Gov’t policy statement late

The People’s Progressive Movement government will hand down its fourth and final Strategic Policy Statement for this electoral term on Wednesday – 10 days later than required by law.

Cabinet Minister Alden McLaughlin explained the delay to the Caymanian Compass Thursday.

‘With the need to divert attention and human resources to the Brac in the wake of Hurricane Paloma, it simply was not possible to make the December 1 deadline,’ he said.

The Public Management and Finance Law requires government SPS’s to be presented to the Legislative Assembly no later than 1 December. The document outlines the Government’s policy goals and priorities for the next financial year.

Government officials gave little away about the content of the SPS during a press-briefing Thursday, but they did hint at spending cuts to what Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts described as the Government’s ‘aggressive programme of capital expenditures’.

He said the SPS and the budget that follows will seek to see the country through a tough global economic climate.

West Bay MLA Rolston Anglin said he cares less about the delay and more about the contents of the SPS.

‘We have had four successive faulty SPS’s that have culminated in the Government saying the budget is going to underperform by $15 million (this year) and government having to put in place a hiring freeze for the Civil Service,’ he said.

‘What they have definitely shown is an inability to manage the economy.’

Mr. Anglin warned that the impact of the global economic slowdown is yet to hit Cayman.

‘The truth is that it is going to get worse. Despite the fact we haven’t had the impacts yet, their lack of foresight, judgement and decision making in key areas has caused us to be in this position.’

Mr. Anglin had the following words of advice for his political rivals ahead of Wednesday’s SPS.

‘The Government needs to show the country that it actually understands the difference between borrowing, and spending blindly on discrete projects that benefit a small number of contractors, which they cannot show the wider economic benefit of.

‘We need to see whether they are going to introduce the legislative changes that are desperately needed by the financial services industry to bring in new products that [financial services providers] have been chomping at the bit to introduce for over two years.

‘They need to show what is happening with the Health Services Authority,’ Mr. Anglin said, pointing to a new pricing structure at the HSA and earlier statements that the authority would be in a financial break-even position by mid 2009.

‘They need to show what they are going to do to show true support to tourism,’ he added.