Fiscal policies

Several politicians from both parties have commented on the 1996 to 2000 Government’s fiscal policies.

The Government’s Annual Economic Report 2002 shows the Government and self financing loans of statutory companies and bodies for 31st December 2000 at $107.8 million and in 1992 at $42.9 million of medium term debt (7 to 10 year loans on average).

The Financial Secretary’s Pre-Election Economic and Financial update of Government dated 13th April 2005 shows that the entire Public Sector debt has increased to $377.3 million mainly of long term debt (e.g. 15 year bonds) in the 2004/5 financial year. Most of this debt is before Hurricane Ivan.

This frightening increase is a total of $269.5 million or an average increase of $67.4 million per year over four years, compared to an average of $8 million per year between 1992 and 2000. Both the PPM Government, which approved the first large long term debt and bonds in 2001, and the UDP Government are jointly to blame for this over-spending.

Government’s contingent liabilities e.g. guarantees, civil service pension fund deficiencies and off the balance sheet liabilities do not appear to be in the $377.3 million debt. If not these could be several hundred million dollars more.

More disastrous for the Cayman Islands is that the Government’s financial update forecasts that the 2006/7 entire Public Sector debt will reach $416.3 million with the Cayman Islands borrowing percentage reaching 9.6 per cent (of the maximum of 10 per cent).

After 2006/7 the Government cannot borrow any more large loans as they will have reached their maximum Borrowing Limit. It will take over 15 years for future Governments and one generation of our children to repay the total debt created mainly by the two parties Government’s over-spending.

This is what party politics has done for Cayman in four short years – riddled our country and burdened our children with horrendous debt.

In other Caribbean islands one party with one power hungry leader who gets a stranglehold on the country has caused considerable destruction and havoc and it is the people who suffer the consequences. Do not let the parties advance Cayman’s constitution to full internal self-government state. A referendum must take place before any advance which should be in several stages before full internal self-government.

The new Government must have money makers not just money spenders. Independent candidates, who owe their duty to the people of Cayman and not to one party or one leader, are vital to stopping this over-spending and maintaining a stable and balanced Government. The Cayman Islands future depends on the public voting for sufficient independent candidates on May 11th 2005. Vote wisely.

Truman M. Bodden,

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