Activists plan picket at bulk fuel depots

| 10/03/2016 | 33 Comments
Cayman News Service

Fuel terminal at Jackson Point

(CNS): Members of a local activist group, frustrated with government’s inaction over fuel prices, are taking to the streets again to voice their concerns. ‘Cayman Is Fed Up With High Gas Prices’ has scheduled a picket at the fuel importers’ main depots, a gas station boycott, a carpool/bus week and another public march to bring the still relatively high fuel prices back to the forefront of public protest. 

The activists are also turning their attention to liquid propane gas (LPG), which many people use as a home fuel, after significant price rises in that product as well.

Changes were made to the legislation that governs the importation of fuel in Cayman to allow government to collect data from the importers to see how they structure their prices. But despite promises of transparency and action, more than six months after the legislation was passed the planning ministry has given no indication what they have learned about the markups and, more importantly, the local pump prices have fallen only a fraction, while elsewhere in the world fuel prices have dropped to their lowest point ever.

George Ebanks, who spearheads the activist group, said as it was “now apparent that our incumbent PPM government will not be taking any action”, and said it was time for the people to take to the streets again.

Ebanks said the global commodity market indicates that world fuel prices will remain low for the foreseeable future due to the oil glut, crude stockpiles and record levels of oil inventories, with product outweighing worldwide demand for oil by around 1 million barrels every day.

“It is past time for the hard working people of these Cayman Islands to also enjoy some cost savings from this global reality,” he said, pointing to the marginal price falls locally at pumps, which hovers just a few cents under $4 for regular fuel.

Ebanks said his group was now very concerned about the ever increasing price of LPG. “The committee will be making a strong appeal to government and the relevant ministry to have an urgent review of the LPG sector with a view of having them justify their retail propane gas prices,” the activist said in his latest press release.

“We remain concerned about the intransigence of our two fuel importers to address their unjustified and unreasonable gasoline fuel prices and also the seemingly inaction of our incumbent government to firmly deal with the matter; of both our outrageous gasoline fuel prices but also now the sales of propane home gas, which has now become a real reason for alarm and concern,” he added.

The group will kick of a series of protests taking place at the end of this month and into next with a carpool and alternative transport week. Throughout the week beginning 27 March, the activists are urging everyone to carpool or use other forms transport, such as walking, using bicycles or catching the bus, to reduce fuel sales.

On Friday, 1 April, Ebanks said he wants to see a complete boycott of gas stations. The groups is encouraging motorists to buy gas on Thursday, 31 March, if they need it and then on 1 April refrain from purchasing any fuel from any station.

Then on Saturday 2 April, the activist committee has received approval to lead a public demonstration and picketing at the exits of both the local bulk fuel importers, Sol-Esso and Rubis Oil.

“People will gather at and around the exits of these gasoline fuel importers and picket and voice our complete displeasure at what can only be termed price gouging,” Ebanks said. Police have approved the demonstration at the exit gates from 9:30am until 2:30pm.

Finally, ‘Cayman Is Fed Up With High Gas Prices’ will return to the streets of the capital with a march from Heroes Square to the steps of the Government Admin Building, starting at 12:00noon.

CNS Note: Following the publication of this article, Home Gas, which distributes Liquid propane gas, stated: “Our last price increase took place May 2011. Our price has since dropped over the past 18 months. Having not seen the original press release the article is based upon, we would have no issue if contextually George was expressing that he felt the price of LPG is high, as that would strictly be an opinion, but to describe the price as having risen, or that it is ever increasing, is contrary to actual facts.”

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  1. George R. Ebanks says:

    Notwithstanding what Home Gas states (CNS note) the fact is that for the liquid gas that is sold retail (eg..in trucks to fill up tanks at local stores/restaurants) at $4.49 p/g is super expensive; considering that the world is awash in LPG and the market prices is very very cheap compared to what is being charged here by the SOLE local LPG distributor.

  2. Lucille says:

    Thinking of going. Will there be free food?

  3. Anonymous says:

    I was in Orlando recently in the Disney area, the gas at the local 7-11 was US$1.69, across the road it was $1.99. Hello!! Gas prices here are ridiculously high.

    • Anonymous says:

      Orlando does not have to A) Import the fuel by barge B) have a 75 cent tax per gallon on the fuel C) you are comparing a huge market on a mainland to a tiny island market. the gas here is high, but you cant compare the 2 logically. Markup here is high, you have the government getting 75 cents per gallon, you have the Main terminal making their profit, AND you have the locally owned and or operated stations taking their cuts.

      • Anonymous says:

        But remember you can’t reason with stupid and when it comes to this lot and their cavemen economics you are certainly dealing with stupid.

      • Anonymous says:

        BS. You think fairies bring it to Orlando? You think there’s no tax on gas in Orlando? You think there’s no middleman in the US or that the stations don’t have a markup?

      • Anonymous says:

        Your are so stupid
        Don’t you think the gas is taxed in the states and the fuel has to be trucked to the stations and the stations in the states have to make profit
        I am so glad I don’t ever have to speak with you or be unemployed with you

        • Anonymous says:

          you are clearly ignorant to prices, markups, and the way fuel is delivered and taxed in the USA. The tax per gallon is not nearly as high, and most stations in the US make the MAJORITY of the profit inside of the C-Store, where to here, nearly no profit is made wiithin the store. There is also a complex network of pipelines AND refineries in the USA, not to mention railway delivery systems which are all FAR CHEAPER than a barge. They also make their profit through VOLUME of sales, marking up there product over 25 cents per gallon RARELY. Here you have to make a profit on 50,000 people, not really an easy to make your money in volume. But you clearly know everything, and are in no way ignorant. Like I said, markup here is high, but you cant compare the two markets rationally… take an econ class or two, hell even grasp a basic understanding of supply and demand in a free market.

