Tax and fees on LA agenda

| 01/11/2010

(CNS): The issue of taxes and fees and their potential reductions will be at the centre of parliamentary business this week when the country’s law makers return to the Legislative Assembly. Government will be bringing a bill to amend the tax concessions law to enlarge the scope of those exempt from taxes to include any entity that government feels is in the national interest. The opposition is also bringing a private member’s motion requesting the reduction in work permit fees and the independent member a motion to require developers who receive duty waivers to purchase the goods through local merchants in order to get those concessions to help boost the local economy. (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

The Legislative Assembly resumes on Wednesday, when the government will be seeking support for the tax concessions amendment bill, which will enable the Cabinet to offer duty and fee waivers whenever government considers it to be of benefit to the country. The law will give the Cabinet the power to offer developments such as the proposed medical city, the cruise dock or the commercial port any tax exemptions they see fit.

Meanwhile, on the opposition benches Alden McLaughlin will be presenting a private members motion, seconded by Ezzard Miller, asking government to reduce the work permit fee increases. The third elected member for George Town says in his motion that statistics show a marked decline in the number of work permit holders in the Cayman Islands since the increases were imposed, and with many businesses under financial pressure, just as government has recently reduced the key employee fees, it should now consider reducing the fees for all work-permits.

The North Side representative will also be presenting his own private members motion, supported by East End opposition member, Arden McLean, asking government to require those developers who have been granted a reduction or special waiver of duties to buy the goods they need from local sellers instead of directly importing the goods themselves to ensure the money passes through the local economy.

As well as various other amendments and private members motions, there are some fourteen parliamentary questions tabled by the independent and opposition members to be asked of the premier and Cabinet members, from the current situation with the cruise berthing development and the current status of derelict tourism properties to questions regarding the proposed East End Sea port and the controversial government loan.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Whoa Donkey!

    Lookout Cayman! This legislation will ensure political corruption for years to come.

    Negotiation is all about give and take. This law will give the Premiere absolute authority and discreton to use our Tax Base as a negotiating tool for making deals. "If I can save you millions in duty payments, What do you have for me?"

    Now don’t get me wrong, I know the current Premiere is a self made man, unscrupulously honest, and would never seek to line his own pockets, but what about future Leaders?

    This legislation will make the finder’s fees on the Cohen deal look like pocket change.

    "Power corrupts; Absolute power corrupts absolutely" 



  2. Say it Aint So! says:

    If half of what I read will pass in the house the government and opposition would have finally earned a days salary. In any event good proposals.

  3. Tamara says:

    In general, the rate of importation duty should be reduced as well. Many times people don’t buy locally because items are really expensive and it is ubdoubtedly due to the fact that the retailers are not able to absorb the cost so the consumer "pay" for it.

    Import duties vary widely on food items, some food items carry the lowest duty rate. It of course makes sense because we cant expect to have for instance, a 22% duty rate on rice or chicken.

    But  it appears that many of  "the other items" that are imported for resale "doesn’t really matter" to the system and gets dumped into the mass 22% rate or higher.

    This is why many businesses suffer as residents choose not to purchase because of the retailers high prices and lack of quality in their merchandise.

    I think the government should award the CI$350.00 duty concession they offer to returning residents on passenger planes to residents who shop online and import the items into cayman via air or ocean freight services.



    • Jab Jab says:

      The money to run the country has to come from somewhere so a duty waiver on mail order sounds a bad idea to me, especially as it would encourage the circumvention of local retailers.

      A general reduction in duty is more arguable but, as it will not address the lack of quality in local stores which you identified as part of the problem I would question whether it will really increase the rate of buying locally since I suspect that for a portion of industries the competition is more on quality/choice/etc. than on price.

      Cayman has always been expensive and we may have to accept that, as a small and ‘remote’ market we will always be expensive. (How expensive, like asking if 22% is an appropriate duty level generally, is a fairer question.)

  4. Anonymous says:

    Finally a break on the horizon for the economy.This should have been done months ago.

    Reduce planning fees forhomes.The building of homes by individuals would should boost the construction industry continuously.

    Homebuilding now is pure redtape and debt.

    Traditionally homes where built without mortgages and debt.That in itself is the burden placed on residents.

    Now you need 10-20 percent deposit to get massive debt for 20 years.Shame

    Help residents to help themselves.

  5. noname says:

    In my opinion giving government the option to exempt from taxes any entity that government feels is in the national interest is a move that the people of the Cayman Islands should soundly oppose! (But will they? Probably not; Caymanians have an unbelievably voracious appetite for foolishness. The constitution is a prime example of that.)

    Why is it that this government seeks to kiss the backsides of the ultra-wealthy developers in this way? It is a slap in the face of the working man who is barely able to make ends meet. This is a crying shame. Even more of a shame is that the voters of this country could be so stupid, lazy and indifferent as to allow their government to make this happen.  It is not to be believed how dumb this country has become. Every day there are fewer reasons to be proud to be Caymanian (unless one can take pride in being fools). The majority of voters should don a dunce cap and go sit in the corner where they belong.

