Premier says sacred cows will be auctioned

| 09/04/2014

(CNS): Premier Alden McLaughlin hopes to count on support from the opposition benches when his government starts to put what he described as public sector "sacred cows" on the auction block. Speaking in the Legislative Assembly Wednesday, he told his parliamentary colleagues that if he kept the support of the government benches he was committed to passing the public authority law, despite the push-back expected from the semi-autonomous government companies and statutory authorities. The law will pave the way for more accountability and see some authorities amalgamated, some taken back into government and others sold off. McLaughlin said, however, that Cayman Airways wouldn’t be one of them.

During an unexpected debate in connection with a report from the local maritime authority that the member from North Side said should be rejected as a result of that authority’s failure to explain five years of losses, the premier revealed that the draft public authority law was well down the road to reaching a bill and coming before Cabinet, and soon after would be published for consideration and public consultation before debate in the parliament.

“No government has had the courage before to see this through because of the push-back from the public authorities,” he said, adding that the PPM administration of 2005-09 had tried but never got passed the discussion stage because of that push-back.

This time, however, he said that they would be pressing ahead with the law and the review of public authorities. With that came the issue of privatization and divestment but ,McLaughlin said, "No one wants to put the bell on the cat,” as he referred to the public authority “sacred cows” that could be sold.

The premier did not identify which authorities, government companies or public services that his government had in mind but he was quick to state that the national flag carrier would not be on the auction block at this stage.

With Miller calling for accountability regarding the losses at MACI and the debate that his motion had caused regarding the mismanagement of some public authorities and the significant loses at some, such as the turtle farm, requiring massive government subsidies, McLaughlin called on him and the other opposition bench members to back government and not “change course when the sacred cows are put up for auction.”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The sacred cow that needs to go is that combo of the PPM/C4C gang we have in the house..I thought UDP was bad but these guys make them look like little school children.

    • Anonymous says:

      I do not fully agree with all that is being done by the Progressives/C4C alliance but I dread ever having the UDP back as the governing party.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Is Alden a 'sacred cow" and auctionable or are we just dealing with a lot of "bull?"

  3. Foreign Devil says:

    Here's a tip, declare Cayman Airways Bankrupt cut all the free flights drop the fares $100 so the the other Airlines can drop their fares too, fill the island with profitable stay over tourist and pay for the what ever small deficit that Cayman Airways will have then with the huge increase in room tax revenue.

    also consumption taxes will be up all win win win.


  4. Anonymous says:


    So what will happen to all the Caymanian workers at these "sacred cow" Authorities? Any privatization of the Authorities will result in massive layoffs of workers who will not be absorbed in the work market. This is a horrible move which will prove to be a death blow tothe Cayman Islands as all he is doing is fastracking the decline of the country.

    What do you think will happen when hundreds of Caymanians (born and paper) are left jobless?

    Are you going to stop issuing work permits? The answer is no because Gov is dependent on the revenue to balance the budget. You are setting things up for a massive riot my friend. You think that crimeis bad? You think that the segregation between permit holders and the un-employed is bad?

    Give it 1 more year and i predict the fall of our mostly civilized society.    

    • Anonymous says:

      So at least someone ackowledges that the civil service is basically welfare.

    • Anonymous says:

      What you're saying just proves that the CIG employs way to many people must more than is generally need to do thier jobs..

  5. Anonymous says:

    i agree that the PPM should sell off some of the Public Authorities or bring them back into mainstream government, but we should all bear in mind that one of two things will happen after.  Either the civil service that you all are always putting down, will be much larger or we all will be paying much more for services that these Authorities provide once they are sold.  Whoever buys these businesses will definitely want to make a profit and of course we the people will have to provide the funds to make that likely.  Be careful we you ask for, you might just get it.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Every flight in and out of Cayman has certain numbers associated with it.

    You have the number of passengers, the total revenue, the fuel needed, payroll, ground services and other landing fees. There may be others, but I think I've covered the important ones.

    Therefore, it should be possible for Cayman Airways to publiclty present to the shareholders (that's us, by the way) the profitability on each flight.

    I can tell you now that one way to Chicago, New York or DC  the fixed costs are around US$30,000. The Boeing 737-300 that CAL fly have 122 seats, so that would be a $492.00 fee for a return ticket, just to cover the cost of the flight assuming the aircraft is 100% full.

    This does not include the costs for our head office in Cayman, our maintenance division, our marketing, etc, etc.

    I sat in many meetings with the CAL board of Directors and was amazed at how decisions were taken to knowingly haemorrhage cash out of the public purse with no accountability to the shareholders.

    It is a known fact that no flight has ever made money that flew north of Tampa. The government then argue that the north eastern corridor of the US is where our tourists come from and they force CAL to fly at a loss. CAL then have to come to government begging money to cover payroll.

    This is a very dangerous state of affairs and totally unsustainable. If government want to fly north, let them charter the flight at a price that makes sense to CAL. Then hold CAL responsible for the use of the funds and bring in some real accountability.

