Updated 2.45pm: Premier McKeeva Bush released the following statement regarding government budget negotiations on Friday afternoon.
“The Cayman Islands government has postponed until 2:30pm Monday the Throne Speech and Budget Address scheduled for [Friday] afternoon. The government, working with the civil service, has produced a budget which we consider to be credible and sustainable both from the revenue and expenditure perspectives and which meets the targets established by the [UK] Foreign and Commonwealth Office for the next four years to return our finances to a sound footing.
“The FCO still has issues with a few technical areas and we have agreed to postpone the budget presentation until Monday while discussions continue to resolve these issues.
“We continue to do what is in the best interest of our beloved Cayman Islands.We wish all our residents a blessed and safe weekend.”
Earlier story: Acting Governor Franz Manderson confirmed early Friday afternoon that there would be no meeting of the Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly at Friday.
Several government sources contacted by the Caymanian Compass Thursday and Friday confirmed that the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office had not yet approved the spending plan put forward by Premier McKeeva Bush’s government.
According to those close to the negotiations, UK officials and Caymanian lawmakers were in intense negotiations and were getting closer to an agreement on the proposed $580 million spending plan. However, the UK remained concerned about the level of Cayman’s government spending and whether it was sustainable.
On Thursday evening, the office of Premier McKeeva Bush’s press secretary issued a statement on a number of new revenue measures that had been proposed within the 2012/13 budget. It was unclear on Friday if the UK had signed off on those changes.
The statement read as follows:
“In addition to the revenue measures announced as alternatives to the Community Enhancement Fee, Government is proposing increases to other existing fees to further improve Government’s revenue for the 2012-13 Financial Year and beyond. Along with the increases, a proposed new licensing system for Fund and Corporate Directors will create a new revenue stream.
“The Government is proposing to increase the annual fees for Exempt Companies by $100. Issuing of certificates for a company, filing of a company document, company certification and express service for certificates, certification, filing and registration and re-registration are slated for a $25 increase.
“Annual Fees for directorships under the Companies Law are earmarked for the following increases: Securities and Investment Businesses increased by $500; Regulated Entities increased by $300; and all other directorships by $100. Company Managers and Trust Services are both listed for increases of $100. A variety of CIMA fees are also among the proposed fee increases, ranging from $100 to $800.
“Proposed amendments to the Companies Management Law will create and implement a new licensing system for Fund and Corporate Directors. At present these Directors are not licensed or regulated.
“Once the 2012-13 budget and the Amendments to the Companies Management Law are passed by the Legislative Assembly they will have to pay the fees detailed in this revenue measure. The proposed fees range from a low of $500 for one directorship per director to a high of $25.
“These measures are in addition to the revenue measures that replaced the Community Enhancement Fee, namely: increased bank and trusts license fees, work permit fees, tourist accommodation tax, departure tax, master fund registration fees, traffic regulatory fees; exempted limited partnerships; imposition of a stamp duty on certain property insurance policies; reverting to the 7.5% stamp duty on land transfers; and implementing fees for non-commercial boats.
“In all, these revenue measures and those measures that replaced the Community Enhancement Fee are expected to earn the Government some $90.46 million during the 2012-13 fiscal year.”