Alden: Budget plan ‘very, very optimistic’

Cayman Islands Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin told members of the media last week that he was “bemused” at government’s financial expectations over the next three years.  

There was no formal debate on the strategic policy statement in the Legislative Assembly after it was introduced. Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush merely made a few introductory comments before making the statement 
public last month.  

According to the forecast operating statement within the policy document, the government’s net surplus for the current 2012/13 budget will be $82.25 million by 30 June, 2013; $124.3 million by 30 June, 2014; $138.3 million by 30 June, 2015 and $144.95 
million by 30 June, 2016.  

The revenue projections in the operating statement show numbers increasing from $649.5 million in the 2012/2013 budget to $669.4 million by the end of the next financial year; $683.4 million in 2014/2015 and $697.4 million in 2015/2016.  

“My initial impression is that it is very, very optimistic about projections in terms of revenue, particularly the amount of surplus that are being projected over these three years,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “I’m not sure on what that is based.”  

The numbers contained within the annual policy statement are all projections based on how government expects to perform in terms of earnings and expenses.  

“Those numbers are critically important,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “All indications right now are that government is in a serious cash crunch, and so quite how they get to … a substantial surplus at the end of this fiscal year, I’m not quite sure how we get there.”  

The strategic policy statement points out that the revenue projections over the next three years incorporate a “central risk” scenario, whereby “the calculated amounts expected from existing revenue streams were discounted by 25 per cent in order to allow for unforeseen circumstances”. 

Government stated the revenue projections were even more conservative because they assumed no substantial increase in volumes over the medium term and no additional revenue measures being introduced.  

The government’s total expenditure for the current 2012/13 budget year is $567.2 million, dropping to $552.4 million by the end of the 2015/2016 fiscal year. The expenditure numbers include a provisional sum of $21.7 million to mitigate potential future increases in healthcare costs.  

According to the strategic policy statement, savings would be made through budget cuts and other management initiatives, including consolidating the government’s lease estates through increased occupancy of the government administration building and introducing volunteer firemen to the fire service.  

The Cayman Islands government’s budget plan through 2015/16 assumes that certain public-private sector partnership projects will have begun during the period.  

Among those projects are the cruise ship berthing facility in George Town, the development of Cayman Enterprise City, the new private hospital for medical tourism – often referred to as the Shetty hospital – as well as a number of tourism-related projects through the ForCayman Investment Alliance and the expansion of Owen Roberts International Airport in Grand Cayman.  

“It is assumed that during the period of this strategic policy statement [between now and June 2016], these projects would have commenced and will be mostly in the initial construction phase; namely, ForCayman Investment Alliance and Health City Cayman Islands,” Premier Bush stated in a written copy of the policy address, which is required to be delivered each budget year by 1 December as an update on the government’s budget progress and a road map for future planning.  

“The construction phase of these projects [is] expected to stimulate the demand for services in several sectors such as wholesale and retail, real estate, renting and business activities; hotels and restaurants, financing and insurance,” Mr. Bush wrote. 

Alden McLaughlin Cayman Islands

Mr. McLaughlin
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6 COMMENTS

  1. many people thought the same thing when the PPM was in power….the SUV’s you purchased………..guess you figured you would be riding in them …… new HSs which are needed but over priced to build…Prep School put you to shame with the addition they made ..and so on and so on…..

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  2. This is proof that political parties believe that they are the cat’s whiskers and that their seat can not be challenged! Oh how wrong they are!
    Time to elect independents to clip the wings of those who prefabricate subtile political sales pitches citing scaremongering content to dupe voters into believing that only political parties should be elected.It is a lie! How underhanded can one be? That kind of scaremongering should really push voters to run in the opposite direction.

    Its independents from now on. Whoever get’s elected, let them form their coalition and get the job done working for the people. We’ll get more results, than allowing party pigs to feel safe just because they are party members.

    A coalition worked in the UK and it will here. It actually puts them on notice that they could serve only one term if they do not perform! Ha Ha Ha!

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  3. One can be very, very optimistic about the future of Cayman – once the PPM is not managing the affairs of the Country.

    IF there is any doubt: look at their track record from 2005 – 2009. Unemployment jumped almost 100% (see http://www.eso.ky if in doubt), they broke almost every requirement of the PMFL, they built roads without the sense to put street lighting in place (see east west arterial), they started 100m worth of school with no idea how they would pay for them. I could go on, but I think its clear why PPM were removed, and should remain, from managing the affairs of the Cayman Islands.

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  4. I look forward to hearing Alden’s solutions to the country’s budget problems as well as economic recovery, unemployment ect. ect. as he has said nothing to date. Until he offers some solutions it will be difficult to have confidence in his leadership.

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  5. Alden it is plain as daylight, The present government needed another 4 years to complete its projects. However the opposition and independents and their followers do not think so. They think it is too long to wait another 4 years to hold hot seats. Well if that is the wish, I would say you will have to settle for what you are going to get. So everyone please stop whinning and get on.

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