Protest planned before government meeting

Opponents of a proposed 10 per cent payroll tax on work permit holders in the Cayman Islands are organising a peaceful protest Monday evening.

The demonstration is set to occur at 7pm Monday outside Mary Miller Hall in Red Bay.

The time has been set just half-an-hour before a government meeting planned by Premier McKeeva Bush as an informational gathering for those wanting to know more about the taxation issue.

“This is your chance to speak out against Big Mac’s [referring to Premier Bush] crazy decision to introduce the ‘community enhancement fee’,” local businessman Nick Pitman wrote on a Facebook page concerning the event. “Bring your friends, placards, banners and a nice non-aggressive attitude.

“Let’s show him how much we love Cayman and how we feel he is killing this beautiful place we call home, hurting the very people he claims to protect.” 

Proposals by Mr. Bush’s government on various topics have been met with public protests over the last few years, including the proposed divestment of the government office building, the proposed East End port and the proposed closure of a section of West Bay Road along Seven Mile Beach. However, most of those demonstrations have been led by Caymanians and members of local groups politically opposed to Mr. Bush’s government.

So far, according to the Facebook page, 258 people have confirmed they will attend the Monday event; a fair number of them are expatriates. Expatriate workers cannot vote in the Cayman Islands and are typically do not get overly involved in local politics.

The Facebook page organising the protest is called ‘protest the premier over his prejudiced expat tax’.



  1. Just a thought
    well I hope all the expats who say they LOVE call Cayman home take up a collection for all the Caymanian school children whos unemployed parents ( never mind the reasons ) cant afford to buy their children school lunch
    I am just saying there are a lot of innocent young Caymanians who are suffering in their birth home.

    If all these expats truly care about what they are claiming to be the home they LOVE then show the LOVE by action by all means for those who are doing good within the Cayman comminity as a whole thank you

    like I said just a thought mon oh mon wha a mess dis ting become !!!

  2. I hope I dont see unemployed Caymanian amongst a crowd of expats that took their place whilst they were looking for a job.

    This protest would be nothing more than not accepting the harsh reality that government is not so foolish enough as to impose another tax (such as property or income tax) that will directly tax Caymanians. Hence, government preferred to tax Expats instead.

    But we are outnumbered in our own country, so what do you expect? Ezzard and Alden will take this opportunity to make their statements on how they love Cayman.

    Tell me, Alden / Ezzard, if the UK mandated you to bring in a sustainable revenue measure, then what tax then would you chose??? If you want to reduce the civil service that will not be enough. The UK wants a SUSTAINABLE revenue measure! If you cant comply with them then that mean Independence is your only option.

    Caymanians I hope you see through this expat protest!

  3. There are many ways that the government could have sustainable revenue without taxation. Uncollected garbage fees and not to mention when was the last time you received a speeding ticket?

    Boats are supposed to be registered and pay a fee yet no one ever checks on it. What about boat licenses that must be renewed every year? Then you ensure safety on the waters and stop young persons who do not know the laws from operating watercrafts. These are simple measures that could use current infastructure to create sustainable revenue.

    The problem with revenue is that no one sees to it that the cash is actually collected…

  4. Watersedge, all of those options can not bring us to the revenue mark we need. You think garbage fees is going to make 50 million in a matter of two months time? Think man before you go marching in George Town and create a scene that could give us reputational damage!

  5. So the expats are to pay for all the parents/people who do not have jobs or have children through this tax? Do you think that tax money will actually help those people? No, good education, training and birth control will help those people. I can go home and pay tax and at least get something for it. I love giving to this community, I love the people (ALL people) and will always help those in need but this is highway robbery and no one likes to be robbed.

  6. CBB – I am sure the country you are from, run by tax. Government build roads, pay employees, have police officers to protect you, fight wars to defend your home, have doctors to treat you, provide for teachers to teach your children, have well built infrastructures for your social needs. Tax, CBB, is not robbery when you can see it. You get to work here and live in a place that is not crime rift like other places. If you are tax, you will see the benefits. Despite Caymanians being exempted, you will still see the benefits.

    If you decide to leave this place, trust me, 9 billion populated world… someone else will take your place. We will not miss you.

