Politicians back fair trade

| 26/02/2010

(CNS): The government has accepted a private member’s motion moved by Ezzard Miller to address the problems of unfair competition for Caymanian businesses as well as tackling the problem of ‘fronting’ and introducing consumer protection. The independent member’s motion was seconded by opposition party member Arden McLean and passed through the Legislative Assembly with agreement from all sides. The motion from the North Side MLA proposed that government introduce a Fair Trade Commission and supporting legislation that would offer security to Caymanian business owners in the face of large conglomerates, which Miller said were, with their “deep pockets”, undermining the ability of local businesses to compete fairly.

While members on both sides of the House were quick to suggest that they did not support protectionist policies while supporting the private member’s motion, Miller made it clear that the motion was concerned with protecting local business from major companies that were supported by overseas cash. Companies, he said, that drive local Caymanians out of business. The House’s only independent representative said he was seeking to protect local business from unfair competition and the country needed a regulatory authority that could assist that went beyond the current powers of the Trade and Business licensing board and encompass fair trading criteria.

“Competition is good but when the playing field is not level it is not fair,” he said, adding that where foreign investors had deep enough pockets they could take the losses while they drove local businesses away only to come back with vengeance and make their profits many times over once they had gotten rid of the local competition.

He said a fair trade commission would properly regulate the business environment, act as a watchdog, police the emergence of monopolies, as well as price fixing and offer properchannels for consumer complaints. “I believe a fair trade commission would be a step in the right direction to offer support to the people we have been sworn to represent in this legislature,” Miller said. He pointed out that it was incumbent on government to help Caymanian businesses and protect them from powerful outside forces.

The motion was support by opposition member Arden McLean, who said he knew that protectionism was a dirty word but there were many genuine concerns regarding the issues surrounding fairness for local business in general, and he pointed in particular to the problem of fronting, where some Caymanians offered to put their name to a business to be the 60% local partner while having no real interest in what was essentially a foreign business.

Miller offered an example of the kind of business he was concerned with when he said there was one conglomerate on the island that where the owner was setting himself up in such a way as to have a monopoly on retail premise. The North Side representative said he has already bought up a considerable number of stores and was bidding on the port, and said he was an example of the kind of power his motion should curb. “These are the things the commission would address.”

McKeeva Bush said government would consider the content and supported the motion. The premier noted that as a result of the transfer from Immigration to the new Department of Commerce, the Trade and Business Licensing Law was being reviewed and fair trade issues were all part of the new reforms that would be coming. Bush said while one had to be careful of protectionism, it was common to have fair trade legislation to create level playing fields. He said a long list of categories of business were already being allocated as the preserve of Caymanians and the government would consider incorporating the suggestions in Millers motion as the new regulations surrounding local business and assistance to entrepreneurs was developed.

Rolston Anglin also spoke in favour of the motion, as did Ellio Solomon, but in his support Solomon managed to break the protocols of the Legislative Assembly in the way he insulted Miller, the mover of the motion. Although members of the House commonly take digs at each other across the floor during their debates, there are certain boundaries and protocols about how the less than favourable comments are delivered — ones which Solomon breached during his contribution on the motion. Following Solomon’s suggestion that finally someone on the opposite side of the House “had grown a brain”, Miller pointed out to Madame Speaker that the fourth elected member for George Town had overstepped the boundaries. She agreed and later called Solomon to her chambers. According to the rules or standing orders, Solomon could have been suspended from the chamber. However, he remained in the Legislative Assembly for the rest of the sitting.

During his closing contribution to the debate on his motion, Miller pointed out to the House that the members were observing the ultimate exercise in self restraint following the various comments aimed at him made by the fourth elected member for George Town.  “To say I have suddenly grown a brain is rather uncomplimentary,” said Miller, adding that the comments by the government member illustrated what had happened to the political arena in Cayman, which was not always for the best.  

He noted that what he did was for and on behalf of his constituents and it never ceased to amaze him how things done with the greatest intentions could, at the first opportunity, be denigrated, but he suspected that everyone would rise to their own levelsof competence or for that matter incompetence.

