Fuel duty cut won’t help 100s with no power

| 30/05/2014

(CNS): The opposition leader criticised the government’s fuel duty cut saying it would not help people struggling to pay high power bills because of the delay until January and would do nothing at all for hundreds of people whose power supply has been cut-off.  McKeeva Bush said to tell people they will get 4% off their fuel bills in January, when the bills fall anyway because of the cool weather, and when they have seven hot months to get through was a “slap in the face”. He said government was losing CI$8 million in revenue “for this paucity” when it would have been better to use that money to help those without power at all.

He said it was not at all meaningful and the fuel duty which had been imposed by the UDP government was down to the current premier and the money he spent on the schools. Bush said he was forced to increase it in order to fight off the UK’s attempts to make him introduce a direct tax.

During his response to the budget debate on Thursday, Bush talked about those who were very badly off at present that no one wanted to talk about but there were people facing very difficult times.

Bush asked where the government’s social conscience was when they had a surplus of more than $108 million and this “was the best they can do”. He queried what they were doing about children going to bed hungry, in homes without power and the suffering of the elderly and the disabled.

He said reducing the cost of electricity by a scant 4% in the cooler months was not meeting people’s needs or coming anywhere near dealing with the crisis of so many people being cut off or giving them jobs so they can pay their bills.

The opposition elader said after a year in office of “Cayman’s most brilliant minds” they weren’t offering much. 

He took the government to task over unemployment and said they need to get people in jobs as it would not matter how much they take off the duty if there is no work, and getting people employed was the key to boosting spending and the economy. Bush said finding ways to create work was the most important goal government should be aiming for to reduce the burden on social services and have people paying their own bills

“Does the premier really believe the people are blind or deaf or have lost all their memory?” Bush asked, as he urged government to better use its time and energy to take on the real challenges. People are without water supply as well as electricity and were facing losing their homes, their jobs, their businesses and they are not able to pay their bills or buy groceries, he said, adding that those were the problems government should tackle.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This is just another example of how out of touch with reality Mac is.  The fact that we will have surplus in any given year does not mean we are financially well off.  We still have a horrendous debt that needs to be paid off.  This is not " extra" money for the politicians to use to buy votes.  The debt needs to be paid down.

  2. Anonymous says:

    When is the trial again?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately, UDP or PPM makes now difference. Politicking is the worse kind of manipulation of the general public. As the PPM announces this cut, they really expound on the fact that it only takes place Jan 2015. Unfortunately, the ERA approved a rate hike for CUC effective June 1st. So for the summer months, we all will PAY MORE……


    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, the ERA announced a rate reduction for residential consumers of 1%.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Didn't this clown call for a reduction in the duty (which he increased in the first place) a week or two ago? And now he is criticising it?

  5. Knot S Smart says:

    Well Mac is correct on this one… Those who have their 'lectricity' disconnected wont save because of the fuel tax cut, because they wont have an electricity bill to pay…

  6. Anonymous says:

    Preach it Mac, PPM always been for rich Caymanians getting ahead and watching the poor fall farther down the success ladder. Mac has always and I say, always, been for EVERYONE not just a few. THAT is the significant difference. You can't pick and choose who you want to help when you are running a country, ultimately your job is to ensure that all are taken care of, that all see equal opportunities in time.

    Unfortunately the level of ignorance amongst our own people is beyond repair at this point and everyone knows that the PPM administration feeds off their own peoples' igorance. 


    • Anonymous says:

      And I say Mac is ONLY looking out for RICH AMERICANS or POOR JAMAICANS – why is that?

      • Anonymous says:

        I'm a rich American. He never did anything for me but jack up the fuel duty.

    • Dred says:

      The level of ignorance my friend begins and end with Mac's supporters. His taxes put you idiots out of work then to show how stupid you were he called you to rally for jobs. AND YOU CAME!!!

      He raised all taxes including fuel which increased cost of electricity.He raised fees during a rececession!!! Do you know what is wrong with that? He cost us Tens of Millions of dollars!!

      • And Another Ting says:

        And you think the Progressives never did worse with schools still unfinished, schools which were grossly under budget, school which were built when only one was the cautious approach with an impending never to be forgotten recession.?. Oh we certainly need a mental Heath facility.

