Bush looks to private sector for recovery

| 28/08/2009

(CNS): Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush said he is looking to private finance initiatives and developing policies to encourage business as the primary ways out of the government’s financial trouble rather than implementing new taxes, as requested by the UK, or cutting the civil service. Inviting interest from the private sector for a number of initiatives, from the development of a national sewage system to a buyer for the prison, he told an audience at the Ritz Carlton on Thursday that he wanted to put policies in place to increase economic activity.

“This will in turn create a natural increase in revenues for the government, as our volume of economic activity and level of investment will have increased without any need to raise indirect taxes,” he said. Bush noted that cutting the civil service by any significant amount was not possible because of the dependence of the community on government services. “We cannot continue to support the needs of the economy in terms of these services as well as infrastructure needs without the necessary civil service apparatus.”

He also said that the government was already proceeding on a path that will result in a private finance initiative for the two schools with the existing contractors, but he said more were needed to help develop urgent infrastructure, such as moving the cargo facility from George Town to develop a new commercial port.

Bush said that a PFI port project in the eastern districts would provide a deepwater protected harbor, a mega yacht marina and an oil bulk storage facility outside of the capital and the flight path. He said the project would include a container port where the trans-shipment of cargo takes place, and cruise ship home berthing opportunities, which would bring obvious economic benefits. The spin offs would also be much needed fill for roads and other infrastructure projects as well as jobs and economic stimulus to the country.  

The LoGB also said he wanted to widen the channel in the North Sound to allow mega yachts to come into George Town that are already registered in the Cayman Islands. “The yacht owners will invest in homes, apartments and will support local businesses including transportation, restaurants, stores etc,” he said. “This will bring jobs and business opportunities for Caymanians and cause a new sustainable economic boom on the North Sound of Seven Mile beach.

Building cruise ship berthing facilities was a top priority, Bush noted, adding that the FCCA had made it clear that the Cayman Islands must get the proper facilities or lose its cruise business. He also said that additional efforts had to be made to attract first class five star resorts, coupled with convention centres, golf and gaming facilities.

Bush said that the country needed to identify new sources of revenues, while at the same time making swift changes to the domestic policy framework, to get the economy moving. “This is not the time to continue with overly protectionist policies towards inward investment.  As I said earlier, if we can find ways to increase our revenues naturally, while minimising taxes, we will be better off.”

The minister said the country needed to think differently about the way we treat those who continue to place their confidence and money in the Cayman economy.  “It is simply not acceptable for us to say we will take your investment but we will not provide you with the resources you need. Or that we will not do what is necessary to improve our systems to facilitate that investment. Or that we will take their tens of millions of investment dollars but we will fight them tooth and nail for every work permit or planning or environmental permits that they require,” Bush lamented.

“While other countries are falling over themselves to attract the necessary investment to put people back into jobs, we are encouraging a system that makes investors feel unwelcome,” he added.

He said attitudes needed to be changed in the approach of our boards, departments and respective organizations. He said there would be no hustling for work permits to be refusedbecause someone was accusing someone else of stealing their wife and that the way bureaucracy impacts inward investment needed to be addressed. “We can’t run the country like this anymore,” Bush said.

The issue of purchasing government assets that were profitable was also raised, and Bush said people always wanted to buy the Water Authority because it makes money but didn’t want to buy the prison or even the Turtle Farm.

“There has been a lot of interest in government assets and everybody always wants the Water Authority,” he said. “But once you sell it you don’t get anything out of it. If we sell that asset today we may get more than 30 million out of it but we get nothing in the future.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    GT ninja obviously needs to work on his pimples before tackling something serious as the economy.

    No proposal or individual though, all childish emotional rhetoric.

    • GT Ninja says:

      You tried to attack me by saying my post was "all childish emotional rhetoric", yet you were emotionally compelled to respond to me by calling me a pimpled-face teenage boy.

      What scared you the most? The fact that someone younger than you has to point out the truth to you? Or the fact that there are young Caymanians such as myself, who will eventually take over the positions that the older Caymanians so dearly protect (maybe older ones like you)?

