The people of the Cayman Islands will be the winners in the 2022-2023 budget, Premier Wayne Panton advised in Friday’s budget address in Parliament.
“…there are many wins for our people in this budget,” he said.
Children would benefit from a school meals programme that would expand to all public secondary schools in 2023. There would also be an increase for primary and secondary education in 2022 and a further increase in 2023 and there is also cash for more for tertiary education through scholarships, bursaries and continued funding of UCCI and grants to ICCI over the two-year budget period. The budget commits to plans to design and construct halls at Theoline McCoy Primary School and the Joanna Clark Primary School. Additionally, there are plans to expand the Lighthouse School and to design and build a new building for the Layman Scott High School on Cayman Brac.
For those families who need help, there will also funds available for housing repairs assistance and for initiatives administered by the National Housing Development Trust and Sister Islands Affordable Housing Trust and for the construction of affordable housing options over the two-year budget period.
Healthcare services will also have more money, in particular, with an injection of cash for the treatment of people older than 59 who are not insured, or underinsured, and persons with chronic ailments.
There will also be an expansion and enhancement of youth services and development. Fire and police personnel will get an increase and extraordinary relief payments in 2022 will continue to assist workers displaced by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Funding for technology through support services by the Computer Services Department, cyber security, and the increased digitisation of public services; and a further capital investment in a submarine cable system are also accounted for in the budget.
“You will see important investments in infrastructure, such as funding for roads and technology, and completion of a number of schools projects,” Mr Panton stated.
Premier Panton, who is also the Minister for Sustainability and Climate Resilience, said Cayman needed to set targets for becoming carbon zero, for the electrification of transportation, and would need to adopt a robust plan to make up for doing hardly anything to achieve its renewable energy targets under the National Energy Policy.
“We are ambitious in relation to protecting the environment - we plan to make up for the years of inadequate funding for environmental needs,” he said.
Mr Panton outlined 10 strategic broad outcomes and specific actions aimed at achieving these outcomes through the delivery of Government programmes, Cabinet policy actions and legislative changes.
• improving education to promote lifelong learning and greater economic mobility;
• ensuring an equitable, sustainable and successful healthcare system;
• providing solutions to improve the well-being of people so they can achieve their full potential;
• strengthening good governance for more effective government;
• supporting climate change resilience and sustainable development;
• increasing social justice in the workforce;
• utilising sports to enhance the lives of our people;
• building a modern infrastructure to ensure a successful future for the Islands;
• improving the financial services as an industry, product and economic driver for the Islands;
• improving tourism, as an industry, product and economic driver.