Ridley proposes property tax

| 30/08/2009

(CNS): In response from demands from the UK, Tim Ridley, the former chair of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority and a founding partner of one of Cayman’s most successful offshore law firms, has made a strong argument for the introduction of property tax across the islands. A levy of just 0.25%, which would have a relatively low impact on the taxpayer, Ridley said, could add as much as $50 million a year to government coffers. He noted that it was the sort of local tax, or “community service charge” as he called it, that people who own property are accustomed to paying.

Speaking at the Ritz meeting on Thursday, where Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush told an audience of private sector stakeholders and civil servants that Cayman needed to present a plan to the UK demonstrating new ways of generating sustainable income for the treasury, Ridley said the UK had sent a clear message that Cayman needed to adopta permanent revenue solution.

After Bush shared a letter from the new Overseas Territories Minister, Christ Bryant, with the audience, (see UK tells Cayman to levy taxes) Ridley said, “The worrying message in that letter is long term sustainable revenue. There are very limited options to what might be palatable here.” Dismissing income tax and sales tax, he added, “One area I do think we are going to have to look at is property tax.”

Ridley went on to explain that packaged as a community service charge, if it was fair and equitable and levied on an annual basis it would represent a commitment from the Cayman government that the UK should find attractive. He noted that, given what the UK was saying about the islands’ over dependence on the financial services sector, the government needed to find ways of funding its operating budget that placed a fair burden on the community.

Ridley said he had advocated for a property tax in the past, and while he was well aware that it would make him few friends in the real estate business, it could make government a lot of money. He estimated that there was anything from $10-17 billion of real estate across the three islands and that just ¼ percent rate could raise a consist $50 million. He said that even allowing for concession on low value properties and people unable to pay, it was significant and in line with OECD recommendations that property taxes should trigger around 8-12 % of government’s annual revenue.

“Those of you with ½ million dollar properties would only pay $1,250 per annum, likewise $3 million $7,500 per annum,” he added, arguing that to say that would be unattractive to foreign investors was unrealistic given the kind of service and strata fees they pay to private sector management companies and resorts.

Ridley said people who own property overseas are used to paying local tax charges. He said in many areas local governments send bills with a breakdown of where the service charge goes, such as emergency services, police and garbage management. Ridley suggested an incentive was to combine the charge with a long term reduction of stamp duty, as any losses would be offset by the advent of a sustainable annual income.  “This is what the UK is asking for,” he said.  “The UK is saying, you cannot continue to exist on one-off up front transaction fees that are dependent on an ever decreasing economy.”

Bush noted that Ridley’s suggestion received loud applause, but when he asked if the audience would support a property tax he said it was less convincing. Bush told CNS after the meeting that for him, any kind of new tax would be a last resort and he would want to see wide support for it before considering such a levy.

The real estate sector has already raised objections, and James Bovell of Remax noted that there could be considerable ramifications and hoped the LoGB would consult with the Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association before making any decisions. He warned that the industry was down and that the potential loss of investment had to be considered, as well as the accepted fact that once a new fee or tax is imposed it’s very easy for successive governments to keep increasing it.

Following the meeting, JC Calhoun of Coldwell Baker also voiced his opinion in an email sent to stakeholders and noted that Caymanian families maynot be able to afford to continue to hold onto their heritage if they had to pay tax on property. He said it would also be an added expense for those leasing property, making rents higher and more difficult to get a positive return.  He said foreign investors have been OK with the stamp duty because after several years it’s better than holding property somewhere with an annual property tax. “Foreigners who currently buy and hold land inject money into our system, and take nothing.  They rarely use our schools or hospitals,” he added.

Calhoun also argued that in order to sell a property as an investment, it would need to generate even more income to cover the property tax. “Right now, with most of the world’s investors skittish and being very careful with their money, rental and lease rates are falling,” he said. “What you would gain by property tax, you will probably lose in stamp duty.” He also said the rate would inevitably be raised. “When that happens, there will be so many people scrambling to get out of property that the values will drop dramatically,” he said.

Noting the profession’s reaction, Ridley told CNS that no one likes additional taxes but the Cayman Islands has probably maxed out the traditional ways of paying for the government services people expect and alternatives such as income tax, sales tax, salary tax were less appropriate and more difficult to implement  and that people should not be dismissing the community service charge.

“Those who immediately push back on the suggestion of the community service charge should consider the matter carefully and separate out their own narrow short term interests from the greater long term good of these Islands,” Ridley said. “It can be a win-win for all.”

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  1. Jackson says:

    I’ll pay some taxes.

    Let’s stop fighting and just fix this.

    We’re all in this together.

  2. Anonymous says:

    There are thousands of people who would voluntarily pay 1-2% property tax in exchange for Permanent Residency or the Right to Work, or 5-6% for Caymanian Status (to fast-track those already with PR). 

    Open the window for a one time, one month remedy and see how an equitable trade could remedy the shortfall.  No Caymanians would have to pay a dime, and expats could opt in or out at their discretion.

    An unpleasant and controversial option, but perhaps worthy of discussion given the scale of this crisis.

    • Foreign Landowner says:

      I’ll pay that 1-2% one-time happily if me and my family get the a PR right to come live here as long as I want.  I mean not to work, but just to live for so long as I have the funds to support myself.  There would be significant on-shore tax advantages to me to do that, and I would love to take up non-working residency here provided there is no income tax

      If there is income tax, there would be no point in residency here.

  3. Joe Average says:

    Someone commented that once a government issues a tax albeit as a temporary solution it doesn’t know when to quit.  Like kids in a candy store.  It always begins as a seemingly fair and quite benign percentage of something…usually quite low but the gate is opened.  After acceptance of one form of taxation the theory becomes "whenever we get in trouble we can simply raise an existing tax.. or invent another one."  It does not address the inital problem of mismanagment.  It does not decrease government wastefulness.  In Canada the much hated prime minister Mulroney instituted a goods and services tax. Initially it was to reduce the national debt.  Then it became the norm and institutionalized because the windfall was to too good to pass up. The debt was reduced but then began to creep up again as goverment found more intriguing ways to squander  money. Government will always find ways to squander money.  And when they are completely deviod of ideas and/or out of money they can call an election. The circle then begins again. But the circle is a spiral. If people of integrity and vision as they should be were to control government they would look first to their own departments and bloated bureaucracy to reduce costs.  When that took place they would find more co-operation from the people who ultimately picked up the tab.

    • Lachlan MacTavish says:

      The people of Cayman are already being taxed. All the fees, duties, permits, stamp duties and on and on are taxation. These taxes are levied on anyone who imports items, purchases anything on the island from food to land and homes to anyone who has a business and renews licenses and permits. For several years many Caymanians have voiced the opinion that the Government is bulging to a point where the income streams cannot support the CIG. The premise that you just keep raising duties, fees and existing taxes to pay the piper just cannot continue. This will price us out of existance. This policy has been killing stay over tourism and is making investors interested in Cayman’s professional services look to other juristictions that are more cost effective. IMHO it is time for us all to change and grow. No matter how long you debate this subject the bottom line is there is not enough money. If you have a better idea than a property tax then please present it. We should all stop complaining without an answer o the problem. If the CIG look to private funding to cover the deficit this is only a stop gap solution and we have "sold our soul" to who ??? You can never go back from this move. This writer believes that private funding for the CIG will eventually create a few very wealthy individuals and the rest of the population. With a flat property tax the CIG and the people of Cayman maintain self control of our destiny. May I remind people that this debate has been going on for far to long, not 110 comments to CNS, but 10 long years. I believe our leaders have the vision and strength to make hard decisions that will stabilize Cayman’s economy and keep Cayman’s destiny in our control. 


      All the best Cayman

      Lachlan MacTavish

      • Concerned Caymanian says:

        Thank you for your comments, Mr. MacTavish. It seems you really do care  about these Islands. Your remarks are constructive in contrast to the venomous posts from both expats and Caymanians that I have read.   

  4. Working Class says:

    Property taxes will force the foreigners to put their properties up for sale and when they don’t sell, they will fire sale them. At this point, the wealthier Caymanians will snatch them up and the property will once again belong to the local people.

    Again, problem solved.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dont be silly, property taxes are going to hit poor caymanians much harder than wealthy foreign investors. I’d be happy to pay property tax as long as everybody esle did.

      But to the Caymanians that have inherited their homes which have been passed through the generations for years and that they struggle to pay the already high maintenance costs and increasing home security costs, this is  a kick in the teeth.

      Any fire sales are going to be Caymanians selling up their birthright homes, which isn’t fair to them and gives the oppoertunity for more foreign investors to strike a bargain. This is history repeating itself like last time the economy was down and foreign investors bought much of seven mile beach.

      I’ll keep an eye out for your house when you sell it. But I’ll pay much less than asking priceand you will be on your knees begging for somebody to take it off your hands for a few peanuts.

      Some people have said that expats should shoulder the burden of the new taxes, but in a  country where the government is begging for more foreign investment not even they would be stupid enough as to just tax foreigners.

      As it stands it will be one and all getting taxed. To me that means maybe going out one less night or having one less glass of champagne occasionally, but to you it will mean devastation and bankruptcy. Maybe I’ll keep an eye out and buy your home in the firesale and rent it back to you at a premium.

      • Working Class says:

        Have you not paid attention to my name? Have you not paid attention to the economy in recent years? The working class is the new poor. You have proven my point exactly.

        I am the Caymanian working class aka "poor". You will wait for my property to be fire-saled and then you will buy it? Then you will rent it back to me at a price that I cannot afford?

        I cannot afford the taxes and I cannot afford for the foreign investors to pull out due to taxation as my life depends on these investors.

        I cannot afford for the spread between the wealthy and poor Caymanians to grow. 

        Where would my life be without tourism?

        Who’s silly now?

  5. --- says:

    Why is Ridley not saying tax the law firms and accountant firms? 

    Oh yes, because on his precious time at Maples and Calder.  God forbid that group pay any part of the billions they have made back to the Cayman Islands. 

    Much better to make the people pay who invested in the land of our beloved islands.

    • Elephant in the Room says:

      How can one take this shell game seriously?  Last spring we thought that this was a solid affluent island.  Now poof!  Like pawns in a Ponzi scheme we were all deluded and in reality we’re destitute.  And we trust these same knowledgable, venerable people.  Yes;  Mr. Ridley is quite a smart man.

