Don’t sell GOAP, says PPM

| 06/10/2009

(CNS): During his response to the government’s 2009/10 budget proposals, Leader of the Opposition Kurt Tibbetts criticized plans to sell off government assets. He said they were particularly concerned over the plans to sell the new government accommodation building and the sewerage plant. He noted that the new offices would have cut government expenditure dramatically, which was the reason why it was commissioned in the first place. The opposition leader also questioned how the government’s planned sell offs were influencing the budget statistics.

Tibbetts drew the House’s attention to the communication between UK Overseas Territories Minister Chris Bryant and McKeeva Bush, in which he had raised his concerns about government’ssell-off plans. Bryant had written: "I would have concerns if CIG put long term sustainability at risk through a rapid depletion of  Government assets, or through certain types of public private partnerships and I would want to take a close interest in any such proposals.”

The leader of the opposition said Bryant’s concerns were valid and shared by the PPM.  “We too are concerned about putting the long term sustainability of the Cayman government’s finances at risk by the depletion of government assets.  Long term sustainability is far more important than a quick fix aimed at eliminating the present deficit in one fiscal year,” Tibbetts added.

Selling the Government Office Accommodation Project (GOAP) for $50 million when there is $40 million worth of capital expenditure allocated this year for the ongoing construction of the project would not work, the opposition leader stated.

“That specific project is not only badly needed but it will pay for itself in ten years,” Tibbetts said. “On completion it will be one of, if not the most energy efficient buildings in the country.  It cannot make sense for the government to dispose of it in any form or fashion.”

He added that the opposition believed a greater effort ought to have been made and should continue to be made by the government to reduce operational expenditure; that measures to reduce and ultimately eliminate the current deficit ought to be spread over three years rather than attempting to eliminate it in one fiscal year by resorting to drastic measures such as the sale of important assets like the new administration building.

Tibbetts also question what he described as “curious entries” in the Annual Plan and Estimates.  “On page 285 of the AP&E there are two sections, namely ‘Capital Withdrawals from Statutory Authority/Government Owned Company’ totalling $22,427M and ‘Disposal of Government Assets’ totalling $71,457,569.  These two amounts add up to $93.9M,” he observed.  “When we look on page 311 of the AP&E on the ‘Cash Flow Statement’ for the year ending 30 June 2010, under cash flows from investing activities — there is a line which says ‘Proceeds from Sale of Non-Current Assets’ – $51,476M and another line which is ‘Capital Withdrawals from Investing Activities’ – $42,428M.”

He stated that the two items also total $93.9M and if the items on page 311 were the same as the items described on page 285, he questioned how the budget would have been affected if the $93.9M were not in the cash flow statement.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Mike can’t wake up…he’s like Mark too far into Mac’s pocket to get out.

    His very generous retirement package from CAL is going down the drain through SHN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Mike has taking his UDP sleeping pill and lets see what he will do when he wakes up.  Did you notice he was sleeping with his mouth open.

  3. Mac-Watcher says:

    I encourage everyone to sign Cadian’s petition in the Net News.  Read it too: there seems to be something missing,  but you get the idea.  It is one way to stop the madness.

  4. Anonymous says:

    UDP should be ashamed of their selves for even considering sell this building…

    How does Mike feel about Mac selling Cayman Airways, something he feel so passionate about

    • Anonymous says:

      When will all this dirt stop? I cannot believe what I am hearing! A caller on Radio Caymans Talk Today voiced his concern that the new government building is being sold, & it was acknowledged by the elected members present that indeed the budget does suggest that the UDP, sorry, I mean Bush, does plan to sell it, & for a ridiculously low amount! That building will save future governments millions & millions of $’s in lease & rent that they would otherwise have to pay. It is madness, how can he justify selling that? And it does not matter what our present financial situation is now, that will be a huge asset down the road. Is that man crazy? Does he have such a jealousy & hatred for the PPM that he will hurt his country to hurt them? ( DUH! We all know that answer!). I will say it here: HE BETTER NOT EVEN DREAM ABOUT SELLING the new government administrative building! What will we do after that, pay dart rent for the rest of our lives? Hasn’t he sold out given away enough to him & his other financial backers? STOP THE MADNESS NOW! 

      • Anonymous says:

        not understanding the economics of the situation does not stop you from having an opinion… shame.

        Mr Bush is trying to save our country from a complete disaster – it has nothing to do with jealousy and hatred, and more to do with the realities that the country faces today.

