North Side member also opposes it
Town MLA Kurt Tibbetts said Friday that he would not support the Cayman Islands
government’s newly proposed budget if a 25-cent increase in gas and diesel
import duty remained in it.
import duty increase would put the current levy on gas up from 50 cents per
gallon to 75 cents per gallon. Diesel import duty would go from 60 cents per
gallon to 85 cents per gallon.
duty increase is expected to take effect on 1 July, but would not apply to
McKeeva Bush proposed the hike Tuesday as a way to raise an additional $10.3
million for government coffers.
Tibbetts said the hike would lead not only to higher prices at the pump, but
also to higher electricity bills and possibly higher water bills as well.
the increase on fuel remains, the good Lord up above would have to come and
tell me to support this budget, because I will not support that,” Mr. Tibbetts
told Legislative Assembly members late Friday morning.
Tibbetts said he had not consulted with his opposition colleagues before making
that statement. The five opposition party members of the LA abstained on voting
from the current year’s budget when lawmakers took up the measure in October.
Tibbetts said that abstention occurred mainly because opposition members didn’t
believe the government’s budget figures were realistic.
Independent MLA Ezzard Miller said he also could not support the increase in the petrol duty.
“If I was almost persuaded to support it…the second part that exempts Cayman Brac really gets my blood up,” Mr. Miller said.
administration is expected to end this year with a $45 million operating
deficit – that means government spent more than it earned in the current fiscal
year. The current budget year will end on 30 June.
Tibbetts said he recognised government’s need to bridge the financial gap for
the upcoming year – which will start on 1 July – but said the increase import
duty would simply drive the cost of living for Cayman Islands residents too
has to be some other way to raise that money,” he said.
Mr. Tibbetts noted that electricity bills – which are no longer receiving a $6
million subsidy from government – would rise even further with the petrol tax
since fuel is needed to generate electricity.
Caribbean Utilities Company is the largest single fuel consumer in the Cayman
is estimated that….will play out to a ten per cent increase in electricity
bills,” Mr. Tibbetts said, referring to the combined effect of the new import
levies and the removal of the CUC subsidy. “I only hope to God it is not worse
read the full story in Monday’s Caymanian Compass….