After being told by Premier McKeeva Bush to “go sun his buns” at the beach, Cayman Islands Governor Duncan Taylor said Friday that he was “disappointed by the tone” of some of Mr. Bush’s recent remarks.
Mr. Taylor again denied claims that he was conspiring with the auditor general’s office against Cayman, an organisation that Premier Bush blamed for causing some of the budget troubles the country now faces.
“I have noted the recent comments made about me by the Honourable Premier, including in the public meeting in West bay on Wednesday,” Mr. Taylor said in a prepared statement. “I am disappointed by the tone and content of his remarks.
“In a statement in May, I made clear that I wholeheartedly support the vision of the minister of the overseas territories of a flourishing and vibrant Cayman Islands whose public finances are well managed and whose adherence to internationally recognized standards of governance enhances its reputation as a good place to live work and do business.
“I am committed to do everything I can to contribute to that vision,” Mr. Taylor said.
During the public meeting Wednesday, Premier Bush claimed government’s stymied efforts to divest the Water Authority was one of the reasons introducing the proposed payroll tax was necessary if Cayman was to meet the United Kingdom’s requirement to have a sustainable budget.
“We got agreement from the United Kingdom to divest these entities, such as the Water Authority and sewerage. Had we been able to do that, because they said pay the money and pay… down the debt, if this country get behind the government and we can make the divestment, you won’t have to do this kind of revenue raising measures.
“What the people should be… blogging is say ‘Governor, stay on the beach, sun your buns and let the government get on with its work. Then we would not have any need to tax anybody, because that’s what the United Kingdom has agreed.”
Mr. Taylor did not respond to any direct allegations made by the premier. He did not state whether there was any truth to Mr. Bush’s claims that the police helicopter would be sold or whether he, as governor, had the sole right to decide if civil servants should be laid off.
“My particular responsibilities include security and policing, supervision of the civil service and the promotion of good governance,” Mr. Taylor said. “But wherever I believe that there is a role for me as governor, I will do what I can to help: that includes contributing to the efforts of the Cayman Islands government and the [UK] Foreign and Commonwealth Office to reach agreement on the budget.
“These are challenging times for the Cayman Islands, as for so many countries around the world. I am keen to work with the Honourable Premier and his Government, in a spirit of co-operation, to address these challenges.”