All-Tobago Fisherfolk Association president Junior Quashie has described the 2018/2019 fiscal package presented by Minister of Finance Colm Imbert on Monday as ridiculous.
In an interview with Tobago Today following the Budget, Quashie said the one-dollar increase to Super gas has put a strain on fishermen, who have been absorbing the costs following previous increases
“It is very ridiculous, normally we would buy a container of gas, eight gallons for $140 and now it’s $178.00. It also puts us in a position where we have to hold our heads and bawl very badly, because at the end of the day we still have to buy gas, we have our families to take care of, we have our instalments to pay and nobody seems to care and bear in mind fishermen in Tobago do not get gas rebates, so all the money we spend nobody gives us back a cent,” he said
Quashie said, while the association is yet to meet to discuss the matter, fishermen believe they were given a raw deal and consumers should brace themselves for a rise in fish prices.
“Some fishermen, especially the younger ones, are asking themselves how they would make it. We have tried our best to cope with the rise but the jump is so high they are bawling ...we are going to sit down and think and see how best we could do and see how best we could work with the customers and work around it, so everyone will be comfortable, but everyone should brace for an increase” he said.
He also denied Imbert’s claims that since the cost of diesel remains unchanged fishermen would not be affected. He said all boat engines utilise super gasoline
“The Minister says he didn’t raise diesel so it wouldn’t affect people, that’s not the truth. He didn’t raise diesel but he raise gas and all the fishermen in Tobago who fish depends on that super gasoline, every single one, so the ones who feed the people, you hike the commodity and lash us in our face,” he said.
Quashie also slammed the Tobago House of Assembly and the Fisheries Division headed by Secretary Hayden Spencer for the lack of consultation prior to the Budget presentation.