Rubis boss quits ahead of impending fuel controls

| 04/09/2015 | 57 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): The managing director of Rubis has quit his job at the helm of the fuel supply company ahead of government’s impending plans to introduce a utilities commission to regulate the industry and possible price controls. A spokesperson for Rubis said the resignation of Donald Gary had “nothing to do with the pending implementation” of the commission. He said Gary was retiring after 40 years in the industry and moving back to his home in the United States to spend more time with his family.

Planning Minister Kurt Tibbetts, who is spearheading the drafting of the legislation for the utilities commission, which is expected to be brought to the Legislative Assembly in October, has not responded to questions about discussions with Rubis and Sol, the two international firms that supply the fuel on which Cayman runs, and how Gary’s departure will impact those discussions.

Henrico du Plessis, Rubis Cayman Islands Finance Manager, said the firm would continue its existing strategies and would “gladly engage in open discussions with government once the utilities commission is established”.

During last month’s short sitting of the Legislative Assembly, Tibbetts stated that the bulk fuel suppliers were essentially on notice and were one step away from price regulation if they did not engage in fair competition on prices and stop holding the economy to ransom. If they did not cooperate, he said, government’s next step would be price control.

Successive administrations have struggled to come to grips with the pricing structure of the bulk suppliers but the issue remains one of significant concern to the community. Although the current government has reduced fuel duty, the actual price at the pump in Cayman remains distorted in comparison to world markets.

While it is well understood that duty, importation and economies of scale will impact the price at the pump, what has always been a mystery is why, when world oil prices fall, the gas prices take weeks and sometimes months to drop in Cayman but usually climbs again in a very short space of time. After a fall earlier this year to around $4 at the pump, which lasted a matter of weeks, the price soon climbed back towards $5. Once again, Cayman finds itself paying disproportionately high prices when fuel prices are falling elsewhere.

A group of concerned citizens is planning a petition and a public campaign to urge government to move on gas prices. Details of this campaign will be posted on CNS early next week.

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Comments (57)

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  1. Diogenes says:

    If government is concerned, why don’t they start selling gas at reasonable mark up? Hell, they already give it away to anyone with a Gasboy card.

  2. michael says:

    import duties are crazy…booze is crazy….food is crazy…..utilities are crazy……
    the fact that I pay duty on shipping is nothing short of robbery…
    pretty much all goods and services are grossly inflated….
    that being said housing here is resonable compared to the most expensive cities in the world.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I agree, unconditionally.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Bought gas in Alabama yesterday – $1.98/gal. This equal to CI$1.98 for a Cayman imperial gallon. Your prices are nuts.

    • Anonymous says:

      But that is a misleading comparator. Look at the prices in civilsed developed countries and they tend to be much higher than in Cayman.

      • Anonymous says:

        Do you even know where Alabama is?

      • Anonymous says:

        The biggest difference is tax in the prices in so called ‘civilised countries’, the biggest component here is mark-up, by the supplier, the distributor and finally the gas station. There are some infrastructure costs that can’t be avoided, and with a low turn over of product, those costs a proportionally higher with that low volume. Take a closer look at the pricing in those countries and you will see a 60% take in tax, here it’s about 10%.

  5. Sharkey says:

    I hope that everyone understand what the comment ,” time for change” is saying in the comment. I think that this is the time to hold politicians accountable for their actions, and the high price we are paying for gasoline . Let them know that the next election is coming up, and we want CHANGE IN HIGH GAS HIGH PRICE.

  6. Better days ahead says:

    fairness I think the Texaco stations tries but the On the Runs are beyound expensive. Both for gas and inside the store. 1 chicken wing is like $3.00 🙁 but a new gas station is now opening up by lantern point so it appears to be a lucrative venture

    • Anonymous says:

      I never really notice the price.

