Port fees hiked by Cabinet but not on budget list

| 05/01/2024 | 70 Comments
George Town cargo dock, Cayman News Service
George Town cargo dock

(CNS): A substantial hike in some of the cargo fees charged by the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands (PACI) could impact the already soaring cost of living, despite claims by Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly last month that the government’s new revenue measures would not be inflationary.

In her new capacity as finance minister, O’Connor-Connolly outlined a number of fee increases in her 2024/25 budget address but made no mention of the port fees going up. However, new regulations approved by Cabinet and gazetted on 21 December reveal that from 1 January, some fees have doubled.

Vehicle imports have been hard hit by the amended regulations with the introduction of flat rates of $300 for a vehicle weighing less than six tons and $500 for those weighing more. Storage costs have also increased to $5.25 per day or a fraction of a day per ton or part ton for cargo other than vehicles, and a charge of $25 has been implemented for vehicles for each day or fraction of each day.

The charge for trucking cargo from the ship to the Industrial Park distribution centre is now $60 for a container 20 feet or under, $120 for a container over 20 feet long but under 40 feet, and $135 for those 40 feet or longer.

While the government has made no official announcement about the port fee increases, PACI recently sent a letter to some of its customers to inform them.

During the budget address, when O’Connor-Connolly announced that the UPM Government was increasing fees, she said, “The decision to implement new revenue measures was not taken lightly, and efforts were made to ensure that they were non-inflationary and did not have a direct impact on the average citizen and the already high cost of living.”

After the budget was passed, she doubled down on that commitment, saying that the fee increases would not affect those on lower incomes. However, it is clear that merchants are very likely to pass on what are, in some cases, stiff increases to their customers, fuelling more inflation.

At the time of the budget, O’Connor-Connolly said the new revenue measures were projected to yield an additional $52 million next year for government coffers and another $80 million in 2025.

The measures included an increase in 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; increases to work permit application fees; an increase to the import duty rate on hybrid and electric vehicles with a value of more than $70,000; an increase in the environmental tax on hybrid and electric vehicles with a cost, insurance and freight value (CIF) of $80,000 or more; and some increases to customs and procedural fines.

She also said there would be an increase in the fees for immigration-related visas and extensions and that an increase in the stamp duty rate was being considered for properties purchased in certain “high-end” geographical areas on Grand Cayman.

See the new regulations below:


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Comments (70)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    For the life of me I don’t understand why our government is not taxing these foreigners, especially if they own more than one rental property. Each month these foreign landlords skip,jump, and laugh their asses off to the bank.

    Stop taxing the average Joe and Mary. There are so many other ways to make money for the government but our Government seem not to care about finding other ways or are too lazy to think outside the box.

    Start implementing this measure and see how many millions of additional funds government could earn. Start now and stop pricing the average Caymanians out of their own country.

  2. Roy says:

    Dont b foolish cayman…not even the US allowes exxpats turned US citizen to become president, but they can run for senate seats,etc…

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    • V says:

      There are only 21 countries in the world where you need to be a natural born citizen to become president. Try again in this fashion and I will call you out again.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Further to your statement V, countries that allow non naturally born citizens to run for highest office are UK commonwealth and the UK as well. If sufficiently challenged it is conceivable that the highest court would rule in favour of having status holder not born in Cayman to run for political office.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Consistent with the global mission to energy transition, all EVs should be duty free, regardless of CIF. Further, the CIG should be amending planning laws to require developers to incorporate a recharging infrastructure for tenants and customers linked to a ratio of parking spots. The CIG should set a better example by expanding their own charging infrastructure, keeping them in working condition, and switched on. Nobody should have to chase down the security guard at GAB (and other locations) to turn on the breaker. No security guard should be unplugging or tampering with parked vehicles.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Argue the benefits of EV’s all you want but the problem we will be facing is scrapping them when they reach their end of life. Who should pay for that? The well off individuals that can afford an $80k+ car, or everyone else? No one is saving the planet by buying new things, especially EV’s.

