No word on gov’t borrowing

More than a month after a Cayman
Islands government deadline was set for bids on some $155 million in long-term
financing no word has been received regarding the selection of a successful
financier for the borrowing.

The 9 September deadline for
lenders wishing to submit proposals was actually the second one set to receive
bids for the borrowing amount.

Six initial bids from lenders
received by the initial 23 July deadline were scrapped.

“That process concluded without
government choosing any successful bidders,” Mr. Dunn said, adding that the new
bidding for lenders was initiated at that time with the 9 September closing
date set. 

No reasons have been given for why
the decision was made to end the initial bid process without choosing a
successful lender.

The latest bid document seeks
long-term financing for the same amount to support various government
operations over the next fiscal year, which ends on 30 June, 2011.

Repeated questions about the status
of the $155 million to be borrowed have not been answered by administration
officials.

According to details of the
borrowing plan released by Premier McKeeva Bush’s office at the beginning of
this fiscal year, more than half of the sum will go toward work on the two new
public high schools on Grand Cayman, as well as the completion of the new government
office accommodation project.

About $53.8 million of the
borrowing has been earmarked for the new John Gray and Clifton Hunter high
school campuses, as well as work on some primary schools.

Another $30 million has been set
aside for the completion of the government office building on Elgin Avenue in
George Town. 

The completion of the new
administration building is expected to save the Cayman Islands between $8
million and $10 million per year in lease payments the government now makes on
the various offices it is renting in Grand Cayman.

Some $29.4 million will go to meet
the day-to-day operational needs of government, such as funding the operating
deficit and other obligations. According to projections released at the
beginning of this year, Cayman is expected to end the 2010/11 fiscal year with
something close to a $32 million deficit, which means its revenues are again
expected to fall short of what it is spending.

About $18.5 million has been
earmarked to support the operations or assist with purchases for a number of
statutory authorities and government-owned companies. Those include $5.1
million for Cayman Airways, $1.8 million for the Health Services Authority,
$9.7 million for the Cayman Turtle Farm and $1.9 million for the National
Housing and Development Trust.

Some $16.1 million will be
borrowed, mainly for purchasing expenses, for the Portfolio of Internal and
External Affairs, judicial administration, legal affairs, Ministry of Health,
Ministry of Community Affairs, the Ministry of District Administration and the
Ministry of Finance.

The remaining $7.2 million will be
borrowed for a number of public works projects, including: a secured remand
facility for juveniles who are criminal suspects, an emergency shelter for
Cayman Brac, as well as payment for Brac land acquired for roads and the bluff
play field, and various road construction projects around the Cayman Islands.