    Also, please keep the politicians out of these operations. What's this about Moses wanting to bring in an old SAAB? Better to go with a DASH-8 if you can find one. Every time the jet flies 19 minutes to the Brac, it burns up a cycle and is closer to an expensive C-check maintenance event. 

    The lunatics are running the asylum and we are more fool for paying them to do so. Can we have some aviation experts please that understand all aspects of running this sort of a business? Apparently, they had a very good man at the helm recently, Strasburglar, or something similar and they would not let him help.


    • Anonymous says:

      Good point on the SAAB. You'd only be trading one old clapped out model for another. My guess is Moses only suggested it because it looks cheap and has more seats. Just like his recent comments on cruise ship predictions he doesn't understand the whole picture.


      • Anonymous says:

        They no longer even build SAAB 340 aircraft..the last SAAB 340 was built in 1998 and is now 16 years old. I'm sure that Moses would look for something older than that model. Why waste money maintaining someone else's junk. Spend the money and upgrade the B737-300 to more modern B737-800 aircraft. Cayman Brac does not need anymore airlift. They have two aircraft. It is a 40 minute flight. Just fly more flights when you need them which is obvioulsy not every day.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yea Strasburglar is right!  The Chuckie appointed wolf in sheeps clothes that came only to give some routes to Continental (his former employer) and took them from Cayman Airways!  Never forgive you for that one Mr. big Brains Chuckie.  Hope you are a better lawyer than politician!

    • Anon says:

      what is curious is that the cayman airways management is not astute enough to advise the politicians and government of what is feasible and sustainable, good or bad decisions. or they are simply there along for the ride. we need cayman airways but we need to determine the amount we want to invest each year and create a clear business plan to support that, which shows benefit to the people of this country and stop allowing certain people to run the airline as if it were their personal business and toy

  7. Anonymous says:

    If Cayman Airways is staying with state control, can the PPM sort out the ridiculous numbers of people travelling for free on it.  Only directors on airline business and politicians on official business should be eligible.

    • Diogenes says:

      No, politicians on government business should pay the market fare and charge it to their ministry.  The net impact on the taxpayer would be the same, but we would get transparency on who was incurring the cost and it would discourage unnecessary travelling.

  8. Catcha Fire says:

    How can this be cause  The PPM itself is the sacred Bull at a auction however i doubt they would get a single 1 cent for the whole government  bench  Wutless wuttless cheap cheap cheap!!!!!!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    While you are at it Mr. Premier, please cut out ALL that freeness on Cayman Airways. Let everyone pay their due fares. Bring equality in that area, so that the paying customers do not get slam with outrageous fares at Christmas and Easter time.  One other thing too Mr. Primier, the allowance by overseas shoppers should be raised from KYD350 to KYD500.  This has been the figure for about 30 years now and needs to be change.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would LOVE it if the post office and the airport staff changed spots.

      Wonder how many hours and how much effort goes into opening every card, letter, small parcel without an invoice, figuring out what the item actually is, looking up the price on the internet (or just plain guessing) all to get an extra $6 in the public coffers. 

      Wouldn't it be awesome to go to the post office and collect 6 or 8 giant boxes and just say. "nope… nothing in there" . Bet they would even help you out to the car.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Good Premier!  Thank God you have enough good sense to keep Cayman Airways.

    • Jah Dread says:

      The Premier is acknowledging waning support from his back bench me tell ona so, pigs starting to fly, just an expression bredren.

    • Anonymous says:

      what?…we have to subsidize a company that rips us off everytime we step on a plane?????….

      welcome to wonderland…….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  11. Anonymous says:

    Alden and PPM stop lying and spinning stories. You are following UK orders, The FCO clearly indicated that they would like to see privatisation. Stop trying gain political milage out of a decision that is not PPM's but merely following orders. Uk for once is completely right in insisting that this PPmstyle cronyism should stop and let authorities go public.

    Well d0ne UK- cmpletey agre with privatisation . Alden the more you take us the people  for fool the less the chance any of us will vote or you r he  stooges from C4C.

    • And Aniother Ting says:

      I believe you are right. I remember very vividly, the present premier opposing divestment of authorities. Well well as the proverbial sheperd's pie turns, our premier must have eaten a lot in his recent trip.

    • anonymous says:

      Good point. Can we not just speed things up and save a whole lot of expense and cut out the middle man?

      Let's get the UK to administer and directly run Cayman.

  12. Anonymous says:

    yep more soon come nonsense from the ppm…….

  13. Anonymous says:

    Show us your metal

    and get on with what must be done to stop this nonsence of no one being held accountable. too many excuses over the last 20 years for miss and bad management.

    yes it is not going to be easy     but all must be held accountable, accountability always by ALL.    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Cayman Airways is the BIGGEST sacred cow with a $20m annual subsidy and no one sees a problem with is. Lawd help us

    • Anonymous says:

      A $20M annual subsidy that delivers over CI$200M per year to the economy (if only I could get that kind of return on my investments!!).  Other island nations are screaming for what we have and yet we still have those who complain.  