      • The Artist Formerly Known as Aw Sh!t says:

        This is a contructed "crisis"designed to scare everyone into accepting a tax.  The Cayman Islands did fine for a very long time without a tax, yet now we can’t even make payroll without it. 

        This sounds very much like a manufactured event to suck money out of the Island.  The question is: who is really manufacturing it?

        • Anonymous1 says:

          It’s manufactured all right!  It’s to make us sell our birth rights.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I totally agree with Property Tax once its not the CAYMANIANS!!!!!

    There is too many Foreigners coming to these Islands and buying up all of the land and properties. Charge them land lax and waive all Stamp Duty for Caymanians.





    • Anonymous says:

      Absolutely zero chance of this being legal.  You can’t discriminate between residents on grounds of nationality when it comes to taxation.

      • Anonymous says:

        wanna bet on that?  you must be a newbie to KY.  you may have a point if talking about any other part of the world, here, live and learn…

        • Concerned Caymanian says:

          Standard practice in Bermuda. Canada, for example, offers favourable tax rates to Canadian controlled private corporations.

  7. tim ridley says:

    I think we should bear in mind that the Bahamas, Bermuda and the BVI (all key competitors of ours) have property and payroll taxes.

    Switzerland is also a constructive example and is a jurisdiction from which we can learn, as it has done a great job at creating a stable and peaceful democracy, that is highly attractive to wealthy foreigners as a place to live or own second homes. The cantons and local authorities typically levy property and other reasonable taxes based on the value of the real estate to support the services such as police, fire etc etc. These levies are broadly similar to the .25% pa community service charge suggested for Cayman.  

    • The Artist Formerly Known as Bill says:

      Hey Tim: 

      Thanks for bringing up Switzerland, the Bahamas, Bermuda and the BVI for discussion.  Do you know off hand how much tax a law firm would have to pay in these jurisdictions?  I mean if Maples and Calder were in Switzerland, would they pay tax to the Swiss government?  Just thinking…

      The Artist Formerly Known as Bill

  8. Anonymous says:

    Excellent post whether one agrees with all of it or not. By the way, no Caymanian Government will EVER evict a Caymanian for non payment of any fees/tax. If that were so, many people, including prominent Caymanians in public life, would have been nabbed for non payment of hospital fees.

    I know. I used to work there.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Ridley is obviously smart. It would appear that when one of means recognises that Government is going to have to introduce direct tax, he/she would quickly assess what would have the least impact on themselves and support that.  In this case, it is property.  Say for example, one is making two million dollars a year, but you only have a one million dollar home/real estate, a .0025% tax on that is nothing, compared to a 10% tax on your earnings.  It then leaves your money free.  Smart move!  However, I would like to suggest an alternative to the porperty tax suggested by Mr. Ridley.  I hereby suggest that government introduce a 10% tax on all those people earning over a million dollars here per year, retroactive to January this year (2009) and a 5% on all companies with sales over 5 million and if the company is outsourcing labour, then any earnings from the outsourcing is also taxed at 5%.  That should add a handsome sum to government’s coffers, not impact the poor at all, allow the real estate market to flourish, young Caymanians to get a start and the rich ones to make a small, but meaningful contribution back to the country that made them rich.

    • Genius! says:

      Another brilliant "tax someone other than me" post. 

      • Elephant in the Room says:

        Finally, somebody said it.  Mr. Ridley directs the solution away from himself and the people who have taken so much from the island and deflects the responsibility to the largest possible base and the people who had nothing to do with the phantom money situation. 

  10. Mr. Freedom says:

    To see Caymanians seriously entertain the idea of submitting to an annual property tax is disheartening. The voluntary surrender of your natural right to private property to any government, much less one that is bloated and wasteful is to admit that you are not able to handle personal freedom and would prefer to live as a serf on land your vassal lord graciously bequeaths to you for an annual “community service charge of .25%.” Go ahead and make that decision for your children and grandchildren as well, I’m sure they won’t mind. Current taxes and duties are only imposed on you if you participate in society such a buy or sell goods, drive a car on public roads and the like. You can avoid them if you wish. You cannot avoid this tax. If you owned your own home, never left your land, grew all your own food, made your own clothes, and breathed the free air, you would still be forced to pay this tax. Even if you stopped breathing, the government would still collect this tax from you. If you are not concerned about your personal freedoms and actually think this property tax idea merits debate then answer these questions:

    Is thistax allowable under the constitution?

    Will this be a one time assessment or a tax on the Caymanian people in perpetuity?

    Will implementation of this tax become politicized?

    What would be the actual compliance costs?

    How do you ensure the tax revenue is spent only for what it is intended?

    Will ALL types of real estate be taxed and at the same rate including undeveloped land, primary homes, secondary homes, rental property, apartments, agricultural land, retail, business, industrial, hotels? What about government property, will the schools, hospital, aviation authority, water, electric, and communication providers that own property have to pay as well or will they be exempt?  Will Boatswain’s Beach be on the tax rolls?  What about non-profit organizations and churches?  

    What type of measurement will be used to appraise the value of a property? Will it be set at what the property last sold for or what the government THINKS it would sell for today?  Will you use comparables?  Will you allow for depreciation of improvements?

    You say after 60 days an entire property would be seized for non-payment and auctioned off.   Why don’t you seize just .25% of a property.  Does the Caymanian government want to be in the business of kicking little old widow ladies to the curb and selling their ancestral home for a few dollars in taxes? (This will happen and the PR will not be favorable) Will the police be used to evict people?  Will physical force be used in the course of removing a property owner?  Has an estimate been made on the number of properties that will be seized each year?  If so, is that a number elected members of government are comfortable with? Is there any other tax that has such a massively disproportioned penalty for non-compliance? 

    This would negatively affect many choices made by Caymanians and foreigners alike when it comes to financial decisions. Every little percentage has to be justified, especially ones that you have to account for every year and factor in the uncertainty of increases. Foreigners will be less likely to invest in property and business. The real estate brokers are correct.  No annual property tax makes Cayman attractive to investors and this tax would certainly negatively affect property values and the collection of current stamp duties.  Distressed properties auctioned off would not help the real estate market either.  Caymanians that work hard and acquire land would burden their children with yearly tax liability upon their death.

    This is a start to the complexities concerning property tax. The idea put forth by Mr. Ridley that annual property taxes “should not be overly difficult to collect and enforce” ignores the history of other governments that currently use property taxes.  Many governments collect property taxes.  None do it without continuing legal and political difficulties, unfairness, the depression of property values, and an unjustified restriction of personal freedoms.  Cayman would be no different and would lose part of what makes it special in the world.

    • Anonymous says:

      "You cannot avoid this tax.If you owned your own home, never left your land, grew all your own food, made your own clothes, and breathed the free air, you would still be forced to pay this tax."  I did not know we had hippies and hippy lovers on Cayman.  Please come into the 21st century, the rest of us have been here for a while. 


      • Mr. Freedom says:

        I’m not quite sure how you get “hippie lover” from a defense of personal property rights.  Your characterization made me laugh even thought it is false. Our fathers and mothers from the 19th and 20th centuries worked hard to secure their own land, homes and businesses.  What you call “hippie” in the 21st century, they would call “fiercely independent.”  If you think a property tax is a good idea, please explain.

        BTW, the fact that Mr. Ridley is calling this property tax a “community service charge” is insulting to the people of Cayman and is an example of the deception being perpetrated.

        From Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, 1594:

        “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
              By any other name would smell as sweet”

        Call it what you will, it still stinks.

    • Lachlan MacTavish says:

      The fact of this matter is that this situation has been coming for a long time. Not just Cayman but many developed countries. Tax and spend and living on credit has caught up to everyone. Bottom line is we cannot look backwards, we must look forward. There have been numerous issues over the past decade that have been ignored in Cayman, stay over tourism, Red ink of CAL, education, health care and the environment. The ever increasing debt and the lack of income streams for the CIG must be addressed now no matter how you feel. The property tax creates income, does not overly increase the size of Government and will allow the country to stabilize economically in order to address all the other pressing issues. I respectfully urge all Caymanians, expats and residents to move quickly and to not debate until it is to late.

      All the best Cayman

      Lachlan MacTavish 

    • Working Class says:

      There is really no point in arguing this topic any further. The Caymanian people want the status holders, the expat workers, and the banking, business and property investors to leave the Cayman Islands. That will solve all of their problems. So be it. All of the above need to leave ASAP. Sell your property, close your businesses and quit your jobs. Go back to where you came from.

      Now, the Caymanian people can go back to making rope. Problem solved. There is nothing left to say.

      The gov’t has already decided this issue and there is no stopping it.


        For Sale:  My Real Estate

        Would you Caymanians please buy my real estate so that I can do as you want and get the hell out of here?  You will be tax exempt, so it’s a bargain for you.


        All the Expats

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes XXXX, I have heard you so many times speak sarcastically in the same tone of your post, suggesting that the solution is for expats to leave etc, etc. I guess your blood still boils that Caymanians dare to speak out about the need for expats like you to return to your homeland. Me thinks the rope has been tightened mi lad and a new wind is ablowing!

    • Anonymous says:

      Majority of ‘Expats’ living and working here do not own property, they rent…..

  11. Working Class says:

    Nothing but pure ignorance in alot of these comments. It is always the ex-pat’s fault and it’s always ex-pats against Caymanians. When will this stop??

    It’s very simple:

    1.) The church needs to get out of the gov’t.

    2.) No lottery – the lottery is always played by hard working people wishing on a star. The poor just pour their money into the gov’t via a lottery. It’s a vicious cycle of the poor feeding the gov’t. Let them continue running the numbers. No one is doing anything about them anyway.

    3.) Charge fees to the cruise ships to gamble in our ports. Daily charge X number of ships.

    4.) Legalise gambling for resorts and tourists ONLY. Tax the casinos nicely so that it’s worth it for them to be in business but the gov’t makes money. Why not bring in wealthy tourists with foreign money and pour that money into the gov’t?

    5.) The people around the world who are wealthy are still wealthy and are still spreading their money around. Why not target their money? Why not entice them to come here and spend it?