  7. Protest is needed.

    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.

  8. Jose you have a point.

    Its just that will the UK give the time to make the cuts? I think we ran out of the time we needed to make the cuts and that is why we are here.

    Besides, these two parties UDP and PPM, how are you sure they will make the cuts? How are you sure that lets say UDP lost the election PPM will continue with the cuts?

    In a way I dont like the watchdog, but watchdog has barked long enough. Protesting will not change a broken agreement.

  9. Apprentice – It is robbery when I get no benefit from it. You are naive to think that money will reach the people on this Island that truly need it. The government is taking it and spending it on themselves. They should be ashamed. Yes, I get the benefit of good weather and the beaches but do not mistake that my home is not good. It is, but we are adventurous and like to travel and see other cultures. You may not miss me directly, but you will miss the benefits of the money spent by ex pats on this Island. Trust me, there will not be many people willing to take my place – loss of businesses, rental income, real estate, etc. will take place. Even if people do stay, do you think they will spend MORE money here…no, they will be on a very strict budget (unlike the government!) and will save and then leave.You have to look at the long term effect of this and not the short term. However, being from a multi-cultural and embracing country, I can return and be just fine and not have to worry about the future. Not so for many wonderful Caymanians.

  10. to caymanian on gaurd
    We, CAYMANIANS HAVE YET BEGUN TO FIGHT it truly does look like it will get nasty a word of warning one of the most difficult things to do is fight someone on their own turf especially some very Pis.ed off natives !!!!
    CBB just go back where u came from its obvious u will be just as closed minded heartless to the innocent young people in your own country who thru no fault of theirs are suffering due to the decisions of adults like you.
    so to all Caymanians is this not the time for the REVOLUTION that WE WILL WIN WIN MIGHTLY !!
    soon come bo bo soon come !!

  11. oopps
    the last half of my prior comment was to apprentice not CBB sorry but, REVOLUTION BY CAYMANIANS FOR CAYMANIANS WILL COME MON IS IT GONNA GET NASTY !!!

  12. Indigenous – I think the issue isn’t starvation for kids, more like malnutrition. Check out Tortuga/Burger King on Walkers Road on any given morning/afternoon, many adults drop their kids off at these places. Truly needy students are provided with a free lunch.

  13. Bodden, reputational damage? The world is already laughing at us because we can’t get a budget together not to mention we have a premier that never even went to university…

    Taxing expats will not bring sustainable revenue because all the expats will LEAVE! Let me ask you something. Would you stay in a country where the people obviously did not want you there? Expats will leave and the economy of the Cayman Islands will be crippled because companies that both expats and Caymanians work at will leave too. If you are going to tax, at least tax the entire population.

    Not to mention there are tons of expenditures that government could cut. Remember the paving of roads for churches in the Brac? Or how about the Jet service to the Brac that everyone knows is losing money? Or how about this nation building fund? What is that about? And oh yea, you can’t forget the government funds used to oppose OMOV. You’re telling me to think, right? Well let me tell you a little more about what I think…

    The Cayman Islands needs a free market. Yes, everyone looking out for their own self interest (not to be confused with selfishness because they are two separate things) without the government regulating everything. That is the only way we will improve our economy. If expats got the job and you didn’t that means they were better than you. Plain and simple. It would be in your own self-interest to work harder, right? But instead of working to be better than the expats, Caymanians complain that government isn’t allowing them a fair chance to get the job. For example, rental car companies cannot pick their customers up from the airport because it takes away business from the taxi drivers. Are you joking me? You see, when you have FAIR competition, it drives prices DOWN or drives quality UP because you must compete with your peers. The world works at a global level now and if you cannot compete with people from all around the world, then why should the government take care of you? If the government helps a fully capable person, they are encouraging you to be lazy! Just like this tax that is by only taxing expats. Caymanians get to reap the benefit of expats’ work! Then why should the government pave private church roads? The church of all people will know that the Bible says in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat.’ The church can take care of itself just like the citizens of the Cayman Islands. I am a Christian and I do not expect the government to take its funds and spend money on my church building. That is my concern, not the government’s. You have got to work to eat. Do we really need expats to fill security jobs, or construction jobs or janitorial jobs or domestic help jobs? You see, all of this expenditure is coming from people wanting and not working…that is why there is so much that can be cut.

