Premier: Three-year budget surplus is $399 million

The Cayman Islands public sector will end its current budget year with a $145 million operating surplus, Premier Alden McLaughlin told a private audience at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Tuesday night, noting that the total surplus over three years is $399 million.

The premier said this is the third consecutive surplus his Progressives-led administration has managed during its three years in office.

A budget operating surplus is achieved when revenues are higher than expenses for the year.

Mr. McLaughlin made his remarks at a Progressives party fundraiser, and the comments were distributed to the media on Wednesday.

The figures revealed by Mr. McLaughlin for the budget year ending June 30 were projections. However, with only about a month to go before government closes the books, they represent a good picture of government’s financial position.

Government revenues and expenses increased significantly from what was projected when the 2015/16 budget was released. Central government expenses increased from an anticipated $552.8 million to $563 million.

However, revenues for central government also increased, from a projected $661 million to $696 million.

The overall earnings of government statutory authorities and government-owned companies boosted the central government operating surplus of $133 million by a further $12 million, reaching $145 million for the year – assuming no major government expenses come up before June 30.

“It is … worth noting that over our last three budgets, we have generated net surpluses totaling $399 million dollars,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “We did this despite giving up tens of millions annually in tax reductions and in correcting inequalities in civil servants’ salaries and more.”

Mr. McLaughlin noted that the former United Democratic Party government managed a $41 million total surplus during its last three budget periods.

Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush has long said that Mr. McLaughlin is taking credit for the results of a raft of revenue measures his former UDP government instituted after the Progressives government of 2005-2009 left office in dire straits.

Mr. Bush has said the former People’s Progressive Movement racked up an $81 million operating deficit during its last year in office, 2008/09, which Mr. Bush’s administration spent years correcting.

The opposition leader has also questioned why government is not using some of its surplus funds to assist needy Caymanians.

“It’s always good that we have a surplus, but you can’t save up a surplus and leave your people without electricity and without work,” Mr. Bush said last year.

Mr. McLaughlin noted that the central government’s overall debt has been reduced to $503 million from $574 million when the Progressives took office in mid-2013.

A fund has also been established to pay off the territory’s future debts, of which about $260 million is due in 2019. The fund now has $17 million, the premier said.

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  1. My question is for the Progressive Government to state how much of the surplus was spent in the Bodden Town district by the four Progressive MLA’s we have. Also why no consideration has been given to the elderly and needy. Consider adding a few dollars to the little stipend they get every month. The needy is getting wheels and meals deals, that will surely kill them off before time ; besides foods are dropped off in chairs and tables where cats and dogs are getting to it before the people. The delivery service is not a good one. It would have been better to have a large canteen service for the needy , like what is used at the schools where they can go and pick up their hot meal every day, sit and conversant with others, play a game of dominoes or cards. That was what the Million dollar Ashford House was planned for until it became a Political Play house for a hand full. All of our elderly is scattered between the Pines in George Town and the other Retirement house in East End, and every day they are talking about wanting to come back to their district, where they family and friends can visit with them. The Ashford House proposed Retirement Home, has a very large remodeled kitchen with four bath rooms for five people. Central air-condition. Shut in elderly should be there not scattered all over the island away from friends and families. Will it get any better, well let us see what a One man One Vote government will do. I believe that is going to be a real HOT seat for whom ever get it. Because this time round we are going to hold people to their promises.

  2. Almost 400 million is very impressive, so why then did the public and the Cayman Heart Fund have to raise over $100,000 CI for a new ambulance–which is an essential service that should be the responsibility of CIG? Why, as Ms. Vargas states, are the elderly being housed in such a manner and, once again, food and meals are being supplemented by volunteer organizations? The only answer is that CIG, like most governments, cannot operate efficiently and cannot allocate resources in a proper manner which is exemplified by large administrations with large salaries and not enough “middle rung-ladder” employees who actually perform the work. For example, CIG is very good at studying things–just recall how many reports were commissioned by CIG: the port, the airport, the CIG itself, the landfill–and not just once, but multiple times spending millions! Then what happened to those reports? If I remember correctly, the last cruise port debacle ending in a “breach of contract” costing CIG millions AND the impact assessment report, plans, etc. (which were paid for) never materialized. They already have the answers–all of those studies and reports– maybe they just don’t like what they say which is to cut back and privatize!