“Cash is king,” says Bush

| 02/12/2011

_DEW2462_0.jpg(CNS): The premier has warned of the need for tighter public spending over the next few years in order to rebuild the country’s cash reserves, because without cash Cayman would be unable to meet its future needs. In a more than two hour strategic policy statement McKeeva Bush warned of austere times over the next few years as government continued on a road to fiscal recovery and tighter controls on spending. He described cash as "king" and spoke of plans to eventually put government surpluses into its reserves. With a need to cut expenditure over the next three years, regardless of who would be in power, difficult decisions would need to me made, Bush told the Legislative Assembly Thursday morning. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

“Expenditure restraints will likely mean that there will be changes to services delivered by government agencies,” he said adding that the country could no longer afford to do business as usual.  “Here in Cayman the government is often the sole provider of key healthcare and social services that many in our community depend on, but we must find a way to provide our key services in as cost effective a manner as possible.”

Bush said that with the restrictions on borrowing a part of the UK’s financial framework agreement, which he described as a “bitter pill to swallow”, coupled with the failure to build up cash reserves, public spending had to be cut. Although he wanted to present an uplifting statement for the future, he said, the strategic policy statement (SPS) this year was grounded in reality.

“Anyone can make plans,” he noted, referring to building roads or schools or providing children with books, the police with the best cars or the best prison service, but he said that all of the elected members had to be truthful to the country. “Regardless if the country decides to throw us out and vote for someone else, plans must be grounded in reality,” he warned, adding that he was presenting his vision for the next three years regardless of whether he was in office or “someplace else”, as God would decide.

“In times like these, cash is king; without it the government cannot function and it is important that we maximize all opportunities to earn and preserve cash in order to give the country the resources to ward off any future economic crisis, as well as continue to strive for proper national development,” Bush said.

Government is committed to improving revenue collection and plans enhancements to enforcement, compliance and improve the payment methods to reduce volatility in cash collection, he said. The premier said there would be no new major revenue measures over the next three years unless the economy failed to improve in line with the projections or in the face of a national disaster.

The SPS forecasts that government will earn about $560.8 million in 2012/13, $572.6 million in 2013/14 and $587.4 million in 2014/15. This is based on a growth rate of 2.3 per cent as well as the implementation plans of some of the planned major projects, such as the cruise port, the enterprise city, Narayana Health University Project and the ForCayman Investment Alliance, Bush said. 

Meanwhile, government expected operating expense to be $497.9 million in 2012/13, $502.9 million in 2013/14, and $508 million in 2014/15, which would present significant challenges, the premier warned.

With the need to improve education, infrastructure, policing and border security and the human rights provisions of the constitution, Bush said it would prove difficult.

“The government … must keep its operating expenditure below its revenues and cannot allow agencies free reign to determine their levels of expenditure,” he said, as he announced strict targets and the need to look for cost efficient and innovative ways of delivering services. “Some of this work has already been started,” Bush added. “Over the past 18 months the deputy governor has led various teams which have reviewed government agencies for possible savings.”

Bush warned of the need for change and the need to provide the same services at lower costs in a different way. “If the government and public entities are able to achieve the revenue and operating expenditure targets forecast in the SPS, it will report operating surpluses of $23.5 million in 2012/13, $31.5 million in 2013/14, and $42.5 million in 2014/15,” he predicted.

The surpluses would be vital, he said, to build cash reserves and fund capital investments. “If government cannot generate operating surpluses, it will potentially hamstring the development of the country and put at risk important public services. That should tell anyone with ears to hear, how serious our fiscal discipline and our management innovations have to be,” Bush added.

He said that as soon as is realistic government will start making annual appropriations from revenues to general reserves. “We have to start saving money … we have to save something; we have got to get to that point where the bills are paid and there is money in the bank.”

Bush also emphasised the need for the proposed projects, which he said he had spoken aboutsince the government was elected to office, as a way of solving the unemployment problem.  “We can help our unemployment state and move towards full-employment if the projects that government signalled almost from our first day in office are not unduly hampered,” he said, listing the cruise port, Cayman Enterprise City, Narayana Health University and the ForCayman Investment Alliance, as well as the airport improvements.

He predicted over employment again if the projects got going. People could “scream and holler and accuse and say what they want” he said, but the projects would put the country in good stead.

