McTaggart: Gov’t has room to cut all fuel duty

| 22/06/2022 | 102 Comments
Deputy PPM Leader Joey Hew (left) and PPM Leader Roy McTaggart hold a press conference via Zoom from the George Town PPM party office in Crewe Road

(CNS): Opposition Leader Roy McTaggart said the Cayman Islands Government should cut duty on fuel to zero, removing the 75 cents tax it adds to each gallon at the pump and the 25 cents it charges CUC, until the end of the year to help people deal with the soaring cost of living. Speaking Tuesday at a Zoom press conference, the former finance minister admitted he hadn’t run the numbers on exactly how much it would cost the public purse. However, he said the CIG was “flush with cash”, given the rising duty elsewhere, so it could do this and still balance the books.

McTaggart said it would be a “bold move” that would affect everyone and that the PACT Government is not yet doing enough to support people through the current inflation crisis. He noted that because of inflation and rising prices on imported goods, duty revenue was increasing across the board, which was coming out of people’s pockets. Therefore, he said, the government could give that money back by cutting all fuel duty until the end of 2022.

The party leader and his deputy, Joey Hew, said the summer would be rough for people, and cutting fuel tax was the easiest way to help everyone, as it would directly impact the broader economy.

In Parliament recently, after Premier Wayne Panton’s response to McTaggart’s question about what the government planned to do about the unprecedented level of inflation, the opposition leader had accused the PACT administration of “coming up short”. He said his constituents believe PACT is too “distracted by the infighting and watching their own backs to see the problems people are suffering from”.

McTaggart noted that since the public finances were still in really good shape, there was room to make this duty cut and other moves to reduce the negative effect inflation is having and is likely to continue having for some time.

Hew also noted that government had drawn down on the line of credit the PPM administration had negotiated as a backup for navigating the country through the pandemic or any other crisis that resulted from it. He said the opposition wasn’t blaming the government for the cost of living crisis but was asking them to do much more to help people get through it, given the government’s flexible financial position.

Hew and McTaggart both agreed that the global circumstances were unusual and that the inflationary pressures were external and beyond the power of government to directly address. But they said the administration could help people with more proactive measures like the duty cut, refusing the Water Authority’s request for a price increase, continuing the freeze on mandatory pension payments and retaining the health insurance support for tourism workers.

McTaggart said the CIG didn’t need to increase handouts or put cash in people’s hands, but there were a number of options available to protect people from the worst impact of inflation. He has already written to government with a number of suggestions, but he said the premier had not responded.

He said that he and his PPM colleagues were still more than happy to discuss other options with the government and play a role in helping navigate the crisis.

Government has initiated several measures to ease the pressure from inflation, including giving civil servants a bonus and a cost of living allowance, providing free breakfast, lunch and snacks for all children attending public schools, and cutting various government fees and taxes for the elderly. It is also planning to roll out a subsidy on power bills for some 20,000 residential homes, which is expected to be outlined over the next week.


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Category: Economy, Politics

Comments (102)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It would make more sense to remove duty on electric cars.

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  2. Kman says:

    Time to go green, invest in an efficient public transportation, place a moratorium on 1 car per household limit and create more cycling & walking lanes.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I have 6 houses.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Not Until After Public Bus System is Up and Running. Like they have it in Bermuda or Barbados(they are partnering with).

      Full Size Bus SYSTEM.
      It will take at least 5 years to make it work if all goes smoothly. Purchasing right size buses (in Bermuda they have narrow buses), scheduling, dispatching, maintenance, repairs, parts department, purchasing department, tickets sale, hiring, training, licensing-These are The Parts of The Bus Transportation SYSTEN that must smoothly work together. I believe Canadians did help Bermuda in this complex public transportation System.

      ONLY when it is up and running, you can suggest vehicle ownership restrictions.

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    • Junius says:

      One car per household is not the answer. More scooters could create a perfect storm for more road deaths.

      For example, what may otherwise be a mere fender bender in a car, can be a death sentence (or serious life-threatening injury) when a scooter.

      That being said, I completely understand where you were coming from and, for example, Bermuda (which has a smaller land mass than the Cayman Islands) has similar measures in place.

      However, I believe you hit the nail on the head, pertaining to an efficient public transport system, which is lacking in the Cayman Islands.

      Also, proper cycling and walking lanes are great ideas, which you suggested, are also the right focus.

