Generation Now turns to tax

| 17/10/2010

(CNS): Following the recent discussion on the controversial issue of legalising gambling, the local advocates for critical thinking, Generation Now, are taking on the even more thorny topic of direct taxation at their next open forum. “Taxation: Is Cayman’s revenue base sustainable or is direct taxation inevitable?” will be the subject of discussion. Although the topic has been discussed widely in terms of its impact on the financial services sector in the wake of the government’s trouble balancing the budget, Generation Now said that so far little attention has been paid to the potential impact of direct taxation versus the existing indirect taxation on the domestic economy.

“As a group we recognize that though this particular issue has been discussed by a few persons/groups throughout our country, it has been confined mainly to the impact on the financial industry,” Donald Spence, one of the Generation Now directors, said, adding that the group wanted to broaden the scope of the discussion. “We want to determine the pros and cons of the current system of indirect taxation versus a system of direct taxation and any perceived impact on the Cayman Islands from a socio-economic perspective that such measures would have on our local economy.”
The panel includes Anthony Travers, former partner of Maples and Calder and Chairman of Cayman Finance; Paul Byles, MD of Focus Consulting, economist and author; Wil Pineau, CEO of the chamber of Commerce, Tom McCallum of McCallum Solutions; and Steve McIntosh, CEO of CML Offshore Recruitment.
The panellists will be taking questions from the public that are emailed before the night of the debate as well as ones from the live audience at the venue. The forum will again be moderated by Austin Harris and aired live on Radio Cayman. Organisers are asking members of the public to submit their ‘tax’ related questions by email before the event to
The event will take place on Thursday 28 October 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm at the Harquail Theatre the event is free to the public however organisers will be asking for voluntary donations to help with costs.
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  1. Anonymous says:

    ‘generation now’ should readthe miller shaw report!

    • Anonymous says:

      The Miller Shaw Report is not the ‘be all and end all’. Unfortunately, there are far too many people who unthinkingly accept its conclusions without any real scrutiny and analysis. It offered nothing new but simply came to a predetermined conclusion based on the political ideology of its authors. I don’t think the Cayman Islands got its money’s worth.  This should be an interesting discussion.  

  2. Joe Bananas says:

    Face facts Cayman!   Your best and brightest leaders can not and will not save you.  They are not (in their own words) prepared to do this.  Nothing they think of, nothing they will agree to, and of course nothing any outside professional help will offer will steer them away from what is most important to them and those who are in receivership of most of Caymans public purse strings.  There is plenty of money going into Cayman Island Government to run the country successfully already. THE problem is that it is not being used for that purpose.

  3. whodatis says:

    I am posting yet again on this issue to point out a common misconception in regards to my initial post.

    I was NOT suggesting direct taxation of EXPATS alone!

    (I may be somewhat controversial and opinionated but I am not a tyrant.)

    When my post is read correctly it is clear that my ultimate position on the matter was the flirtation of the taxation of ALL high salaried residents – Caymanians included.

    (However, "high-salaried residents" would likely include more expats than Caymanians. This is simply due to they strategy and stranglehold that those in control of our most lucrative industries refuse to admit to or eradicate. Yes, such a notion would affect more expats than Caymanians but that would simply be a symptom of the reality in which we find ourselves.)

    I do understand how one may be confused by my initial post but at the end of the day it does not read in the way in which many have apparently concluded.

    In any event if the issue of taxation was taken to a referendum today it is pretty clear the outcome would be a negative one.

    Much has been discussed here today and I for one have learned quite a bit from the variety of perspectives. I especially connected with the poster who touched on the problems they faced in Cayman in regards to our retail business banking system and processes. For us being a financial center our retail arm is absolutely horrendous at times.

    CNS – you have done a great thing by the mere existence of this website.

    • Anonymous says:

      Any taxation system that does not include everyone will create not only great social disharmony but a mass exodus of foreign professionals.

      Then there is the hiding of income for tax purposes to decrease tax liability a skill well practiced by many.

      What a shock income taxes will be on the Caymanian who has never lived with an annual income tax.

      Any serious tax system will require penalities for non payment of taxes such as loss of property or jail.

    • Pauly Cicero says:

      Any time you propose a "tax the other guy" scenario you will receive a backlash from the other guy.

    • Joe Average says:

      Agree 100% on the existence of CNS.  Many thanks. When it first came on the scene I thought to myself "oh my… it’s finally happening".  A sane, and simple way to reach consensus by using the technology before us.  But will it be embraced?

      Something such as CNS could (should?) form an important part of government policy and decision-making, not replacing government….but enhancing it and making it work.

      A little off topic perhaps, but let’s examine this thread for instance:  The topic is an important one:  Direct Taxation.  It will affect everyone on the island.

      If I were a government considering this, I would certainly take advantage of the opportunity to see how the public feels about it.  Put it out there and see if it flies.  Before…. I put my foot in it.  Aside from that, with an open mind (yes, it’s possible to have one, even in government) gather  opinions and suggestions from those that would be affected in order to see what the consensus was.

      And… there are many reasonable comments and suggestions. Just look at them.  Some are out there but some should be given serious consideration.

      Too often what happens, and Cayman isn’t unique in this, governments seem to govern by the seat of their pants or worse….become victims of special interests. Who have the time and the ability to influence. Part of this problem is losing touch with the very people who elected them to office.  It is in fact the very essence of the problem governments face. How do they make decisions once in office? Without blundering or making fatal mistakes?  And then… finding there are enormous (unforeseen?) backlashes and sometimes dire consequences?

      Use what’s given to you. Use technology.  Use the array of ideas and suggestions of the people Who Have Put You There.  Democracy, as we know it, should not stop after an election.  It is a process in which we are all involved from then on.  We understand that.  We wish only that governments did.

      CNS and things like it should not be seen as a detriment.  It should be used as a tool for good governance.

      • whodatis says:

        "Democracy, as we know it, should not stop after an election."

        Amen to that.

        Good post all around.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I actually wouldn’t mind paying taxes if they ridded of the expensive school fees and insurance health care fees. 

    I recently was admitted to a medical facility after suffering from an extreme case of Gastroenteritis.  I was completely dehydrated and needed 2 bags of saline solution plus several antibiotic injections to become stable enough to sit and drink liquids again.  Did I enjoy this bout of illness?  I’ll spare you the details and just say that no, I surely did not.  What was even better was the bill my husband and I received afterwards. 

