McTaggart warns of decline, division and debt in 2024

| 02/01/2024 | 41 Comments
Opposition Leader Roy McTaggart delivers his New Year Message

(CNS): Opposition Leader Roy McTaggart took aim at the UPM Government in his New Year’s message, accusing the new administration of poor fiscal management, spending more than it earns, and even after raising new taxes, creating a budget that will add to the Cayman Islands’ debt burden this year. With CI$120 million in new taxes coming this year and next, the UPM budget still calls for up to CI$150 million in new borrowing in addition to the unused (so far) loan facility of over $100 million, largely to cover the cost of capital projects.

With just 14 months before the 2025 general election campaign officially begins, the opposition leader pushed home the message about what he said was the Progressives’ solid fiscal prudence, building up reserves, lowering debt and generating surpluses to pay for capital projects, all of which helped steer the country through the pandemic.

McTaggart contrasted the PPM approach with the UPM and said the opposition would advocate for a “sustainable approach to growing the economy” and the management of public finances. “We will challenge excessive, wasteful spending and reject a path marked by decline, division and debt,” he said.

The premier has defended the spending due to the “dire necessity for infrastructure projects to catch up with population growth”, and has said the government must plan ahead for the problems of the future. “We are seeing in today’s Cayman some of the effects of previous generations not recognising burgeoning problems. Granted, some of these problems were unforeseeable,” she said, adding that now it was time to plan ahead and ensure we have adequate schools and other facilities for the growing population.

O’Connor-Connolly also said the new increases in some fees, which she maintains are not inflationary, were necessary to offer more social support as well as new and expanded public services. “The proposed fee increases and new revenue measures were very carefully considered to ensure that they would not impact the average Caymanian or lower-income resident. We fully understand the already difficult impact on local families of inflation and the high cost of living.”

The new revenue measures are projected to yield around $52 million this year and another $80 million in 2025. They are related to administrative and regulatory-related fees charged by the General Registry, the Department for International Tax Compliance, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority and the Department of Commerce and Investment. There will also be increases in work permit application fees and those for immigration-related visas and extensions. The import duty rate on hybrid and electric vehicles with a value of more than $70,000 will also increase, as will customs fines. The full details of the new fees have yet to be released.

Despite his criticisms of the increases in taxes and borrowing, McTaggart also still called for more spending on the vulnerable and those in need, as well as investing in a new public transport system, tackling crime and increasing stipends. The PPM also called for the government to reduce duty temporarily on fuel and domestic cooking gas as well as a freeze on the Water Authority rates.

See McTaggart’s message below on the Progressives’ YouTube channel:


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Category: Politics

Comments (41)

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  1. Rick says:

    None of the local politicians seem to be aware of the concerns affecting Cayman and Caymanians. Who is talking about the lack of low-income housing, the prohibitively high cost of owning a home, very poor public transportation and the failure to exploit sustainable energy sources – solar mostly – which is driving up the cost of living due to high-cost fuel imports? Meanwhile, they turn a blind eye to the abuse of work permit holders, the poor standard of education for Cayman-educated children, consumer abuse, the ever-increasing banking fees and service abuse, and more…

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  2. Anonymous says:

    LMAO – “McTaggart warns of decline, division and debt 2024”

    Talk about an interesting New Year’s resolution!

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    • Anonymous says:

      That might as well be his campaign slogan, since that is all he has been good for during his time in office. The fact that this man stood up in front of the country and admitted that him and the PPM had no idea how many millions they gave away in concessions, and was then voted back in, is disgusting.

      I still think Emily DeCou could win that seat if she ran again with a real campaign. She would be an infinitely better representative for the people of these islands.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I’d rather take note of what an experienced professional accountant has to say about money , than the self serving Bible thumping squeaks of a financial incompetent , that believes money grows in the print room of the government admin building.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, Progressives like to save money so they can give concessions to their developer friends. They like to save money because they think it’s their money. But it’s our money, and we need it spent on us right now, not #$%$%$^ developers.

    Respectfully.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    All drivel and hot air.
    Do something useful. Like..
    1. Revert back to NO Dual Passports/Citizenship for status.
    2. Make health insurance portable and non cancellable.
    3. Allow land mortgagees to build on the property.
    4. Reverse OMOV and SMCs

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  5. Anonymous says:

    so your only real proposal is to spend even more money????…and what did you do when in power for 8 years????…nothing…just tax and spend.
    do-nothing-ppm at their finest.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    McTaggart unhappy that he’s not the one spending the money.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    How long before cash is thrown at the new group?

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  8. brackattacka says:

    “The import duty rate on hybrid and electric vehicles with a value of more than $70,000 will also increase”

    I have to admit I flamed Ju ju initially because I thought ALL EVs were getting increased taxes, but this is reasonable. Above 70k you’re buying a more sporty Tesla rather than a commuter, and I’m all for more taxes on luxury / rich.

