Premier Wayne Panton announced in Parliament on Friday that his PACT government is bringing forward initiatives to assist Cayman Islands residents struggling to cope with the sharp increases in the cost of living.
Panton announced on his official Facebook page: “The sharp increases in the cost of everyday essentials such as electricity, gasoline and food are driven by external factors; factors outside of the Government’s control. However, where we can provide some assistance or relief, we will.”
He said that one of the main initiatives “is to help offset the increase in residential electricity costs driven by the recent spikes in fuel prices.”
“We know that for most families, after the rent or mortgage, the electricity cost is one of the single largest expenses they face each month. We also know that fuel prices rose steeply and this is causing electricity costs to rise sharply.”
Panton added that the PACT government has agreed with the main utility providers to setting aside more than CI$5 million to help families across the three islands with fuel price driven increases in electricity in July, August and September – the hottest months of the year and when electricity consumption is at its highest.
The assistance will be for residential customers only, Panton said and capped at consumption of up to 2,000kwh per month, which will help some 22,000 households.
He added: “We will be finalising the details with the two utilities companies and rolling out a more detailed announcement the week of 20 June. We continue to be people-driven Government and we will always put the people of the Cayman Islands first.”
Panton later listed the “measures taken by the PACT administration that lowered costs to assist our lower- and middle-income bracket families, our senior citizens, and post-secondary students:
Free School Lunches for all primary and secondary students in
all public schools saving Caymanian families hundreds of
dollars each month
Removed the import duty on certain food items and essential
family items such as feminine hygiene products and baby
Continued the Displaced Tourism Worker Stipend for another year
Provided financial support to employees who had to quarantine as unpaid leave
Provided financial support to small and medium sized businesses to help protect business assets until the economy recovered
There were several other policies he listed.