September 22, 2020

The Editor Speaks: Bush blames PPM again for his budget failure


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Despite being three years into his four year term of leader of government business, Cayman Islands Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon. McKeeva Bush, laid most of the blame for HIS failure of not being able to present a balanced budget to the Legislative Assembly (LA), “ABOVE ALL” to the previous government, the People’s Progressive Movement (PPM).

I said in a previous Editorial on the budget fiasco that the premier couldn’t blame the PPM this time around. Ha. Ha. Well he has. His full address to the LA yesterday morning (27) is our lead story – please read it.

Other factors for his HIS failure he contributed to a growing civil service, extra spending on crime, legal aid, the bill of rights, civil servants, and, of course, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

After three years Premier Bush said he expected people would criticise him but the bottom line was spending had to be cut. Spending had to be cut? Well, there’s a starting point.

It was the fault of the PPM for losing control of the country’s finances and (after three years) he said the only way to get it back was to make the cuts.

And, incredibly it seems to him, the FCO actually demand a balanced budget. Didn’t they state that last year? Didn’t he get into problems last year for same thing?

After ignoring these provisos, even though he had agreed to them, the government was now engaged in further spending reductions so that he would be able to bring a full year’s annual plan and estimates in the next few weeks. Note: the next FEW weeks. (PUB: forever waiting…….?)

The premier said the FCO (and he was bashing the FCO because of their controls) had approved a $25million overdraft to see through what he described as “the lean months for government”.

As he has done in all the previous years he announced there had been an improvement in the government finances. Well. Well. Government was now expecting a very small surplus of $1 million when core government and statutory authorities spending and revenues were all added together.

He did say it was a “very small surplus”.

Finally, he presented an appropriation of some $127 million in expenditure as a stop-gap measure. Where, is that going to come from?

Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Alden McLaughlin, spoke immediately after Mr. Bush’s presentation and wondered when the premier would accept responsibility for his own failure? He said if the FCO had not been in control of approving the government’s budget, Mr. Bush would have brought a spending plan to the House of some $630 million and $80 million of more borrowing.

Mr. McLaughlin also pointed out all the UDP’s government claims of “miraculous turnarounds in public finances” that hadn’t produced anything. I was wondering the same.

Independent MLA for North Side, Ezzard Miller, called on the premier to resign the finance minister’s portfolio and give it to someone else in his Cabinet that was capable of getting the job done.

Hmmm. Now who would you choose?







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