UK still wants direct taxation, Saunders claims

| 29/03/2023 | 191 Comments
Cayman News Service
Chris Saunders

(CNS): Former Cabinet minister Chris Saunders has said Caymanians should be cautious about the relationship with the UK as he believes the UK government would still like to impose direct taxation here. He claimed that if the Cayman Islands Government’s finances take a turn for the worse in the coming years, which he believes is a real possibility given the ReGen project, Britain will take control of the Cayman Islands’ finances.

In another WhatsApp message to his constituents in the wake of his departure from Cabinet, Saunders confirmed his dispute with Governor Martyn Roper over the gambling bill. But he also indicated that the UK’s representative has been pushing for other domestic legislative changes that Saunders said he does not support because they are not in this country’s interests.

“While Governors will come and go, their loyalty and duty will always be to the United Kingdom first. The interests of the UK Government and the UK People will always come before the interests of the Cayman Islands and the Caymanian people. Plain and simple,” Saunders stated in the lengthy message.

Saunders implied that these moves by the UK could pave the way for direct taxes, not just on expatriates living here, a proposal raised in 2009 by McKeeva Bush but dropped in 2012 when he was premier, but on Caymanians too.

Saunders, who was the finance minister before his departure, said that if the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility (FFR) is breached, the UK is prepared to introduce a tax system, which he suggested would be assisted by the introduction of the already controversial National Identity Programme.

“Here is something I want you to consider, really consider,” Saunders said in a message circulated on WhatsApp Wednesday “Do you know why it was easier to propose a tax on just foreign workers? The government has all their information via the Immigration system. Do you know who they don’t have as much information on? Caymanians.”

Saunders wrote that the push towards a mandatory ID card was blocked by his former Cabinet colleagues Jay Ebanks and Kenneth Bryan, though he did not say this was because it would pave the way to collect future direct taxes. However, Saunders claimed he had refused, “much to the disappointment of the premier”, to bring to parliament another piece of pending legislation related to the national ID system that fell under his ministry.

“That piece of legislation is the last piece of the puzzle, and my mother didn’t raise no fool,” Saunders said in his message. While he provided no details of that proposed bill, he urged people to contact his replacement, Minister Dwayne Seymour, who is now responsible for Border Control and Labour, and ask him not to bring it.

“My friends, it is no secret that the UK Government has been pushing for the introduction of direct taxation in the Cayman Islands and we are heading down a path that once we lose control of our finances, God help us all.,” he said. “For centuries, UK Politicians have mastered the art of ‘divide and conquer’. Today, it is very easy to do so as we can become easily distracted with salacious and tantalizing gossip and even more easier when you have individuals that can easily be bought to spread lies and propaganda.”

Saunders said the allegations against him were a distraction. “Do not let them convince you to listen to and engage in salacious and outrageous discussions, whilst they sell the country out from under you!” he added, as he raged against the costly dump project, which he believes could be the country’s downfall. “The UK government knows how to play the long game and they certainly know how to divide and conquer. And they definitely know how to utilize and exploit the shortcomings of local leadership.”

Saunders said that by saying ‘no’ to the “extraordinarily expensive dump project”, the country will also be saying a bigger ‘no’ to direct taxation. “My friends, the Cayman Islands need bold leadership. Not leadership that cow tows [sic] to the Governor and the UK Government,” he said.

In the message, Saunders denied that there had been any complaints about his conduct and continued to claim that he had resigned from Cabinet because of policy differences related to the dump, the gambling legislation and other issues where he had clashed with Roper, who is leaving the Cayman Islands this evening after more than four years as governor.

It’s already becoming clear that since leaving his official ministerial role and post as deputy premier just two days ago, whether he was fired or resigned, Saunders has no intention of staying quiet or out of the political fray.

Armed with inside information and clearly at odds with the premier over policy as well as the allegations of misconduct, the Bodden Town MP, who secured more than 79% of the vote in his growing constituency, could prove to be an even bigger thorn in the PACT side that the official opposition.

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Category: Politics

Comments (191)

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  1. JOHN says:

    cayman’s Racism is on full display Chris has more knowledge and education in his little finger than most of our current politicians BUT HERE AGAIN, JUST LIKE in THE USA THE RACISM SURFACES . I REALLY THOUGHT WE WERE BETTER

    • Say it like it is says:

      Might I remind Mr Saunders that Cayman Cabinet Ministers also come and go. With regard to his vitriol against all things British, I bet he has a British passport. If not, say so.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why are people still paying attention to Squeaky’s rhetoric? He was a weak minister and now is a weak backbencher

  3. Anonymous says:

    and if and when paying taxes do come in we will all see who loves the cayman islands.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Chris is now a lame duck politician and if he had any decency and felt anything for the people he represents, would do better to resign and allow someone else to finish out his term who could actually do the job they need to be done.

    He has sealed his fate and will not be elected again so it would be best for him to move on. I assume though that the “love of money” will play a big role in him making his decision and is decision whether to move on or not.

  5. Anonymous says:

    1. As the saying goes ‘Where there is smoke, there is fire’.

    2. Direct taxation could be / would be the down fall of these islands we call home.

    3. Let Direct Taxation happen, then, the same ones complaining about the slow processing of PR Applications, will be lining up at the airport to check their ass out of here.

    4. Lack of Direct Taxation is among the top reasons why people are trying to jump over ever obstacle to get to live in Cayman. Fact be known.

    5. Let this ‘war’ come between Cayman and the UK regarding Direct Taxation and see how many of these expats/foreign workers will be protesting daily in front of the GAB. Plenty I would say.

    6. Let the growing numbers of sub groups of ‘so call’ Caymanians know that if they truly want to call Cayman their home then, unlike the Ivan situation, jump ship and there will be nothing to come back to.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Bury Chris and send for the cow cod man! They need somebody to keep them in check!


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