TCI business community fights back at VAT

| 26/06/2012

regattaIMG_1353a_0.jpg(CNS): The UK government’s proposal to implement VAT in the Turks and Caicos Islands to plug the public finances has been meant with concerted opposition from the business community. A new pressure group, the Turks and Caicos Independent Business Council (TCIBC) has been formed by a broad group of concerned individuals from all sectors of the economy and business community to campaign against the move which it says is inappropriate for the islands’ economy as they accused the British bureacrats of imposing a cookie cutter, tax system that won’t work in the Caribbean territory. Some 3000 people have already signed the petition and the TCIBC said the UK could not impose a tax that was rejected by the community.

“We have a common purpose in that we are all unified in our opposition to the introduction of VAT in the Turks and Caicos Islands,” a spokesperson for the new private sector pressure group stated. “We send a clear warning to Chancellor George Osborne that we represent the interests of all the leading businesses in the country and indeed it can be said that our views are representative of virtually every business concern.

“We are deeply concerned about the expected negative effects of the hasty introduction of VAT into the island’s tax structure.  As business professionals we do not have a problem with taxation and recognize the need to fund government.”

The TCIBC said it did have a major problem however with VAT because of “its inappropriate nature” for the Turks and Caicos Islands and its unique economy and point of development.  “We believe that the recent gains in economic sustainability will be lost with the imposition of this "boiler plate", cookie cutter, tax system,” it stated in a release. “This new VAT tax is not driven by a "grass roots" initiative, but is a politically driven tax imposed upon us by distant bureaucrats based in Europe without effective due process and regard to our specific economy and its future development. One size does not fit all.’

The business group said it intended to continue the debate on VAT through wider public education and dissemination of information. The group made it clear that it would oppose and resist the introduction of VAT through whatever legal mechanisms it could use including public consultations and education through the press, TV and radio.

“This task has already begun with over 3000 people having already signed a petition opposing VAT. Many more are joining us daily, “the group revealed. “This is not a done deal as many think. No government or administration can impose any policy upon a community if that community refuses to accept the policy.

TCIBC’s newly appointed Chairman, Clive Stanbrook, a local businessman and Queen’s Counsel, said the group was sending a clear message to the British Government. “t is the view of virtually the entire business community in the Turks and Caicos that a VAT tax is inappropriate, costly, cumbersome and unnecessary at this stage in the development of these Islands. In the short term it is clear that the existing taxation systems can be relied upon to raise such extra revenue as may be needed," he added.

Last week officials from the TCI interim government defended the VAT proposal as a way to plug the hole created by the previous government’s alleged corruption and mismanagement of public money.  Chief Financial Officer Hugh McGarel-Groves said Introducing VAT would strengthen the country’s fragile recovery with a simpler, equitable and stable source of government revenue.

Hitting out against those opposing the tax McGarel-Groves asked what alternatives there were to the benefits of VAT and suggested the opposition came from those who are currently paying no tax at all.

“Given the difficulties endured by the TCI economy since the collapse of the last government, it is in the best interests of the entire community to ensure that government finances are secure and that it can continue to develop expenditure plans in line with local peoples’ priorities,” the chief financial officer said.

He added that VAT was a proven system across the Caribbean and would be straightforward to administer as a single form of taxation replacing the five different sets that are currently levied in the UK territory.

 

Category: World News

Comments (23)

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  1. Whodatis says:

    Judging by many of the comments on this thread, it is blatantly obvious that many readers have not turned on their tellies, clicked on to the internet, or opened a British newspaper as of late.

    Folks, to compare the current (political, economic, socioeconomic, anti-corruption etc.) standing of the Cayman Islands negatively to the UK's is beyond madness.

    The statistics speak for themselves – not to mention the ongoing court cases and daily news headlines.

    Cameron would give his right arm to be facing the supposed "crisis" thatwe are in the Cayman Islands … not to mention ol' "U-Turn Specialist", George Osbourne.

    The UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer is as likely to come up with a valid and sound budget as is our blundering, "uneducated" McKeeva Bush.

    (Lol, that is actually quite funny when you think of it.)

    We will continue to entertain your cute little feel-good rants – but at the end of the day, we all know the truth of the matter.

    Good day.

    • Later Ron says:

      Delusional, as ever.

    • O'Really says:

       

      You keep banging on about statistics speaking for themselves, but never actually present any. Since your obvious obsession is with the UK, here are a few relevant stats:

       

      The UK has 915 times the land mass of the CI

      The UK has a population 1200 times that of the CI

      The UK has an economy 1100 times that of the CI

      The UK has a murder rate 10 times less than that of the CI

      The UK has 1 political leader out of 650 elected MP's linked to a possible scandal; the CI has 1 leader out of 15 MLAs linked to 3 possible scandals  

      The UK has a current unemployment rate of 8.3% and a shortfall of jobs; the CI has an unemployment rate of 9.8% for Caymanians and 2 jobs for every one of them.

       

      So I agree with you that to compare the current standing of the CI to the UK is beyond madness, yet for some reason you keep doing it. 

