CIG takes cheap seats to UK

| 13/06/2013

simmcl (248x300).jpg(CNS): The four man delegation that has gone to London to meet with both Mark Simmonds, the Foreign Office overseas territories minister, and British Prime Minister David Cameron ahead of the G8 meeting flew to the UK in premium economy, saving almost $20,000 in airfares for the public purse. Premier Alden McLaughlin, Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton, Finance Minister Marco Archer and Financial Secretary Ken Jefferson were all seen in the premium economy seats on board the BA flight to London on Tuesday evening rather than the far more expensive business class.

According to British Airways, the current cost of a return ticket from Cayman to London in premium economy is around $2,500 per passenger, while a business class ticket is more than $7,000. As a result, the decision to fly in the cheaper seats for the nine hour plus overnight flight has cost the public purse around $10,000 rather than costing over $28,000 if the new government team bought business seats.

Starting as they mean to go on, the PPM administration appears to be putting their money where their mouth is and cutting down on the extravagant travel costs run up by the former UDP administration, which became infamous for taking large delegations on extravagant trips.

It is understood that McLaughlin and the team has had a brief meeting with Simmonds at the FCO and the Cayman delegation is expected to sit down with the OT minister today to discuss the country’s public finances. The premier has said he hopes to persuade Simmonds to stretch out the currentthree year plan to reduce local borrowing and find some leeway for the 2013/14 budget so that some of the damaging fees that have stifled the local economy can be reduced.

The team is then expected to attend two pre-G8 meetings with David Cameron at 10 Downing Street to discuss the territory's commitment to the latest OECD tax information sharing and exchange initiative.

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  1. Otherview says:

    Awesome….a great example of fiscal responsibility.
    This is how a country in dire straights moves forward conservatively .
    A flight to the UK is not long. Face it, most of you sit at your desks in
    slightly better then crappy chairs for over (longer) then 7 hours a day
    basically doing nothing or as little as possible….and it’ fine….right????
    You also go home every night and sit in your Ecay bought, or “hand me down”
    recliner for 6 to 8 hours, guzzle a few brews, flipping chanels, watch Letterman and pass out and..
    …it’s fine……right????
    So…….really…..nobody needs “first class” to the UK……… is a rip off.
    Just get there……..and “get er’done.”
    Gov employees should be required to travel at basic rates. Upgrades at own expense (only
    on a personal credit card), and a set, strict, daily stipend , and publish expenses.
    Nice room…no casinos…the law.
    Wake up Cayman.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Still a waste of money.  The UK is not negotiating. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Read above article… You are wrong looks like Mr. A and his team are doing a good job, how can you say they are not going to negotiate when they hadn't even had a meeting yet. eat your words. Oh i think you meant if Mac was in the FCO wasn't going to negociate.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ummm…they were asked to come to London? 

  3. Michel says:

    Well done Alden and co. I must say that I am proud of the Progressives (PPM) and I too feel that with our current Premier the future looks much more promessing. What I don't miss is the arrogance and foolish spending by former premier XXXX. I also must give Kudos to the whole Progressives Team (elected members and those not successful) and specially those behind the scenes @ our Headquarters of PROGRESSIVES for your positive ness that reflect your actions. Yea Bobo, things looking up and progressing on the right track. God Bless, Michel Lemay.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Wow!!!! Proud to see This. Now just imagine if Mac and Ju Ju did this trip, they would have to stop in the Bahamas for a night, one to gamble and the other would have jet lag. Next day travel to London. On their return they would have to again spend a night or 2. Of and possible get a cash withdrawal on their cc. Oh yes and don’t forget the body guards/drivers traveling as well.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Government officials should fly business class when representing their countries.  However, I do admire this Premier  for being aware that the country JUST cannot afford to do so now. He is wise enough to know that he cannot drain the public's  purse and then tax the business people to balance his careless spending.  For that I thank you Mr. Alden and your crew.  I for sure will do my best to ensure that you will continue to serve us once you continue to perform responsible and take the correct measures to restore these islands.  And to you who complained about where Mr. Panton sat in the plane, SO WHAT?? If I was Mr.Panton's size , then I too would upgrade my ticket with my personal CASH to have a comfortable ride to London.  Some of us just love to pick on people and beat each other down without having enough knowledge of a situaton. Do you know if he paid for this upgrade perdonally for comfort? So shut up and allow the PPM government to work for us.  Let us pray for them and protect them for the betterment of these islands so that the day will come when all of us can afford to fly business class, feed our kids, take care of ourselves and have financial independence.  PPM, you have my blessings.    

