Time needed to rebuild trust

| 24/07/2013

(CNS): The premier has said it will take time for his government to rebuild trust between Cayman and the UK after the last four years. The new administration will need to demonstrate that it can keep its word regarding budget forecasts and manage public finances more carefully before the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) will consider loosening the knots on government purse strings. Alden McLaughlin said he was pleased that he was able to extend the overdraft facility for the forthcoming financial year, giving some room to manoeuvre. He still wants to renegotiate the terms of the remaining three years on the fiscal plan agreed between the former UDP administration and the FCO but understands the need to re-establish trust first.

McLaughlin told CNS that, given the circumstances of the last four years regarding the broken commitments and budget surpluses that never materialized, the FCO and the overseas territories minister will need to see some consistency from the Cayman government and far more prudent management of public finances before they are willing to talk about changing the terms of the plan.

But even at the end of this financial year, the new government will struggle to deliver on the commitment made by former premier McKeeva Bush to the UK last year for a more than $80 million surplus this year.

As a result of pressure on senior civil servants and chief financial officers from the new finance minister, Marco Archer, not to spend their full budgets if they don’t need to, the government appears to be on track to end the year with a surplus of around $50 million, which, given the current economic difficulties, is significant but it is still far short of the predicted figure.

The shortfall in the surplus comes from the failure of government to implement certain legislation in time that would have generated additional revenue and because some areas of predicted revenue simply did not make the expected returns. It was not as a result of over spending.

However, in order to get the UK to ease some of the restrictions and give the CIG more wiggle room to meet the requirements of the Public Management and Finance Law and the various sound accounting principles, such as the parameters for the net debt ratio and cash reserves, the government will need to begin delivering on its commitments, which makes the forthcoming budget for 2013/14 crucial.

McLaughlin said that government would need to demonstrate that it can manage the public purse sensibly and meet itsown budget forecasts, as the UK would not simply take it as read that because a new government was in office, the public coffers were in safer hands.

“We will need to show that we can deliver and stick to our commitments,” the premier said, before the UK would be willing to offer more concessions on what is currently a very difficult plan to fulfill without causing undue hardship and further burdens to an already struggling local economy.

The government is currently working on its annual plan for the remaining part of this financial year, which began in July. The passage at the end of last month of the emergency budget has provided a spending plan until the end of October but the full budget is expected to be delivered in September, when the premier said he and the minister of finance will set out how the PPM administration will get Cayman’s finances back on track, with the major projects at the port and the airport underway, and reduce the pressure on the local taxpayer, as promised in their election manifesto.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    As long as the Civil Service remains bloated The Cayman Islands can never prosper. The new, fiscally sophisticated, Governor is well aware of this and she has the skills sets to affect change.   

    • Anonymous says:

      Nothing would please me more than to see the new Governor take on the bullfrogs in the civil service who think that the lily belongs to them.

      It may never happen, but I will keep dreaming. I don't know how these politicians sleep at night knowing that they have been elected to fix the problems, yet do nothing. Yes, I forgot, they sleep on silk sheets.

      • Anonymous says:

        19:22 she needs to close down the turtle farm, cayman airways, tourist attraction boardand all that sh## that has been wasting our money for 20 years

  2. The Professor says:

    Dear Mr. Premier Sir,

    May I suggest that, your government  as soon as possible establish a special fund that shall be used strictly to do what ever is necessary to arrive  at  a  balanced budget. Otherwise we will continue to find ourselves in exactly the same financial position, as we are at present. This fund should be maintained in such a manner that we no longer  have to be beholding to anyone when funds are needed for the necessary development of infrastructure.

    This fund can be called whatever you and your cabinet decide. Perhaps "Infrastructure Growth Fund" or some such name. But as stated before, it shall be used strictly  for those needed projects which will have been approved by a board consisting of  The Minister and/or his Chief Officer [of the portfolio under which a project may fall], and members of the local community who shall be chosen by  district councils from time to time. 

    I believe that every single government of the past three decades have in some way contributed to the financial debacle that we now find ourselves, and that unless we, [meaning every one living on our Island] are willing to make a personal sacrifice, we will continue to find ourselves in similar situations year after year. Government cannot continue  to be  searching for new ways to tax us, causing resentment among the people!  In fact, we may be able to cut some of the existing taxes and fees once this program is up and running after a few years.

