Premier assents to UK demands

Cruise port talks “abandoned”

GT port main

Port expansion talks with a Chinese government-owned company will be abandoned and a fiscal framework document penned by the United Kingdom will be accepted, Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush announced Tuesday evening in a broadcast address.

The announcement was a sharp departure from positions taken by Mr. Bush just a day earlier in the Legislative Assembly, where he presented a revised Framework for Fiscal Responsibility document and told members that good governance requirements had been observed with regard to the port talks.

“I make these announcements with a heavy heart,” Mr. Bush said. “I have fought against these positions, but I am now forced [to accept them] through the dictate of the UK government.”

Mr. Bush said “no reasonable person” could say that the port selection process, which seeks to install a cruise ship berthing facility for larger cruise liners to direct dock in George Town harbour, has not been fair and open.

“However, we are told by the UK that it is the specific type of process that matters, not the outcome,” Mr. Bush said. “We have been stymied unless we follow their prescribed approach to the letter.”

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Mr. Bush apologised to the China Harbour Engineering Company, with which the Cayman government had been negotiating for a number of months on the cruise port deal.

Meanwhile, the Premier said the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility proposal would be “taken to the [Legislative] Assembly as prescribed”. Presumably, this meant in the form in which it was signed by the Premier and then-UK Overseas Territories Minister Henry Bellingham in November 2011 and not the version that was contained in legal amendments made public Monday.

The fiscal framework document sets out a number of requirements on public project bidding, financial management and project management for the Cayman Islands government. It requires Cayman to get its budget back into line with responsible financial management guidelines contained in the country’s Public Management and Finance Law by the end of the 2015/16 budget year.

The proposed legal amendments contained, among other things, requirements that the UK compensate Cayman for any reputational damage or financial loss due to following the dictates of the fiscal framework.

“God help us all if it proves to have the negative consequences that some experts have warned are likely,” Mr. Bush said of the fiscal framework agreement.

Mr. Bush said he was prepared to continue resisting the UK’s demands, but said he did not wish to expose his family to the “political turmoil being brought into play at the present time”.

“I can only pray that the worst will be averted, and that we will find a way forward that shields our population from too painful a decline in our living conditions,” the Premier said.

Please see Thursday’s editions of the Caymanian Compass for more on this story….

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  1. In any normal functioning democracy Bush would now have no option but to resign. His credibility is completely gone and his continuing in office can only exacerbate the damage he has already done to this country’s reputation, prospects and economy.

  2. I hear so many people calling for Mr. Bush to resign or get kicked out, I must ask if he does or is who is it that people think should run the country. I’ve watched the potential leaders of Cayman such as Arden and Ezzard on Cayman 27 many times. And from what I see such as the show last night all these guys are more interested in making the other one bad the fixing the issues that Cayman currently has. Mac does seem willing to fight for Cayman and looks to be doing whatever he can to bring business to Cayman where the opposition fights him at each and every corner meanwhile offering no positive alternatives themselves. Mac also seem to have been involved in potentially questionable activities and made some not so popular choices from what I hear so have all the others, but none of these things have every been proven so it’s a moot point and to just seems to be mudslinging that costs the country millions. When I watched them on the news last night all I saw was hatred for each other and not so much love for Cayman. They both looked like 5 years olds bickering in class, at lease Miller was quiet but I think he was smart enough not to make a fool out of himself on TV.

    Why is it that only a hand full of people have been running Cayman for so long, where is the new blood with the election right around the corner? With so much hatred between parties I don’t see how Cayman will ever get anywhere when people will have to come together for the greater good if Cayman is to survive

    It’s time to stop all the Infighting and separation in Cayman and put someone in charge that can bring everyone together again or just let the UK run things.

  3. Who are you kidding that the port deal was open and fair! If it was open and fair then why was the deal kept secret both in scope and cost from the country’s citizens.

    This is why FFR is so tight to stop this sort of secret deal going through without open and fair tendering. .

    Politicians should have nothing to do with Government contracts – that is what the civil service is there for.

    If we look that Cayman from the UK view that it is one of 14 overseas territories and Cayman has say now 1 billion dollars of liability so imagine if all 14 countries were the same. Now the UK tax payer, who on average is a lot less well off than Caymanian citizens, have to foot the bill because each of these territories did not learn how to balance their own checking accounts. Not really fair is it?

    The UK has enough problems of it own without having to sort out Cayman’s as well. Both the politicians and the management of the civil service should ashamed of themselves for not being able to run this country without continually asking for more money each year.

    The last budget cost the citizens an extra 100M but all I hear from Civil Service is the hardship of cuts – if you are paid 100M more than last year that is not a cut and so you must of inflated your budget to more than 100M to believe you have a cut this year. I guess this is the fair and open style that UDP is talking about!

    I say replace every politician in this country and let’s start again with new fresh young politicians. They may be inexperienced but from current lots that does not seem to count for much – only one rule you must give up all your outside interests including directorships, silent 60% partnerships, etc and earn your MLA salary.

  4. NJ2Cay…

    I’m a bit surprised by your statement; who else did you think was in charge all along ?

    McKeeva Bush ???

    Pleaseeee…you’re an intelligent and valued poster on this forum…don’t disappoint us.

    If Bush had even one ounce of integrity, he would resign…other political leaders in other jurisdictions would be forced to resign for less because of a total loss of credibility and the ensuing embarrassment.

    And what makes this even more despicable is that Bush is willing to drag his family into this…or run and hide behind them, now that he has been publicly chastised and chastened.

    Is this a man that Caymanians think is truly qualified and capable of being their political leader ?

    I would hang my head in shame if I truly thought so.