MLAs call for more fee cuts

| 27/10/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand cayman island headline news(CNS): Both the opposition and the independent legislative members expressed disappointment on Tuesday over government’s decision to reduce only the cost of key employee applications and no other work permit related fees. In the wake of government’s announcement on Monday that it was halving the fee employers will have to pay to secure key status for staff, Ezzard Miller said he was dumbfounded that government would choose to reduce the one fee of least assistance to Caymanians. His legislative colleague and opposition frontbencher Alden McLaughlin said the PPM was also disappointed that, having recognised the damage the fee increases are doing to business, government would choose to reduce only this fee and called for an across the board fee reduction.

McLaughlin said he would be filing a motion for the next sitting of the Legislative Assembly to ask government, yet again, to reduce fees as the increases were having the opposite affect intended by government. Instead of bringing in more revenue, the increases were stifling business and leading employers to cut staff rather than pay more fees.

“We said from the beginning that all the additional work permit fees, generally were going to have the opposite affect from that intended by the government, " McLaughlin told CNS. “More importantly, we warned that it would result in increased pressure on small businesses.”

Despite calls from the opposition and the independent member for North Side, Ezzard Miller, for government to reduce the fees and stimulate the local economy, the calls have gone unheeded until now.

“We are disappointed that when government finally recognises the damage the increase in fees has had, it has chosen to reduce only the key employee fee," McLaughlin said. “I am submitting a motion requesting that government reduce all of the fees associated with work permits now that it has recognised that the fee increases are an important issue.”

Miller also told CNS that he was very disappointed when he heard the news that from the entire fee reductions government could have made it chose to reduce the one that was of considerably less benefit to Caymanians than it was to foreign workers.

“What frustrates me, the thing I find confounding, is why the government continues to pass legislation that makes it harder for Caymanians to progress in the work place,” he said. “I have a moral obligation to represent the interests of the Caymanians who elected me. When are we going to make it easier for those people to get on in the work place rather than people who come here out of their own choice?" Miller asked rhetorically.

The North Side representative pondered the possibility that government members were getting very different representation from their constituents than the ones he received. He pointed out that none of his constituents were asking for a reduction in key employee fees but they were all asking for a reduction in the work permit fees for the staff needed in small businesses, such as bookkeepers.

Miller also issued a warning about the wider implications as key employee status became more common. He noted that the permanent residency board would find it increasingly difficult to turn down residency requests that will be made by those individuals when they reached the eligible time. Miller pointed out that the reasons that are given to justify key status are similar to those given for PR.

“It is going to get very difficult for the PR board to deny residency to these persons who have been designated key after one government board has conveyed such an important status on them,” Miller suggested.

The Legislative Assembly is set to resume next week, when immigration is likely to be only one of a number of controversial subjects before the House members.

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  1. Referee says:

    When will this Expat VS. Cayman stop. Darn, I am fearing that they will fist fight one of these days

  2. Anonymous says:

    "Ezzard Miller said he was dumbfounded that government would choose to reduce the one fee of least assistance to Caymanians."

    Miller is the only opposition member who makes sense!

    Why target this fee when their are so many other fees to reduce and can help everyone else in the long run. What a backward world we’re living in!

  3. Young Business Head says:

     

    If a business is slow, they have a sale to stimulate revenue.

    Government has elected to raise fees to stimulate revenue.

    WRONG IDEA!

    Please run the government more like a business.

    Lower the fees please!

    Govt promised that the fee hikes were only for a year.

    They also promised to drop the garbage fee which hasn’t happened yet.

    Lets see if they are going to keep their promises.

    • Anonymous says:

      There are only 50 days to go before the premiers predicted miracle recovery of Cayman’s economy. However, I believe that Mckeeva Bush thinks that with the recent loan package agreement with Cohen & Co. LLC he has already achieved his predicted miracle because above all else he now has millions more to spend on travel as well as his other favourite perks. What more can he want & how much more successful can he be in his own eyes than to have arranged such a large loan package that will free up the country’s finances a little thus allowing him to travel even more. What a lucky chap because that is a lot of first class travel & 5 star accomodation on the governments money!

