. The speedy Shamar Ennis was another favorite, catching four of Pawlik’s passes. Hortencia Jackson, Dionne Whittaker and Francesca Hamann added to the offense with one reception each.
  Ennis also led the defense with three tackles. Ebanks had one tackle and two interceptions, and Whittaker came through with a next interception. Tanjana Campbell used her long frame to sack the Wolverines’ quarterback twice.
  Every quarterback has an off day, and that’s certainly what Antoinette Lewis, quarterback for the Burger King Wolverines and leading quarterback in the league, experienced.
  Lewis completed just eight of 24 passes, with three interceptions thrown. Joni Wood led the offense with three receptions, and Jahzenia Thomas had two. Benecia Thompson, Carrie Barnett and Jessica Ebanks each caught a ball, but the Wolverines were unable to make much headway.
  Shinette Rhoden led the Wolverines defense with six tackles, followed by Saneata Smith and Ebanks, each with four tackles. Thomas had two sacks and Alex Terry had one sack on the Warriors’ quarterback. Barnett’s height advantage continues to be an asset for Wolverines as she gained another interception on defense this week.
  Week five of the Dart Women’s League continues this Friday night at the Camana Bay Field at 8pm with Maples Bliss versus Zulu Warriors. Games on Saturday morning begin at 10am with Subway Stingers against the Lone Star JagerMonsters. 11am sees Hot 104.1 Cheetahs pitted against the Burger King Wolverines on field one, and Androgroup Killa-Panthers against Hammerheads Lady Sharks on field 2.

Continue Reading

Premier admits budget failure

| 27/06/2012 | 131 Comments

Premier moves motion (227x300).jpg(CNS): The country's minister of finance was forced to face the consequences of not being able to present a balanced budget to the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday as he presented a motion to appropriate interim financing for government to function until the end of August. Premier McKeeva Bush admitted his failure to the parliament and said he had wrestled with the problems of increasing expenditures and the need for borrowing, which the UK had refused. Bush said it was easy for people outside to talk about making cuts but he had "been struggling" with the budget since January and "it is not easy when your hands are tied."

Despite being the finance minister and the person responsible for the budget, the premier pointed to a growing civil service, extra spending on crime, legal aid, the bill of rights, the FCO, civil servants and, above all, the previous administration as the cause of his budget difficulties as he acknowledged that he was going to face criticism from the opposition benches.
 
He said he was, however, "on good form" and would in the course of the debate be able to defend his position. Bush said he expected people would criticize him but the bottom line was spending had to be cut.

"So cuss if you may, scream if you want, but the fact is there has been too much expenditure and we've got to pay for it," he said, adding that people would say he was incompetent and all manner of evil about him. He railed against the control that the FCO now had of the Cayman government's budget and pointed the finger at the previous government for losing control of the country's finances. He said the only way to get it back was to make the cuts.
.
The premier stated that the government was now engaged in further spending reductions so that he would be able to bring a full year's annual plan and estimates in the next few weeks.
 
Presenting an appropriation of some $127 million in expenditure as a stop-gap measure, Bush gave no indication of expected government earnings but said it would require an overdraft of $25 million to see it through what he described as the lean months for government, which had been approved by the FCO.

He also announced that the position for the fiscal year end for 2011/12 had improved and government was now expecting a very small deficit of $1 million when core government and statutory authorities spending and revenues were all added together.

After the premier's presentation the leader of the opposition pointed out that never in the history of the Cayman Islands had a government failed to bring a budget. Alden McLaughlin said that while the premier continued to blame the former administration, of which he had been a part, for everything, after three years in government and as minister of finance he could not get away from the fact that the current crisis was his responsibility.

McLaughlin said that if the premier was not prepared to accept responsibility for this failure now, he never would. He also pointed out that, had the FCO not been in control of approving the government's budget, Bush would have brought a spending plan to the House of some $630 million and $80 million of more borrowing.

The opposition leader pointed to the complete failure of the UDP government to implement one policy that either increased revenue or cut spending, and despite claims of a miraculous turnaround in public finances, the premier had compeltely failed to deliver anything.

Speaking during the lunchtime break, Ezzard Miller said he was embarrassed to be a member of the Legislative Assembly at a time when the country's finance minister could not do the one and only job required of him, which is to deliver a budget. The independent North Side member said that when it was his turn to speak he would be calling on the premier to resign the finance minister's portfolio and give it to someone else in his Cabinet that was capable of getting the job done.

See premier's speech and short message delivered by the governor in lieu of the Throne Speech.

Continue Reading