Editorial for 12 April: Duty changes will cost us

 Life for importers of goods to the Cayman Islands is about
to get a bit more complicated.

Lawmakers last week passed a bill to revise the Customs
Tariff Law to replace the existing 221 categories of imports and exports with
5,000 categories.

The move is to put the Cayman Islands in line with an
internationally standardised system of names and numbers to classify products.
The system was developed and is maintained by the World Customs Organization;
an independent intergovernmental organisation of 172 member countries including
Caribbean countries such as Bermuda, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua
and others.

Importers and some legislators have been fighting a move
such as this for years, fearful that smaller importers won’t have the resources
to implement such a scheme.

Member of the Legislative Assembly for the Sister Islands
Moses Kirkconnell as much as said so during debate on the matter in the
Legislative Assembly last week.

He is right. It is going to take extra manpower – which
translates into dollars – for importers of all sizes to step up to the plate
and meet these new regulations.

And how is government going to absorb the cost of getting
these new measures implemented? Again, more manpower will be needed and whether
it is done with staff on hand or hiring someone else to put on the Civil
Service dole, there will be costs associated with this new remit. At the end of
the day, those costs are more than likely going to be passed on to us, the
consumers who keep the coffers of this country filled by paying duty on goods
and services.

We understand the need to pay duties in the Cayman Islands;
it’s one of the only ways government has of raising needed revenue. After all,
we don’t pay direct ‘taxes’ for the things that we consume and own.

But even those who rule the day in government have to admit
that the cost of living in the Cayman Islands is becoming more absurd by the
day. Bought a gallon of gasoline lately? Yes, we live on an island where goods
have to be shipped in and that is costly. But somewhere, a line has to be



  1. There is far more waste in Government than whatever administrative cost might be increased by the customs classification change. As an importer I am far more troubled by extravagant travel undertaken by politicians and ridiculous waste caused by politicians going outside the standard procurement systems. Those are the things that cost far more.

Comments are closed.