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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