    Taxing expats will not bring sustainable revenue. You need to look at the bigger picture and know the role that expats play in our country and the economy. It’s not only Cayman that expats play a huge role in, it’s every country because as I said before, we compete at a global level. You are correct in saying that the points I mentioned will not bring 50 million in 2 months, but it is SUSTAINABLE. Government just has to do their job and collect the cash.

  14. @ indigenous:

    The only revolution Cayman needs is a revolutionary new way of government handling its finances. A revolutionary
    new emphasis on education, and sustainable planning that would see us through times to come. The leverage we used in the sale of our lands to help in our prosperity will not be so available to next generations of Caymanians.

    Read Mandela point and vision of a sustainable economy and understand this is not a new concept; just a needed one..

  15. watersedge, and just how many expats will not leave without a REPLACEMENT? Where will most of them go? To a place where there is NO TAX?

    watersedge I think you are exaggerating, because we hiked work permit fees and more fees on empoyers. Did they shut down their businesses and left Cayman?

    Stop acting like it is the end of the world! You should be happy it is not a tax like on income or on the banking industry.

    About cutting, you forget there is Time against us here. I feel you don’t understand the urgency of what they are expecting from us. Your capitalistic dream is beautiful, but you need to come to reality, man.

    Your plan will take more time take the entire year before we see a pinch of results. The UK want results NOW!!

  16. Apprentice, the UK will see right through a tax on expats that will not be sustainable…you have got to tax everyone.

    Really and truely, answer this question honestly. Would you work work in a country where the cost of living is incredibly high and you are being taxed exclusively but receiving no benefit while citizens of that country are benefiting from your hard work? AND on top of that you don’t have any say in any of the country’s affairs? Doesn’t sound fair to me…

  17. watersedge is telling it like it is.

    Tax is not actually a bad thing is it, some of the highest taxes paid are in Scandinavia, don’t see too many protests and riots there – the thing is, these taxes pay for things like excellent healthcare, a comprehensive welfare system, roads that are well maintained, public parks – lots of nice things.

    Problem is in Cayman, the people running the govt are inept, give them more money and they will go buy magic beans with it.

    It wouldn’t be the end of the world Apprentice, far from it, but the Cayman you know now would be very different in several years, and probably not for the better.

    Here’s one suggestion, all that cash Bush pocketed from ‘consultation fees’ or whatever he calls it, why doesn’t he donate that to the cause.

    If he doesn’t want to slash the civil service, knock off 10% from the wage of everyone (apart from MLAs, they would need an increase for guiding us through this mess).

    Also, as for the muppets who disagreed with my previous comment, care to elaborate why I am wrong – you don’t see students in fast food joints? poor kids don’t get free food? Wake up!

  18. I am a Caymanian and I fully understand the Hugh benefit and necessity of having expats on this island. I am so saddened by the current state of affairs and even more saddened by some of the other Caymanians views that expats can go. This is a sad point of view. Many years ago most people did not have what we have today here in Cayman. Most people living here did not have central ac or satellite or even 3 cars per household but today look where we are and yes it was with the help of foreign money. The banks are foreign, this is where our money is held and where a lot of Caymanians work. The hotels are mostly foreign and a lot Caymanians work here. Seems as though the two biggest employers are foreign and employ a lot of Caymanians. I wonder where the locals would be making their money right now without these foreigners? Take a real good look at where you work and decide if you would still have that job without expats (foreign investors). Who are your biggest customers and who pays their bills? I’ve done collection on this island and 95% of the people I had to chase down where Caymanian. Do not put down the people that keep this economy moving and do not say you want to see all expats leave. It is the government that has put this island in the shape it in, out the blame where it belongs! And next time, VOTE!

  19. Ah hah! The rubber has met the road! The premier nor the UK economist I’m sure its his doing, you can’t chastise him I’m afraid…..So bite the bullet.

