$1.5M in duties waived

| 22/10/2012

(CNS): Despite its difficulties balancing the books, the government waived close to CI$1.5 million in duties during the last financial year. On top of existing discounts on building materials, government also reduced, waived or discounted duties on a range of goods for local business and profit making commercial enterprises as well individuals, charities schools and government departments. According to a list released to a local MLA following a freedom of information request, government cut or waived duty for business such as supermarkets, fireworks companies, hotels and heavy equipment operators between 1 July 2011 and 30 June 2012.

The vast majority of recipients were government related entities or charities but there were a number of large waivers to profit making entities which the independent MLA for North Side said was inappropriate given the current situation with public finances.

“It’s hard to have the money to pay your bills when you are giving it way,” Ezzard Miller said regarding the documents he received from the finance ministry. “How can government justify giving money away to profit making commercial entities unless you are giving it to all?”

He pointed to the existing 20% reduction on building materials for developers and wondered why some businesses were getting more on top when others were required to pay the full amount.

It is not clear what the criteria is for these discretionary waivers, although the majority have been given to charities, schools churches or the public sector, including the police and the Health Services Authority. There are, however, individuals as well as small businesses and large commercial enterprises on the list that have been given substantial waivers, discounts and refunds on a variety of things.

“My concern is that these discretionary waivers apply to selected people and not across the board, which means other businesses are not getting the same competitive advantage,” Miller added.

Government is budgeted to collect well over $120 million in duty on imported goods — not including duty on fuel – as it remains a major source of government revenue.

See details of FOI request on duty waivers below.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Pearling McGaw is a failed UDP political candidate who was promptly hired by the UDP administration as a consultant of some description. So basically a UDP supporter who has the hook-up for duty waivers…while the rest of us pay (oh, we also pay her salary too for God-knows what)

    • Anonymous says:

      For her professional advice of course. She advises gowerment on who should qualify for duty waivers.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Who is:

    Karen Griffiths
    Pearling Mcgaw
    Maria Testori
    Aldo Gianne

    and why are they getting duty waivers?

  3. Anonymous says:

    We need to check into all of the free scholarships being giving out as well.. I know of a 40 plus year old woman that that just went to a certain minister to get a scholarship to move back to Tampa on our dollar. This same woman is presently living here with a full time job and gets $1500 a month from social services to take care of her daughter whilst she still lives with the childs father and he has a full time job as well. She holds a US passport and gets money through food stamps, housing and school grants and otherwise through her US Citizenship basically milking both governments at the same time..If she completes one semester of school  I am a monkey's uncle..We shall see. What I don't understand is why the money is given directly to her and not to the institution that she possibly will attend.


    This crap has to stop. We can't afford it and we need to start looking into these things.

    As a Caymanian I am ashamed that my own people would stoop this low. When I was growing up the only people that went to the government for handouts were the very poor and the indigents and even then in most cases families reached out to help each other and what happened were hand ups not hand outs.

    We are becoming a socialist country and our people have been educated that rather than work they can depend on the government to provide for them. This is ridiculous and it must stop!!

    • Anonymous says:

      A friend of mine told me recently her daughter got an Education Ministry Scholarship to go to the UK ( I have no problem with that -she deserved it) and also "one that McKeeva helped with". I was amazed but my friend thought it was a natural thing open to all Caymanians from 'some program of McKeevas" to help where the scholarship was not enough. Anyone else know anything about this?

      • Anonymous says:

        Several people have received these "assistance funds" from the nation building fund to add to their scholarship amount. It's vote buying of course.

      • SSM345 says:

        Yes, instead of scholarships, others get fridges, microwaves, paved parking lots etc from the UDP.

    • Rorschach says:

      We are becoming a socialist country and our people have been educated that rather than work they can depend on the government to provide for them.


      and THAT my friend, is how a politician ensures that his voting base will ALWAYS depend on his reelection…

  4. Anonymous says:

    Aldo Gianne? Seriously? Mac, anything to do with Ritz Carlton condos? Isn’t that how you met?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Fosters? Seriously? Why do their duties get waived?


