Public expenditure cuts urged
In an unprecedented move, more than
100 private sector associations, businesses and individuals have banded
together to speak with a united voice against the implementation of direct
taxation in the Cayman Islands.
The form of the discourse came in
an open letter to Governor Duncan Taylor, Premier McKeeva Bush, elected members
of Cabinet and other members of the Legislative Assembly.
current crisis has united a previously fractured private sector behind the
common purpose of repairing our economy and taking the opportunity to make
Cayman again a desirable place to work, live and invest,” the letter begins.
the past Cayman has attracted investment and business on the back of its
consumption-based revenue model. This model created a direct alignment of
public and private sector interests. Direct taxation severs this link and will
undermine the foundations of the economy at the worst possible time and it will
discourage new investment and business from existing and new sources,” the
letter states. “The only place from which the Government’s revenue is derived
will shrink in a vicious downward spiral.”
letter is supported by 10 private sector associations including the Cayman
Islands Bankers Association, the Cayman Islands Society of Professional
Accountants, the Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association and the
Insurance Managers Association.
businesses supported the letter, including the law firms Maples and Calder and
Ogier; the accounting firms Deloitte and KPMG; and the real estate companies
RE/MAX, Coldwell Banker, Century 21 and IRG.
individuals also supported the letter, including many prominent Caymanian
businessmen and women. Some of the signatories
include A.L. Thompson Jr., Bobby Bodden, Burns Conolly, Rex and Dale Crighton,
Naul Bodden, David Ritch, Dan Scott, Michael Alberga, Kel Thompson and Roy
letter said the results of direct taxation were as clear as the solutions to
the current financial problems.
a business perspective, the solutions are clear,” the letter states. “Reduce
your expenses, increase your revenue by encouraging existing and new businesses
to invest and sell assets to reduce your debt. We did not need the Miller
report to tell us that, but it has confirmed the root of our problem as
recurrent public spending and an unsustainable level of debt.”
letter said the private sector would continue to do its part to bear the costs
of repairing the country’s finances, but only if government “shows the will and
the wisdom to make the tough choices”.
was part of the mandate on which this government was elected,” the letter
states. “We urge you to stand by the decision that will make a real difference to
all our futures. Say no to direct taxation once and for all, cut costs in a
planned and permanent way, make the changes to encourage business to thrive in
Cayman, [and] show fiscal leadership for our Islands and our region.”
of the 14 specific revenue or cost-cutting suggestions made in the letter
the pension and health benefits of the public sector with that of the private
– up or down – the salaries of the public sector with those of the private sector;
planned divestiture of government assets beginning with the Government Office Accommodation
Project and Water Authority;
changes in the indigent healthcare programme;
import duties on cars, fuel and general goods with a commitment to lower them
again when the budget is brought into line;
the necessary infrastructure upgrades through public/private partnerships beginning
with the landfill; the runway extension; the North Sound deep water channel;
the cruise berthing facility; and a separate new cargo port facility.
make the tough decisions that need to be made now,” the letter states. “We will
support you, work with you and together everyone will enjoy a better future.”
The full text of the letter and
those supporting it is published on page 3 of today’s Caymanian Compass. The letter invites others to support
the initiative, stating it will be re-printed