    Meantime think about this…..its OK for Caymanians to be JOBLESS, HOMELESS, ON SOCIAL SERVICES, STAND IN SOUP LINES, LOST THEIR HOUSES AND LIVE ON THE STREETS, TAKING TO [email protected]

    but Expats want to protest because they have to pay a simple Tax that they are accustomed to in their own country?????

    Neither the Premier nor the UK nor governor is in a position to concede, keeping the country afloat is more important than pandering to guest workers.

    Wake up. YOu had it made too long its time to wmell the coffee, ‘EXPATS DO NOT RUN THIS COUNTRY!

    CAYMANIANS DO NOT let one of you be caught dead or alive protesting on this issue in so doing you are PROTESTING AGAINST YOURSELF!

    USE COMMON SENSE! Isn’t it time Caymanians get some of the pie!

    Kudos Premier Bush and UK Economist


  20. God Liverpool you are pretty dumb aren’t you. This is far from keeping the country afloat, this move will sink Cayman. Cayman will become hugely uncompetitive meaning less companies, less jobs and you may actually see some of your mythical soup kitchens appear. Not sure who you think this ‘UK Economist’ is either but you can guarantee that this discriminatory tax, thought up over night has nothing to do with the UK, you would only have to visit to see that the UK bends over backwards to accommodate immigrants granting them equal rights and opportunities, something that doesn’t happen here. Now I am not opposed to Caymanians having certain protection under the law but this level of discrimination should not be tolerated at any level, even yours.

  21. Liverpool, Folks that follow your advice will get thier chance to protest when these same taxes hit Caymanians. I will not be limited to expats in the long run…If you are against fighting this battle you may lose the war..

    Read between the lines…

  22. I am finding it very interesting how many Caymanians are commenting on how good Taxes are for the Country and the good it does, making statements like people should be happy to pay taxes to help people in need and help support Cayman. But I have to wonder if these same people will feel the same way when the tax man knocks at their door.

    Will you also embrace taxes when you are paying them as well? Or are you only embracing this idea because it’s not you that’s being hit in the pocket…

    Be wary of what happens when you let the genie out of the bottle.

  23. Who would now want a job in the Cayman Islands anyway ?

    Not anyone with half-a-brain in their heads.

    Most foreign nationals who might have thought about working in Cayman already live in countries where they pay tax on their earnings and get much more government services for their taxes and some have to pay taxes at home on earnings made abroad as well.

    And those work-permit holders in Cayman should be looking to end their contracts and permits and get out, if they have any sense.

    Hitler started similar laws and campaigns against the Jews of Germany in 1936 and it scares me to death to see a similar pattern emerging in the modern-day Cayman Islands; no one can envision where this might all end up if left unchecked.

    I’ve always figured and warned that if the discrimminatory culture that is ingrained in Cayman did not change, it would eventually destroy the country.

    Well, its right on the doorstep now.

    The political opposition and general population still has the option of a direct petition to Queen Elizabeth 11 to stop this madness before it goes any further.

    McKeeva Bush has become totally mad on the power that his own ignorant, prejudiced followers give him…its time to take that power away before it totally destroys the Cayman Islands.

  24. Stop acting like it is the end of the world! You should be happy it is not a tax like on income or on the banking industry.


    You are truly well named.

    Do you realise how utterly ignorant and apprentice-like this statement of yours is ?

    Payroll tax is INCOME tax !

    Payroll tax is just another fancy accounting term for income tax.

    You need to get yourself a tutor so that you change your status of apprentice before you continue to embarrass yourself any further, mate.

  25. The UK Economists should be going after the Banks,
    Are you kidding me?

    Come on now, Mac, don’t let Truman Boddene talk you out of taxing the banks ’cause that’s who should be carrying this load in the first place!


  26. I have to rephrase my question, because I think some of you still don’t get it:

    Tell me, Alden / Ezzard, if the UK mandated you to bring in a sustainable revenue measure, then what tax then would you chose??? If you want to reduce the civil service that will not be enough. That would increase crime, because unlike expats where will they go?

    To those who are siding with Alden / Ezzard in opposing this tax, because they say that McKeeva can reduce expenditures instead, tell me, how will they be prepared to deal with the financial burden these unemployed citizens will bring on the country?? The UK wants a SUSTAINABLE revenue measure! There is no doubt about that! That is why Mckeeva was giving them a budget with cuts and they didnt want to accept it. They have been talking about imposing direct tax on us since the 1990s.

