No one spoke to us about gas rebate

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Fishermen get set to cast their net at Grafton Beach Tobago. – File photo/David Reid

The All Tobago Fisherfolk Association (ATFA) says the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) should have consulted the association before deciding to relaunch the National Gas Rebate Incentive.

On Friday, the Department of Marine Resources and Fisheries of the Division of Food Security, Natural Resources, the Environment and Sustainable Development issued a statement saying it is seeking to relaunch the National Gas Rebate Incentive Programme on May 31.

The department said the programme is designed to compensate registered fishermen for fuel and oil required to ply their trade.

It said the rebate on gasoline used in fishing vessels will be 12 cents on every litre. Diesel used in fishing vessels will attract a rebate ten cents. Oil used in fishing vessels will have a rebate of 75 cents on every litre.

But speaking to Newsday on Friday, ATFA president Curtis Douglas said while he has seen the statement, the association was not consulted about the initiative.

“It is just so indisciplined of them not to notify ATFA.

“But that’s okay. We would have been the ones advocating for it for all of these years. They had it there and nothing was happening,” he said. “We went to the media. We wrote them about it.

“So just sending out a media release is kind of disrespectful.”

He said while the association is grateful for the rebate, 12 cents on every litre of gasoline used on fishing vessels would hardly suffice.

“Do the maths,” he said. “How do you expect to pass that 12 cents on to the consuming public?”

Douglas also wondered if the rebate would be paid retroactively “for all those years that they haven’t been paying, and the negligence of the fishing department.”

He said fishermen in Tobago have not received a rebate in over eight years.

“Trinidad was getting rebate, but Tobago was not getting none. So where does that leave us?”

To qualify for the rebate, the department said in the statement fishermen must be registered. Vessels and engines must also be registered, it added.

The department said fishermen must also present a completed quota card (including supporting documents) as well as a receipt from a recognised fuel station. Only specified fuel stations are authorised to issue receipts.

Authorised stations:

Canaan NP Gas Station

Carnbee Gas Station

Plymouth Gas Station

Orange Hill NP Gas Station and Quik Shoppe

Taxi Corp. Gas Station – Scarborough

Roxborough Quick Shop

Romeo Bro’s Ltd – Roxborough

Romeo Bro’s Ltd – Charlotteville

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