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Representative Calvin Smyre (GA), President of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, applauds the signing of the HIRE Act into law and issues the following statement.

The National Black Caucus of State Legislators wholeheartedly supports this new commitment to create job growth and lay the foundation for an economic recovery. The HIRE Act represents the first major job creation measure undertaken in over a year to combat the economic woes facing the country. The legislation includes a $17.6 billion package to incentivize the hiring of persons who have been unemployed for a period of 60 days. Specifically, the bill provides a payroll tax holiday that exempts employers from the 6.2 percent social security payroll contribution for employees hired in 2010. It also allows for a $1000 tax credit for each new employee retained for 52 weeks. Additionally, the legislation contains a measure to incentivize investments in new equipment by allowing a direct write-off for purchases up to $250,000.

Direct taxation has been ruled out for The Cayman Islands, according to a report from an independent economic commission published this week.

The Miller Report was commissioned by the Cayman Islands government at the request of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In the fourth quarter of 2009, the FCO requested that the Cayman government appoint an independent external commission to undertake a detailed economic assessment of the impact of changes in revenue sources. The report also examines changes in spending and public sector entitlements that would ensure the long term fiscal and economic health of the Cayman Islands. The Miller Commission's conclusion highlights the need to cut public sector spending and emphasizes that the introduction of direct taxation to the islands is not a viable option.

The Government is denying that it hired a US-based law firm Manatt, Phelps and Phillips to provide advice on existing treaty agreements between Jamaica and the US government.

In a statement last Thursday, Prime Minister Bruce Golding continued to distance his government from a contractual agreement with the law firm.

“Further to my statement in Parliament on Tuesday, I have made investigations to ascertain whether the government has had any connection with the US law firm, Manatt, Phelps and Phillips.

“He stated that this firm had represented the Government of Jamaica in various matters in the past and suggested that they could provide assistance in relation to treaty issues between Jamaica and the USA.

As United States-Jamaica relations continue to deteriorate the United States has commenced canceling visas of prominent Jamaicans.

The first visa cancelled was that of Mr. Wayne Chen the Chairman of the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), the corporate vehicle used by the Government of Jamaica to develop unused resources which lie in proximity to urban areas or which can be made into urban areas so as to stimulate economic development.