The goal, he said, was to get money to pay for public services. “We can’t do it on talk and complaining. We can’t do it on accusing people … no … no … no … the things that people blame me for … if you want accuse me, accuse me. But one of these days things will be made clear. Curse me today, try to unseat me today, talk about my family today, but things will be made clearer that I know,” he said as he hit out at his critics, adding that he must still perform despite them.

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  1. MER says:

    I wish this man would make up his mind!!! He claimed to be this huge Christian, I thought Jesus was King????? We've been telling you the same thing Mac, there needs to be less public spending, that is why we have been asking you to stop spending OUR money globe-trotting, eating, paying your light bill and buying "protocol cars'!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Then why is it that so many government and statutory authority employees (in high positions) have government gas cards for their own personal vehicles. I know of one director who has been provided a TRUCK so he can tow his boat and he doesnt pay for gas and another that has a gas card for her own personal car.

    Why cant these employees with their high salaries pay for their own gas?

  3. Kosher Nostra says:

    Mr. Bush i support your call for prudence in finances.  We all have to be fully aware that there are problems that exist and some people use scare tactics.  If this is the case, you've just kept millions of dollars out of the Government purse.  No one that's wise will spend any unnecessary money in hard times.  However, if it's not, the bright side it the people will have money to save for themselves-rainy days.  The Jews though persecuted heavily in Europe was pretty successful because they focused on paying ONLY what was necessary and gaining what was wanted from the less prepared citizens.  Silly really that the people that kept the economy going where the people that were persecuted.  

  4. Anonymous says:

    The people of Cayman need to unite and walk the walk…its so easier to talk the talk. Get this bastard out before its too late!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Start with CUC

  6. Anonymous says:

    Great!  Since cash is king, please don't expect me to pay any ridiculas Government fees, including but not limited to work permit, trade and business license, import duties, health insurance and pension.  Eveyone should be given the opportunity then to save what they can.  Catch what fish they can and grow what they can to feed their family in order to save cash for ourselves and not for the government that won't help the needy.


    My good friend Kosher Nostra said the other day during our conversation on another medium, "How much longer do we accept step children treatment from the mother country.  Our ancestors, even under persecution in Europe prospered, simply because they lived by their own laws.  I say re-instate the secrecy banking practices that made Cayman.  If they are setting us up to fail, we have to have a plan to fall back on.  Sad that we have to be the rebellious step child, but if we want to survive-bring back the old Tax Free/Tax Haven Cayman."

    I have to agree.  We can't hurt our own government and the UK is not helping, so go back to the old ways-if it was working, why did we change it? Who were we trying to impress, the same ones that want the Cayman Islands demise? Obviously so!


  7. ubelievedat says:

    I betcha one thing, what Bush is saying in the article above is how and what the UK has kicked his butt to the curb on spending!1

    Those words are not for us Caymanians as we have been living in the times Bush speaks of instead they are for him and his "wild weeds" .

    If the UK had not put the reigns on Bush and his wild spending habits, we and this country would be paddling our way up the creek.

    My final comment is, Thank You Jesus, the UK was able to do what the Caymanians were too scared of doing!!!!!!!!!!


    • Anonymous says:

      This Caymanian is not scared of doing anything to try and curb Macs outrageous spending habits. What exactly do you think we should have done, that we haven't already tried? Or are you just criticizing for the sake of it?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Dear God,

    I know you are listening, so my vote is for "someplace else".   You will note that Mr. Bush said, "cash is king."   I guess You always knew who he worshipped, but it's a surprise to some of us.  Please help Mr.  Bush to walk the walk, and to finally understand that his work — if anywhere — is here at home and not gallyvanting all over the world. 

    We, your servants, Lord, cannot spend others' money, nor can we spend that which we don't have.  Please help spread this very simple message to those who most need it.    Help them understand that transferring public monies to the monytenders of Your temples  does not garner Your favor, nor purchase ours. 

    I pray for prudence, justice and a kind heart for all of us as we make our way through these troubled times.  

    In Your name,


  9. Dreadlock Holmes says:

    And here it comes…..the Bad News.

    Why is it Government officials are always ready and able to fill us in on the terrible state of "our" economy?  Did we do something wrong?  Or anything to bring about this state of affairs? Other than to go to work each day? IE.  It always includes such items as "There will be tough times ahead" "We must work harder and smarter" "There will be cut backs in services".  So what is it we've done wrong?  Or are we being informed once more that WE'LL have to accept the consequences of their bad management and mistakes?  Listen.

