Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 24th 2014 Contents Ecuador faces overhaul,
Bolivia struggling too
August 24, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
From Page A42
Hyman has no choice but to
depend on the Jamaica Urban
Transit Company (JUTC) to take
him to the Kingston Public Hos-
pital (KPH) for his daily medical
But having been told that he
will be required to pay a 200 per
cent increase in his fare, the
retiree faces the harsh reality of
having to choose between meals
and paying for transportation.
"Every day is two bus mi have
to take---one from Seaview Gar-
dens to Half-Way Tree and one
from Half-Way Tree to KPH,"
Each trip on the JUTC for
Hyman costs J$20, but as of Sun-
day, he will have to pay J$60,
making the round-travel from
home to the hospital and back
J$240 per day.
Transport Minister Dr Omar
Davies said the increase was nec-
"Despite the achievements of
the JUTC and the additional sup-
port provided by the Govern-
ment, the company continues to
lose significant sums as revenues
continue to be outpaced by
expenditure," Davies said.
Twelve months ago, the JUTC
was rolling out 240 buses and
earning J$240 million per month,
and as of April, the company,
with an increased fleet of 400
buses, was earning J$366 mil-
lion---J$100,000 less per month,
The Government has pumped
J$2 billion in budgetary support
into the JUTC in the last year.
From today, adult passengers
will be required to pay J$120, up
from J$100; and fares for stu-
dents and the disabled will be
J$30, up from J$20.
The increase represents a 500
per cent rise in senior citizens
fare since 2003.
Over the same 11-year period,
the fare for children and the dis-
abled has risen 400 per cent,
while there has been a more than
300 per cent hike in adult fares
over the period.
Economist Ralston Hyman
described the manner in which
the increase was finalised and
communicated to the public that
it was bad economic policy, bad
social policy, and bad strategy
that might backfire on the JUTC.
"Our commuters will find
themselves in a position where
their standard of living will con-
tinue to deteriorate.
"So if they have to pay more
for bus fare on shrinking income,
they will have to buy less food,"
It is a situation that Augustus
Hyman is likely to have to deal
with. The elderly man told The
Gleaner that he leaves his house
at 5:30 am and often returns
home late in the evenings.
"Sometimes mi deh hospital
whole day without eat, and you
have to have money else you
dead fi hungry because the doc-
tor naw come look at you before
12 or 1 o clock.
"Sometimes mi deh dere until
hospital lock," he said.
Because of the fare hike,
Hyman said he might have to
stay home and allow his ailments
to go untreated because he has
no financial support system
except his pension, which would
not be available before Septem-
"I don t have any pension
now...so somebody have to help
me out...Only God...Mi have to
put God in front of everything,"
(The Gleaner, Jamaica)
Seniors dread 200 per cent bus fare hike
But that does not appear to be the case for coun-
tries turning to the open market, some for the first
time in years, according to documents seen by
Though governments and state-owned companies
do not publish data from tenders held in the opaque
world of crude trading, intermediaries say the pur-
chases---which tend to be very expensive---are on
State-run Argentine energy firm YPF is now
buying on the open market a significant portion
of its diesel and fuel oil needed for power generation,
tender documents show.
That has raised the cost of electricity subsidies
even as the country again fell into a debt default
"Argentina has agreed to pay this year up to
US$20 per million BTU for LNG imports versus an
international price of $16-18," a trader said.
"But consumers don t notice it because of the
Venezuelan supplies have even declined in coun-
tries where PDVSA owns refinery assets, such as
Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, exposing
them to intermediaries.
Ecuador, facing a prolonged overhaul of its main
refinery, has bought more than 70 cargoes of naph-
tha and 30 diesel cargoes so far this year after an
exchange agreement with Venezuela fell to 2,000
bpd last year from 49,000 bpd in 2008.
Bolivia is also struggling. It used to get most of
its diesel from Venezuela, but those shipments have
slipped and Chile is now its main supplier.
Not all countries have suffered declines, however.
Shipments to Cuba and Nicaragua, two of
Venezuela s closest allies, have held strong---a com-
bined 130,000 bpd in 2013, PDVSA says.
Widening agreements with China and generous
financing schemes have created a cash flow problem
for Venezuela, which is struggling with inflation
above 60 per cent and chronic product shortages
as a result of insufficient hard currency.
In those circumstances, the oil deals with allies
look like a luxury that Venezuela can ill afford,
especially as some countries, such as Haiti and
Nicaragua, have missed payments even after
Venezuela forgave some debts. (AP)
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