Premier: ‘We’ve gone as far as we can’

Premier McKeeva Bush said Thursday evening that the government’s budget process has “gone as far as we can go” and that Cayman was now awaiting a response on it from the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

“The FCO know the broad parameters of the budget,” Mr. Bush said during a broadcast address.

Governor Duncan Taylor said Wednesday that the UK foreign office, while it has received some financial plans from Mr. Bush’s government, did not receive a detailed budget plan and was still awaiting those documents.

Mr. Bush said Thursday that the UK “would not be satisfied with anything but a broadened revenue base that was to them ‘sustainable’.”

“To meet that demand we proposed the community enhancement fee,” Mr. Bush said. “[The foreign office] know of the revenue projection of that proposal. The FCO economist went back to London with that knowledge.”

Civil service

Mr. Bush said that the Cayman Islands private sector has “demanded” that the civil service be cut. However, he put the responsibility for that task directly on Governor Taylor.

“The governor of this territory is responsible for the civil service, not the premier,” the premier said. “I do not hire – nor fire – nor do we sign any contract for any employed civil servant. The governor himself is better able to explain why the civil service levels are so high.”

The premier said his government has made significant reductions in areas for which they have responsibility.

“[The civil service] will now pay part of the cost of their health benefits,” Mr. Bush said. “Any new civil servant hired in the future will have to contribute to pension and health benefits. These are things the premier can participate in, so expenditure has been cut, but I cannot cut the civil service numbers.”

Premier Bush said that if such a recommendation to reduce salaries or pay is made, he can then be the judge of that recommendation as minister of finance.

Alternative tax

Mr. Bush also blasted Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin for “misleading” the public and suggesting that the proposed 10% payroll tax and other taxes and fees could be extended to Caymanians.

“I rejected [value added tax], income and property tax and payroll taxes across the board in 2009 – I still do,” he said. “[Mr. McLaughlin’s] suggestion is nothing but him trying to gain points from this situation; this financial mess with the [UK foreign office] in control, that he created.”

Mr. Bush said he had no intention to hit Caymanians “harder than they are being hit already”.

“[Caymanians are not included [in the 10 per cent payroll tax proposal] for all the reasons I have stated many times.”


McKeeva Bush


  1. And I quote, I do not hire nor fire nor do we sign any contract for any employed civil servant.

    You mean unless they don’t allow you to do your dirty work, right?

  2. The foreign office know of the revenue projection of that proposal. The FCO economist went back to London with that knowledge.

    I believe the government should share this revenue projection. If they feel a tax is appropriate, and that it must be imposed, they should share the projected result, and explain why it is necessary, and where that money will go.

  3. It is amazing that a small powerful group, called the Foreign Office, can make such huge decisions for thousands of people. It is clear as crystal that they want the Premier to imposed an enhanced sustainable reveunue measure in these islands. Just which one should they choose, they left that with the Premier? Without the party bias, anyone in his shoes even Alden McLaughlin would have had to make the hard decision as to which tax was the best of the worse.

  4. In a proper place, what would be the appropriate qualifications of a Finance Minister? Planting seeds in horse manure doesn’t even come close. What part of spending equals revenue still eludes you? The anti-cruise ship pier kickbacks has your head messed up.

  5. Not for the first time, and I am sure it will not be the last….Mac announces that he is not responsible for the Civil Service…..I don’t hire or fire any Civil Servent…….how then can you dictate their employment terms and conditions…i.e. Health costs included or not included in employment conditions????
    If the Governor is entirely responsible – then it is he who ultimately decides what the employment conditions and pay structure is…
    No matter which orifice Mac’s noise comes out of….it is either hot air or hot gas……

  6. This political ploy won’t work. The UK will pull the plug on this ill advised scheme. Our Premier is so embolden on violating human rights with the One Man One Vote slight of hand he thinks he can continue with our expats. Not so fast. This won’t fly or it’s dead on arrival with an Overseas Territory examination.

  7. Until the government gets a handle on the size of the civil service then the problem will remain uneffected and will continue to grow. To suggest that there are no reasonable options available is unrealistic and I don’t expect the FCO to buy what the Premiere is selling.

  8. The Premier has gone in the wrong direction.

    The LEAST expensive way of balancing a budget is by cutting expenditures.

    The most sustainable government financial system is one that limits expenditures.

    As just one example, something like 20 million plus is going to be spent this year as subsidies for the Turtle Farm and Cayman Airways. This has been going on for years with no end in sight. We cannot afford this.

    Cut the waste and the fat in government funding whether it is in the form of a slush fund, luxury travel, personal servants or otherwise.

    Introducing new forms of taxation REQUIRES that government puts in place expensive systems for collection.

    Income tax and VAT are two of the most expensive forms of tax to implement. Either of them will cost millions or tens of millions to implement which will negate the revenue that might be raised.

    VAT also discourages local production because it becomes taxed. Import taxes/duties only tax foreign production.

    We should cut every possible expenditure before we even think of raising new taxes.

  9. It is so sad to see just how childish our government officials act. The Premier and his party are just as responsible as the Opposition for the state of our budget but the government officials think it is okay to just blame others for their bad decisions and inaction. There are some hard cut backs that need to be done, not adding to expenditures which is exactly what any additional tax will do. For the government to account for this new tax, the salary base will go up and new civil servants will need to be hired, so why cut back on civil servants when you are just going to have to hire new ones to track the new tax. They can do the new job that will have to be created. You are accomplishing nothing by this new tax since no significant and proper cut back in spending will be done. Stop being such children, stop blaming the Opposition and the Govenor and accept that you are part of the problem. Once you accept your real responsibility you can start to make the necessary changes that will benefit these islands and lower our cost of living.

  10. Thought Cayman was supposed to be a democracy. Time to put egos and politics of to one side and do what’s necessary for Cayman to carry on as one of the world’s top financial centres

  11. The 14% Payroll tax on expats is WORKING WELL IN BERMUDA

    10% payroll tax on expats will work even better on expats in Cayman.

    Good Job UK, this was the UK Economist doing, Big Mac has been fighting Taxation for a long time.

    He was forced to take the UK’s mandade for this you can’t blame the Premier for this anyone with a half a brain knows this is directly from the UK.

    The disapproval oft he budget was only an excuse for the UK to sent their economist to impose a payroll Tax on expats. So

    BLAME THE UK. expats claim they’re so smart then they should be able to figure it out that a premier fighting the UK on direct taxation could not possible impose a payroll tax!

  12. Hey,

    14% expat payroll tax DID NOT KILL BERMUDA but added to its success?????????

    Expat scaremongering is not working I’m afraid we know better and stand behind the premier!!!

    It will be interesting to see expats witness that a payroll tax of only 10% WILL NOT KILL THE CAYMAN ISLANDS!!!!!

    Good job UK, its about time…

  13. Do not let the ‘camel’s nose’ of taxation under the tent, the rest of the body will soon follow!

    All of Western Europe and the US have been wracked by the cancer-like growth of government spending. These people (bureaucrats) care not a whit about the citizens; it is about salaries, pensions, fringes and staffs. They will grow them until you’re bankrupt!

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