Plea to reduce rates

As a representative of the people in these Cayman Islands, I am appealing to our retail banks, insurance companies, electricity provider CUC and the two fuel suppliers Esso and Chevron Texaco in particular, to seriously give consideration to reducing rates where possible during these stringent economic times.

We have worldwide financial turmoil and a US recession that is causing adverse impacts on many persons and institutions.

It is a time for all to be sensible in their spending and prudent in all financial matters. Thankfully our local economy and tourism specifically are still doing very well.

Insurance rates are through the roof and I am well aware that most of these are dependent on rates set elsewhere – at the head office.

But whatever can be done by these companies locally needs to be done, and they need to work hand in hand with the customers on payment plans and reductions whenever possible.

Bank rates are down in the US and therefore Itrust that the same will happen here in the near future, that will allow cheaper loans for our people, hence giving a boost to disposable income of these individuals.

I would also hope that our bankers will exercise patience with their clients in terms of debt obligations and work with them to alleviate as much of the strain as possible.

CUC’s fuel factor is also driving their bills to painful limits; I know that the company has an obligation to its shareholders, but I’m asking that the board and management of CUC, based on many good returns in past years, give serious consideration to a reduction in these charges, thereby absorbing some of the expense as a goodwill gesture to the faithful customers of the company. A summer rebate would be really appreciated!

Finally in regards to fuel, a crucial factor in the increased cost of living, it is clear that in times such as these this impact is exaggerated.

I am also a Texaco retailer and was surprised this week to receive advice from the importer and provider of fuel that prices had increased on petrol yet again, albeit a decrease took place on diesel fuel.

Unfortunately, I and the other retailers have no choice but to pass this on to our customers on an already tight profit margin (quite unlike CUC).

To not to do so, could seriously jeopardise the financial viability of the retailers. I am therefore asking the fuel companies to seriously consider their pricing strategies, and see where reductions can occur that would assist the country now and in the future.

Fuel prices are falling in the US currently and we should see the same here.

I know that the government of which I am a part will be doing all we can internally (through budget, project management, policies, etc) and through consultation with the private sector to take prudent measures to stimulate and protect the local economy. Much also depends, however, on how our people and the business community conduct their affairs going forward. We are in this boat together and must all act in a prudent and sensible manner, not panicking, but addressing our needs while curtailing some of our wants.

Osbourne Bodden

Bodden Town MLA