  7. Someone says:

    Won't help 100's without power?  No, it won't.  And it won't help people in prison because their electricity is free, but it sure will help me and thousands of others. 

  8. Dred says:

    Classic case of half empty or half full I guess.

    Mr. Bush correct me if I am wrong. Were you not the one that INCREASED this duty causing electricity bills to skyrocket and therefore CAUSING people to not be able to afford to pay their bills.

    I agree that 4% is pittance really. $4 off ever $100 does little to really help when the fuel cost is close to $50 to $60 on every $100 BUT it is a step in the right direction.

    I believe the next step is to place into policy and force our Utility providers over the next 10 years to be obtaining X% of their power generation from alternative sources as it is proven that fuel cost accounts for a lot of the utility bills.

    Half of our problems are that we talk about things and we ask CUC to do things but no one sets down directives and says:

    1) You are being allowed 6 months to research and determine alternative energy sources

    2) You will be allowed another 2 – 3 years to procure and put in place this process.

    3) At 5 years we expect 10% of all power you generate to be by means of alternative power

    4) At 7 years we expect 20% of all power you generate to be by means of alternative power

    and so on…

    There are a myriad of ways to generate alternative energy and the Cayman Islands is ripe for many. Solar farming is very possible as we have sunlight most of the year and the cost of solar technology has been falling significantly.

    I have also seen ocean water temperature conversion systems and how the Caribbean is ideal for this in the news lately.

    Wind also has some potentialhere.

    The only way we are to lower our bills is to become less dependent on fossil fuels and the only way to get Utility companies to move is to mandate it.




  9. Anonymous says:

    Isn't he the guy who increased the fuel duty?

  10. Anonymous says:

    I guess the guy has stopped going to CUC with cash to pay certain peoples electricity bills. 

  11. Anonymous says:

    For once I agree with Mac.  The money should have been used to help them poor.  Instead it was basically a big giveaway to people with 5,000 sq ft homes.

  12. Something to think about says:

    Someone in Govt please find out who the $$$ Gas Boy is on Omega Drive who runs a giant generator every day to his house. I gotta think this expensive fuel is not coming from his pocket? Did we ever start to track Govt gas fill ups? How about all the Govt cars running personal errands? If the Govt saved on this waste, they could set up a "temporary house fuel fund" and these 100s without electricity could sign up for say 2 months max to get back on their feet.  Notice I say 60 days max. Sorry Mac, your handouts and creating a social service reliance on you the almighty benevolent leader has caused the entitlement society we despise.  No free lunch or free fuel.  Unless qualified for meals on wheels – go get a job. Mac, stop trying to buy votes with electricity. A financial sound country will thrive, a society looking for handouts will not.

  13. Cheese Face says:

    Shut up Bush.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Cns – perhaps CUC would be willing to give statistics to verify how many customers (absolute and as a percentage) have had their power cut off in each of the last few years. Some true figures would help us understand the position better.

    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps. What I can tell you is that my neighbours have been running entirely off a small generator for at least a year now. The noise is not particularly appreciated.

      • Anonymous says:

        But that is more expensive than purchasing that the same small amount of power from CUC. That would appear to be penny wise and dollar foolish.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Certainly better than what his UDP government did for Cayman.  A lot of suggestions now that you are on the other side now.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Mac, if people are educated so they can become employabe, they will earn money to pay their light bills and not have to be dependent on government for handouts every month to pay their light bill.  I wish you would stop with the ignorance!

  17. Anonymous says:

    WIth costs of food on the rise World Wide, and our pals to the North seeing an increase in food costs daily, this small cut, will only offset what will have to trickle into our economy, a rising cost of living. The general cost of goods are getting higher and higher. People out of work this is another issue, Here is a novel idea. Learn to read and write and add. This will open doors for you. Show up for work on time and become an asset. A job should not be a favor. While there are some that are just a plain victim of cirumstances, there are many that are where they are at,n no fault of anyone but themselves. Our young ladies need a chasity belt and some books. Our young men need to learn that making babies is not going to make them feel any less worthless then they are.

    • And Another Ting says:

      And you think that the rising food costs in the Nort as you call it don't affect us out herd in the Nort west Caribbean? Whete do we import from/through? As for the denigrating comments on Caymanians, it is far far better for you to keep anonymous than you will ever know.