Mac steadfast on fuel duty

| 29/06/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island Headline News(CNS): Despite suggestions made by the North Side member and the opposition as alternatives to the 25 cent increase on gas, the country’s premier remained steadfast on Monday on his decision to raise over $10.2 million through a fuel duty increase. The Import Duty Tariff Amendment bill was passed in the Legislative Assembly by eight votes to six when all five opposition members and the independent member voted against the government’s new revenue measure. Government could not win over the opposition benches but even with one government member missing from the chamber it was able to enforce its fuel tax hike, which will come into effect on Thursday. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

Following the leader of the opposition’s contribution to the debate, McKeeva Bush wound up by saying the leader of the PPM had nothing to offer as he scoffed at suggestions of a fee on cell phone bills combined with an increase in vehicle licenses. 
“They are scaremongering at best,” the premier said about the opposition’s position that the fuel duty increase would lead to an increase in prices across the board. He denied that the increase in duty would be inflationary as the supermarkets would absorb the cost and CUC would only increase bills by 5%.
Bush pointed to a study by the previous government which had revealed that the wholesale fuel suppliers in the Cayman Islands had the biggest profit margins in the region and he said they could afford to absorb the duty.
He again described the import duty increase, which will take effect on 1 July, as better than either property or income tax, although none of the opposition benches have said they support that kind of direct taxation.
The premier said that if the wholesale suppliers will not absorb the duty and people find the pump price too high, they would have to plan their days better and stay off the roads. The premier advised those living in the outer districts not to make more than one trip per day to George Town. People could cut their electricity bills by turning things off and not "having every light burning in the house," he added.
Bush told the Legislative Assembly that he did not think businesses would increase their prices as they needed to remain competitive in the current tough economic climate.
CNS contacted two of Grand Cayman’s supermarkets following the vote and both said they were fighting to keep prices down but could not guarantee this would remain the case. Randy Merren from Hurley’s said it should be able to cope with the utilities bill but between 35-40% of the supermarkets’ goods are purchased on island and Hurley’s will have no control over those prices. Other things were putting pressure on prices as well, he said.
“As all of the other components that make up our operations cost increase, along with the projected inflation numbers this year, we will most likely start to see price increases as compared to the price deflation we experienced over the last 18 months,” Merren said, adding that he believed government could implement a flat duty on all imported food products as a significant number of high tonnage goods are still duty free.
Woody Foster said that, despite taking on a lot of new increases, the Fosters group was doing its  “absolute best to not raise prices” by reducing more expenses but did not know for how long. “We are not committing to long term at this point because we do not know what else will be coming down the line in the way of more increases,” he said.  “We have been successful so far in finding ways to reduce expenses but that cannot go on forever if fees are going to continue to go up.”
Foster added that he hoped government would figure out how this works and start to reduce some expenses of their own while not reducing essentials like policing, education and programmes to help local children.
The fuel duty increase will apply on Grand Cayman and Little Cayman but not on Cayman Brac.
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  1. Anonymous Realist says:

    The tax on fuel should hardly come as a surprise bearing in mind the pressure brought to bear on Cayman by the FCO (or the UK if you prefer) over the borrowing fiasco and the UK’s astoundingly hypocritical stance over the issues of public funding, introduction of direct taxation etc etc. in Cayman.

    Remember that over the years successive UKgovernments have consistently hiked the duty on gas/petrol to the point that at present in Britain approximately 66% of the pump price for a litre of fuel is tax. When you add that to all the other financial burdens placed on the UK motorist in the form of annual road taxes, congestion charges, tolls etc. it is hard to imagine how people continue to be able to afford to drive.

    Of course, the knock on effects, whilst maybe not immediately apparent, are evident. In order to keep driving, people under financial stress stop paying for insurance, fail to have vehicles inspected and maintained properly in order to remain independently mobile. Consequences of this behavior then place further financial burdens on the public and private sectors and those who can still afford to pay the never ending stream of bills see those burdens rise every year as they subsidize the escalating costs caused by those less fortunate who elect to break rules and laws. It’s the age old Catch-22.

