The Cayman Islands government has either spent or budgeted to spend some $30 million on basic social services between July 2010
and June 2013.
The figure does not include any spending on public sector medical care for indigents or the elderly.
Information provided to the Caymanian Compass under the Freedom of Information Law was concentrated on six general areas of assistance: poor relief payments, electricity and water bill assistance, pre-school assistance, rental payment assistance, food vouchers
and school lunches.
On average, the Cayman Islands has spent or budgeted to spend just more than $10 million in each of the three budget years identified. In the current 2012/13 year some $10.5 million is due to be spent, almost exactly the same as the $10.4 million spent in the
2010/11 budget year.
The lion’s share of that funding goes to poor relief payments for each year identified. More than $6 million was set aside for that type of assistance in this year alone. According to government records, more than 900 people have received poor relief within July and August; the first two months of the
2012/13 budget year.
In each of the last three years, including the first two months of the current year, more West Bay residents have received poor relief than families in any other district.
According to records obtained under the FOI law, some 316 residents in West Bay district have received poor relief assistance in the current budget year compared to 282 in George Town and 134 in Bodden Town.
That tracks with the two earlier budget years where West Bay residents were the most numerous recipients of poor relief, followed by George Town and then Bodden Town.
The number of households receiving government help with paying water and electricity bills also went up sharply between 2010/11 and the 2011/12 budgets. The number of people assisted under those payment assistance programmes went from 473 families in 2010/11 to 653 in the 2011/12 budget year.
In the first two months of the current government budget year, some 197 people in all the districts received help with electric and water bill payments, but government had budgeted far more in that area than it did in the two previous years.
The budget for school lunch payment assistance fell from about $585,000 in the 2011/12 budget to $476,000 in the current fiscal year. In that category of assistance, George Town families received assistance more often, with some 221 households getting government help last year compared to 131 in West Bay and 113 in Bodden Town.
The budget for food vouchers also went from nearly $1.1 million last year to nearly $1.8 million in the current government budget.
A massive 1,450 households received food vouchers during the 2011/12 budget, more than a third of them (557) in George Town. In the first two months of the current budget year, more than 700 families had already received food voucher assistance.
Rental assistance costs also went up from nearly $1.2 million to $1.5 million from last year’s budget to the current budget.
Costs for the provision of public health services were not outlined in the open records request, but some expenditures are available from a review of government’s 2012/13 budget.
Health care coverage is one of the largest subsidised areas of expenditure within the government’s budget.
For example, the Cayman Islands government has budgeted $9.1 million for medical care to seamen and veterans; $12.6 million in medical care for indigents and $18.1 million in health insurance for civil service pensioners during the 2012/13 year. All of those figures represent substantial increases from what government spent in the previous budget.
A figure of $9.4 million was set aside for medical care at overseas providers. However, previous unaudited budget figures show the country actually spent $18.6 million on that during the last budget – more than double what was set aside in the 2012/13 year.
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