       

      • Anonymous says:

        "The UK has a murder rate 10 times less than that of the CI" ???? LOL.  OReally, are you kidding me???!!!  Could you please post the link so we can finish rubbing our eyes in disbelief in what you just said!  The highest annual murder rate in the Cayman Islands was 7 !  That is better than most places and I am sure that a country with a population that is more than 1200 times our population, they have had at least a 100 murders in one year.  OReally, stop talking nonsense!  Show me the link and I'll believe what you say.  I know you want to argue with Whodatis, but please stop throwing out junk to prove a point !!!   
         

        • O'Really says:

           

          After you have finished rubbing your eyes, you could try engaging your brain. The term I used was " murder rate " which is usually expressed as the number of murders per 1000, 10,000, 100,000  – whichever ratio you would like to use. This is not the same, obviously, as the total number of murders committed in a country, but is a mechanism to allow meaningful comparisons between countries of vastly different sizes.

           

          To support my position, here is a link to a CNS article giving the number of murders in Cayman in the last 8 years – just under 5.5 annual average: population roughly 55,000: murder rate 1 per 10,000 of population or 10 per 100,000.

           

          http://centos6-httpd22-php56-mysql55.installer.magneticone.com/o_belozerov/31115drupal622/crime/2012/05/15/murder-cold-cases-mount

           

          Here is a link to a recent UK newspaper article giving the number of murders in the year to Sept. 30, 2011 as 636. Population of UK roughly 65,000,000. Murder rate roughly 1 every 102,000 of population, approx 10 times less than Cayman.

           

          http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jan/19/murder-rate-rose-5-percent

           

          Here's another link showing murder rates per country – you will have to scroll down quite a way to find the UK:

           

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate 

           

          UK is slightly higher here at 1.23 per 100,000 but do you really want to argue the difference? You might want to compare Cayman's rate to this table – then you might have cause to rub your eyes.

           

        • C'mon now says:

          If you accept OReally's figures you should take your medicine and admit you were wrong. If you reject them, then give your (hopefully well argued) reasons, preferably with evidence. This applies to Whodatis too (or are you one and the same?)

  2. Truth Hurts says:

    I love "pressure groups" like this. Opposed to anything done to try and solve the problems, but unwilling to come up with any viable alternative solutions, unless of course those solutions put the burden on someone else. Make someone else pay!….don't care who, how, when or where, but just not me. It is the selfish, self-centered approach of trying to get everyone else to shoulder the burden rather than taking a share of the load yourself.

    • TCIBC says:

      We have solutions believe it or not. The UK has lost the plot, if the UK will not let you borrow a little to tide you over; you must make the necessary cuts in expenditure. VAT will kill Cayman, Bahamas or the Turks & Caicos. Miller was 100% right…don't be fooled by the UK, they are making one hell of a mess of things…

  3. Michel says:

    It could easely be our flag in that pretty picture and we could face the same fate. The UK is for the UK FIRST. And as surreal as it may appear we are heading on the same road due to the lack of transparency and now failing to balance the budget. This is not good and it's  like a movie I have seen in the past and did not like the ending. Please go vote on July 18th. and Lord's Willing we the people may at least show the UK that we are quite capable as and not ignorant population. It's just that the bushel of apples as been destroyed by some rotten apples in it. And the apples don't fall far from the tree. We need to restore our reputation destroyed by one person with the help of some of his yes man. very disturbing and not funny at all anymore. God Bless our people and our Beloved Cayman Islands. Michel Lemay

  4. Anonymous says:

    When you only have a hammer every problem looks like a nail.

  5. Free Speech says:

    "Some 3000 people have already signed the petition and the TCIBC said the UK could not impose a tax that was rejected by the community."  Well guess what?  The UK imposed direct rule on you… so think again.

     

  6. Whodatis says:

    I only trust that my fellow Caymanians are paying close attention.

    I will refrain from saying too much at the moment because every time I address the actions of the UK and FCO as it relates to the BOT's folks tend to get their knickers in a bunch.

    The opinion of a single, non-elected but newly appointed man, and an arrogant one at that, flops in merit when compared to the perspective of the homegrown, generational majority.

    However, some people and entities will immediately side with said individual. I wonder why?

    Watch for yourselves, folks. Behold, the good ol' FCO / UK staying true to form. (Video)

    (Why would I possibly respect and take on the perspective of an entity that clearly and explicitly does not consider my welfare as a priority? In reality, we B.O.T.C.'s are non-citizens of the supposed modern, democratic world. Our "government" can be over-ridden at any given point, and ultimately, we have no option but to accept whatever policy is handed down by entities to which we have no democratic input in regard to their authority or very existence. Just a friendly reminder.)

    • JD says:

      Thanks whodatis for that video link. I hope a number of people will realize that the UK interim administration, is TCI's curse. A less than 5% group of people out of the entire population wanted to get rid of the PNP party for corruption. They wanted UK full rule. Now they got what they wanted and worse, a UK dictatorship that is not accountable to anyone. What a lesson for us!