    6.) Raise the bar on customer service and advertise like crazy.

    If you start taxing the investors, they will stop coming here to spend their money and they will put all of their properties up for sale. There will be no buyers. Caymanians will not be able to give their properties away and they won’t be able to afford to keep them. 

    Why would the gov’t create another branch of gov’t to monitor the taxes just to waste more of the people’s money? Someone’s family member needs a gov’t department to govern and someone’s school-leaver kids need jobs; is this what the property tax idea is about? Maybe someone’s friend is a consultant that will come in (from overseas) and charge the gov’t $5M to show them how to set up this new tax department?

    We already have a Customs Dept., all set up with forms and training. Why not double the duty and raise the gov’t money that way?

    The pension holiday was a big mistake. One that will not so easily be made up.

    If property taxes come to the Cayman Islands, flee from this country as far as you can go because that will the end of life as you know it. Not because of how it will effect you personally but how it will effect this whole country when all the investors pull out. 

    • Dred says:

      Nothing but pure ignorance in

      Submitted by Working Class (not verified) on Mon, 08/31/2009 – 22:41.

      Nothing but pure ignorance in alot of these comments. It is always the ex-pat’s fault and it’s always ex-pats against Caymanians. When will this stop??

      It’s very simple:

      1.) The church needs to get out of the gov’t. – AGREED. They stick their heads where it does not belong.

      2.) No lottery – the lottery is always played by hard working people wishing on a star. The poor just pour their money into the gov’t via a lottery. It’s a vicious cycle of the poor feeding the gov’t. Let them continue running the numbers. No one is doing anything about them anyway. You are wrong here. We have numbers here and no one is enforcing it so what we are looking at is redirectioning of dollars going out of Cayman into Government coffers. With a legal system in place some people maybe most people will change because it’s safer. Then you use the funds generated to 1) Enforce the law 2) Provide social services 3) Excess to government coffers. There is plenty money in numbers more than you can imagine.

      3.) Charge fees to the cruise ships to gamble in our ports. Daily charge X number of ships. Not sure on this but all avenues that we examine should be comparable to other cruise destinations in the ships route.

      4.) Legalise gambling for resorts and tourists ONLY. Tax the casinos nicely so that it’s worth it for them to be in business but the gov’t makes money. Why not bring in wealthy tourists with foreign money and pour that money into the gov’t? I would agree with this also. I think also our upper class who have a salary of say CI$75K per annum can also. They would obtain a license from government for a fee to allow them to play. Hence some more income. I would also entice casinos to have tournaments here in Cayman which will help tourism also.

      5.) The people around the world who are wealthy are still wealthy and are still spreading their money around. Why not target their money? Why not entice them to come here and spend it? I think this has always been the idea and the casinos will be a nice start.

      6.) Raise the bar on customer service and advertise like crazy. I think we need to start investing in promoting Little Cayman because we have lost so much of our “Island” look and feel. I would start to promote Little Cayman along with Grand Cayman as a Getaway. We also need to take a long hard look at how we want that Island to be developed and establish a developmental plan for it.

      If you start taxing the investors, they will stop coming here to spend their money and they will put all of their properties up for sale. There will be no buyers. Caymanians will not be able to give their properties away and they won’t be able to afford to keep them.  I am not fully behind taxation. In Physics we learn that for every action thereis an equal but opposite reaction. This will be true here also but to what extent I am not so sure. If I ever bought into this several things would have to be in place:

      1.       No new capital expenditure unless directly linked to revenue generation

      2.       Time limit on the Property Tax (5 Years time span only to get government back into the black.) It can not be a forward policy otherwise its just more money for government to waste.

      What I don’t want is for them to continue spending as usual now that they have more of our money.

      Why would the gov’t create another branch of gov’t to monitor the taxes just to waste more of the people’s money? Someone’s family member needs a gov’t department to govern and someone’s school-leaver kids need jobs; is this what the property tax idea is about? Maybe someone’s friend is a consultant that will come in (from overseas) and charge the gov’t $5M to show them how to set up this new tax department?

      Government needs to thin out. We need to get rid of the 3 people doing 1 person’s job philosophy. Thin departments out and more the excess into new departments. So not about firing people but about moving them.

      We already have a Customs Dept., all set up with forms and training. Why not double the duty and raise the gov’t money that way?

      Action/Reaction again. You start doubling duties on things 1 of 2 things start to happen.

      1.       Retailers past this on to consumers which raises their cost of living OR

      2.       Everyone starts going to Miami to shop.

      The pension holiday was a big mistake. One that will not so easily be made up.

      Agreed here. Not sure how they are looking to remedying this in the long run.

      If property taxes come to the Cayman Islands, flee from this country as far as you can go because that will the end of life as you know it. Not because of how it will effect you personally but how it will effect this whole country when all the investors pull out. 

      • Concerned Caymanian says:

        You make some excellent points. Still not sold on the gambling casinos though.

  12. FOI Request? says:

    One of the biggest strains on the Government’s coffers has got to be Social Services.  I would love to see how much money we spend each month on school meals, housing, child care, etc. but better yet I would like to see WHO we spend it on!! I guarantee you that only a small percentage of those that you and I are supporting actually need it.  I guarantee you that the balance of those receiving benefit are living beyond their means and if they cut back on some of their luxuries would be able to afford to buy their child lunch so the Government wouldn’t have to.  I wonder what kind of car they drive, how often they get their nails done and how often they go to Miami to buy the latest style clothes!  I think that if we the people of Cayman have to foot the bill for these people we should be entitled to see who we are supporting, by how much, for how long, etc.  I wonder if a FOI request would provide these details.

    Similarly, I also guarantee you that the majority of people that we are supporting are some of the same ones paying the "poor people tax" i.e. playing numbers ever week when they should be buying their children’s lunches.  What we should do is enforce the law, stop these people from wasting their money on this so called dream and make them support their own children.

    I’m sure it would be cheaper to pay a few civil servants to better screen applicants than for us to continue forking out money to a bunch of freeloaders!!

    Let’s see the political will! Cut the fat! Make the sponges of our society stand on their own two feet!  But I guess that will never happen when social services is really an election campaign expense!

  13. Anonymous says:

    The price of apathy toward public affairs is to be ruled by evil men. – Plato

  14. Anonymous says:

    Civil Service Needs to be Repriced and Resized to the new Global reality. None of us in Business are making what we used to.  The government needs to take dramatic paycuts or people need to be fired and new Caymanians rehired at lower market based prices. Raising taxes here simply papers over unsustainable excess of previous administrations.  We can no longer justify it.  It is no longer sustainable in today’s economic reality. Every tax..  I repeat EVERY TAX has an equal and opposite reaction from those who would pay it.  Add a sales tax and see consumptioon decrease, and smuggling (under-declaration) increase. Add a property tax and see property investment decrease (goodbye second place in West Bay), add an income tax and watch Cayman become a ghost-town. We are a tax-haven.  We were built on the foundation of being a tax haven.  It is the reason we are all here. It is the reason prices of homes sell within their price-band or range.  It incentivises people to move to this land.  Rolling out taxes is not a win-win and has never been a win-win anywhere. It is win-lose with those do the paying, losing. The alarm bells you hear come from a civil service which this Country simply can not afford.  GOVERNMENT IS TOO BIG FOR IT’S PEOPLE. The sooner we realise this, the better off we will all be. I am still waiting for World War I to end so that I can stop paying tax in the "developed world".  We can learn how not to do things from our jealous developed and bankrupt Mother Country. Look at our neighbors: Dominican Republic, Anguilla, Bahamas, Turks.  None have property tax.  How will we compete for investors with even a moderate tax?  A 5 million dollar home (of which there are many) will have to pay $12,500 a year PLUS the cost of reaching here (there are no Interstates), PLUS Hurricane Insurance (we are the one of the most hurricane prone islands on the planet) PLUS maintenance (everything rots in the Caribbean humidity). Property and Incometaxes in Cayman are the equivalent of a gun-shot aimed squarely at our foot! We need to SHRINK THE GOVERNMENT and STOP SPENDING MONEY WE DONT HAVE.  It is truly that simple.

  15. the Cayman Tax Authority says:

    Notice from the Cayman Tax Authority

    Please remember that the government shortfall is $48.5 million per month, not per year. (http://centos6-httpd22-php56-mysql55.installer.magneticone.com/o_belozerov/31115drupal622/headline-news/2009/08/27/government-runs-out-cash). 

    The property tax therefore will not suffice and we are going to implement a direct tax as well.

    We’ve decided that we’re only going to tax expats, as requested by those who elected the people who appointed us.  Accordingly, all expats are hereby required to pay $2,204.55 per month in direct tax to cover the $48.5 million monthly shortfall of the government.  

    Some of you will be astute enough to notice that in the above calculation we’ve not accounted for the $50 million a year that will be generated by the property tax that Mr Ridley kindly supported for us.  Since it will only cover about 1 month’s worth of shortfall out of every year, we’ve decided that it’s not worth trying to reduce the direct tax by that amount and we’re going to piss it away on something else instead.

    Thank you for your attention.

    • Lachlan MacTavish says:

      If everyone will take a moment to reflect ….we have seen this coming for 10-15 years. It is useless to point fingers and play politics. Look forward….this is a huge problem that can be resolved. The private sector brain trust along with the political leaders can correct this but it will mean difficult decisions and change for everyone. IMHO in the end Caymanians will be better off and will prosper. Taxation….smaller CIG and new income streams will solve the issue. Change now ….not later…. 

      All the best Cayman

      Lachlan MacTavish

  16. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Tim’s idea of an increase in land transfer tax and this is exactly where Mr. Bush needs to start in order to reduce the national debt.

    Just to confirm, I am a Caymanian and well aware of Mr. Ridley’s ability to  advise in financial matters that will be beneficial to Cayman.


  17. tim ridley says:

    The suggested community service charge (I emphasise it should be tied to funding specific community services such as police, fire, emergency and waste management) should not be overly difficult to collect and enforce:

    1. All titles are registered at the Land Registry;

    2. The Land Registry is an effective and efficient government department, used to dealing with valuations and valuation issues. It would need additional staff and equipment to deal with the new charge, but the costs of implementation should not be onerous;

    3. Title owners would get an annual billing each January based on the previous year’s valuation. If they wished to challenge it, they would have to present their own alternative valuation and pay the charge based on their valuation, pending an outcome of the valuation challenge. A new tribunal would be needed to deal with challenges, with further appeals going to the courts.