      LOL… pimples…. LOL.. hilarious.

    • . says:

      I pop my zits in your specific direction.

  2. Anonymous. says:

    How about installing a toll Booth at the East End/Frank Sound junction and charge .25 cents per vehicle coming West.

    How about installing a toll Booth at the West Bay Fire station and charge .25 cents per vehicle coming out of West Bay.

    Bet that could help to pay for the new bypass Roads that Arden built.

    Other countries do it. Why cant we.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Imagine this:

     

    Crew – 5 PWD guys plus one supervisor, two trucks and a Bobcat, two shovels and one broom.

    Objective – clean up the gravel residue at the edge of the road.

    Method – Broom guy sweeps up a small pile. Shovel guy lifts it into the Bobcat bucket. Bobcat guy drives to truck and dumps it into it.

    Next – Shovel guy and broom guy exchange with other two who were sheltering under a tree and repeat the process.

    Time frame – probably still doing it.

    Also imagine this:

    3 PWD guys, one truck (complete with driver), one "Yield" sign, one pick-axe, one shovel and one post-hole digger.

    Objective – put up "Yield" sign at roundabout.

    Method – two guys chat with truck driver – he’s inside with A/C running – while third guy uses pick-axe. Take it in turns to "work" and speak with truck-driver. Repeat process.  When finished, leave small pile of dirt from hole at the roadside. (Guess the Bobcat was busy this time).

    Time frame – 3 days.

    Sorry, did I say "imagine"? Knew I should have had my camera with me.

    LOGB says "We cannot continue to support the needs of the economy in terms of these services as well as infrastructure needs without the necessary civil service apparatus."

    What???????? 

     

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Anonymous 15:39!

      You have it fully spot on-it’s been like that for 30 years plus.PWD is a social employer-like a lot of Government and the employees are all Caymanians with little in the way of qualifications.Nothing wrong with that, so long as it is acknowledged (it isn’t).NRA employees are all sitting around fixing to get ready to think about painting lines in the roads as there is no work for them. More social employment.

       Cayman Brac is far worse. PWD there are totally inactive other than doing unneccessary things -how could they be otherwise? But, guess what, so is virtually the whole civil service there. After all, what the hell is there for them all to do? They spend all their time telling everyone how stressed out they are. If any of them come to GCM for a while they are poleaxed by the pace of the activity.

      Consider this: The District Commissioner (population of the Brac 2000??) gets paid the same as a Permanent Secretary on GCM with responsibility fot 60 million dollar ministries. Ridiculous, no true? But the likes of JOCC said it must be as to have it otherwise would be an insult to the Brac.

      And we wonder why we have no money? This has been going on for decades-nothing to do with reform, accounting systems etc, just social and political protection.

  4. Short and Curly says:

    Now that Mac has put thefrightners on and has you all by the short and curlies, next step is to push through his ill-conceived agendas and remind you all down the road that you agreed to it. You see, he just wants to make it look like it was your idea so he can get away with it.

    Timeline of events: May 20th – General Election

     6-12 months – paint worst possible picture. Use some truths but stretch and fabricate others if necessary.

    24 months – begin to paint picture to public of drastic recovery which hails all conquering LOGB as hero.

    48 months – All is well again, lets have a General Election.

    • Anonymous1 says:

      Short and curly:

      Everyone should listen to you instead of going into panic mode.  When our birth rights are all sold and Cayman is no more, they will open their eyes to see everything is not as it seems to be.

  5. Anonymous says:

     

    Please go and vote for the National Lottery and Property Tax.

    http://centos6-httpd22-php56-mysql55.installer.magneticone.com/o_belozerov/31115drupal622/poll

    Thanks!

  6. Anonymous Coward says:

     "Or that we will take their tens of millions of investment dollars but we will fight them tooth and nail for every work permit or planning or environmental permits that they require,”  I find it kind of scary that McKeeva sees the need for environmental permits as a problem.