      • Anonymous says:

        so 95% were OK with PNP corruption?  Not hard to see that being the case here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Despite your rant, the fact remains that Caymanians have final control over their fate by virtue of having control over the issue of independence. Your status as a non-citizen ( if it existed )  is something within the control of Caymanians. If Cayman by action or inaction choses to remain a BOT, then it implicitly accepts the political structure, including UK ultimate oversight, which goes with this decision. Like so many in Cayman, you are incapable of recognising that both parties in a relationship are entitled to rights as well as having obligations. If Caymanians simply cannot accept that the UK has rights, then it's time for them to man up and go it alone.

       

      You detest the UK and everything it stands for, so here's a suggestion. Why don't you start a real grass roots movement for independence? You want democracy? Then ask your fellow Caymanians if they want independence. If the majority feels as you do, you will soon be rid of the yolk of colonialism; if they do not feel as you do – well that's democracy. I for one doubt Caymanians have the balls to do this because they fear that the cushy hand they have been dealt will rapidly disappear, but I remain open to being pleasantly surprised.

      • bradley says:

        It seems to you, we can either remain in colonialism or go into Independence. Is that all the options we have?  Of course not!  I would hope Whodatis stands for the option of kicking these colonial lords in the arse and letting them know we want respect, first for our democracy. So the Third Option my friend is to Fight for our Rights and Demand Respect. Not lay down and say we under UK husband and stuck with him because he might let us go!  How whimpish could you be!  FYI, Caymanian fishermen were not whimpish!

        • Anonymous says:

          Feel free to fight for your rights, but it would be a good idea if you understood them first. It is not a right of Caymanians, as long as they chose to remain a BOT, to throw off the UK's ultimate political power. If you don't like the fact that the Governor can intervene in local political decisions, tough. That is part of the price of remaining a BOT. You either accept it or you move to independence. The UK has been crystal clear on this and again if you don't like it, tough.

           

          If you have to demand respect, you have little chance of obtaining it.  Every decision taken by your government, every statement made by your politicians, every action taken by your immigration department, to give just three examples, contributes to the image of modern Cayman. As I type this, the first three stories on CNS concern the failure of the government to bring a budget, the borderline corrupt proposal to grant funds to voters and the proposal to increase liquor licence fees because government is unwilling to cut spending. A read through the first couple of pages of CNS news section throws up headline after headline where the issue under discussion is inherenty unlikely to engender respect.

           

          So if Caymanians feel others act towards them in a disrespectful manner, maybe a good hard look in the mirror is required. To echo my first post, I doubt Cayman has the balls for this either, if only because to effect change you would have to stop writing infantile comments to CNS and get off your ass and do something.

           

          I'm not sure what Caymanian fishermen have to do with anything, but are you under the impression that fishing in the Caribbean is somehow more dangerous than fishing in the North Atlantic or North Sea?

           

           

          • Born Caymanian.. says:

            What are you talking about?  Caymanians really have no choice. Yes, we elected the MLAs to represent us. But the system of government was composed by those in government, our Constitution was composed by the UK, some local politicians, and religious leaders – the wording of it was phrased for their interest.  If we ever try to change what they have constructed, we will be all considered outlaws. So the UK may not "respect" the members of government who represent Cayman, but the people have a screwed up system, and really that is not the people's fault. When leaders here composed the Constitution, the UK took out and added in what they please. They had little choice in the process. So you can say we are not worthy of respect from the UK all you want, but we really are, and I would encourage all Caymanians to fight for that respect that the people rightfully deserve. There is always a middle ground. You tell lies when you say it is either this way or that way. That is false.

            • Anonymous says:

              What I'm talking about is the acceptance of reponsibility by Caymanians for their own actions and those that represent them. It is generally actions or the lack thereof which generates or fails to generate respect.

               

              Your post shows a complete failure to accept responsibility for anything. You elected politicians, but that's not your fault. Your politicians and religous leaders negotiated a constitution, but that's not your fault. You don't mention it, but the people voted for the adoption of the Constitution but I'm sure you feel that's not their fault. You have a screwed up system and the capacity to radically change it by seeking independence, but that's not your fault.

               

              I did not comment on whether Caymanians deserve respect from the UK or anyone else. I commented that respect is not demanded, it is earned. Your post did nothing to help this cause.

              • Born Caymanian.. says:

                No you are the one who is wrong here!  I accept full responsibility, and know many responsible Caymanians that have never neglected their civil duties. It is people like you that fail to accept that the UK has a huge "responsibility" to the world and united nations to uphold the democratic values and principles it claims to preach. Don't come here and make statements about Caymanians are the ones to blame solo. You should know better than that!

                • Anonymous says:

                  I'm not at all sure that I can be wrong when I am simply expressing an opinion, so I don't accept yourfirst sentence based on the fact it is logically flawed. I have another opinion which is that while you write the words  " I accept full responsibility…"  upon being challenged, this statement flies in the face of the sentiment expressed in your first post. I won't say you're wrong, I just don't believe you.

                   

                   

        • noname says:

          True respect is gained.  With an increasingly incompetent leader and a pathetic excuse for a government there should be NO respect shown.

        • Anonymous says:

          Respect is earned. You have not earned any yet.