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    • Anonymous says:

      EVs were over 9% of new car sales in 2023. But try buying one from USA, getting one into the port hazmat area, on a ship, cleared to Cayman, and then try to charge it once it’s in your hands.The sustainability ministry has not installed any new charging infrastructure or changed planning laws to require a minimum number of serviced parking spots. The infrastructure that is out there, is reserved for tenants, switched off at load center, broken, or occupied. Car City, GT, Advance and car rental agencies should all be lobbying to sell their wares.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The same government that is going to build a private jet terminal for the ultra rich and pay for it by increasing passenger tax on ordinary people. And if that doesn’t raise enough cash – $40 million plus – all tax payers will be sharing the pain.

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      • Anonymous says:

        So what, we need to take care of the rich tax dodgers as look how much money they give us.

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      • Anonymous says:

        And if Kenny gets his port, then the place will go downhill rapidly, and we will have a white elephant at the airport.

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      • Anonymous says:

        suggestion to the elected member, CARBON TAX on a per aircraft/ passenger basis therefore longer runways, private aircraft facility gets allocated and add the cost of the additional carbon to construct whatever to the loading on that usage. In fact, customs duty should be replaced by a CARBON TAX, to include the amount of cement used in the construction of the house and the lifestyle lived which would free up the border controls meaning quicker clearance of goods and increased productivety.

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  9. ELVIS says:

    Cayman is spending far too much money on foolishness as we call it.

    More sensible sit down take your time decisions really need to be made.

    We have infrastructures and buildings falling down and not fit for purpose and people working in disgusting conditions and you bury your heads in the sand still?
    Yes im talking of the jail. Courtrooms. Police.
    The Govt continue to plough cash into hairbrained ideas, Schools, More roundabouts. Cayman airways. etc etc etc .

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  10. Anonymous says:

    so why did you and everyoone else in ppm support/approve the budget????
    welcome to wonderland……

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  11. Anonymous says:

    When the PPM aren’t blowing more hot air, are they performing any service to the general public? Ie are the opposition delivering shadow duties we pay them for? Are they hands on in the UPM regime and Ministries, or have we regressed back to PPM’s own recipe of private caucus star chamber governance? If they are shadowing, show your work, publish the report and be specific, if not, explain why anyone might waste their vote on a slightly different flavor of the same unpalatable recipe.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Considering the actual government isn’t performing any service, there’s not much expectation for the opposition to as well

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Are you continuing to support the mass importation of poverty at derisory wages, forcing Caymanians out of participation in their own economy, particularly at entry level? What is the PPM’s position?

    Open borders and inadequate pay are at the core of wide ranging elements of our challenges, social, cultural AND economic.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Not many Caymanians want to do menial labor jobs for menial pay. Those jobs won’t pay for newer cars or nicer housing.

      Improve the education system and obtain degrees in finance, tech, engineering and the legal fields.

      Those are good paying jobs.

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      • Anonymous says:

        You can have a Master’s degree and 20 years experience and somehow, the foreign management will find a way to bring in a work permit holder that you will train and do the heavy lifting for months, because you’re Caymanian and not experienced enough.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Depends on masters degree from where and in what..
          Like a “Masters“ from California coastal ‘university’ is not worth anything, compared to a Masters from an academically respected institution.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Caymanian here, I live in Cayman but do my business outside Cayman and my clients are mostly outside Cayman. That’s the solution but it requires you to get on a plane and head over to United States or Canada,usually “because they have the $$” avoid the UK, that’s a trap, hard place to make a $$. Good clients in China too! also open bank accounts outside Cayman and get tax advice -peace!

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          • Anonymous says:

            Or Macs “Honours” degree…

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      • Big Bobo In West Bay says:

        7:07, A large part of the problem is the fact that our public education system is not geared towards finance, accounting, tech, engineering and the legal fields.

        Our public education system is geared to the past.

        Thanks in large part to JuJu who has been the Educatiion Minister for years and years.

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      • Anonymous says:

        You’re right about the menial pay. Minimum wage was set, and held, by the PPM’s hand, well below the poverty level. That’s why Caymanians (even the youngest unskilled) won’t apprentice in trades. They join gangs to die or go to jail. Maybe, if they know the right people, they’ll score a forever Civil Service gig if they are lucky.

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      • Anonymous says:

        You guys have heard of wage suppression right? If business owners can hire non-natives for half the salary they will do that. If you reduce the number of imports wages will go up and Caymanians might be more inclined to fill those job slots. Similar issues in the UK and US. Everyone assumes we need endless immigration for the GDP but it causes more harm than good.

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    • Anonymous says:

      But his friend Seymour is now the labor minister and he is right on top of all labor issues in the Cayman Islands

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  13. Anonymous says:

    So old man Roy, if you and the rest of PPM feel this way, why the hell did you all vote to approve the free for all spending budget? You all are a waste of human space and do not give a dam about the people, only if you can get back in power. You will suck up to any of the UPM if it means you can get back in power. Best thing you can do is sit back down and shut up.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    McTaggart is right that the UPM is spending far too much money. PPM spent a lot of money too as well as signed the dump deal, which is still incomplete, just before the last election.

    A new real alternative to PPM and UPM is what is really needed to steer the Cayman Islands ship back on course and to put the Caymanian people first in Cayman.

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