September 23, 2020

The Editor Speaks: When ‘unusual’ can be explained

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One must hand it to Independent MLA for North Side, Ezzard Miller. Whether one agrees with him or not, he is doing his job as a duly appointed representative of the people. He gives 100% of his time and energies and it is much to be admired. Nothing gets past him. He is like a bloodhound sniffing out anything that has a smell.

His latest ‘smell’ concerns the grant of duty waivers and his open records request under the Freedom of Information Law has shown up some ‘questionable’ waiver grants, particularly ones at the request of Cayman Islands Premier, Hon. McKeeva Bush.

However, one of his points prompted me an investigation and that concerns fireworks brought in by Cayman Firepower.

“I can’t see why we would be giving duty waivers on imported fireworks,” Miller said as he noted a more than $7,000 waiver for Cayman Firepower.

Cayman Firepower provides the fireworks for both of Cayman’s two biggest non-profit making cultural events Batabano and its own quasi-Government body, Pirates Week. At least half of the $32,335.34 is split between those festivals. Pirates Week also sells fireworks at their store at the Pirates Week office in George Town. Some more of the fireworks importation is also used on smaller Government sponsored events. Then there is New Years Eve/Day. However, I would guess there are also a proportion of these fireworks used for private events and on these Mr. Miller does have a strong point. Definitely a tight control should be done and Cayman Firepower hopefully sends an account to Government where the fireworks were used and he reimburses Government for the duties on the private parties.

On closer examination of the list I cannot see too many “unusual” waivers. The elevator probably has an explanation and a number of items of clothing, souvenirs, etc. are for schools, nurseries, non-profit organisations, churches and service clubs.

The firearm with waiver issued by the Financial Secretary is probably for the RCIPS? Boat engine – Marine unit of the RCIPS? The dog trailer, again is probably for the RCIPS? Bus – school or church?.

Two of the biggest items, bleachers and medical supplies are self explanatory as is the tractor for the National Roads Authority.

I cannot really see many ‘unusual’ items there to make a big fuss about.

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