Today’s Editorial for December 12: Making necessary cuts

Looking at the 2009-2010 Strategic Policy Statement, Government doesn’t have its head completely buried in the sand when in comes to the economy.

To keep the country’s budget intact, Government plans to put on hold the construction of the Beulah Smith High School in West Bay, the George Town Primary School, the four-lane expansion of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway, the Bodden Town Emergency Response Centre and the seawall at the Savannah Gully.

It is regrettable that the construction of the two schools, the emergency response centre and the four-laning of Esterley Tibbetts have to be put on hold.

We don’t, however, lament the delay in the construction of the Great Wall of Savannah, which was estimated initially to cost the country between $4 million and $6 million.

We editorialised on 17 September, 2007, that to build a wall to stop natural flooding is folly; the Savannah Gully is nature at work and a man-made wall isn’t going to stop Mother Nature or water. It will go somewhere.

We hope this project isn’t just put on hold, but scrapped and, once money is found for a solution, that the money be spent wisely on a cheaper more realistic answer.

In delivering the policy statement Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts told us that many projects already under way will continue; part of the rationale being that injecting money into ongoing projects has a spin-off effect for the coffers of hardware stores, supermarkets, restaurants, bars and other businesses.

He’s right, of course. If we all stop spending money because we are nervous about the economy we will only be causing more harm. The old adage of ‘you’ve got to spend money to make money’ is true. Ask any successful businessman or woman.

In telling us that Government is going to finish projects already in progress, Mr. Tibbetts also said work will not begin on any new projects in the coming year.

We have to wonder where the new proposed berthing facilities fall.

It has been said that the developers and investors will foot the capital outlay bill, but Government too will have to pay for other costs associated with the project.

The Caymanian public would still like to know how much the incidentals associated with the cruise berthing project are going to cost Government and whether the project is going to be put on hold, like the elementary schools, the highway and the emergency response centre, or whether this massive project is going to go ahead.

Kudos to Government for making needed cutbacks and for letting us know up front that more will be made if necessary.