Talks begin on gov’t budget

Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush said Tuesday that he hopes to present a spending plan to the Legislative Assembly by Friday.

If that occurs, lawmakers would have the weekend to review the document and could start debate on it Monday – six days before the end of the government’s current budget year.

Premier Bush cautioned, however, that he was not entirely in control of what would be presented since the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office has to approve what Cayman proposes.

Mr. Bush confirmed he had received a letter from Overseas Territories Minister Henry Bellingham Monday indicating the UK would get back to Cayman on its budget proposal.

The premier said that Mr. Bellingham “didn’t like the borrowing” proposed in the budget. Mr. Bush has said that some additional borrowing would be needed in 2012/13 to complete work on government schools construction, the construction of juvenile remand facilities required in the constitution and some $15 million for the provision of solar panels for low-income homes.

According to government’s Public Management and Finance Law, Cayman’s government must approve a new spending plan by 30 June – the end of its budget year – in order to have the authority to spend money in the fiscal year that starts 1 July.

“If we don’t get [the budget] back in time for the 30th, then we would have to make arrangements to carry on spending,” Mr. Bush said Tuesday. “I hope it won’t come to that.”

Please see the full story in upcoming editions of the Caymanian Compass….