Poor lose out in budget cash shuffle

| 01/02/2017 | 57 Comments

(CNS): The government has taken more than $2.5 million from various welfare cash allocations in the 2015/16 budget, according to the supplementary appropriations bill that it will be bringing to the Legislative Assembly later this month. In its reallocation of money originally appropriated in the last year’s budget, government has taken $500,000 from the school lunch and uniform programmes and pre-school assistance, $375,000 from poor relief, over $800,000 from housing assistance and more than $850,00 in various benefits for veterans and servicemen, while extra money was given to Cayman Airways, tourism, offshore business and managing Cuban migrants.

The bill, which has not yet been gazetted but is now in the CNS Library*, reveals that government did not spend any of the more than $3 million allocated for the George Town revitalisation project, as the campaign commitment on the 2013 election campaign to boost the capital’s fortunes has failed to be realised.

The appropriations represent a reshuffle of cash in several ministries, where there have been increases in spending in one area and cuts in another. But so close to the election, the removal of cash from programmes helping those in need to increase funding for the national flag carrier or strategic communications for the financial sector may prove unpopular among voters.

Finance Minister Marco Archer told CNS that under the Public Management and Finance Law ministries are allowed to re-allocate any funds within their appropriation if necessary to achieve their goals, objectives and outcomes. They can also move cash between ministries on agreement.

“The law requires that the matter be brought by the relevant minister to the Cabinet for approval. As minister of finance, it is my responsibility to report to the Legislative Assembly any changes to the appropriations for any minister or ministry that are approved by the Cabinet in any fiscal year,” he said, making it clear that he does not have any say in how cash is reshuffled, providing the changes do not impact the overall budget.

In his own ministry, the $818,644 from health insurance cover for seamen and veterans has been reshuffled to various support services and an unidentified equity injection of $650,000. More than $1.7 million was cut in the community affairs budget, with the bulk of that cash appearing to be reallocated to other welfare services, though some has been transferred to other ministries.

In tourism, more than $2.4 million has been given to Cayman Airways, but the ministry and the airline have not yet answered questions from CNS about why that public cash was needed when the government-owned airline has been bragging about making a profit. The ministry saved $3 million from its budget allocation for the cruise berthing facility, as that project has stalled, and $1.2 million that had been allocated for the emergency shelter in Cayman Brac.

The premier’s ministry has had to juggle cash to cover an extra $2.8 million for Cuban migrant services, another $1.4 million for mosquito control in the wake of fears over the Zika epidemic, and a whopping $5.9 million extra for overseas tertiary healthcare, despite promises that the Shetty hospital in East End would begin to cut the cash government pays for overseas medical care.

In the planning ministry, most of the $3 million taken from the George Town upgrade plans has gone to cover the cost of land claims for gazetted purchases.

The education and employment ministry has stuck closely to its original spending plan, with $120,000 making a straight swap from the now defunct Nation Building Fund to employment initiatives, and just one additional cash injection of $379,000, which has not been identified on the bill but is believed to be for school building repairs.

In the ministry for financial services and environment, $1.1 million has been taken from environmental research, while 1.6 million has been diverted to strategy, communications and operation support for the offshore sector.

CNS has contacted Community Affairs Minister Osbourne Bodden and Education Ministers Tara Rivers about the impact on the movement of welfare support that affect their departments but we have not received any response from either minister.

Even though Bodden is on record as saying that his ministry is overwhelmed by demand from those in need, he has had to give up cash from his budget rather than receive more. While Rivers’ own budget does appear to be largely unchanged, her staff raised their concerns earlier this month about the barriers to learning children face, including that fact that many of them come to school hungry. While the school assistance and lunch programmes come from the community affairs budget, a cut in funding directly impacts education.

CNS understand that government will also be bringing older appropriation bills to balance the books for previous years of this administration when it meets on 22 February.

The bill is in the CNS Library here. A better quality copy will be uploaded later.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: ,

Category: Government Finance, Politics

Comments (57)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    More money for tourism?


    Let the Billionairs fund their own businesses, do not let the poor fund their businesses.

