Our budgetary crisis

| 13/08/2012

While listening to the premier speak at Mary Miller Hall this past Wednesday I found myself overwhelmed with a feeling of déjà vu. Prior to Mr Bush revealing the proposed revenue measures which are to replace the ‘Community Enhancement Fee’ he spent nearly two hours reminding the public of how the FCO came to be in control of Cayman’s budget, an agendum which has become all too common at public meetings.

The members of Cayman United were extremely disappointed with the way in which last Wednesday’s meeting was conducted. It seems obvious to our group that the sitting government failed to view last week’s meeting as a method of communicating new revenue measures to the public, and addressing any relevant questions which may have arisen; rather it seems our elected officials viewed this meeting as an opportunity to blame previous administrations for allowing the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to control our budget.

As mentioned in one of our previous public statements, the vision of Cayman United is for the future and we rarely consider past events.  Mr Bush, however, seems to be focused on those events which he claims have led to the crisis in which we now find ourselves.

We therefore feel it necessary to remind the sitting government, as well as the public, that our current budgetary crisis is not simply due to the previous PPM administration, nor is it a direct result of the sitting UDP administration. Rather, we feel that we find ourselves in this crisis due to constant mismanagement of the country’s finances by successive administrations. 

The PPM administration spent outside their means in their final year of service; however, as they failed to require audited accounts from various ministries, overspending should perhaps have been expected.  The deficit which resulted from this led to the FCO taking control of our finances, but the FCO did not simply dictate consequences for this overspending.  Instead, the FCO approved a three year plan for our budget which was presented by the sitting UDP government. The current administration has again failed to require that public accounts be audited and exceeded the budget framework which they agreed with the FCO. 

Both parties are at fault.

The way forward for the Cayman Islands is an administration which recognizes the importance of consistently and reliably audited public accounts.  Without these it will prove impossible to understand where our government will spend more than $600 million which they expect to earn in revenue over the coming year.  After all, one cannot reduce wasteful expenditure without first identifying it.

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Category: Viewpoint

Comments (17)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It's time to trash the pseudo-party political system that has destroyed Caymanin politics.   What a shame other MLAs don't follow the actions of the member from East End and run as independants.  A conglomurate of independants — a coalition government — would serve Cayman much better than the Punch & Judy, combative, political situation that currently exists.

    • Anonymous says:

      Caymanians are responsible for destroying these islands because of greed and the need to fit in within certain social setting of which those that they would do anything for including selling their souls to.  Those same people don't give a rat's Arse about them and as soon as they get their feathers and learn to fly  leave them.  Then the stupid AKissing Caymanian is left scratching their heads and saying when they first came here I use to hang out with them and now they don't know me.  How I love to see it happen to many of those foolish AKrs.  Sorry to see Cayman go that way but like my old people use to say da wha ya git.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for your truthful and helpful viewpoint Cayman United!

    The waste and corruption (real and/or percieved) and gross incompetence by this current administration needs to STOP!

    How can we brag of being one of the worlds leading financial centres and yet cannot (or will not) produce accounts fit for audit?

    It makes me think that Mac is trying to produce a Missick….so he can BLAME more and more, as he clearly is completely out of his depth as Minister of Finance…and unfit as premier!

    With No Consultation with other MLA's, the Public or the Bussiness Community of the "Expat Tax" and no analysis of the repercussions, it begs the question: is he fit for Office?

    I conclude the answer is a resounding NO!

    • Chris Johnson says:

      The TCI did away with Missick and now prepare quarterly financial statements which they then compare with budget. On the other hand our Honourable Premier did away with quarterly financials and thus has no basis for his many variable budgets. May I suggest that the TCI know what they are doing when it comes to Government accountability. Perhaps the Minister of Finance could  visit the TCI to see how it is done. It is ok with me if he stays there.

      • anonymous says:

        Having to do that would just be "Bureaucratic Interference" to our Eternally Honorable Premier's (EHP) performance of his duties.  He would never stand for that.

      • St Peter says:

        Ok. I'm willing to allow him the money to travel coach (and in back of the plane) to visit TCI to learn accounting 101, but he will not be allowed to stop by the Dominican Republic to see Missick!

