Local oil prices not adding up, complains Gibbs-Taitt
Consumer rights advocate Malcolm Gibbs-Taitt wants to know why Barbadians are still paying a high price for petroleum products, even though the international price of crude has fallen.
Gibbs-Taitt, who is the director general of the Barbados Consumer Research Association (BARCRA), said he has been monitoring changes in oil prices over the years only to realize that global decreases were not being passed on locally.
In support of his contention, Gibbs-Taitt explained that on January 5 this year crude oil was being sold at $53.76 per barrel and later dropped a month later to $51.38 on February 7, 2017.
At the same time, the price of natural gas fell from $3.31 per btu (British Thermal Unit) to $3.15.
However, he said during that same period, the price of gasoline rose to $2.98 in Barbados, up from $2.78 per litre while the local diesel price went up to $2.17 per litre from $2.15 per litre.
“It is difficult to understand this increase given that the price of crude oil on the world market does not justify such an increase,” Gibbs-Taitt insisted.
He also questioned why Barbadians were paying more for bottled gas when natural gas was being sold at a cheaper rate.
Complaining that Government was “getting away with foolishness”, the consumer rights advocate said it was about time Barbadians spoke out and let Government know what they are getting is not right.
He also demanded that the Division of Energy gives an explanation to Barbadians as to why the prices were the way they were.
“I am going to ask questions until I get answers. I don’t stop asking questions, but you see, there is a feeling in Barbados by some in authority that the Barbadian consumer must put up and shut up. I don’t agree with that,” he said.
“All I want somebody in position to tell me is why is it that you could lower the price of our gas to $2.78 per litre when you buying Brent Crude at $59.79 and when Brent Crude is at $54.39, you still increase the price.
“It is being sold at the world market at a lower price than what it was when you reduced the price back in January,” he said.
“We are very concerned about it because the Government comes along every first week of the month and makes an adjustment for the gas prices,” he added.