  7. Baby Jesus loves some people says:

    What pathetic leadership we have had over the last 30 years. Cayman enjoyed an incredible period of prosperity and profit. Then, the instant the boom ends, everything falls apart. Tragic.

    No planning, no vision, no brains, no sense of responsibility.

     

    I’m voting for "GT Ninja" in the next election.

    • Leroy B. Whorms Sr. says:

      Voting for GT Ninja next time?

      Dont we have more GT Ninjas in the House than we need already?.

      I think its time we look for some fiscally responsible politicians to run our affairs,

      • Tough says:

        A fiscally responsible beginning would be to charge a licence fee for all boat owners. 

        • Leroy B. Whorms Sr. says:

          I guess thats the only song you know so I am not surprised that you are singing it.

          • Anonymous says:

            I got those tax the boat owners blues, . . . my baby left me for a boat owner, I ain’t got my baby, I ain’t got a boat,  . . .

            • Anonymous says:

              At least now I know why you frightened me into selling my Boat.

              Your baby left you for me, because I had a Boat. I did not take her away.

              However if you want her back buy yourself a Boat because now that I sold mine she dont want me either.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hello MicroCapitalist,

    Thanks for your comments. Personally, I believe that’s what got us into this mess, private investors/venture capitalists/non-profit organizations.

    There are homeless people living near the state capitol. We have tent cities in almost every state. Homeless shelters are turning people away because there’s no room. People living under the freeways…..

    The difference here from there, people were able to get home loans without credit, jobs, income, assets verified. SISA (stated income, stated assets) NINA (no income, no assets), NINJA (no income, no job, assets), interest only, and variable loans. Mind you, people didn’t understand, although some did, that’s there’s nothing free.

    Credit card companies have lowered available credit. Let’s say you have $2000 limit, and charged $500. The credit card company lowered your limit to $900, so, now you have only $400 available credit. To top it off, if you had a fixed rate, they changed it to variable and raised the interest rate.

    Employers are firing workers and moving to Mexico. There was one farmer that said, "why should I pay $11 hr, when I can pay $9 a day." Moral to the story, private employers want the cheapest labor, and not pay any benefits like medical, pensions….

    Yes, California is bad right now. In fact, it’s down right scary. In spite of all that’s happening, rent is not reflecting hard time. It costs more to rent than a mortgage payment.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Is it just me, or does anyone else think that McBush manufactured this "crisis" so as to either get us to swallow something we otherwise wouldn’t, or so that he can make some kind of personal deal that wants to make? 

    God forgive him is he’s making this up.

    • Anonymous says:

      He wants to widen the channel in the North Sound for Mega Yachts to enter?.. I remember during Easter there was this yacht right below Kaibo anchored, and I know that must have been atleast 50-60feet in length. If that could enter through the channel as it is, why the hell would he want to widen it now?? Unless he’s looking for something like the Titanic to enter! 

      • Anonymous. says:

        The North Sound is the only suitable place to build a Port, Marina or anything to do with shipping/Yachting/Boating.

        It is naturally provided for this purpose by the almighty.

        Wasting money anywhere else on the island to develop a Port is simply foolish.

        • Anonymous says:

           Very few mega yachts would ever come here, harbor or not.  So it’s another buttload of money handed over to some croney, a big nasty mess where the fishies used to be, and no solution to the current problem.  Govt can do better than this idea.

        • Luke says:

          Shame the Lord did not make it deep enough when he was making it then.

          But hang on, the Lord doesn’t make mistakes, so it is that shallow for a reason, and that reason is that he did not want it to be destoyed by his inferior creation dredging it out.

          • Anonymous says:

            The almighty gave us the land. He did not provide the house, but the land is a must to build the house.

            The depth of the North Sound is shallow, because the almighty also provided the fill that is needed to build the Port.

            Since the almighty did not know what purpose it would be used for he provided the materials and left the rest to us to do the building.

            Now lets use the common sense that the almighty also gave us and built the Port where is best suited and cheapest to do it so that we wont spend the next generations working to pay for it.