    Of course, this logic is a bit too much for politicians – the motorist is an easy target because despite the sickening posturing of politically correct politicians over environmental issues etc. they know all too well that the alternatives to the car for the vast majority of people are simply not alternatives at all, particularly as public transport is either a) way too expensive b) hugely inconvenient or non existent outside of large centres of population.

    In short they know and have known for a long time that people will not give up their cars under almost any circumstances – they have been proved right time and time again.

    I am sure that the UK and the FCO have passed this cynical view along to our CI government and said something along the lines of: "We’ve screwed generations of people on fuel duty and have no intention of ever stopping – you on the other hand are just getting started – add fuel duty, the people will bitch and moan but what choice do they have? Get them used to it and increase it at every budget – in the end it will be accepted as a fact of life and eventually you can earn more in duty than the pump price of a gallon of fuel too. Easy".

    We are being slammed with 25c a gallon initially – about 5.5 cents a litre. The British motorist pays around 70p per litre in fuel tax which is about three pounds and fifteen pence per gallon or CI$4.00. These are very rough figures but you get the point. In other words they pay almost as much in duty alone as we currently pay at the pump.

    Oh, and lastly, let’s not forget that this will probably be the tip of the iceberg for the motorist here – once they see the money flowing in, watch for what I call the "guilt trip effect" now being gleefully practiced by the UK government and supported by foolish and misguided "environmentalists" who believe the whole "carbon con" and are too stupid to see that it is nothing more than a cruel joke to earn even more money for the elite bankers in Wall Street and the City Of London. (That’s another story entirely – go do your own research if you doubt it).

    What I am referring to is the shift in focus to guilt individuals into giving up the rights they have to drive what they please and what they can afford by adding more and more spurious charges for so called "polluters". If you think I’m joking, go and look online at the attitudes in Britain being positively encouraged towards anyone who has the temerity to drive an SUV (or 4×4 as the Brits call them) – many people are totally convinced that those who do are practically the Antichrist and gleefully attack them and protest against them in increasingly unpleasant and aggressive ways. Drivers of SUV’s have become the new smokers in politically correct crazy Britain – a disease to be wiped out for the good of humanity. (The reality is probably more an issue of envy and hatred as the gap between the haves and the have nots continues to widen and sadly looks set to continue as the mess created by governments and corporate greed continue to detrimentally affect the lives of billions of people).

    Anyone who dares speak out against these medieval thinkers who unwittingly support anti-human dogma in the guise of saving the earth, is labelled a "denier" and ridiculed, attacked and threatened and made to feel like a social pariah.

    The environmentalist movement or pseudo religion as I prefer to call it has become such a huge and many headed monster that those caught up in it cannot see the wood for the trees and are totally brainwashed. Sadly, they pass this on to our children – even advertisers in Cayman have jumped on the bandwagon, using children in commercials to guilt adults into feeling terrible about their disregard for the future of the planet and the well being of not only their own children but those all over the world too, by talking unsupported bunk and nonsense about carbon credits and carbon pollution. It is cynical and tasteless in the extreme and those behind it should be ashamed of themselves and look carefully from whence their views and standards have come. 

    So, while there is still oil to be bought and fought over, enjoy the motoring freedoms you have enjoyed until now, because I predict that more and more of them are set to disappear in the years ahead under increasing pressure from environmental extremists, greedy corporations and governments. When the fuel finally runs out, expect any replacement technologies to be heavily taxed too – I fear far more the lunacy and greed of human kind when it comes to my kid’s future than I do this unstable planet’s ability to destroy us all which has never been, and should never be, in any doubt.

    Rant over 🙂

  2. Twenty-five Cents says:

    A couple of questions for McKeeva.  How did he arrive at the $10.2 M figure? Is it based on the number of gallons of fuel sold in total from all gas stations?  If people were to decrease their consumption, how is McKeeva going to achieve this revenue?  Are you creating more government jobs to collect the fees? Or are you using the current civil service?

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly.  Advising people to conserve fuel suggests that he doesn’t understand the purpose of this undertaking.  He should be encouraging the populace to burn MORE FUEL to generate MORE REVENUE for the Government.  We can waste our way to prosperity if we try hard enough!

  3. Anonymous says:

    No country develops and promotes economic growth by raising taxes, however what do you expect from a leader without a high school diploma. This is inflationary and we will all pay for the incompetence in our elected leadership. 