    Many of the poor are poor because of the oppression of the rich who get all of the breaks from government – all of dem.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Moses and Julie are in a race to spend money to buy Cayman Brac votes.

    Really now five aircraft to service Cayman Brac?

    As a direct result of Moses and Julie aircraft extravagance for Cayman Brac will result in some poor schoolchildren going hungry and homeless?

    The PPM says that they are for “love of country” – Moses and Julie has taken this to the extreme – their aircraft extravagance is for love of “ME” to impress Brackers to vote for them.

    Will any of the new candidates be any different?

  3. Anonymous says:

    The poor always lose out – no politician represents the “Little Man”.

  4. Anonymous says:

    When I was growing up we did not have all this social services nonsense. Parents/family took care of their children. When the parents got too old to work, the children took care of the parents. Am I wrong? Seems like that was only a few shorts year ago, when the men of Cayman were MEN.

    Nowadays, so-called Caymanian men breed like wild agouti and abandon their pickney’s.
    When the parents get old, these same men march there parents into social services to avoid their responsibility (hello Maintenance Law anyone?). And when the parents do start getting social services handouts, who is there to get their share – yep you right these same vulture children.

    Absolute disgrace how things have changed over the years but in hindsight you cannot put full blame of the recipients, as government after government panders to this element of society.

    I only need to work to get enough money for liquor, cigarettes, beauty salon for my sweetheart and travel – because my job is to live off government – thank you Ozzie – if I lived in your district I would vote for you a million times.

  5. Anonymous says:

    There is rampant abuse of the system. Am sure that plenty of you bloggers could name some of these people. Let me give you just one blatant example of it.

    A few shorts year ago, government paid a contractor to add a bedroom and bathroom onto a lady’s house for her elderly mother. The homeowner at the time was receiving poor persons relief funds on a monthly basis, as was her husband. Now the house already had 3 bedrooms and two bathrooms and only the home owner & husband were living in the house. The elderly mother was receiving Seamans widow benefits.

    The elderly mother moves in for a short period of time. Next thing you know she moves a short distance away to another home, which is being paid for by social services – even though government had recently subsidized an addition to accommodate the elderly mother..

    Wait, it gets even better. Now, this homeowner is clever. She has her daughter (who is well known to be on government handout). The homeowner is so bold as to make members of the public know that social services is paying her rent – for her own daughter to live at the house she grew up in.

    In the end, the homeowner gets an additional source of income (rent for daughter) and now has a 4-bedroom, 3 bath house and everyone in the family is receiving some sort of government funding.

    The homeowner, in recent years, has been on trips to Europe (twice) and countless trips to Florida. Is there a government program that pays for these trips? Please advise because this government handout thing is sounding better and better to me everyday.

  6. MM says:

    “Finance Minister Marco Archer told CNS that under the Public Management and Finance Law ministries are allowed to re-allocate any funds within their appropriation if necessary to achieve their goals, objectives and outcomes. They can also move cash between ministries on agreement.”

    Obviously the “goals, objectives and outcomes” of the PPM Government do not involve the same suffering constituents they are going to be running around begging votes from.

    Every politician is aware that the masses of middle and lower income folk make up the majority of voters; that is why they go around all election season giving out food, drink and washers.

  7. Anonymous says:

    freemosons. lodge people control the go ernment and islands. and they na poor……

  8. Harauguer rides again! says:

    Well done, we have to wean those people off the goverment teat, get a goodamm job, there are plenty jobs out there.

  9. Anonymous says:

    If the gowerment hadn’t given huge discounts on Cayman Airways to the management and staff at Health City Cayman, perhaps they wouldn’t have to take $500K out of the mouths and off the backs of our school children to prop up this business.

  10. Anonymous says:

    blessed are the poor!!!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous says:

    When CINICO came into operation the Seafarers had their own Insurance policy posted on their website, Plan document and summary plan description in a booklet form and given to the association, booklet describing their home health care plan which was all kept at the CISA office.

    When Lonnie Tibbetts took over as CEO, he changed all that. He took away all documents without consulting anybody at the Association, removed our Policy from their Website. The Seafarers went to Marco Archer, who is the Minister responsible for CINICO and asked him about the situation. Nothing was done to help the Association, while at the same time he was taking over $800,000.00 from the Insurance budget in Government for seafarers to use for other purposes and then on top of that asking the Seafarers Association for $60,00.00 per year in perpetuity to train Doctors at the HSA..

