50 years ago: Visiting Parliamentarian dignitaries bypass Bodden Town

In the Nov. 23, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, Bodden Town correspondent Haig Bodden wrote:

“On the 19th of this month a son was born to Mr. and Mrs. Leroy Frederick at the hospital in George Town.

“Visiting at the Bodden Town Manse for two weeks was Dr. A. Allen, who has just completed his medical training at the University of the West Indies Hospital and is expecting to work at the Kingston Public Hospital. With him was Miss Rose Francis, also of Kingston. We are happy that both had an enjoyable time.

“Again Bodden Town has been slighted with regard to the visit of the Parliamentarian dignitaries. It is quite obvious that the programme was arranged so that Bodden Town would be bypassed.

“Of course the reason for ignoring this district is quite blatant. It has been so neglected in the past that it has nothing to show, although we have always been faithful tax-paying underlings.

“But the underlying reason for this … is that the natives do not have enough to say in running the internal affairs of this island.

“Quite often most of the social gatherings are planned by the same little clique, and naturally all matters political and otherwise, if not finalized, are certainly hatched at these revelries.

“How many remember a few years ago when the seat of government was nearly removed to a certain hotel? One should never forget that the greatest mistake any country can make is to give all power to one man, or to one little group of men. The words of the great Lord Acton are just as true now as when they were first used: ‘All power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’

“Can anyone who voted for the increased duty on gasoline tell the public why he or she considers gasoline a luxury, and why the import duty should be raised at every wink of the eyelash?

“Please do not use your former excuse that gasoline is cheaper in the Cayman Islands than it is in England or Jamaica. Remember that Cayman is devoid of public transportation, no buses, no trains, no subways.

“It is true that people who live in George Town do not need automobiles. They can ride a bicycle or walk to work. It is not so with people who live in the Eastern Districts and commute daily to George Town to earn a living. These people have only one means of transportation – privately owned automobiles.

“The world market price of commercial automotive gasoline is roughly 10 cents or 9 pence per gallon. Added to this, the consumer has to pay for all shipping charges, import duties and of course the dealers’ profits. The new tariff on gasoline is 6 pence/gallon, plus 30 shillings per 100 gallons for tonnage tax, a total of 10 pence per gallon. It is therefore an indisputable fact that the custom dues are higher than the first cost of the commodity.

“No other essential commodity is taxed that high.

“When the tax on gasoline was increased in Britain some time ago the British taxpayer raised such a storm of protest that the leaders were fearing a new election would be called.

“When an Englishman talks against tax increase, one can bet his or her bottom dollar that the rate levelled has been inequitable. But in Cayman the same segment of society pays and continues to pay blindly at the hands of merciless exploiters, while a select few just go along for the free ride.

“Finally, to add insult to injury, the legislators in the same bill increased the tax on motor vehicles, proving again, that they are only capable of thinking in one direction.”

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the all-access pass for the Cayman Compass.

Subscribe now


  1. Cayman Compass, can you give the name of the person that said these words in this article 50 years ago .
    I think that the person that said those words had so much insight , and honesty , and integrity that he or she should have been given a special award , and these politicians today should be ashamed of themselves.

    I also think that these politicians should not be owner or partner of the gas stations on the Island, because this is what this person was referring to 50 years ago. Can anyone give the reason why gasoline and automobile import duties are so high ?