    WE can't work any harder than we already are.

    And… while WE were at work in our economy…..what did YOU do?

    Besides mis-manage and then blame it on others. Always the others. The Global Recession (caused by other Governments just like yours), another Politcal Party, etc. etc.


    WE hired you to manage our economy.

    WE can't work any harder than we already are.

    And… while WE were at work in OUR economy…..what did YOU do?

    Where did OUR money go?

    Because we hired you to manage our affairs for extremely generous wages. And you have failed WE have some bad news for you….


    YOU *ucked up. WE didn't.

    And some more bad news:

    Before you go….. give back the wages WE paid YOU.  All of it.

    We're sorry, there will hard times ahead. For you because you're incompetent.

    Hard pill to swallow, isn't it?

    Good news?

    With some luck, and YOU gone… WE might be able to turn OUR economy around.



  10. Anonymous says:

    What a bunch of jokers, elections must be around the corner. Don't worry Mac we won't forget about all our money you have spent or given away.

    It's Christmas again, so I guess we will be paying for your new christmas lights and the electric bill to run them again this year.   I'm still waiting on the people's money to improve my personal property with a 10ft privacy fence, the 30K in CC TV , and a security guard house. But lets not forget the multiple world travel trips with a personal entourage of 17 people and the two hotel room were are paying for in the Brac for the Deputy Premier and her personal assistant to live in 24/7, when she own a house there.  

  11. Anonymous says:

    Excuse me if I don't take you seriously anymore and if I fall off my chair laughing when I hear you say these things !   In one breath "cash is king", yet this UDP government continued to spend and spend and spend until the UK finally reigned them in.  Look at all the excessive trips overseas with multiple delegates, which accomplished nothing as the economy is still in the dumps with no bright outlook for a turnaround anytime soon.  Look at the money wasted on the failed Cohen deal, GLF's pending claim, the millions given to certain churces, the paving of private parking lots in Cayman Brac, and one could go on and on.  Is this compulsive desire to spend, coming from the fact that it belongs to the government coffers and the people of this country?   What is this was your own cash coming from your personal pocket – something tells me this UDP government would not be so quick to spend.  I could say the same for the PPM, but at least the projects they did (roads, schools, government building) were for the benefit of the people who live and work here, not for the benefit of their rich foreign investor friends like Mr. Ryan and Dart conglomerate, selling out / swopping crown lands deals and giving away assets for little and nothing without ensuring equal return in value to the people and risking the further destruction of our fragile ecosystems and environment.   We need intelligent, ethical and financially-savvy people who know how to manage a country's finances and create a growing GDP, instead of a downward spiralling one.  TIME FOR A CHANGE !  OUT WITH THE OLD-STYLE DINASOUR TYPE OF POLITICIANS AND IN WITH SOME YOUNG, BRIGHT AND SAVVY LEADERS WHO HAVE THIS COUNTRY'S BEST INTEREST AT HEART ! 

  12. Anonymous says:

    WOW! I'm impressed! The Big Mac has learned a new word – "austere." Now if he could just learn another one – "leave!"

  13. Anonymous says:

    It is well accepted in politics that the only time it is possible to get meaningful action is within the first 6 months after an election. Thereafter, the goal simply becomes to get (re)elected at the next election. So it is now  well nigh impossible for the current Government to make the hard decisions that are for the long term benefit of the Islands. And the Framework Agreement with the UK gives lots of wiggle room and scope for kicking the can down the road for a few more years when it all becomes SEP (someone else's problem).

    So rather than face up to the need to cut the huge cost of sustaining the public service, we are likely to see the worst of all worlds from the Government. That is, increasing cuts it actual services delivered by the Government, yet the same number of public servants on essentially the same remuneration and benefits packages delivering those reduced services. This is indeed very concerning.

    Tim Ridley 

  14. Anonymous says:

    If I can resurrect an Israeli joke from 1996.

    Back then they said –

    In the USA you have George Bush, Johnnie Cash, Bob Hope and Stevie Wonder.

    In Israel we have Bibi Netanyahu, no cash, no hope and no wonder!