    I believe that each & every person will appreciate not having to worry about taxation every time a new government is installed. "People" [even those who can afford it] are concerned  about the rapid growth of inflation that  has occurred year after year, and if this pattern continues, we are bound to find ourselves in the untenable position where we will have lost control of our G.D.P. and the economy!  We will not try to speculate about what may  happen if this should occur.

    So let's explain how we can do this thing, if we all "individually" are willing to make a little sacrifice. The sacrifice will be a commitment to contribute to the "Infrastructure Growth Fund" [IGF] a min of $365.00 per year for five years. Now to show you how simple this is, let us take  someone who smokes, let us say two packs of cigarettes per day, at $8.00 per pack. This person should be quite happy to give up one pack to help fund the health services authority knowing that if they got sick  they will be taken there to be treated! We are speaking  here of a commitment for one year, but it could be for two or three years. But we're not asking for $8.00 per day, we're talking about maybe two or three dollars per day, for one year. If each of us made a commitment and resolved to give this amount to help get rid of our national debt, we could eliminate it within three years. Remember FCO has given us until 2019 to get it right. That's six years from now. But wouldn't it be much better if we could achieve this within three or four years. I think this is the way to go, and i don't think that people would squawk about this method of fund raising because it would be project specific and everyone will know exactly where the funds will be going.  

    Now let's see how much we will have  contributed to the elimination this awful burden. 

    There are say 60,000 of us living here on Island and lets say 40,000 are gainfully employed. And lets say each of us on an average [assuming that the wealthy will give more] gave $4.00 per day for 1 year [365days]. That amount my friends will have amounted to: $58,400,000.00 [40,000 people x $4.00 per day x 365 days] = $58,400,000.00 now times that by 5 years we will have accumulated $292,000,000.00, now add interest to that amount because it will be in an interest bearing account, one can see how it would be much better than taxing the people. And in return for their commitment to the IGF government will remove some of the existing taxes and fees such as the fuel surcharge. I'm sure everyone will appreciate it. 

    So think about Mr. Premier and toss it around the Govt. Admin. Building and who knows, maybe some body might think it's a good idea.  And thanks for listening




  3. Security - Stability - Prosperity says:

    Well, Mr. Premier, the only way to build trust with your own people and with the FCO is by limiting spending. If you and "the best team the country has ever had" are worth what you are being paid, then stop wasting all those millions on the Turtle Farm, NBF, Cayman Airways, scholarships for kids of affluent parents, a bloated civil service and so and so forth. Enforce public servants’ legal retirement age, clamp down on their side jobs, put their employment terms on a par with those of everyone else in the private sector. All of these measures are quite straighforward.I am getting tired of repeating them over and over again.

    Ironically, once the FCO is convinced you manage the public purse prudently, you will not need any more "financial leeway" (meaning loans). And just imagine how many votes you would get in four years' time when you can tell your electorate that you have stabilised the country's finances to the point where you can even start paying back the accumulated debt, lower import duties, roll back business licence and work permit fees… As a result, Caymanians will consume and invest more, new jobs will be created, and the economy revived.

    • Anonymous says:

      instead of telling him what to do like the big intellegent person you are, why dont you tell us all how they would go about doing this major overall . I enjoy people like you , no real solutions, just a master whipping slaves and dont really know how to achieve any of the goals you put forward. Unfortunately its people like you who create more issues in society.

      • Anonymous says:

        Or we could wait for the home grown solution to appear and put in place. Soon come!


  4. Rrp says:

    If government manages finances properly there will be no need for FCO to grant us extensions of credit.  This govt collects 600m plus per year.  That is more than enough to run and better our country! Cut the waste and we won't need to beg FCO for anything Alden!

  5. Key Card! says:

    The entire world is on the brink of being called to account for unfunded public debt. Detroit is the first domino of many to fall.


    That borrowing limit is the only thing we have to save us from ourselves.

  6. Slowpoke says:

    Alden is clearly not paying attention.  If your economy is in shambles and your "plan" is not working, you need to talk about the horrors of online porn instead.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, the UK economy is growing, the housing market is moving and construction confidence is rocketing.  What a mess!