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      • Anonymous says:

        There is a scrappage fee built into the importation cost of very car already. And what do you think the government does with that money? Because they sure as shoot don’t spend it on picking up derelict cars and scrapping them.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Agreed, but we have enough of an issue dealing with lead acid batteries and tyres, add large lithium batteries into the mix and we will be sunk. I can see ships only taking these batteries if they are properly contained in something that costs alot, can’t be stored in bulk, need specialists to dismantle the cars plus more than I know about! The costs with scrapping an EV will be more than a regular vehicle.

    • Anonymous says:

      Anyone paying 70k+ on a car can afford to pay a tax.

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    • Anonymous says:

      nobody should be forced to do jack $#!t. If people want charging infrastructure for their EVs then they can pay for and install it. Nobody else should have to pay for you to be able to charge your car. That’s a decision for you to make and if you’re happy to make it then great. In the meantime I can’t afford one so won’t be getting one; and I shouldn’t have to subsidize your Tesla.

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    • Bigz Wigz says:

      But…they are busy buying large and in charge $80,000 SUV’s for the very large CIG Ministers to use as they see fit (ie personal vehicles). Nah hawe no time worry bug Ewees!

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    • Anonymous says:

      evs are duty free up to a certain amount, after that here is a charge

  4. Anonymous says:

    don’t worry we can ask her about this at next cig press conference…..oh wait…
    welcome to wonderland

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Climate change is getting expensive. Increase tax on hybrids and evs, will stick to IC until common sense returns.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    never changes, we poor millions and millions into the services that affect the super rich while squeezing the middle and lower class to foot the bill.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Thank you kindly UPM government for kicking us all when we are down. One might suppose that a newly formed government might sensibly look at the incredibly historic and high inflation rate here, and impending austerity, they might tread with caution and create programs to help the people.

    Nope, apparently not. Going to ride roughshod over us all, entitled government employees and the private sector alike. We are all financial cannon fodder for the government’s lofty and mostly unnecessary projects.

    I have never in my life been so fearful of the future of the people of the Cayman Islands. I hope we all pull together, so we can pool our few resources as we circle the drain.

    Happy New Year and God Bless.

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  8. Queen Juju management says:

    Juju being Juju what else did you expect?

    Plus there is no one in the “pee pee up gowamint” UPM cabinet that has the courage to ask the right questions and point out all of the hypocrisy.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Why do they call us ‘customers’. Drives me nuts.
    None of us are customers and they are not a service provider. They are a government body charging a tax.

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  10. Island time says:

    Maybe its time to privatize the port authority. There is nothing wrong with going out to a public proposal to privatize. If the Government is serious about privatizing the only cost will be putting together a Request for Proposal that outlines exactly what is expected in the scope of work.

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    • Anonymous says:

      With the amount of revenue this island generates we have zero need to privatize any government entity.

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      • Anonymous says:

        With the government spending more that the revenue generated and borrowing money to do so, privatizing those governmental owned or controlled entities that simply waste taxpayers money because they have zero accountability sounds like an excellent idea. Whilst some of them are commercial dead ducks that may be impossible to sell, entities like the Ports Authority and even Cayman Airways could be made at least break even if properly run by people who had share holders to account to. Hell, if we sold CAL to someone for a dollar AND gave them $20m a year provided they kept key services in place, we would still be making a massive tax payer saving. But then government officials couldn’t get to travel for free, the likes of Kenny couldn’t play with routing to satisfy personal interests, and the likes of Dwayne might find their service companies suddenly faced competition and commercial pressure.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Yet another example of why government should not be allowed to run anything.
    Let private enterprise run the port and operate it a a business. LOL, it will never happen with this mess in charge.😵‍💫😵‍💫😵‍💫

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    • Anonymous says:

      Nothing to do with statutory government bodies it’s about cabinet pillaging to pay for their needless squander. We are lucky Port Authority is one of the best running statutory bodies in Cayman.
      The budget shortfall needs to come from a cabinet wide minister’s wage cut. We all know they are obscenely overpaid for the number of days they actually devote to government official business rather than their own business(s).
      Becoming a cabinet minister is an no longer a duty to serve the public it’s just and open opportunity to steal time from the public clock while filling your pockets with profits from your own side hustles.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Politicians and their appointed board members care only about lining their own pockets.
      Privatization would mean that the port would have to be run as a business , and they can’t treat the port as their private piggy bank and platform for re-election .
      Fed up with the public having to foot the bill for these selfish parasites who ignore the good of the country.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Riiiight, because private businesses are well known for not charging as much as they can for something. Riiight.