    It used to be that Caymanians prided themselves on being an intelligent people with a good degree of common sense. Those days are long past. (It was a delusion anyway.) As a mater of fact I am now of the firm opinion that the reason the islands prospered had everything to do with luck and circumstances and little to do with the common sense or intelligence of the Caymanian people. The islands were simply in the right place at the right time, when the world economy was booming and the world needed a tax haven. Money was rolling in and life was carefree. But even then Caymanians made pitifully horrific choices and freely frittered away ownership and control of their land and their country to others while raking in the $$$$. Sad.

    Even sadder is that these people who purportedly had so much wisdom and common sense failed to plan for rainy days that were certain to come. Every boom has its bust. True to their actual careless nature Caymanians failed to grasp this and now are in such a mess that the only solution the leaders can come up with is to keep on giving to the outsiders at the expense of the Caymanian people. And more pathetic is that Caymanians sit impotently by, whining a bit but doing little else to improve the outlook for their future.

    Now that the global economic situation has taken a turn for the worse and things are hard, the true nature of the Caymanian people is revealed: The going got tough and now about all your can hear is the wailing and gnashing of teeth. Now the country is far-removed from the illusion it portrayed in its heyday: The country devoid of leadership, lacking any decisive plan to map out a recovery much less a bright future for the everyday person. About the only ones smiling are the wealthy businessmen who have managed to wrangle better and better deals out of a desperate government. The developers of the cruise port and the developers of the cargo port and developers of the Shetty hospital are the ones smiling now even as Caymanians whine about how bad things are.

    C’mon, get real now: It is time to admit that you were merely lucky and not terribly brilliant. Lucky to be in close proximity to the USA. Lucky to be a Crown Colony. Lucky to get into the tax haven business. Lucky that the global economy needed such a place at the time and still does. (Sort of) Lucky that money rolled in in spite of poor leadership and even poorer planningfor the future.

    Just when I thought that Caymanians had enough of poor choices by their leaders, Caymanian raise the head so even more dirt can  rubbed in their faces by their leaders. Absolutely amazing!

    For one minute, leave your baseless pride behind and take a good hard clear realistic look at your country and at yourselves: Your country is rife with crime, is deeply in debt, and lacking in leadership. The people are whiners but do little of significance to better things in the long term, which leaves a vacuum that people like Big Mac can exploit very effectively. The country lacks a concise plan and the leaders play it pretty much by ear. Caymanians only possess only the illusion of control, but you hang on to that illusion like it is worth something. Being Caymanian now can be defined as being a deluded, apathetic, disgruntled and desperate people living in a broke, crime-ridden, leaderless, but beautiful, country. Sound familiar?

    (Hint to the editors of this country’s news entities: The time has come that you do not need to go through all the trouble of coming up with original news stories. Just go back some years in Jamaican publications, do some cutting and pasting, change the names, and presto, the latest Cayman news for now and the future!)

    Even the very essence of "Caymanian" has been reduced to no more importance than being in possession of a piece of paper. Those pieces of paper were once of so little worth and so freely given away that even those in prison and those who never set foot on Cayman soil could easily obtain one of those pieces of papers. The truth is that a significant portion of the "Caymanian" populace does not have any connection to the country other than a piece of paper.

    Ok…Perhaps it is time for ya’ll to finally just lapse into a coma. At least that way you will have an excuse for what happens to your country. And you just might miss out on a lot of the misery you brought on to yourselves.

    Caymanians, you should just go into a coma and stop trying to act all big and important. The wishes of the Caymanian people are pretty much irrelevant now even to your own leaders! Just lapse into a final stupor and stop acting as if you are a lucid people in control of your country. Hell, the people of this country probably have not had any modicum of control of your affairs since probably before Miss Annie’s day.

    At least if y’all went into a coma you could rightly blame others for the miserable shape the country is in. Not that you don’t already do so, for you have a problem with accepting the responsibility for running a perfectly good country into the ground.

    A collective coma for Caymanians probably would be the best thing. Then foreign entrepreneurs could have free reign with no pesky Caymanians to worry about. Not that they ever cared anyway, they just paid enough attention to theinterests of the Caymanian people so they could get their own way and maybe even walk away with a piece of paper so they could stake a claim on the country.

    I know a lot of readers might take offense at what I write. So be it! Someone needs to wake y’all up. Sad thing is that you were awake and let this happen to your country! So bring on the whining about my being truthful. All I expect is whining from y’all because as a people you don’t have the wisdom or the balls to make any significant changes in your country and what I said will continue to hold true.

    About the only reason I can see that anyone might write any negative comment to what I say is because the truth stings a bit and to Caymanians delusions are much more enjoyable than reality.

    If this tax exemption bill passes it will be even more evidence that Caymanians are not merely fools who have lapsed into a coma. If it passes, it will be pretty good evidence that Caymanians are brain dead and in need of someone to pull the plug!