      • Anonymous says:

        You have one gas station charging 4.89, another 4.64CI$, US prices all under 2.90US and do we not call this robbery of the people. GOVERNMENT has allowed this for years how can you justify this???? Paying over US$6.00 per gallon when in the states is under 2.50 US is a sin

        • Anonymous says:

          Not when you include economies of scale, the sound environmental basis of taxation of such products and the need for Cayman to generate fiscal income by means other than income tax, corporation tax etc. There is quite a sound case for the cost to be higher.

        • Anonymous says:

          Because the people in our goverment know nothing about business and it appears that they can’t add.

  7. Time for a change says:

    Hello,
    Just as with the other ole boy networks that are falling down, it appears this one will too.

    No longer are people content with just accepting the bull these people are shoveling down our throats.

    These people, who have supported and orchestrated these dealings, are seeing their regimes die, and in doing so they are jumping ship, trying to get out of the way of the impending reactions that are going to follow when the truth comes out.

    To these people I say this, you can run but you can’t hide. The people will not forget. We will not allow you peace. You will pay for your greed and gluttony.

    To these people I say, have courage, be brave. Take the misery and hardship you have dished out to so many for so long unchecked. Do not be cowards and rats, but if you must then go somewhere else and never come back here for your day of reckoning has come.

    To those businesses that are thinking they can still maintain their status quo, think again. Things are changing, people are fed up. You will change or shutdown and be embarrassed.

  8. Buffalo Bill says:

    Bitch….. bitch….. bitch! The gas on the Brac hasn’t been below $5.00 for years.

  9. WaYaSay says:

    There are only two commodities on island that are charged import duty based on volume, instead of cost. These are petroleum products and liquor. Both received this status through unfair lobby of previous governments, by the importers, in order to maintain their unfair profit margins.

    Gasoline and liquor should have their import duty assessments based on the same system that all Caymanians pay when they import goods, as a % of Cost, Insurance and freight (CIF).

    This will have a beneficial effect on the selling price of both products.

    In the case of liquor, why in God’s name should the purchaser of a $10.00 quart bottle of cheap white rum, have to pay the exact same amount of duty, as the purchaser of a $200.00 quart of expensive whiskey?

    In the case of petroleum products; if I import anything, it is my duty to produce invoices for the cost, insurance and freight and pay the assigned % as duty. Why is it not the same for the petroleum suppliers? This, in one stroke of the pen, world remove the veil hiding the cost of gas and the markup to the retailers. We pay the same import duty on cheap gas that we pay on expensive gas.

    It is time that Caymanians get to play on a level playing field and not one with carve outs for the wealthiest among us.

    • Anonymous says:

      How in the hell people, and corporations, believe that they can lobby our Govt to swindle such a small population for decades. These offshore jurisdictions are primed and positioned by our leaders for foreign businesses to defraud the larger populous. Come on…seeing our people poor or becoming poor always seems to be their motus operandi for all who establish businesses on these islands, and across the Caribbean. Their motives are never explicitly conveyed in the mission statement, but the damages of their covert conduct are telling of their ultimate intentions.

    • Shhhhhh. says:

      If they paid the tarriff on landed cost, then govt et al would routinely know what they were paying for the fuels, and the cat would be out of the bag. It has all been deliberately done that way for years and MUST NOW CHANGE!!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    But petrol is very cheap in Cayman especially since there is no need to drive long distances.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Petrol” may be “cheap”, but gasoline is surely expensive!

      • Anonymous says:

        Cayman is not America. Use proper English.

        • Anonymous says:

          You are right Cayman is Honduras.

        • Anonymous says:

          Get a reality check matey! As Roosevelt said to Churchill ” You may own the West Indies but we dictate policy”. Fast forward to even Hurricane Ivan if we had to depend on or source or supplies from the UK we would have still been in a shambles. You cannot separate us in this part of the world from the USA or “America” as you say it.

          • Anonymous says:

            See that flag in the top left corner of the flag of your non-sovereign nation? It is there for a reason.

    • A. K. Mann says:

      Anonymous 8:04 must live on Owen Island.

    • Rhett says:

      Slow driving, congestion in town and the use of AC = plenty spent on petrol/gas.