    This is how the PROGRESSIVES help the Seafarers, the people who in the past was the ones who helped to build the economy of these islands.

    • Anonymous says:

      Can anyone tell me how it is that the Seamens associations are growing in numbers despite the fact no one has gone to sea for at least the last 40 years and many have passed away from old age? The last auditor general wondered the same thing but no one ever gave him an answer.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Wow!!!! I have heard it all now! The CI Govt taking funds from Caymanians to take care of the Cubans!!! Now that’s PROGRESSIVE!!! Caymanians are unemployed and when they go to seek assistance from NAU, they have to jump through more loops than a circus dog. NAU has such a poor reputation that landlords did not want to do business with them when they were paying $800.00 in total, for rent and utilities for clients, just imagine it now that the amount is being decreased. I have seen numerous ads on Ecay saying no NAU, no Social Services. I guess we will soon see more Caymanians sleeping on the streets of our oh so affluent country. I don’t know what more to say except May 24th can’t come soon enough.

  13. Anonymous says:

    CIG hasn’t revealed the cost of the Linford Pearson bypass works, including property acquisitions. This re-shuffle of funds from other streams is likely to pay for that excessive and pointless project. I say pointless because after all the works and expense to create two lanes in each direction, when it reaches Smith Road – What Then??!!

    • Anonymous says:

      They also haven’t told the public how much they made from Mr. Allen’s yacht accident, nor where that money will be spent. All of it on repairing the reef? I bert not!

  14. Anonymous says:

    The George Town revitalization project never had a chance to succeed because it was given to former civil servants to implement who never did anything when they were civil servants.

  15. Allar says:

    CNS, why is it that no comments is allowed under the Elio story, he has declared and is subject to public scrutiny just like the article with Gilbert, and Rudolph Dixon.

    CNS: Right after the snippet it says, “Read more and comment on the CNS Election Section“, which is linked to the new Election site, where you can comment as much as you like.

  16. Anonymous says:

    This is an absolute damn shame! We have people crying out for help daily; not seeking a hand out but simply seeking a hand up. If our own don’t look out for us who will? These are OUR elected officials, WE put them in there. Its 2017, this should not be happening. Be smart Cayman. Realize that by once again choosing these individuals to represent us that we have chosen as a community to let our kids go hungry, our neighbors go homeless and our elderly go without everything they spent their whole lives working for…


    • Anonymous says:

      This is quite natural and happens in ever business and government. If you forecast an underspend in one area and need money in another area why not spend it where you need it. I know it’s the silly season but come on!!!!!

  17. Allar says:

    WTF! Where is the surplus?????

  18. Anonymous says:

    The Public Handout Unit (NAU) just needs to do a better job with their client assessments and point blank not be pressured by the F’n Driftwood Minister to provide for clients that don’t meet the criteria. Would love it if the OAG would revisit NAU, just to see how little that has been implemented since the last audit.

    NAU Senior Management has insufficient management experience and that is a big part of their problem. Top person was a bean counter for PWD, next in line is very new in the position and the next one even newer (both of the newest “management” team members coincidentally share the same Saturday observing faith).

    NAU needs Senior Management that is well-seasoned with significant management experience – as it is the clients that they serve that are suffering while they are stumbling to learn the basics of management, dealing with employee turnover and what I suspect is one of the higher sick day per employee ratios with the civil service.

    Social Services was run much better without NAU and its’ inept leadership – from the civil servants right up to the minister.

    • Anonymous says:

      5:11PM – couldn’t have said it better myself – I know all three of the persons you mentioned. While each one of them are good workers, none are competent enough to manage others at this point in time.

  19. Anonymous says:

    More evidence that the PPM do not care about the average Caymanian who is hurting.

  20. Dwayne Roberts says:

    “In the planning ministry, most of the $3 million taken from the George Town upgrade plans has gone to cover the cost of land claims for gazetted purchases.”