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      • Anonymous says:

        1.33 No ….because Private businesses have ACCOUNTABILITY and financial controls which prevent board members giving themselves and favorite colleagues massive pay raises, as well as ensuring workers show up for work, do the work, without worrying whose political interests will be damaged if disciplinary action is needed….etc etc.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Remove duty on food. Pass savings on to customers. 22% extra for groceries should be illegal.

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    • Anonymous says:

      If the UDP dressed as now UPM really want to tackle the cost of living crisis, then prove it by waiving import duty and charges on supermarket items….and make sure the savings are passed on to the public.
      Too much to ask..?

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  13. Anonymous says:

    These charges are very insignificant, the majority of them are for the importation of cars which should be higher to reduce the number of cars in Cayman, the others is for storage which will only affect those who import and don’t collect their goods which will not apply to any of the importers who take their items right away. The trucking fees are still less than the private sector trucking fess so as one of the major importers I have no issue and am quite satisfied that these costs won’t substantially increase the cost of living.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I have worked all my life; more than 30 years here in Cayman. The previous government decreed that we could not import any autos that were older than seven years. Well, ain’t that wonderful. That means that when my soon-to-be-useless car dies, I am either forced to spend $20,000 (minimum!) for a used car, or walk or hire a local taxi.

      Thanks for NOTHING, CIG. I had hoped to have a means to retire by now. Nope. I will have to work for as long as I can and keep myself alive in any way I can.

      P.S. Thanks, CIG for screwing us elderly over by not ramping up CINICO. I wasn’t lucky enough to work for government, so I have to pay $250 a month for “insurance” than doesn’t do diddly, unless it is an emergency. You know what that does for people like me? It forces us to wait on treatable maladies until it is an emergency. This is nothing new. Those outside of government have been getting shafted for decades.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Buy a local used car for significantly less than $20k. I’ve got a premium luxury 2012 Jaguar XJ I’d sell you.

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        • Anonymous says:

          I don’t believe you. Look at all the ads for the used car places. $20K is probably too low. You have “premium luxury 2012 Jag XJ for under $20K? One of those statements is a lie. Either your Jag is a POS, or other of your stated variables is wrong. That year and model in good condition sells for a minimum of $45,000, and as much as $75,000.

          I’m through with this guy. Next distraction, step right up.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Typical “It’s of no consequence because it has no impact on me” mentality. Careful because when it does eventually impact you, you may very well be standing alone.

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    • Anonymous says:

      05 @ 5:02pm – it’s not necessarily the amount of the hike but the process…or lack thereof. Get it?!

      • Anonymous says:

        As an importer we were consulted by the Port Board before the fees were introduced which was a huge improvement to the previous process. Even though I couldn’t make the meeting it is my understanding that discussion led to a reduction from what was previously proposed. If you are interested maybe you should speak to the larger importers like Al T, Foster’s, Hurley’s etc.

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    • Caymanian says:

      said like someone in cabinet would tell you to say. good job

      For the record, I almost bought it.

      This people is called desperation for UPM to find money for their ridiculous spending spree.

      What we should be doing is trying to get back to precovid spending levels. Not saying we will but obviously no attempts are being made to curtail spending.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Why not print your name if you are a major importer. I call propaganda BS on this post. Any taxes that touch retail establishments must end up driving inflation. No way around it. We all pay.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah – try collecting your imports right away when you have to wait for customs to get off their a@# and inspect them first.

  14. Anonymous says:

    They need the money to pay for their next Christmas party.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    I still blame Wayne Panton for breathing life into this monster of a government despite it biting him in the ass afterwards!

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    • Caymanian says:

      This is on the electors for electing PACT to begin with.