      • Anonymous says:

        Don’t forget the timing for the official announcement of the East End plans.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Key Employees are the best public sector work permit category to ensure gets kept. Why?
     

    Key Employees are normally high ranking senior mgmt – Director level upwards. With these positions ,come many people working under that person in a department. Quite often, young Cayman professionals work under this key employee.

    You get rid of the key employee or make the work permit fee too high  and the organization gets fed up and termintates/transfer the staff & the position off island – then you loose a whole team of people – not just one.

    If that key employee is not at the company – a whole department does not exist either.

    The UDP may not not do a lot fo things right, but they are right to keep this category of people here on island and ensure their work permit gets approved.

     

     

    • Anonymous says:

      ‘Key Employees are normally high ranking senior mgmt – Director level upwards.’

      Are you sure about this?

      Don’t you think some companies create/adapt job descriptions which are advertised in the paper for work permits and renewals for a specific person, which are not necessarily ‘Director level upwards’.  They then become ‘key employees’.

       

  5. Truth says:

    Mr Miller

    Why don’t you tell your constituents that instead of dropping Permit fees for say book-keepers they simply employ one of the thousands of unemployed Caymanians you keep talking about.

    Then they won’t have to pay an workpermit fees, and as you claim a Caymanian can do any job, so why do your constituents ned permit fees reduced? 

  6. Anonymous says:

    grow up and get it over it…the govt is not to blame for the one-track mentality of us caymanians! try understanding the issue a little further than "ooohhhh, more foreigners ya’.." what exactly is your issue??!! the foreigners (most of) are here to do the work we dont want, or dont know how to do.. how many of our caymanian young men are given the chance at a job and screw it up by getting caught with drugs of some sort, or oversleeping everyday and cant make it in, or are simply hungover from getting wasted the night before..? be real, alot of caymanians are being handed opportunities, and are throwing them away, I would say a mere lack of ambition,. of course the sincere ones that are struggling, and hustling for a real job, yes, unfortunately there are many that are not getting work, which is sad. but employers now are trying to cut back because they have no choice, and the caymanians that throw their hands up because the dont want to work in the sun for $8 an hour are being replaced by ‘foreigners’ who come from a poor society, and values every cent.. that $8 be it, may be sent back to the philipines, or honduras, or cuba, or trinidad, or canada, or jamaica, wherever! and it means something to them—that is why they are here afterall, to try to make a living, and support their families, who are in countries around the world.. it is high time we wake up around here, and see the big picture for what it is. we have young ambitious caymanians struggling to keep their good jobs, keep their homes, and make something for themselves in life. but there are far too many that are not. because they ‘choose’ the easy way, of a do-nothing-in life goal… and are not working towards having anything in life.. it is what it is.

    • Mike says:

      Well said Caymanian. Look this nonsense about foreigners coming here to take jobs or foreigners should go back to where the came from must stop. Caymanians need to understand that the economy needs a whole lot of people from the most qualified to the least. Picture this scenario Caymanians. The foreigner comes here, he has to buy a car, he has to buy gas, he has to eat, he has to rent a place. Who has cars to sell, Caymanians, who has places to rent, Caymanians, who owns the supermarkets, Caymanians. There are not enough Caymanians to keep this economy going and that is the big problem the country is experiencing right now. I understand that over 12,000 expats have left the island that economy cannot sustain itself without these numbers. So when a company is not making the kinds of profits it use to then it simply can afford to take on more staff or even keep the staff that it has employed. Simple. Caymanians, stop the expat bashing, you are only hurting yourselves.

  7. Bobby Anonymous says:

    Step one:

    Give status holders the right to vote.

    Step Two:

    One man one vote:

    Step Three:

    Two terms in office, FULL STOP.

