Bush: Liquor licence fees to increase

McKeeva Bush Cayman Islands Liquor meeting main
Premier McKeeva Bush called a meeting of liquor licence holders and Liquor Licence board members Monday afternoon to warn them that liquor licence fees will increase in order to raise revenue for next year’s budget.

“I come with no set figures in mind. There has to be some increase, and certainly we want to work with business. We want to work with the industry as much as possible,” said Mr. Bush, who is also Minister of Finance, Tourism and Development. “I don’t have to tell you that government cost has gone up. I think everyone knows that by now, and we’re trying to do something about it to the extent that we’ve been told by the Foreign Office to ‘do something about it or we’re going to do it’.”

More than 100 people attended the impromptu gathering at the Harquail Theatre, where licence holders pitched ideas such as graduated fees based on the size of businesses, allowing longer operating hours and lifting the moratorium on the issuance of new licences.

Saying lawmakers would propose an interim budget to cover two months of government spending, Mr. Bush said the interim budget would state that fees for liquor licence and music and dancing licence will increase, and hopefully say by how much they will increase.

He said changing the fees would take a separate law, so that would occur sometime between now and the end of August.

“I have been able to earmark any revenue coming from this to put into the new hospitality services training school. It will go to offset that cost,” Mr. Bush said.

The Cayman Islands budget must be approved by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which rejected an earlier version of the budget as having “unsustainable expenditures”.

Mr. Bush told the audience Monday that if the local government doesn’t increase liquor licence fees, then the UK authorities will likely propose far steeper increases than Cayman’s government would.

“They’re going to say, ‘increase it’. They’re going to say that,” he said.

Currently, liquor licence fees range from $1,000-$4,800 per year, depending on the nature and size of the business. Music and dancing licences are $500 per year.

Read more on this topic in Wednesday’s Caymanian Compass.

McKeeva Bush Cayman Islands Liquor meeting

Premier McKeeva Bush listens to liquor licence holders’ suggestions for how to mitigate extra costs in the form of fee increases.
Patrick Brendel


  1. When discussing raising fees in areas that affect our tourism industry, we must take great caution not to increase cost and decrease revenue. Our visitors already complain of the high cost of visiting our shores, are there other caribbean destinations that are less expensive and perhaps offer more.
    Just a thought not a mandate.!!!!.

  2. I’ll be the first to admit that I have no idea how many establishments are currently operating under a licquor license. I feel that 250 would be a reasonable guess, and perhaps even an over estimate. Let’s say the fees for these licenses increase by an average of 1,000.
    Under that estimate our government is going to add a whopping 250,000 in revenue. (What is that, one sixtieth of the way to funding the completely unnecessary solar panel project?) Unlike the effects our government will gain from this initiative, the bars and package sale sites will almost certainly raise their prices to cover the increased costs.
    So in doing this our government is will increase the cost of doing business in Cayman, and therefore the cost of living, for 30,000 or 40,000 residents. (Let’s not even mention the millions of tourists who visit our shores on an annual basis.)
    Wouldn’t the better option be to forgo negatively impacting all of the people mentioned above and affect only a few, while still achieving the same results?
    What is this golden solution that I am hinting at? Isn’t our government giving hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to three or four members of the civil service who are suspended from duty? Regardless, isn’t sacrificing 5-10 people within the already excessive civil service a better way to come up with 250,000 for the budget?

  3. Moron’s. Poor economy, stick it to the consumer to pay for government excesses. Sin tax. Your logic is flawed. People will consume less.
    Business for dummies 101. Reduce the cost for businesses to operate here and the consumer will come.
    Bring in some real business savvy folks to restructure government operations to an appropriate level. Get over the fact that government is totally incompetent and can’t even nail down a budget.

  4. Licensees received an email at 9:30 from the Liquor Board notifying them that their presence was required at 4;30
    A little notification would have been nice so we at least could have picked up the vaseline.

  5. The Minister of Tourism should sit on the seven mile beach with some of our valued tourists and hear their number one grievance on vacationing in the Cayman Islands – Cayman is too expensive . Then he should report that complaint to the Minister of Finance and suggest that raising the cost for a rum punch may not be a smart move. In the same meeting the Minister of Development could suggest that we can’t make progress by meddling with our economy ( tourism). Then in the same meeting maybe the Premier could order all MLA’s fat salaries to be cut by 50% and at the same time get rid of those stale MLA’s ( from both parties) who do nothing but pick up their wages on pay day. In order to balance out unsustainable expenditures and keep the FCO happy, is there any reason why these three ministers and the Premier would not see eye to eye on such a levelheaded proposal ?

  6. For those readers who might not get Polomol’s tongue-in-cheek below; the ministries of finance, tourism, development and the premiership are all the responsibility of one person in the Cayman Islands.

  7. I would prefer that government stopped wasting money but as that is unlikely to happen it is better that they increase the cost of liquor licenses rather than school fees or something else.

  8. Unless Cayman is willing to make hard choices along with serious cutbacks and an stop all the anti development hopla. This will eventually lead to the one thing people are doing thier best to avoid…

    Direct Taxation…

    Money Doesn’t grow on trees..

  9. Whoa, wait a minute. Did I just read that the request to raise the money was for a new Hospitality Services School? And the money would be used to offset costs of this school?. Why do we need a school to teach manners and how guests to the Islands should be treated? The training is already being done by employers who these people represent their business. Without this training the business would either fail and/or not expand.
    Even if you agree/disagree with the increases, the runaway cost of Government must stop somewhere and simply partially offsetting this addition cost school is nuts. You cannot spend your way to cut costs.

  10. How about a tax on JUNK FOOD!?!?!

    People who opt for healthy eating habits are paying a hell of a lot more for food than those who eat and drink junk every day; Eventually the junk-food-feeders end up costing the country in health care when they develop preventable diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure.

    If you are going to add tax to anything make it junk food, alcohol and ciggaretts!

  11. Us visitors are buying our liquor at the duty free in Miami on the way down. The word is out about the Cayman prices. Funny, but 25 years ago we bought at the duty free in Cayman to bring back with us.

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