UK gives conditional nod
CNS): Updated full story -- The UK has finally given its approval to the government's controversial 2012/13 budget but not without strict conditions. Sources tell CNS that the government have been given the much awaited nod from the FCO overseas territories minister, Henry Bellingham, on the basis that the premier agrees to pass the agreement he signed in November into law. The UK has also stipulated that for the next three years government will not be able to appropriate any more funds to any budget once passed, that it create a budget board headed by the deputy governor and that the CIG facilitate reviews of the budget by the FCO's economic adviser up to four times throughout the year.
The premier recently complained vociferously about the level of interference the UK now had over the Cayman Islands government's budget but with these conditions that is likely to increase and continue until the government returns to compliance with the Public Management and Finance Law.
Sources have revealed that Bellingham is pressing for the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility (FFR) agreement he signed with Bush last year to be brought to the Legislative Assembly as quickly as possible and made into law, a move Bush was hoping to avoid.
The appointment of a budget board headed by the deputy governor will also ensure the UK has greater oversight via the Governor's Office, and the requirement to allow the economic adviser full and unfettered access to the government's financial situation throughout the year will ensure that the FCO can step in and head off any potential financial disasters before they occur.
With the stringent conditions imposed by the UK, and in particular the requirement to make the fiscal agreement a law, the hands of the UDP administration will be increasingly tied during the next nine months, forcing government to follow due process when it comes to financial issues.
The passage of the FFR into law will also threaten the proposed deal with CHEC in its current form for the George Town Cruise Port and may also affect the ForCayman Alliance deal with Dart.
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