    And if this don’t work, you can still blame the ex pats for everything.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Status holders have the right to vote, so long as they get naturalized…so really, it’s up to the status holder.

      • Bobby Anonymous says:

        And why should someone who is British by birth have to get naturlized?  Surely someone with a full British passport is British in all senses of the word and should have all the benifits being British in any British territory.

        As Caymanians to in Britain.

         

        • Anonymous says:

          Brits are now singing a completely different tune when the shoe is on the other foot. Up until the Overseas Territories Act in 2002 Caymanians always had British Passports but were not regarded by the UK as "British in all senses of the word". We had to queue along with every other foreigner in the Immigration Hall at Heathrow and were restricted from working – I got a nasty letter from the authorities when I spent a couple of weeks teaching as a summer job. Indeed it was the UK which  created separate citizenships – British Citizenship, British Dependent (now Overseas) Territories Citizenship in the British Nationality Act purposely to discriminate. No one seemed to see anything wrong with that at least so long as Hong Kong remain a British Territory. 

          Please note that we have full rights in the UK as British Citizens not as British Overseas Territories Citizens. What we are saying is that you should have full rights in Cayman as one having the right to be Caymanian with British Overseas Territories Citizenship, not simply as British Citizens. If you are willing to take this step it does say something about about your commitment to these Islands. If you are not, then it also says something. 

          In any event it is ridiculous to think that a nation of 62m people should have the same rights in a territory of 50,000 as the 20,000 people of that territory have in a nation of 62m. It fails the commonsense test. 

          Finally, rights were given on a non-reciprocal basis. It would be immoral to renege on the deal, but if you insist then you can have them back.     

               

          • Anonymous says:

            I hear this argument frequently but be real and look at the facts and figures rather than speculate.  Traditionally, of all the nationalities coming into Cayman and seeking residence, the UK is and always has represented a minute proportion.  This was the case both before, and even more since the Immigration Law changed. 

            You have absolutely no basis to suspect that the much if any of the entire 62M population of Britan would suddently rush into Cayman and seek residence.  Its simply never ever going to happen.  Even when residence was easy to obtain many years ago – before all the crime, the recession, the hate and everything else kicked in – hardly anybody from the UK sought to live here permanently – only a very very small percentage.  There’s no reason to suspect this will change any time in the future.  In fact the way things are going, this percentage is only going to reduce further.

            I am one of those who feel people coming here from the UK should be entitled to seek citizenship in Cayman, in exactly the same manner that British Citizenship is afforded to Caymanians in the UK.

            • Anonymous says:

              Your argument is based on an incorrect statement of the facts and is patently illogical. It is not true that "of all the nationalities coming into Cayman and seeking residence, the UK is and always has represented a minute proportion".  According to the ESO in 2006 at 1,822 the UK represented the 4th largest segment of nationalities of those on work permit after Jamaica and the Philippines and slightly behind Canada. Note that this did not include those employed by the Government which would tend to significantly improve the UK position over the Canadians. Even if your statement were true, obviously granting the right of abode could drastically alter that.

              Before Poland joined the EU in 2004 there were also relatively few Poles emigrating to Britain as compared to now when as EU citizens they have the right to move to Britain. The UK Govt. had expected there to be a mere 12,000 per year moving to Britain but instead there were some 600,000. See the linked report which described some of the problems. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/5231768.stm

              It obviously does not require that all 62m move for there to be a serious problem. 1/100 of 1% (6,200) would be sufficient. It would mean that our elections could be completely skewed by people who do not necessarily intend to make this their home, and that Caymanians would stand even less of a fighting chance in the job market. 

               "I am one of those who feel people coming here from the UK should be entitled to seek citizenship in Cayman". Absolutely. Provided you qualify. 

              • Anonymous says:

                1,822?  And what are the figures for the top 3 I wonder.  And then where (proportionately) would the UK sit in comparison then?  I find it hard to work with your figures for the UK, without seeing similar figures for the top 3 in order to put your whole argument in perspective.  Because 1,822 out of 62M is a drop in the ocean and far from ‘significant’ on the face of it.

