VIP treatment of MLA at airport

| 10/12/2017

Today I arrived in Cayman on the same flight as a Member of the Legislative Assembly and his wife.  Why is it that upon disembarking they were taken directly through Immigration and Customs without queueing and then skipped the (very long) line to pay their duty? I’d like to point out that the Member was not returning from performing official duties but from a Black Friday shopping weekend in Miami.

Auntie’s answer: What you witnessed was actually standard operating procedure for an MLA. A representative of the Cayman Islands Protocol Office explained that part of its job is to provide “airport courtesies for every elected member of government, as well as accredited diplomats everywhere” who request this service.

In addition, the “airport chaperone service is in line with international protocol courtesies and in conformity with the UN policy on reciprocity”.

The representative also pointed out that you might not have noticed there was a protocol officer assisting the MLA and his wife throughout the arrival process, “which is a true function of the Protocol Office”.

So whether you believe that it’s fair or not, it is standard protocol.

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Category: Ask Auntie, MLA Questions

Comments (36)

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  1. No state citizen says:

    Did any of you people read the commentary?
    The MLA skipped the line, how this was interpreted as them not being required to pay duty leaves me puzzled!

    Yes I have seen it. They get shuffled to the side and their custom form and funds for duty is taken by an officer while other passengers wait in line.

    Please stop making up stories about MLAs getting a free pass from duty.

  2. Anonymous says:

    MLAs are diplomats and as such, duty exemption is but one of the privileges afforded to them. It happens all over the world. If they travel to a place that charge departure tax (some countries still collect it) then that country recognises their diplomatic status and waives the fee nor do they charge them duty as diplomats. So if other countries grant them this exemption it is only fair that their home country in turn does the same. Unfortunately, we like to tear down our own. Whether they are good in our eyes – I believe that we should still respect the offices they hold. We in Cayman dont know what goes on in some countries. Some places our Ministers have so much security and body guards you cannot even talk to them. Here we can see, speak and touch our MLAs as no big deal. You can never, unless invited, hug ministers of government in some countries. That is their protocol so while we may not like our MLAs allow them the same status of diplomats everywhere. Its not unique to Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bollocks. Diplomats still have to pay taxes. Import duties are our tax system. And calling most of these people diplomats is an insult to any diplomat I have ever had the privilege of meeting.

    • I can assure you that there is no other country in the Western world where MLA’s are diplomats. Just another day in Absurdistan. Where do you get this nonsense from 7:02?

      • Anonymous says:

        MLA”s supposed to be severants of the people, not lords of the people

  3. Anonymous says:

    It’s easy to write off our MLAs as lazy, greedy egotists who only act in their own best interests and sit around pontificating and enjoying the sound of their own voices while legislating for pay rises, lavish perks and permanent formal salutations and taking backhanders left and right. But don’t forget, some of them are even worse than that.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Like in the governmental building. The politicians are on the 5th floor and the elevator goes straight up, skipping all the other floors.

    • Anonymous says:

      If it does skip floors, that is disgusting, especially given the girth of our MLAs.

  5. Anonymous says:

    As they say.. The rich get richer…
    And greed makes you want more. It’s always the way.

  6. Anonymous says:

    How much does an MLA make per annum? $200,000? And they can shop, duty free in the States whilst their constituents earn on average maybe $20,000, and are subjected to draconian customs procedures and pay 22% import duty? They should be shamed
    , and ashamed.

    • Anonymous says:

      No, if they skipped paying duty, they the protocol officer and the customs officer should be arrested.

    • Anonymous says:

      Per anum would be more appropriate, give that is where most of them talk out of.

      • Anonymous says:

        You are correct, I am a lousy speller! Was taught phonics in the 70’s.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Wow! Shocking if it is true that MLA’s don’t pay duty. Auntie is this really true.???? If it is true it is dispicible, disgusting and an affront to common decency and common sense. They can avoid their own onerous duties and shop duty free with no lines
    whilst subjecting us to heinous procedures that penalize us for honesty? They are like the Captain from the Costa Concordia…me first, screw you people I am supposedly representing ! Are they also allowed to molest goats? Wtf? This is so wrong on so many levels.

    • JOtnar says:

      Read the article – they skipped the long line to pay their duty ie they cut the line and paid, not that they skipped pAying.

      • Anonymous says:

        So you are 100% sure that the MLA in question payed duty? And that he was statutorily required to do so? Were you there? I would like to know if they (customs) are just waving these jokers through. If even one MLA gets a 1% break on duty it is WRONG!

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah!!! Why don’t you trust your elected officials, they want to set an example by being the first ones to pay duties.

    • Anonymous says:

      They are meant to pay duty just like everybody else but I expect it relies on them self-declaring and I bet the customs staff don’t ever check their luggage, and no doubt they all think that it’s OK for them not to declare purchases because they are eternally honorable and better than everyone else.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Protocol may have them escorted to the front of the line and out BUT why are they not making honest customs declarations and paying duties like everyone else??? CORRUPTION as usual. This is so the norm for the Cayman Islands now.

  9. Anonymous says:

    WOW!!!!!! Crab in a bucket much!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Huh? You think it is okay for our MLAs to: 1; not shop locally. 2; get a free pass on paying import duty. 3; subject persons earning far less to laws that they can ignore. 4; subject honest citizens to antiquated and highly time consuming duty collection process at the airport.

      To me that is not cool.

      That is, if it is is true that they do not pay duty.

  10. Why are MLA’s exempt from paying duty? Under which law are they exempt? Only diplomats are exempt from paying duty. Why do Caymanians put up with so much BS from their MLA’s?

    This place is becoming more and more like a backward third world country every day. Reluctantly beginning to wish that we could go back to direct rule from London so that some sort of order, respect and enforcement of laws would come back.

  11. Anonymous says:

    MLAs are not politicial representatives of a sovereign entity. They are, at most, local government officials on a par with town councillors.

  12. Anonymous says:

    So not paying duties is standard procedure ?

    • Anonymous says:

      It is a way to bring whatever drugs , money, guns in to the island. There is no fear of being caught. Why do we assume all a person in authority is above corruption when reality is constantly proving otherwise.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Of course the Protocol Office is just a dumping ground for civil servants who can’t function in the rest of the Service.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Bullshit arrogance and waste of public funds.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I’ve seen the publisher of the local newspaper and his wife jump the queue at security when leaving the islands. Is that protocol too?

  16. Anonymous says:

    I guess I don’t really care, but their answer is stupid. International UN policy on reciprocity and international protocol courtesies have absolutely nothing to do with MLAs passing through their own airport. They are not diplomats and they are not in a foreign country. Just call a spade a spade—it is a perk for the politicians who are stupid enough to be seen swanning past their constituents standing in line.

  17. Anonymous says:

    So they are exempt from paying duty?

  18. Anonymous says:

    These are local parish councillors, not representatives of the parliament of a sovereign state.