Civil service may get Sept. pay increase

If Premier McKeeva Bush has his way, Cayman Islands civil servants will be getting a 3.2 per cent pay increase in the cheques they receive toward the end of September.

The Premier – who is also the country’s Minister of Finance – said Friday that he feels the modest pay increase is possible since the country ended its 2010/11 budget year with a $25 million operating surplus. That means government revenues came in higher than expenses.

Mr. Bush said late Friday that he would recommend to the Cayman Islands Cabinet that a 3.2 per cent cost of living pay raise be awarded to civil servants effective by next month.

”I probably will have to talk to the minister of the {UK] Foreign and Commonwealth Office, as they control our budget, since the [opposition party] PPM allowed this under the Public Management and Finance Law,” Mr. Bush said. “There will still be tight restrictions on expenditure for this year and fiscal prudence must continue to be maintained.”

At the end of the 2008/09 government budget year – the last full year under the People’s Progressive Movement government – public finances ended on 30 June, 2009 at an $81 million operating deficit. In addition, government debt ratios compared to what it was earning in revenues exceeded limits set in the Public Management and Finance Law.

Because of these financial issues, the UK government had to step in and assert more control of Cayman’s financial situation starting in 2009. One of the things the UK ordered for Cayman was that the Islands not borrow any more money in the next two fiscal years.

Premier Bush said he was sure government would have to make up the additional expense on the pay increase in savings somewhere else, if Cabinet approved the increase.

In July 2010, at the start of last year’s budget, civil servants received a 3.2 per cent pay reduction to help balance the books. Government has always said that pay cut was a temporary measure and Mr. Bush said it was his intention to return the pay once finances began to recover.

Mr. Bush said the performance in last year’s budget indicated improvements had been made. The $25 million surplus represents a final actual budget number for the fiscal year ending 30 June, 2011. Those numbers had not yet been audited, but Mr. Bush said he expected no major changes once that audit was completed.

Government’s projected revenues went from $510 million to an actual $535 million at the end of 2010/11, according to the Premier. Government operating expenses went from a projected $508 million to an actual $483 million.

Performance of government-owned companies and statutory authorities also improved from forecasts, reporting a surplus of about $3 million for the year.

In addition, government spent about $3 million less in financing costs for the year – that’s the amount of money Cayman must pay to meet its debts.

The premier said this was done by “stretching out the time before it became critical that we had to borrow the $155 million”. Cayman borrowed $155 million to help meet costs in the 2010/11 fiscal year.

The Caymanian Compass asked for further clarification on this last point, but had not received a statement by press time Sunday.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Is there an election on the horizon? A pay increase is a little misleading. Its simply giving back to the civil servants that which was stolen from them only a short time ago. So please Mr. Bush dont talk about a raise in pay without telling the whole story.

    Yes you need to go to the UK for permission to do so. You are on a tight leash which must simply tear at your heart strings. Just imagine, there is a mortal power higher than you. I’ll get you a large glass of water so you can swallow that bitter pill.

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  2. And put the extra money to good for the people who are out of work. Or by paying back some of the money we owe. We can’t have a surplus if we had to BORROW 155 Million. That money isn’t ours to spend! No wonder we’re in so much trouble.

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