    4. Revaluations could be done say every three years (this has advantages for owners on increases in value but disadvantages on declines.

    5. Owners who did not pay the annual charge within say 60 days would face enforcement by means of an auction of the property to pay the charge, with the balance being paid over to them (and to any mortgagee. This would be a powerful incentive to prompt payment.


    • Anonymous says:

      "It would need additional staff and equipment to deal with the new charge, but the costs of implementation should not be onerous"

      Everybody here is calling for reducing the size of the Civil Service because it’s "wasteful, bloodsucking and lazy" and your saying that we need to increase the size of it???

      Does anyone else find this ironic???

    • Concerned Caymanian says:

      You have no idea what you’re talking about. The volume of land transactions the land registry has to deal with is NOTHING compared to what this would entail since we are talking about EVERY registered title EVERY year. There would be disputes about assessments and appeals from the decision on the disputes. It would be difficult to enforce when people don’t pay, and many wouldn’t. Auctions don’t just happen, there is a process just as if the bank were foreclosing and the whole process would be hugely expensive.      

  18. Anonymous says:

    As a soon to be "ex-pat" who purchased land on the Brac many years ago in the hopes of retiring there, I remember seeing in the agreement "no taxes" other than the stamp (transfer) tax.

    I also recall from history in the States that the "Income Tax" there started out as "1%"…to help pay off some bills. You seewhere that went…

    Live within your means as we commoners have to; if I don’t have money for something I do not buy it. Not because I don’t want to; I just CAN’T AFFORD TO…

  19. Anonymous says:

    The problem is that Government spending is out of control and unaccounted for.

    Taxing to bring in more  money is not the solution when government is mismanaging the existing budget!

    Government need to trim its fat and cut wasteful spending.

    Otherwise, every new $ in revenue is just going to get lost in the ‘black hole’.

    This is basis poor money management. People (Govnt) that live above their means and find themselves in debt, usually start to complain that they "need" an increase or start thinking ‘if I made more money I could be okay’ — but this does not work.  Once you make more, you will spend more.

    They cant account for or manage the 800m budget they have already. Giving them more $ is not the solution. You need to change your spending habits.


  20. Anonymous says:

    It seems clear that regardless of what you call it, people in general do not want to pay more for anything, period!

    I guess we all know that is not going to happen as we do need the money to run this Government of ours in whatever form or way. Property and/or income tax is not going to work well because of our longstanding status of a tax free haven in that context.

    I too have a few ideas to consider and I have included the ones already mentioned a few times in other letters:

    1. First of all, I think all assembly members should do what the CEO of GM did, work for a buck for a year. They started this so they should lead by example.

    2. Introduce a road user fee similar to the licensing department. That should pay for a lot of the road repairs and new construction. We all need the roads so we should pay for that use, at least in part.

    3. I agree, let the casinos roll in under certain protective local rules. It makes money!

    4. Increase the garbage fees, better yet, sell mount trashmore! If not, $ 100.00 per year is a steal to us producers. In most states people pay $ 50.00 a month for residential properties.

    5. I agree again, start a local lottery, that too makes money!

    6. The Government should sell off all those items that they either don’t need or are a losing battle such as Boatswain Beach. They should be running a Government, not businesses as such. Tightening the belt in the big department picture would not hurt either.

    7. Levy an evironmental impact fee for everyone that should at least pay for all those good guys I see every morning cleaning up the garbage that people throw out their car windows, disgusting by the way!

    8. Increase import duty on luxury items but not booze or cigarettes, been there before remember? Did not work then and will not work now.

    9. Increase development fees for new commercial construction, if they really want to be here, they will pay.

    I could probably go on like this for a while but here is the thing, what is most important that these fees such as garbage, road, environment etc. get actually paid by everyone which seems to be the biggest problem, is to cut a deal with one or more of the local providers such as CUC, Lime, Water Authority/Company, Weststar TV to implement that in their monthly bill. Not too many people will do without any of the aforementioned utilities and not pay their bill. Wicked but it works and it will help everyone without exclusion.

    Just a thought………………………..

  21. Anonymous says:

    Civil Service = VAMPIRE!

    The Civil Service is a VAMPIRE sucking off all the blood and sustenance  of  these islands: here are their perks…

    – The Vampires enjoy fully paid pensions and health services by government: if they contributed half, like all other non-vampire entities do, we would save some $30million!

    – The Vampires are overpaid compared to the private sector, which has had to recently  reduce salaries on account of the Recession/Depression underway: cut 10% of their pay and save another $30 million!…

    – The Vampires full Pension pay-out is guaranteed: even if the money managers bankrupt the fund, the taxpayers must by law make up any deficit. Unlike the non-vampire entities – you and me – if our Pension fund loses 50% of its value, tough luck for us: we’ll have to die working!

    But our Vampires-in-Chief, the MLA’s and Ministers are so enamoured of their respective CI$9000.00 and CI$14,000.00 paycheck every month , that they’ll be the last one to cut off the Blood supply: they’d rather run us into the ground than take a pay cut, even though their salaries have gone up between 25 and 35% in the last 4 years!…

    As for the Property Tax, the $50 million it’s supposed to be taken in a year will  be more than lost in falling stamp duty receipts, as sales dwindle, while $60 million can easily be saved on the furry back of the Vampires…

    Btw, I’m sure that Mike Ryan and Dart will object to the Property Tax and their views have a lot of weight in the Vampires’ Den!…

  22. Dennis Smith says:

    Our elected leaders should go down in history as the government that saved us form taxation not the one that turned it loose.

    Recessions are the result of overindulgence, When our excesses finally become so extreme that we can’t sustain the weight of too much speculation, debt and enthusiastic growth, the house of cards comes tumbling down, shrinking us down to size, making us re-examine our ideas and values, forcing us to pay off credit cards and loans. A recession drags us kicking and screaming where we don’t want to go. Fiscal rehab is painful, we lose weight, get the shakes, and eventually, after saying goodbye to the perks and luxuries we get leaner and smarter.

    Recessions hurt and we resist with all of our might, but eventually businesses are forced to scale back their projects and plans, laying off the great people that they have hired, training and groomed for the future. Property holders sell homes and investments often for less than they paid and pensions disappear. People begin living on their saving, anxiously taking jobs that were beneath them before. Without doubt the medicine is very painful, like chemotherapy we drink poison to kill the cancer of economic excess and sometimes the poison nearly kills us as the pendulum swings too far. Cutting muscle, fat and bone. This is the price that we pay for not having the magic of brilliant fiscal foresight.

    Every person and every business is affected, now our government is going into fiscal rehab and it doesn’t like it any more than the rest of us. Unlike the private sector it has the awesome power of taxation. It is now proposing to use its power of taxation to perpetuate its current expenses structure instead of seeing this as an opportunity to implement a top down quest for lean efficiency.

    Competitive businesses can’t afford a top-heavy bureaucratic structure and neither can a small community with a population of barely 60,000 people. Cayman is not much bigger than a large North American town, yet it has the government structure of a small nation. We have the government that we have because we had so much money to spend for so long. Our government structure took many years to build and it really is something to be proud of. A trip through the 800 pages of our annual budget is a mind-numbing journey of an elegant structure of intricate plans and expectations. After so much work it seems a shame to not use it, but now we need a government that we can afford. Our current tax base generates nearly CI$500,000,000 PA. That’s roughly US $30,000 for every 3 people in Cayman, assuming that they haven’t been sent home because of rollover or a loss of employment. Cayman needs more people and it needs more economy if its wants a bigger government, not more taxes.

    Government needs to cut away fat and even muscle in order to deal with its new reality; projects, plans and great people with wonderful ideas for the future need to be let go. Government needs to concentrate on preserving the core elements of it responsibilities: expanding the economy by removing restrictions, protecting its citizens and managing its revenue stream with the least overhead expense. Projects and plans that don’t produce results now need to be put on the shelf for the future or maybe never. It needs to consolidate its hierarchical structure down to a flatter structure of core competencies and productive responsibilities. Magically every reduction leads to more efficiencies and its business becomes simpler to manage and progressively more cost efficient.

    Government needs to keep people who do the essential revenue and protection work, and eliminate managers, managers of managers and mini-departments. They need to consolidate tasks and responsibilities; simplify communication by eliminating reporting layers, internal memos, meetings and committees. It should give the most competent people the ability to consolidate multiple departments and operations into smaller more efficient structures, and then ask them to do over it again. Instead of trying to justify jobs and positions, employees should be trying to eliminate their job and move into the private sector. Every person in government is either part of a reduction solution or they are part of the expansion problem. Practice this continuously and within a year or two our government will be half its current size and still efficiently providing us with essential services. Experienced, ex-government employees with a resume of aggressive cost cutting will easily find profitable employment privately.

  23. Anonymous says:

    How is this going to be enforced? Government already has problems collecting garbage fees. If they can’t enforce the collection of those fees, how are they going to enforce property tax???

    • Anonymous says:

      The problem is one of spending too much, rather than generating too little revenue.  If gov’t has more revenue they will spend more.  They need to reduce the size of gov’t and scale back the white elephant projects.

      • Anonymous says:

        It is amazing in a little country of 50,000 more or less the amount of money spent on things and whenever there is a problem or issue the first solution of any government is to throw money at it.

        Dart would sort out the landfill…forget it, a 150 million government program will solve the problem according to overseas consultants…

  24. Anonymous says:

    I cannot support this large amount of tax on property. Many many Caymanians inherited their property which is now worth a tremendous amount of money however, they are poor people and do not have cash all they have is this valuable property that they have inherited. They are now going to be penalised because their property is valuable and have to pay a large sum on property tax which they do not have. This will lead to them not being able to afford to own this property and be forced to get rid of their inheritance – if they can find someone who can afford to buy it or the government will take it from them because they defaulted in paying their property tax. This is not fair and will only cause problems and more resentment towards foreigners who will be the ones”buying them out”. Also in the Brac many many properties here are registered “the personal representative of the estate of” . They are registered like this and have been for generations as they cant afford the probate or letters of administration – who will pay the property taxes on these.

