Bill amendments passed in Assembly

Raft of issues still pressing

Lawmakers made amendments to three bills in a speedy morning session of the Legislative Assembly on Monday.

The legislators voted in increases in fees in the Patents and Trademarks Bill, the Securities Investment Business Bill and the Insurance Bill that had been laid out in this year’s budget.

The only item that elicited a debate was an increase in fees from $150 to $200 in the Patents and Trademarks Bill, which led North Side independent MLA Ezzard Miller to ask why the fees were not higher.

Whilst stating that he supported the amendments to the bill, Mr. Miller asked: ‘I know it is a very nominal amount of $200, but I don’t believe the government can do anything today with $200.’

He queried if the government had done time and motion studies to check how much administrative time and resources were put into registering patents and trademarks, and suggested that it would be more appropriate to charge $1,000 per registration.

Leader of Government Business responded that the government had consulted with the financial services industry and concluded that the new fee was what the sector could sustain and any further increase could lead Cayman to become uncompetitive.

‘Those are some of the reasons we have to be very conservative in our approach to fees,’ Mr. Bush said.

The amendments to the Securities Investment Business Bill saw a more substantial increase to annual fees – from $1,000 to $3,500. This was passed by the Legislative, as a vote on the revision of annual insurance licence fees in the Insurance Law.

The government has a raft of amendments to legislations to pass as part of the budget and to meet the requirements of the incoming constitution on 6 November.