      • Anonymous says:

        What a liar! growing moving rocketing sorry one truth a Mess!

        • Anonymous says:

          Actually, the UK market does appear to be on the move again as indicated – check recent press reports.

        • Anonymous says:

          Read the news, the UK economy grew by 0.6% in the 3 months to June and output grew in construction, manufacturing, services and agriculture, according to the ONS.

          Let's look at Cayman's economy in comparison:

          Construction: Mostly shopping malls that nobody can afford to rent, private homes of foriegn nationals and condo's that only make the developers rich. No hotels or cruise ship dock to encourage tourism. Almost all construction workers employed from overseas.

          Manufacturing: Nothing to set the world on fire, Pepper Jelly perhaps?

          Services: Almost 100% employed from overseas.

          Agriculture: No export market to speak of.  

          The UK has recouped more than half of the 7.2% of output lost during the 2008-9 recession.

          So, it would appear that mother does know best and Cayman would do well to take notice of the advice it is offered instead of snearing like the spoilt brat is has become. 


        • Anonymous says:

          Try this for truth idiot.



      • Anonymous says:

        07; 07

        Never believe anything you read in the British tabloids. This week the economy is booming and next week they will be looking to borrow 36 billion pounds. The following week,  laying off people…. cutting short people's pension.

        • Anonymous says:

          Actually, I don't need to read the tabloids because unlike you insular idiots who don't drive to the other end of the island because it's too far to travel, I have experienced the UK for myself.

          Unemployment was never a factor in the recent economic downturn. Businesses and employees were mature and confident enough to hold back pay rises and in some cases took a pay cut to keep their jobs.

          Unlike Cayman, people in Britain get on with building their economy and avoid blaming everyone else for their own failures. They don't have a sense of entitlement and as a mature meritocracy they compete for jobs that they are qualified and experienced to do competantly.

          Also unlike Cayman there is a definate 'feel good' factor in the air. First the Olympic's and our outstanding athletic achievments, 2 Tour de France victories, a mens Wimbledon winner, cricketing and rugby supremacy over Australia, the list goes on and on……

          And all this during the tragedy of fighting 2 wars and losing our best and bravest young sons and daughters to terrorism. A heavy burden for any country to bear.

          So you see, the British are overcoming their problems and getting on with restoring wealth through hard work and commitment. Why don't you try it instead of making cheap and untrue remarks from a distance and blaming the people who actually keep your own economy alive, yes the foriegn workers.

  7. Sucker Free Cayman says:

    I trust the FCO as much as i trust Mckeeva in a casino with my $10 US!! to buy me food or gamble it out???

  8. Isaac says:

    Let's give the government time to perform before taking swipes at them!

  9. Anonymous says:

    No loosening without sustainable tax base – no income tax or property tax no more money.  Simple.

    • Anonymous says:

      Since you are so in favour of taxes why don't you pay for all of us?

    • Anonymous says:

      Taxes does not seem to be helping America and Europe.  They are in worse state that they have ever been in.

    • Whodatis says:

      Yes, because clearly that formula has worked so well for the UK, right?


      • Anon says:

        0.6% growth last quarter, likely to be revised up. Double the rate of the previous quarter.

        Things are looking good in the UK.

        How do you like them apples?

        • Anonymous says:

          May be you should hurry back there! lol.

          Ummmm….Cayman returned to growth in 2011. You can't really tell anything from just the results of two quarters.

          • Anonymous says:

            But Cayman is a speck of sand in comparison with no manufacturing or export base, in fact no productivity at all. $600 million off the backs of others is nothing to be proud of, actually producing something the world needs would be a more worthy boast.

            Why don't you geniuses who constantly ridicule the UK and US put those expansive brains of yours to better use than trying to sound clever and actually come up with a way to increase Cayman's GDP.

          • Anonymous says:

            Maybe we should.

            Yes, let's all go home and leave you to the incompetence that has got you into this mess in the first place. How long do you think Cayman will last without the bar staff, nannies, builders, gardeners, domestic staff, police, bankers, lawyers, accountants, dive staff and boat staff etc, etc………..

            The truth is you wouldn't last the month because you don't have the population, education or skills to be able to survive without foriegn labour.