    We presently pay $400 per month for our medical insurance for our family.  I am fortunate that I am a person of good health and very rarely need to visit a doctor’s office, and therefore have not needed to (or taken advantage) the Healthcare System.  The one time that I become ill (and extremely ill at that!) we discover that our $500 bill is not covered under our insurance, until we pay another $250 deductable!  So, doing the math we pay:

    $400 / month @ 10 months into the year = $4000

    Add $250 deductable = $4250

    Plus 20% of the medical bill = $4350

    Now, thankfully I did not have to go back for further medical treatment.  But bloody hell that was one expensive tummy flu.

    As beautiful as Cayman is, the costs of living are extreme.  Believe it or not a lot of folks will either postpone or choose not to have children as they simply cannot afford to raise them here.  Should further taxation be added, there will be very few who will be able to afford to remain.  Especially if they catch a tummy flu!

  5. Anonymous says:

    START OVER! When something is not working start all over or find a solution or return to when it worked.

    Most say the answer is small business employment of persons. But small business has had a lot to endure for the past 10+ years.

    The implementation of employee plans such as pension and health led to downsizing and monies pocketed by companies and not spent locally.Raising of utitiles, house insurances due to Hurricane Ivan…etc

    Raising of fees and utilities further downsizing. Nothing is being lowered.

    Everytime something is raised small business have to work within its means.Incomes do not increase therefore expenses have to be decreased by downsizing.

    It is easier for employees to get a job letter and received a loan within days even hours. But the person that gave the employee the job letter has limited or no chance of getting a loan.

    The small businesses do not get any special treatment or programs that help except for the occasional Chamber of Commerce paid programs or the possibility of a loan from CIDB…thanks.

    In case anyone has not been paying attention, small businesses have downsized to ‘mom and pop’ stores to avoid paying health, pension, other fees and now just for basic survival. Most business have returned to their original size or just closed down.

    Macro management has gone to Micro…or stayed at Macro by taking on lowest paying employees.

    START OVER let small business and imports have 10 percent customs duty.Lower the gasoline tax by 50 percent. Otherwise there is no way to compete with others such as internet spending and other destinations.Small businesses should be importers and exporters and compete with prices.

    Lower the hotel taxes the utilities are burden to the owners.

    Let renewable energy products be tax free.



  6. Anonymous says:

    One of my questions to the government is why does everything build need to be the most expensive project possible?

    Reviewing the recent governmental projects Pedro St James, school projects, Boatswains Beach ect… It seems the government treats money like water. Now with a government in severe financial difficulty they want to spend an additional 9 million on a building for the Brac.

    More taxation means more money for governmental spending and the politicians clearly haven’t proven responsible stewardship of the country’s finances.

    Expanding the government would be the first result of direct taxation and those who would refuse to pay or who would say that they cannot afford to pay, would the government take their home? I think not. Unless they were foreigners.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Oh…. please do impose direct taxation so I can convince my wife we need to move the business back to the Bahamas where I didn’t need security alarms and dogs (I’m not talkin’ about Nassau so don’t start 🙂 Or there is that little Island next to Malta, Gozo….. Be hard pressed to see any Honda’s with tinted black windows there. Wha you say…don’t like the culture then leave? Okay 🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      Hmmm…wonder what the cost to build a house in Gozo is.  Never mind the black tinted windows.  I just want a house that won’t cost me $300 per square foot!

  8. MER says:

    Tsk tsk, everyone is trying to find a solution to our "economic problems," everyone that is except those that should be searching!!!

    My view on taxing, the Cayman Islands have been tax free for the past 100+ years!!! So far this status brought us up to being one of the most sought after business and residential addresses in the entire world! The question is, what are we doing now that we weren’t doing then are what are we NOT doing now that we WERE doing then?

    First of all, we need to modernise our thinking and budget our Government spending! The biggest issues to face a country that contribute massively to economic difficulty and crime, is UNEMPLOYMENT!!! 

    Robberies, murders, burglary, hold-ups, you name it, it is usually the sign of an oppressed country, and sadly, if the problem is not rooted out, it only becomes worst!

    Points to consider:

    1. Why have such a large majority of burglaries begun to take our islands over? Do we really believe that posting notices in the paper expressing how these "criminals are ruining the islands’ tourism and financial industries" is going to make a difference?

    NO! The problem that needs to be addressed is how can Government and small businesses alike CREATE JOBS for persons, especially the more unskilled and unexperienced individuals, who like everyone has to find means of survival for themselves and even families!

    With our Social Services budget distressed and many being turned away, the majority of these individuals turn to crime, stealing or selling drugs etc, and sadly the culprits (as you can see by the news) have hardly reached their 20’s!!!!!!!!

    Which means these would be individuals who have just been tossed on the "job scene" within the past 4 years, not sure if anyone remembers, but that is precisely when the "economic $h!t hit the fan!" So many of these "robbers, burglars and murderers" may never have been given the opportunity to even satiate a full time unskilled workers position, hence after "making their way" for the past 4 years are unfortunately turning to other means of providing.  

    Now it’s sad to say, but this is an issue that seems to be overlooked amidst the media covering the crime taking place, sky-rocketting prices and cost of living and salary cut-backs being made.

  9. Anonymous says:

    LOM Securities (Cayman) Ltd. is giving the SEC more than $2 million in fines.

    Is it possible for us to impose a fine on them for sullying the reputation of the Cayman Islands?

  10. Anonymous says:

    tax the expats? I am an expat. I have a company here on the island. It is a Cayman Exempt Corp whereas I can do business from the island but just not on the island. I do not compete in the local economy. I do bring a lot of money to the island in the way of local spending , payroll, busibess fees etc. I employ people. The money is spent here and not sent elsewhere. I can run my business from anywhere. I do not use Cayman Banks banks to clear my recievables becuase it takes too long. We use banks off shorein other tax free jurisdictions who clear funds faster. Only payroll comes here. What keeps me and my company here, no income tax?  low crime? a stable government? Do you see what I am saying? Are you cazy, the underpinnings of Cayman will fly apart.

  11. Very Concerned Citizen says:

    There appears to be a huge fundamental misunderstanding here. Cayman is supposed to be a democracy (whatever that means nowadays). By definition a democracy is government derived from the will of the majority of the people.

    It is clear to me that our democracy has been slowly whittled away and the will of the majority is no longer being considered nor represented.