    • Tough says:

      Tough, I say.  Land is the most valuable economic commodity.  If it is not being put to good economic use then it should be transferred to someone who can put it to good use.  Those who inherit land are not poor people: they are wealthy people with a large amount of capital but little income.  Well use the capital or lose it!  It is this type of pathetic excuse laden argument that really sums up much of this country’s problems.

      • Anon says:

        Yup. Caymanians will lose their expensive properties to be sure. Best  cut to thechase and sell the whole Island to Mr Dart. 

        Either that or cut the size of government. 

        • Anonymous says:

          Selling the whole place to someone like Dart may be a good idea.

          Then the Caymanians can be given notice to quit and move elsewhere; 99% of the problems of Cayman will leave the islands with them.

      • Anonymous says:

        Clearly you have the resources to pay the taxes and can therefore afford to be callous and indifferent to the plight. If you were to fall on hard times you would care a little more and have a little more humility. 

        Aside from that it is a foolish attitude. If Caymanians have forced to sell what remains of their birthright what becomes of them? Do slums emerge as we build on to someone’s existing house a little apartment so that may be we can afford the taxes that way.     

        • Plight? says:

          "Clearly you have the resources to pay the taxes" where do you get this from?  The poster is not the one sitting on a massive asset they are not using.  We are talking about people hoarding unused capital and wasting our most valuable asset.  Not only should they pay taxes on this waste they should be shamed for the laziness and greed.

          • Anonymous says:

            "…their laziness and greed". Where do you get this from? It is rude and presumptuous.

            • Anonymous says:

              If you own land and cannot generate income of 0.25% per annum from it or from ogther sources you must be lazy.  To refuse to pay such a small relative sum because you want to hoard it for generations is greedy.  Hoarding is a sin.  These people are sinners.

              • Concerned Caymanian says:

                If idiocy were a sin then you would surely be a reprobate. On that basis having any form of investment or savings is "hoarding" and a sin. Land is a store of value and tends to appreciate in value. Unfortunately that is minus in a property tax environment.

                It takes money to develop land. What of those persons who simply raise their cattle or plant crops in the pockets of soil on the land. The land is being used but does not generate the income needed to pay any tax. For you something is only worthwhile having if it you are deriving money from it – the very epitome of greed. It is the greed of people like you that has turned the SMB into a concrete jungle and will destroy the environment in order to make a quick buck.

      • Anonymous Coward says:

        Dismissing a valid argument as an excuse is pathetic.  Now your main point, just because someone else can make a buck off of land doesn’t justify taking it away from people.  It also doesn’t mean that everyone else benefits, which is what you’re hinting at.  Its up to the owner to decide whether its being put to good use.

    • Poor? says:

      No-one who owns land is poor. They are either too lazy or too stupid to put it to work for them, that is all.

    • Anonymous says:

      Many years ago the people of these islands were genuine heros in every sense of the word….Salior and Captains men and women who had the ability to stare death in the face with a smile on their face.  They believed in community and most importantly they believed in Cayman.  They also believed one man could make a difference.  I dare to say the airport was built by the financial contributions of your fathers and grandfathers and great grandfathers who not only had vision but a geniune love for this island.  Somewhere along the line we stopped believing that one man can make a difference.  Know this Cayman…..our forefathers built the airport by their contributions…So I don’t see why we can’t contribute to getting ourselves out of this mess…I personally will vow $2,000 dollars to this cause; will you join me?…I am not rich and don’t have the cash but my Defined Contribution Plan has some money in it and if the powers are listening they will hear our rally…If you wish to put towards this worthy cause send an e-mail to jonathan.banks98@yahoo.com lets see what we can pledge towards getting ourselves out of this mess!

      "We once believed that one man can make a difference, make us believe it again"…..

      God bless Cayman and God Save these Islands 

    • Liberationist says:

      You only have yourselves to blame, it was a Caymanian Government, voted for by Caymanians, which got you in to this sorry situation….

      Stop voting for friends and family and start voting for honest, clever, trustworthy, well educated individuals, who care about Cayman and are not going to rip you off.

      It’s the same old sad story, the richest country in the Caribbean is suddenly full of impoverished peasant landowners (some of whom also own appartments ar the Ritz)….you are fooling nobody but yourselves…the world is in a poor financial state and this scenario is being played out everywhere.

      Grow up and deal with the problem like adults before you are bancrupted (financially and morally) by your own politicians.


  25. Anonymous says:


    Please go and vote for the National Lottery and Property Tax.



  26. Liberationist says:

    I know little about economics and taxation, but once you start on the slippery road, it will snowball and before you know it, we will all be paying property, income,sales and inheritance taxes, giving the Government 40% of our earnings and they will still be finding ways of stealing what rightly belongs to the Caymanian people.

    If you are a Caymanian, I urge you to find a way to make your politicians be accountable and honest, if you don’t, you could be facing the prospect of living in a failed off shore jurisdiction and the only income will come from drug and people trafficking.

    One consequence might be that the UK Government could take back direct rule, introduce Income tax to balance the books, the European Court will insist all Europeans have a right of abode here and you will be finished ….Cayman do something NOW, not next week or next year and make absolutely sure that all your politicians are on a VERY tight reign, they got you in to this and they should get you outof it.


  27. Anonymous says:

    I have no idea whether Cayman has Payroll Tax and it does not appear to have Property Tax.

    The Bermuda 2009/10 Budget estimated that Payroll Tax in Bermuda raises about $350M in revenue and Property Taxes another $50M.

    Just thought that would be an interesting comparison.

  28. Anonymous says:

    I do not think any taxes should be levied on anyone until this government cleans house! Just today I was going to the airport and saw 3 NRA employees just sitting on their truck under the tree, REALLY! How many people does it take to paint a line? If we have too many employees we send some home. I think we need to call government whenever we come across government waste! If you stop wasting our money you would not be in this situation.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Property taxes are nothing new.

    In Bermuda a $5M house could incur property taxes of about $30K per annum. The calculation is based upon an assessed Annual Rental Value, rather than actual market values.

    Mind you, Bermuda has its own fiscal problems, notwithstanding a substantially higher domestic tax burden.

  30. Anonymous says:

    If we had taxes we could implement a universal health care sysem that would be greately beneficial to Cayman. If we had taxes we could have all of the people that went off to school to be an accountant actually doing accounting work instead of working at a sub par job because government does not have any account positions open. We have asked so much from our little country it is only right that we try to reclaim Cayman for Caymanians!!! Yes we tax the expats more because they are only here for a short time they will get some benefits but not all. Civil Servants might not get paid this month why because they demand so much because they are civil servants but what is sustaning the economy nothing!!! You need taxes it will have so much more benefits it will open jobs I see nothing but good coming from implementing a taxation system. Duty would come down, Schools would benefit, The government would not have to rely so heavely on WORK PERMITS that means MORE JOBS FOR who the CAYMANIANS!!!! Unemployment for Caymanians is at an all time hig and news flash it is only going to get higher. If you think crime is rampant now give it two years and if we stay in the slippery slope that we are on we will be worse that Jamaica with crime. Please stop with the mentality that I am Caymanian so I na going pay taxes. See what taxation can and will do for Cayman embrace change don’t fight it.

    • Anonymous says:

      "Yes we tax the expats more because they are only here for a short time they will get some benefits but not all"

      What? tax the expats more as they will receive less benefit? good reasoning.

      And there will be very few expats left at hat point, as there really will be no reason for coming to work in Cayman. What attraction will there be?

      You can’t save, if you do, you get taxed again with a "Remittance tax" when you get thrown out after 7 years. The negatives will outweigh the positives.



  31. Jenny Canty says:

    1) Any property tax should be based on the BVI solution, 1.5% of rentable value. Raw land owners are not then bankrupted.

    2) Any property tax should be sold, on oath, as a ‘five year only’ crisis tax.

    3) Any property tax should be accompanied by the creation of a lean, accountable civil service.

    4) Any property taxshould be presented alongside a five year plan for the financial services sector, the cruise tourism sector and the overnight tourist sector.


    • Anonymous says:

      I respectfully submit that the concept of a lean accountable civil service is not only unrealistic but likely unattainable.

      As to the tax being a temporaty one once the politician gets the taste for more money to spend I guarantee this tax will become permanent.

      What does a 5 year plan mean as far as accountability is concerned.

      The government doesn’t even have an accurate accounting system now in place to see where current expenses are flowing.

      I am very doubtful the country will adopt a property tax system that will not heavily focus on Expats and thus drive many away from Cayman.


    • Anonymous says:

      Jenny, 1.5% is much too high. Who would invest on that basis especially when the economy is already weak?  A middle income family with a house (and land) worth $400,000  (which they built for $200,000) would pay $6,000 p.a. People cannot afford to pay for the house insurance now, how will they able to afford to pay for the tax? Ridley’s 0.25% might be palatable but it still requires a whole new bureaucracy to assess, collect and enforce it.  The Govt. is poor at collecting even garbage fees.  

  32. Anonymous says:

    Taxation without representation.  That sounds familiar.

    • Anonymous says:

      The phrase is familiar, but the circumstances are far different and so it does not apply. For reference purposes, this was the rallying cry for the Independence of the 13 American colonies. This was about taxation by British Parliament, not by the colonial govt.

      Every person who lives in the US has to pay multiple taxes, regardless of the fact that he may not be entitled to vote.  

      The ultimate power is economic power. Regardless of political representation expats are well represented in policy making because of their economic influence which often negates the political rights of Caymanians.

      Second, expats also require additional infrastructure which costs. Do you really think that we would require the roads that we have if only Caymanians were using them?  Expat chidlren receive free medical care at the govt. hospital.   Under the new constitution they will receive free primary and secondary education. 

      So it really has nothing to do with the right to vote.

      • Anonymous says:

        Well put.  But if you begin to tax only expats, I suspect some sort of revolution (perhaps in the form of a mass exodus) would occur.

        You do realize that not every expat who owns property here is a millionaire?  Some have taken what little they have and have boldly (in the face of occasional animosity) purchased property.  And now there is talk of imposing what basically amounts to a penalty on those who have invested in Cayman.

