Expand government price regulations

Yes the oil company’s price increases should be regulated – hence I support the Government in this initiative.

I view the wholesaling of gasoline and diesel as a public utility and as such should be regulated along with all public utilities.

Few would disagree that the telephone and electricity companies should be watched over by an appropriate government agency.

Fewer would disagree that our Government has a duty to ensure that public utilities charge a fair price to the public they serve.

Communication, electricity providers, and yes the oil companies, are so vital and have so little competition that we cannot rely on the marketplace alone to ensure fair prices.

So no in my view this is not an issue of price controls – but rather shows a government doing its job by ensuring that the public is fairly treated.

I note the oil companies’ argument regarding competition and agree to a large extent – a free market is what modern economies are built on.

But free market does not necessarily mean totally free of regulation, and a duopoly does not necessarily ensure that free competition exists.

The oil companies reminded us that gas stations are competitive and now display their prices for all to see.

But it is not lost on me that the requirement to post prices was a request of the PPM Government.

Gas stations are doing their part.

Gas signage was an important first step – the vetting of gas price increases by the oil companies is the next part of the equation.

Only then will we be ensured that this key public utility is playing fair by the public they serve.

Now let’s expand the net to include Cayman Brac Power and Light as well as the two water companies.

Roy Tatum

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