    With due respect to the passing of Bob Hope and Johnnie Cash in 2003, it seems all you have to do now is insert Obama, the Cayman Islands and Mac in the lines of the joke and it's still appropriate.

  15. Anonymous says:

    We already know that for mckeeva "cash is king".

    If he would really care, he would increase revenues, by having his friend Ryan pay his duty.


    • Anonymous says:

      Ryan will never pay 'cos Mac won't make him pay, 'cos MAc knows Ryan knows and Ryan knows Mac knows he knows, so stalemate. He could always offer to return his Ritz apartment of course, but…Naaaaah. 

    • Anonymous says:

      More like "We have no cash, but McKeeva is King!!"

    • Anonymous says:

      Ryan paying his duty will not increase revenue but it will increase the cash flow. The revenue was already accounted for when the duty was assessed. Ryan should pay up now, with interest and penalties. The only problem is that the cash will flow right back out through Mac.

  16. Anonymous says:

    There are Caymanians who are capable. Off the top of my head, Jennifer Dilbert, Austin Harris, Ezzard Miller, Wayne Panton, just to name a few!!!  

  17. Anonymous says:

    How much of this is due to Mac putting Steve McField on the payrole,  The money handed out to churchs, travel, the fence and lighting that light  his neighrourhood like a sports field all night, His private Barkers police force.   He is a perfect example of poor fiscal management.  He is busy buttering his toast while the rest of us are getting by on stale bread crumbs.

  18. Ummm says:

    Ain t it hilarious? Mac tells us we need to save cash, but seriously, he needs to practice his preaching there coz I never knew anyone like to spend the publics money so much as him.

    Mac, if you would stop your huge spending spree and just have the guts to implement the Miller Shaw report recommendations, we probably would have our surplus already.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Honestly, cash was supposed to be king in 2007-8 at the onset of the financial crisis.  Here we are almost 4 years later and this is supposed to be some kind of revolutionary thought?!?

  20. Moofer says:

    Time to fire the whole civil service. Let all of that be handled by the private sector (once Dart owns the whole Island that will be easy).

    GOOD JOB Mac, you’ve presided over the destruction of the Cayman Islands. That will make quite the epitaph.

  21. Anonymous says:

    getting all the money back from churches and other vote buying funds wherever they may be would help

    • MER says:

      Or now that the churhes are so well funded perhaps the pastors can encourage their congregations to donate their tithes to our very needy Government so it doesn't have to take civil servants pay and pensions again???

  22. Anonymous says:

    Stop Hotel Hilton in the Brac which we dont need and is a total waste of money. That will bring some good savings. Furthermore, it brings no work to the Brac as the contract to build is not given to the Brac contractors but to companies from Grand Cayman who bring their own employees. Stop it and stop it now

  23. Anonymous says:

    need to cut back civil servants as they are overpaid and always chatting on blackberries!! too many staff to run the country. That is the biggest cost to the goverment not Bush travel expenses cost 0.01% of operating expenses while payroll/pension is about 50%!! Civil servants need start paying their own health care and pension and THAT WILL HELP the country.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well excuse me. If I don't get paid a lot, how am I supposed to buy my blackberry?

    • Anonymous says:

      then they will be out of work – and who will support them then? 

    • Anonymous says:

      So anon 0736 it seems as if the solution to all your problems is to cut civil servants salaries. I as a CS dont mind paying the life ins but I for one will not be paying for CINICO and I for one will not be going to the Government Hospital-you know go in with one problem and come out with two.

      They have already cut operational costs so much for Government Departments than the country will soon get true cut backs in operations.

      Unfortunately for the CS we have such a poor image and yes we have personel that are not worth the money spent on them. Or at the very least they appear to be.

      To solve the problem dont cut the salaries but privatise some of the servies that the GOvernment provides.

    • Anonymous says:

      The civil servants have already seen a cut in their income.

      It is a HUGE mistake to say they should pay their own health insurrance, because they already do.

      What people don't realize is that the nett income of a cv is the same as in the privat sector.

      I am a cs, and it is very hard to do my job, because of the political influence of politicians.

      If I were to take another cut on my salary, i would loose my house, a smal 150k house.

      But what is more important is that we have plenty of money in this country. The problem is are the politicians, churches and wealthy developers who are taking all we have, using the so called bad economy, as the reason.

