Miller continues boycott in absence of UK approval
(CNS): The independent member for North Side who returned to the Legislative Assembly on Thursday to see if the budget presented by the government had been approved said he was continuing his boycott. Although Ezzard Miller said he will be observing what happens in finance committee over the next few days but he wouldn’t take part. With still no approval from the Foreign and Commonwealth minister for OTs, the MLA pointed out that the UK had already refused this budget on three occasions and none of the members could be certain once the bill was passed by the House it would be signed by the governor .
Miller who did not contribute to the debate in the Legislative Assembly told CNS that he was still very concerned about expenditure levels. He said it was not possible for government to claim it had made cuts when core government expenses were some $25million more than last year. In addition Miller said he believed it would be very difficult for government to collect the revenue it was forecasting as there are only nine months of the financial year remaining. In some cases legislation will also need to be passed by the LA before government can begin to collect the new revenue adding to the time line problem of meeting the projections, he added.
Although the independent member said he had not yet had a proper opportunity to scrutinize the budget as he had only just received the relevant documents detailing the spending, at first glance he said there were some concerns.
Pointing to some of the transfer payments he said that things appeared to be doubled up with money appropriated for pre-school assistance while government had also increased spending on primary schools with the introduction of free reception classes.
“There appears to be a number of places where more than one ministry is doing the same thing and where the national building fund is financing programmes that are also being supported by other areas of government,” he said. “Having looked at the documents briefly it seems to me there are many areas where things could still be cut, but I intend to take a closer look.”
Miller lamented the fact that government has persistently failed to engage anyone else in the discussion about spending cuts especially after he had made so many suggestions about how they could be achieved. He pointed to two motions that he had brought to the House that government had said they would examine and had done nothing about, in particular, the changes to the Public Management and Finance Law.
“Government rejected my motion about amending this law to recentralize accounting in June 2010 because the premier said it was already being address. The only changes to the law the government have made however is to say that accounts for certain years don’t have to be audited and to remove the deadline requirement of 30 April to bring a budget to the LA,” Miller said as he pointed to the irony.
Having called on government several times to hold a special meeting of finance committee and invite private sector people on board, Miller said the government couldn’t just hand out documents at the last minute and expect people to just accept it unquestioningly. Miller said he needed to engage people and stop insulting everybody -- including the UK.
Miller also said he was very disappointed with the budget in general as there was no hope for his constituents or any Caymanians. He said there was “nothing in it to resurrect Mr Entrepreneur who has been assassinated by this administration. People need something to look towards not blame and lamentations.”
He added: “There is no hope or inspiration here for young Caymanians and he has turned the glass ceiling into a concrete one with the projections for work permit revenue.”
Miller explained that given how much government now hopes to collect this year in permit fees then the boards have to grant those permits making it even more difficult for local people to get work especially more senior posts.
Commenting on the title of the budget speech Responsible Government in Challenging Times' Miller said it would have been better titled, ‘Contradictions and Lamentations as to Why I Couldn’t do What was Needed to be Done.’, as he pointed to the great rush the premier was now in after months and months of what he described as incompetence.
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