Other ‘holiday cheer’ motions brought to Legislative Assembly
A proposal to raise the exempted value of dutiable goods brought in by Cayman Islands passport holders from $350 to $500 will be made to the Legislative Assembly next week.
North Side MLA Ezzard Miller has proposed a private members motion that seeks to raise the current value exempted from import duty charged to passengers returning from an overseas visit.
The exemption increase would apply to otherwise dutiable and personal household goods and would not be subject to the discretion of the customs collector, as the $350 per person exemption is currently.
In the motion, Mr. Miller also asks “That such a provision be allowed only to persons traveling on a Cayman passport.”
Separately, the motion also proposes to regularize the amount charged for import duties on alcoholic drinks.
Currently, the Customs Tariff Law charges separate duties for beverages, alcoholic and non-alcoholic, some based on volume and some based on percentage of cost.
Mr. Miller proposes that government seek to charge a standard rate of 27 percent of cost, including insurance and freight, to items in chapter 22, schedule 1 of the Customs Tariff Law – titled “beverages, spirits and vinegar.”
Private members motions, if passed, are considered advisory to the government and do not carry the same legal effect as passage of a bill into law. However, government’s approval of a motion is considered an indication of how the administration intends to proceed on the matter.
In a separate motion, also dealing with the importation of alcoholic drinks, Mr. Miller notes that Cayman’s Liquor Licensing Law prohibits anyone from importing intoxicating liquor “in excess of one gallon,” unless they are a liquor license holder.
“This restriction unfairly protects the license holders, as it appears all categories of licenses can import intoxicating liquor,” the motion states. “Caymanians, residents and visitors may wish to import intoxicating liquor for personal consumption or to give to friends as gifts, but not for sale.”
Mr. Miller has proposed amending the Liquor Licensing Law to allow anyone to import up to five cases of intoxicating liquor, if it is for “personal use.”
Those individuals would have to pay the full duty rate for any amount imported in excess of what is allowed, according to the motion.
A third private members motion, this one proposed by Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush, seeks the government’s assistance to rescue families whose homes are in danger of foreclosure.
Mr. Bush requests that government “immediately set aside enough funds to address the most needy and worst cases to be able to save those houses involved.”
In a telephone interview Thursday from Miami, Mr. Bush indicated that the “worst case” scenarios of pending foreclosures could be assessed by meeting with local banks.
“[The government] can’t sit back and say they have $120 million in surplus, which we [referring to the former United Democratic Party government] got for them, while people are losing their homes.
“It’s nonsense and it’s heartless.”