      • Anonymous says:

        Bermuda is leading in Scooter related deaths. It was (back then) impossible to cross a road in Bermuda on foot, there were no sidewalks, no road shoulders to mitigate injuries and damages in an accident, scooter drivers seem to be on steroids- so I left Bermuda, despite having a lucrative job and living in a walking distance to my job. After several close calls, I said to myself, Forget it, I didn’t come here to die.

  3. Noname says:

    I take no joy from the present situation but let us face the facts, the writing about increased cost of inputs (energy in all its forms) has been on the wall for the past 10 years at least, there was back then already voices predicting such a rise of costs and inputs as soon as interest rates would creep back up, but no one paid any attention to the facts and numbers for as long as the gravy train was rolling forward .

    All of what QE did was paper over a bleeding wound that is still open to this day and is now festering. Now the cost of capital is increasing and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it rise even further and that will boil down to further energy costs since shale oil and shale gas production as well as refiners all relied on low capital expenditure costs to keep running. (Shale oil’s break even point hovers about 70$ per barrel at minimum and that cost was during low capital costs)

    Our local politicians played blind to those issues for over a decade due to slew of conflicts of interests that kept any commitment to energetic transition on the shelf gathering dust.

    PACT is playing catch-up on this front thanks to the efforts of James Wittaker escalating the issue all the way to the Premier, visitors seem surprised that solar power only represent 4 percent of our energy mix!

    There is plenty of blame to go around as far as the PPM was concerned during their time at the helm and having the old guard acting all shocked and surprised is just badly acted theater. PPM played deaf mute and blind to sustainability issues brought before them the whole time , not only leaving the heavy lifting to the private sector but also slapping Ofreg as a regulator on top of it all (as if even more red tape was needed !).

    But if you are looking further for a guilty party I would suggest looking first into a mirror ! Policies are very rarely ever implemented or have any lasting effect if there isn’t willingness to change at the individual level ! Good governance starts from the bottom up , expecting governments to address every issue under the sun from the top down is at best magical thinking ! Relying on governments to regulate every aspect of life only leads to mistakes of epic proportions (we only need to look North of us to see how that went ! (Cuba)).

    All I hear here is people talking about how great solar is an idea but how expensive it is to bring on island ! They couldn’t be more wrong if they do the math in terms of investment, setup and insurance !

    Our first solar appliance was a solar powered pool pump which reduced the energy consumption of the house by 25 percent back in 2017 ! It also resulted in way less chemicals needed to maintain the pool as well. You certainly do not need to completely change your life around or commit hundreds of thousand to see the benefits of such changes!

    Let’s take it one notch further and look at the numbers there are about 29 thousand homes (ESO census report from 2021) in grand cayman how many of those homes are actually independent from CUC’s grid ? Less than ten in 2022 ! I would entirely agree that CUC , Ofreg and CPA make it as difficult as possible, but yes that number of off grid homes alone shows IMHO how much attention is actually paid to the present concerns when it comes to sustainability !

    But but but CORE program you say ? Present CORE rates demand that you inject into the grid twice as much as you consume to break even ! That alone shows how much lip service the whole present phase of the program actually is ! And remember that you are only allowed to install 10KW (which would amount to 40 Kw/h on a sunny day). To keep breaking even you would need to reduce your daily electricity consumption to 20 Kw/h per day! Let me explain it further, a one bedroom condominium unit averages 18 Kw/h per day! That IMHO shows how malthusian CUC’s vision of sustainability actually is !

    Yes , that shows how much CUC is mocking us all for one but also how much of a completely foolish bargain the CORE program has now become. If despite your investment of time and money you are kept away from the perspective of breaking even despite all your efforts, you only encourage further demotivation which very much play so far into CUC’s hands as it helps to keep the whole market captive to diesel power generation.

    Oh and let me remind you was in charge when phase 4 of the CORE program was implemented, drumroll, the PPM ! Whoops ! Yep , you can’t make it up !

    DART acquired Brac Power and Light and I wouldn’t be surprised if CUC is next item on the shopping list!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Many good points however don’t mention Cuba…there dire situation is more to do with international politics than internal. Also CUC has a critical volume necessary to operate it’s machine heavy industry….sadly within this volume is excessive profit shared with many Caymanian shareholders resulting in an unwillingness to change.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Yes that communism is working so well for them it’s USAs fault.

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        • Anonymous says:

          The US embargo is the main cause of Cuba’s economic problems. Cuba is a true socialist country…or they were under Fidel anyway.

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          • Anonymous says:

            I think you need to look up socialist vs communism. One is Norway the other is cuba

            • Anonymous says:

              Socialism is an inherent principle within, and achieved through, communism. Tje asseta of a community are shared by its members. So how is capitalism working out for your huge poor population?

