Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush said Thursday night that a spending plan for the government’s upcoming 2012/13 budget year has been presented to United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office representatives.
Mr. Bush said the budget for the upcoming year, which begins on 1 July, would have some “modest borrowings” and was forecast to end with a modest surplus – meaning revenues would exceed government spending.
The Premier, who is also the country’s finance minister, said during a broadcast address that he had asked civil service chief officers and financial managers in January to present a $498 million spending plan. He also asked that capital expenses and investments in government entities be capped at $59 million for the year.
He said that expenditure target was overshot in the initial budget proposals by $130 million. He said that amount was cut to $81 million, but government demanded that the public service go further.
“Ministers have been deliberating assiduously to remove this excess in order to present a more sustainable budget to the LA.,” Mr. Bush said Thursday.
Borrowing proposals in the budget sent to the United Kingdom included more money for Grand Cayman’s two new public high schools, funding to provide solar panels to low income homes and money to support the construction of a new juvenile remand facility.
Mr. Bush did not provide any clues as to how Cayman would end its current fiscal year on 30 June or when the new budget might be presented to the Legislative Assembly for review.
According to the Public Management and Finance Law, government must approve a new spending plan by 30 June to give itself spending authority in the new fiscal year.
Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin told the Caymanian Compass last week that the government’s budget process for the last three years had been handled in a similar hurried fashion and that there always seemed to be “a crisis” what regard to passage of the spending plan.
Mr. Bush said Thursday that Mr. McLaughlin and the former ruling government had perpetrated that financial crisis.
Mr. Bush said, if the government had not been saddled with two new schools, a $108 million government administration building and other unaffordable projects “then this budget, and the other three I presented, would not have been so burdened”.
“This [budget] is a far cry from the one I was saddled with,” Mr. Bush said.