    • Jab Jab says:

      Do you feel better now that you’ve insulted all and sundry? That’s good. I’m happy for you. Maybe next time you could put as much thought in to writing something useful.

      • Anonymous says:

        Totally agreed. And he has the nerve to call Caymanians ‘whiners’. Yeah, try writing something USEFUL, Mr. genius, including perhaps some suggestions on how to get us Caymanians OUT of our coma rather than pulling the plug on us. Unfortunately as a born Caymanian myself I have to agree with much of what you say but NO situation is ever as hopeless as you make it sound. Otherwise why go to the trouble of writing such a lengthy article about it? I am assuming that you are NOT a Caymanian as I sincerely hope that NO Caymanian is brain dead enough to write about THEMSELVES the way you have done. I sincerely hope that ALL your contributions to the Cayman Islands are not THIS negative as we would obviously be better off not having YOUR kind among us.

    • Anonymous says:

      brilliantly true.  nice one.

  6. Anonymous says:

     There should be no surprises, knowing that the UDP (under Dxxx Power) is in the driver’s seat.  Those who voted for them should expect no more.  Your X got us where we are.  Next time reflect, remember, think and act cautiously when you place that X.

    We are being sold wholesale for a dime.  The poor and middle class (if there is such) are the ones who will feel the pinch of paying the higher taxes, while the rich developers are given the waivers.  What an insult, a slap in the face.  Thanks to the UDP.  Where are the feathers in the nest?

  7. Anonymous says:

    I do not like the idea of giving Cabinet more and more discretionary   power.  By doing so the is much greater chance of misuse of that power.

    We need to keep the decision making in the hands of all the elected officials.

    it would be dangerous the long term health of our country to give the current leadership even more absolute power.

  8. Anonymous says:

    While I support most of this, I do not agree with forcing developers to buy local, This goes against the principles of a free market economy ….Rather the Government should allow developers to buy what they need at the price they need to develop top end products…If you raise the price of development they will look for alternative destinations…It is far better fro the economy if the Developer is to be given incentives to buy local, but only if the local supplier can match the international competing prices….Otherwise suitable tourism products will not be built on this island as it will be too expensive…Big developments warrant better pricing due to volume, local agents would then be forced to compete and negotiate competitive prices from factories…Everybody wins this way…

    • Jab Jab says:

      Ahhh, but the local supplier can’t compete because they don’t have a duty waiver. Therein lies the rub. However, by making the duty waiver go through the local retailer the developer still gets their break and the local economy gets the benefit of the economic activity. Trickle down economics only trickles down where its applied.(Not having seen the Bill I recognise that it may not be as elegantly or efficiently worded as it needs to be, but that’s another 21 day debate. However, the idea behind it arguably supports competition rather than undermines a free market. The developer can still import if they want, and pay duty, if the local merchant is soooo uncompetitive in their price.)

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually the local supplier gets the duty refunded as per the Hotel Aids Law and existing incentives…Duty gets paid on original invoice and the Developer claims it back…When a local company quotes 100% more than any other regional competitor to do the same job, why should he be given the contract…I have first hand experience on this matter…Our prices should be about 30% higher than the US due to shipping and duties, however some items are 300% higher, just look at Milk and Gasoline…Buy local may help but usually only helps the already wealthy…


        As for incentives they are par for the course in every SIDSin the world, gotta wonder why a country that has great infrastructure and Air access has so little good Hotels…

        Time to revamp the Hotel Aids Law

  9. Warwick Idda says:

    If big projects are worthy of duty waivers, why not small projects? If such projects (with waivers) are seen to be beneficial to the economy overall, where is the distinction? Let the smaller developer’s (more likely to be locally owned) have the same playing field.

    Or, reduce duties for everyone all round.

    Let’s see a bit more consistency – or is that asking too much from this Government?

    • Some other Anonymous says:

      It’s obvious large developers have heavy lobbying power in the current government.  This is not fair or right.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I think Govt has finally seen the devastation the increase in fees has done to this Island. Allegedly 15,000 residents leaving, the trickle down effect has hurt everyone. Let’s get these fees back to reasonable levels and encourage businesses to come here and open up !

  11. Anonymous says:

    Allowing any government to grant exemptions and favours to whoever they want without any checks and balances is a recipe for unrestrained corruption. Why am I not surprised at this news.

    • anonymous says:

      What news, there has not ben a debate as yet and neither have details of the motion been publicized.  Wait befor eyou criticize nah! or yaj ust love to be critical?

  12. My2cents says:

    It’s a shame it has to take a direct and immediate effect on the economy for the government to see the need to take action.

    How many other government decisions createlong, slow-burning problems which are just left to fester and are ignored?

    I can think of education, youth problems and mount trashmore. Anyone else?

    • concrn for youth says:

      Yes the youth problem is festering. What happen to a very good programme for teenage mothers that is just a little bit left. but if yu ask they tell you that it is runnig. Heard they have moved to a little crunch up place on walkers road..Who is buying Joyce Hylton Centre now?