“When I bring a motion to this House, it is on behalf of the people of North Side that I serve,” Miller noted.

As he wound up the debate on his motion, the member for North Side and veteran of the LA, warned government that he would not be fobbed off with a feel good ‘yes’ and he would be waiting to see his motion become legislation in good time. Miller said he believed there was provision in the standing orders for him to draw up the legislation based on his motion himself and he would be looking at how to do that should he not see evidence of government taking his motion seriously now it was accepted.

Category: Headline News

Comments (40)

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  1. Dennis Smith says:

    I think most of the comments posted here are off the mark.

    Ezzard appears to be concerned about foreign controlled and financed business operating in Cayman. Although the example that he used was a thinly veiled reference to the Dart group, which I believe is Caymanian owned, there are a lot of enterprises in Cayman that fit within his area of concern. Whether they can or should be regulated is an open question at the moment.

    I suspect that if we really knew the full extent of these business activities and their deep penetration into our commercial infrastructure we would be very surprised. We might just discover that many of the local enterprises that are competitive fit in this category. As a point of reference, every one of them is a Caymanian corporation with Caymanian directors who have the ability to influence the success of the enterprise.

    Unwinding this well entranced business practice may be impossible and impractical. As with all Cayman Protection programs it will resonate well with the electorate, but I can’t imagine that it will change anything at the well financed level.

    What it will do is make it very difficult for the small Caymanian businessman to partner with a likeminded foreign investor on a new business. That will preserve the status quo for existing business and leave the poor poorer.

    If our politicians really wanted to help Caymanian business they would concentrate on opening up a small business equity or stock market for local operating enterprises. There are many mature and established businesses that would like to sell out and we don’t have a market place for local equity investments. This explains why the large investors that are here can dominate the business environment. Ironically I’ve been told that reason why we don’t have a stock market for Caymanian businesses is the question of majority Caymanian ownership. Maybe we should be making it easier for foreign investors to finance local business instead of harder.
     

  2. Commons Sense 101 says:

    It really makes me sick to know that a portion of my fees paid to our government is being used to fund Elio’s monthly salary!

    This is the second time that he has demonstrated the the size of his EGO and the level of his igronance to the people of Cayman.

    We often hear people crying out for young talented Caymanians to "step up" and offer themselves as fresh new leaders for our government but I don’t think this is the type of character that people have in mind, at least I hope not.

    There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with the views of the opposition but disrepecting them to this level is unacceptable and only demonstrates immaturity and total lack of professionalism.

    I am very dissappointed that he was not made to publicly apologise to Mr. Miller.

    With regards to Mr. Miller’s motion, while I do understand its intent, I believe that the net long term economic impact will be to the detriment of the Cayman people.

  3. Anonymous says:

    thank you ezzard, you have just given everybody an even better reason to buy everything they possibly can in the states..which i will continue to do unless somebody explainowhy there is a 100% mark up on goods and services in cayman compared to the states

  4. Civil dialogue says:

    YES, Protectionism can harm economic growth but it’s also true to say that nearly all countries use some sort of protectionist measures in an attempt to protect certain small domestic industries from being overrun by large conglomerate.

    There are different levels of protectionism in our laws. The US and other countries are also well known for them. It is said that, “most of the world’s economists prefer free trade; however, they also acknowledge that protectionism benefits some sectors in the economy”. I support Mr. Miller in this regard.

    Mr. Solomon was indeed “out of place” with his remarks and I trust the speaker will act in a manner to deter repetitious acts.

  5. Regretful West Bayer says:

    I used to think that we West Bayer’s were smart people with good common sense. But now more and more I realize that that acknowledgement belongs to only the people of North Side!!!

    I guess it does pay to live on the far side of the island away from all the bad influences!!

    Thank God they voted this man in!!

    He has shown nothing but leadership skills. And I know he would do a much better job than ANYBODY else in the L.A. at this time.