    If you cant comply with the UK then that means Independence or at least go the London and seek help from the Conservative Party. Because do you think the Foreign and Commonwealth Office team are going to give us some more amnesty and months to make the huge cuts that Ezzard / Alden are talking about. This is all a political move on their part too to get back in.

    Sorry people, but a protest is not enough. Lets get back to reality!

  27. Jose, I agree with you. It is a bad idea, but what other options do we have when we can’t get our budget approved by the FCO?

    #1 – If we follow what the opponents are saying about reducing expenditures and laying off people by the hundreds and taking off people by the thousands off social help, that will create a chaos in our society. What are we going to do with such a financial burden and crime? Expats can always go home, but for Caymanians this place is home.

    #2 – If we implement a direct tax like what the UK FCO want, they will APPROVE THIS BUDGET and not keep the country in a freeze mode. Most naturally, yes, we can say that the expat tax is a political move to get UDP back in; however, in Bermuda they have the tax. Expats have left, some returned, and others have fill in the vacancies. Bermuda is still alive.

    So you see our hands are tied, why would any person who love Cayman, want to see his people under worse fiancial conditions and stressors. Apparently, the UK FCO don’t care, and that is why I personally beleive that a protest in G.T. will not be enough. We may have to go to the Queen for help like what firery commenter was saying.

    Certainly, we all can agree that if both governments, PPM and UDP had been more mindful of their spending, we would not have had borrowing restrictions imposed on us and be in this state today. But something has to be done with the arbitrary nature of the FCO.

  28. What is a shame is how poorly successive governments have managed the country’s resources. The capital projects have been completely out of control. Of course the FCO suggest direct taxation because the Cayman governments have been unable to manage with the current form of consumption tax. Don’t say there are no taxes in Cayman there are. The civil service are also out of control and the empire builders are not willing to actually see where reasonable cuts can be made. It is a sad day where the country is forced into such a decision and it cannot be blamed on anyone else, Caymanian mismanagment pure and simple. If no politicians have any answers then vote them out pure and simple. And forget 18 MLAs waste of money.

  29. Bodden,
    Thank you for your comment. I understand your concern and I agree with many of your observations. However, I simply do not accept that the only two options are a large increase in unemployment or income tax. I think it is possible to reduce government expenditure to a level that is sustainable using the current revenue stream of government, although it may limit political gift giving which some politicians might not like.

    In my long years and experience I have come to appreciate that our forefathers survived and prospered by being innovative and looking for every option, even when other people said there was none. That is what we should be doing now.

    I heard the Premier himself talking on the radio asking people to submit other ideas and I would like to think that he would not do that unless he also accepted that there might be alternatives.

    Mr. Miller has made a couple of interesting suggestions for new revenue that would do much less harm than income tax. I hope that those ideas are taken seriously and that others will also come forward with revenue ideas.

    I would like the civil service to be right-sized through the natural retirement process while government also maintains the current hiring freeze. Every year we have several hundred civil servants retiring. If we assume that number is 400 and they make 40,000 each then that is a large part of the deficit gone right there.

    I say that we should not limit ourselves by buying into these no choice arguments. The only thing that people have when they buy into those arguments is no choice.

  30. I would like to suggest that we should not just be focused on the current budget mess. We should be looking for long term fixes as well. I would like to suggest that we make changes to the Constitution to say that in any government’s 4 year term, they can only have a deficit in 1 year – no exceptions. That might force then to adopt some medium term and long term planning to make sure we never get into this type of mess again.

  31. It is simply untrue, as some posters have claimed, that most Caymanians are stupid or lazy.
    They survived in this country with all its hardships for many years.

    But sadly survival is what it was. A brutal existence with heat, mosquitoes that could carry you away. Many Caymanians left these islands either never to return or only returned after it had been vastly improved.

    So what happened to make a difference when the native Caymanians were leaving?
    Foreigners arrived with money and know-how.

    Deny it all you like but it is right there in the history books.

