Chamber urges government to make more cuts

| 20/01/2014

(CNS): The Chamber of Commerce has lauded the savings made by the finance ministry with the renegotiation of the interest rates on some of government’s loans. However, the non-governmental organisation that represents hundreds of local businesses is urging the government to go much further and seek out more savings in all of its ministries. Commending the work of Finance Minister Marco Archer, the new Chamber president, Johan Moxam, said other ministries also need to look closely at where they can make cuts and offer better value for money for the public purse. He said the Chamber was also helping with civil service cost cutting.

The Chamber council said it backed such initiatives, which will help in delivery more cost effective government services, and was working with the deputy governor’s office on phase 5 of the review of public services, “Cutting Red Tape/Digital by Default".

Archer has renegotiated the interest rates of five of government’s loans, which account for around a fifth of the government’s debt. The renegotiation will save more than $6 million over the next 10 years for the government coffers.

“Minister Archer and his staff deserve praise and commendation for saving the public purse more than $6 million over the next 10 years in loan repayments,” Moxam said.

“This is a significant achievement and demonstrates his ministry’s commitment to reduce its operational costs. While more work needs to be done to reduce the cost of government and to determine which services can be delivered by the private sector, Minister Archer’s action should be used as an example for other ministries to follow.

“Every aspect of Government must be evaluated to determine if the services that are provided can be delivered more cost effectively by government or privatised entirely. There is a need for a proper performance system to ensure that each ministry, department and agency of government is getting value for money from its employees,” Moxam added on behalf of the Chamber Council.

“The Chamber hasactively participated in each step of the government reform process to date, which has led to millions of dollars in savings. It is a role that we embrace enthusiastically with the ultimate goal of reducing the operational costs and improving service and efficiencies so the government can ultimately pass on the savings to the business sector by way of lower fees and duties,” he said.

The president also revealed that the Chamber met with Employment Minister Tara Rivers last week and will be meeting with Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton and Director of Commerce and Investment Ryan Rajkumarsingh this week to discuss small business and commerce matters in an effort to develop a proactive action agenda to address items of mutual concern and interest.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The Miller-Shaw report tells them all at a great expense what should be done 

  2. Anonymous says:

    Telling the CIG to make more cuts is the easy part (hence why Johan would make it) – the difficult and more important part is telling them where and how to cut so that cost are reduced, but other risk mitigated as much as possible.

    • Anonymous says:

      The article says the Chamber is engaged in the Public sector reform process that has led to savings within government. The problem is the Civil Service is a union and there is a lack of political will to do what must be done. MLA's will not chance upsetting voters. 

  3. Anonymous says:

    Cut 4 MLAs.  Would save a million a year.  Surely 1 MLA for every 2,000 voters in enough.  The UK manages with 1 MP for every 76,000.

  4. Bleeding-Teeth says:

    I'm really tired of the Chamber of Commerce telling the Government what it should be doing! Does anyone ever remember a time when the Chamber of Commerce came out publicly and implored its own merchant-members to reduce their super profit mark-ups of 200% – 400%?

    I can't recall that being done. If anyone believes that the Chamber of Comerce members don't routinely have markups 200% to 400%, they're as  innocent as Snow White!

    Govt has a lot of improvementsto make but, I beg the public, please don't think the Chamber of Commerce is our Saviour.

  5. Anonymou says:

    Given the Chamber of Commerce's support for minimum wage I would think they could help the Independent MLAs make this a reality.

  6. Anonymous says:



    civil service should be subjected to the roll over policy let them go

  7. Anonymous says:

    Shut the turtle torture farm. Simple saving of 10mil a year

  8. CS cost cutting says:

    CS cost cutting and meeting with Tara?  Here is an idea chamber members: try to recruit employees from the a CS thus lowering their bloated costs. Yes , you will have to offer a good wage and there is the real risk (like in any business) that your employee may work sooo hard that one day will open up their own business, but hiring locally as a chamber member should be your mantra.  Good you met with Tara now I will believe you really have the CS and Cayman as a whole in your heart when I see you register your chamber business with the NWDA and hire locally.  Moxam, we respect the wealthy businessmen in the private sector that have done well, but some at the cost of the country.  Big business needs to trickle down to everyone. Is it better to have a family on social services or a pay cheque? The chamber businesses are truly the one sector where training and vocational placement can make a difference.  Let's see your version of re-start and placing 18 locals into jobs. Now that is action, not talk.

