Budget matters reviewed
The United Kingdom government has asked the Cayman Islands to “invite” foreign observers to witness its 22 May general election, according to a letter written to British Overseas Territories Minister Mark Simmonds by Cayman Islands Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly on 22 January.
Mrs. O’Connor-Connolly read out loud the letter during a Cabinet media briefing held Thursday morning.
“We are not averse to this in principle, even though Cayman has had free and fair elections for decades,” she said. “We need to check if it would comply with Cayman’s Elections Law and it requires very careful presentation or it could be seen as very damaging to our reputation.”
In his response to the premier’s letter, Minister Simmonds responded that he was “encouraged” to note that Cayman was not averse to the idea. “I support this,” he said. “It is good practice for mature democracies.”
Minister Simmonds noted that other British Overseas Territories, including the British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands, had recently entertained overseas observers in their elections.
Premier O’Connor-Connolly also noted during the news briefing that she would want election observers from a broad cross-section of the Caribbean region as well, not just the UK.
Addressing budget matters, Premier O’Connor-Connolly noted that her government received an increase in a temporary borrowing facility during the month of February, but had no need to use it.
Government was also discussing transferring a substantial portion of the environmental protection fund to the budget’s general fund, reducing the environmental fund from more than $40 million to about $10 million.
Finally, crime-fighting funding of an additional $800,000 had been granted for use during the current 2012/13 budget year. The premier did not specify the purpose for these funds.