    • Anonymous says:

      I love how he refers to himself in the third party

  4. Anonymous says:

    Saunders had good ideas, he will fix inflation. Watch this space!

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Here we go again…PPM backseat drivers..

    12 years of PPM..12 fricken years..NOTHING for our people..Now they have every solution in the world..

    No more PPM…period

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  6. ppm DISTRESS SIGNAL says:

    What a lovely picture of two delusional donkeys both pretending to be the leaders when we all know Sir Alden calls all the shots from his bar stool after consulting with KT.
    Why didn’t PPM do these things the now suggesting when they were in power during the Covid crisis and people were hurting relying on CIG stipends?
    PPM need to just go away and understand Caymanians know the PPM are sellouts that cannot be trusted.

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  7. anonymous says:

    Riddle me this.

    How come when oil prices crashed in 2020 my CUC bill remained virtually unchanged?

    Always goes up, never goes down.

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    • Anonymous says:

      BS. You can literally go see that in 2020 we had some of the lowest fuel costs in over a decade.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    This is laughable. When the PPM was in, people screamed about the cost of living and, gas prices as well. Why didn’t you do something then Mr. Roy? Or you weren’t worried then???!!! Removing the tax on fuel now will be mute. In a matter of weeks the price will be back at the same level, and higher if you listen to the experts. And Government will be in a worst position financially.

    The cost of fuel and electricity can be controlled. Cut back in driving if you can, and plug out everything in your house that your not using!!!

    This is nothing more than political grandstanding by the PPM. Don’t be fooled by it. They had YEARS to actually do something…they didn’t. So please, exit stage.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Stop giving thousands to tour operators.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Fuel is the only thing we pay less for when we visit Cayman. Currently £2 per litre in some areas of the UK!

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  11. Why says:

    Why though? Petrol is still cheap comparatively and no-one needs to drive long distances in Cayman.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    I would guess that a huge percentage of people could be working at home to reduce fuel consumption (and traffic). How many government vehicles are being used as personal transport with no fuel limits? As someone else said we need to look at ways to reduce consumption, not facilitate it. When demand drops, so will the price.

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  13. Robert Mugabe IV says:

    “…………..admits he hadn’t run the numbers on exactly how much it would cost the public purse.”

    That’s exactly what every clown in government for the last 40 years has done. How about stop granting all these duty free concessions to multi millionaire developers (both local and overseas). They will still make millions but can never be satisfied when they know they are smarter than the politicians.
    Politicians don’t give a **** about any of the voters once they are in and get paid their exorbitant salaries and pensions for life.
    The electorate are to blame.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Can we trust the gas stations to reflect this discount at the petrol pumps though?

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  15. Anonymous says:

    I can’t believe this is coming from the former KPMG head.
    By the end of the year everyone will be riding a bicycle regardless of the duty on fuel cuts.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Can they also cut gov duties on our bank transactions please and regulate our financial institutions to prevent them from raping us for every single transaction too? Its not only difficult, but now too expensive for people to have bank accounts. The banks, and come to mention it insurance companies are making plenty (or should be if operating responsibly). We’re all getting shafted left right and centre.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    All aboard the clown car!

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  18. Anonymous says:

    CUC always brag about the millions profit that they make every year – but they show no sympathy to their customers.

    My CUC bill jumped a $100.00 in April and that is the increase each bill has been since. Basically using the same amount of elctricity.

    I believe Government should request an internal audit on CUC – bring in someone from overseas to have an audit done – after all, they supply the island with electricity – government should know what is going on with CUC

    The only ones that get a profit from them are their shareholders and CUC themselves, while killing their customers with high prices!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Cig are shareholders. Nothing’s going to change. We need affordable solar and cuc should be solar and wind powered

  19. Anonymous says:

    We should meet; not good enough.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Imagine the scenario(s) of a constantly rising inflation.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    Opposition Leader Roy McTaggart clearly has access to some goverent financial data that has not been made public. I truly hope that Mr. McTaggart is not just saying these things for the sake of politics.

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    • Orrie Merren says:

      Me too.

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    • Anonymous says:

      @12:45pm

      lol…It’s called political expediency and to try to make the PPM remain relevant..

      We Caymanians call it Politircks…Roy has learned from the great one, Alden..

      Little does Roy and Alden know that the same old politricks doesn’t work on us anymore..

      Keep following Alden..you and he will be put out to pasture next election..