    • Anonymous says:

      What is the function of the NWDA if the chamber or anybody else should have to place locals into jobs? Time for the ppm and Ms. Tara to do what they promised during the campaign. 

      • Anonymous says:

        The Government should primarily be creating the right environment for businessess to grow and create jobs. The competitive selection process does understandably have an impact on mindless gits like yourself.

    • CS above the law? says:

      CS should have minimal expats in jobs and they are a prime example of skirting the laws. Succession planning and term limits. No auto continuing contract, P,R and status like we have now.  Examine every CS contract Franz and make recommendations for each and every contract. Save millions and promote local hires over cushy contracts.  I'm still sick about the recent expat hires by panels that turned down degreed and experienced locals in favor of imports – shame on every department head and chief officer!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Quite simply, 19:15, your last sentence shows you to be a liar, probably a disgruntled applicant. You could never prove that statement about all these expat employees being appointed, because it is not true. Stop your deliberate troublemaking dishonesty!!

        • Anonymous says:

          These fictional people should form an action group of disgruntled imaginary folk.  Surely some of those imaginary lawyers who were barred career progression can represent them.

        • The Seeker says:

          Hey, relax. Does the cap fit you?.

    • Anonymous says:

      The evidence so far is that most one can expect from a meeting with Tara is a photo-opportunity for Tara.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The need to start cutting the contract employed and retire the elderly & stop giving out freebies to these contract employed & just give them a straight salary like the others! Gt voter

  10. Anonymous says:

    The rcip need to be cut & handling out social service $$$ to the rich & able body people! Caymanian

  11. Anonymous says:

    the chamber should demand a roll back of the work permit fees that are killing businesses every day in cayman…..

  12. Anonymous says:

    Logical and sound advice thanks Johann. Please tell them that we cannot afford a dock that will destroy the marine ecology and SMB in addition to spending our money on redeveloping the Brac airport that doesn't have enough traffic. 

  13. Anonymous says:
    A change for the better at the Chamber of Commerce. 
    Johan stand your ground and stay true to your principles. Try as they might detractors cannot shake our confidence in you to lead this group and make the Chamber relevant. You are a honest man who pulls no punches in speaking out on what is best for Cayman. that is what the special interests fear. You have the gavel use it wisely and make a difference.
  14. Anonymou says:

    I would l;ike to see the Chamber of Commerce address the condition of downtown George Town and form a working group to make a plan to finance & upgrade the down town.

    • Anonymous says:

      Get the folks at the Botanic Park to give downtown a horitcultural make over.


      They would do an excellant job.

  15. Anonymous says:

    And will the Chamber be asking its members to hire those that are laid of from the CS?, the qualified ones anyway…

  16. Anonymous says:

    Could the Chamber list all the government departments and statutory authorities that it thinks could be successfully privatised, please? There is a lot of talk about it but some of us would like to see just what services the Chamber thinks could be handled (profitably, of course, if it is the private sector). Garbage? Prison? Turtle Farm? CAL? PWD/Roads?

    • Anonymous says:

      None of the above, 19:46. Privatisation is just one of these magic solutions people come up with but it will not work in Cayman because of the size of the population and other factors such as national pride and need for Caymanians in jobs (CAL) and "heritage"and need for Caymanians in jobs (Turtle Farm).

      • Anonymous says:

        The Turtle Farm used to be private and can be so again.  I think you're right on CAL, but only because it's too big of a political price to pay to do anything about it. So many voters have their hands in the till on that one that it would be political suicide to privatise. Also, no way they could privatise garbage collection – people wouldn't pay and if you tried to make them they'd dump their garbage on private property.

        The Prison – why not? The only downside would be that the criminal prisoners might not be able to get their steady stream of ganja and cell phones, which they are trying to crack down on anyway.

