Premier says Community Enhancement Fee not off table yet

12:30 p.m. UPDATE: SATURDAY, AUGUST 4TH

The Premier tells Cayman 27 the Community Enhancement Fee is not yet off the table and will only be withdrawn, “if a solution can be found that does not affect ordinary Caymanians.”

Premier McKeeva Bush says, “If the proposed revenue measures are not on the poorer people, I will switch. If not, the measures stay, even if in a reformed manner.”

The Premier’s response comes after local businessmen issued a press release Saturday morning saying the Premier accepted their alternatives to the proposed 10% payroll tax on work permit holders.

The Premier denies this is yet the case but tells us, “I am glad that the businessmen have come forward to help solve the budget crisis and to put forward measures to provide for the welfare of Caymanians, not just for today but for the future.”

However, neither the Premier nor the businessmen provided details on what the new revenue measures are that could potentially replace the proposed controversial tax on expatriates.

The Premier will hold a public meeting at the Mary Miller Memorial Hall in Red Bay Monday night at 7:30 p.m. He says all details should be finalised by then and he will be in a position to give a firm update to the nation on proposed revenue measures and expenditure cuts.

See below for the full statement to the press from local businessmen:

We, the undersigned, requested a meeting and subsequently met with the Premier to provide an alternative solution for revenue measures to the proposed “Community Enhancement Fee.” We were advised that if we were able to provide sound, viable alternatives, the Premier and the Government would be prepared to consider these alternatives.

We are pleased to say that after many hours of careful review and input from most sectors of the business community, we were able to propose alternatives that are acceptable to the Premier and the Cayman Islands Government in lieu of the “Community Enhancement Fee.” We support the Premier and his efforts to meet the parameters set for the budget.

We recognize that in order to reach this point, it will require all areas of the economy to participate and contribute to the revenue enhancements, and they should not be borne by any single sector.

Clearly the proposed Community Enhancement Fee has created polarity and division within our community, and this has caused us great concern.

We are a welcoming diverse society that recognizes the contributions of Caymanians and expatriates alike, and we are confident that the new revenue measures will provide a way to share equitably the responsibility of providing revenue to the Government.

The Premier has committed to making a public statement on Monday night at the Mary Miller Hall agreeing to suggestions – proposed by us and others – and removing the Community Enhancement Fee from further consideration. At this time, he will provide details on the new revenue measures that Government is considering.

Our purpose is making this brief statement at this time is to help relieve the anxiety that presently exists within our community.

Respectfully yours,

Woody Foster
Brigitte Kirkconnell-Shaughness
Roy McTaggart
Dan Scott
Al Thompson
Gene Thompson
Wilbur Thompson

  • Salty Dog

    Thank heaven for small miracles. Now we can all get back to focusing on our future harmoniously in Cayman.

  • Paul

    Those who have signed this statement as well as many others, have done a great service for the country and people of the Cayman Islands. The Cayman economy, and indeed the world economy needs to be fixed but an income tax of any kind is not the answer. This said. the whole community must be ready to assume what ever sacrifices that are necessary to obtain that end. (PS Good Luck with Ernesto!!)

  • Suspicious

    Hmmm I’m not holding my breath this seems a little too good to be true. I’m holding judgement till I hear the alternatives. How very reactive of the Premier, it was only one week ago that his crazy plan was announced after apparently lots of talks and deliberation, it was the “last resort”. Now after just a few hours with a group of established caymanian business people who should have been consulted with previously, we now have the solution to all our problems. Surely it cannot be that easy. Who is this man, why is he in charge of this county’s future. Get him out he is obviously not equipped with the necessary skills that is required for the position of Premier.

  • Concerned

    I agree with Suspicious…
    Taxes are not fun unless there is going to be a filing at the end of the year where the government refunds those that are due a refund. Will the premier handle it the same way as they do in the US or is he just going to ENHANCE his wallet?

    It is the Caymanians ( who has no where to go) that will not be able to handle the taxes. The expats can GO back to their home when the _ _ _ _ hits the fan. However, It IS the expats who CAN afford it. And taxing those who make $20,000…. That is down right cruel. Another scheme to make the richer RICHER! That should be those making $80k or more. Maybe we need those 7 businessman/woman in the government to run the countries business affairs… NOT WHO IS THERE NOW!

    Concerned of Paul’s thought
    Taxing Caymanians will not be fare.

    GOD BLESS CAYMAN!!!

  • anonymous

    I feels good to see that we have good Caymanians who want what is best for Cayman. The opposition is just talking and not giving any solutions even though it is obvious from the Forbes Magazine graph who did the overspending and put the country in a mess. Thank you to the good people who formed this committee. What about all the big power house managers who are expat they joined the war but didn’t try to give a solution.

