New T&B licence law will help small business

| 23/04/2015 | 3 Comments

(CNS Business): Several pieces of legislation recently passed will soon take effect, changing how some local and small businesses operate in the Cayman Islands, and government officials said the new Trade and Business Law is central to these change efforts. Under the new law, rogue contractors who do not have qualified personnel or fail to pay pension and health insurance contributions for their employees will be unable to get trade and business licences.

CNS Business sat down with the Director of the Department of Commerce and Investment, Ryan Rajkumarsingh, whose department will play a key role in the implementation of the new laws over the next few months.

CNS Business

Ryan Rajkumarsingh, Director of the Department of Commerce and Investment

“In the 1970’s the Trade and Business Law was created to govern how trade and business was done in Cayman. Since then, a number of revisions have been done to that and the last revision was in 2007. What we found was the Trade and Business Law was lacking and didn’t give a lot of discretion to the board. It didn’t consider how to deal with someone with an online business or computers and stuff like that,” Rajkumarsingh said.

He explained that right now most of the powers with the 2007 law lies with the Department of Immigration. However, in November 2014 a new law was introduced that gives more power to the Department of Commerce and Investment, which will cut down the process of applying for a T&B renewal from about 15 days to between two and five days.

Rajkumarsingh told CNS Business his department plans to regulate all local businesses operating without a licence or with an expired one. For example, when someone opens a restaurant and does not apply for a trade and business licence then it can become a health and safety issue for customers.

“You are not issued a trade and business licence until we see the approval from the Department of Environmental Health, and without that trade and business licence that means that restaurant was never inspected,” he stressed.

From 31 August, government will be offering reduced T&B licence fees for micro and small businesses but they must be up to date with pensions and health insurance to qualify. Micro businesses are defined as having up to four employees and an annual gross revenue not exceeding CI$250,000 in the preceding fiscal year. Under the programme, small businesses have up to 12 staff members and an annual gross revenue not exceeding CI$750.000.

Owners of micro businesses will get a 100% discount on their trade and business fee and only pay the $75 processing fee. Owners of small businesses in George Town and West Bay will pay  50% of the licence fee and in all other districts they will pay just 25%, plus $75 processing fee.

Rajkumarsingh stressed the incentive program and the new law is set to take Cayman’s local business sector to the next level in a positive way.

“Ours is actually ahead of the Caribbean, and other places outside of the UK are actually looking at our new law for example,” he said. “It puts us ahead of our competition and also shows to the outside world Cayman is serious about business.”

The DCI Director explained the whole idea behind bringing the Trade and Business Law up to date is to have a better regulation for commerce and to create a level playing field for both consumers and businesses. “The idea is not to put bully anyone; we are here to help businesses and the idea here is to just make processes easier and to make it fair for everyone.”

Another piece of legislation passed with the Trade and Business Law in November 2014 was the Secondhand Dealers Law. Rajkumarsingh said this law was called for by the RCIPS because they felt there needed to be some type of regulations for these businesses.

Secondhand dealers buy and sell precious stones, TVs, DVDs, jewelry and even cars, Rajkumarsingh said, explaining that while there is a pawn shop law, it is outdated.

The new law will ensure that the people that they are dealing with are at least 18 and have some proof of ownership of the item that they’re pawning. “If not, shop owners have to take photo ID’s of these people and have video cameras operating,” he said. So, when police go searching for stolen goods, those dealers will be protected and it will be easier for police to track down any suspects.

Another significant development for local business owners is the ongoing modernization of Cayman’s intellectual property legislation. Rajkumarsingh said that under the new laws, DCI will handle all infringement complaints and enforcement dealing with copyright issues.

For example, if someone is found to be in breach of a copyright, they can complain to the department, which would have the power to revoke an offender’s T&B licence.

“We would have certain rights where we can actually go down and see if that breach is taking place and ask the person to remove the items from the shelf,” Rajkumarsingh explained.

Work is also underway to revamp Cayman’s current Liquor Licensing and Tobacco laws and a committee has been put together to review them.

Officials said the new Trade and Business Law and the Secondhand Dealers Law will take effect this summer, while changes to Cayman’s copyright, tobacco and liquor laws will happen towards the end of this year.

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Category: Featured, Government, Local Business, Small Business, Video

Comments (3)

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  1. R. Banks says:

    Remove all those unlicensed vendors

  2. Charles P says:

    Happy something is being done!!! Now to tackle Pensions and Health Insurance

  3. Paul E says:

    Very good work by DCI. It’s about time we deal with these unlicensed vendors.

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