A delegation from the Cayman Islands headed by the Premier, the Hon. McKeeva Bush, met officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London last week. Colin Roberts, Director of Overseas Territories Department, chaired the meeting. His Excellency the Governor, Duncan Taylor, also attended.
The aim of the talks was to discuss how to deal with the challenges faced in balancing the Cayman Islands’ budget and to consider credible and deliverable measures with which to eliminate the recurrent deficit in the public finances of the Cayman Islands by the end of the 2012/13 financial year at the latest.
In view of the financial situation that the Cayman Islands finds itself in and the findings of the Miller Commission report, the meeting agreed that swift and significant action, including cuts in Government expenditure, needed to be taken to bring public spending back onto a sustainable track.
An economic team from the FCO will visit Cayman during the week of 22 March to conduct an economic review. They will also discuss with the Financial Secretary and his team the production of a draft three-year plan to deliver sustainable public finances, which could be presented with the budget for 2010/11 in April. The plan will need to feature measures to reduce public spending to an affordable level; a properly costed strategy for managing public assets, perhaps including private finance initiatives; a clear estimate of borrowing requirements; and possibly new measures to broaden the revenue base.
The meeting agreed that current levels of expenditure are not sustainable. The FCO and the Governor welcome the commitment made by the Premier to bring public expenditure back onto a sustainable track The FCO recognises that decisions on exactly how to achieve this must lie with the Cayman Islands Government but undertakes to do what it can to help.