    If it isn’t too much trouble, could someone tell me what “the cost of land claims for gazetted purchases” is?

  21. Anonymous says:

    That’s PROGRESSIVE……

  22. Archer voter says:

    Boy Marco the auditor General is making you look like you are some what careless with the facts when it come to Government finances.

  23. Double T politics says:

    All this double talk from Marco and all they doing to make themselves look good is robbing the very poor to pay for GM Mosquitoes and a bunch foolishness for Tara from Da BLOCK wow PPM and more laws than Quaker has Oats eh Wayne? Got to keep Mama happy so she can provide logistcal support strategy for the reelection Campaign . Who says the PPM aint Organized?

  24. Anonymous says:

    Nah worries, new fridges, TV’s and little brown envelopes soon come.

  25. Anonymous says:

    they need get off their lazy butts and find another country to live? that is. caymanians, because there aint nothig left here for us…..how can our own government have a large chunk of their budget revenue derived from not employing caymanians? eg work permit fees…..

  26. SKEPTICAL says:

    Good thing the premier has a fairly lucrative day job waiting for him in June

  27. Anonymous says:

    I would be glad if they try stop enabling some of these wasters and try help those people that really need assistance!

  28. Anonymous says:

    Who is responsible for children? I thought that parents were. Why not introduce family planning? Do those children have mother and father? Or is government the sperm donor?
    It is high time that the baby machines cease operations, reduce crime and the need for constant hand outs.

  29. OneVoice says:

    It is no big surprise, the poor will always loose out. They have no representation except for once every 4 years or so. Very bad.

  30. Anonymous says:

    We can recall that as at Jan 2015, CAL owed $10.5mln in accrued delinquent passenger fees to CIAA. This portion of the ticketed passenger fees were collected by CAL and never relayed on to CIAA. CAL had been routinely misappropriating this portion of passenger payments for years. That balance was only a few years worth of delinquent passenger fees, since Cabinet had flattened the previous rolling IOU balance with a shuffle from another portfolio only a few years earlier. We never heard any more on this, but if you look deeper, this has been a recurring inter-governmental bean game every few years. So reliable in fact, that this spent theoretical receivable was counted as actual capital to support CIAA’s airport reno. If this wasn’t the reason for the latest bail out package, then it’ll surely feature in one of the next administration budgets. Either that, or CIAA will get to a point in airport reno where they can no longer pay the construction crews. CIG will have to step in “on an emergency basis”, misappropriating money from somewhere else to avoid the airport becoming the next JGHS. You can imagine how bad this would be if we had actually begun building a cruise port with CIG virtual dollars?!? These are financial hand grenades routinely passed from one administration to the next.

  31. PPM Distress Signal says:

    The Poor lose this whole island is loosing and now the PPM are coming with yet even more UK instructed Fool Fool Laws to totally disenfranchise the Caymanian people. Time for Alden and his Inept gang to go. The Auditor General is starting to make Marco Archer’s financial wizary look like a big Hoax?

    • Anonymous says:

      Disenfranchise the Caymanian people from the British rock. How clever. How about the disenfranchised Brits living on the British rock, lets see what Mummy has to say about that.

  32. que ??? says:

    Are they trying to get voted out of office?

  33. Anonymous says:

    A truly La-La Land.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Ptovide a boat, fuel anfood and water for migrants and send them on their happy way. Spend the money on our own citizens.

    • Anonymous says:

      We are ALL God’s citizens. The sooner you learn that the sooner you will be open to God’s loving goodness and yes…free stuff.

    • Anonymous says:

      11.29-Brilliant!! I love it! Minor technical problem…CIG Revenues (that’s work permit fees, import taxes etc) and around 3-4000 Cayman jobs disappear with the migrants, and so there will be little money to spend on the remaining people, yet more people needing the money. Tough one. You might want to think that out some before doing anything stupid.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sigh, the OP was talking about the Cuban refugees. (Not talking well about them I agree, but simply pursuing the ‘help them on their way’ argument. Not talking about evicting workers.)

  35. Anonymous says:

    its like re-arranging deck chairs on the titanic…….

You can comment anonymously. See CNS Comment Policy at the top of this page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sponsored content