Cayman Islands lawmakers to consider early budget priorities

The Legislative Assembly reconvenes Wednesday, when members will get a preview of next year’s budget and economic forecasts for the next two years. 

Members expect to receive the strategic policy statement, a precursor to next year’s budget, from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.  

The statement forecasts the government budget for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends June 30, and makes predictions and sets targets for the next two years. 

In those budget forecasts, the strategic policy statement lays out estimated allocations for each minister and government office. The document, which is delivered to the Legislative Assembly each year before Dec. 1, sets policy priorities and goals for each part of government.  

The allocations and priorities will make their way into the budget for the next year after debate and amendments. 

Once the policy priorities are adopted, members will debate three government bills and five private member motions. They will also receive reports, including financial statements, from various government departments. 

The government bills include amendments to the Summary Jurisdiction Bill, Trade and Business Licensing, and Development and Planning Regulations 2014, and the Second-hand Dealers Bill. 

The Summary Jurisdiction Bill gives the Cabinet power over appointing, removing and training justices of the peace.  

The Second-hand Dealers Bill is intended to make it harder for people to sell stolen goods to pawnshops and gold buyers. It gives police the power to search pawnshops without a warrant and requires those shops to alert police if they think someone is trying to sell stolen goods.  

Pawnbrokers would have to record every transaction with video cameras and get proof of ownership and a photo ID from anyone selling more than $200 worth of property.