      We ran from PPM to this. You get what you pay for. ENJOY!@

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    • Anonymous says:

      Monsters, including convicted felons. were and still are the only options running until voters petition to amend the Elections Law.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    What does everyone really expect? First she threw around a $1500.00 bonus, then all the pork barrel projects and I heard a rumor that they will be getting full time protection along with drivers. So how do you think you pay for all this? Raise taxes my friends and believe me her and Seymour are no where near done yet. Utterly disgusting. Say CNS can you find out if the land that the new Cayman Brac school is going to built on is her family’s property?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Full time protection because they know they are wrong otherwise why? Running scared of adverse but truthful comments by the ‘little man’ LOL Drivers – why? They drinking too much lieade?

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  17. Anonymous says:

    just another way to stick it to the common man. let alone her constituents in the brac. julie has no business running the country, but to be honest im not sure anyone in government has the skills to manage cayman….

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    • Anonymous says:

      Do tell which common man can actually afford a $70k plus hyrbid or electric vehicle

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      • Anonymous says:

        How about the increases in freight handling charges? Given that 99% of the stuff sold here is imported, that truly does impact the common man – unless you think the store owners are going to absorb those costs?

  18. Anonymous says:

    And you all really believed what juju had to say? Port Authority and customs fee increases hit everyone.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    We have had some bad governments in the past but this one has to be the worst. A 50 Million dollar school for 300 students which makes it more per student than clifton hunter, flights to Barbados, extending the runway and building a new general aviation terminal while the main teminal is too small,building roads that do nothing to solve the real cause of traffic congestion. I could go on and on. And to pay for this madness they are going to raise fees that will affect prices of most things. As a caymanian I really hate to ask this but are voters really that stupid or am I missing something?

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    • Anonymous says:

      You’re not missing anything other than its 155 students not 300, so making it even worse.

      They are incompetent, corrupt (although they don’t see it that way) and any other number of non-complimentary adjectives you can think of.

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      • Anonymous says:

        All I can say is HURRAY FOR CAYMAN BRAC

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      • Anonymous says:

        Build it and they will come.

        Brac has seen a significant increase of people moving over there since Covid.

        More and more families are deciding that they don’t want to be in a traffic and crime infested island anymore and are moving to the Brac.

        All the naysayers will talk about the $50 million high school, but they will be glad to get a chance for their children to attend there.

        Build it Miss Julie, they will come.

        Doesn’t matter what the hell you do, as there will always be someone out there to criticize, downgrade, belittle and gossip about you.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Yes, the Brac needs a new high school. Everyone can agree with that.

          No, it does not cost CI$50 million.

          That is a wasteful slush fund for votebuying.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The voters are either bought or too overwhelmed to care. It’s time to change the Constitution so that Status holders can run for office. Think of the expertise in the financial industry, the legal profession, procurement, business administration, etc., that could be brought to the table.

      Caymanians saying they don’t want this because they don’t want Jamaican officeholders are having a knee-jerk reaction and refusing to open their eyes and see the benefits of this change. What about Status holders from the U.K., the States, European countries, etc.? There’s a lot of expertise — and loyalty to the Cayman Islands — that is being ignored, and native Caymanians will continue to pay the price until they decide to open their eyes and try to save these islands.

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      • Patricia Bryan says:

        Any status holder from another country swore allegiance to the Cayman Islands to gain their “Citizenship”/status. Many Caymanians swear allegiance to other countries to also obtain Citizenship in those countries. The Cayman Islands are one of the few jurisdictions which allows our indigenous, native citizens to possess dual-Citizenship, are able vote BUT NOT run for Public Office. (Which is what the Constitution [should] actually change).
        If those who possess “Citizenship”/status in the Cayman Islands through swearing allegiance to the Cayman Islands be allowed to run for office then so should native, indigenous Caymanians, especially those who possess third or fourth generations of Caymanian forefathers/foremothers/ancestors. Many Caymanians are in these very same fields or better, yet had to abdicate or renounce their citizenship from another country in order to run for public office in the Cayman Islands, or just plainly were not able to run. (Out of respect I will refrain from naming many Caymanians from all and more occupations mentioned above who would make awesome candidates).It is called the Cayman Islands Constitution for a reason; for Caymanians. You cannot expect to hope for a “Cayman Islands” Constitution change for only “allegiance-swearing Caymanians” yet not too far indigenous, native, generational, ancestral Caymanians. Not when those “obtaining” have both the cake mix bowl and spoon to enjoy. We generational Caymanians must do too. I respect people from different nations and welcome them. But certainly cannot put the generational ancestral Caymanians. And those who think things should pace out that way ought not to be intermingling amongst generational and ancestral Caymanians (as your ulterior motive are not genuine nor comply with why you were in the first placed privied to the swearing and certificate behind the title).
        Must the Constitution only be changed to accommodate status holders but not generational Caymanians(I don’t see this mentioned)? So they have privileges to run for office in either country (their n stuff and the Cayman Islands)…but generational Caymanians shouldn’t? People often forget to bear in mind how small out islands are. Someone from Canada, the UK, the US, Jamaica, France, Africa, Honduras should all swear allegiance to Cayman and be able to run for office in their country AND Cayman? Yet it’s not suggested to change for Caymanians to be able? My answers are simple. No and no.

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      • Anonymous says:

        The risk of being overwhelmed by Jamaicans is just too great , and just not worth the risk of driving the final nail in Cayman’s coffin.

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        • Anonymous says:

          or us locals being called ‘CayMAINians’ because they cant even pronounce their status!!

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      • Anonymous says:

        “The voters are either bought or too overwhelmed to care.”

        Or are too “uneducted/uninformed” (I’m being polite) to have an educated vote… The electorate is pitiful; not worthy of electing officials. Thus the worthless officials we have. Worthless electorate = worthless officials.

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      • Annonymous says:

        4.06pm The Jamaicans outnumber all other nationalities put together and would have the most votes and power. Therefore no we can’t do as you suggest. Thank God by the time the Parliament is full of Jamaicans born here I will be in my one-door condo at Prospect cemetary.

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      • Anonymous says:

        “and loyalty to the Cayman Islands”
        ahaahahhah*snort*ahaha

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      • Anonymous says:

        If these islands needed saving, you wouldn’t still be here. Please take your white messianic foolishness elsewhere.

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        • Anonymous says:

          White…?
          Saving Cayman is a job only White people care to do..?
          Saving cayman from turning into a corrupt violent Jamaica is Everyone’s job I would think.

      • Ironside says:

        I’m open to status holders who have been living in the Cayman Islands for 25+ years nonstop to be eligible for the highest position in elected parliament members.

        But, no fascism leaning (read overly conservative) related parties or Christofascists need apply.

        “When somebody says it’s not about the money, it’s about the money.” —H. L. Mencken

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        • Anonymous says:

          “Christofascists” …Bravo!!! G’wan be very tough to trump this one, in describing the devout full moon howling nutters here.

  20. Anonymous says:

    CNS please investigate in more detail. Many of the Port fees have been increased by 400%.The net effect on retail amounts to just under 1% on landed cost. This adds to a retailer’s inventory costing and will have to be marked up and passed on to the consumer as retail businesses are already paying exorbitant CIG fees. Contrary to popular opinion, retailers struggle to make a profit in Cayman as they are hit directly by all CIG revenue measures. Freight duty on a 40′ empty container alone is over $600.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Of course fees have increased, as Predicted.
      What did you expect from a board who awarded themselves 400% pay increases, hired staff adding $1m to the payroll, spending $600,000 extra because of night shift workers who don’t show up for work, spending almost $60,000 on a party and fireworks, and the long list of inefficiencies goes on.
      Board members with political ambitions won’t do squat to control expenditure, nor will the Minister as they all fear losing votes.
      Bring back Joey and run the Port as a business and not a welfare scheme that we all now have to pay for through increased costs.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    The biggest financial pool government can tap into is the average joe because he lacks teh resources to pick up and leave like the wealthy can. so just prepare for the inevitable my friends.

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