    Cayman, you voted for what you now have so you must live with your irresponsible vote and watch your country go down the drain as unqualified politians place self interest before the country’s interest.

  4. joe u k now who is right says:

    i talk my boss who owns a gas station and he has to give 10% to every dollar that is made hows do you expect mr premier hand the price on the consumer do you think gas station are a church maybe you should tax the churches pastors and cayman please vote independent next election we were much better when they where independent so vote right

  5. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Premier:  The Cayman economy is crumbling before your very eyes.  Raising taxes inside a deep recession is economic suicide.  Forget big inward investors for just one second; what are you doing for the small businesses that have been the vortex of the Cayman economy for decades?  if you don’t start making some sensible and decisive decisions to help small business owners ride our this downturn, this period of government is very likely to be your Waterloo. Your West Bay constituents are hurting, and even they may find it hard to forgive you at the next election.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I have two questions

    1. When will the Premier lead by example not by his mouth? He asks businesses to absorb the extra costs yet will not make the self-sacrifice he suggested.  Cuts Government costs and the rest will take care of itself!


    2. Why are the people of Grand Cayman and Little Cayman again being asked to subsidise Cayman Brac residents?

  7. People says:

    The premier is noted as saying that people will have to plan their days better, stay off the road, and cut their electricity bills by turning things off.  Can someone tell me what will happen to the people who already do those things and are struggling to make ends meet?  This is very easy to say for someone who doesn’t pay their own electricity bill and more than likely doesn’t purchase their own gas either.  As usual, the people will be the only ones feeling the pinch!

  8. The Truth is Out There says:

    Did anyone else happen to notice that the representatives from both grocery stores indicated they were looking at ways to cut other costs to offset the increase so they would not have to raise prices for the consumers?  The governent works the other way around.  They figure out what the costs are and then attempt to make the inflows match.  It’s time the government of the Cayman Islands was run like a business.  They need to start to look for ways to cut costs instead of raising fees. 

  9. Anonymous says:

    You know reading this article and examining the words coming out the Premier mouth, my god, XXXX!!

    He does not thing business will increase prices cause they have to remain competitive?? (What the XXXX, does he not realize the CI government is also a business that seems to be pricing itself/country right out of the competitive market?)

    People should turn of the lights? Make one trip to George Town, stay of the roads and plan our days better? (what the XXX So what, call my boss and say sorry not coming to work today as I have to stay of the road to save gas, or call my children at school and say sorry I cant afford to come get you and drop you home today i have already been to Georgetown once. XXXX?)

    This guy is XXXXX playing with the livelihood of so many. And he does not seem to give a Dam because we pay his CI$1500 light bills and pay for his driver to drive him all over the island, pay for is cook! What exactly does he pay for besides is “supposed” mortgage and the mortgages of 3 voters?

    Is there anything legally that can be done to remove this man? I can blog from now till December whiles the Do-Do piles up on our heads that the leader is shoveling whiles the entire country goes to XXX with this joker at the helm

  10. Anonymous says:

    How come the people of Cayman Brac was spared the gas Tax, but the people ofWest Bay have to pay it. Is the Premier subsidizing the gas bill for his constituents???

  11. Anonymous says:

    Enough is Enough!!!

    I agree with most of the writers but I have to take time out of my busy day in order to get a point that has been on my mind across. Government has lost their minds! This is going to affect EVERYONE!!!! Including Mr. Dart & Mr. Bush it won’t be that much to them but Mr. Glidden and Mr. Ellio who was on the radio yesterday morning saying a little $2 here and there wont hurt. Well it WILL!!! WE the people need to make a move for ourselves and the FUTURE of these ISLANDS GET REAL there is no minimum wage and there sure has hell is no too expensive price. GOVERNMENT has no one stopping them and where is this new GOVERNOR if the people dont want these prices and are speaking about it what is our next step because if it happens I know for sure the Governor and the police are going to have more problems than what they think they have now because as sure as 2 and 2 is 4 they’re will be 10x more CRIME than what you see now!!!CAYMAN WILL BE GONE!!! SAD but TRUE! Thank god for Cayman Airways little surprising special I hope they keep that coming all year long because they will see an increase in flights! Hello Publix, Walmart, Bj’s & Sams!!! O YES it makes 100% SENSE trust me! From Groceries to Office supplies! WE THE PEOPLE PUT THEM IN & NOW LOOK WHAT THEY HAVE DONE!! I SEE CHANGE IN THE MAKING REAL SOON!!