            By the way, the small amount of the North Sound required for Port development would not rob the few fishes presently existing in the North Sound of hardly any of their open space.

        • Anonymous says:

          It is naturally there for a reason as well.

          http://www.nationaltrust.org.ky/info/centralmangrove.html

          • Anonymous says:

            I have never ever said that we should develop a port in the Central Wetlands.

            The North Sound is a natural salt water reef protected harbour, same as is found in many parts of the world. Development of a Port in the North Sound would consist of securing an area by sheet piling or Rock filling and filling the land by dredging the channel and Port area. All this would happen offshore and away from the wetlands.

            Building a Port in the East would mean that a significant part of the Land would have to be destroyed in order to build a suitable Harbour. Most of this Land belongs to those who want to build the Port in the East and see it as nothing less than a lot of money for them.

            If the Government is going to continue ownership of the Port facilities then they should make use of what they own and not enter into arrangements with other Land owners.

            The Port could be built offshore from the George Town Barcadere at the end of Sound Road and linked to the main land by a causeway.

    • Anonymous2 says:

      I think that you are right.

    • Anonymous Coward says:

      I think its more likely he’s just taking advantage of it to push through things he couldn’t in the past.

  10. Anonymous says:

    No one is going to pay that kind of money to bring assets into what is suddenly the most unstable jurisdiction in the Caribbean.  Sorry.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Very nice speech that makes a lot of sense, unfortunately most of “your generation of Caymanians” don’t read the news papers, don’t look at news on TV or much less care about what happens in their country, going to Upper Level to party or Looking at nonsense reality TV shows are a lot more fun, not to mention utilising the computer for the sole purpose of updating face book profiles….

    I as an Expat that is actually interested in the progress of the islands because I invest in it have tried speaking to some young Caymanian friends; some had no idea of the situation of the country much less who the current ministers were…
    I am afraid you might be the only one fighting and making a stand along with the one or two others of this generation that actually gives a dam.
  12. Anonymous says:

    MicroCapitalist,

    I’m from California. I hate to disagree with you, but, I believe the unemployment rate is well past 11.2%.

    Statistics only include certain groups. It doesn’t always include the people working part-time, or people on disability, or people receiving government sudsidies ( Aid to Dependent Families w/children…), nor does it include the people who have given up.

    In addition, by the time the government releases data, it is all but obsolete.

     

     

     

    • MicroCapitalist says:

      Hi California friend.  I only believe in statistics 13% of the time, and then only presuming a sampling error rate of 2 out of 3. 

      The post was a direct quote from Forbes that was probably rather old so the stat is probably wrong (probably was all along as you say), but I liked the statement about the treatment of capital. 

      Sorry times are tough there.  Hopefully this will go away.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Since we haveall these Millionaires coming here to Cayman…lets just do this…..  FOR $1 Million dollars you can qualift for immediate permanent residency or status.  That is a per person.  So someone super rich and a family of say a husband and wife and 3 kids.  $5 Million right there.  Lets say up to 200 people only.  Well that is $200 Million right there.

    Now those 200 people are going to come here..invest money here because they are citizens…well guess what…now you have an economy booming cuz homes are being sold…people can get jobs because obviously these people might offer business oppurtunities and employment.  Government got $200 million offthe bat.  Maybe make it 300 people and that is $300 million.  Now government can pay off bad debts and start with a clean slate. 

    300 people will not change the population number one bit.  We have to welcome the chance to get investors in here.  Every other caribbean country is begging for investors and we have them here and with this small town mentality are trying to run them out.

     

    • Anonymous says:

       

      I am glad you pointed out that “Every other Caribbean country is begging for investors” and not charging 1 Million a head to give an investor the opportunity to invest in a broke country….
  14. GT Ninja says:

    Private owned prisons are a stupid idea because Government will still have to pay per inmate to the prison company. If anything it would cost them more money per prisoner to pay a private sector company to house prisoners processed through the Cayman Islands Judicial system in order for the prison to operate at a profit. On top of that it would be a monopoly business just like CUC as there are no other prison facilities, thereby, leaving our people no choice for containment of our criminals. When prisions go private they are marred with controversy and riots.

