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Roget warns: Gas hike will have ripple effect
President general of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) says Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar was ill-advised once again on the premium gas-hike issue. Speaking yesterday at OWTU and the Co-operative Credit Union League of T&T’s post-budget forum at Paramount Building, San Fernando, Roget warned the increase from $4 to $5.75 per litre would have a ripple effect on the economy. Saying it was incorrect to say that an insignificant number of drivers would be affected, he said owners of Mazda 3s, Tidas, Lancers and other such cars who were encouraged to use premium fuel would feel the pinch.
He said Finance Minister Larry Howai’s “broadbrush-type” announcement that an inter-ministerial team would be set up to tackle the rest of the subsidiary was a clear indication the Government did not intend to stop there. He urged against the approach that “is them BMW fellas, them Audi fellas or them Mercedes Benz fellas so we not bothering with that.
“It is going to bring hardships across the country, both in terms of increase for the travelling public, the motoring public, and by extension it will have ripple effect through the economy in terms of prices. I guarantee you that,” he added. On the removal of VAT on food items, he said the union was waiting to see how it was going to affect the pockets of the ordinary people, since VAT on basic food items already had been removed.
He also responded to claims by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan at the pre-budget rally in Chaguanas on Saturday that Labour Minister Errol McLeod, a former OWTU leader, should be embarrassed because the OWTU had joined the PNM. Referring to the Section 34 fiasco, he said: “Our strategy always is not to divide ourselves, not join the PNM but come together on one particular issue on a principle to deal with those who are corrupt in the Government in T&T.” He vowed that the OWTU would not allow the issue to die.
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