Government won’t tax banks for education fund

(CNS): The premier told members of the Legislative Assembly that his government would consider the idea of an education fund that could help plug the budget gaps and cover more scholarships for Caymanians, but he said his administration was not prepared to raise the cash by putting a tax on the spread which banks take on conversion between the CI and US dollar. Alden McLaughlin said that the Unity government was prepared to accept part of a motion brought by opposition member Chris Saunders Thursday, and embraced the idea that employers whose business plans call for the provision of scholarships could instead pay into such a fund if they failed to meet that obligation.

After Saunders presented his motion, in which he called for a tax on the banks, McLaughlin said his government would look at how they could create such a fund, but said he was concerned about the already declining offshore banking sector and that he feared the tax would have a detrimental impact on the declining number of banks now registered in the Cayman Islands.

The premier also took the opportunity to warn the opposition benches about what he described as the rhetoric aimed at the banking sector, saying he worried about the type of message the criticisms of the industry presented, as government valued their business.