                • Anonymous says:

                  The quote was "Traditionally, of ALL THE NATIONALITIES coming into Cayman and seeking residence, the UK is and always has represented a minute proportion".  I have shown that to be false.  The question was never whether the number of British immigrants was a minute proportion of the UK population (which would be irrelevant in any event) so please don’t try to obfuscate.

      • Pauly Cicero says:

        Status holders do not have the right to vote, end of story. Naturalised citizens do. Stop being disingenious. A frog could fly, if it had wings. It’s all up to the frog.

    • Anonymous says:

      If nothing worked for your country, then you know nothing that will work for mine

  8. Caymanian In Distress says:

    Politicians and diapers have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly and for the same reason!

     

  9. Caymanian says:

    I too must vent my disappointment in regards to the handling of "taxation" by Government.  I must say that I am certainly not a Partisian person and really don’t see the benefit in divide.  I just can’t fathom that concept. 

    I am however very disappointed that during times like these, when business are in deep mud and the people are crying out, it’s only "big"business that seems to be gaining benefit-except for "helpers".  All the small-medium businesses are in terrible shape and are in desperate need of some relaxation on fees etc without much success.

    Please, we are all asking you to keep a closerear to the ground and pulse on the beat of what’s really happeneing.  It’s really easy to make decisions on your own expirience and from a comfortable AC office and chair, but this is not helping the thousands who cannot pay their bills.

     

    You need to focus on the ground a little more.  You don’t have all the answers!!! No one does!  But a concerted effort from all concerned will be better fitted for us than just a select few, who appear out of touch. 

     

    Respect.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I just don’t get that this governemnt can’t grasp that lowering fees is not going to help. All the money is being sent to other countries by the millions every month and its leaving at a faster rate than coming in. Maybe what they should do is try lowering thier vacation prices and attract more tourist and also implement a 12 member FULL time work permit board to properly reveiew and access Caymanians that apply for jobs and see that they are more protected in getting it.

    Next hold back students that are not learning or employ specially trained teachers  to make sure they learn, even if they have to stay longer hours in school. The iliteracy problem maybe is because both parents have to work so much to pay the bills because of the high cost of living.( Maybe that 155 mil is going to partially fund the expantion of Northward)

    The foriengners that seek employment here basically live the better life and certain Caymanians have become the minority (actually too many) I have nothing against outside help, but we have reached a point now were we can sustain certain employment fields.

    Implement a law that employers can ask theie employees to do mandatory drug tests.

     

     

      

    • Anonymous says:

      All WHAT money is getting sent out every month? Helpers who make $150 a week? How much do they get to send out once they pay their own rent and bills and bus fare and food? Construction workers, same issue. And if you want to say, Yeah well they live all bunched up together so they don’t have to apy rent etc etc. and that’s how they get to send their money off to their homeland, well look at this. WE CAYMANIANS let them live like that, yes we do. Have you been down Northtown Courts recently down past Cox Lumber? The landlord there, she signs the immigration papers that say the apartment has 2 bedrooms and there are 4 people living in the apartment. Well guess what, that second bedroom is the KITCHEN that the apartment dwellers have turned into a bedroom by squishing 2 beds in there with the kitchen, and that landlord is signing all those immigration papers, and immigration is NOT GOING DOWN THERE to really check out how many people are living in those apartments. That is just ONE area that could be called a slum. Take a look down in Swamp at all those little shacks people are renting, everyone sharing one bathroom, no one has a kitchen. Check out down Dog City, Watler’s Road, Canal Lane off Crewe Road has one big house where there are 12 foreigners living there and one bathroom. Same thing. Why isn’t Immigraiont checking out these living conditions and seeing who is signing off on those papers saying how big the place is and how many people are living there. They are turning a BLIND EYE. So the sad thing is that we Caymanians are allowing the foreigners to live  here all bunched up together splitting small rents so they CAN send all their salaries home to support their families back home be it Jamaica Nicaragua Cuba Philippines or where ever.

