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Mar 9, 2018

P.M. Hopes Venezuela Gets It Together on Fuel

For those worried about imminent increases at the pump, the Prime Minister quickly said that lesser used fuel oils, including kerosene, are the products affected by the G.S.T. re-balance. But with the recent troubles with Petrocaribe shipments, P.M. Barrow is still uneasy about the fuel situation, though he is still willing to work with Venezuela.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Fuel oils, which are fairly similar to diesel – in fact, we think that in some cases, people mislabel the diesel – those are being brought in line with diesel, so they will pay the same taxes as diesel. These are the heavy duty oils – nothing to do with regular and premium.”

 

Reporter

“What about the Petrocaribe matter and them fulfilling Belize’s quantities?”

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“That continues to be a challenge, but I’m determined not to let go of them, because it would seem to be rank ingratitude. Clearly for them, if we announced that we were terminating the program, they would see that as a political body-blow. And so unless there is absolutely no other option, I don’t want to do that and I won’t do it. They do make every effort to satisfy the orders. We all know that part of their difficulty is the sanctions regime that the U.S. has placed on them. I think Belizeans, being so very much a fair-minded people, will understand that there are these inconveniences we have to put up with, and from time to time, their short-shipping or not being able to unload the ship when it does come in or it comes with a full load, does cause PUMA to have to try to, on an emergency basis, purchase replacement fuel, which costs if you don’t pre-plan. And certainly the transportation costs go up. I have to know that ultimately, I can’t ask the Belizean people to bear the burden of increased prices as a consequence of those difficulties. But if somehow we can manage to carry it along for a while more, I think we have to do that. And as I said, I think that people understand that the Venezuelans have been so very good to us, that it would really have to be a last-straw type of situation before we would cut them off.”

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