    My only hope is, that ‘Mr. Mike" Adam decides to part ways with the UDP before his character is taken down too!

    That would be my hope now, to see Ezzard and Mike take over Gov’t leaderships!!!

    BTW: I watched the footage on TV of Mac’s meeting on the courts Monday night – couldn’t help but laugh when I saw Julianna’s expression to when Mac said: "I man born yah…." It was CLASSIC!

    Just shows what a FOOL she thinks he is too!! He always trying to sound so "dilbutish" in his talk – but he actually makes us Caymanians look STUPID.

    Almost like he wants us to remember "See, I talks likes dis so I is a Caymanian tru and tru"!! Well Mac, maybe stop running up and down with your foreign posse and we MIGHT believe yah one day!!!

    McKeeva will go down in our history books as not just the first preimer, but as the WORST politician of our NATION!

     

  6. Anonymous says:

    Good looking out Ezzard.  I too understand that things are expensive here in Cayman, but I have to live here for the rest of my life so therefore I will support the local economy as much as I can.  In other words, I do buy products from overseas (items I cannot find here or are the mark-up is too much) but there is still a lot that I buy here.  So if it costs the same or just a little more to buy it overseas I will support the Cayman economy and buy it here.  At least in the end if I have a problem with the product I can easily get in my car drive to the store and discuss it face to face with the store customer service representative. 

  7. Anonymous says:

    I went to the US to buy all appliances for my house, i stayed a week, rented a car, went to dinner, bought a fridge, microwave, stove, washer and a dryer. Shipped it all home, paid duty had it delivered and spend the exact same amount of money as if I bought it here.

    I did the same for some car parts. One particular item was 900 CI. I got it myself for 200 US. I didn’t even had to wait 6 weeks.

    Gas prices are double compared to where it comes from. Gas prices are steadily dropping worldwide, except here.

    Internet is 3 times that expensive compared to "free" countries. Same for TV.

    I want friends to come over, but can’t find a hotel for less than 200 a night.

    I see people working hard, making 5 dollars an hour, paying high rent, have no health insurance , no pension.

    Competition benefits the consumer, and forces lazy business owners to be creative. It makes shopping really shopping instead of being ripped of because "they" are the only ones selling "it".

    Politicians are business owners, what can you expect.

    People, my advice is to buy overseas, whether it is Panama, the US, anywhere. Buy over the internet.

    Or just go there. And they are also open on sunday.

    Mr. Miller was the only politician I felt had a heart for his people. I know start to doubt. Doesn’t he own a small hardware store somewhere ?

    Can somebody post a list with politicians name and business interests ?

    We are already 50 years behind the rest with our conservative  and religion driven society. Don’t put another 50 on it by forcing people to buy from just 5 wealthy families that control business, schools, banks and churches.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    • Anonymous says:

       Sunset House and Comfort Suites, both around 125 a night.

      • Anonymous says:

        wrong! maybe 125 as a special offer rate for locals in the off season…maybe

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes To The US!

       

      I’ll definitely shop in the US any day!

       

      As for Ezzard owning a hardware store, if am not mistaken he sold that business out long ago my friend before election as well….CNS can you confirm this ? If so I would be grateful!

      Simple fact is, Ezzard is the only one fighting for the Country yet it’s so hard for the local man to actually believe after being sold over & over again, but yes Cayman we have someone if not no more than one person left with in the Government who still cares for this poor Country!

      Thank you so much Mr. Miller! I think we’re having the march for all the wrong reasons, instead we should be marching to reelect Mr. Miller as the new Premier!

       

      God help us all!

    • Anonymous says:

       I agree that only a few wealthy families are dominating the business scene,unfortunately the majority of these are not local.Just look at who owns most of downtown,who wanted to build the dock  and develop the waterfront under PPM,who wants to do the same now.Certainly not wealthy Caymanians.

  8. papelcaymanian says:

     They say every country has the Government they deserve.

     

    Unfortunately, in our case, we also seem to have the Opposition we deserve.
     
