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The administration of Jamaican prime minister Bruce Golding on April 11 caved in to pressure "at the eleventh hour" and rolled back the rate of the ad valorem tax on fuel, the Jamaica Gleaner reported, in an apparent bid to ward off opposition-led national street protests over fuel prices that party officials worried could turn violent. The opposition PNP party wants a permanent cap on the gas tax, as well as the removal of the general consumption tax on electricity, while the administration has pointed out that the increases in the price of fuel were being driven by the price of oil on the world market rather than taxation, and that the fiscal consequences of removing the tax could be severe. Is the threat of social unrest in the next few months over high fuel prices serious? Where is Jamaica's debate over fuel subsidies and energy taxes headed? How are other countries in the Caribbean coping with the problem? Experts discuss what they think about this topic.


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