Ex-MLAs: Don’t sell off public assets

Rather than how to sell off good assets which earlier governments before the year 2000 built and bought mainly from profit, the “Progressives” government should have employed Ernst and Young to advise ministers how to make sufficient profit and cash in government, and cut expenses to be able to repay the $840 million dollars of government debt and liabilities, most (about $730 million) of which the PPM and UDP governments borrowed and spent. In 2000, total debt was $110 million only. Our governments bought, but never sold, land and assets!

After that, the ministers should retain EY to advise on how to get annual consolidated audited accounts which are unqualified for the entire public sector of government for the past 10 years. Then how to centralize the accounting system again, same as it was before the year 2000. A 10-year strategic plan for all portfolios of government similar to our “Vision 2008” 10-year plan is vital for government to know where it is going in the future.

However, we believe that Finance Minister Marco Archer is competent and working hard, but no one can solve government’s massive 15-year debt and liabilities in four years unless he is a financial magician.

Selling government assets to pay debt is one of the “last stages” that political party governments in independent countries in the Caribbean resorted to when they could not borrow any more money and were heading for bankruptcy. The horrifying result in most cases is for the independent country to be strapped with crippling debt and have few or no material assets left.

Then, in desperation, governments borrow from the International Monetary Fund with strict and harsh conditions like devaluation of their dollar and heavy new taxes. Think the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility is hard? Try to borrow from the IMF!

The public should send the government a clear message to be progressive and repay the large debt from surpluses they make and not take the easy but disastrous steps to sell off or lease land, buildings or good assets acquired by past governments before 2000, and also hold back on large capital projects.

If not, Cayman may become like most of the other Caribbean countries which are strapped for cash; their dollar is near valueless ($1 = 1 U.S. cent) and they have crippling debt they cannot pay. Sadly, future generations of our Caymanian children will have to repay Cayman’s massive debt long after the politicians are gone from power, so at least leave our children the government’s assets.

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