September 19, 2020

Governor officially prorogues Cayman Islands current LA sitting

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Cayman Islands Governor, Duncan Taylor officially prorogued the current session of the Legislative Assembly (LA) last Wednesday (20).

Leader of the People’s Progressive Movement (PPM), Alden McLaughlin, along with his fellow opposition MLA’s boycotted the Friday, 15 June, gathering of the LA, stating that it was not being held in accordance with the constitution.

Mr. McLaughlin wrote to the governor concerning the constitutional issues with the Friday meeting. The governor replied as follows:

“The procedure in dealing with this matter is for the governor to exercise the power of prorogue only after the necessary consultation with the honourable premier. At the time I received [Mr. McLaughlin’s letter about the constitutional issues with the 15 June meeting] I had not yet received advice as to when to prorogue the Legislative Assembly.”

The 15th June meeting of the House was set to only deal with the procedural issue of moving forward business from the previous session of the house to the next year. This new  session  will commence with the state opening and budget address.

In Governor Taylor’s reply to Mr. McLaughlin he said, “The prorogation and recalling of the Legislative Assembly are inextricably linked to the preparation and presentation of the budget with the reconvening directly tied to the delivery of the Throne Speech and the budget address. Efforts to finalise the budget are ongoing.

“I hope that I will be in a position to proclaim the date for the delivery of the Throne Speech and the start of the new session in the near future.”

Premier, Hon. McKeeva Bush said he hoped to commence the state opening and budget address on Friday (22).

However, that seems unlikely, as the UK has requested more information on the budget that the premier sent to them last week.  The budget may not even be ready for presentation to the LA before the end of the month.

Public spending has not been checked even though the UK said it had to be. In fact it has increased and the premier has admitted he has asked the UK for more money that some observers have said is around $40 million. This could be wishful thinking. There is a lot of pessimism that the UK will send the budget back and demand it is properly balanced.

We shall have to wait and see. The wait is making Mr. McLaughlin very concerned.

“To say it is worrying is an understatement,” he said. “The budget is running contrary to the rhetoric from government, contrary to the three year plan he agreed to and contrary to the financial framework agreement he signed. I believe we are in a really bad situation. He can no longer blame the PPM for this. Deficits aren’t carried forward; these are his budgets.”

If, as expected, the budget cannot be presented in time for the financial year’s end, Mr. Bush will be forced to invoke emergency legislation to appropriate a temporary budget so government can function.

This will be the third UDP budget to be presented late.

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