      • Anonymous says:

        Overly excessive comparison with the U.S. = no appreciation how cheap petrol really is.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Stop the wasteful spending and destined to fail capital works projects by the government. Use these funds to invest into renewable energy and lower the cost of living.

    We do not need to regulate. We need to get rid of this dinosaur diesel as fast as we can.

  12. I think; from what I have been privy to see; this pending legislation has the debt and the administrative powers (“teeth”) to achive gas price reduction.
    Cost prices being disclosed is a REQUIREMENT!
    I like what I am seeing.

    • Rhett says:

      I do not understand why there is utter unfairness across the board….

      • Hopefully Rhett (@7:22PM) ..this legislation will result in lower gas prices which must also then transcend across the totality of the economic spectrum and we (the people) should see lower prices at the supermarket; airline tickets; trucking services etc..etc. Otherwise it will be of little use.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Let us assume that the price of fuel will be lowered by the new commission. Do people really think that the merchants will lower their prices and profit margins? They will find another excuse not to, I am sure.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The gas prices we are paying in Cayman is nothing short of high-way robbery!

  15. Anonymous says:

    The government only reduced the CUC duty, not duty at the pump.

    • Anonymous says:

      How can gas be 4.89 at one pump then 4.64 at another

      • Anonymous says:

        Same reason steaks are $10.99 at one grocer and $14.99 at another. Different pricing structures, business plans and target customers. I am sure Jose’s makes more from their C-store then one of higher petrol stations. More people stop to fuel up, and grab a pattie and a drink.

        • Anonymous says:

          No, these are cartel agreements. Who charges what for various products agreed between them so they all capture maximum profit.

  16. Knot S Smart says:

    As long as Kurt is taking care of this I wont be worried…

  17. Anonymous says:

    Fuel regulation, soon come, keep the faith, don’t loose hope! Just re-elect me and I will get it done before 2020..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  18. J Sharp says:

    Price regulation does not work. Look at all the other countries where the price is regulated they are paying $2-$3 a LITER not a gallon. And the Government reduction was only on CUC diesel not regular gas &I diesel. Check facts before posting

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think they are suggesting Government fixing the price of oil prices locally, I thought they were talking about fixing the mark-up fuel supliers could charge. Seems that most gas stations are charging about 4.99 for the good stuff even ‘tho oil prices have fallen. January they were charging about 4.30 per gallon and crude oil was at $50, crude’s down to about $45 and we are paying 4.99. The fuel suppliers are just thumbing their noses at you and me, they don’t give a damn as where else can we go?

      PS don’t know who would be charging between $9.1 and $13.65 a gallon, but whoever it is is adding a lot of tax to the deal, that wouldn’t float here. Even the UK who charge 60% tax on fuel are at $8 USD a gallon.

    • Anonymous says:

      And it is an IMPERIAL GALLON here, which is LARGER THAN THE US GALLON.

  19. 2 Broke 2 Buy Gas says:

    Put it to referendum. The vote would be unanimous!!!

  20. Anonymous says:

    I wouldn’t quit my job based on “slow poke” Kurt getting anything done…

    Where’s Linford Pierson when you need him???

  21. Anonymous says:

    don’t worry kurt is looking into it…….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    • Anonymous says:

      Anything that Kurt Tibbetts hand are in will never see the light of day. Wait and See. When it happens believe it. Gas prices will fall just like the solution for Iguanas.
      It is a joke to listen to Jennofer Ahearn saying that 2016 will be a great year for agriculture, but what she failed to say was that until something is done about Iguanas there will be very little produce. Backyard gardeners are suffering, what is Mr. Tibbetts doing about that?

      • Anonymous says:

        Well, seeing that Minister Tibbetts is not Cayman’s backyard police, maybe you could catch those pesky iguanas and eat them? Or round up the pack of wild dogs that roam on 7-Mile beach and in town and turn them loose in your backyard?

    • Anonymous says:

      When is Mr. McTaggart resigning his non existent position?

  22. Kenny says:

    Don’t take your love to town.

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