MLA: ‘Strike a balance’

All representatives agreed that more should be done in the districts following Hurricane Ivan, but there is a price to pay, West Bay MLA Cline Glidden said last week.

He was making his contribution to the debate on extraordinary expenditure, which passed late Thursday night.

‘All of us want what’s best for our people,’ Mr. Glidden acknowledged. ‘But we have to strike a balance – what we can afford, what we can prioritise and what will have to wait for a later date.’

The 2004-05 Budget had been criticised for borrowed money going into reserves. At the time, no one could have known how important that money would be, but the wisdom of that decision is now obvious, he declared.

Thankfully, members of the private sector have stepped forward to assist in the recovery efforts, Mr. Glidden remarked. He noted the contributions of persons who had been granted Caymanian status. ‘I’m glad we as Government played a part, making new Caymanians feel they were welcome here as a part of the community before the storm,’ he commented.

His particular concern was the effect of the storm on Cayman’s standard of living and cost of living.

Insurance costs could be reduced, he suggested, as they are in the Bahamas for people who make an effort to minimise risks, such as not living in a flood-prone area.

Increases can be expected on electricity bills, but how much more can the people of Cayman afford to pay? he asked. Such increases will have a knock-on effect on other costs as well. Mr. Glidden noted that Hurricane Ivan had derailed negotiations Government had been having with Caribbean Utilities to reduce costs to consumers.

In the area of telecommunications, where there is no longer a monopoly, prices were still going down despite the expense of repairs, he pointed out.

Mr. Glidden said he was happy to support the Supplementary Appropriation Bill, except for the amount to cover election expenses. He did not think the country was best served by having elections at this time, but that was beyond local control. Her Majesty’s Government had decided an election was needed at this time, in spite of all the turmoil.

If people could forget about elections for the next couple of months, Cayman’s future would be brighter. But there was still a possibility for that brightness if members of parliament put aside their differences and worked together for the good of the beautiful Cayman Islands, he concluded.

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