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The Premier tells Cayman 27 the Community Enhancement Fee is not yet off the table and will only be withdrawn, “if a solution can be found that does not affect ordinary Caymanians.”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