    As the people cried for the roads due to traffic which we got THANK YOU PPM & MR. ACTION MAN!! Well lets but the .25cent charge on those by pass road!!!!WOW how hard is that you cant pay then take another route with traffic!!SUNPASS!!! no where in the WORLD do people not pay for highways roads or free parking in the city you people are mad! where is the toll booths and the sidewalk tolls!!!! THERE IS YOUR MORE THAN $10MILLION SAVINGS!!!!

    Oh and last but not least I guess we can also handle the Casino lifestyle too just to please our upperclass citizens who appearently will have enough to suplurg on this other LUXURY!!!

    If Government can’t do it turn the roads over to the people who can form a business and making some money and have some jobs for anyone no degree needed just graduated YES perfect! Comments are welcomed.

    Thank you CNS for this fabulous website to keep us Caymanians up to date on all the madness our Country is facing & what solutions they are coming up with.

  12. The little man on Mac's shoulder says:

    Pssstt. If we drive the cost of fuel high enough, the people will come on board with our refinery plans. We’ll call it the Billy Mac Bush oil refinery and we’ll build it on Arden’s land. Mu ha ha ha

  13. Anonymous says:

    What control is there in place to ensure that the fuel prices in the Brac do not go up considering that they are not going to have to pay this increase?? Bet you anything the two stations here with raise their prices anyway and so will power and light!!!!!!!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    It is easy for McKeeva to continue to impose hardships on the Cayman people because he’s lived LARGE for so long that he’s forgotten what hard times are, he’s forgotten what it is like to have nothing to eat for supper. 

    And the audacity of him to tell us that if the price of gas it too high at the pump we should stay off the roads!! spoken like a TRUE DICTATOR!!  Of course that too is easy for him to say because he don’t have to pay for his gas – oh yea, I forgot, that’s because WE PAY for it – even if we can’t pay for our own.

    Way to go Pharoah. You’d better have another conversation with God, we all suspect that if you would listen to Him, He would have a few things to say to you.

  15. O'Really says:

    Let’s not take our eye off the ball with BigMac.

    Prior to negotiating the bond issue late in 2009, BigMac called for $90m in cuts in government ( read civil service in the main ) expenses. He lost his nerve and accepted cuts of $5m. Now he needs $10.2m+ from duty increases, ie from the pockets of everyone in Cayman. If he had a bigger pair back in 2009 he could have settled for a mere 15% or so of the amount by which he sought to reduce government expenses and avoided this duty increase.

    And don’t be fooled by his plea for businesses to absorb the duty increase. Will not happen and he knows it, but by raising this issue he seeks to shift responsibility for the extra pressure on voters pockets to businesses. Remember this come the next election – this means you, West Bay!!

  16. vocal local says:

    Say what? Easy for him to say as his bills are paid for by us.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Sorry it took so long to get this comment in, but I had to pick myself up off the floor first.

    Did the Premier really say Quote People could cut their electricity bills by turning things off and not "having every light burning in the house," he added. Unquote.

    This from the mouth of a Premier whose average electric bill is over $1500 per month.

    Why can’t we just take our bills to the Protocol Office and have them pay it like he does?

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m neither Pro Bush or Anti Bush but you people need to remember that every other country in the world looks after their leaders with certain privalages.  Does president Obama have to foot the bill for the White house out of his own pocket?  I think not.  I’m not comparing Mr. Bush to Obama but you people need to realise that like it or not he is the elected leader of the Cayman Islands.  He’s not just another joe down the road.  So why complain about the country paying for certain privelages for this man and not the rest of the average Joe’s.  Some of you people need to stop taking things personal and remember that everywhere else in the world countries usually foot the bill for certain things….like it or not………it’s nothing new.  Now we can argue as to the extents of those benefits but don’t make sense to get petty!

      • Dilemma says:

        Agreed, it proves the political immaturity of the country.

      • Anonymous says:

        After all the rain shouldn’t you be busy polishing the Benz rather than posting on CNS?