        I suggest you spend more time researching the facts, and less time getting carried away on your cns postings my friend.

        And yes, I am a Caymanian.  And no, I don’t support either party – just the people elected who are now tasked with dealing with this very difficult situation.

        • Anonymous says:

          Well, I hope you’re not involved in any financial decisions because your support of such short-sighted strategies would run any enterprise into the ground in a short period of time. Understanding the current economic conditions falls well short of taking responsible actions if you don’t have the long-term future in mind. Cayman can weather the storm without selling off major assets; it cannot survive the long-term costs of selling such assets coupled with a slower global economy.

        • Anonymous says:

          My friend (posting 12:50), you say that "Mr. Bush is trying to save our country from a complete disaster" then you suggest that the writer "spend more time researching the facts." Well I will turn your very words of suggestion right back at you, I suggest you spend more time researching the facts, & by this I am suggesting you do some research into Boatswain Beach, the Royal Watler cruise terminal, low cost housing, land purchases by the udp government between ’01 & ’05, wasted payments in the millions to friends, insurane company buy out, XXXXXX, the unlawful granting of thousands of status to UNDESERVING persons (persons who did not QUALIFY), and so on, and on, and on. I suggest that you spend some quality time doing research into all these suspicious actions & deeds, & then talk about who is trying to save the country. Maybe he is trying to save the country from the damage he has already done, but my friend I think it’s too little too late, as far as he is concerned.


    • Anonymous says:

      Could not the government form a corporation and place ownership of Government buildings in that corporation and then offer sale of shares to the public with them(Govt) retaining 51% ownership?

      There could be a stipulation that no one person, except Government, could own more than 5% of its equity and non Caymanian ownership similarly restricted, thereby creating broad based Caymanian ownership, while retaining Government majoirity ownership.

      The Govt would get cash, from sale of shares, to finance things such as road works and at the same time harness some of the combined wealth of the private sector/private individuals for investment in the public infrastructure, thereby giving   individual Caymanians  a chance to contribute to the financing  and ownership of their own country’s public assets and creating a genuine broad based public/private ownership.

      There could even be a secondary market established by placing the shares on a stock exchange therefore allowing pension funds to be able to invest in these assets of the country and reaping an investment return as well and retaining that money in the Cayman Islands.

  5. free thinker says:

    This is to the younger and up and comeing Caymanians….

    No amount of money will fix your actual problem and what it will take to fix it you don’t have.  Watch and hopefully learn because someday this will be yours to save or lose.  All the best…

  6. Lachlan MacTavish says:

    IMHO privitization is paramount for Cayman’s recovery from the past decade of Government building. I don’t believe that Cayman will ever want to not upgrade schools, roads, and the infrastructure. To maintain the appetite for capital projects the CIG should become leaner and meaner. The civil service needs to be trimmed. Since no politician wants to take on Civil Service reductions get around that pain with privitization. Any successful private purchaser will naturally slim down the department. 

    • free thinker says:

       No meaningful cuts in the court ( I mean civil service) The King can’t lose his court.  Never happen.  Not while you have a King.  Not if you replace a King with a King. 

      You need a competant,honest,person who is not afraid of change and builds on respect and most important RESPONSIBILITY.

      Or else.

      Just sit back and watch.

      • Lachlan MacTavish says:

        So far no one has made any really hard decisions.  It seems to me….just me…..that the decision makers continue to think that 50% decisions will stave off the inevitable. As a friend says….just kick the can down the road…..Cayman has a great opportunity here    make    real   change     and lay the foundations for todays children. Smaller Government, stable steady income and new income streams.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Government is NOT A BUSINESS! You can make it more efficient, sure, but mass privitazation just means more corners will be cut in the name of the almighty dollar at the detriment to those who use the service. Corporate models and modes of thinking make for very, very bad government.

      • Lachlan MacTavish says:

        Name me one department….other than land registry…..where you get first class service. I’m not pointing the finger at the front line civil service employees……I’m pointing at the managers and policy makers. Service is mediocre at best. I believe private ownership will provide better service at the same or less cost to the public. This opinion comes from 33 years of dealing with the civil ser.

        When we were a sleepy Caribbean island I loved going to every CS department. Knew the people it was fun. But we the voters and the elected members have created a Miami monster in the Caribbean and there is no going back. 

        Things stay the same with the Civil Service ….service will drop….and the cost to teh public will go up until someone     STANDS UP>