    We are finding ourselves in a precarious situation whereby we will soon lose the power to make sound majority decisions. Even the Good Book says that in the multitude of counsellors, there is safety. I believe this statement adequately portrays a society where the majority of civilised, educated, caring and unselfish people can be relied upon to make decisions for the common good.

    Stop making your silly committees of so-called (pocket-lining) experts. We, the people are not stupid. Just give us the simple facts and we will tell you what we think.

    Rightnow, I am thinking that the expenditure of this government is out of control and that it seeks to punish the working population for its own profligacy or wastefulness. So you shield your accounts and remove transparency. Any honest government would have made this a priority, but not the recent ones that we have had.

    It is time to return the power to the people. No more decision-making please without consulting the people. We are a small country, why should we not have the power to shape our own future.

    Give us the power of referendum and we will tell you what WE want. I am calling all of us out to start demanding accountability of our leaders. If they cannot give us the truth, they should be replaced with those that will.

    I for one will be standing at the next election and I won’t need any big walls around my house, nor will I need a big new car. I have one thanks and it is paid for.

    I won’t need to travel first class and I am satisfied with a clean bed and simple food. In fact, there will be no travel overseas for any civil servants unless special circumstances arise and even then, we will be flying economy.

    When the country is fixed, we will reconsider.

    Public expenditure will be posted on a daily basis on an open website and all accounts will be kept up to date. All loans will be public knowledge as will all government contracts.

    The police will integrate with society in a friendlier way and will partner with the public. There will be no more bowing down to the secret societies that have ruled Cayman with fear over the years.

    I could go on, but esentially we need to get back to basics and have a little more humility.

  12. scratchin'mehead says:

    Ha Ha… you think government have the ability to actually collect taxes??? They can’t collect garbage fees!!

    • Anonymous says:

       and the fees they collect are not accounted for.  NO to taxes as it will only bloat the government more with workers and I promise you that the govt will have spent the money BEFORE it is collected.  You cannot spend $ on projections.  I wish a few of our esteemed accountants ran this country!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Direct tax today…Ghost Town Tomorrow!  There are safer, cheaper places for people to visit!

  14. Pro the little person says:

    How about we begin by cutting the polititians a high government officials pay by no less than 25% and no more than 50% talk about instant savings.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Taxation in Cayman is it only me or dont the people of these Islands DOESNT realize that we pay taxes Daily  now how much more do they expect to take from us. All i can say Mr. Bush keep up the good work that you are doing because very soon all the business people the expats even some Caymanians well pick up and leave becasue theres nothen for them to stay here for theres other caribbean Countries and other places in the world that would be very happy to welcome or business.

  16. Anonymous says:

     I think the comments here are all saying the same thing:  The Cayman Government does not know how much they even have coming in or where it goes.  There is no clear answer and instead of getting the spending under control and understood, they keep wasting the people’s purse on whims.

    It would be silly for the people of Cayman to give more money to these irresponsible morons.  The other party is no better….I’d welcome the crown again, truly.

    However, it is also true that we are in grave economic straights and innovation must be applied…doing nothing will give us more of the same, but worse. 

    Tourism is actually doing quite well in the region, but we are no longer a favoured spot.   Why?  Let’s apply pressure (not spending!) to the overstaffed  incompetent Tourism Department.

    Our Financial industry is not doing poorly either.  Let’s make some of the leaders of our law firms come forward in public and make statements as to what they are going to do to pull us out of this….new training programs for the unemployed?  Pay for a govt community project for a year? Act as auditors?

    Lastly, Immigration has to stop driving away the income we still need (ex-pats) and finally start FINING $$$ heavily the big boy Caymanians who scoff at the protection laws while we still have degreed unemployed Caymanians.  There is a balance there folks…but their system is still much too slow.. so much that even the hard working ex-pats with PR give up and leave and the qualified Caymanians are frustrated.

    Whatever the answers, it must come from the people and businessmen.

    Our politicians from both parties have proven themselves incapable of saving for a rainy day and thinking of the future.  Did "Ivan" not teach us a thing???

    • One for you. Two for me. says:

      Because someone is a politician does not mean they know what they’re doing it means they have proven to be incompetent at anything else. The mindset of the electorate is changing, when people begin to ask "why did you do that with my money??" and another thing "what have you done with my money for several years?"  Five isn’t it?  Perfectly reasonable questions to ask of anyone who has taken control of your money. Until this is proven we go no further so don’t ask.

  17. Anonymous says:

    i personally would not mind paying a 25$ tax a month if:

    1. the money raised is spent wisely

    2. CUC and the other tax hikes are lowered

    when we go to the US and spend thousands of dollars there we don’t mind but as soon as we land and our government want to collect duties we make a fuss about  it?

    Cayman provides a lot of opportunity for people from all over the world-if not they would not be here, i don’t see what is so hard in giving back 25$ a month-

    • Anonymous says:

      While I agree we readily pay sales tax in the US, inport duties in the US range from 4.5% to 14.5%, while in Cayman, virtually everything comes in at 22% (vehicles, alcohol, tobacco, etc all much more). Cayman is already ‘taxed’ – we just call it a ‘stamp duty’. This system is MUCH more economical and efficient than taxing at several layers (sales tax, income tax, property tax), as someone needs to administer these seperate tax collecting mechanisms. While you can say ‘Great! More Caymanian employment!, the system will be run by the same government officials/staff  (don’t care which party) that have squandered us into the current situation.

      Hence,  based on historical performance (of the CI Govt. in general and foreign governmental tax systems), such a system will run at a LOSS. Also, please remember that other countries brought in a very low ‘income tax’ during war periods that would only affect the very rich, and now the poor (there is no middle class anymore) are taxed heavily; once the system starts and the politicians get used to having an endless supply of money, they’ll tax us to death (and will tax our actual death as well!).

       We’ve already lost most of what makes Cayman what it is, let’s not push us into oblivion for a short-term goal.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow, 25 bucks a month – that would solve all of our money issues.

      Suppose we did take 25 a month from all residents, two simple questions for you:

      How would it be collected; and

      Who would enforce it (i.e. what if someone refused to pay, could not pay, forgot to pay) – noting that any remedy would surely cost more than 25 or even a year’s worth of ‘tax’ (300).


