Archive for May 5th, 2010

PPM: ‘Uncertainty alarming’

| 05/05/2010 | 47 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman headline news, Cayman finances(CNS): The opposition has warned that the premier is causing serious alarm in the Cayman Islands with the uncertainty and indecision over how to deal with the country’s increasing operational costs in the face of decreasing revenues. Alden McLaughlin said McKeeva Bush is “governing by feedback” and no one can be sure about anything. The former Cabinet minister believes that the constant policy announcements followed by retreat are preventing people from making any kind of future plans and distracting them from focusing on the much needed recovery from the worldwide serious recession. (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

Talking about the premier’s latest announcements last week regarding taxation, when Bush suggested that he would prefer VAT at the beginning of the week and then was telling the community that it was in fact more likely to be payroll tax or even a community service fee by the end of the week, McLaughlin said the premier needed to take a position and stick by it.
“The premier must stop this nonsense,” the People’s Progressive Movement, George Town MLA told CNS. “Making these concerning announcements one day then retreating from that position the next is causing serious alarm. This is government by feedback. It seems that the premier is just floating an idea and then when he hears the inevitable objections to that idea he pulls back.”
Government has yet to answer the question of whether it will be forced by the UK to introduce direct taxation in exchange for permission to borrow in order to balance the budget. In the light of further speculation that government revenues are continuing to decline and that takings in the third quarter of this fiscal year have again fallen considerably short of expectations, the size of the CIG’s borrowing needs for 09/10 will have increased.
Although CNS was unable to obtain any official figures for the third quarter of this fiscal year, operational expenses, although down on last year, have not reportedly fallen sufficiently to prevent extensive borrowing, government sources say.  
McLaughlin said that, given the continuing recession and its impact on revenue, the premier had to take a position on what he intended to do and tell the country what he had decided, defend it and begin to work through it. He said the constant floating and retreating on ideas was causing genuine alarm and uncertainty with everyone.
“In my own experience and awareness of the country’s political history I have never known such indecisive government,” McLaughlin said, adding that he was never convinced of the premier’s reputation as a decision maker as he believed he was impulsive and reckless, which has been demonstrated by his actions over the last 12 months.
“No one can be sure about anything. Whether it’s about salary and benefit cuts, job losses or taxation, people can’t make plans for themselves or their business in this climate of uncertainty when they don’t know from day to day and week to week what is going to happen,” the PPM MLA stated.
With the gravity of the current economic situation, McLaughlin said, government had to start making some decisions that it could stick with. He said that the current government had to create some certainty in order to allow the people of the Cayman Islands to get down to work and begin to recover from what was the worst international recession for decades.
“With the country hanging on his every word as premier, to be making impulsive decisions and retreating from them days later, this is really disastrous,” McLaughlin added.

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Ocean chemistry changing at ‘unprecedented rate’

| 05/05/2010 | 0 Comments

(SeaWeb): The chemistry of the ocean is changing at an unprecedented rate, according to a recent report from the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences. The report, Ocean Acidification: A National Strategy to Meet the Challenges of a Changing Ocean, underlines growing concerns over the effect on the ocean of increasing emissions of carbon dioxide. The ocean absorbs approximately one-third of the carbon dioxide emitted by human activities, moderating the impacts of climate change but causing seawater to become more acidic. The average pH of ocean surface waters has dropped from approximately 8.2 to 8.1 since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and is predicted to drop by a further 0.2 or 0.3 units by the end of the 21st century, under current emissions scenarios.

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