    Stop being so damn stupid Caymanians. The greatest tool a government could have is the ability to instigate fear in to it’s citizens. The more fearfull the citizens of a country are… the more willing they are to accept any descision from corrupt and self-serving governments, because over trusting and nieve citizens start to believe that they NEED the CURRENT government to HELP them rather than to SERVE THEM.

    McKeeva is not taking in to consideration any of the intelligent suggestions he is being posed by the civil servants or the UK for that matter. He is annoyed by the UK not giving him what he wants. And an annoyed McKeeva is a dangerous McKeeva. He has basically said at the meeting that England is going to push him to do something when he said he considered the letter from the UK "Fighting words". Who is he to think he is a "smart" fighter. Smart and coniving are too different things.

    Stop comparing him to Winston Churchill. He is just like Mugabe in Zimbabwe. And after all his "private sector help" we too will be faced with 1300% inflation to pay back the "great deals" he is currently making.

    To my fellow countrymen, be it by birth or by paper, I’m emplore you to make a STAND. Our country is in the situation it is now because for too long we have been a passive and materialistic people.

    Rather than demand BETTER from our government leaders… we instead chose to demand MORE.

    Rather that look out for the islands’ FUTURE and for our childern… we instead were concerned with the present and instant self gratifictaion.

    A government which is not questioned by it’s people is a government that feels no obligation to it’s people.

    We as a people cannot continue to gorge off of the system and not expect to reach the bottom of the troth. Eventually we as citizens of the Cayman Islands WILL have to submit to some form of taxation in order to contribute to our economy and to prosper as a people. UNITED and STRONG.

    Every CI government that was ever in over the last decade have all been allowedto do as they may please because we trusted them just because they went to our churches or married in to our familes.

    While we were praying with our heads down and eyes closed. These same politicians were making deals behind our backs and living like sinners. They took us for fools for over 10 years!

    And sadly you all were fools… ( I won’t include me in to this group because I’ve preaching this crap to who ever would listen to me since I was 15. Even as teen I could see what my parentsand grand parents couldn’t see.)

    Finally, to the Government in power:

    My generation of Caymanians are not your peers. We are younger. We are smarter. We are professionals. We are watching you. We are not going to be bullied or lied to. We are growing tired of waiting for our time. Your decades of insufficent, inept and rapacious style of governance is shortly coming to an end.

    We shall go on to the end,
    we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be,
    we shall fight on the beaches,
    we shall fight on the landing grounds,
    we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
    we shall fight on the bluff;
    we shall never surrender… to the ignorance and propoganda of the inept and corrupt.

    NOW that is Churchill.

    McKeeva can’t form sentences like that.

    None of these politicians in power can get us out of this mess… they caused it and we as a people aided it.

    XXXXXX

    Thank you for this public forum.

    CNS: In answer to your suggestion (which I have deleted), we don’t have the resources to do what you ask – we’d need really really deep pockets! – but we will do our best to cover current events.

    • Anonymous says:

      One Love GT Ninja.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you think you are so learned then why do you not do your duty and run for office instead of just blabbing off anonymously like the rest of us who must be all too uneducated for you?  I don’t claim to know everything but I can see that you have a beef against McKeeva so likely your party lost the election. I do know that the last government left the country in shambles and some of them are still earning big salaries thanks to their blind supporters who re-elected them and that is what I have a beef with.  McKeeva is now left holding the bag and all you all do is criticize instead of offering solutions.  He has good ideas and we should support our new government instead of running our mouths with stupid rhetoric by wannabes who talk but don’t act.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Working with investors in order to stimulate the economy is the right path and I for one will be happy if the LOGM actually understands and means what he is saying.

    However, all of us must ensure that the "politics of fear" are not allowed to pervert what is acceptable as inward investment to the detriment of ordinary Caymanians. There is a grave risk that we the electorate will be manipulated into being grateful for any inward investment irrespective of the stench of corruption around it. That has happened in the not so distant past when a certain politician brushed aside the objections of citizens and even the rules which apply in our islands in order to bring in a developer who offered that politician riches.