        I have done as much as I can to support the country and community in which I live, but I would rather not pay to provide others with goods and services for which they themselves are unwilling to contribute. 

        However, I do wonder:  if these taxes/fees/whatever else may be proposed are imposed only on expatriate workers, do you think it will be too very long before the entire group begins to leave.

  33. Lachlan MacTavish says:

    Tim Ridley is spot on. Years ago The Chamber made a hard push on the CIG to privitize, reduce the civil service and look for new income streams. Now we are way past action time. Hard and important decisions need to be made by our leaders. The world economy has changed forever and Cayman must change as well. Property tax is the most fair and equitable to attack the new age. Income and sales tax is fraught with CIG accounting, loop holes and errors. Simple property tax and IMHO coupled with privitization, reduced civil service and new income streams like hotel guest only casino’s and an international lottery will move Cayman forward.  Hard decisions but they must be made.


    All the best Cayman

    Lachlan MacTavish

  34. Anonymous says:

    I think Mr. Ridley’s suggestion is misconceived. It may be okay for persons at his financial level to have no problem paying taxes, but what about the poor Caymanian who has land given to them or is family land by inheritance, who would otherwise not be able to acquire land, let alone pay taxes on it. This land tax is a bad idea. It will only create another level of bureaucracy and the gov. hiring more people. Years ago there was something called the "Head Tax" Which was abolished during the late Sir Vassel’s years. Maybe something similiar could be brought back on all residents- Caymanianian, status holder, permanent residents, work permit holders- over the age of 21. No new gov. department is required as it can be collected by the Treasury Department.

  35. Cap realtors' fees says:

    If there is a property tax there should be a statutory cap imposed on realtor’s fees of 3.5%.  Their pricing fixing cartel in Cayman has to stop – is doing more to harm Cayman property values than anything else (with the possible exception of the top rate of stamp duty).  Their job is simple (let’s face it they are not rocket scientists, any of them).  They might waste less of our time on stupid flyers to cut costs – how many Lund reports do we need to read until we work out they all say a variation of "there has never been a better time to buy"?

    A statutory cap on realtor’s fees would offset over a decade of the proposed property tax.

    • durrrr says:

      completely agree about ending the real estate cartel, but why not just increase stamp duties by the amount knocked off Lund and co?

      Find me a person who’d prefer that 2% to go in a realtor’s pocket than the goverment coffers, and I’ll show you a realtor

  36. Lachlan MacTavish says:

    I believe Tim Ridley is spot on. Our country is desperate for new income streams. Years ago there was a push from the Chamber to privitize, reduce the civil service and find additional CIG income. Now we are way beyond action time. The property tax will work. It is fair and equitable. Income and sales tax is fraught with loopholes and CIG accounting issues. IMHO coupled with property tax the civil service needs to be trimmed, hard decisions but a must in this new world economy, CIG department privitization and new "out of the box" income streams…ie Hotel guest only casino’s to create new income and jump start tourism and an international lottery. Hard decisions but good decisions for the country and the people.

    All the best Cayman,


    Lachlan MacTavish 

  37. Anonymous says:

    A WORD OF WARNING to those considering the 1/4 percent property tax.  Council tax was introduced in the UK following disasterous poll tax policies (which led to massive riots and civil unrest).  This was supposed to be a fair and equitable way of introducing tax on property so that those who had more expensive properties were penalised more.  Well what happened – we know because it is now history.  First of all the banding systems were all inaccurate because of the inability of the government to properly value each house – indeed they just did a drive past in most cases.  Secondly it has become a weight round the neck of most familites – the poorest hit worst often because successive councils have levied more and more to cover shortfalls in poor budgeting within each council.  It now means that a Band D property (which for a low (but not lowest) value property) in the UK pays 1600 pounds per year (even more in London).  This was a fee that was under 200 pounds 10 years ago. Would the wealthy off island investor consider paying his 7 1/2 percent stamp duty and then an additional exponential rates of increase. on an annual basis.  I think not.  It will cripple the locals too.  Learn the lesson from what happened in England.  The economy in Cayman is fragile enough as it is.  Oh and can we stop the anti-expat rhetoric it really doesn’t help anyone.

    • Just wrong says:

      Council tax works really well as an effective method of generating revenue.  It is simply that the current UK government has imposed ever greater burdens on local government leading to an increase in this tax.  There nothing wrong with how council tax works, the problem is that the Labour government is too dishonest.

      Given that there is no distinction between local and national government in Cayman your criticisms of the operation of the council tax (which is effectively the old rates system) is irrelevant in the context of Cayman.




  38. RC says:

    Let us not forget that we the people of these islands are being asked to pay taxes because of wreckless government spending with essentially no accounting or accountability from government departments.

    I say instead of bleeding the people dry that the government should first get their own affairs in order and STOP this wreckless behaviour.  What is to stop them from wasting this so called tax money – answer = NOTHING with the present system of no reporting.

    Let us have a referendum on this one Mr. Bush and the people will give you their answer loud and clear I am sure.

    • Anonymous says:

      Learn to spell: "R-E-C-K-L-E-S-S-".  

    • Anonymous says:

      We Caymanians tend not to obey demands to pay unless-eg- our water or light is shut off. Think of the millions in hospital bills unpaid or the garbage fees.

       How will Government make us pay property taxes? If there are no teeth, some won’t pay.

    • Anonymous says:

      Absolutely.  Too many questions about government finances have YET to be answered.  If the system is not working (or if it’s just the people in the system that are not working) then pouring more money into will only make the problems worse.

      Ken Jefferson.. you got some ‘splainin’ to do.

    • backstroke says:

      Ok, I heard the letter that the FCO sent to the leader of GOVT Business read on the talk show this  morning and it does not take a lawyer to understand the harsh wording that this XXXX have sent to us.

      Now as I see it  we can sit here and cry in our soup or we can step up to the plate, Our country need all cool heads not chomping at the bits for the heck of it.

      The UK have for many years shown us what they really do think about us, this is not new, we have long needed to heed their warnings very subtle at times.  I also feel that Cayman can do a lot to alleviate some of the stress that have come on us. Yes expat folks I do not have any thing against you, but when in Rome do as the romans do, you start these blogs by  being disrespectful and calling the locals ignorant, incompetent, etc,etc, you should be saying thank you Caymanians for allowing me to live and work among you.  That said, now GOVERNMENT, start by removing the foreign workers in GOV. as I see it the Gov has the most expat workers and  that alone can free up some jobs for the people here.Stop hiring people from overseas to do small jobs like washing down dive gear, etc, hire high school leavers that are not going on to higher education.

      I also feel that they can charge a fee for sending funds overseas, raise immigration fees for some permits, have an inheritance tax for anyone receiving property over $200,000.00  even the gambling casinos can be looked into. The idea of having a property tax is just what the Brits want, the poor Caymanians wont be able to pay it so they will purchase their properties and kick them out, they do not want income tax as that will take too much out of their high salaries. So we need to put our heads together and come up with a solution, we have competent people, we did it before with the likes of Sir Vassel, James Bodden so we can do it again. Let the Cayman  Flag fly high and lets be proud that we are Caymanians, WE WILL SURVIVE.

  39. Anonymous says:

    DO NOT BE FOOLED by the “easy answers” of implementing casinos.

    the answer is not and easy once to fix because the real answer is to reduce the size and “out of balance” spending of government.

    the government must be cut! Not allow the government to grow and outspend its budget then “find more revenues to fix it!!!”


    Fix the huge gaping hole you created rather than increasing the size of the bucket to bail the water out!!!

    Casino’s will take enormous amounts of cash that would normally be spent in the local economy from the local economy and give a small part of government and the rest to a legalized mob ran by some Vegas firm.

    DO NOT BE FOOLED BY THESE “easy answers” and promises.

    Nothing good comes easy.

  40. Anonymous says:


    To implement any taxation system on property or income, no matter how small and insignificant the rate may seem. Once implement the rates WILL go higher because once the new new revenue stream is implemented, the government will levy that resource every time its short of money. Each and every single time! Look at any government around the world, they grow and tax more always.

    It is nearly impossible for government to cut internally due to the politics of cutting jobs, and therefore raising taxes are ALWAYS the only option they seek. a .25% property tax now GUARANTEES a 1.0% tax down the line and a 2% tax a little later etc etc etc..

    Same with income!! This is a cardinal sin, and I can PROMISE you this will happen, no questions, no doubt, 100%.

    Do not let lotteries in here and do NOT let casinos in here. the lottery is a TAX on poor people again draining money out of the economy into government. so instead of that $5.00 or 10.00$ being spent on good in a store, it goes to the government.

    Casino’s take huge amounts of cash out of the local economy and produce very low paying jobs in return!! the money is largely taken out of the local economy.

    go to Vegas and drive around away from the strip and you will see bare streets, verylittle economical growth and poverty. Same with Atlantic city yet these cities generate BILLIONS PER MONTH!. these people are lying to you that are saying any casinos somehow improves the economy because it means cash in THEIR POCKETS! IT DOES NOT PUT CASH IN YOURS!! It takes huge amounts of cash out of it!


    Stop racking up credit cards and creating operating deficits!!

  41. Anonymous says:

    Taxes = enormous administrative burden via assessments, enforcement, filing fees, etc.  Not to mention the time and financial burden to private sector of re-drafting every document and contract the taxes would pertain to. 

    As far as the jurisdiction’s future goes, I don’t know anyone that would continue to do business with a party that abrogates contracts.  It is a very disturbing precedent.  Can anyone cite an exception? 

    The unpleasant solution is clear = the gov’t needs to go on a diet, ie trim the social walfare benefit which is the Gov’ts girth.  Full-time, full-perk employees should voluntarily scale back (LOGB could set an example), and entire dept’s eliminated (as has happened everywhere else in the real world).

  42. Sphinctre blues... says:

    If Cayman needs money, why not tax the churches? There are people in our country making A LOT OF MONEY by pretending to be the spokesperson for God. It’s a business for them so tax them! Trust me, they won’t go out of business, they can easily afford to pay a cut from their profits.

    And why does everyone here associate casinos with poverty and decay? Monte Carlo is a casino destination and they don’t seem to be a hell on Earth by any means. Cayman is rapidly becoming poor and criminal WITHOUT casinos, so what’s the hangup?