       

      I totally agree with the random drug test by employers, lets see how many accountants fund managers etc come up positive for cocaine and ganja, its not just the Jamaicans and Caymanian young guys, it’s the rich higher working class expats too, but they never have to take a drug test only HIV test. Get some drug testing done and see who gets booted out of Cayman!

      r%

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree! Why in God’s name is the Immigration Department asking people to send in accommodation forms when no one follows up to investigate the condition of the premises? When people call or write to inform them of what is going on they are ignored or they pass the buck to either environmental health or the planning department neither of which have knowledge of the information on the immigration form!! Forget calling that department now anyway, your calls are just ignored. Franz is surely missed, he might not always say what we wanted to hear but he always had the manners to take or return our calls,

      • Anonymous says:

        Better yet drug test the civil service and boot out all who fail.  That would put you in line with the Millar report recomendations and cut Government expentatures in a big way.

    • Anonymous says:

      Isn’t mandatory drugs testing already legal? I know of at least one government department that has been hand picking certain Caymanian staff members and basically forcing them to do drugs tests, all of whom I understand tested negative by the way. That being so, I thought it was all legal.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Our government has forgotten about us Caymanians, our police cant be trusted, i’m starting to feel like leaving this place. maybe that is what they want us to do so i’ll stick around a little longer and watch them all fall, from big Mac right down to………

  12. Voice of Reason says:

     Now, this maybe a good point but so poorly expressed that it is difficult to interpret.

    Let’s hope the difficulties with the construction of the new schools are quickly resolved so that the next generation of grass root Caymanians are able to express themselves in a way which will garner respect and a genuine understanding amongst not only there own fellow compatriots but the international community (as a whole).

    It is possible that a very valid point is being made here. But, if it only a small proportion of its readers understands what is being said then how much weight can it carry? 

    A local dialect is to be treasured but the ability to express yourself in a manner which can be interpreted, understood and acted on by those who need to know what is being communicated is clearly important. It is not appropriate to have a two tier system where those in power are able to understand what is being said to them by the greater community but are the only people who can translate this into wording which can be acting on and dealt with those with the power to make changes.

    If the locally elected senior officials are to be the final determination of law then there can be no complaints when there can be no intervention from an outside overseeing function and safeguard. 

    There have been too many complaints of late about the abuse of power and inadequacy of a two party system. 

    At the moment there seems to be a conflict in views, does the pendulum swing towards a more locally controlled environment and society, free from outside interference, or does it swing towards a system where there is an outside moderation to prevent the excesses of localised and community based politics?

    Is the pendulum of control not currently in favour of local control?

    If this is the desired situation then is it not reasonable for external moderating influences to be free from blame? 

    Are the children happy?

     

     

    • Pro the little person says:

      A school is not the building but the transfer of information between teachers and students. Our educational issues come for the lack of parental and community involvement and also the don’t care attitude adopted by some teachers.

      It is not the party system that is failing but our politicians they lack reason and the ability to compromise, we as a country can’t move forward with "children" running our country.

      The pendulum is not in favour of local control if the economy is being drained and dragged deeper in to a recession and experiencing increasing inflation rates due to the senior elected officials not understanding economics and the law of demand and supply.

       

    • Anonymous says:

      A bit of the pot calling the kettle black? 

      I do believe you meant "their" instead of "there"  when you say "garner respect and a genuine understanding amongst not only there own fellow compatriots"?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Rollover only applies to the private sector. Why not apply it to expats on government contracts? Wouldn’t that be fair?

    Both political parties have ignored this issue.

    Ezzard, this is an issue you should take up.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are there really enough expats left doing the work in CIG to worry about?  Dosen’t seem like it and what is fair in Cayman?

