Today’s Editorial October 07: Right message, wrong messenger

In his contribution to the budget debate, Leader of the Opposition Kurt Tibbetts made some strong comments as he called the government’s budget unrealistic.

Given the current situation with the world economy, Mr. Tibbetts questioned whether projections that the government could generate an additional $94 million in revenue before 30 June 2010 could actually be achieved.

He pointed out that revenues last year were some $41 million below what had been projected in the budget and that the projections this year call for some $75 million more in revenues than last year’s projections.

Turning to the civil service, Mr. Tibbetts said there needed to be, for the sake of the Cayman Islands, a culture change with regard to pay and new jobs.

While we have many of the same concerns as Mr. Tibbetts, his statements might not carry a lot of weight when they talk about unrealistic financial projections and an oversized and overpaid civil service; after all, he was the leader of the government that put forward the unrealistic projections in last year’s budget and that expanded civil service operating costs significantly in four years. When warned about overspending during an economic downturn, Mr. Tibbetts made a series of statements that were ridiculous in hindsight.

Be that as it may, Mr. Tibbetts now finds himself as leader of the opposition and he is singing a different tune this budget meeting. Is it that he has suddenly seen the light when it comes to fiscal responsibility and restraint, or is this simply more political gamesmanship?

Bringing his debate into the political realm, Mr. Tibbetts made a comment that he could only ‘marvel at this creature called politics’.

‘Marvel’ isn’t a word we would use when discussing the political manipulations of the public purse that have occurred with successive governments over the past decade or so; ‘disgusted’ is more like it.