    • Anonymous says:

      …because Casinos will add to the crime problem and ensure our demise.  

  43. Anonymous says:

    Taxes are a slippery slope. Once you are on it it is hard to get off. Everytime more funds are needed, new taxes will be introduced. I suggest not to even go near that and rather come up with other ideas. How about increasing the annual return fees registered companies have to pay to the Cayman Islands Government by lets say USD 100 or USD 200? Somebody who put a USD 520 Mil structure together is not going to de-register the company in Cayman because of a insignificant increase such as the above. How about having the retail banks who have been making a killing on the USD/KYD exchangerate pay a percentage of that to the Government?


  44. young caymanian says:

    Cayman is in the worst financial state that it has ever been in.  It is because of this that our government and even members of the Cayman population are leaning towards avenues that we know as a people we would never ever consider, because of our foundation and up bringing. There is talk about property tax,  income tax or some sort of tax to bring in revenue for government to do what? If it is to sustaingovernment, to keep the government running then fine but if its to bring in revenue and as fast as it is recieved it is then spent on a new project or simply just to find away to spend by our leaders that is wrong.

    I would love to see our leaders both present and future use the governments money more wisely not just to allow them to live lavish lives, feed themselves and their entrourage but to see our leaders taking into account their responsibilty to these Islands and its people. We need to practice contentment and it needs to come from the head down.  I have no problem with any politicians neither am I a member of any political party I just hope and pray that we will begin to see leaders truly having the caymanian people at heart.

    Now I know it seems like the immediate answer to our financial crisis is the implementation of a national lottery or legalizing gambling.  Gambling has been around Cayman for years. As a young Caymanian I have grown up seeing senior members of my family live there lives in chaos feeding their gambling habits, spending their hard earn money on it week after week and what do they have to show for, it nothing.  It has brought family problems within family circles, mortgages have been in the red because of it people have stolen and did other illegal things to sustain their habit and we say we want gambling.  It has brought divorce and relationship problems between a husband and wife because one of them wiped the family savings clean to feed their habits. 

    All I am saying is that many people are addicted to gambling on our little islandand some of the people who are the "bankers" in the number trade more than likely are involved in other illegal activities.  Recently there was a shooting on eastern avenue because of it.  I have know cases where there has been armed robberies at different places where numbers are sold. 

    The bottom line is this, although it might bring in revenue for the government,it will ultimately do more harm than good.  We would begin to see more social problems rising up left, right and center within our society.  If we think we have a high increase in young adults and teenagers committing crimes watch and see what will happen if this fall through. 

    It does not suprise me however that these things are happening, society on hold seems to push the limits of what it can and cannot do.  We have lower the standard of morality within our little island just over the coarse of at lease 5-10 years and we are seeing the fruit of it in the daily news with the accounts of the many criminal activties.

    So my duty as a man in these islands is to pray and lead by example not many people are standing up for what is right these days but thats fine it doesn’t offend me at all my only prayer is that in our society the blinders will be removed and people will stop walking in darkness and walk in the light.

    God bless my Caymanian people and keep your head up.

  45. Anonymous says:

    Taxes are like vampires, you should never invite one into your home for they will surely drain your very life essence to sustain themselves. To continue the analogy, their lust comes from government spending they have no money of their own so they have to drain it from their victims.

    However all is not lost. Just like with vampires, they dissolve in the sun. If government spending is properly audited, reported and justified then it too dissolves, that is why governments worldwide do not like such scrutiny.
    The Cayman Islands must resist all taxes. Government spending must be brought under control. This applies to grandiose capital projects and goes right down to individual civil servants that have ‘little perks of the job’.
    There is a place for ‘use fees’ for services such as refuge collection etc. However, the fee payers must be equitably distributed amounts consumers of the service. There can be none of that ‘free for Caymanians’ or ‘double for expat’ nonsense. Such asymmetries will only lead to abuse and to claims of percussion or favouritism. The attitude of self entitlement is a Caymanian cancer that must be removed.
  46. Anonymous says:

    When did Ridley become an elected official?

    • Anonymous says:

      We all wish he was, compared to the comedians we have to chose from.

  47. durrrr says:

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – now is the time to stop letting the churches run this country, and to let the casinos in. Impose a hefty tax on all gambling profits, and the rest of us can carry on as normal… and no-one could complain about a gambling tax, as you’d know what you were getting into from the outset (i.e. it wouldn’t be a tax imposed on something that was not previously taxed).

    Here is a link to a table of various US state gambling taxes, which will give an idea of what the casinos are used to paying: http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=12805

    A good (and obvious) comparision would be the Bahamas, who raise at least $20m a year in gambling taxes: http://www.bahamas.gov.bs/bahamasweb2/home.nsf/a2adf3d1baf5cc6e06256f03005ed59c/d453879f8698c42685257424004bca81!OpenDocument

    "Make no mistake about it, Mr. McCartney said, gaming has become an important aspect of the overall tourism product offered to visitors to the islands of The Bahamas.

    He said while significant sums continue to be contributed to the national treasury on an annual basis by the licensed casinos, there is much more that can be done.

    The Minister of State explained that from 2000 to 2007, tax revenues accruing to the government of The Bahamas from the Paradise Island, Crystal Palace, the Casino at Bahamia, Isle of Capri and the casino at Emerald Bay totalled $143 million."


  48. Anonymous says:

    try a lottery first PROPERTY TAX is a BIG MISTAKE just like what bush did with the STATUS GOLD RUSH

    • Anonymous says:

       A Govt  lottery is really a whimsical idea. We would add another avenue for Govt to lose money. I saw where someone posted about money leaving Cayman for Belize and Honduras from Caymanians buying numbers. I dont know much about it but as far as I know it is small time sellers in Cayman who sell, take the risk and make the profit. Maybe legalizing the local numbers game and registering the sellers and making the players pay a gambling tax would be a wiser way for Govt to make some profit from it.  Any business person knows that in a down economy the most sure way of surviving is to reduce expenses.

      It would be much better if everybody suggested something that could actually benefit rather than the nonsense that is being published here?

  49. Anonymous says:

    If Tim Ridley’s starting to work the Island to sell the idea, then it’s already a done deal, signed and sealed in a back room by Bush.

  50. Landowner says:

    I am really pissed off.  I paid a MINT in transfer taxes when I bought my house, but the supposedly "stable" Cayman Islands boasted as to how they charged no property taxes of any sort so I looked at it as a look-term investment and bought. 

    Then the market went in the toilet, so the buy was actually a bad idea after all.  Prices really have no real prospect of going up any more. 

    Next the recession comes on.  OK, that will go away but it will hurt for a while.

    Finally comes the Cayman government pissing away money and having no idea even how much they have.  No audited controls.  Then they are bankrupt, and they want to start taxing people. 

    Ridley, protecting his precious law firm friends no doubt, deflects the discussion away from taxing the multi-millionaire partners at the firm in favour of taxing homeowners.

    So much for the boast of "no property taxes of any sort".  The truthof the Cayman Islands comes out: when they say "no tax", they lie.  They’ll start to tax you the minute they feel like spending your money.

    They’d rather protect their law firm millionaires and screw me twice rather than cut the spending they have underway.  I’m not making millions owning a Cayman law firm.  I just have a job here.  I guess the Cayman government doesn’t care about that.


  51. Expat says:

    This is very sad.  At least I can say I was there the day that the Cayman Islands died.

  52. Anonymous Coward says:

    "Caymanian families may not be able to afford to continue to hold onto their heritage if they had to pay tax on property"
    I think this would be the most detrimental affect and would only speed up Cayman’s march towards becoming a concrete jungle.  I also distain his renaming of property tax to a "community service charge" which could be inter-changeable with any form of tax or duty, and is typical of PR campaigns.  Call it what it is.

  53. Anonymous says:

    bush needs to tax the money that the expats have been sending out of this country for years,just imagine they earn it  here and send it to their country for free our government gets nothing from it,go up on the price for work permits they are makeing thousands of dollars getting away with murder here,they are murdering our country.jamaica,phillipines,india,etc, economy are benefiting from the here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you an idoit? Why is it the lower class always try to bring down the lower class. Do you think it is only these nationalities that send money home. Most of these people are helpers, waiters etc check what they make a month compare to the other nationalities working as lawyers, legal secretary etc.

      Your looking at the lower class for our Government to tax ie Jamaicans, Indian’s etc. What about the Americans, Canadians and the British people working here and send the th $3,000.00 and more each month back home via the bank. You are not seeing that or no one is checking out how much that amount to at the end of the month, are they now?

      Stop watching the money transfer lines and come into the banks and check the funds going out each month, that’s what you need to do.


  54. Twyla M Vargas says:

    TAX, it is a dirty word in in the Cayman community.  and the only thing we want to hear sounding like  TAX is Taxi, nothing else.

    I agree that we need to adopt a permanent revenue solution, because depending on Tourism alone dont make it.  That is like Land lords depending on rent, One day you got it next day you dont.

    The word TAX should be spoken with a wisper. ……..  Caymanian families are stretched to the max, and scraping pot bottom now, and will be leaning on social services more, if this takes place.  I am wondering how can they afford to pay taxes on their little piece of land the have their house on…………Anyway a solution has to be made  to this problem we are facing, so I do hope it is not a strain on Caymanians who own a little piece of land to them name.

    Again I will throw out the Lottery Line again…………  Why are those who can make this happen, keeping tight liped.  Why dont they allow Cayman to vote on it again.  Trust me when I tell you, 40,000 caymanians and foreigners alike are buying lottery every day and night.  Win loose of draw, I ain,t hearing a beep out of anyone who have lost a dollar.  Millions are leaving Cayman through illegal lottery and its only called a game of chance.   You know that game of chance  that we take every day when we leave home, expecting to return at night.   You know that same thing when we drink pain killers and hoping it will take the pain away, that same thing when we get on the plane and expecting to reach miami one hour later,  You know that same thing when we get married and hope that 25 years later he is still faithful.  It is all a game of chance.  How about head tax of a fixed $50.00 once a year, on every man and woman, Caymanians and work permit holders.  Would that help.  I do not know, just playing with things in my mind.  Anyway, i say to Cayman, be strong and of good courage, it is not done until the fat lady sings.  Blessed


  55. Anonymous says:

    If taxes are implemented then it should be across the board – Caymanians and Expats alike….we all live and work here and therefore everyone should be treated fairly when it comes down to it….sorry but if a Caymanian decided to live in another country they would have to abide by that country’s taxation rules…and last I checked a country that has taxes, tax their own people as well as any expats or immigrants.