    • Anonymous says:

      I'm guessing that Fosters might pass some of the savings on through lower prices in the store. As for the others, your guess is as good as mine……

    • Anonymous says:

      It's a subsidy for all those perishables that go to waste because they are priced too high.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Is Morritt's getting a piece of this for his expansion.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Amazing! all those big companies that kill the poor with prices. And little me who when I get a chance to travel buys for all the grandchildren and I am one of the few on the flight who is paying the duty. How unfair can life be.

  8. bear baiter says:

    ONLY 1.5 Million? Tis but a drop in the Caribbean Sea compared with the incredible travel expenses chalked up by Mad Mac, Jolly Juju and all the other cabimnet ministers!

  9. Anonymous says:

    "It is not clear what the criteria is for these discretionary waivers…"


    Not clear? It is perfectly clear to me that corruption is at work here with some (not all) of the waivers.

  10. Anonymous says:

    What mister Priemer needs to do is stop giving Tom Dick and Harry waiver for everything that they bring in if they can afford to buy the stuff they can pay duties.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Unless they prove that they cannot get the item supplied on Island at a simular cost they should NOT get any duty waivier.

    It is no wonder that businesses are closing every day, they get NO support.

  12. Anonymous says:

    No sense squawking here. Recently the Government took advise from business people who made certain that their Boats would not be taxed because of their length. All those people who have Boats over a certain length will have to pay while the people who advised government made sure they would be excluded.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Not to worry Ezzard, we will soon be rid of the maniac. McKeeva is the same man who swears that we had to forfeit $450,000.00 of our money to Cohen because COHEN defaulted on their committment, he swears that he had to pay GLF $2 million of our money because that was cheaper than making him look like an idiot in court, he swears that he gave his church $2 million of our money in the name of nation building, he swears that the Government Administration Building HAD to be sold, he swears that he HAD to give Dart $40 million dollars in duties in OUR interests, he swears that his 'deal' with CHEC was in the best interests of this country although praise be go God and Mr. Bellingham he has been stopped with that, he swears that he was justified in firing the Port Authority Board and Brian Tomlinson and God alone knows how many more in OUR interests, he swears that we will somehow benefit from the millions he and his buddies have squandered cruising the world first class, and now this. And the ONLY ways we have 'benefited' in the past three years is in an economy that continues to deteriorate because people and businesses cannot afford to pay the cost of his squandering of our money, and we are overwhelmed with crime and unemployment and exorbitant utility bills and every other type of exorbitant bill we can imagine. Meanwhile our eternally honorable, God fearing brother premier and associates continue to cruise the world in high style at our expense, and there's not a single peep regarding the three criminal investigations he's been under for three years now. God Almighty cannot possibly allow this to continue for much longer, but I suppose it really all depends on how long it takes Cayman as a people to wake up.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, and it's not good for decent, upright, God fearing brothers in the Lord to swear.

  14. Anonymous says:

    It seems that for some politicians it is just as easy to give away other people's money in exchange for votes as it is to spend it on luxury travel undertaken for the sake of luxury travel.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I wonder how many of those who didn't have to pay duty had previously hired a "real estate consultant"?

  16. Dred says:

    These are combinations of:

    1) Vote buying

    2) Donation to Party paybacks

    3) Buddy favors

    I am betting 9 times out of 10 they come in this way.

  17. Anonymous says:

    yea Ezzard, it's called buying votes.  It usually only happens this openly in a Banana Republic where people sit around and complain about how good it was when they are directly responsible for the greedy bastards that they have elected and continue to support.



  18. Anonymous says:

    They should not be able to give duty waivers to for-profit companies. If the duty on an industry or business sector is too high then it has to be reduced fairly with legislation, otherwise it is a huge advantage to those businesses favoured by the MLAs. And of course it is ripe for abuse and inevitably it is being abused since there is no transparency or oversight.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I think most people would agree there is some reasonable stuff here -Diabetes Association, Humane Society etc – but there are some very questionable items too!!

  20. Loopy Lou says:

    Fireworks.  We MUST have fireworks. 

    • Anonymous says:

      But only fireworks brought in by a MAJOR UDP supporters business gets duty waivers. Corruption at it's best.