  18. Bobby Anonymous says:

    If direct taxation is introduced the Island better start teaching rope making and ship building in the schools because thats exactly where this place will be heading. (try and sell thatch rope and wooden ships and see how much easier it was to live in the good old days of no ex pats)

  19. Anonymous says:

    Government has shown nothing but inability to manage the country’s cashflows and to make the cuts where needed in order to adjust to the current economic situations. Paying taxes and have the country benefiting is one with, paying taxes and just help to line the pockets of a few is another story. Unfortunately, I am afraid that in this case we are dealing with the latter.

  20. Richard Wadd says:

    We are already OVER-TAXED, heavily.

    What we NEED to do, is three tier:

    a). Look at ways to REDUCE Taxation, as this will encourage investment, and stimulate growth. It will also help lower the Cost of Living, and reduce pressure on the consumer.

    b). We MUST Overhaul the Civil Service and Govt. Over-staffed,over-paid, under-performing, in-efficient. This is a Major factor in our economic problems.

    c). Cut ‘Run-away’ Govt. spending, and put a STOP on any New Major projects for at least 12-24 months. This will allow us time to Focus on and Address our current issues, BEFORE we seek to add more burden to a system that, frankly, cannot manage what it already has on its plate.

    d). ABOLISH the ‘Party system’, and let our representatives be Voted in on what they have to offer, and not WHO they are associated with. 

      The time has come for Intelligent and Educated and Successful Caymanians to step forward and GIVE-BACK to our country. For too long we have sat in the shadows saying, "If we get involved, it will have an adverse effect on our business".

     Well guess what, by not getting involved, the effect has been far WORSE !

     Govt. IS a business, and how it is run affects us all.

  21. whodatis says:

    I say tax the foreigners / expats (and relevant Caymanians).

    *The following is to be considered within the daydream context of us having our expenditure and spending under control and fine tuned to optimum efficiency.*

    First of all let us consider the ratio of Caymanians vs. non-Caymanians – something like 50/50, correct? Not a bad spread – for once let us use our precarious state of affairs to our advantage.

    Besides, expat workers in the UK, France and Germany all have to pay taxes like the respective natives do (regardless of salary level) – however, to gain citizenship in those countries is a far more (intentionally) problematic matter than it is here in the Cayman Islands.

    Furthermore, the last time I checked the UK was considering taxing Brits earning £150,000 and over something like 50% on their income!

    Don’t get me wrong – I am not suggesting a draconian level of taxation on our expats, nor do I believe that it should apply to all expats at all salary levels.

    Actually, I would even be open to taxing all high-earning individuals – Caymanians included, again – nothing draconian. Think about it – we have a play-field of 0-50% in some instances.

    Lastly, DO NOT pay any attention to the "it will drive the expats away" tomfoolery!

    Cayman, we simply have to stop making important decisions within the sole framework of our domestic reality – we MUST adopt a WORLDVIEW in order to be competitive, well balanced and relevant – otherwise we will continually hand ourselves the short end of the crappy stick.

    There is not a single expat from any of the "greater" western nations that is any rush whatsoever to return home – ESPECIALLY in these current times.

    *The western approach of dog-eat-dog to socioeconomic hierarchy has proven to be the greatest contributor to the breakdown of its society. The richer are getting richer and no one is giving a care to the poorer classes. It appears that as many of us become educated and a bit wealthier we seem to forget that the ordinary "poorer class" of individual is what actually upholds any society … the foundation as it were.*

    Not every one is able, or even wants to be "educated" to a tertiary level – and society would do itself a HUGE favor if it was to drop that particular erroneous and destructive mantra!

    From the penthouse dweller to the street sweeper – we are all in this together. Neither can exist without the other. Therefore, all that are able to do so simply must throwback a little something to help power the machine. (Due to the current predatory, hamster wheel-esque and pyramid structure of the western economic system – this notion has never before been as important to grasp and enforce.)

    Of course many will refuse with my perspective and that is fine. However, I wonder if you honestly believe that your "gate" is wide and high enough to repel the forthcoming consequences of that stance?

    • Anonymous says:

      "We are all in this together"… but tax the expat.

      And what would I be paying for?  Half-finished luxury educational facilities?  Security walls and fancy SUVs?  Permanent vacations for some civil servants and seemingly permanent vacations for MLAs?

      Taxing and spending on the needs of the country is one thing.  Taxing me and spending on "tomfoolery" is something else.  The problem is not that the government cannot get "expenditure and spending under control and fine tuned to optimum efficiency."  It’s that they refuse to even try and I, for one, would rather not fund such blatant abuse of public trust.

    • Pauly Cicero says:

      I agree that it is dastardly to resort to an ad hominem attack in a rational discussion butyou are clearly deeply, deeply troubled and I would consider taxing myself if it will get you some help.

    • Truth says:

      workers in the UK, France and Germany all have to pay taxes like the respective natives do

       SO just like they do in Cayman at present then. Expats have to pay duties, and stampduty (actuallly more than first time Caymanian buyers)

      so then it is like these other countries then already. They DO NOT tax different ethnicities differently.

      As for getting citizenship is a lot easier to get it in the countires you mentioned than in Cayman. You even get to vote after living in thsoe countries for a couple of years.

      I say if you introduce taxes make it a poll tax, a tax on the right to vote.

      sound fair?

    • Anonymous says:

      Caymanians to pay tax too

      Those high earning individuals have financial planners, accountants and lobbyists who are able to arm twist the government. After taxation it will only be a matter of when you Caymanians will start paying tax. Expats are volatile, today they are in Cayman, tommorrow the government has denied them a work permit, that is the reality of the day, a country’s income cannot be fixated on a moving target called an expat, therefore after sometime only the country’s chief executive will not be paying tax.

      Just watch this space.

    • Expat says:

      I regularly read your comments and find myself agreeing with you on some topics but on this one you’re off-track. The money I earn as an expat on this island is constantly being weighed against various factors. There is not much keeping me here to be honest.

      The things that attracted me to Cayman many years ago have largely disappeared. As someone with skills that are in demand in other jurisdictions (onshore and offshore), I am able to pack up my family and leave whenever the costs outweigh the benefits of being here…and that includes walking away from a house that is almost impossible to sell right now. 

      The island is overcrowded, the government is wasteful and ineffective, cost of living is sky high, the dump is a disgrace, it is no longer safe here, drivers are insane……etc etc etc.

