There are several very important parts of a constitution that are not in the PPM’s constitution proposals or in the UDPs previous proposals.
Having experienced the spending and borrowing sprees of both PPM and UDP since the year 2000 when the last non-political party government went out, it is most important that the constitution provides a check on excessive borrowing.
The constitution should restrict borrowing of all government including the statutory authorities and subsidiaries to 10 per cent of recurrent revenue for the repayment of principal and interest.
The budget should be in surplus and the government accounts should have an accumulated surplus. The present law provides the 10 per cent borrowing for core government and not the statutory authorities and can be changed by the Legislative Assembly.
In 2000 the debt of the core government and self financing authorities’ debt was only $107 million. In June 2008 the total debt is expected to be $453 million or an increase of $346 million with another $371 million proposed.
Wake up Caymanians, the very expensive government administrative building, four new schools, roads, new airport building, new airport runway extension, new cruise ship port and new freight port will have to be paid for by you the people. Some of these may be necessary but should be phased in stages rather than trying to do all at one time.
In the near future a government will have to impose new taxes on you and your children in the form of perhaps an annual land tax and then income tax as other Caribbean countries have done. Governments borrow loans but the public must repay the loans long after the borrowing government has gone.
A total debt of over $700 million in another three years can be financial disaster. This is frightening for Caymanians and our children. It looks like the political parties’ aim is to see which party can borrow the most money with no apparent repayment plan.
A further constitutional provision should restrict one government from legally committing the next government for capital expenditure e.g. by contracts, in excess of a small percentage of the recurrent revenue.
One of the present checks is the United Kingdom for excessive spending.
The political parties will remove this and the other UK checks and balances.
If you think the political parties are not power hungry, consider this – the proposal is that the premier and leader of opposition can amend the new constitution in parts, which the premier and leader of opposition declare to be minor or non controversial and without a referendum, or legislative resolution or consulting the UK.
Caymanians would have to be crazy to agree to the removal of the present checks and balances the political parties propose to remove to give them excessive power.
Truman M. Bodden