  4. Koko says:

    More public transport please!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah it would be nice. Need to see the busses running down more streets and running all day and until bars close. Taxi’s take the piss everyday and that’s the reason so many would rather drink drive. Not that this comment has anything to do with the gas protests, I just love any chance I can to slag off that horribly regulated business.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Tibbetts…you sure are taking a while to enforce those actions which you said would be put in place should the owners of gas stations not drop gas prices. Do you understand that by the time some parents put gas in their vehicles they can’t afford to give their children money for school lunches. And by the way, not all parents drive SUV’s.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Put 1 April in your diaries to fill up your tanks to protest against the protest.

    • Fartina Jar says:

      Got it in thanks. Fill your boats and place your propane orders for delivery that day also folks, together we can make a difference!

    • WE ALL have to stand together. WE should stand together…that includes our 35,000 legal residents and those who visit us.
      I welcome the day when our expat community also “buys into” the struggles and concerns of the poor and not so well off struggling family.
      A lower cost of living benefits US ALL.
      I EMPLORE YOU…YES YOU..to become more than a transient guest. Become ONE OF US.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sorry George, it was decided long before I got here that we expats cannot “buy into” Cayman.
        We can never become more than a guest, despite owning properties, un examined PR applications, the cost of retirement here and indeed general living. We will always be “furriners” and anything else we would be deluding ou selves. We will always be paper Caymanians or Johnny come lately’s and only needed when there was something to be gained, such as numbers for a fuel protest.

        It has also been made clear, after I was assaulted with racial motives that I am not welcome. The person is still waiting to be sentenced in court.

        We have our own struggles and concerns, some of them may be in common, some of them are unique.
        Not all of us expats are on high salaries and frequently I am seeing that people just don’t feel that the salary is worth the bureaucratic ball ache and just leave.

        Thanks but no thanks. I will just cut down on my vehicle use.

      • Anonymous says:

        George your cause is a worthy one, the word is IMPLORE. All the best. Keep up the fight.

        • Many thanks for your support and also the correct spelling of “Implore”..much appreciated. It will be a better day when WE ALL stand united in these Cayman Islands. If you feel unwelcome as you state; I am certain that your feeling is more imagination than reality.

          With that now understood, I again now implore US ALL to get involved because we can all agree that our cost of living is too high and there is enough blame to go around…the supermarkets; the airline with their air ticket prices (eg..$470 for a 48 minute flight to Jamaica); Health insurance premium rates; gasoline fuel prices; home propane gas prices;inward shipping rates.

          I reckon that some $300million is lost from our local GDP simply because people REFUSE to buy local at the exorbitant price mark up which is allowed to go on here.

          I am in favor of a Consumer Protection Authority with a strong regulatory arm to enforce a more equitable pricing structure.

      • Anonymous says:

        No thanks. The Government made it clear it wants us to be here on a temporary basis and the price of gas seems fair enough.

      • Dave Riftwood says:

        Sorry, I am confused.

        Suddenly you now want us here but only because you need the numbers for a fuel protest.

        Jog on.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Where are all the picketers going to park their over sized gas guzzling SUV’s and trucks for the protest?

  8. Anonymous says:

    One of the Gas Stations on Walkers road (across from CTH) has had there price sign down for month. Apparently it is “broken”

    Also, gasoline went up again by 3 cents at most stations. As usual, the second prices go up it take less than 24 hours for prices to be adjusted locally. The second prices go down, it takes months to adjust them downwards locally.

    When is Gov going to get off their asses to do something about it?!?!?

    • SSM345 says:

      Find it difficult to believe that they can post a chalk board outside the gas station everyday with lunch specials but cant do the same for gas prices?

  9. Anonymous says:

    I for one am “fed up with high gas prices” and do not understand why the Cayman Islands has to pay exorbitant rates for gas. No attempt to explain these ultra high gas prices is forthcoming from the distributors or government.
    Something is wrong, I’m glad this march has been organised, it has my full support, count me in.

  10. Right idea, wrong cause... says:

    Would be nice if the proposed busing and cycling to work was to lower our impact on fossil fuels (which lowers your expenses on them) and thus our environmental footprint – instead of calling for lower fuel prices so we can drive as much as we want for very little and cause excess pollution (which would be proven unnecessary if this protest has any result… Oh, and the cycling bit? It is also very healthy and lord knows we have enough obesity and diabetes on this island to make that a worthy reason… Also saves on your fuel expenses…
    Classic to choose April Fools Day for the boycott – they must think the drivers are fool enough to buy into this!!!

  11. Crimea Rivers says:

    PML! (Peeing myself laughing), I’ll wager a bet that all six of them roll up with their V8 revving.

  12. Sharkey says:

    I think that everyone should realize that what Mr George Ebanks is doing , is not for the benefits for himself, but for the benefits of everyone , unless everyone like and wants to continue to make these RICH oil companies get RICHER.

    Do people not see and know oil prices are currently at all time low all over the world, but in Cayman Islands you are still PAYING very high prices and something is really wrong with that.

    I think that people should start making plans to participate in the protest on a week day when the LA is in session so that all politicians can see you , and see that everyone is angry about these high prices.
    If you don’t you and everyone will have to continue to pay these high prices .

  13. Anonymous says:

    Can someone please re-direct an old road to give these people something else to moan about?

  14. Anonymous says:

    What about the DUMP? What about the DUMP? What about the DUMP?

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