      Go on, throw in more taxes and just watch the island go down in flames faster than it already is. Thumbs up, thumbs down….fire away.

      • Anonymous says:

        Highly skilled, 20 years experience, taught Caymanians and helped them to move up the ladder, gave to local charities, and never sent money ‘home’ (funny, I had a house in Cayman – thought that WAS my home). As soon as this tax stuff got serious attention – packed up and left (yes, I know there’s a bunch saying ‘Good riddance! That’s why I noted I was very invovled in my community and really cared about ALL the people). Don’t think for a minute that every ‘ex-pat’ will dig into all their savings just to stay ‘in paradise’. Crime is already out of hand, it’s getting cheaper to live ‘back home’ due to the ecomonic crisis, and wages are still strong. Eventually, the only sensible thing to do is to bail, leaving Cayman with;

         Poor foreigners with limited skill sets.

         Foolish foreigners that hang on to the bitter end.

         Weakend economy (as my skills were hard to come by, the position has been relocated ‘on shore’; the job has gone, the wage gone, and all my utilities, purchases, etc. have gone).

         More animosity.

         Caymanians finding it very hard to get by.


        All the best Cayman, I hope you can pull things back together, but this ex-pat did all he could do and had no choice but to take my skills, experience, and money elsewhere.

        J T



        • Member of the Foolish Foreigner Club says:

          Uh oh…..I think I may be one of those "Foolish Foreigners" hanging on ’til the bitter end! I admire your strength and courage. It must have been difficult to pack up and leave your "home" after investing so many years and so much of yourself into this community.

          I would venture to guess there are many expats who feel disillusioned and completely unwelcome here as well. Many of them are probably just like me (sitting on the fence, still hoping and praying that things will get better – yet ready to bail the moment a descent opportunity presents itself elsewhere).

          So where did you go? Is it warm there? Can I go too???? Pleassssseeee!!!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Agreed 100%.  The school and Health Insurance / Medical fees alone are enough to cripple any family that is not not duel income – paid reasonably well at that.  Sure I’ll pay taxes as an Expat here, if they rid of the school fees and Health Insurance costs.

    • Anonymous says:

      I say we tax ONLY YOU 

    • whodatis says:

      Hmmm – so I take it the majority is against the notion of taxation then?


      Few clarifications:

      1. Although it does appear that I was initially suggesting the taxation of expats alone (which I will admit was the basis upon which I started) as the post developed I was in effect suggesting the taxation of ALL high earning residents in the Cayman Islands – locals and foreigners alike.

      2. Deep down I do acknowledge that we are in fact already over-taxed in this country.

      3. Our government is in dire need of an expenditure overhaul. Horrible mismanagement all around – but that is nothing unique to the Cayman Islands is it? Besides, I did prelude my post with a disclaimer addressing that very issue.

      4. Gaining citizenship in the aforementioned countries is EXTREMELY difficult and complicated. Unless you have been a foreign national trying trying to do so you would most likely be unaware of the clever hurdles placed in the way of the individual. The easiest way is to get married – perhaps more of our expats should look into that option? Interesting how the group that complains most about our immigration laws appear to be the very group that by way of ratio and percentages marry into Caymanian society in the lowest numbers. Think about it.

      5. In any event, I believe we all agree that we simply cannot continue along our current path. Many people in Cayman are now quite wealthy however, more and more with every passing day are becoming impoverished.

      Hopefully the planned debate / discussion will bring about some helpful dialogue on the current state of affairs and the best way forward.

      Good Monday morning all.

      Be good.

      • Anonymous says:


      • Joe Average says:

        Are you offering a dating service whodatis?  Isn’t that illegal here?  Can I sign up?

        But the point many are making is that with government accounts abysmally late or missing and a ridiculously over-weighted civil service, how can anyone in their right mind even consider giving them more money to play with?

        The other point expressed is an ancient one:  No Taxation without Representation.  Meaning Direct Taxation nothing can be done about fees, stamp duties, or the other myriad ways of collection, etc. …for they just happen.  But you would find a mass exodus… if ex-pats were taxed on salary without any possibility… of a vote as well.  They aren’t THAT desperate to be here.

        • whodatis says:

          "Are you offering a dating service whodatis?"

          Yes Joe – and therein lies in wait a special, exclusive offer just for you … Yours Truly!

          Do we recognize civil partnerships now in Cayman … I do hope so!


          *Joe and Whodatis sitting in a tree … k-i-s-s-i-n-g …

          First comes love, then comes marriage … *

          On a serious note – in regards to: "No Taxation without Representation" – and I am being sincere here – how does that apply to say the UK and Germany.

          I am relatively familiar with these two systems of government and I know that ALL workers are taxed – however, non citizens are not actually represented – are they?

    • sotong says:

      Your arguments would be offensive if they weren’t so risible.

      As an expat, I already have less rights than you, yet you think I should pay more money into government coffers than you?

      When I do not have the right to participate in the process to elect the politicians who will spend that money?

      And then you say "There is not a single expat from any of the "greater" western nations that is any rush whatsoever to return home – ESPECIALLY in these current times."

      Which sounds a lot like "There are no jobs elsewhere. Bleed the expats as much as we can, because they will have to grin and bear it."

      There is a perception that some Caymanians expect the Expat to pay for everything. Your comments completely reinforce that perception.

      I am at a loss how you can then state "we are all in this together."

    • Antoine says:

      A couple of things.

      1. Expats move here because there is no income tax. If I had to pay tax I would much prefer livingin Australia, , Hawaii… places with warm climates but affordable living.

      2. I pay about $2000 a year in corp fees… and $9000 a year for a work visa. I don’t even do anything locally my business is over the internet. I feel pretty ridiculous paying 9k for a work visa when my business can’t even open a bank account here as it’s impossible to open a bank account for an internet business. So I have to bank in Africa.

      3. The banking here is ridiculous and I am tempted to leave here because of it. Ican’t bank here for my business, when I bank personally I am treated like a criminal whenever I make a deposit, and pretty much ignored for anything else.

      4. Every single expat that lives here will move to bahamas, turks and caicos, anguilla, vanuatu, etc, basically anywhere where there is no income tax if you introduce even 1%.  Why even 1%? Because I don’t feel like going through the hassle of filing paperwork, and paying an accountant 5 to $10000  a year to pay that 1%.

    • Anonymous says:

      This guy may be unpopular, but (one of) Cayman’s problem is lack of revenue.  Tax has to be raised somewhere – so where?

