The group “Cayman is Fed Up with High Gas Prices” is promising renewed protest action in the New Year against the cost of fuel in the Cayman Islands.
Even as gas prices have dipped below the $4.00 mark towards the end of the year, the group’s organiser, George Ebanks, said they would be pressuring government to do more to address their concerns.
“We are dumbfounded as to why we cannot access and enjoy a cost of living savings by lower fuel prices. It is now estimated that a trillion dollars has now been injected into the US economy from savings from fuel. We’re not getting none of that stimulus down here,” Mr Ebanks said in an interview with Cayman Weekly.
He said the date for the protest has not been finalised as yet and added that the group, which he described as “civic-minded”, would have a campaign to drum up support before the event. In October, the group had a much smaller than expected turnout at a march, where a petition signed by around 13.5 thousand people was presented to Premier Alden McLaughlin and Infrastructure Minister Kurt Tibbetts.
“We hope to have a huge crowd and to have a public demonstration, close down the whole of George Town if necessary because of the number of people marching towards the Government Administration Building for them to hear the grievance of the people in regards to cost of living in general but the exorbitant prices of fuel, in particular, which affects all of us.”
The march in October was promoted as being in solidarity with government, which had committed to addressing the cost of fuel through a series of legislative steps. However, this time around, Mr Ebanks said the motive would be different.
“The march that we will be having in January will not be in support. It will be a march of concerned citizens voicing our displeasure at government for not being able to deliver on something which is a very reasonable expectation on the part of the consumer,” he said.
“We are continuing to give government the benefit of the doubt that they can achieve what was said in parliament when the bill was debated by the Honourable Minister [Kurt] Tibbetts that prices will be brought down. At the same time, we’re not satisfied with the actions they are taking and we really need government to come out and explain to the people, in a very ‘sunshine’ way, why we are not able to get the prices that we should be getting.”
Mr Ebanks said the group will also be gauging whether it has the support of the public to have a week, prior to the march, when people would seek to limit their fuel consumption by using public transportation more, riding bicycles and carpooling.
“We’re going to be doing that as a short-term measure to try and put a dent into the sales and let everybody come to the table and give a good, rational reason (including government) as to why we are not seeing low fuel prices,” the activist said.
“Somebody needs to explain why there’s this huge discrepancy in what others are enjoying versus what we have to bear here in the Cayman Islands,” he added, pointing to an average cost of just over US$2 at the pumps in the United States.