      • The Truth is Out There says:

        How many communities of 50,000 people in the rest of the world give these kind of salaries and benefits to their elected leaders?  I would guess very few. 

      • Anonymous says:

        I can understand that the highest political leaders are to be afforded certain perks and priviledges.  However, when the economic state of this island is so dire, Mr. Bush must lead by example.  The attitude of conserving energy, gas and cutting expenditures overall must start at the top, not at the bottom.  Itis the same for any organization.

    • Anonymous says:

      We paid a $1,500 per month electricity bill for a man who was off the island most of the time. Does it sound like he was turning things off and not "having every light burning in the house" ?   

      Got any more extra rooms in that house ? I’m not family but I need supported too !

    • Anonymous says:

      How bout you follow your own advice Mr XXXX Premier and furthermore, take that 20-30% cut in your (extortionate) salary, cut your perks and stop claiming XXX from the public purse that you really shouldn’t be claiming.  Its about time you were held accountable for your actions, not time for you to tell us how to save, we’ve already been doing as much as we can for the last couple of years… what have you (not) been doing?

      Yup, we’re already living on nothing, barely eating and turning off everything  we can think of in the hope we have enough to cover the next utilities bill.  How about the Premier and the Government make the necessary cuts and get their own house in order before telling us how to save?  And pay back to the public the money XXXXX for your XXXX Christmas lights and electricity bill.  Some of us can’t even afford a Christmas tree let alone lights, and yet you seek to increase our cost of living further?

      Shame on you, you can’t see the wood for the trees.

  18. Anonymous says:

    McKeeva is constantly proving XXXXX.  God help us all!  The govenment put us in bankruptcy and now we have to pay to pull them out of this rut.  AGAIN!!!  Everything is increasing but our salaries.

    It’s like after Ivan when we the people had to absorb the fuel costs because CUC didn’t have anything insured and the storm destroyed everything.  

    We the people are still paying to keep our country afloat while the big men in Government take home theirsalaries.  Enough is enough!  Mckeeva you’ve got to go!!!


    • anonymous says:

      McKeeva’s got to go? Well put your money where your mouth is!

      McKeeva will only "GO!" as you put it if you stop him from lifting this ban on PR from Jamaiaca for the nanny work permit and STOP him from granting more Cayman Status before 2013. He will use it to get more votes and we’ll never get rid of him! so dream on run your stupid jouths and do nothing else!

      You better get busy standing up to him and Mr. Manderson as Caymanians letting them know, we will not tolerate anymore status grants, no more Jamaicans to vote "Thank You" to McKeeva Bush keeping him in as a Dictator! You idiots, if you don’t do this you will suffer.

  19. Anonymous says:

    This increase is absolutely not necessary.

    What is necessary is to reduce expenditure. Hello!!!!!!!

    Knocking on head….anyone there??????

  20. Anonymous says:

    So, in theory, ESSO and Texaco to not start ramping up their pump pricing before their next tanker shipment (ie. next duty event). 

    At one time, wasn’t there a website or blog tracking the various pump prices at stations around GCM?  If yes, please post link so we can be better informed consumers.

    CNS: Gas prices are on the Planning Department website.


  21. Anonymous says:

    Increase permit fees, licence fees, change the business licencing process and increase duties. Absorb the cost. Increase the cost of business.

    Inflation in recessionary times comes from increased cost. Economics 101.

    There must be a good plan – let’s hear it please.

    • Anonymous says:

      Economics is assuming our Premier attended an economics class. What a joke!

    • Anonymous says:

      Easy – cut the cost of operating the Government. Privatise departments. Increase the retirement age. Hold Mac to his promised pay cut. We would have enough money spare to make gas free for all Caymanians.


      But instead… all we hear… He is the Premier so he deserves to have us pay for his electricity. The fact that he is a multi millionaire (not sure how) and we are poor is irrelevant… and anyway, as a Caymanian I deserve a job with government no matter whether my country has anything for me to do or not. 

  22. Anonymous says:

    Observe that with the exception of a notable XXXX objector from northside, there is rarely any opposition to these half-witted initiatives.  What does that tell you about the quality of debate in our Legislative Assembly?  Call or write your district rep and ask them to represent your interests!  They get hundreds of calls from crackheads asking for personal favours, but rarely it seems do they get intelligent feedback from their constituents!  They really don’t know when to put their hand up, since sadly, they are the puppets for an apathetic public! 

