ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, Sep. 7, CMC – Leader of Government Business in the Lower House of Parliament, Gregory Bowen, on Friday told legislators during the monthly sitting of the house that Grenada and other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states will soon have increased prices for fuel and other products that were supplied by Trinidad and Tobago’s oil refinerary PETROTRIN.
Earlier this week, officials at PETROTRIN, defended the decision to end the company’s oil-refining operations, saying that it is undertaking a restructuring exercise aimed at curtailing the billions of dollars (One TT dollar=US$0.16 cents) in losses.
Petrotrin supplies refined products such as gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel to other countries in the region including Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada and St Lucia.
“Antigua for example only has storage for six months,” he said without informing the House about Grenada’s storage capability.“As of October 1 we will have to source from other suppliers,” Bowen told the House while pointing out that Petrotrin supplies 70 per cent of the region’s needs and although some have storage facilities, the storage will only be for a short period.
Bowen said that CARICOM as a body is dealing with matter urgently and regional Governments have decided that they will work together to ensure effective benefit for all financially. “CARICOM decides to go into this together, so, for example, we will be buying in bulk,” he told the House.
“We are not comfortable with this development, but we believe we will be able to solve it together,” he added.
Since the announcement about the closure of Petrotrin, companies which supply energy products in the region have written to CARICOM governments seeking the removal of the External Tariff because of the cost it will have on supplies coming outside of the region.
“Trinidad has not objected to this because it cannot supply to the market, so it can be done, the removal will be done,” said Bowen who further informed the House that purchasing from outside of CARICOM will result in increased prices for gas and other products that were supplied by Petrotrin.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, recently announced that a decision had to made to shut down Petrotrin’s Point-A-Pierre Refinery because the company has become a drain on the treasury rather than a contributor because of outstanding debt.