Outrageous fuel costs

Abraham Lincoln once said that we cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today. As I reflect on the recent events at home and abroad I can’t help but wonder what kind of island we are building today and how it will look tomorrow.

Over the last few weeks I have heard several people complain about the pending increase on their CUC bills. What I find really surprising is that when you look at your light bill, approximately half of it relates to the fuel factor. This naturally begs the question – how can one half of your light bill be regulated by Government and the other half not? This clearly does not make any sense!

One of the things that continues to bother me is the rate of decrease in the quality of life of our people over the past decade relative to global standards. While the current mantra is to blame the global economic slowdown, the reality of it is that the real culprit in all of this is greed coupled with the lack of testicular fortitude by elected leaders, both past and present. There is no rhyme or reason why a basic item such as fuel is unregulated in this country in 2013. It is high time that the people of this country demand that this be done without any further hesitation.

I was prompted to write this letter after watching CNN this morning and hearing that the national average in the United States for a gallon of gas was equivalent to CI$2.80. In some southern states in the US the average was as low as CI$2.55 per gallon. The gas station that I regularly buy my gas from was CI$5.69 – more than double the amount of the average price in the United States. Unless the government of the day tackles this problem today, we are going to have more serious problems tomorrow. We cannot continue to create a society where people are living paycheck to paycheck and are unable to save for their retirement or their children’s future. This will further create a welfare state where the signs are already evident with increased spending on social services and increased taxes by government just to balance the budget. The government also has a whopping light bill and by regulating fuel to lower the price, not only will they save on their own light bill – they will also save on subsidies to Social Services that are used to pay light bills.

This un-regulation of fuel is one of the silent killers of the Caymanian economy and this cancer needs to be cured. I implore all of you to call your elected legislators and demand they bring legislation to regulate fuel in these Islands. While you are also at it, demand that some level of consumer protection be implemented to ensure that the savings are passed on to you, the consumer, by the retailers who are blaming their high prices on high utility bills. We need to allow people to save for their future and retire with some level of dignity without turning to government for help.

Today – let us ensure that we start down the path of building a Cayman that ensures our personal financial freedom and prosperity – tomorrow.

One love. Walk good.

Chris Saunders

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