      Some things to consider:

      * CAL is greatly credited with correcting our tourism slide (several articles on CNS about this).
      * Our government has very little ability to influence tourism or investment (no real fiscal or monetary powers) so CAL is one of the few effective tools able to stimulate the economy.
      * Bermuda paid out $3.6M to WestJet alone in 2012, but has no sayover how that carrier serves the island.  Also, if countries don't give an outright subsidy, they have to provide a minimum seat guarantee which requires them to fork over millions to individual carriers so airline funding is very common (but not nearly as effective if the country doesn't own the airline).
      * The grand exodus of American Eagle from the eastern caribbean several years back was a complete disaster for their tourism and economic product (good for us though).
      * Kingson is loosing more and more service as carriers opt to pull out or reduce service.  No Air Jamaica to fill the gap.
      * Compare air prices between Miami and Turks & Caicos or Belize with that of Miami to Cayman and see how much more you would expect to pay without a local carrier.
      * Come huricane season, many tourists come relying on the stated commitments from DOT and CAL that they will get them off the island in the event of a storm.
      * You like your concerns and sporting events?  Not going to happen without CAL's tremendous community support (certainly not to the same level).
      * CAL's safety record is impeccable.  You look at the track record of some of the others flying in here – give me CALanytime.
      * Do you remember Ivan?

      There are many more reasons as to why I think CAL makes sense, but hopefully you get the point.

      • Just Commentin' says:

        Ok! Game on! 

        I took you up on your challenge to compare airfares from Miami on Cayman Airways, with fares from Miami to Grand Turk, and from Miami to Belize City.

        I checked with one of my of-late favourite online travel price finder and booking sites, "CheapOAir" and compared round trip fares from Miami, departing on April 19 and returning on April 26. I did not do any digging for "special" fares and just took the lowest prices returned by named carriers on the itinerary ticket price page. The prices used are the "total" ticket prices including taxes and surcharges.

        When you compare cost per passenger mile, which is the only fair way to compare since both other destinations are further from Miami than Grand Cayman, here is the breakdown:

        Miami to Grand Cayman on Cayman Airways:

        Total ticket price: USD$510  Cost per passenger mile: $1.13


        Miami to Grand Turk island on American Airlines:

        Total ticket price: USD$618  Cost per passenger mile: $1.03


        Miami to Belize City on Avianca:

        Total ticket price: USD$709  Cost per passenger mile: $0.95

        By cost per mile traveled, Cayman Airways came in at the highest cost.  Which is nothing new. The savvy traveling public has been commenting for years about the high per mile cost of getting here.

        But that's not all, in doing the math and some research on the comparison of Bermuda's subsidies to air carriers and the Cayman Airways subsidy, some interesting facts came to light:

        Let's say for the sake of argument that Bermuda pays a total of USD$4,000,000 annually to subsidised carriers. (The reports are usually in Bermuda dollars but the exchange rate is nearly 1:1 these days.) That amounts to about $17 per passenger arrival.  Taking Cayman Airways total subsidy cost as CI$20,000,000 (USD$24,000,000) that amounts to a whopping CI$62 (USD$74) per passenger arrival. 

        You are incorrect to say that Bermuda "…has no say over how (WestJet) serves the island." The payment is according to a formula that is set forth in an agreement signed between Bermuda and WestJet that stipulates terms of WestJet's service.

        Take a look what that their payment gets Bermuda: the WestJet subsidy gets Bermuda a daily flight out of Toronto at a ticket cost of about USD$0.53 per passenger mile, a significantly lower cost per passenger mile than the Miami-Cayman flight on Cayman Airways!

        Incidentally, WestJet flies From Toronto to Cancun: using the same itinerary as above, the search yielded a cost per passenger mile of USD$0.65!

        If you were indirectly trying to make a case against subsidising Cayman Airways, you could not have done a better job: Congratulations!

        • Anonymous says:

          You are such an idiot. You cannot compare costs on that basis. There is no good reason why airfares between TCI and Miami should be more than $100 higher than between GCM and Miami. And you haven't taken into account that AA also charges you for EVERY bag that you check whereas KX allows you TWO free bags. And why didn't you compare AA GCM to MIA to KX GCM to MIA even though that is the obvious comparison to make? Would defeat your point? Obviously the longer the distance the lower will be the "costs per passenger mile". It proves absolutely nothing to compare flights on much larger airlines from Toronto to Cancun.  

          Well I did a little checking myself. I went on to to find the lowest return fare this weekend Fri-Sun GCM to MIA on AA. It came up with $586. for the same journey KX came in at $542 with TWO free bags that you would have to pay for on AA.

          What was that about "cost per passenger mile" again? Go sit down. 

  15. Anonymous says:

    About effing time.

    Finally some brass balls in the LA.

    • Jah Dread says:

      You would perk up too if yours were being squeezed by your  colonial masters.

      • anonymous says:

        Strange how most countries that have got rid of the "colonial masters" wouldn't mind having them back.

        • Anonymous says:

          Thank God for colonial masters, can you imagine an uncontrolled rule by self serving politicians and their pocket lining back room dealing rape of the country.