Financial Secretary stands firm

Editor’s note: The following was released Thursday by Cayman Islands Financial Secretary Ken Jefferson in response to the People’s Progressive Movement statement regarding the financial status of the Cayman Islands government.

In response to the 8th July 2009 statement by the Honourable Leader of the People’s Progressive Movement, the Financial Secretary re-affirms the completeness, accuracy and truthfulness of his statement in the Legislative Assembly on 1st July 2009 in respect of key areas of the state of public finances in the Cayman Islands. This 16-page statement is available at the Legislative Assembly and the public is encouraged to obtain a copy of it to acquaint themselves with the facts.

The Financial Secretary has stated that this response to the 8th July statement is deliberately terse because there isn’t anything new in that (8th July) statement to address.

The 8th July statement by Hon Kurt Tibbetts asks for an explanation between the 20th March 2009 forecast deficit of $29 million and the 28th May 2009 forecast deficit of $74 million. This explanation is provided in the Financial Secretary’s 1st July 2009 statement.

The Financial Secretary has stated that: ‘he welcomes the 8th July 2009 statement by the Honourable Leader of the People’s Progressive Movement because it admits for the first time – in stark contrast to recent public denials – that the previous administration received a forecast of $68 million deficit for the year to 30th June 2009, by the Portfolio of Finance, on 9th February 2009.’

The Leader of the People’s Progressive Movement’s 8th July statement questions the credibility of the recent $74 million forecast deficit, by stating that on the 5th May 2009 the previous administration was told by the Financial Secretary that the projections for a forecast deficit of $29 million were holding true.

On the 5th May 2009, the Financial Secretary was in Miami, Florida. Moreover, the 5th May 2009 Cabinet Note did not contain projections; it contained actual results for the nine months to 31st March 2009.

In response to the charge in the 8th July statement that the present Government has found a ‘willing ally’ in the Financial Secretary in carrying out an exercise to discredit the previous administration, the Financial Secretary rebuffs this charge by stating that he and the Portfolio of Finance are allies to the truth and are not involved in any exercise to discredit the previous administration.

In conclusion, the Financial Secretary stands firm that the 28th May 2009 forecast deficit of $74 million – broken down as a central Government deficit of $55 million and a net deficit of $19 million in respect of the activities of Statutory Authorities and Government-Owned Companies – for the year to 30th June 2009, will prove to be more realistic than the 20th March 2009 forecast deficit of $29 million.

He also re-affirmed that the health of public finances at 30th June 2009 was severely challenged and going forward, a determined effort is required by legislators and the public service to restore balance between public revenues and public expenditures.

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