Mon | Jan 21, 2019

PCJ using bully tactics

Published:Saturday | March 14, 2015 | 12:00 AM


It is widely believed that one of the main reasons why Jamaica remains so uncompetitive and unattractive for doing business are the high-energy costs that are involved.

When oil prices rose to well over a US$100 per barrel and gasolene prices and other petroleum products skyrocketed, the Jamaican consumers had no choice but to grin and bear it. Now that the price of oil on the global market has plummeted considerably, the petroleum industry has been raising the price of gasolene, which amounts to a rip-off of the country's consumers.

There's obsoletely no excuse or justification for this - it should be the other way around. What really bothers me is the way the country is accepting this. There should be massive peaceful demonstrations all around the country spearheaded by a coalition of the media, university students and faculty, private-sector organisations, the Church, taxi drivers and other influential groups.

This is clearly not a political issue; it is a national economic issue that affects just about everyone. So why is the country so passive and laid-back? I'm afraid this is the kind of response why the country is in the quagmire its in.

The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica thinks it's some kind of bully trying to intimidate people by saying that if they don't like the way it does business, they should import their own oil. What nonsense! What arrogance!

They're trying to insult the country's intelligence with inaccurate rhetoric and shouldn't be allowed to get away with it. Come to think of it, the Jamaica Public Service Company and the National Water Commission, which buy energy from the same source, had lowered their rates, so the PCJ argument is indefensible.

If Jamaica was the United States, the chairman of said corporation would have been called to testify in front of the energy subcommittee in Congress and grilled and embarrassed.

The first order of business should be the resignation of the chairman of this organisation, who probably thinks he's indispensable. He should realise that neither Jamaica nor his company produces oil. Therefore, the price of oil is set on the world market.

When the price goes up, the consumer pays more; when the price drops, the consumer pays less. Is that so difficult to understand? I shouldn't think so.

Energy prices affect just about every fabric of our lives. Asphalt, heavy fuels and diesel oil to the industrial sector, petroleum products and lubricants to the transport sector and liquefied petroleum gas to the domestic and industrial markets. The question I beg to ask is, who's looking out for the consumers?


Westchester, New York