CI Gov’t to rebuild UK fences

The premier and deputy premier of the Cayman Islands, along with other government officials, plan to leave for London on Saturday, 19 January, to meet the UK’s foreign office minister.

The group plans to meet Minister Mark Simmonds and also visit the Cayman Islands’ London office and staff from the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism based there, on Monday and Tuesday.

Deputy Premier Rolston Anglin gave details of the upcoming meetings at the weekly press briefing on Thursday, 17 January. Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly was not at the briefing as she was feeling unwell, her press secretary Charles Glidden said.

“It is crucially important that we continue to ensure that we build a good relationship – some might say rebuild a relationship – with the [Foreign and Commonwealth Office],” Mr. Anglin said.

With just five months of the interim administration’s term to go, there had been some queries publicly about why the government members felt it necessary to travel to London, especially as Premier O’Connor-Connolly has come under fire for her extensive overseas travel when serving at deputy premier under McKeeva Bush’s government.

“Some have questioned why we would necessarily need to go,” said Mr. Anglin. “I think there’s been suggestions as to whether or not we can do it over the phone. There’s very important business that has to happen and there are times where, as elected leaders, we have to have face-to-face discussions with our counterparts and, certainly, meeting with the minister responsible for the [Overseas Territories] in person is crucially important for us rebuilding a relationship with the FCO and, by extension, HMG [Her Majesty’s Government].

“The premier has not had the opportunity to meet him face to face and so now, as we navigate the next five months, it’s critically important that she has that opportunity to meet with the minister and be able to discuss issues of interest on both sides.”

Government minister Mark Scotland also spoke of the importance of the meeting with Mr. Simmonds. “The visit being made in the next week is not simply about the next few months, it’s about mending and rebuilding the relationship with the FCO and the UK because of what’s happened in the last few years and then strengthening it for the time going past the upcoming election.”

High on the agenda in the upcoming meeting with Minister Simmonds will be Cayman’s finances.

Asked if among the items to be discussed would be a request to increase the Cayman Islands Government’s overdraft facility, Mr. Anglin said: “We are monitoring the cash position very carefully and waiting until the end of this week actually because this is when financial services revenue really starts to pick up and come in… We have not had any intention to have any increase to the overdraft facility… but certainly we’ll be looking carefully at the cash flows and cash patterns because, obviously, the budget will feature heavily in the meeting with him.”

The local budget is being further scrutinised this week by the FCO’s economic advisor Richard Holmwood, who is currently in Cayman. “This is a regular part of his duty in terms of coming out to the territories to continually have discussions around budgets and the budget performance,” said Mr. Anglin.

One of the conditions of the UK government approving the 2012/2013 budget for the Cayman Islands Government was periodic budgetary reviews by the UK’s economic advisor.

“I’ve seen it really start to evolve now into a good process in terms of how we work very closely to ensure that all the Oversees Territories are able to build credible budgets, sustainable budgets, and be able to have face-to-face discussions around all the matters that affect the budget and to ensure that we’re all on the same page and, certainly, that the territories, in this instance, Cayman, is headed in the right direction,” said Mr. Anglin.

Responding to a question about the contract of Lord Blencathra, who lobbies on behalf of the Cayman Islands in the House of Lords, Mr. Anglin said his contract had been renewed in November and there were no plans to terminate it.

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Deputy Premier Rolston Anglin, left, and Minister Mark Scotland speak at Thursday’s press briefing. – PHOTO: NORMA CONNOLLY
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7 COMMENTS

  1. Rebuild UK fences? I believe the term is mending fences, from the Robert Frost poem ‘Mending Walls.’ The correct headline should therefore be CI Gov’t to mend fences with UK.

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  2. When Minister Rolston Anglin…and budget and cash flows…is mentioned in the same breath, Cayman should rest a little easier.

    At least the most qualified person is speaking of what he is an expert in…a very rare case for Cayman.

    Common sense has never been the hallmark of Cayman’s political system and politicians but…

    Is it really rocket science to understand that Rolston Anglin is the most qualified and expert politician to be Cayman’s Minister of Finance ?

    But hold on a minute…that would take too much ‘common sense’ to figure out…

    Wouldn’t it ?

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  3. Sam Putt Putt, when a fence is damaged it can be mended, but if it is completely torn down then is has to be rebuilt.
    Since two of the current Government Ministers voted against the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility we have to assume that the repairs are a bit more than cosmetic.

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  4. I hope the UK government is picking up the bill for 8 of our finest to go on this junket as we don’t seem to have any money left in the till. If Government doesn’t have one or more already a tele-conferencing facility isn’t that expensive in the scheme of things and you can grovel just as effectively by teleconference as face to face. How will it benefit the Cayman Islands to placate the UK anyway, we are under orders already….

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  5. Let take a page out of Wal-Mart sucess story and make the people fly economy just like top Wal-Mart managers have to, also share a car and take rooms with single beds so two people can share a room. Thus saving money. If you want to upgrade then it comes out of your pocket not mine!

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