            But I'm happy to see you try, because once the collapse comes the re-building starts and guess who'll be doing it, yep, foriegn labour.

            • Anonymous says:

              Anon 1731 while I agree with most of what you are saying where will you go?

              You like most came here because you had a better oppertunity to get a job here. Where will you go?

              Now try to understand our point. It is extremely difficult in Cayman to get a job. Although the expats cry against the rules in the country the private sector has a clear bias against hiring Caymanians. And they have found ways around a poorly designed and operated immigration system.

              Moreover each year our schools are turning out students that hope to get jobs in the work force. Now all along WE have made decisions to put Cayman where it is today and we have done it for ourselves and for our future children.

      • Anonymous says:

        Read the news dumbass, the UK is returning to growth. Or doesn't that suit your bitter self indignation?

        • Anonymous says:

          lol. You are referring to the anemic 0.6% growth of the 2nd quarter, right? I think Cayman has done better than that.  

          • Whodatis says:


            Leff' em, man … dey desperate.

            Poor tings.

          • Anonymous says:

            And we should all take financial lessons from the one who can't spell anaemic. Yet another genius to add to the pile.

        • Anonymous says:

          09.08..dont worry about Whodatis, he is so obsessed with showing the world how bad the UK is that he loses sight of the real issues that need to be addressed here in Cayman where he lives. He also does not realise that he will never do anything about UK issues, because it is not his business, but if he pointed some of that immense and currently wasted effort into helping Cayman solve its problems, he would not have to worry about UK at all.


          He also has a small mind…one of those "blame everyone else for our woes" minds rather than looking at the real issues or causes, or God forbid, putting any effort into solving them.

          • Whodatis says:

            Yes poster, ignore the issue and attack the messenger … works every time!


      • Whodatis says:

        In response to my respondents …

        Reported "growth" against the backdrop of the economic reality (unemployment / outsource of jobs and factories / nationwide riotous disenfranchisement) and most of all a £300bn super "print" of cash is laughable at best.

        (What is the value of a pound today – does anyone even know? Do you understand the long-term implications of these desperate tactics?)

        If you are seriously defending the future economy of the UK then good luck to you.

        Question for you: Which economy stats would you prefer … those of Cayman or the UK?


        • Anonymous says:

          Like you Whodatis that's old news, do try and keep up I know its complicated.

          • Whodatis says:

            "Old news", eh?

            Well my friend, the negative effects are surely not "old news" … in fact, they have not even come into play as yet.

            If you are genuinely as ignorant as you come across then kindly refrain from replying to this post. I can't be assed with such simple minds.

    • Anonymous says:

      We already have the banks imposing a sales tax; they charge 4 – 9% on all credit and debit card purchases. Maybe the CIG should have them pay over 1% of that – and immediately the CIG has implemented – a de facto sales tax – except that not only the six local banks benefit from it.


      • Anonymous says:

        Please do not spread misinformation. Local debit card transactions can be as low as 1.5%.

        • Anon says:

          Get the banks to issue a statement on how they rape the local businesses on credit card charges, and you will see that they make a killing.

      • Anonymous says:

        These are the kinds of measures we need. Measures that give more money to the government without taking it from ordinary people and businesses.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yea, off the backs of others. Why don't you pay up and look big instead of trying to have something for nothing all the time?

    • Anonymous says:

      What an idiot!

      • Anonymous says:

        The mark of a civilised society is how best it cares for its sick, elderly and its children.

        That can only be done if the whole of society shares the burden and responsibility through fair taxation and distribution of wealth.

  10. Will Ya Listen! says:


    Be honest with yourselves, and your constitutents. If you fail admit it – don't use excuses to explain it and make you look better that you are. if you succeed show humility instead of telling the world how great you are.

    The trust will follow . We need to trust the UK (who haven't been spotless in the last few hundred years) again.

    • Educated Caymanians says:

      Tighter reins on the wild spending and smaller government is the answer! ($10 million for a non-needed 12 bed juvenille facility? What were YOU smoking UDP & PPM?)  I'm glad to hear that is not going forward.  Gas Boy, Travel perks, 5,000 civil servants for a population of 50,000?  just all ouit-of-whack figures for anyone with 12 year old math.

      My Grandmother could do better!