  6. Anonymous says:

    Penny Wise, Pound Foolish.

  7. Anonymous says:

    You could of tied them on the back of the plane, I do t think alden would of cared either way he back in control! Lmao.

    On a serious note, to all those who are saying about they should fly business and the cost of being tired in england..blah blah blah. . What crap! Its all the same! Just grab an empty row, stretched out and sleep. So much divas in here. Also, they are going to deal with the UK on many financial issues and I believe that showing the UK that this government is willing to spend less on the extras is a plus in anyone’s book

  8. Anonymous says:

    So the PPM Premier led a 4 man team to London for an extremely important meeting with UK govt at a cost of $10,000 (plus hotel), and one former UDP Deputy Premier does to the Middle East for a postal conference (with entourage) at a cost $40,000. Wow!  

  9. Anonymous says:

    This is ridiculous. I will not abide this populist crap. The abuses and financial problems of CIG have nothing to do with travel and a poor state of rest causes diminished mental agility and performance generally. Our leaders should be arriving everywhere in the absolute best physical state possible to maximise the chances of positive outcomes for Cayman. This is not the time to pinch pennies. 

    • Anonymous says:

      It is not important where on the plane that you sit as long as the plane takes you where you want to go. I hope this example will continue.

    • Anonymous says:

      Premium Economy seats are quite comfortable. I commend our Premier for making such a decision and leading by example! He is saving this country's coffers thousands by doing so. The person who commented on Thu, 06/13/2013 – 17:20 obviously hasn't flown premium yet. Try it .. you can save thousands and still be very comfortable with a nice warm meal  and movies to boot! Get real, these are public funds and our newly elected Premier and his Financial Advisors are spot on! I believe the Hon Marco Archer would have either put this suggestion forward or strongly supported it. Thanks guys! You are on the right track!

      • Anonymous says:

        Do I detact a bit of sarcasm here? I've flown World Traveller Plus and frankly it was as bad as the standard World Traveller. You get the same meals and movies and the same indifferent cabin service. It would have made just as much sense for them to use the CAL/Virgin link up – I'm sure Richard Branson would have cutthem a deal just to take the business away from BA. 

      • Anonymous says:

        This is 17.20. I only fly Premium, actually, unless I get upgraded. It's good, but it's not business.

        • Anonymous says:

          How do you know who is flying for business or otherwise? only if people know or you tell them- who cares. The Premier did put country and his people first when he made this choice  – He is from the school of hard-knocks and knows how to save.

  10. Knot S Smart says:

    CNS really has a sense of humor:

    The title 'CIG Takes Cheap Seats to the UK' positioned just above 'Mac Took Cash in Vegas'

  11. Anonymous says:

    I wonder how fresh and rested the felt when they arrived. The cost of being fresh and able to think clearly with the British is worth the extra funds. Watch how we soon get taxes implemented when the UK won’t bend the budget rules.

    • Anonymous says:

      I've flown business class from Cayman to London before and trust me, either way, you're going to be uncomfortable and agitated. 

      • Anonymous says:

        That's no reason to make yourself that little bit more uncomfortable just for cheap applause. High office is a heavy burden and everything should be done to comfort those who hold it.

        • Anonymous says:

          Oh, I thought McKeeva said it was the PPM constitution that imposed all the perks on him which he was forced to accept. Don't you remember? He said that the PPM had created all of this for themselves because they thought they would be re-elected in 2009. What a lie that has proved to be!

          • Anonymous says:

            The biggest lie is that is no where to be found in the Constitution. His decision to fly first class, use security, hire a chef was all administrative decisions. His decision to use OUR CREDIT CARD was his XXX decision. You people should read the Constution for yourselves instead of swallowing every thing Bush told you.

        • Anonymous says:

          High office comes with a high salary.  No one said travelling for business is fun, it's part of their job so they got to suck it up.  Now you see if they have an early night, instead of staying up all night gambling like you know who, everyone wins.  

        • Anonymous says:

          You are obviously an extravagant fool.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Great leadership in action and action speaks louder than words. I recall a certain Premeir screaming to the world that "weeze broke" then racking up $1 million in travel bills. So glad he's gone

  13. Dnt4getMe says:

    Starting to look like there just might be hope for us yet.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Good for them – lead by example. Remember to sign up for your BA Avios Points too. Every little helps.

    I hope all goes well in the talks too.

    • Thank you says:

      Thank you Mr Premier, The Honorable Alden McLaughlin! I am already so proud to have you as our Premier and The PPM as our Government. I see only Great things ahead for Cayman and the Cayman people! What a difference a month makes and the future of Cayman is in Honest & Capable hands!