      • Dan says:

        Thanks to the UK. But they should have stepped in to aid TCI from long time before Misick. They were too slow for some strange reason. But if I go on, you would have to accuse me of conspiracy theories. After TCI has lost their reputation which they wanted more than ever, they bandaid and speak about how great things happening in TCI… yeah right… after you allowed the foxes to ruin the garden

        • Libertarian says:

          Hopefully the new White Paper that was issued last month will make them more involved with our affairs in a positive way. Hopefully their ministers will be good ones, and will live up to its sound principles. We will see. For now, prominent Caymanians need to look forward, put aside differences, malice and hate, and move forward in developing the economy, promoting business growth, and ensuring Caymanians are not made second class citizens in their own country.

          They can as well see to our better representation in the United Kingdom. Our real enemy are those pulling the puppet strings of British and Caymanian lawmakers. Why its our real enemy?  Because the lawmakers should be making laws and regulations for the people and not for a selected few. We are living in a time where MLAs can make laws contrary to the people's wishes, and watch them from the tower of babel, demonstrate against it in the hundreds with no remorse. That is not a democracy. Anyone that tells you that we live in a democracy is mistaken. So providing for better representation in the UK make sense. It would also do us good to establish ties with other alliances. This would involved the Premier traveling more, but it the ties we establish, the better it is for us. We can't condemn our leaders for traveling and meeting with other diplomats. It is very important we keep close ties with groupings in the region.   

  3. Anonymous says:

    The FCO is in FULL control of our budget because Mac was compromised by police investigations and failed to fight the imposition of the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility.  That's the story no one is telling here.  All the PPM + financial crisis did was give them a veto over our borrowing.  This state of affairs is Mac's doing entirely.  Never mind he is far too distracted politically and otherwise to do the job of a Finance Minister properly, which is to focus, crunch the numbers, get creative and meet deadlines to give value to taxpayers.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you have any more fairy tales?

    • Anonymous says:

      You forgot to add he is untrained, has no experiance, and would fail any test of high school competency.  He was given the job ONLY becasue he was the Caymanian civil service's Caymanian.  And now they want him to fix it.

    • St Peter says:

      Not being in a position to fight the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility turned out to be a good thing though!

      Fiscal Responsibility is a commodity that our government seems to lack despite having a framework in place…

  4. santa baby says:

    "Both parties are at fault."  Well may I broaden your parameters, which many will not like to hear or perhaps cuss me our for it:  "The FCO is at fault as well."  There ya go… three entities at fault, please don't try to deny it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually its the Caymanian people's fault, for electing the 2 parties into power in successive terms, and for sleeping through their successive terms while each party does pretty much what it wants to do and continue "Partying" at our expense – blame us more than anyone else, because we allowed it to happen, instead of demanding accountability, transparency and good governance.  Only when we as a people demand more and fire those for incompetence and elect sensible leaders, will things change.  Only when we as a people stop thinking about our next new fridge or next driveway paving, then this nonsense will stop.  We have the power, so let's stop blaming others for our own mistakes and do something about it !

    • Anonymous says:

      How is the FCO at fault? For keeping the government accountable to its three year plan?

      • Dan says:

        The commenter knows his/her history. Note conveniently, the FCO enforces their mandates. Way before  UDP they could have triggered measures, but waited until thing got worse. They did the same thing to TCI. Don't be fooled

  5. Anonymous says:

    Finally, a little bit of common sense.

    Instead of arguing over who's fault it it is (PPM, FCO, Civil servants, press, UDP), we need to FIX this mess and move forward.

    UDP does not have any solution to fix it, did not sort out the accounts and do not want to make cuts which will jeopardize reelection – so they are fully into the blame-game.

    PPM does not have any solutions, did not sort out government accounts and are a fractured, weak 'opposition'.

    Ezzard, like him or not, has made some useful suggestions towards fixing the accounts, cutting expenditure and terminating the Financial Secretary who is a common denominator to each of the failed party administrations – PPM and UDP – a move which I personally support.

    Regardless of which party is in power, the continued failure to produce proper government accounting is squarely in the remit of the Financial Secretary and we have two successive governments who have failed to address the problem, or hold the Financial Secrtary accountable for his job.

    …which is just like both parties anyway: unaccountable, incompetent and unwilling to do their jobs.