Today’s Editorial for April 16: Wagging the dog

Should we be surprised?

Civil service ministries,
portfolios and agencies were required to submit revised budgets by last Friday
reflecting an eight per cent decrease in funding.

Two thirds of the agencies ignored
the deadline.  Of the ones that did
reply, their budget submissions collectively did not met the eight per cent cut
mandated.

It should be quite clear to
everyone by now that the civil service has no intention of bringing any budgetary
pain to itself.  The only way any
significant cuts in personnel expenditure are going to be made to the public
service is by force. The civil service would undoubtedly resist, kicking and
screaming, any measures that affect their jobs, salaries or benefits.

Like a schoolyard bully who is told
to do something they don’t want to do, the civil service response to cutting
its expenditures has been akin to “says who?”, “what are you going to do about
it?” and “make me!”

Unfortunately, there seems to be no
will on anyone’s part to make the civil service do anything they don’t want
to. 

The tail is wagging the dog and the
dog is heading for a cliff.

In observing all of this, the UK
will probably surmise that any three-year plan submitted by government that includes
a significant cut in personnel costs is pure rubbish. They only have to look
back at last year’s promises of civil service budget cuts to realise such
reductions are just theoretical and not meant to be taken literally.

But for some reason the government
and civil service seem to be moving forward on the assumption the UK is going
to accept the three-year plan and approve further borrowing so the government
can meet its financial obligations later this year.

Call us pessimistic, but we don’t
think the UK is going to buy it.

And so the Cayman Islands
marches toward a precipice of losing control over important aspects of its own
destiny, all because it refuses to do what must be done.  The civil service might have avoided the pain
for now, but they’ll likely join with everyone here in even worse pain dealt
from the hands of the UK in the future.

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