  56. East Ender to the Bone says:

    Yes Let’s try and get the government out of this hole. First lets FIRE the remaining PPM members that are in the house,Have them recoup all the money they wasted and benefited from (giving contracts to their friends and getting a cut). Next let’s kindly dismiss all expat civil servants (not needed-caymanians can run this country best), but before they leave, tax all the money their taking/sending home. Impose an income tax on all expats working on all three islands excluding nannies, healthcare providers, doctors etc. Then when they all leave and the true caymanians are left, our operating cost would be less (no new roads, less doctors, less gas for our police cars etc.) This will then allow Caymanians to take back this country and rebuild our lost tourism product and have the wonderful investers return.

    The financial sector should be left alone, they are pretty much no competition after all these damn tax agreements.

    Mr. Bush you made such a stupid mistake by following the PPM, can’t you see that the UK is trying to destroy the beautiful Cayman Islands.

    See you in the next Election.

    • Anonymous says:

      Haha, I wasn’t sure if this was a joke or not when I was reading it. but the sad thing is I think it may actually be some fool’s real opinion.

      ‘Dismiss expat civil servants as Caymanians run the coutnry best’ – That’s a load of bollards already. The ineptitude and corruption amongstCaymanians is huge. The whole system would crumble without the well trained, skilled and competent expatriate workers.

      ‘Lets also tax them on everything they have earned before we send them home’ – Maybe just maybe this will mean everybody withdrawing their money in cash from the banks to avoid the risk of having it taxed if they wired it home. The subsequent removal of cash from the bank would cause an unprecedented run on the banks, which would send the 4 main local banks out of business, therefore making another few hundred caymanians out of work.

      ‘When all the expats leave, our operating cost would be lower (no roads etc) – yes but when the expats go and take their investments and business with them, the island is left with nothing but the industry that they could be capable of sustaining without foreign assistance, that of course is growing fruit. Unfortunately this is not going to keep the local people in the living they have become accustomed to. Fruit farming is not going to buy their 4×4, KFC family buckets, blackberrys, or pay for their drug habits. The saving on roads etc would be spent on extra prison places and social security for the 95% of people who are unemployed.

      To be fair, your comments are typical of a lazy, social security benefit grabbing, backward, inbred, uneducated, paedophilic fool and it’s a good thing that the hard working caymanians know that without the expats business, investments and knowledge they would not have the life that they are allowed today. The businesses that pay so dearly so that you and your family can laze about, drink beer and smoke ganja all day without having to work for a living, would be gone in a shot if they couldn’t employ competent expat workers becuase they had all gone home.

      The tourist product is already on its last legs, other neighbouring islands already offer so much more at a better price. One of the only good things going for the tourism product in Cayman, is the great service……which funnily enough is provided mainly by the Amercian and Canadian expats who would have been sent home. Caymanians with their silver spoons would not be willing to fill the roles left by those expat workers because of the low wages and hard work required.

      The few remaining tourists would be greeted by moody, arrogant, surly teeth-kissing, miserable and uneducated caymanian servers. The prices would be astronomical (more than they are already!) to pay for the caymanians demanded salary and benefits and to top it all, the server who couldn’t read or write gets the order wrong. This is not a tourist product that would make people return.

      In summary I suppose what were really saying here, is if your ideas were implemented it would be like pushing the self-detruct button. If however, you remained in your expat funded ganja den picking bananas and left the running of the country to sane people, we might be able to come up with some sensible ideas for dragging the country out of this doldrum caused by incompetent people like you.

  57. Anonymous says:

    Ridley is wrong on a major point.  Taxes have never been a "win-win" for all. Raising taxes here simply papers over the excess of previous administrations which is no longer justified or sustainable in today’s economic reality. Every tax..  I repeat EVERY TAX has an equal and opposite reaction from those who would pay it.  Add a sales tax and see consumptioon decrease, and smuggling (under-declaration) increase. Add a property tax and see property investment decrease (goodbye second place in Cayman Kai), add an income tax and watch Cayman become a ghost-town. We are a tax-haven.  We were built on the foundation of being a tax haven.  It is the reason we are all here. It is the reason prices of homes sell within their price-band or range.  It incentivises people to move to this land.  Rolling out taxes is not a win-win and has never been a win-win anywhere. It is win-lose with those do the paying, losing. The alarm bells you hear come from a civil service which this Country simply can not afford.  Government is too big for its people. The sooner we realise this, the better off we will all be. I am still waiting for World War I to end so that I can stop paying tax in the "developed world".  Look at our neighbors: Dominican Republic, Anguilla, Bahamas, Turks.  None have property tax.  How will we compete for investors with even a moderate tax?  A 5 million dollar home (of which there are many) will have to pay $12,500 a year PLUS the cost of reaching here (there are no Interstates), PLUS Hurricane Insurance (we are the one of the most hurricane prone islands on the planet) PLUS maintenance (everything rots in the Caribbean humidity). Property and Income taxes in Cayman are the equivalent of a gun-shot aimed squarely at our foot! We need to SHRINK THE GOVERNMENT and STOP SPENDING MONEY WE DONT HAVE.  It is truly that simple.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you shrink the government, you will have more unemployment. I don’t think you have the Caymanians people best interest at heart. Shrinking the government and causing unemployment to increase is the last thing you want to do.

      Oh… I forgot!  You are not in their shoes, so you can talk

      • anon says:

        "if you shrink the gov."

        Sure, expand the gov. and require all jobs to start with a minimum of $100,000 a year so all can enjoy life.  Be sure to give 15-25 % salary increase per year…

        And a more generous retirement package for life… Be sure to throw out all the expats…

        Well, you get the drift……where do you think this island country will end up ?

        La La Land ?

    • Anonymous says:

      I cannot speak for the other countries mentioned but the Bahamas do have property tax & have done for many years.

  58. Anonymous says:

    Some years back-around 2000- there was much Kurt inspired talk of medium term financial planning (MTFP it was called). Groups of civil servants met on many occasions and one of the main ideas to emerge was a "community charge". I won’t bore you with the details because when we presented it to the "political directorate" (our lovely civil service term), we were peed on and shat on from a great height. Stupid civil servants without any knowledge of political problems such as the real estate lobby etc etc.!! Then there was the night of the long knives when Kurt and Edna were deposed and the newly constituted UDP was formed.

    Whatever. Our ‘community charge" was a property tax and we had worked it out to prevent undue hardship to Caymanians, without scaring off the big guys.

    As I said, ‘stupid civil servants". What would we know? Well, one thing many of us senior civil servants have known for a long time (those of us concerned with fiscal prudence-admittedly not all PSs), is that the way we were going was not sustainable.

  59. Anonymous says:

    So what I am reading in all these posts about the government money shortfall and the possibility of new taxes is this:

    Caymanians should pay no more taxes.

    Expats should shoulder all of the tax burden.

    Does anyone else see the "Catch-22" here?


  60. Jedi Dread says:

    Please let go of the "I hate any reasonable suggestion that comes along" vibe.

    Seriously, stop it now. Please for JAH love. STOP.

    complain, complain, complain…  but we all sat back and got rich off of Ivan, spent it all and now, low and behold, nobody na ga nuttin left, be it Expat, Caymanian or Hybrid.

    We don’t have no time for no Civil War, since "what we have here, is a failure to communicate."

    All of us, are in this together, like it or not. We are, all of us, battling the same horrible Karma.

    Ease up, all you haters, ease up…

    – Jedi Dread –


  61. Anonymous says:

    Great going you ass – pick on Tim Ridley and his ‘fat-cat’ friends.  That’ll solve the problem.  At least he’s coming up with a workable solution.  I’m game for hearing any suggestions … even from the SMART fat-cats.  How’d you think they got rich in the first place?  They used thier brains not thier scathing mouths!

    • Anonymous says:

      My problem with the tax idea is, once you start  this, it never stops, remember that s what happened to the USA, with the  social security tax, it was only supposed to be for a limited time, now look at what they have. So I think we need to look at this very,very hard and stop the name calling and innuendos, none of this will help our plight now.

      I say one way is to legalise the lottery, numbers what ever the call it, instead of the money going to belize, honduras or jamaica, keep it here, any how we do taxation  we will all feel it.   I pray for our country, God bless Cayman

    • Anonymous says:

      The answer to this problem is to find ways to cut Govt spending, not increase the pressure and taxes on the already overburned citzens of this country.

      Contracting out various Govt functions to more efficient private enterprise is one way to do this.

      For example find the top 5 airlines that are making a profit in this down market and offer them a  percentage of the profit for managing our airline. Find the top five garbage collection companies and offer them a percentage of the profit they generate for managing our garbage disposal system. The same for the Turtle Farm, Water Authority, Port Authority, Public Works, Cinico, the Healthcare System,  and many other Govt Departments.  

      These could be operated as independent public companies with proper managerment. And they can all make a profit if run efficiently. Just find Companies that are most successful in their respective fields.

      Then bring our pension funds home and invest them in these public companies. Why are we continuing to pelt funds at the depressed U.S. Stock Market? The local economy will benefitif our pension funds are invested in our own economy.

      Additionally once they are public companies locally, list them on worldwide stock exchanges bringing additional investment funds into these public companies. We just need to have in place a system where Govt always owns 51% and Caymanians have priority employment opportunities and jobs.

      A property tax or any new tax is the final straw that will beak the taxpayers back.




  62. Anonymous says:

    If Ridley, and his ‘ fat- cat’ friends agree to a 40% tax on their earnings, then yes, we should consider property taxes….

    • Anonymous says:

      No taxes until we deal with our spending problems. When an expat in civil service is nearing the end of thier contract a qualified Caymanian should fill the position. One simple solution tohelp solve a much bigger problem. Expat employment in civil service is a luxury Cayman can no longer afford to indulge!