    Many will claim these islands are heaven on earth and you can mistreat foreigners all you want they will never leave. Sadly this is untrue.

    While foreigners were previously paid tax free, there (and still are) were taxed in a hidden fashion by high cost of living, outrageous electric prices, the need to send their children to expensive private schools, lack of a free health service etc.

    So if life is that tough they can go and good riddance, right?

    No worries, they can and will go. Perhaps the place they go to will have slightly higher crime, perhaps the beaches won’t be as nice. But perhaps there will be beautiful trees and mountains and no hurricanes to compensate.

    But what will happen to Cayman? Traffic will be lighter of course. Supermarkets will sell less food so will have to cut back on selections and staff levels.

    Less people will mean more Caymanian owned rental homes will go vacant. Sure prices will drop which should increase demand but few people need two homes on the same island, no matter how low the rent. So the nicest homes will be rented at much lower rents, the rest will go empty. The owners will be unable to pay their mortgages and will lose their homes to the banks.

    Less electricty will be needed and there will be excess phone and internet capacity. prices will have to go up to cover costs.

    Shops will sell less and many will close.

    Government revenue will go down and not up as their take from import duty, work permit fees,fuel duty, annual company fees go down.

    They will have to fire mostly Caymanian civil servants and increase taxes on ALL remaining.

    No? What do you think happens if a government has the staffing to cope with 50,000 people and that number drops to 40,000?

    Charities will be badly hit. Most of the local charities that benefit Caymanians, the Red Cross, Cayman Hospice, National Trust etc. rely heavily on volunteers and they are mostly expats.

    Charities will also collect less money. Just go to any annual gala dinner and you will see mostly expat faces eating rubber chicken for 150 CI per head.

    And just how do these last two facts tie in with the theory that expats only come to Cayman to take from it and give nothing back?

    The obvious answer is to put the government on a strict diet and spend only what they collect in revenue. And sales of locally held bonds would help too.

  32. I have always believed that Cayman could be a garden of Eden given its small population, and financial industry with tourism. The reasonable 0% unemployment one would expect in a society that imports labor but sadly this was not to be.
    People can argue as to the whys of this as I do not know. The tax free status set the country apart in the world and there are those who want to destroy that, interesting times.

  33. @longtimeresident, while I understand your opinions about inequality and fear, in my opinion the true fear should be that we Caymanians will also be taxed and the argument that there will be a mass exodus is unrealistic. Every worker can and will be replace by locals seeking opportunities or from our global market with thousands of educated, trained workers willing to relocate and pay tax.

    I would personally be more sympathetic to the expats if they were more willing to stand up for equality in their workplaces. I do believe in fairness and just as I protested at my own church that I would not protest the rights of gays, I will not oppose the right of the government to tax me or an expat.

    Caymanians and expats have created and perpetuated unfairness, especially over the past 15-20 years and now we’re paying the price…maybe taxes will do what hurricane Ivan couldn’t do, through shock and reality check force all to consider the need for sensible sustainable growth.

  34. Dreamer…

    I like the gist and sentiments expressed in your comments.

    However, no amount of good intentions by fair-minded people such as yourself can compensate for the ones who see just another opportunity to exist and prosper, at the expense of others.

    In other words, who see only an advantage in not having to fully and fairly pay their own way…and will happily support any plan that gives them a way out of doing so, regardless of how temporary it might be.

    With Cayman’s past and present political culture and structure, ALL of Cayman’s politicains are cut from that same cloth…appease their supporters at what ever cost necessary…and this expatriate tax plan is only another ruse by which to continue doing that.

    This will only be for a short time…even if it does go through.

    When the tax door opens, it never shuts again…so the supporters of this plan who are crowing about whatever advantages they look to gain from it had better wake up to the reality…

    In the not so distant future…

    That this 10-14% income tax will soon be levied on all citizens in Cayman, not just the underprivileged and unprotected work-permit holder.

  35. I agree with Arden McLean’s suggestion that government should start collecting .02 cents on each foreign exchange transaction from the banks. It would be sustainable and substantial and the banks have been pocketing all that revenue for years on top of mortgage and loan revenues.

Comments are closed.