      I see part of the problem is the work permit system is unfair and that the rich pay insufficient tax because of it. 

      In BVI, there’s payroll tax around 8% from employees (after some freepay) with employers paying in around 6%.  At a junior financial services salary of $80,000, that’s revenue of $11,200 to the BVI government, plus $1,000 for a work permit.  So, say $12k in tax.

      In Cayman, a permit may be about $12k – but no payroll tax – so about the same revenue.

      For a senior financial services employee – say $200k – BVI tax take goes up proportionally to $29k.  (14% + $1,000).

      But in Cayman – its just the work permit – ie $15k maybe?

      So, unless you link work permit costs to salaries – Cayman is losing a lot of tax.  I don’t know how many financial services people earn more than $80k – but I imagine the answer is’a lot’!

      No-one likes tax, but the principle of linking it to earnings isn’t a bad one.

    • Anon says:

      "There is not a single expat from any of the "greater"western nations that is any rush whatsoever to return home – ESPECIALLY in these current times."

      Except for the thousands of business-creating expats who have already packed up their money and left, oh and the thousands who are packing up their money to leave.  Go ahead an implement a tax regime.   The expats and their money will all be gone before it can be put in place, so we’ll be taxing ourselves.

      In another post you refer to "…our most lucrative industries…", except they don’t belong to Cayman and they can leave Cayman as soon as they feel like it (and they are leaving Cayman already).  Imposing a tax on them is exactly the same as deporting them. 

      Cayman: don’t commit financial suicide.  It’s not worth it.  Whodatis is a dangerous poster.  Don’t be confused by their rants.

      • whodatis says:

        ‘Man ‘a (internet) bad man!!

        ‘Man ‘a (online) shotta!!


  22. Anonymous says:

    Come on Now.

    A: We are already being heavily taxed with the duties we all pay.

    B: Stop Government spending and  waste 

    C;Guess what is going to happen if you introduce taxation. The government will need to hire MORE civil servants and half of the taxes won’t be collected anyway. Look to the hospital and garbage fees of an example of that.

    You havegot to be kidding me.


    • Dred says:

      This is so true.

      First and foremost they have shown us that they can not manage money to begin with. Secondly by way of the hospital and garbage fees they have shown us they are poor at collections. Lastly by means of their choices for spending (ie travelling all over the world, special home security, cooks, new vehicles) that they should be the last people to give MORE money to.

      So they put in taxes and then spend X amount out of that on staff to collect it then find out that they actually need MORE taxes so hike again another 5%. Guess what happens 5 years later? Yeah more increases.

  23. A Concerned Caymanian says:

     With all due respects, my fellow Caymanians, why are we not addressing the real problemshere as oppose to looking for more money from an already bad economy. Taxation is a useful instrument if we KNOW how to manage these new funds and, ignoring for a moment, the Wreck of the Ten Sails Cree setup here in Cayman on our forefathers accord for no direct taxation.

    We, Caymanians, really need to asked ourselves WHY are we in this situation – why are we broke and in so much debt as a nation. We must solve this problem now otherwise we risk the very foundation that got us here in the first place!

    You can recall my last article ( where I spoke about our origin as a nation. We must come to the realization that we, as Caymanians, need to take responsibility for this situation and start to take a more deeper understanding of our financial situation.

    Why don’t we ask our government and professional groups why they believe that raising fees on Business licenses or looking at taxation will better the country; when the country depends on these very same businesses for providing jobs and services (to pay the fees in the first place and raise the standard of living for all of us) while still having to operate in an already slow economy also with the real possibility, in addition, of being taxed eventually too.

    Is it because businesses understand the fundamental nature of Return on Investment (ROI) or keeping their financial positions in the green or good standing by guarding and innovating for cashflow (roughly translated – keeping money coming in to make a profit at all times)? It seems to me that we are just grasping for straws here and unless these activities benefit the local businesses or individuals to form new businesses or expand their businesses faster, this economy is doomed to fail period.

    Forget about looking for new investors or even new businesses, we need to start on the ground first and facilitate our current businesses here NOW! Provide them incentives for growth and employing and training local individuals. By doing this activity, other businesses overseas will see this clear benefit and WILL come by their own accord – the better the regulated (or better yet – less of regulated) the economy, the more attractive the country will be to new companies worldwide.

    Exactly why are we raising fees on Tobacco – cut that out. Government should be looking at their bottomlines in their portfolios for ROIs; forget just looking at service OUTPUTs from government entities. Government has tons of assets they could rent out to new businesses and provide a blank for themselves to cut major costs and introduce new revenue streams to the budget. The answer is in ONE word – INNOVATE!

    Just think about it, finance 101, individual finds a skill (by learning or experience) and plans to open a business with some saved funds and there after try to build and expand. Now, government comes along and say, first adds red tape for how they can operate, then you add fees that are high, then there is no consumer protection for rents, so the business has to find thatmoney too and money they need to stay in business to meet this cost and pay employees; now, add this recession and, on top of it, government increase their fees yet again and then the possibility of taxation on top of it, what do you expect but for businesses to go bankrupt.

    There is no science fiction here, these businesses form your economic foundation and it is always the small businesses that make the biggest difference because they outnumber all other businesses in any economy and employ the great number of people between them together. In turn, these companies provide stocks for others to invest in; in this manner, you now see where investment companies comein to manage these stocks and pool them into a funds for investors to buy and sell in a stock market.

    The long and short of it is this – regardless how we got here in the end does not really matter anymore. What does matter is that we try to understand that running this country, though a larger "machinery" than a normal size business in it, this country HAS to be run exactly the same way as a BUSINESS now. This fact is the only key we need to know and understand.

    There is an old saying that the best people to run a country is out there on the streets cutting people’s hair in barbershops and driving cabs because they understand business; and like a family where, Lord forbids, a parent dies, the other parent must continue life and find income to feed the kids and so must a business; and so too must this COUNTRY. So, stop playing POLITICS and start RUNNING this BUSINESS called Cayman!


    • Pauly Cicero says:

      Ignore the Wreck of the Ten Sails crap permanently. Even if it were true, the accord references no taxes to be paid to the Crown. Nothing said about Cayman collecting taxes from its inhabitants to maintain the community.

    • Dred says:

      I agree with you completely, well except for the tabaco thing. I would tax them out of exeistence. But that’s just me.