    By the way, fronting is already illegal. No need for new laws.

     

  9. Anonymous says:

    This is hardly fair trade. It just means that the costs of living keep on their explosive upwards spiral becasue nobody is allowed to compete against the monopolies.

    The Caymanian businesses are well known for already treating all workers (Caymanian and expat) like rubbish so the average caymanian would not benefit from this anyway. Only the few rich, connected Caymanians that own the monopoly businesses would thrive. Because these people are mostly related to the politicians it is pretty obvious that this kind of bill will go through.

    Obviously by limiting competition the economy will continue to die. The Caymanian businesses will up their prices so much that more people cannot afford their goods, therefore making them get rid of their few remaining Caymanian employees and replacing them with cheaper foreign labour.

    If only the government and other retards could see the long term damage that this kind of protectionism creates. They are purely motivated by making personal gains and looking after their own interests and those of their cronies and ‘campaign funders’.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard, I have more and more respect for you every day! I don’t always agree with your point of view but you are a man who says what he believes and I always know where you stand. No lies, no buying of votes and no self serving interests. You truly have Cayman at heart ! 

    Elio, I wish you could grow a brain ! Your uncouth, disrespectful and unqualified…  disgraceful !!

    Rolston, what are you doing with this bunch of jokers?  

    • A Concerned Caymanian says:

      I agree the Rolston is a bright light amogst his peers and I hope to see some changes in the next 3 years.

  11. Anonymous says:

    no respect as a serving memeber….now do you all see why this MARCH is necessary?

  12. TheTruth says:

    Great work Miller, at least one of you defending us

    Cayman open your eyes this man is helping and always have been.

     

     

  13. Anonymous says:

    protectionist politics again from ezzard…. cayman will only grow strong when it can learn to stand on it’s own two feet….

    this will scare off foreign investment and maintain the already high cost of living which is crippling cayman

    ezzard if you like protectionist policies so much I reccomend you got to cuba for a few years….

    • anony says:

      Again Mr. Ezzard Miller is showing leadership abilities, not only is he protective of jobs for Caymanians but he is protective and proactive in ensuringsmall businesses in the Cayman Islands are supported by government and has acted as a re sponsible  legislator with a brain to put the necessary llegislation on the table for us.

      This new law protects the small businesses or (small fry) from being devoured by the big fish (sharks).This is needed in the transportation business very urgently.

      this is good leadership and we should be appreciative of it. we should seriously consider Ezzard for Premier.

      • Anonymous says:

        I will say yes to that. Mr Ezzard would have certainly been a good Premier, and in fact would have represented us and made us proud as the Deputy.

      • Anonymous says:

        Even the possibility of Ezzard as the premier would cause nearly every financial sevice operating on the island to move elsewhere.

        BVI, Bahamas, Singapore, Switzerland, Curacao, Dubai, Canada, Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey, Turks, Mauritius, New Zealand and every other financial center will be contributing heavily to Ezzard’s campain coffers.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Cayman needs to realize that its government is the cause of Cayman’s problems, not the solution.

    The fact is, private industry here is being strangled by high costs and intrusive regulation.

    The last thing Cayman needs is more costs and regulation.

    Private businesses are screaming for relief as they hang on by threads while trying to make ends meet

    How much more handwriting on the wall does government need to see before it recognizes that the cost of itself is killing the Cayman economy, and ruining its own foundation?

     

  15. Anonymous says:

    Ellio – it’s so scary that someone voted forhim….. he just doesn’t get that  the real Caymanian traditions of respect and politeness  really do apply to him. Typically opens mouth and yabbers – maybe its his brain that should start growing… 

    • Anonymous says:

      Elio was not only abusive to the Oppostion, but disrespectful to the Chair. This young man is not only egotistical  beyond reason but lacks basic manners. God help us if he is ever given real power.

      • A Concerned Caymanian says:

        I am very concerned that people actually voted for this man but I have a feeling he will not be seeing this opportunity in the near future again.  Hopefully he will grow as a person and maybe in the next 10 to 15 years he can emerge a better man.