  14. Anonymous says:

    WHY only reduction in permit fees what happen to us citizens us natives of this island with the C.U.C 25cents increase and fuel WHY is this GOVERNMENT only helping the expats and not their OWN, i know why because they are more of them than us locals to KEEP them in POWER at ELECTION time.

    • Anonymous says:

      Just wait a little more and there will not be many expats left on the island.  Government is intent on getting rid of all of them.  But you are truly a fool like them for thinking that they would help you too.  Better start thinking of helping your self.  Cayman is is the flush stage of its short existence.  Want a glance at the future of Cayman?  Watch T&C.

      • Anonymous says:

        The opposite is true in Cayman Brac. Government is busy importing people from the eastern Caribbean to work in positions formally held by Brackers.

      • Anonymous says:

        Expats are moving on to greener economic pastures but it is hardly the doing of the government who has been severely criticised for looking after the rights of foreigners above that of Caymanians.

        • sad but true says:

          Expats are hated by Caymanians, at least in the popular media.  Expats are the source of all crime and all other problems, so the marl road says (and certain would-be politicians).  I expect that has got something to do with the Exodus.  Who of means would stay where they are hated, when so many places are actively trying to recruit them to bring the business to their jurisdiction?

          Funny thing is that the professional expats in turn look at the labour expats and say "You know, it probably is those particular expats causing all the problems and making the locals wrongly hate us, but let’s leave anyway."  But the labour expat stays.

          If it is actually the labour expats causing all the problems, and I don’t say that it is true, then Caymanian’s misdirected hate has driven away the people who contribute to their own economy (the professionals) while keeping the very people (labout expats) who are the actual problem. 

          Funny how life works out sometimes.

    • Bobby Anonymous says:

      Just for the record,WE CAN"T VOTE. The likes of YOU voted them in. LIVE WITH IT!!!!!! OR DEAL WITH IT!!!!!!!!!!

    • Truth says:

      The expats also pay the extra 25c on CUC and fuel.

      The expats don’t see a monetary benfit form the drop in key employee fees.

      The companies employing them do (which are majority owned by Caymanians)

      Expats will not vote fro the UDP next election, BECAUSE EXPATS CAN"T VOTE

      If ignorance is bliss, you must be the happiest man alive

  15. Anonymous says:

    Can someone please tell me what is up with this UDP government. Have they gone stir crazy mad? They seem to be on a rampage to destroy our islands. We are now on life support & they seem intent on completely finishing us off. Am I crazy, because it seems like everyday the UDP government comes up with yet another crazy idea. Please opposition & independent member, please do something to stop them. We the people need help, our country needs help, & the premier is never here to help, & his cronies can’t do anything. We need help.

    • Anonymous says:

      The UDP has been stark crazy and self-serving all along.  Our chance to stop this was at the last election and we missed that opportunity electing them back to power.  Unfortunately now all Ezzard or anyone else can do now is raise ruckuss; they have little if not no power to do anything about stopping this.  Perhaps the voting public should educate themselves more about our parlimentary system and the implications of where you place your votes and what the knock-on effects of that may be before the next election.  Hopefully, we survive till the next election.

      • A man of God says:

         

        Mr. Mclaughlin / Miller, if you are going to bring a motion to the house requesting that Government reduce all work permits, please also bring a motion asking Government to collect 10% from all work permits holders from there salaries and this would help Government to make there they budget, instead of trying to balance they budget off work permits fee reduce it and use that 10% for infrastructure maintenance.

         

        • Freakin' 'ell!!! says:

          I doubt Cayman’s mouth is large enough to fit a barrel of that caliber into it, but the shot would be heard for a long long way.

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh dont worry, the govt’s unofficial legal brainsis educating the public on parliamentary procedure and showing how the government is right in all it does! Where have you been?? Haven’t you heard him at every given opportunity?

    • Anonymous says:

      Caymanians have got just what they voted for.  Themselves! The Cayman way has always been my way or nothing.  Help has been offered and refused.  Good luck.  Your going to need it.