September 23, 2020

The Editor Speaks: Stunned

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The documents’ release by Independent  MLA for North Side, Ezzard Miller, to CNS which appear on their website, have me stunned.

If you haven’t read the story there, the bare bones is that, “Dart Realty (Cayman) Ltd will be taking a 50% share of all tourism taxes levied from guests staying in any of its properties for the ten years following the development, renovation or acquisition of any hotel under an agreement it signed in December with government .”

If that isn’t enough, “Dart and its affiliates have also been given a 100% duty concession on all materials used in the development of anything for the next 30 years”!!

The ForCayman Investment Alliance that Premier, Hon. McKeeva Bush, and Dart have championed and told us about omitted the above information.  Why?

Transparency and open government is what the UDP, and especially ex talk show radio host, Ellio Solomon, shouted to the masses in their bid to become elected. And what have we got over the last three years plus? ANYTHING BUT!!

Based on what I, like the rest of us, had been told by both Bush and Dart, I, in view of the recession and the need to see some construction work, was in favour of the Alliance.

I thought, Mr. Miller, was wrong and he wasn’t looking “behind the picture” but only the front. I am stunned to have to admit it was me. I am stunned to have to ask, WHY WAS THE PUBLIC AT LARGE NOT TOLD?

With the rumour that Dart is going to buy the Ritz and/or Westin, just look at the amount of revenue he is going to reap. FIFTY PER CENT of all the taxes from guests staying at ALL his hotels! Past, present and future! So, every hotel Dart buys we lose half of the taxes meant for the people’s coffers.

Maybe, I could go along with the 100% duty concession on all materials for any of the Dart developments because that is a one off and we NEED BUILDING PROJECTS now. The benefits, in MY opinion, outweigh the impediments.

However, to give Dart the tax concession of 50% of every guest staying at hotels he may buy over the next ten years is preposterous. It’s outrageous.

This certainly gives him a huge incentive to gobble up every hotel/guest house here in the Cayman Islands, at a “song,” considering the very depressed market, and sell them after the ten years is up when the economy (judging by market/economy statistics) should be once again buoyant, at a considerable profit whilst collecting half of the country’s hotel tourism revenues! And this ten year period is “over the next thirty years for ten years after the opening of that property.”

Yes. “Watta deal”.

Stunned!

 

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