McKeeva Bush, the MP for West Bay West, called into Radio Cayman’s Off The Record Show today (May 26) and said that he is bringing a motion to the next session of Parliament to address the “high cost of living” and “banking cost.”
Concerning the cost of living and banking costs, Bush said:
People [are] having a very difficult time. And the very poorest in Cayman. They can’t pay a loan now. They [are] coming to MPs asking for assistance. To help pay insurance, to help pay loans. It is tough. People are having it tough. Government now has to do something. It can’t be just talk.
Bush brought the point closer to home when he discussed his personal experience upon receiving a notice from a bank to increase interest rates (Cayman banks customarily increase their borrowing rates following announcements by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System to increase the interest rate on borrowing in the United States- the most recent increase was by a quarter of a percentage point, effective from May 4, 2023).
Concerning this, Bush said:
When I received my notice two nights ago about an increase, I wrote to them and said “can you tell me why… why are we putting up because they put up.
It’s not costing the banks any more.
And unless the banks have to borrow… Government has to take the bull by the horns.
At this time, Government needs to stand up and say enough is enough.
Regarding the steps that Bush thinks the Government must now take, Bush confirmed after the show that the content of the proposed motion to address the next steps is as follows:
Whereas the Cayman Islands are experiencing a tremendously high level of cost of living;
And whereas the Banks here has increased their loan and mortgage rates several times recently;
Be It Therefore Resolved that govt meet immediately with the local Banking and money lending institutions to discuss reducing interest rates immediately and not increasing interest rates for the next 24 months;
And Be it further Resolved that Govt amend Legislation to establish an interest rate setting body.
Bush confirmed that the motion was moved by him and seconded by MP Christopher Saunders, the representative for Bodden Town West.
When show host Orrett Connor asked Bush whether he had canvassed other MPs to get an indication of support for the motion, Bush said:
I haven’t canvassed as such…
I don’t see anybody knocking this because this is a serious matter what is happening with the interest rate… and it could lead to people defaulting on loans. That is the danger in all of this.
Members of the public now look forward to the next session of Parliament, which Bush expects to be held on June 6, and where he expects the motion to be passed to provide some relief to residents, especially low-income people, that Bush appears to be concerned about.