        And as far as the roads are concerned, they've been privatised to a certain degree for a long time. There are plenty of roads that have been built by private entities with NRA oversight – just like private entities build public buildings like schools, libraries, government administration buildings, etc, wtih PWD or government project management oversight. If you allow companies to build the roads, why not allow them to maintain them?

        I think privatisation is certainly possible in certain industries, but i agree that it won't work in others. I think it's worth a try because the current inefficiencies are unsustainable. Of course, you bring up a valid point in the CI Gov being the employer of last resort for some and the government needs to figure out how to gainfully employ these people. Maybe the privatising company has to keep them on board for a certain lenght of time and if they need to be terminated because they can't/won't do the job, then there's an established process for doing that. Maybe if some people are put in a situation where they have to work to stay employed, unlike the crazy system in placei in the civil service, and you reward them for a job well done rather than the lenght of time they've been there, I suspect many would rise to the challenge. At least I hope they would.

        • Anonymous says:

          23:26, I am the poster you are replying to. Thank you for a sensible, reasonable set of comments. I still disagree about the Turtle Farm (in today's environment) but respect your thoughts on the other entities.

    • Anonymous says:

      Commercial garbage collection (skip rental & emptying) could be privatised within a few months. Already one private company has started to offer this service. Others would start thus giving competition. Competition leads to improved services.

      Maintenance of parks, cemetaries, etc. could also be tendered to private companies. So too could a fair bit of the building repair/maintenance. Road repair is another possibility – each tender could cover a particular area or roads for all minor repairs (potholes, cracks, etc.).

      Offer your suggestions to get the powers thinking.

      • Anonymous says:

        Last time I checked the NRA was tendering out all of their road tarmacing on Grand Cayman. But the competition folded so its still only one company doing the work. You have a choice betwen a private monopoly or a public/private duopoly. There's not enough work for more than that. At least with the NRA doing some of their own paving you (a) can demand 'price controls' on the service Government provides itself and (b) 'bid' against the private company for jobs by saying 'we (NRA) could do it cheaper, can you give a better price'. – On the Sister Islands there isn't even enough work for that.

        N.B. I'm all in favour of this 'lets talk through the privatisation options' idea. Because it gives us a chance to really hash out why it doesn't happen. – Its going to cost Cayman more when private monopolies are established since they develop all of the inneffecienceis of a Government (or any) monopoly compounded by the need to turn a profit.

        Abnybody got any idea what the private skip rental/disposal company charges compared to Government? We could scale from that to private collection of individual garbage cans to see if we think people would pay for it.

        Plus add in the 'regulatory' cost of (a) regulating the new utility (garbage) monopoly (all countries have utilities regulators) and (b) making sure that people sign up for the monopoly garbage collector and aren't just dumping their garbage illegally. (Lets be honest, we know that we had/have a problem with (a) illegal dumping and (b) people not paying their garbage fees (when we still had them).)

        Maintainance could be tendered out though. There's doubtless enough small lawn/repair/construction companies around to achieve the benefits of competition in that case, however.

        And we allready have a NWA to 'regulate' the 'fair employment' aspect of those companies. (Though we can have a nice social debate on private companies/employees putting their social costs of innadequate pension/health on to future governments, but thats a whole other argument.) – I am not suggesting that social employment shoudl be a concern. It may be needed as a Government service but, if so, it needs to be accounted for openly and not as part of the 'high labour costs' of some government departments. (Another discussion for another time.)

  17. Anonymous says:

    Well said Mr. Moxam clearly it will not be business as usual at the Chamber under your leadership. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Clearly its not business as usual! its odd that 'someone' keeps posting about how fab Moxam is, as if the Chamber doesnt have a board and its now all down to Moxam.  I find it also odd that the Chamber now has someone at the helm who is so politically acitve with a clear political agenda (and yes hes made that clear in the political forum so thats not up for debate).  I foolishly thought the Chamber was 'special interests', the interests of business!  If it isnt, then the Chamber has become a specific political platform. Yes, its clearly not business as usual.

