Navigating Challenges And Shaping Solutions
Fellow Caymanians and Residents,
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas filled with joy and festive cheer. As we say goodbye to 2023, let us embrace the possibilities and optimism that the New Year promises.
While acknowledging the immense challenges some families faced this past year due to the cost-of-living crisis, it’s important to remember the resilience and strength that defines us.
Despite facing financial challenges, many found ways to extend their budgets to create beautiful Christmas moments, ensuring loved ones enjoyed a delicious meal, received gifts and experienced the true joy of the season.
As the bills from the holiday season start to arrive, families actively find ways to adapt their budgets, which is a wise approach to managing our financial obligations.
Just as families judiciously manage their expenses and live within their means, our country and Government need to adopt a similar level of fiscal responsibility.
Throughout the Progressives’ eight-year tenure in Government, we prioritised responsible spending. We built up reserves without adding new fees and taxes. And we refrained from new borrowing while consistently reducing existing debt. Notably, capital projects were prioritised and built from available revenues. This strategic approach was the right one. It fostered economic growth and provided the surpluses and cash reserves to weather the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic without burdening future generations with overwhelming debt.
However, the current Government’s strategies are very different. They are spending more money than the country earns and paying for their projects with a staggering 120 million dollars in new taxes and a half billion dollars in new debt!
A better approach is needed, especially with revenues of over a billion dollars annually going into Government coffers.
The Government should prioritise measures that directly alleviate people’s financial burdens – like temporarily removing the duty on fuel, including cooking gas, temporarily freezing Water Authority rates, increasing stipends for the vulnerable and providing an appropriate COLA for civil servants.
Additionally, investments in crime reduction, fully addressing the housing crisis, and improving public transportation are urgent priorities.
Long-term plans to diversify the Cayman economy, take sensible action to adapt to climate change, and make plans to deal with the country’s rapidly ageing population are fundamental to our future prosperity and should be a priority.
Moving forward, your Progressives Opposition remains committed to advocating for a sustainable approach to growing the economy and managing government finances so that every citizen benefits. We will challenge excessive, wasteful spending and reject a path marked by decline, division, and debt.
The Progressives are proud of our history of 21 years of Service to the People of the Cayman Islands. We remain committed to improving the lives of the people of these Islands and are immensely grateful for your support over these many years.
As we enter the New Year, may hope, prosperity, and happiness be abundant in your lives. May God’s blessings continue to safeguard our beautiful Cayman Islands.
My Progressive colleagues and I extend our warmest wishes to you and your families for a fantastic year ahead.