    • Anonymous says:

      Not only did the Opposition oppose it, unlike the Member from North Side they voted down the entire budget because of it.  

      The Premier is always complaining that ideas are not being offered by the Opposition but when alternatives are offered he dismisses them out of hand. 

      • FUZZY says:

        To Anon Tue 12:44 Ezzard did not vote against the whole budget since he actually suported parts of it .He also knew that he would get his chance to vote against the duty increase when a bill was brought to the house to change the Customs Tariff.This was passed by a margin of 8 for and 6 against ,with Ezzard joining the 5 opposition members in a" no "vote.Thought you might want to know.

    • Anonymous says:


       LOL that’s what mac yells when UDP go fishin  "WHO Brot DeBate"

  23. Anonymous says:

    We got what we deserved and voted for! A dictator to replace the previous anarchy of the PPM. That is what happens when people are given a choice of of change from anarchy (no one in authority-Governor’s office in dissarray, no leadership from the PPM-and PPM supporters can argue this one and give all the excuses they wish for a total defeat of the PPM by a MacKeeva led party, but it will not change the facts that the PPM was rejected).

    We got what we deserved as we allowed money to be the criteria for citizenship over character. Instead of the PPM reversing the mess the UDP made of the citizenship grant, they continued with many of the UDP policies and supporters to undermine the desires of the majority.

    Now we scratch our heads and say, "How can someone who denigrates the Cayman Islands as a "two bah four" island be in charge?". It is time to realize that the Cayman Islands requires real leadership rather than "so-called" leadership based on friendship (or what they SAY they will do for you). It is time for a group who are given a mandate IN ADVANCE by the people as to what the people want to have done. McKeeva SAYS he was given a mandate but I am willing to venture a bet that a lot of people who supported him, did not expect that he’d want to abolish the FOI, and call the Cayman Islands a "two bah four" country-but then what do I know; maybe they did want this!

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree with much of this, in particular the bit about a lack of leadership from the previous government. Surely even the most deluded of PPM members cannot deny that the party was rejected by the electorate. But what a non-choice we have at the moment. A yesterday’s man with a megalomaniac for a lieutenant and a premier who reckons he can challenge the authority of the Speaker of the LA. Shame on you, sir. Start acting the part of a statesman before you get yourself expelled from parliament for insubordination, what a mess that’d be for Cayman’s image! Having said that, there are some potentials for sound leadership, both in and out of the house, and we can only hope these individuals come to the fore before too much damage is caused by this present sorry bunch.

  24. SOON GONE says:

    Just one more example of Government for "MY" people instead of Government for "THE" people.  Too bad he can’t just be made to represent "ONLY" those who voted for him and not be able to steal from the rest of us to feed "HIS" people.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Why wouldn’t he remain "steadfast"?  He doesn’t have to pay for it

  26. Anonymous says:

    Of course… Mac doesn’t care he doesn’t pay any bills, we pay his bills!

    Sorry why is it our small Island needs a Premier again, he seems to cost more aggravation and money, is someone able to really tell me what is the purpose of the Premier, I’m sorry I just don’t get it?


    • Anonymous says:

      I suggest that your difficulty in accepting a Premier is due to the fact that this Premier is anything but Premier but rather is a dictator. Surely you’d have no difficulty in paying a percentage of > CI$800,000 that we pay for the Queen’s Representative (the Governor-whose office has cost us some considerable expense for incompetence) IF THE PREMIER/PRIME MINISTER (first in rank AS IT SHOULD BE) ACTED AS A PREMIER SHOULD AND DID THE JOB OF A PREMIER!

      But then, if we were the citizens we should be and the other elected officials were any kind of Representatives they should be, we should demand his resignation as PREMIER and call for a vote of NO CONFIDENCE of HIS Govt. for belittling the Cayman Islands locally and internationally by calling it a " two bah four" island.

      Each and every one of the elected officials should have immediately demanded he apologize for this and if he resisted, they should have taken it further; but then what am I saying! We have a group of elected officials that, as usual/always, sit and do nothing!