(Trinidad Guardian) Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine is describing the illegal bunkering of diesel fuel valued at over TT$1.5 billion as economic genocide. And, while the diesel, believed to be part of a racket in which fuel is bought at subsidised prices and sold on the high seas at market value, Ramnarine said evidence is being gathered “with the view of making a case” against the perpetrators.
Ramnarine said research is showing that the cost of a litre of diesel in T&T is TT$1.50. He said, “If we convert the Guyanese price to the pump to TT dollars per litre, it is somewhere in the region of TT$6.30. That differential is what would incentivise criminal activity.”
Since the discovery of the diesel leak, Ramnarine said, the authorities have been unearthing more information. Ramnarine said the penalties in the Petroleum Production Levy and Subsidy Act need to be reviewed.
“I will be holding discussions with the AG with the view of putting harsher penalties in place. Because, in my view these people are conducting economic genocide of the country.” Ramnarine said the TT$1.5 billion loss could have been used in the country’s development.
“These people, very selfishly have created this criminal empire and are frittering away our diesel.”