      It is really simply.  Cut spending, migrate as many educated Caymanians as possible into the private sector (hello Immigration? Govt operating revenue-by-work permit failed ya know?)  and educate the rest. 

      Stop relying on expats and work permit fees to fill the coffers.  Start churning out skilled workers as electrician$, hairdre$$ers, accountant$, IT tech$, and other 2 year programs and let our people stand on our own two feet to support our families!

      The last three adminstrations have failed us. Let's get Caymanians back to work and WHEN no locals can be found or vocationally trained (only when with ernest effort instead of rubber stamps Tara R.) Then, grant a permit.

      Do the math…..it takes 10+ work permit fees at the average of $3-4k per fee (professional) to pay for ONE qualified Caymanian on social services, so why are we thinking that the expat "tax" for Govt revenue via permits is still a good way to fuel our economy?

    • Anonymous says:

      trust the UK???…what drugs are you on????

  11. Anonymous says:

    If you make no changes you cannot expect any different results.  Spending more than you make is a recipe for disaster any way you take it.  I have always advocated that we need to stop borrowing and live with what we have until such time as we have saved enough to improve on what we have.  No more loans, Premier Alden.  No more borrowing!  Please focus on paying off the $750 million we owe.  Return Cayman to a heathy economic state.  And I also thank the UK for making sure we do not further ruin our future.  Some might say that it isn't fair when the UK has a massive debt burden too, but I think they are speaking from experience and don't want us to experience the same problems.  What they are advocating is what my mother taught me when my father was going to sea and he'd send home his wages.  She would not spend it all, but rather lived within what she had set for living expenses, home improvements and savings for when our father came home for vacation.  So, to the UK, I say thank you.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is true – but then don't expect scholarships for your children, raise of pay, good roads,and othe amenities to keep the infracture in good standing.

      • Hoping for better days says:

        Scholarships are only as good as having job opportunites when our "children" return home. And roads? We have spent enough on road works and can do with what we have now. There is no simple solution to all our issues here but one thing is for sure, we have to pay back a LARGE sum of money in just a few years, and I for one do not see where it will be coming from. :-/


      • Anonymous says:

        Then let our children earn their scholarships by competing with their peers in the US, Canada and the UK instead of expecting some kind of entitlement for mediocrity. Your comment is weak. 

      • Anonymous says:

        No, what you should do is actually produce something that the world wants instead of living off the backs of others. Raising fees and trying to punish those who come to Cayman to do the jobs that Caymanians are neither not qualified to do or that they feel are beneath the over inflated opinion of themselves, is not sustainable in the long term. Neither is the culling of loyal employees who have made Cayman their home, contributed to Cayman society, supported local charities and who pay millions into the Cayman economy. Replacing qualified staff with people who's only qualification or experience is being 'Caymanian' is a recipe for disaster and its effects are already being felt.

        It is also right that the Civil Service is reduced, it is an over inflated monster with more than its fair share of incompetent, overpaid and lazy employees. A wholesale review must be implemented and the privatisation of many services and departments should be considered to relieve the burden on the country's finances.

        As the banking sector comes under more and more scrutiny and the worlds most powerful economic nations crack down on tax avoidance and evasion, Cayman better be ahead of the game. The worlds financial centres are reorganising and slowly falling into line after years of bad practice, banking doesnt need to be done over a counter top anymore and online facilities are replacing the traditional branch to reduce overheads. The simple fact is that India can call upon millions of highly educated and motivated young people to work in call centres, so like it or not, a 'career' in banking is becoming a less likely option for the future.

        Whether we like it or not, Cayman is going to change and accordingly Caymanians will have to change alongside it. No longer can Caymanians throw their dolly out of the pram or refuse to play unless they are in charge. They will have to accept that they can't all be highly paid executives and that those without the right education, credentials or experience will have to find work appropriate to their ability and not their status.

        The tourism sector is the only real option when considering a sustainable future. However, Cayman needs to build hotels not condos and take advantage of the rapidly expanding all inclusive market. We need to encourage the mid to high level resort and promote them around the world as a premium brand. But thatcan't be done unless immigration and business policies are changed, allowing multi national brands to consider Cayman as a place worthy of investment. Of course there needs to be controls and agreements in place to protect local businesses, but Caymanians must also accept that one or two hotels could offer Cayman 100% employment of those who are employable. And that means no more self important indignation when offered work appropriate to their ability, and that also means getting an appropriate education in an education system that compares to other 1st world nations.

