Tax protest moves to GT
(CNS): Activists behind the social network movement Caymanians and Expats United Against Taxation have rescheduled their rally against the premier's proposal to introduce expat taxes in the interests of peace and safety. Nick Pitman, the group's creator, told CNS that in the face of increasing intimidation it was more sensible to hold the rally in central George Town next Monday evening. The group had originally planned to go to West Bay on Wednesday, where the premier had rescheduled his first public meeting on the proposed tax after canceling his Monday night meeting at the eleventh hour. Pitman said the rally was about peaceful protest but given the premier's comments about the 'disquiet', which was nothing to do with the new social media group, he did not want to fuel further misunderstandings.
The group had originally organised a peaceful protest on Monday night outside the Mary Miller Hall where McKeeva Bush was meant to be hosting his first public meeting about his proposal to introduce a 10% tax on the salaries of work permit holders earning over $20,000 per annum. However, at the last minute the premier stopped the meeting as he said the protesters were creating “an ill-temper abroad that suggests we would not get the calm and measured discussion” he claimed he wanted. Bush then rescheduled the meeting for Wednesday evening in his own constituency of West Bay.
Pitman said that the group had initially planned to follow the meeting to West Bay. However, after concerns were raised by several group members of increasing intimidation the decision was taken to organise a meeting in front of the Legislative Assembly in Heroes Square on more neutral ground for next week to send a clear message that the group is about peaceful protest and collaboration and not, as implied by the premier, disruption.
“We believe that holding the meeting in front of the country's parliament, the seat of democracy, on Monday will be more effective,” he said. “We are concerned about the intimidation being experienced by some of those who have joined the group and people are uncomfortable about the situation. As a result we intend to hold a more organised, peaceful rally against the expat tax, where we hope to offer alternative solutions to the economic difficulties faced by government.”
Pitman, who is a social media expert, said the goal was to get the premier to listen to the group's concerns and he did not want the movement to be labelled as disruptive. He denied it was either divisive or encouraging hate but was all about the people of the Cayman Islands uniting against poor and discriminatory government policies that would hurt the entire community.
“This isn't just about direct taxation on expats,” said Pitman. “This proposal is just a first step -- foreigners today, Caymanians tomorrow -- and we must come together to protect the islands that we love, regardless of whether we are born here or not.”
He said he believed the rapid growth of the Facebook group in a matter of days demonstrated that the so-called divide between locals and expatriates that some would like to promote does not exist. The younger generation, Pitman said, is far more united, regardless of where they are born, and recognise that their political leaders are failing them.
“This movement is about the community joining forces to address the problems faced by everyone,” he said. “The government cannot target work-permit holders as the scapegoats for its mismanagement. There are many solutions on offer which the premier doesn't seem to want to listen to, many of which have been cited in the Miller-Shaw report and many more are being posted on social media sites on a daily basis by young Caymanians and people who call Cayman home. We hope to make him listen.”
He said that many of the members of this new group have been involved in several of the activist movements that have emerged in Cayman over the last few years as people begin to recognise they are not powerless. But there were people joining the Caymanians and Expats United Against Taxation now that had never had the courage to stand up to the powers-that-be before.
“It is encouraging to see people posting under their names in this group and emerging from the shadows to express themselves,” he said. “There are, however, many more still who are afraid to speak out but those of us that are privileged enough to be in a position to do so must speak out on their behalf. It’s not just about my pocket, as it won't be affected as much as those on lower pay. Those of us that can must speak for them.”
Pitman added that he and the other organisers would continue to use Facebook to galvanise everyone in the community to join the peaceful rally next Monday and send an unequivocal message to the premier that this latest discriminatory proposal is unacceptable and that there are other solutions.
Local MLA Ezzard Miller lauded the young activists and said the movement was another demonstration of people-power that had been used to stop the commercial dock in East End and was continuing to protest the closure of the West Bay Road and would now hopefully stop the plan to tax expatriate workers.
“Politicians fear people power,” Miller said. “Not least because it works.”
- Condo for rent
- George Town Landfill to close early
- Grand Court Juror Report Date Changed
- Government Schools Begin Registration
- Church Street Closed to All Vehicular Traffic
- On Sales : Samsung Galaxy SIV / Apple iPhone 5 64GB
- Sales On: Apple iPhone 5 32GB, Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III / Galaxy S4 Buy 2 get 1 free
- Affordable South Side Home for Sale
- house for rent
- car for sale
The comments posted do not necessarily reflect the views of CNS or any individual staff member. All comments are posted subject to approval by CNS. Read more
- Yes, I have very fond hopes
30 min 22 sec ago
- You pay $1,000,000.
35 min 12 sec ago
- Same here, we can't handle
46 min 25 sec ago
- PWC did find value for money.
52 min 10 sec ago
- It seems to be the opposite
55 min 27 sec ago
- Cayman, It is time that Mr.
56 min 29 sec ago
- somehow someone got my phone
57 min 1 sec ago
- same with me and the 4 people
59 min 30 sec ago
- Just like you is behind us.
1 hour 34 sec ago
- I voted for NO MORE of the
1 hour 3 min ago