      • Anonymous says:

        Say what? I find this post very odd. Are you seriously suggesting the Chamber has never been political? Did you just arrive here from another planet or something? Have you not watched as Chamber president after Chamber president pushed special interest agendas (some of which were political, some of which related to specific industies or entities)? Are you suggesting that Mr. Moxam is not reprenting businesses when he calls for the Government to make more cuts so it can reduce fees and duties that all businesses are feeling? Come now; it sounds like you just have it in for Mr. Moxam. At least he's shaking things up a bit. More power to him I say!

      • Bai says:

        If only CNS posters could see beyond their personal prejudices… that goes for the misguided praise and criticsm levied against individuals who are simply players in their own right.

        Firstly, the notion that the Chamber has 'BECOME a special political platform' is naive. Whilst the Chamber cannot directly implement legislation that affects them, it has always been well within their power to lobby for favour. Special interest groups are comprised of entities that share a common interest and collaborate to protect and promote that interest (in this case, their commercial interests) by apealling to/ pressuring the powers that be. The Chamber has long maintained its influence in this sphere by pursuing pro-business policy and due to those who make up the Chamber, it certainly has the financial might to do so. It is an intrinsically political body. 

        The only thing that has possibly changed is the method as not everyone can agree on what is the appropriate way to ensure these interests are protected- which leaves room for healthy debate. Privatization is a solution which we have to at least consider as it is simply unsustainable for the CIG to continue hemorraging funds. Some other posters have mentioned the Turtle Farm and CAL as contenders, whilst others have pointed to maintenance and waste disposal. As a matter of personal opinion, I believe that these are all viable given that the appropriate regulation is put in place. For example, in terms of waste management, I find it concerning to leave that entirely in private hands when certain cost cutting methods could be detrimental to the public good. As we have seen throughout the recession, unwise business decisions that neglected the interests of the consumers severely impacted the public purse in states around the globe. 

        Thus, I find it somewhat encouraging that the Chamber has approached the government to assist in alleviating some of the burden. However, the concerns about what simply cutting the CS without any means of ensuring they are absorbed into the private sector, or trained for that purpose are entirely valid. This will prove difficult considering that it is neither within the interests of business or the Chamber to merely handout jobs to those who cannot perform up to task. This will be very interesting to watch, all things considered.

        • Anonymous says:

          you need to read what you are responding to again.  The poster is saying the CC is a special interest group, its for the advancement of businesses not politics.  And its certainly not for political advancement of an individual with political biases. 

          • Bai says:

            "[b] I foolishly thought the Chamber was 'special interests', the interests of business!  If it isnt, then the Chamber has become a specific political platform.[/b]" (OP)

            You should probably read my response again:

            "[i] [T]he notion that the Chamber has 'BECOME a special political platform' is naive. Whilst the Chamber cannot directly implement legislation that affects them, it has always been well within their power to lobby for favour. Special interest groups are comprised of entities that share a common interest and collaborate to protect and promote that interest (in this case, their commercial interests) by apealling to/ pressuring the powers that be. The Chamber has long maintained its influence in this sphere by pursuing pro-business policy and due to those who make up the Chamber, it certainly has the financial might to do so. It is an intrinsically political body. 

            The only thing that has possibly changed is the method as not everyone can agree on what is the appropriate way to ensure these interests are protected- which leaves room for healthy debate.[/i]"

            tl;dr: I specifically explained what a special interest group is and how, yes, it is "foolish" to disregard its political nature when it is a lobbying group. What really appears to be the problem seems to be the individual which is a totally different discussion altogether. Give a specific criticism, but a politically biased person leading a politically biased organisation isn't one.

            • Anonymous says:

              I now udnerstand why the Govt refuses to have meetings to avoid pot shots being taken at them.  As i said, its really all about politics and no one can refute that Moxam is all about politcs and certainly not about the chambers business.  It seems that there is some curious reason why responses are not posted whilst others are (like your regurgitation (and i chose that word very specifically) of the same nonsense, are allowed). Anyway, I have no more pearls to cast…..