    There must be zero tolerance of any more deals in which any investor, where local or foreign, is allowed to avoid infrastructure fees or defer the payment of customs or other duties in circumstances in which a politician, or one of his family members, or any political crony gets an exclusive real estate contract or other benefit. These deals make politicians rich but they are corrupt and steal from Cayman and ordinary Caymanians the revenues which the country badly needs. If Cayman had the money thrown away as a result of past corruption we might not be in this mess.

    We must not permit any deals in which a politician steers through a Cabinet decision to give away or defer million of dollars in customs duties due from a developer in exchange for an exclusive contract for that politician or those around him. These corrupt arrangements must not be viewed as some type of acceptable reward for politicians who panic the electorate into accepting corrupt deals. We simply cannot afford that form of politics as usual.

    Hopefully one of the honest members in the LA or some journalist will put in FOI requests or otherwise monitor the giving away or deferral of government revenues and other corrupt practices. It would be ideal if it could be made known to all those politicians and others tempted to engage in the corrupt disguising and diversion of public revenues that our money laundering laws are very wide and that they might have their investments confiscated if such diversion occurs.    

     

  16. MicroCapitalist says:

    McKeeva Bush:

    If Cayman makes it out of this, it will be because of you and your welcoming treatment of outside investors and talent. 

    Forbes published this which seems appropriate:

    "The late, great Walter Wriston wrote a simple formula: “Capital goes where it is welcome and stays where it is well treated.” By capital, Wriston meant both that which you carry in your head and in your wallet. Most rich people are employers, by the way. When they leave, they take jobs with them. Now you know why California’s unemployment is 11.2%."

    Treat the people with capital well just like you are doing, and Cayman may survive this.

    • Anonymous says:

      McKeeva’s strategy is to create a sense of panic and cause Caymanians to make decisions that they would otherwise never make. We will do whatever you say. We don’t care about social issues or the environment or the future. It is like in wartime when civil liberties mean nothing. He sees it as an opportunity to shore up his power base. He will then come riding to ‘rescue’. Already the gullible are calling him Winston Churchill and saying that he should be knighted when he has nothing to deserve it.

      My deep concern is that when McKeeva is finished with us he will have totally destroyed our environment, given all our controls in this country over to foreigners and worsened the lot of the ordinary Caymanian all in the cause of political and economic self-aggrandizement. He is doing what sucessive govts. have done – engage in crisis management and focus only on the economy.    

      BTW Capital will not flow to us with if our society degenerates into chaos because we ignore the social consequences of some of these policies.

       

      • Anonymous says:

        Well said Anonymour 13:09 and Anonymous 19:23.

        The "politics of fear" – scaremongering together with a divide and conquer approach to pitting one group in our society against another in order to get a gullible and ill-informed populace to do the unthinkable in terms of accepting corruption, agreeing to the destruction of the environment and the social fabric of the country, allowing politicians to continue to try to buy our votes with their ridiculous get themselves rich quick schemes – that is what appears to be compounding the financial mismanagement of the past 9+ years. 

        It may be that at the end of the day the LOGB will get a knighthood from the UK for services to the UK in destroying Cayman, but I don’t think that any of the politicians who got us into this mess on either the government side or the opposition side should be trusted with anything other than the bus or boat fare required to send them back to their respective districts, and their self-promoting highly paid worse than useless and dim witted advisors don’t even deserve bus fare.

        The people we need in government are those who are highly intelligent, well educated, industrious, experienced, cool headed and guided by a sense of selfless public service. Unfortunately we seem to have the opposite. As a result the electorate and the press will need to be both observant and vocal in order for Cayman to return to stability and prosperity. Thank you CNS for providing this forum.

        • Anonymous1 says:

          I would like to see these bank statements proving that there is no money in the coffers.  Why?  Because I know for a fact there is money.  Can’t say how and can’t show the papers but someone whispered they ahve money.