Miller calls EY report 'a waste of money'

Says privatization won’t normally save money

Speaking in the Legislative Assembly last week, North Side legislator Ezzard Miller said privatizing government services will not offer any financial savings and that the government should make policy decisions prior to engaging consultants to write reports recommending things the government would never agree to do. 

Mr. Miller, who made his remarks as part of his contribution to the budget debate, was referring specifically to the EY report commissioned by the government in 2014. That report, titled “Project Future: Creating a sustainable future of the Cayman Islands” recommended, among other things, that government privatize a number of government services. Very few of the recommendations in the report have been adopted since its release last September. 

Mr. Miller said his position remains what it was from the beginning. “The deputy governor … invited me to a meeting and I told him, in front of E and Y [sic], ‘This is an exercise in futility; this is a waste of money.’” 

Instead of asking EY to make recommendations on ways of reducing government costs without telling them what the government was willing to do, Mr. Miller argued the government should first decide what services it was willing to privatize. 

“Once the government has made that policy decision, then you hire someone like E and Y to tell you how to privatize it and get the maximum return from it. Because we can tell E & Y we [weren’t] going to sell Radio Cayman. They recommended to sell Radio Cayman. We didn’t tell them we wasn’t going to sell the Water Authority, but they recommended we sell it.” 


Although Mr. Miller believes there are some government services that could be privatized, he does not think it will lead to big savings for the government. 

“Don’t fool yourself,” he said. “It is not possible, or it’s going to be very rare and few instances that you are going to be able to privatize a service that government currently provides and provide that service cheaper by the private sector – very few, if any.” 

Recalling when he was the executive council member with responsibility for waste management in 1989, Mr. Miller said he tried to privatize garbage collection. 

“At that time, we were charging $25 a year or something like that,” he said. “If I remember, the lowest bid I got back was $50 a month. So, while the Chamber of Commerce and the media likes to badmouth the civil service about how they’re inefficient and they’re ineffective … well, that ain’t true, you know; ignore that.” 

The North Side MLA then defended the capabilities of the civil service. 

“There are many services in the civil service that are being delivered efficiently and effectively and I’m telling you here today, without fear of successful contradiction, that the private sector cannot do it cheaper or more effectively or more efficiently.” 

To illustrate his distrust for the private sector, Mr. Miller then took aim at the Chamber of Commerce, which he blames for changes made to the Pensions Law. 

“It was the Chamber of Commerce that hijacked that, you know, and made it the rubbish we have today,” he said. “The only people who have made money out of it are the fund managers and themselves.” 

Because of what he feels are deficiencies in the existing Pension Law, Mr. Miller said some people are going to suffer in their twilight years unless the government finds alternative ways of looking after them. 

“And that’s the disgrace in the whole thing,” he said. “That was solely done by the private sector. It was a deliberate act on their part to make money.” 


  1. Yes Mr. Miller, it is certainly true that commissioning a report that you know you will ignore is a waste of money.
    The bigger question is, having asked wise advice, what is the worth of those that are determined to ignore it?
    The sad truth is that we all know that this government, and the last, simply don’t want to face unpalatable facts, but they remain facts, and whilst I don’t think all the EY conclusions are correct, some are and need to be addressed.
    Take the Health Services situation, highlighted in another headline. If the service is not free, then you must collect the dues because making a charge you will never collect is hiding the truth, and that helps nobody. So, if the service is free to those with no insurance or money (as I think it should be) then you have to raise that cost somewhere, it’s called sound financial management! What has been done in these Islands is actually even worse, because the last government went one stage further down the self-deception line, they started CINICO, an insurance company for the uninsurable. Now that is deception in its worst form because it kicks the ball further down the road!
    If this government doesn’t even address the issues posed by EY, they really are not worth the name. Yes Mr. Miller you may be right it was a waste of money, but that doesn’t mean that EY are worthless; it means that you and the other MLA’s are the bigger waste of money!

  2. Come now Mr. Miller, if you disagree with the E and Y recommendations, then why don’t you smart politicians sit down in the LA and amicably discuss the entities of government that could and should be a benefit to the people and the Islands. Then you will find that there’s no need for expensive survey. Keep your friends and politics out off the discussion. To say that the private sector can’t do it better, if it is owned outright by the private sector… yes they can.

  3. Mr. Miller praises the largest voting block (civil servants). I”m shocked. You can almost hear his contempt for the Ernst & Young consultants. After all… he is smarter. In a room full of MBA’s and PHD’s, he’s the true thinker. He folksy speech and anti-expat banter plays well. He is the "blood in the streets" North Side messiah and it should truly sadden those who seek growth, inclusion, accountability and progress.

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