    • BORN FREE says:

      It gets better by the day, what a difference to the government led by the greedy & selfish Mckeeva Bush who seemed to care about self more than country, always "me, me, me, me, I, I, I, I, I, "I. It has been a total breath of fresh air since the election results on May 23rd. FRESH!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Isn't that much better than the UDP?

    • Anonymous says:

      Watch it! Gordon and Steve tracing to get Velee in there. Then you will see dem firs class seats bein use up tryin to get an honourable wife outta it! lolol

  16. Anonymous says:

    Noble and very refreshing. Thank you!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Excellent to learn of this and thanks to CNS for informing us.

  18. Anonymous says:

    A penny saved is a penny earned.  Hope it continues like this.

    • Anonymous says:

      So why in the hell didnt Alden take a body guardwith him too? Maybe Paul was busy looking after his last employer.

      • Anonymous says:

        I hope he cuts out all of that body guard crap wasting money! That big ole Sam parading around with them lil small oriental body guards scampering around. Enough of the show!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Careful now CNS. Do not take too friendly a line for PPM. They need to be congratulated but also castigated when they they screw up. On past record they make a lot of noise but do not deliver anything meaningful. CUC mess is their creation.

  20. Anonymous says:

    How wonderful. Leading by example .Ron Kipp

  21. Anonymous says:

    Good for them,,,lets hope it stays that way,,and enjoy London Guys

  22. Anonymous says:

    Well done guys and a big thank you!!!

  23. Anonymous says:

    Job well done.  They are setting a great example.

  24. Anonymous says:

    This story is very important.  It shows that the Government will set the pace and lead by example for the necessary changes ahead.  It was unfortunate that the last Government thought nothing of cutting salaries of CS's, taxing businesses heavily to cover the government shortfall etc and at the same time thought little of travelling first class in large unnecessary groups, and sadly as we now know, spending large sums of money in casinos by way of an advance from the Government funds or otherwise.  We must rally behind this new Government and pray for their success as our very future is hanging in the balance by a slender thread!

  25. Anonymous says:


  26. CaymanQT says:

    Yay!  What a difference an election makes!

  27. Anonymous says:

    Good for them booking these seat.. setting an example.. now if they wanted to they could have at the gate personally paid for an upgrade for an additional cost of $200.

    • Anonymous says:

      Read the story again, they were in Premium Economy…..which is all good. The next step up is Business Class ….which is a lot more than $200 to upgrade to, even if you could get 4 spare seats at the gate……..

      • Anonymous says:

        You are wrong, I just upgraded to business on BA and it cost me $200. a seat was available. I think the writer above is saying if they walk to check in even on cayman airways, these guys can purchase an upgrade out of their own pocket.
        Good job PPM. Even so I didn’t vote across the board for you, looks like Mr. A maybe do a good job even though it is early days.

        • Anonymous says:

          Really, upgrade to Business Class on the BA for $200? On a seat that normally retail for approx 3k more return? Show me how please, I just don’t believe you. Normall the 200 buck upgrade is from Economy to Premium Economy, as easily found on the website when you buy the ticket. Why would BA upgrade to the class above that for 200bucks…makes no sense. And yes, they would rather fly with an empty seat in Business than sell it for $200.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Wonderful! Well done Alden! Now make sure that if Julianna has to go on a Speaker's trip somewhere she does the same. And no Paul, unless SHE pays for him.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Alden, Marco, Wayne. Way to lead by example.

  30. caymanjin says:

    Really now?!  Funny, they should have been doing this from loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong time!  O yea I forgot, we must not REALLY be broke! SMDH!

  31. NJ2Cay says:

    This is a sign of good judgement, hopefully they keep up this attitude…

  32. The lone haranguer says:

    Oh that’s why Ju Ju did not go.

  33. Dred says:

    Another good move. Keep up the good work.

  34. Anonymous says:

    at least they're trying to save money!

  35. Anonymous says:

    Way to go PPM, that's the way to do it guys. Wishing you all the best with the Big Shots over there. Show them we still have educated men of intergity. I know you will make us all proud that we have a government we can trust. God bless you all and bring you back home safely and with some encouraging news. 

  36. Knot Sir Prysed says:

    If Mac and Co had done this on all their record setting worldwide jaunts, could you imagine how much better off government would be???  He is a disgrace to Cayman.  And a disgrace to the word Honourable – absolutely anything BUT….

