FS responds to Opposition

In response to the 8 July, 2009, statement by the Leader of the People’s Progressive Movement, I re-affirm the completeness, accuracy and truthfulness of his statement in the Legislative Assembly on 1 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.

I have stated that this response to the 8 July statement is deliberately terse because there isn’t anything new in that (8 July) statement to address.

The 8 July statement by Mr. Kurt Tibbetts asks for an explanation between the 20 March, 2009, forecast deficit of $29 million and the 28 May, 2009, forecast deficit of $74 million. This explanation is provided in my 1 July, 2009, statement.

I stated that: ‘he welcomes the 8 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 30 June, 2009, by the Portfolio of Finance, on 9 February, 2009.’

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

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

In response to the charge in the 8 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, I stand firm that the 28 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 30 June, 2009, will prove to be more realistic than the 20 March, 2009, forecast deficit of $29 million.

I also re-affirmed that the health of public finances at 30 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.

Kenneth Jefferson, Financial Secretary

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.

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