PPM leader wants to negotiate fiscal plans with UK
Following the election success, the leader of the People’s Progressive Movement Alden McLaughlin has laid out his party’s priorities.
He foresees an almost immediate meeting with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office to present a plan to bring Cayman back on a path to prosperity and to speak about the rebuilding of the relationship between the Cayman Islands government and the UK government.
Rather than focus on just the next budget, Mr. McLaughlin said he wants to look at a period of at least four years. “There are challenges that are there now and there are challenges that are going to be there for quite some time, given the state of the global economy and given the state of the Cayman Islands government’s finances,” he said.
“So none of this is going to be easy and we are not going to be able to fix anything by the snap of a finger. And we are certainly not going to make promises about turning the economy around in 90 days.”
Asked whether he would demand more fiscal flexibility outside of the parameters set by the UK government, Mr. McLaughlin said he would hesitate to use the word “demands”.
“But that is certainly something that we want to look at because austerity has not worked in Europe.”
“I think even its strongest proponents have now to acknowledge the tremendous damage that has been done to the economies of certain countries in Europe and to people’s lives by unrealistic austerity measures,” he said.
Mr. McLaughlin said the main priority is to restore trust and confidence.
“We have said from the very start the most important task for any new administration is to restore confidence in government and in the Cayman Islands as a whole, because nothing else is possible without that.
“All the things that we need to do to get the economy moving again and getting people jobs depend upon that cornerstone,” he said.
Austerity measures, such as cutting the size of the civil service, would undermine this confidence.
“We certainly don’t want to go down the road of having the civil service to worry again about being sent home or salaries being cut and that sort of thing. That just undermines confidence and they spend less in the economy,” Mr. McLaughlin said.
“We can’t tax ourselves out of the recession and we certainly are not going to get ourselves out of the recession by taking measures, which cause the population and investors to be concerned about whether they’ll spend.”
Much more developed and broader based economies than the Cayman Islands are struggling, he said.
“Given the fact that we rely so heavily on inward investment and the confidence of people overseas who utilise our financial services, we have to bear all of that in mind.
“There are no quick fixes,” he said.