      I have no clue how our officials think and many posters on here to be honest. As business people they would suck at it. As a business person if you run into a problem where you start to bleed money from say a section of your business you MUST investigate to find out what is wrong and fix it. You can not simply cover it over by shelling out more hard earned money.

      I believe half of our problem here in the Cayman Islands is we are built to be expensive and we need to find ways to bring down cost not only to local businesses but also to the consumers.

      Our tourism product for a long time now has been on the decline. I know we hear about how this month did better then last year but what they won’t compare against is say 8 to 10 years ago when we on top cleaning up. The problem is our product has declined and combine that with the recession and we are set up to fail.

      Take your average family of 4 coming to stay in Cayman. Tickets run about US$400 each so already US$1,600 gone. Then hotels US$200 a night times 7 and we are looking at US$4,000 and they haven’t done a thing here as yet. Now keep in mind a flight for 4 to say Florida is probably US$500 total and hotels are like US$80 a night so US$560 for hotels. Do you see what we are competing against?

      The thing is many have learnt that they need to conserve because they don’t want to be caught in a bad position again. So any time you have a decision of Florida US$1,060 or Cayman US$4,000 we simply are never going to win.

      We need CAL to go for volume instead of single target dollars. Slash fares. We need hotels to follow suit and start bringing Cayman to be a place where families can afford to travel to. What will end up happening is nothing will get lost because more will come and all those empty seats and rooms will fill up.

      Now MLAs what can we do with you? First stop the crap about hiking fees on local businesses. They are already suffering because of the recession.

      I see you saying you want to stop people from leaving us and to increase our population but how can this happen when your fees are running businesses and causing companies to release employees because they can’t afford the $9,000 work permits.

      I have no clue where they learn about business and economics because it’s really a full who raises business fees during a recession. It’s basically a death sentence. You get one small shot in the arm but in a year all you gained you have now lost and even more.

      Fact is we are too expensive. We can no longer survive local businesses increasing the cost of a product by 300% and expect to not have people say "#@# you I’ll buy it in Miami".

      All you tax people are clueless. You refuse to deal with issues and all you want to do is throw money at the problem and pray that it goes away. What you infact do is to make the bleed even more excessive. In 5 years or less we will be back at this point again where taxes will increase because now our MLAs will need private planes and yacths to entertain. Or maybe give themselves another 30% salary increase. You might be mental to do it but I think before I spend my dollars.

    • Scrooge McDuck says:

      I agree with you that a government should be run like a business.  It makes perfect sense.  But what if…….your business in your mind had a seemingly endless stream of money to rely on?  What if….your business didn’t necessarily have to turn a profit?  What if…..your income didn’t depend on it?  And what if…..even after these failings in running a business you could bail after four years and keep all your income?  And then blame someone else?  Can we see why it isn’t run as a business?

      Yes… it is a business, or should be seen as such, but we have lowered the bar on government and the requirements to run our business.  And too easily accept the excuses "who… me??"  "it was all out of our control"  "it was their fault" "the boogeyman did it."  Go ahead….fire me. But thanks.  For the income, the cars, the perks, and the pension.

  24. Anonymous says:

     First of all, I would rather government start spending their money wisely.  Why should my hard earned money be used to fund government officials travel sprees.  I would rather fund my own travel sprees.  Oh but after my cut in pay and the cost of living keep going up, I can’t even afford a new car that I so desperately need.

  25. Anonymous says:

    The simple solution is to tax the foreigners only. Then the government that institutes direct taxation will suffer no political consequences.

    Or a 2 tier property tax system one higher tier for the foreigner and a lower one left uncollected for the voters.

    • Alan Nivia says:

      The national crest should replace "He hath founded it upon the seas" with "He hath found a way to get someone else to pay for it".

    • Joe Average says:

      Lots of thumbs down on that one!!!  At least I got the part about the lower  one for voters would be left uncollected. Very telling.


      This government, and previous ones, seem to have worked on the premise that there would be space for all Caymanians (those eligible to vote) in the Civil Service.  Foreign workers would be imported to do the rest as indentured work permit holders and couldn’t vote no problem. Everyone would live happily ever after.

      With over 6000 Civil Servants they almost achieved it. Until they ran out of money and the ax fell.  No offense to Caymanians… you only had the PPM and UDP to choose from and both had the same idea: spend money like hell and then plead ignorance. 

      But look!! There’s still enough left for a few trips and cars!!

  26. Twyla Vargas says:

    In regards to taxation.——– direct or indirect in the Cayman Islands, I understand that something has to be done to raise revenue in order to balance the Government budget.  However;  I would say this is one issue we better walk carefully on , because I do not think it will be digested as well as the legalizing of gambling.  

    Suggestion :  JANUARY YEARLY, every man and woman, expatriate and Caymanian employed in the Cayman Islands to pay a "Fixed Head  Tax"  of $50.00 every  six months.  or  $100.00 every year.   Immigration department would be responsible  for collecting from work permit holders.  While  Caymanians would have their amounts deducted direct from paycheck every six months or yearly.   Anything else is not going to go down well with the people.  STRESS.!!

    • Here,Here Twyla, I remember when every Male had to pay a head tax  in Cayman, not a bad idea I say, then every body feels the same pinch, except if you cahrge by weight 🙂   Every one no matter what destination you come from.

      • MER says:

        Sure, I would not mind paying any kind of tax if I knew it was going to some honest use, but I see no reason to pay Government more money to buy more "Protocol Vehicles" to drive their useless backsides around in!

        Instead of paying taxes I think the PEOPLE of the Cayman Islands under an elected Board should rally together to open a trust account or bank account and make public the account number and everyone in the island contribute willingly to it and then votes are given monthly as to what the funds will be used for : A family in need, an elderly person who needs something, children requiring school meals, to assist with furthering education courses for unskilled Caymanians and the list goes on!! Now imagine if Government used the $46,000 from "POO3" on some of the above, wouldn’t that be splendid???

        Or last year they did a "Clean-up Drive" which provided an excellent opportunity for unskilled, unemployed Caymanians to get work and get paid (if I may recall during this time there were hardly any incidences of murder, burglary or hold-ups too).

        Each person was paid $350 weekly, which amounts to $1400 monthly now if we divide 46,000 by 1400 we get approx 32, so at least for one month several  less fortunate, unemployed Caymanians could help support their family and pay somebills!!!

