PETROL STRIKE FOR EASTER WEEKEND? Operators say they are struggling to survive as fuel costs increase

(stock photo)

(stock photo)


Tribune Chief Reporter


THE leadership of the Bahamas Petroleum Dealers Association is trying to ward off a planned Easter weekend strike by around 80 percent of operators who say their businesses are struggling to survive the economy compounded by the rising cost of fuel.

Vasco Bastian, the association’s vice-president, told The Tribune yesterday that while he and the BPDA’s president were against any strike action this week, the majority of operators were agitating in favour of the move as it has become increasingly challenging to buy fuel in large quantities.

He said the incensed operators were also of the view that the government was benefitting the most in the current climate, while suggesting that they wanted a margin increase since last receiving the same several years ago.

It comes as the cost of fuel at the pumps at all gas stations has surpassed $6, the direct effect of the sanctions from the war on Ukraine by Russia.

 “During the last several weeks we have been tracking the fact that the price of gas is rising on the world market as a result of crude oil prices and the dealers are seeing that it is more expensive to purchase the fuel,” Mr Bastian said in an interview yesterday. “The concern that they are having is the fact that the rising cost it’s going to become very challenging for dealers to purchase fuel and so I have been encouraging them to reduce their quantity in order to sustain the economy and sustain the various sites collectively.

 “I have been encouraging them to do that to remain open so that they can operate and stay open.

 “Some of them are being challenged because of the high cost of fuel and so they are agitated and they are really upset at the fact that the government makes all of the money for fuel and they are saying if the government is making all the money from fuel, then what should we do?

 “Some of them suggested that we should strike and I told them striking is not the solution. I think we should sit down with the government and have a discussion and come up with a very intelligent solution so that the government can continue to operate as they do in the policy making capacity and dealers continue in the manner in which they do and they said the rising cost in electricity, the rising cost in minimum wage from $150 several years ago to $210 now, along with the government’s proposed livable wage increase and then NIB contributions that went up in the last less than 10 years ago.

“Then they said the margin increased several years ago, how are we supposed to survive if we cannot even buy fuel so I said striking won’t resolve that.”

 He continued: “So, I have been trying to be the voice of reason for the dealers in the last several weeks and I am not a supporter of striking because you are going to inconvenience bus drivers, boat operators, the general motoring public.

 “With the rising cost of fuel if this continues to trend up, on the retail side we might have gasoline at $8 at the pumps by summer. At that rate I don’t know if you will have any gas stations in The Bahamas open.”

 As it stands Mr Bastian said operators are eying the Easter holiday weekend to take action, although he remained optimistic that this week all parties involved would begin to hash out an amicable agreement for all sides.

 He said the situation has led to a view from some that self-service gas stations may be the way some operators choose to cut costs, adding it was an option to maybe incorporate it a few days per week.

 Asked whether the government had agreed to meet with the group, Mr Bastian declined comment saying he did not want to get ahead of anything that was to come.

 No government official could be reached for comment yesterday.


M0J0 1 year, 5 months ago

While I sympathize with the operators closing is not the best option a smarter one will be sell out your reserves and do not purchase until the government either drops the taxation or provide relief, but on the flip gas is essential.


sheeprunner12 1 year, 5 months ago

Importing cheap cars and gas may seem to be a bad thing to many, but it is CA-CHING to the Government ................. Another cruel way that the Government has squeezed the small man unmercilessly through taxes, VAT and the PEPs who benefit at the top.

That is why the Government will drag its feet to do any form of taxation or public transport reform.


bahamianson 1 year, 5 months ago

The gobment takes all of that profit and also charges VAT. They charge upon a charge. That is insane. All they seem to do is wait for someone to start making money , then tax them on their idea. The gobment is lazy with no plans to make money otherwise taxing everyone else .


tribanon 1 year, 5 months ago

While Minnis was an incompetent, authoritarian, sinister and evil tyrant to say the least, Davis easily takes the cake when it comes to being the most downright heartless, unmerciful and cruel PM our country has ever had. Davis should have long ago announced a Gas Tax Holiday through the end of 2022, recognizing that many financially strapped and struggling Bahamian families are now having to do without food and medicines to buy a few gallons of gasoline in an effort to keep their low paying jobs. Really sad!


John 1 year, 5 months ago

DURING THE PANDEMIC GAS was in the $3.26 range. There was so much excess fuel, of all types, that the oil companies were giving it away. Now the price has doubled and the service station operators are threatening to strike. Of course, no one goes into business to lose money or even to not make a profit. Other industries are also affected, like airlines, trucking companies, public transportation, and fishermen. . BUT THE LATEST Information is that gas prices are supposed to start coming down over the next few weeks. Some say the inflation prices are not just due to the interruption in the supply of fuel caused by the Ukraine-Russia war, but also due to the large excesses of cash being dumped into the global economy as the world rebounds and people return to work, and some semblance of normal life. The greatest concern for the near future is that the current hyperinflation will drag the economy into a recession. Not only will persons not be able to afford the hyper-priced items but many will cut back on spending to protest the high cost of living and resent the fact that they are not getting value for dollar.. When the consumer cuts back on spending, the producers will have to cut back on production. Persons get laid off and some businesses close down. Even government sees a reduction in its revenue vis a vis taxes and may also seek to lay off workers and also reduce the goods and services they provide to the country.


Bahama-Sam 1 year, 5 months ago

The Bahamas has its own oil, but it's having to import it because of some lunatics misinforming the people


tribanon 1 year, 5 months ago

You deserve the "Misinformation of the Day Award". LMAO


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