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  22. anon1 says:

    Well, he not lying. Built in fuel rate increases and CIG taxes are what’s killing many on their bills right now. CIG could reduce that pressure.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I still cannot understand why we have to pay a fuel rate anyway we pay for electricity! That charge should have never happen. Time to change it!

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  23. Anonymous says:

    All the good ideas after you lost huh?

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  24. Anonymous says:

    They cut import duties on pampers and the price stayed the same.

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  25. Anonymous says:

    Ok accountant….horrible financial manager…be cautious of his advice

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  26. Anonymous says:

    So why the hell wasn’t this done during PPM administration???! Everything the current admin tries, PPM negate it, but they still did diddly squat during their time in power!!

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  27. Anonymous says:

    idiot….that is not a solution.

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    • Anonymous says:

      what is a solution then?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Mctaggart and former Premier Alden McLaughlin should have cut the fuel cost when they were in Power/charge of the Government. all these changes they should have implemented and I like how
      PPM Mose Kirckconell sold cayman Brac Power and Light without notifying the sister Islands stakeholder’s and Community. Bracers stand up and voice your thoughts and opinions NIMBY sister Islands brothers and sisters our future generations are at RISK.. speak up…

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      • Anonymous says:

        Moses Kirkconnell selling out Cayman Brac to a vulture capitalist.

        Alden McLaughlin also took marching orders from Dart.

        PPM have sold out the Cayman Islands.

      • Anonymous says:

        To 6.39. They did reduce the duty on fuel. Look it up then report the truth.

  28. Orrie Merren says:

    Very positive to see the Opposition and the Government competing to take measures (or suggested measures) to assist the Caymanian people during these challenging times.

    Hon. Leader of the Opposition and Hon. Deputy Leader of Opposition do raise some valid points of substance, which, at the very least, due consideration should given by the Government, whether or not such measures are, ultimately, adopted.

    Certainly, significant rising fuel costs are — no PON intended — fueling inflation and, if the Caymanian people and residents are to receive the necessary beneficial assistance, then pride, ego and political posturing need to be removed from the equation and process, where actual benefits are realized for the Cayman Islands and, most importantly, for our precious Caymanian people and residents.

    God bless,
    Orrie 🙏🏻🇰🇾

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    • Anonymous says:

      Band aids that we wouldn’t need if for the last ten years their policies had complied with immigration laws developed over decades. They were so busy with short sighted revenues that allowed politicians and their friends to line their pockets while creatimg poor citizens in a rich country.

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  29. Anonymous says:

    How about we start by constraining and even reversing the mass importation of poverty enabled and facilitated by the last administrations? Many hundreds and even potentially thousands of non-Caymanians are today here, requiring direct support and assistance, in breach of our immigration laws. Some are the result of marriages of convenience. Others the result of civil servants being permitted to import unlimited numbers of dependents.so many of our issues would not exist if we just applied our laws, to everyone, all day, every day!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Different rules for me and thee, that’s not about to change.

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    • Anonymous says:

      What direct support and assistance do you believe non-Caymanians actually get? They cannot claim anything from NAU, have to have their own insurance, put their children in private schools etc. I would be interested to know what direct support and assistance they are getting.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Contrary to your statements of supposed “fact” you are sadly mistaken. Hundreds of non Caymanians are (for example) in government schools receiving free education at a cost to the Caymanian people approaching $20,000 per child. Many of these expatriates are the children of civil servants who get free education, healthcare and even lunches. Government is able to say that the cost of employing an expatriate is their salary, but the reality is that their benefits, which we must all bear, greatly exceeds that. Others are dependents on permanent residents and the so called spouses of Caymanians – too many of whom do not even cohabit with their Caymanian “sponsor”.

        Perhaps as many as half of the people receiving government assistance in the 20,000+ households now benefitting, are not Caymanian.

        This is all happening against a framework that says if you cannot support yourself and your dependents you cannot come, let alone stay! Something is going very badly wrong.

        The importation of poverty continues unabated, and it’s cost to the Caymanian people is accelerating exponentially. It is unsustainable.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Excellent point. We are supporting too many here that should not be here crippling the system and resources for our own people.

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  30. Anonymous says:

    They just still cannot believe they got outsmarted by Wayne at the election can they?! All the celebrations….ooh baby

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    • SMH says:

      The man makes a reasonable suggestion but you’re only response is to find a way to put him down.
      I’m curious to know what enables you to take joy from your perceived misery of others and also not care about their positive contributions.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Outsmarted by CMR alas, come on you know it, I know it.