  37. Anonymous says:

    Wayne Panton was not in the premium economy seats- he was up front in business! The others were in premium economy which was nice to see. I was on the flight too but sat behind them all 🙁

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m sure Wayne Panton can afford to pay for a Business class ticket himself, which he probably did.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m sure Wayne Panton could have chartered his own plane to London. LOL!

        • Anonymous says:

          Really 17;30? So why are we always hearing about the impossibility of Caymanians making money like the furriners? Arden was on about it  on Rooster a few months back before the election on the radio and spouting his usual anti-furrin stuff with Ezzard about how the Caymanian partners didn't really make money, only the furriners. No call-ins to contradict him, of course from Jude Scott, Roy McTaggert, Winston Connolly, Wanda Ebanks, Wayne Panton, Dan Scott etc etc (fill the blanks). This place is really sickening.

          • Anonymous says:

            To: Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 06/13/2013 – 18:36.                        I believe the word you are looking for is "foreigner" not "furriner".Thought you would like to know.

  38. Anonymous says:

    They havent "saved" $20K in airfare.   They have cost us as they didnt fly economy — they chose premium economy, where most Cayman residents fly. 

    • Anonymous says:

      If most Caymanians can do it then why on earth can't our country's representatives do it? Would you prefer to see them clinging to a rope behind the plane?

  39. Anonymous says:

    A great start unlike keke & foolio! Keep up the good work! Much needed help is needed here also! Like cuc & high fuel prices etc, that is killing people!


  40. Anonymous says:

    I'm not surprised. They know full well why they were elected, and they're not ethically challenged. The $20,000 'saved' would make a huge difference in some people's lives.

  41. Anonymous says:

    WOW, a Government with a conscience. Its been a long time coming guys, congratulations. It is interesting to note below that 'taking cash' is no longer considered theft. I think i'll grab my revolver and head to the nearest bank…

  42. Anonymous says:

    Whilst I applaud this guesture, my experiences of flying in BA Premium Economy (World Traveller Plus) from the Cayman Islands to London suggest that choosing it over standard economy (World Traveller) is a complete waste of money unless the fare difference is minimal. I'm also rather surprised that had to pay $2500 each because BA are showing seats a lot cheaper than that but I guess it was the timing of the trip.

  43. Anonymous says:

    Whatever, we want results not just a lot of talk.  blah blah

  44. Anonymous says:

    Now THAT is an example of putting country first.  Already this new government has impressed me.  Might seem like a small gesture but it sends a message.  Frivolous spending is out.

  45. Anonymous says:

    Onboard the BA flight!  Shame on them!  It should have been Cayman Airways!!!!!


    CNS: Cayman Airways does not fly across the Atlantic.

    • Anonymous says:

      OMG!!! If you're Caymanian and if you don't know the farthest destination Cayman Airways flies…SHAME ON YOU!!!

  46. Anonymous says:

    I think on the day flight back economy would be an impressive gesture.  However on the overnight flight out spending $10-12,000 to reduce fatigue of the team ahead of critical meetings would have been money well spent.

  47. Hoping for better days says:

    Humble beginnings. Looks good but will they continue on this path? That's the hard part. Can you really fly with all the commoners for the next 4 years to come? thank you for saving us a few thousand dollarsbut we will need to see initiatives that will save this country MILLIONS in the future. MILLIONS. Food for thought.

  48. Anonymous says:

    Lets hope the waste and corruption of the previous government is gone forever, wishful thinking, but this is a good start. What a difference Alden has made already compared to the total incompetence and dishonesty of both former premiers

  49. Poundfoolish says:

    The people negotiating for our future should be well-rested and refreshed . This meeting is highly significant to Cayman”s future. If there was any flight to take business class on, this was it. Appreciate the gesture all the same.

    • Anonymous says:

      They will have sufficient time to rest once they are in London. It’s not like they are getting off a flight and going straight to meeting after meeting I am assuming they will have some down time.

  50. Anonymous says:

    I'm absolutely okay with this. I don't necessarily think our representatives need to be packed in with the steerage to send the right message about saving money.

    Having comfortable seats where they can work and be rested for these very important meetings is fine and doesn't require the tippity-top tier Business Class to do.

  51. Anonymous says:

    Good start guys. Keep it up.

  52. Anonymous says:

    In any other country this wouldn't make the press but thanks to Big Mac saving money on flights is headline news…

  53. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Guys. How wonderfully refreshing.You just earned the title Honourable. Keep it up!

  54. Anonymous says:

    Good for them.  That's highly commendable!

  55. Anonymous says:

    Kudos to Premier McLaughlin and his team or the cost-saving! So much for the lies about all the goodies being forced on McKeeva Bush by the constitution because he was the premier.