Bryant says UK will step in when OTs fail on finance

| 08/12/2009

(CNS): Although he says he does not wish to micro-manage the economies of the United Kingdom’s Overseas Territories, Chris Bryant has warned that the Foreign Office will step in when it has concerns about poor financial management and inadequate governance. Speaking to the territories’ leaders on the eve of the eleventh annual Overseas Territories Consultative Council (OTCC) on Monday 7 December, the FCO Minister said he was accountable to the UK parliament and had to keep an active interest in the territories.

Speaking at a specially arranged meeting with elected leaders from some of the Caribbean territories, Bryant told Cayman’s Premier McKeeva Bush, Anguilla Chief Minister Osbourne Fleming, Bermuda Premier Ewart Brown, and Montserrat Chief Minister Reuben Meade why the UK Government had felt it necessary to take firm action in the Turks and Caicos Islands, where the British governor is now in control of the government.

According to Foreign Office reports, the pre-council meeting focussed on the extent and nature of the UK Government’s contingent liabilities in the Caribbean Overseas Territories and the territories’ own roles and responsibilities in managing those liabilities.  The UK minister said this included sound financial management, government borrowing and good governance

“We want the maximum amount of self-government possible and we have no desire to micro-manage the economy in any of the OTs.  But I am also accountable to parliament and it would be negligent of me if we did not take a keen, active interest in the economic and social well-being of the OTs,” Bryant said.  “That’s why we will step in when we have concerns about poor financial management and inadequate governance.  I look forward to the next two days when we can discuss these and other issues in more detail.”  

During his speech when he was sworn in as the Cayman Islands’ first premier, McKeeva Bush had warned the incoming governor, Duncan Taylor, who is expected to arrive in Cayman in January, not to try and micro manage the territory as the Cayman Islands Government would fight the UK where it had to in order to protect the interests of the Cayman people.

During the pre-OTCC meeting the FCO minister also met British Virgin Islands Premier Ralph O’Neal separately reportedly to discuss the financial issues particular to that territory. The main council meeting begins today, where a number of issues regarding the UK’s relationship with its territories will be discussed. According to reports in the Bermuda press, Ewart Brown the island’s premier, will be pressing the UK to hand over operational control of the police to the Bermuda Government during his visit.

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  1. Dred says:

    What I want to know is this…

    What qualifies the UK to manage anything? Your history of running your own economy is way worse than ours why would you be stepping into help. Seems you will only sink us further.

    The fundamental difference between you and us is simply position. You can borrow yourselves into oblivion and we need ask your permission to do the same. So while you are on top please don’t think yourselves any better because your record is not one which we would care to replicate.

    Thanks…ooh and by the way way….Have a nice day



  2. Anonymous says:

    give me a break. Chris Bryant does not want to micro manage OT’s!!! When did the brits ever write the Cayman Islands a loan or pay anything on our behalf. We are just fine kind sir. Why dont you look over your shoulder at your trusting MP’s. They are the one’s that needto be micro managed.

    • Anonymous says:

      why would the UK be writing a check or paying your bills. They own you the way a large company owns its subsidiaries. Cayman wasn’t sharing it’s profits in good times when it should be writing cheques for their ‘parent company’ so I say they should come in rape all the assets and then throw you away to be independant as you want.

  3. Lachlan MacTavish says:

    Doesn’t matta what the UK is doing internally. So that argument doesn’t hold watta. Cayman Islands is an OT of the UK. All the LOGB’s posturing is simply sound bites IMHO. Either work the system as an OT or go independent. The LOGB wants his cake and wants ice cream as well. The CIG needs to get its act together, good governance, sound financial management, less government, privitization and address the horrific crime situation. Everything else…..especially looking outward for business…is wasting time. Time for the LOGB and CIG to gets their collective hands dirty and start running the country. The situation we are in is not going to solve itself ….someone needs to stand up…..someone. 

    • Hanson says:

      Let us not leave out the importance of strengthening our relationship with the UK to the point of reaching up to the mature level of “Free-Association” in place of Independence and Integration. This is very important level for us to reach. Free Association determines our success, democracy, and survival in the real world. Lachlan, we just can’t remain under "mother" like a two-year child. Please don’t confuse the attempts of being independant from her with the attempts of being treated equal – political and economic equality.  Peace

      • Anonymous says:

        Well said.

        Why were some UK Colonies groomed into independence through an orderly devolution of power process in which "home rule" was developed over generations while other UK Colonies that were totally unprepared for "home rule" overnight they were thrust into independence and then chaos?
        Check out the British Empire constitutional development history of "White" Colonies (eg. New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Bermuda and more recently Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) vs. "Black" Colonies (all of Africa, India and the Caribbean Colonies) and you will see a vast difference in the devolution of power process.
        Was the UK’s devolution process in the "Black" Colonies their plan to ensure political failure with a system through the Commonwealth governance system to still maintain control the newly "independent" nations stripping them of their natural resource wealth? 
        After all the reason why the Colonies were established in the first place was to transfer the  natural resource wealth from the Colonies to the UK or to serve to facilitate the transfer of wealth.
  4. what a mess says:

    I for one am thankful that the UK is taking an interest. It serves as a much needed "check and balance".

