Today’s Editorial March 28: High cost of living

It’s getting more and more expensive to put food on our tables in the Cayman Islands.

That becomes evident every time we go to a supermarket to buy food for our families.

And it looks like the dilemma isn’t going to change.

While we’re living with high costs, a report due out in June will let us know just how much we are spending for the basic necessities of life.

The Economics and Statistics Office plans to conduct its Consumer Price Index survey in June.

This survey will be different from those in the past because the items in the imaginary basket of goods used to measure prices have been updated from the 1994 basket.

Government has said in the past that it would look into ways to lower the cost of living in the Cayman Islands, but so far we haven’t seen much relief.

But really, what can the government do to ease the cost of living?

Do we really want government to get into the business of price controls? In a free market society, price controls are problematic and could ultimately close businesses and limit choice.

The best way to lower the cost of living is to reduce duty on products that just about everyone uses.

But reducing duty on food does not necessarily mean food prices will see a corresponding drop because there is no legal framework to guarantee it.

Consumers can help reduce some of the costs associated with daily living by cutting back and taking advantage of produce and meats that are grown in the Cayman Islands.

One of the best places to buy home grown fruits and vegetables, meat and fresh fish is at Market at The Grounds at the Agricultural Pavilion in Lower Valley each Saturday.

Many farmers also peddle their provisions at roadside stands and sell straight from their gardens and fields.

Short of getting a cost of living adjustment – which could drive prices up even more as businesses charge more to pay employees more – we are all going to have to learn how to adjust to high prices in the Cayman Islands.

We anxiously await the Consumer Price Index survey and its results

BREAKOUT

Consumers can help reduce some of the costs associated with daily living by cutting back and taking advantage of produce and meats that are grown in the Cayman Islands.