        And therein lies the problem………

      • Save for a rainy day my Grandmother said says:

        Scholarships should not be a given, period…it is time to wake up to that realty.  Guess what?!?  I had to wait tables in University to PAY for my 4 year degree.  Yup, a little elbow grease and actual WORK.

        Don't teach your children to be lazy and look for handouts.  I stated washing dishes when I was 15 to save for University and it is the zero work ethic of our young Caymanians that has fueled our bloated civil service and entitlement problems.

        What is wrong with a little work and saving for college?



        • Anonymous says:

          This is true up to a point but I think a lot of kids on these scholarships DO work some part time jobs when possible.  Where I have a BIG problem is when scholarships are granted to kids whose parents can afford boats, travel, big homes with all the bells and whistles.  And some of these kids are marginal students at best.  There must  be a MEANS TEST initiated for all kids who receive money from a debt ridden government.  A LOT of these kids receiving government funds would be going to university in any case…it would just be paid by their well off parents instead.   Please you parents out there who can afford you own child/children's education without undue sacrifice, get off the gravy train so there will be something left for those truly in need.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Rebuilding trust is crucial for an improved relationship with the FCO. However, let us not forget the spending sprees of the PPM and UDP which is the reason why such financial restrictions have been placed on the Cayman Islands. You have successive Elected governments and a bloated civil service to thank for the current status.

  13. Raffaelle says:

    FCO dont make me laugh when since have they ever been in the trusting people business. Their office should be renamed Foreign Control Operation & Scheming Aaaah boy the natives they buy everytime, The only thing that wiggles are snakes and worms and of courses the Teletubbies!

  14. Whodatis says:

    Alden, quit dancing that jig.

    Regardless of Cayman's success in terms of the stated objectives – nothing will be considered good enough for the FCO / UK government – not when they are experiencing such depressed economic conditions for their own people.

    This is all a spiteful game on their part … and really, who can blame them?

    If we were them we would be jealous of us too, lol!

    (Here wha … take this £2 coin to Cameron fa meh. Tell 'im put it toward da £300bn "quantitative easing plan" he ga dey, lol!)

    As for you Alden, kindly focus on addressing we the people of this country and fully explain the reasoning behind this latest immigration fiasco!

    Making subliminal swipes at the UDP, declaring travel details and rubbing up to 'ol Dave means very little right now.

    • Unoit says:

      You may as well face facts Whodatis. The UK calls the tune where Cayman is concerned. Moreover, those that think that Caymanians are running things here are way, way off the mark. Alden is just a local boy been up to see the big boss.

      • Whodatis says:

        My friend, if you actually regard David Cameron as a "big boss" then I truly pity you.

    • Anonymous says:

      What immigration fiasco is that? You do realise that the proposed changes to the Immigration Law are nothing new, right? They were announced as the policy of the PPM when they were in Opposition some 2 years, they were contained in their manifesto for the 2013 elections, and now they are apparently fulfilling their campaign promise. Were you asleep?   

  15. Anonymous says:

    Please, do one thing please….never trust the UK or FCO … They have their own agenda and it rarely aligns with ours. The UK have ruled using the "divide and conquer" rule for 1000 years.  Don't be fooled by the new high heels and lipstick.  As my grandfather said "speak softly but carry a sharp knife". 

    • Jes Jokin' says:

      I guess your grandfather lived in West Bay, right?

    • Anonymous says:

      1000 years?!  Watch out, yer gonna make the Christians mad. I don't think the world is even that old. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Sexism, thuggishness and anti Brit sentiments.  Whodatis is that you?

  16. Anonymou says:

    alden….just read the miller shaw report!

    • Ya Mon says:

      If anyone in government cared about Cayman's economic future, as distinct from their own, they would have implemented Miller Shaw the second it came out.  These guys are in it simply for personal power and pride and don't care about the effect they have on the country.

  17. Anonymous says:

    alden decoded:… i have failed in my attempts for the uk to allow us to borrow more……

    thanks you fco for sticking to you guns….. the last thing cayman needs is another 4 years of ppm of spending and borrowing….