Mac accuses media of lies
(CNS): Full story -- The Cayman Islands premier has launched another attack on the local media, this time over reports about the UK’s budget conditions. McKeeva Bush said that the UK would not be “so spiteful as to suspend powers of a government that has produced a budget with an $82 million surplus.” In statement from his office he hit out at both The Caymanian Compass and CNS for reports pointing to the UK’s conditions for approval of the budget as essentially stripping the premier of his functions as finance minister. “The whole matter of these media reports is vicious and deliberate in trying to hurt me and in so doing, harmful to country,” he said. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)
In the statement the premier claimed that the establishment of a “Budget Delivery Board” under the leadership of the deputy governor and not the minister of finance was because the vast majority of the commitments to cut costs in this and future budgets impact the civil service. He listed a number of examples, including the as yet unannounced reduction of some 360 jobs over the next five years, as well as pay freezes, voluntary redundancies, a revised health plan and the centralization of both finance and human resource functions.
Bush said that the minister of finance, as with all elected ministers, had no “domain over the civil service” and it was for that reason he was not heading up the board. He described media reports about the functions of the finance minister being stripped from him as a “quantum leap from the truthful explanation” that he gives in his statement.
The premier stated that the articles were “tragedies" of reporting because they were “viciously inaccurate; and viciously misleading” and said that he was going to “tell the Cayman Islands and the entire world, the truth” regarding the agreement between the Cayman government and the FCO.
“There are no matters existing in these islands on which the FCO would have grounds to remove any minister from office or to remove responsibilities from any minister,” Bush said. “In as far as my responsibilities as Minister of Finance – the Opposition, including the Compass, CNS and others would love to see me so embarrassed and are probably hoping for such an action, not caring what the consequences are for the Cayman Islands.”
However, the premier maintained that the UK has no such authority and no reasons under the Constitution to remove his functions.
Despite Bush protestations regarding the media reports and the comments made by the opposition leader, the FCO has attached a number of stringent conditions on the budget approval and will have considerably more control over public finances going forward.
As well as the budget management board, Bush, as finance minister, will not be allowed to add any supplementary appropriations to this fiscal year’s budget; he must make the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility agreement law and follow it; and finally, the FCO’s economic advisor is to be given unfettered access to the country’s ‘books’ once per quarter to ensure that the budget is on track.
See the premier’s full statement below.
|Premier's statement (27 Aug 2012).doc||504 KB|
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