Stamp duty concessions passed

A Private Member’s Motion that increased the stamp duty exemption for first-time Caymanian homeowners to $200,000 and for first time Caymanian landowners to $50,000, was passed last Thursday.

There will also be concessions for properties above those prices for first-time Caymanian buyers.

Dwellings priced between $200,000 and $300,000 will have stamp duty assessed at two per cent for the purchase price, as will land priced between $50,000 and $75,000.

Opposition MLA Rolston Anglin of West Bay said his motion had jolted the government into action.

After submitting the Motion to the Speaker of the House, Mr. Anglin claimed Government had jumped on the bandwagon on the same issue, announcing their decision to adopt a similar proposal at their weekly press briefing.

He told the House it was highly unusual that just days after the motion was submitted that the government should announce a similar intention.

Mr. Anglin said he took it as sign of things to come and hoped that Government would pay close attention to the good ideas of the Opposition and incorporate them into their policy.

He said his motion provided a clear incentive for home and property ownership by Caymanians.

Cabinet Minister Alden McLaughlin said the government was quite happy to consider the motion.

On Friday, at the Cabinet press briefing, Mr. McLaughlin said the timing of Mr. Anglin’s motion did spur the Government into announcing they were going to increase the stamp duty concessions, but that they had already made the decision to do so beforehand.

‘I’ll be absolutely frank,’ he said. ‘If Mr. Anglin had not brought the motion when he did, we would not have made the announcement when we did,’ he said.

‘We wouldn’t normally announce things that had been decided in an informal Cabinet meeting.’

When leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts announced the increase in concessions at the Cabinet press briefing on 24 February, he said Government had made the decision in an informal Cabinet meeting on 24 January.

Mr. McLaughlin said he believed Mr. Anglin found out about the decision and then brought the motion to the House on his own.

‘It was very good politics, what he did,’ Mr. McLaughlin said. ‘That’s his job. I don’t knock it at all. We did enough of it ourselves when we were the Opposition.

‘But he won’t be allowed by this Government to pretend this was his idea when it wasn’t.’

Mr. McLaughlin noted that in his debate on the Motion in the House, he had commented on the ‘happy coincidence’ that Mr. Anglin’s proposed increases to property prices for concessions were the same.

Mr. McLaughlin said the Government was not upset by what had occurred and was not trying to track down the source of how Mr. Anglin had found out about the government’s decision to increase the concession.

‘The Government was proposing something good,’ he said.

Mr. McLaughlin said the Government had made other decisions that will help Caymanians.

‘There will be other concessions that we haven’t announced. We’ll have to wait for other [Opposition Member] motions to do that,’ he said sarcastically.