      • T-bone says:

        so he’s very like many of our young born and bred Caymanian men then

      • Anonymous says:

        Ever heard the saying? " The higher the monkey go the quicker he shows his ass.

      • Anonymous says:

        You are absolutely right. Elio is for Elio and God help us all. Are there any out there who really care about Cayman?

  16. Adam Smith says:

    How naive.  This is protectionsim and protectionism restricts the economy’s growth, costs Caymanian jobs, increases prices for consumers, reduces the quality of service and holds back innovation.  This law only has one effect – provide oligopolistic profits for the wealthiest 5% of Caymanians who are the capital owning families.

  17. Anonymous says:

    “Competition is good but when the playing field is not level it is not fair”

    A VERY TRUE STATEMENT!

    And I must commend Ezzard for looking out for Caymanians, because their are so many who want to use us, see us fail, and don’t want to contribute, or at least show appreciation to those Caymanians who helped them to climb the golden ladder. You have people in the world who are cruel and greedy. I have even sense some of the commentators on CNS as being Anti-Caymanian because you can tell from their comments they are against the financial industry and particularly, the hardworking Caymanian people. It doesn’t surprise me that many of them have permits here, sit behind their desk and think up what negative they can post. Many so call "big shots" come here for the solve purpose of making money. There is no humanity in them. All they think about is how much land, beach, exploitation of our young men, beautiful women, or monies they can use or take away with them on the next flight.

    This is reality. It is sad, but this is the world we are living in today –

    A FOOLISH RAT RACE

     

    • Anonymous says:

      well thought out. lets put in place a law that prevents all inward investment, while we are at it, lets kick out all the expats and close the boarders. that way the island can thrive, there would be jobs all around, every caymanian would be a CEO or brain surgeon, no need to let a lack of education get in the way any more since there will be no competition at all. Every single caymanian will then have a huge house, a huge car and all could be ever so godly, going to church every sunday morning before going of to see their mistresses every sunday afternoon. what a perfect world. what could possibly go wrong? Investment bad, protectionism good. get rid of all the furruners and sales of everyting will go through the roof! so easy why didn’t we think of this before. Ezzard you are a champion.

      • Anonymous says:

        I get that this is sarcastic, but this is just as ugly as the post as it responds to.

      • tamara says:

        lol… the commentor was never saying any of these things.

        You just have something out against Caymanians, and want to see the country go Independence, rallying for Ezzard.

        You make me laugh cause you’re a joke. ;o) 

        • anony says:

          stop your lies, Ezzard will make a good premier, stop your scare tatics!

          By the time Cayman goes independent which is NEVER Ezzard will be an ollll, old man about 100 years old?

          Lets make him premier while we have him in the house. northsiders bring him back please.

      • Anonymous says:

        02/26/2010 – 09:16. Its people with your attitude that is creating friction in our society. May I suggest that you would be much better off in your own country? And my question to you is – Are you anybody in your own country?

        • Anonymous says:

          typical caymanian response when they have lost an argument…’go home’ …zzzzzzzzz

    • Anonymous says:

      So, let’s get this straight:

      1) you introduce rollover to stop anyone wanting to settle and let furriners know they should only come for a couple of years.

      2) you decry them for trying to save any money to take home with them after the two years hard work here, or even them sending money to their starving children back in Jamaica or the Philippines they were not allowed to bring here.

      So why in your eyes should any of these durty, theiving, good for nuffing, "stay away from my daughter you cur!" furriners come to Cayman?

      To meet lovely people like you?

    • watler says:

      Thank you for telling it like it is!

      From a Concerned Caymanian that see the wolves outnumbering them.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard, thank you! I am a proud North Sider and in my opinion it is becoming more apparent everyday that you are truly the representative of all Caymanians.  Keep up the good work and continue to ignore the ignorant attacks.

    • Kman says:

      "truly the representative of all Caymanians"

      Well except those doing all the fronting and getting rich from it