        • Twyla Vargas says:

          Sir or Madam, do you go to church?  If you do, do you put offering and pay tithes, and then wonder if the pastor is pocketing, or where it is going to. 

          Or you do not pay tithes and offering, and then wonder why there are no hymn books,  piano,  or pulpit,  in Church on Sabbath day or Sunday morning?.

          Do you donate to the cancer society wondering what they do with the money.   Do you by ticket to support little league and wondering where the uniforms come from.  Please be realistic, in this life we have to trust someone, if not when you get on a plane again trusting the pilot to take you to Miami, would you feel he is going to land in Cuba?  I would rather support the head tax and leave it up to those I trust to make it work.  Gosh what’s Fifty dollars from your paycheck every six months.  Pennies a day.

          • Pauly Cicero says:

            Seriously, I do. If there is a more than reasonable chance that my contribution would not be used as intended I will not contribute.

    • Caymanian/ Expatriate says:

      I am a Caymanian of Cayman parents, borned and lived in the USA.  I suport the comments of Ms.  Twyla Vargas, because like she saidmoney must come from somewhere to balance the budget.  The thumbs down is an abuse of truth.  Which of you living here, Caymanian or non Cayman who cannot afford $100.  a year.   I pay taxes in USA, I have a home and family in the USA,  but and I am willing to pay head tax in Cayman and share some of what I make here.   I support head tax.

      • Anonymous says:

        The thumbs down is because government seems to be willing to waste whatever money we give them.  So why simply keep pouring money into their pockets?

        There are two ways to balance the budget:  increase revenue and reduce spending.  I am borned and lived in the USA as well and I support those who are in favor of RESPONSIBLE SPENDING before taxation!

    • scratchin'mehead says:

      I would be happy to pay an annual head tax if I knew it was being utilised correctly… that is where the problems lie

    • Anonymous says:

      Why keep ‘donating’ money to the government when like pirates they plunder and pilage?

      The budget is never going to be balanced by taxing the people more – the government needs to adjust itself!

    • Anonymous says:

      Where is everybody getting these figures from? $100/year? That will NOT work. Let’s look at it;

      50,000 people X $100 = $5,000,000

       That’s not even 1% of the budget, and it would cost more than that to collect it! Let’s get real, if you’re going to tax, we’re going to need to generate at least $50 million per year, and realistically (due to collection costs, revenue adjustments, etc), you’d be looking at ~$124,000,000/year. Even at a mere $50M, that’s $1000 per person per year, not $100. No matter what level the Government starts at, you can pretty much count on forking over $120 to $180 per month. While many can afford that, many can’t (and when you put in a sliding scale administration costs become more expensive = need more tax money); never mind the overall headlines and reduction in business that will ensue. This would remove the last of Cayman’s heritage, and put a heavy burden on those that are left in this country in 5 years (which would be all Caymanian).


      Steve D.

      • Twyla Vargas says:

        Steve D.  It was only a suggestion, Sorry. 

          It may only work out to be $5,000.000. yes,  but I have always heard that half a loaf is better than no loaf at all.

          Well lets see what the experts will do to cause more stress and unrest in Cayman.  Good luck.

        • Anonymous says:

           You pay them Twyla as for the rest of us, we would rather keep our money than make Big Mac and Julianna squander it on security cameras, travels all over the globe, $46,000 SUV, bodyguards, housekeepers, Christmas lights, bullet proof windows, etc.

          • Twyla Vargas says:

            OH, now come on, you know we both can afford 100.00 a year, so why would you suggest I alone pay it.:-(

  27. Loriane says:

    Those in power should look out for the less fortunate… that is the only way how I can agree with a tax or some kind of community fee.

    However, on the other hand…

    Taxation is pretty much legalized theft when it goes elsewhere other than helping the less fortunate; moreover, when there is no transparency as to where the public monies go – taxation becomes a burdensome curse on society!

    I say it would be nice if government do away with it altogether, and focus on other ways on helping the less fortunate. But I think that would be impossible without a regulated community effort towards helping people; especially, the elderly, the prolonged unemployed, those strickened by illnesses, and those unable to make ends meet because of the circumstances of life.

    I just hope the Cayman Islands government make smart decisions, and the UK special interest keep their noses out of our affairs, because you know they would want a piece of the tax-pie.

    Taxation is a very serious issue…

    Hopefully, we will think of creative ways on helping the less fortunate and at the same time generating the funds to do so without having to tax.

    🙂 Time will tell

    • Pauly Cicero says:

      Charity is for maintainance for the less fortunate. Tax is for maintainance of our community.

      • Anonymous says:

        Tax should be for the maintenance of the community.  Does the government know that?

    • Anonymous says:

      Taxes and fees are a reality, there are no "creative ways" around this. What about the police? The fire service? The prison? The public schools? These are all things that we need and cannot be privatised because they would NEVER be profitable and/or would be inaccessible to the vast majority of the population.

      Just the other day a man’s house burned down in the US and the firefighters watched it happened because he hadn’t paid his fee for the fire service ( These are public goods and they must delivered by the government and paid for by the public through taxes/fees across the board.

      • Dred says:

        Here come the archaic tax mongers again.

        Ooh people of small minds. Stuck in a system built a gazilion years ago. A system that has done NOTHING for the people who use it.

        You know the only way that countries like England and the USA can get out the same messes we live in is to print more bills right? You know that taxes did NOTHING to save them from the recession right?

        You know out primary problem is spending right?

        Do you see the MLAs today and how they are spending in times we should be conserving in? New Cars, New Security, Cooks, Travelling like millionaires all over the world. What do you think happens when we give them more money to play with?

        I am not giving these idiots we have in the LA 1 more dollar of my hard earned money to spend on their luxurious life while we the middle to lower class fight to make ends meet.

        If you have so much money and want to give it away then find a charity that is not named UDP to give it to.

        • Anonymous says:

          Well said, Dred.

        • Anonymous says:

          Original replier again…

          Dred – I was making that point exactly. Taxes and fees should be used not for first class round the world trips, perks and blatantly obvious pork projects; minimal taxes and fees are needed for public goods like police and fire services, prisons and public education. The original poster wrote "Taxation is pretty much legalized theft when it goes elsewhere other than helping the less fortunate" and suggested we do away with taxes altogether and come up with "creative solutions" – that is what I was responding to.