The fuel surcharge consumers pay as part of their electricity bills does not include diesel used at the Argyle international airport construction site, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves says.

“For that to happen, it will be illegal,” Gonsalves told Parliament Tuesday while responding to a question from Opposition Leader, Arnhim Eustace.

He said the law is clear that the fuel surcharge is calculated using only the cost of diesel used to generate electricity.

Gonsalves said he has heard senior people in the Opposition saying the diesel used at the airport is hurting poor people because it is included when calculating the fuel surcharge.

“It is just plain wrong,” he told legislators.

He further said that at VINLEC power plants in the Grenadines, if diesel is used re-fuel vehicles, it is subtracted from the computation of the fuel surcharge.

“So we must not continue to speak these falsehoods. I know the questions you ask you are seeking an answer. But before the answer comes, the modus operandi is to run the propaganda, a whole set of lies, then come to seek the truth. It is just wrong,” Gonsalves said.

He further said VINLEC charges the International Airport Development Company (IADC) the full cost of the diesel it supplies.

“There is absolutely no subsidy by VINLEC to the IADC. Again, that is another falsehood that the reason why the fuel surcharge is so high [is because] VINLEC [is] subsidising IADC,” Gonsalves said.

He said that some people oppose the construction of the EC$652 million airport so much “they find every species of falsehood to try to pull down this project, as if it doesn’t belongs to St. Vincent and the Grenadines”.

Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Energy, said that Petrocaribe supplies VINLEC with fuel and pays for the diesel used at IADC.

“Every month, IADC is supplied by VINLEC with diesel to the extent of EC$350,000 to $400,000, … and at any one time, you will find IADC owing VINLEC but you will find always that VINLEC owes Petrocaribe more.” (EC$1=US$0.37)

He said that in May, the IADC owed VINLEC EC$$5.1 million but VINLEC owed Petrocaribe $10.6 million.

“So, what happens, they exchange a cheque. In fact, VINLEC benefits because VINLEC holds Petrocaribe money a little longer and therefore they can keep it in the account and get a little money from it,” Gonsalves said.

3 replies on “Electricity surcharge doesn’t include diesel used at Argyle airport, PM says”

  1. Both myself and others who knew that Diesel fuel belonging to VINLEC was being used to run all the plant, machinery and trucks at Argyle airport. I myself have written on numerous occasions asking about how this was being paid for and did it inflate the bills of electricity users.

    VINLEC as a company is obliged to earn a profit on anything that it does, anything it buys to re-sell, its overall profitability must affect the price of electricity.

    If VINLEC sells diesel to IADC without profit, doesn’t that mean the company is making a a trading loss on its dealings with IADC, that must mean that the electricity users are in fact being short changed, because if there was a profit on the sale of diesel that would help to reduce the cost of electricity.

    When IADC is owing VINLEC $5 million dollars, doesn’t make payment for months and years, doesn’t that mean again a loss to VINLEC. It doesn’t matter that VINLEC have a deal with PETRO-CARIBE, that is VINLEC’S business, sooner or later they will have to repay that, it doesn’t excuse IADC not paying its fuel bill on time.

    The problem is you have a man that doesn’t understand capitalism, a fiscally ignorant Marxist, who thinks that its all government money, so inter-department or different and unconnected government corporation profits between those corporations and entities do not need to exist.

    Never has anyone, from the government or VINLEC ever acknowledged that what I wrote was true, false, no comment whatsoever. I believe now they have had time to get their books in order, get a good story going, they now find time to make an answer in parliament. Its taken them years to give any sort of answer or acknowledgement.

    I am sorry but I just cannot accept what the PM has told us, because in the past he has told us he sometimes tell lies. He is a liar! I have no way of knowing truth from falsehood, so I just assume that all that he says is untrue or at the very least, part true or misleading.

    Sooner or later we will have the opportunity to send forensic auditors and accountants, only then will I believe the figures and doings of this government.

    What we must also remember is that the airport project started out as a ULP project. The initial trucks and plant being shipped to the ULP from Panama and Miami. Supposedly paid for by Venezuela, the deal if there was actually was a deal, predates ALBA. Those vehicles and machinery was taken to Argyle dressed up in ULP party colours, not the Vincentian national colours, no national flags, just red flags flying, with a host of people including the comrade dressed in red.

    The airport was kept outside of the control and oversight of parliament. We were told that when it was finished it would have cost the taxpayers nothing and that a collection of countries described as the coalition of the willing would pay for the airport with money, goods, plant, machinery, equipment, planning, labour and technical assistance. We were also told that some government land would be sold.

    We were never told that every piece of valuable land in the Grenadines would be sold, robbing the islanders of future family expansion, their future progeny raped of their rights to live in their homeland, their place of birth.

    We were told that the Venezuelans would pay the wages for Cubans employed at Argyle, Cubans are lovely people, but they were given the jobs that belonged to Vincentians, I suppose we accepted that situation because we were told that they were costing nothing, paid for by the Venezuelans. Well, even after Gonsalves was questioned in parliament he said the Venezuelans owed us some millions for the Cuban wages. Later he told us that the Venezuelans did not owe us anything, a complete about turn on his part, I therefore assume that the original story was a lie. It turned out there was no contract for them to pay, there was no letter of intent, and can you believe this is coming from a man who claims to be one of the Caribbeans best attorneys, Ralph E. Gonsalves an expert in drafting agreements.

    Now, when the coalition of the willing turned out to be unwilling, Gonsalves started to bring the project back to parliament. Now he is panicking and decides to borrow money for the project, something that he never before mentioned before, taking loans to continue with the work.

    The country is so badly affected by the drain on it from the airport project that we are teetering on the edge of default on our loans. The country is bankrupt, and we are trading whilst insolvent.

    I hope no one now says it wasn’t a ULP project, because yes it is, 3 weeks ago I went to the airport site and took photo’s of all the trucks and machinery. There are stickers on windscreens and bumpers, “I AM LABOUR” “VOTE LABOUR” and several other red stickers announcing ownership as the Unity Labour Party. They are still attached to those vehicles, go and look for yourselves.

    Every week more and more business’s are closing down, cutting their work force, even government agencies and departments are hit, sending people home, some from spite and malice and some because there is no money to pay them.

  2. I smell some jail time somewhere around the corner for various department heads, of course the good lawyer will clear himself and a directive phone call is not a signature. Is some million$ missing somewhere and is a mad scramble on to get them to pay up some debts?. Homes in SVG have no choice, pay Vinlec and eat less/very little or eat as normal without electricity in the home. Businesses also have no choice, keep staff and shut down or layoff staff to pay Vinlec. With the situation in Egypt now oil prices are sure to climb again and families on the edge of paying their Vinlec bills will surely fall off now.

  3. Buccament bill is $300,000 a month, the government uses more than them and never pays its bills, does that effect the electricity surcharge?

    How do we know if thats the truth, I cannot accept the word of the PM, because he told us he tells lies.

    Can we have a statement from the CEO of VINLEC, something we can use against him legally in the future if it turns out to be a lie.

    Isn’t it dreadful when you can’t believe a word that a man [or a woman] says, I just hate it. My mother told me, never tell a lie unless it will directly save your life or someone else’s.

    I have tried to live to that standard, that’s why I just hate people who lie to me.

    Then along comes one of the worlds biggest liars and lies to the whole nation, lies about just everything. Can you understand how distressing that is for me to watch over the years?

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