    Yes! the UK has it’s own troubles…but i believe Cayman is stronger for it’s relationship as an OT.

    It really scares me to think of the fate of Cayman if left completely in the control of our current political "cream of the crop".

  5. Scotty says:

    So Bush a former director of First Cayman Bank can steer us out of this situation. Whose idea was it to build the white elephant at the Turtle Farm without proper feasibility studies. Beam me up scotty. He has no idea about finance.

    Much as I respect Travers there were two managing partners at Maples. Have you forgotten Ridley.

    Have you read any of the auditor general’s reports. Do not think for one moment that many do not refer to the mismanagement of Governments prior to that of Tibbetts. It looks like you are turning a blind eye.

  6. Anonymous says:

    "Poor Financial Management" !!!!! Who has a poorer "System of Financial Mis- Management and Leadership" than the UK at this time ???

    Somehow in my heart of hearts, I believe the UK would like nothing better than to see the Cayman Islands and the other OT’s turn "belly up" in their financial obligations/position in this worldwide recession, so they can once again maintain their strong "iron hand grasp" of colonialism and imperialism on these islands.

    However, I’m "cautiously optimistic" that Premier Bush will get us out of this situation that Kurt, Alden and others of the PPM got us into.

    God Bless Premier Bush, Anthony Travers and others at the helm,to steer "Cayman’s Golfield" through these rough and turbulent waters that lay ahead.

    If Cayman succeed’s from this situation, I recommend that Premier Bush and Anthony Travers both be made "National Hero’s"  !!!!!

    That is "my take" on this.  !!!!!!!   


    • Andrew says:



      lol… do you want to see us move towards Independence? 


      We better be thankful that the UK has an active interest in our economic and social development.  My friend, for if we ever go the way of Independence, who will control corruption from arising?  What… our own government??? That is why although the UK may have their agenda in controlling and managing us, there are “some of those” Caymanians who are thirsty for power, and would not hesitate to infringe on the people’s rights if their were no UK guardian over these Islands. Corruption would run like a river in our government that still is not transparent enough!


      And of course, the UK has more of everything than Cayman, more crime, more corruption, more poor financial systems, but they help us with their big clients, and we help them. Why break an ancient relationship that has helped these Islands to become prosperous?  A relationship which our National Heroes has endorse over Independence! Of course, there needs to be some improvement in our relationship with the UK, and more political freedom should be given to the peoples of the Cayman Islands in terms of our self-determination and running of our economy, but this is no excuse to make a “clean cut.”




      What would the older Caymanian folks think of a clean cut?  “Free Association” with the UK is our best option, which I hope she will accept us as a partner and not as inferior to her.  

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree! but boy have you set yourself up for some PPM bashing…lookfor nasty remarks to flow..

    • RVT-D says:

      15:13 Your post is NONSENSE!!! Explain to us again how PPM caused the drastic drop in the projected revenues which ultimately lead to our operating loss of this past fiscal year. Please do not give us the crap about capital expenditure (constructing schools, admin building, roads,etc.) causing this. There was only about a $10M increase (if that much) in servicing our loans. If you even only have primary school level math skills you will know that that is an inconsequencial amount of our $500M+ budget. I stand to be corrected but I think the current costs to service all our loans is somewhere around $20M. If this is the case, then even if we did not service ANY of the loans, we still would have had an operating deficit of over $60M due to increase in OPERATING EXPENSES and drastic shortfalls in OPERATING REVENUE. I guess PPM are also to be blamed for this situation in all the other countries affected by this GLOBAL problem.

      Did you even bother to read and understand this article or is that expecting too much from you? The FCO clearly says that they do not want to micro-manage the OTs’ economies. You and all the conspiracy theorists out there have to realize that the UK is ultimately responsible for bailing us out if we go belly up due to poor financial management. With good reason they do not want this liability. Just because the UK is not managing their own finances well does not mean that the FCO should sit idly and allow the OTs to do the same. Let me give an analogy that you may understand. Just imagine yourself being responsible for bailing out all your children when they mis-manage their finances on a large scale. See what I mean?

      The only valid point in your post was the question you posed concerning the UK and their own financial management. Other than that, nothing. You are obviously too caught up in the UDP vs PPM mentality to post something constructive. Many supporters from both parties are guilty of this and totally miss the big picture.

      I am not a UDP supporter but, as a concerned Caymanian, I do not want to see them fail and for us to have direct rule by the UK like what happened in Turks and Caicos Islands.

      As for Premier Bush being named National Hero…I think it takes a little more than heavy taxes/fees to balance an operating budget that has been in deficit for only one year.

      That’s "my take" on "your take."

      • Anonymous says:

        The PPM did not cause the drop in revenues – but it did fail to anticipate them. Those in the private sector saw this coming from 2007 and were called doomsayers and ignored. The PPM also failed to curtail or cut expenditure. It granted PR through its Boards to persons who cannot afford to live here and are now supported at public expense and granted free education in Govt. schools to thousands of expatriates. Its lack of action compounded problems stared earlier by the UDP.

        I support the PPM for their honesty. I hold them in disdain for their incompetence and inaction.

        Now I rely on Mac as my saviour, and that makes me feel a little ill. Brandy and ginger, that will get me through it.