      Unfortunately we have too many naive people here to see that.

  24. Anonymous says:

    These are empty words coming from someone who happily wasted 350K on a loan arrangment that never came to fruition and now the threat of a $3M law suit jsut because he fancied chinese.

    He is a Joker surely

  25. Right ya so says:

    Good start would be for him to stay his XXX home!! 

  26. Knot S Smart says:

    The period 2009-2013 will go down in history as the four years that:

    More taxes were collected.

    More money was spent on Govt travel, salaries and pensions.

    More of Govt funds were given to supporters and churches.

    More MOU's were signed and broken.

    Less money was spent on the country's infrastructure.

    And our Govt talked more BS than ever before…


  27. Anonymous says:

    go and re-read the miller shaw report……


  28. Anonymous says:

    #1 – stop travelling around the world with up to 10 people.  Video Conference, email, call.  NO MORE TRAVELLING.  Stay at home and start working.

    #2 stop giving your cronies cushy jobs in Govt. 

    or much better yet – Resign – please – now – for the sake of your country. 

  29. Anonymous says:

    Mac is correct. He know the theory.


    However, he does not have the skill to put the theory into practice. He and his cronies have been part of the problem, not the solution, for years. The same applies to the PPM.


    What is the solution?


    In the short term Cayman will muddle through the mess as best it can.


    In the long term Cayman must nurture, train and educate a new generation of competent and ethical leaders. This is happening even now as we type at our blogging keyboards; people like Jennifer Dilbert (FOI) are starting to emerge and will eventually take on the reins of power.


    There is hope.

    • Moofer says:

      I hope you are right, but I fear you are not. By the time Jennifer Dilbert or any others grow into a position where they can topple the pigs wedged against the trough, Cayman will have wholly failed. I personally expect we are 2 years from a full collapse, at best.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hmmmm, maybe you are correct.


        Perhaps I should have said "slim hope".

  30. Anonymous says:

    Cash is King and he who owns the most rules the kingdom and owns the properties.

  31. Bushwacker says:

    I hope this joker starts the austere cuts to Government spending with good examples such as his “benefits.” Eliminate, the Butler, the Cook, the Maid, the forty-eleventeen million Security Guards stationed at his personal residence, the Chauffeur and the Car, and the same must be done for dear ole Julie as well!

  32. The Spin Cycle says:

    "difficult decisions would need to me made"

    1st difficult decision:

    what to do with an extravagant salary AND a pension coming in every month.

    2nd difficult decision:

    what to do about the promise of a pay cut for himself and MLAs.

    Cayman's decision will be easy in light of this.


  33. Anonymous says:

    Mr. McKeeva you could start saving the country money by resigning.  The paychecks of your cook, bodyguard and yourself would be our cash.  Not to mention all of your travelling expenses.  Big savings there.

    • The Prophet says:

      22:29  To tell you the truth, right now I do not see anyone who can run this country any better.Say what you may about the man, he knows what he is doing. and as I read day by day about the critics I have came to realize that is nothing more than persons who want power or persons who cannot pursuade or manipulate the man.  He needs to stay in power because he is the best man for the job.

      • so Anonymous says:

        Then The Caymanian way is doomed.  For good reason.  At least the UK let you try.

        After He and his tribe (the Bushits) ruin Cayman just like many other little third world countries have already done then the smart, ethical, and dependable expats can come in and take over.

      • Anonymous says:

        You desperately need to change your profession.

      • Anonymous says:

        Wha ya said? Mac knows what he is doing? The only way that you could possibly be right is if the Constitution made him king with the right to spend ALL our cash.

      • R.U. Kidden says:

        I've heard of the Blind Prophet but I didn't know he lived in the Caymans!

      • allawalla says:

        He doesn’t know what he’s doing any more than you could puke out an accurate prophesy. You and him are tied for pole position as the biggest ‘maroon’ I’ve ever heard of (quoting Buggy Bunny). When Mac’s voted out unanimously except for one vote, we’ll knowit was you.

        Holy crap…

    • Anonymous says:


      Can you say if this the cut you requesting will be only for Mac, or all future Premiers.

      • Anonymous says:

        I was referring to the fact that he is collecting pension and a salary.  Yes, there should be a cut to all  the MLA's salary and no one should be collecting pension and salary.  It should be either/ or.