  • A Bodden

    The tax option was not doing anything good for Cayman, Caymanians or expats.
    I don’t know what they said, but I’m looking forward to hearing more.
    Thank you Woody, Brigitte, Roy, Dan, Al T, Gene and Bing for working to provide an alternative.
    Sincerely,
    One overstressed Caymanian

  • ronald

    legalized gambling!

  • Anonymous

    Thank goodness for some sensible people. Thank you all. I was saddened to watch Wednesday’s meeting to hear my fellow caymanians denegrading the expat! “they should be paying 25%” from one person! I could nt continue to watch the programme and hear the nastiness from some people. What is happening now is divisive and created by someone I thought had the future of the islands at heart. Apparently I was misled Keep up the good work Woody et al.

  • Leroy

    Anonymous, it was not only Caymanians denigrading expats. Funny, there were expats there as well denigrading expats. I attended the meeting and there were alot fo mix responses. One lady actually told me that she had no problem paying 10% of her salary because if she was to go back where she came from, she would be paying more.

  • Progress

    Most expats would pay tax in their home country but in return they get the following:

    1. benefit from the social services (education, health, etc) which is financed by their tax;
    2. they have a voice to speak; and
    3. the government is accountable to them as taxpayers.

    That aside, the tax applies across the board and not limited to a certain section of society.

  • Leroy

    Progress, no really, if I was to work in the U.S. as a Green Card Holder, they don’t let me vote. I am subject to paying their taxes. That’s the God’s honest truth. You try working up there and you will see what I am talking about, unless you are a U.S. citizen.

  • anonymouos

    Lets hope that these Cayman Business are truly looking out for their own interest or they are just simply looking out for themselves. Mr Woody Foster, hope you have 100 CAYMANIANS employed and not all Filippinos and Canadians and Jamaicans.
    Also you other business owners, I hear nothing from you at all as to how YOU WILL ALL STOP ABUSING THE WORK PERMIT SYSTEM AND CREATE JOBS TO EMPLOY CAYMANIANS, GOVERNMENT IS NOT THE ONE TO PROVIDER JOBS,M IT IS YOU WHO HAVE YOUR BIG MOUTHS OPEN TO STOP THE EXPAT TAX!
    MR. PREMIER
    I AM REALLY CURIOUS TO SEE HOW THESE UNSCRUPULOUS CAYMANIAN BUSINESS OWNERS THAT EMPLOY EXPATS only, Yes I really am curious to hear their so called solution to the Budget.

    Did their plan include HIRING CAYMANIANS ONLY or continue with the work permit abuse in their company?

    Its time government start cutting work permits and fill those positions with Caymanians.]We have professionals, degree, unskilled, skilled Caymanians that these so called businessmen are refusing employment.

    Who are they really talking to Mr. Premier be be very careful of their advice.

  • NJ2Cay

    The Cayman Islands are one of the world’s richest jurisdictions (more prosperous than the United States according to the latest World Bank data), in part because there are no tax penalties on income and production.

    So why are the local politicians considering a plan to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs? For the simple reason that they have been promiscuous in spending other people’s money. This chart shows that the burden of government spending in the Cayman Islands has climbed twice as fast as economic output since 2000

    A quote from Forbes Magazine..

    Food for thought..

  • NJ2Cay
  • An open exapt

    Why do people keep bringing up this divisive expat/Caymanian issue?

    This is not an issue about expats taking jobs from Caymanians. This is an issue about government overspending.

    There are 2000 Caymanians out of work at the moment. No-one – expat or Caymanian wants this. But this has nothing to do with this issue. Take 2000 expat jobs and give them to Caymanians, and do you know what that means – 2000 losses of work-permit fees, 2000 losses of the income tax the government proposes, 2000 losses of rentals of Caymanian-owned properties.

    Let’s play devils-advocate! From now on can the Govermenment assure us that jobs will go to expats in preference to expats because the expat revenues are so essential to this country’s financial future?!!

    This is not about expat vs Caymanian. This is about government overexpenditure.

    BUT…moving forward from this crisis – maybe we’ll realise that there are 20,000+ business professionals (expat and Caymanian) who DO have the knowledge and expertise to offer sustainable financial solutions to these crises. My hope is that from now on the government takes inputs from the public on solutions to these problems. We know they make the ultimate decision, but they shouldn’t claim to be the authority on possible solutions – there are far better educated and informed opinions out there. Don’t feel threatened by them – please use them to the country’s good.

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