MINISTER OF MARITIME AFFAIRS and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey on his way to the House on Monday.
(Picture by Reco Moore.)
FISHERMEN should not expect an ease in diesel prices, says Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy Kirk Humphrey. He was responding to questions posed as the Estimates debate continued in the House of Assembly yesterday. St Philip West Member of Parliament John King had pointed out that fishermen in some parts of the parish had complained that they were paying 30 per cent more for diesel since being unable to buy it from the Bridgetown Port. Humphrey stated that when the fishermen engaged him about the fuel tax, saying they did not use the roads, he was at pains to explain to them that it was not a replacement tax for the road tax but a tax on fuel. He added the matter was raised with the Prime Minister, when those workers asked to have the amount of taxes lowered. “Maybe, maybe not. We are in the middle of a IMF programme and that has consequences. I’ve asked them to understand that all of us now must carry a bit more of the burden because the fact is, Barbados is in a position that is very precarious. If we try to do too much too soon, we would dislocate a very delicate balance,” Humphrey said. He explained there was one rate at the regular pump, a lower one at the markets and an even lower one in the Bridgetown Port, but that latter was changed when Sol discovered it had made a mistake and adjusted the rate. “No fisherman is being banned from accessing the Port, but because there is no change in price, there is no need to go into the Port,” he said, adding that part of the solution was to make renewable energy the way forward. ( AC)