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  31. Anonymous says:

    Every item you buy in Cayman , a tube of toothpaste, the chicken for dinner , to laundry detergent & the gasoline in your cars tank , now has an inflated cost due to the fossil fuel which we have to consume in order to get it here & the duty that is whacked on top of that cost.
    The energy you consume just to charge your cell phone has a fuel duty cost burden to it.( Unless its solar energy you are using). All the Tesla’s plugging in at Camana Bay & elsewhere are largely solar supplied charging, so that would be an exception, to a lesser degree.
    Axing the duty under Roy’s proposal I agree will assist people marginally… for a short time , but the elephant in the room will still be the cost of a barrel of crude oil for Cayman. This is never going to go away & will ultimately force some residents in deciding if they can continue living in Cayman , as sad as that is. The truth is that Cayman is now just an un-affordable place to live & work for many people. A large regret is that there are many people in Cayman who don’t have this option to go live elsewhere . It is going to get A LOT worse. Until Wayne Panton & his crew acknowledge these facts , don’t expect too much to change.

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    • Anonymous says:

      We’ve been here nearly 5 years and we love the island and the Caribbean lifestyle but it is now genuinely becoming very difficult to live here and we have a decent combined income. It is hard to justify the cost of groceries and fuel now and with landlords all too quick to put up rent and CUC fleecing everyone, we are looking to leave. Such a shame that the island is pricing itself out of the market and caters to rich business and developers to the detriment of others.

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  32. Anonymous says:

    Wey dem duppies come from?

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  33. Anonymous says:

    So Roy admits he hasn’t run the numbers. Next.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Based on his evaluation of CIG pension even when he runs numbers he seems to ignore accruals

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  34. Anonymous says:

    Madness. The solution is to cut back on fuel consumption, not encourage more reliance on it. Not to mention the environment. Are these guys for real?

    What happened to Joey’s trail bicycle and free shuttle bus service for the civil service? I don’t see many bicycles parked outside the government building.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Now is the time to facilitate and support rooftop solar and electric vehicles – NOT to support more fuel consumption. Of course, some rebates should be available for a short period for our most needy – but IN CONJUNCTION with meaningful and immediate steps to reduce our reliance on imported fossil fuels.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The National Conservation Council wrote a paper after lockdown recommending that the government do grants/subsidies for insulation and other ‘green home measures’. Alden stood up and said that he ‘didn’t see anything that would put food on people’s tables’ and disregarded the whole paper. Now PPM whining about bills being too high?

      If PPM didn’t hate anything that even looked remotely ‘green’, and had done green home grants, then people’s bills would be lower right now and FOREVER.

      Even the private sector has cottoned on to this idea, like CNB’s green loans.

      Fuel subsidies are short term thinking. Green homes are long term thinking.

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      • Anonymous says:

        He also stood up and said businesses less than a year old wouldn’t make it, and made a mockery of his own global awareness when asked about agriculture and food security. Some of those press briefings were truly embarrassing man.

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  35. Anonymous says:

    If only this was assured to reduce the price we pay at the pump… but there are so many excuses I can think of myself to use in order not pass these cuts onto customers.

    Also, I’m just so tired of politics. Politicians are the most cowardly people in existence. They sit down and wait until they don’t have any power to do anything to complain about the system and demand change.

    This island I grew up on is just falling further and further into the abyss. Maybe this is what we need, a real wake up call.

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  36. Anonymous says:

    They could also reduce the import duty rate on goods from 22% to 20% which it used to be not that long ago as well as removing it on essential food items.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Like lard.

    • Little Miss Sunshine says:

      what we also used to have not that long ago was garbage fees. (Complete) Bicycles are duty free and there’s no charge on sunshine, looks like we might have to do some backyard planting and eat those chickens some people are always complaining about, haha

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  37. Anonymous says:

    Here is one! Allowing the real estate market to artificially inflate housing prices so that ONLY private registered companies and investors can afford them!

    Regulate the system of how banks are using surveyors’ information to qualify and disqualify Caymannians for purchasing homes and the way banks are foreclosing on homes during covid and unemployment.

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  38. Anonymous says:

    Must admit, they are right. PACT government giving raises to civil servants is not the answer. What about the private sector????

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  39. Anonymous says:

    SO wasn’t there room to do the same thing when PPM was in power? And UDP? and everyone else before them? The answer is a resounding YES. This lot just want to look busy now, uproot the PACT team so they can hopefully be put back into power next election. Unna all the same, so regardless of who gets in – the only people who lose are the Cayman Islands mid-to-low income population. Everyone continues to win, and the wealthy/G.O.B.’ club wash each other’s backs so they stay winning!

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