Protesters vow bigger numbers at West Bay meeting

Protesters-expat payroll tax main

Demonstrators say they will attend in bigger numbers a rescheduled meeting about the proposed expat tax with Premier McKeeva Bush Wednesday night.

Shortly before a meeting about the payroll tax was about to begin Monday night, Premier McKeeva Bush postponed it, citing disquiet and “ill-temper abroad”.

Members of a Facebook group called Caymanians and Expats United Against Taxation had organised a demonstration before the start of the scheduled 7.30pm meeting at Mary Miller Hall in Red Bay Monday and had started to gather when the statement from Premier Bush changing the time and venue of the meeting was made via an emailed message to media outlets.

Nick Pitman, who set up the Facebook group, said he alerted members of the group over Facebook as soon as he heard the meeting was postponed. Nonetheless, about 50 people who had not heard about the short notice postponement showed up outside the venue.

Mr. Pitman said he had expected between 200 and 400 people at the meeting, adding: “We’ll be there in bigger numbers on Wednesday night.”

“I find it quite upsetting but not surprising that Mr. Bush has chosen to take the opinion that we were going to be causing trouble and we were going to be causing intimidation, which is not true at all. We’re here for a peaceful protest.

“We’re a mix of Caymanian and expats who have joined togeter, united against this tax, facing discrimination. That’s what this issue is… By postponing this meeting, it’s just going to get bigger. It gives us two more days to discuss, two more days to prepare, and we’ll be there on Wednesday, peacefully, with no shouting, no aggression. I think if anyone is going to be shouting and be aggressive, we can rely on the premier for that and his people.”

Police had already been stationed at and around Mary Miller Hall when Mr. Bush announced the change of plan at 5.55pm.

In his statement, Mr. Bush said: “There appears to be an ill-temper abroad that suggests we would not get the calm and reassured discussion that these issues require.

“There is too much influence being exercised on people’s minds, by those who mean the country no good. Hopefully the disquiet they have generated will lessen enough that in a couple of days we can have a proper public reception and discussion of what we have to say.”

The meeting has been rescheduled for Wednesday, 1 August, at the Sir John A. Cumber school hall at 7.30pm.

Organisers of the planned demonstration said Mr. Bush would now hold the meeting on his home turf of West Bay rather than at the “neutral” Red Bay venue where the meeting was originally scheduled to be held.

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Protesters-expat payroll tax

Protesters gathered at the Mary Miller Hall on 30 July to protest the proposed expatriate payroll tax.
Stuart Wilson

Nick Pitman Cayman expat tax

Nick Pitman reads out a statement from Premier McKeeva Bush about the postponement of Monday night’s meeting. – PHOTO: NORMA CONNOLLY
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9 COMMENTS

  1. Actually it is good when the premier is afraid of the people he rules over. It means for once he might have to listen to the people. This is something he is not known for doing.

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  2. What is the problem? Taxation without representation, kind of outside the box thinking? Everybodies dream come true…tax the other guy and spend it on special solar grants for the entitled. You cannot make this stuff up!

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  3. Noone has even discussed the additional Govt. Employees and additional Burocracy that will be required to administer, collect and enforce this tax.

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  4. Papa K it has been discussed – just not here…

    I want to know where I can pick-up a job application for Cayman’s version of the American IRS?

    I want to be a civil servant – a position that beats the hell out of any union job that I have ever read or heard about.

    And to think – there aren’t any dues! Membership is free – all you have to be is an anchor that will help weigh the island down.

    Just to clear things up – its’s not the fault of those in civil servant positions that they get what they get and haven’t contributed to their health care etc…

    It’s just the way it is and if you can beat them, why not join them… all of us.

    Sigh – if it were only that easy.

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