Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 2nd 2015 Contents A22
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, November 2, 2015
AL-HAAQ BBQ is hiring Customer Service Attendants
Cashing and taking orders in person
Taking call in orders on the telephone
Maintaining a clean surrounding
Personal Attributes we look for:
Must have a pleasant disposition and previous
Customer Service experience
Must have high energy
Responsible, Industrious and Ambitious
Must be able to work holidays, weekends and nights
And able to work in a team
AL-HAAQ BBQ CARIBBEAN LTD
57 Montrose Main Road, Chaguanas
1-868-672-2903, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com
Applicants are also required to send a copy of the application to:
The Chief Manpower Officer
Ministry of Labour and Infrastructure Enterprise Development
Duke Street Port-of-Spain, Trinidad W.l
NEED FOR POPULAR
CASINO IN TOBAGO
Call Tel: 631-2002
The world s cheapest fuel and foreign currency
shortage combine to make Venezuela a living
museum for classic American cars, rivaling Cuba.
Venezuelan vehicles are from a different era than
the pre-revolutionary cars cruising around
Havana---they are more 1970s and 1980s.
Many of them are beat up and in need of obvi-
ous maintenance. I m talking about maintenance
issues like doors that don t have locks. Instead,
they are kept shut with a string. I came to think
of them as coffins on wheels.
The irony is that while foreign exchange
restrictions mean that only the well connected
Venezuelans can afford to buy new cars, nearly
nowhere else in the world can one find the
money to drive these V8-powered gas guzzlers.
In Venezuela though, gasoline is free. That s
right, free. It doesn t cost anything. One liter of
gasoline costs Bs 0.07. At the black market cur-
rency price of 650 Bolivars to one US dollar, that
is 0.0001 per liter. If you round that off, it adds
up to nothing.
Like with any product, if you don t give it
value, it will be wasted. That is just Human
Behaviour 101. Rather than invest in new and
fuel-efficient (with airbags!) vehicles, cheap fuel
directs consumer behaviour towards driving the
biggest vehicle possible.
The economic result is that buying a new vehi-
cle is all hypothetical because the country has
gone bust trying to pay for the subsidy, which
was estimated to cost about US$50 billion in rev-
enue and lost foreign exchange earnings before oil
and gas prices took a nosedive.
Venezuela is an extreme example but in T&T
fuel subsidies consumed TT$19 billion between
2011 and 2015.
That money could have been used to pull the
poor out of poverty. Poverty reduction is always
mentioned as the reason for fuel subsidies but the
evidence is that they cause more harm than good.
Subsidies start as an attempt to shield citizens
from inflation and price hikes. Those are noble
intentions but the road to failure is paved with
Subsidised fuel is a failed policy. It consumes
huge amounts of government budget; distorts the
economy and steals from investments in more
productive spending such as education and
Cheap fuel means more climate-changing CO2
emissions and more people killed by air pollution.
Subsidising fuel reduces investments in renewable
energy and mass transport.
Poverty is eradicated by investing in people, a
T&T holds the embarrassing distinction of being
one of the few countries in the world which still lists
all our bats as vermin. Contrast this with the US and
Canada, where they are celebrating Bat Week from
October 25 to 31.
Many people also have an irrational fear of bats,
mainly due to misinformation. Bats are not vermin,
they are not to be feared, and the benefits of bats far
outweigh the conflicts we have with them.
I like to think of bats as the night shift. All of the
services we get from birds during the day, we get
these from bats at night. One study suggests that
bats eat so many insect pests in the US they are
worth $3 billion per year to the agriculture industry.
Bats pollinate many fruit trees we enjoy, and,
since they often carry fruit away from the parent
tree, are instrumental in seed dispersal. Bats can also
be important contributors to the tourist economy, as
exemplified in Austin, Texas, and also by the Tamana
Caves in Central Trinidad.
If bats are so great, then why are many Trinbago-
nians so archaic in our thinking? There are two main
species in Trinidad which give all bats a bad name.
These are the vampire bats. At one stage, there was
a rabies outbreak in Trinidad spread by vampire bats.
We are partly to blame for this outbreak since these
bat populations grew out of control with the intro-
duction of readily available sources of food in the
form of cattle.
Since this outbreak, the populations of vampire
bats have been kept under control such that the
chances of a person contracting rabies today from a
bat are minuscule. As a matter of fact, research con-
ducted from 1971 to 2010 on 3,838 vampire bats in
Trinidad indicates that only 0.03 per cent examined
carried rabies. This means that beyond the remote
chance of a vampire bat biting you, there is very little
likelihood of you contracting rabies from that bat.
Bats have also been classified as vermin as they
are often unfairly accused of damaging crops. Re-
search the world over shows us that bats often
times focus their attention on over-ripe fruits which
are rejected for human consumption.
Admittedly, bats can be a nuisance if they take up
residence in your house. Again, we are partly to
blame for this, as we are the ones who have en-
croached on their habitat. Bats do not create nests in
houses, and do not chew through cables.
Given their value to us, I would like to plead with
people to humanely remove bats from their property.
For advice on this, as well as information on the
amazing bats of T&T, you can go to
Bats are in trouble the world over. It is time for
T&T to recognise how blessed we really are to have
about 70 species providing us with benefits. These
animals should be protected, and I hope that the
powers that be evolve in their thinking immediately
and remove them from the vermin list.
Luke Rostant, PhD,
Co-ordinator, Diploma/MSc Biodiversity Conservation
and Sustainable Development in the Caribbean, UWI
INVEST IN PEOPLE, NOT FUEL TANKS
good business environment and
infrastructure. Filling up cheap at
the fuel pump does not add to pro-
To add insult to injury fuel subsi-
dies benefit the rich more than the
poor. There is actually a transfer of
wealth from the poorest to the
wealthy. It is a reverse Robin Hood
So why do countries like
Venezuela and T&T continue to fol-
low this policy? Maintaining fuel
subsidies is a political decision, not
an economic one.
Politicians know that reducing fuel
subsidies means immediate pain for
citizens. If poorly planned a subsidy
removal can result in a shock effect,
primarily a shock to popularity but
in extreme cases in civil unrest.
The doublesnomics that increased
the price of a doubles by $1 had
nothing to do with the fuel compo-
nent in the price of a doubles. That
is miniscule. But it reinforces the
fact that a lot of what drives con-
sumer behaviour is non-rational and
Citizens must trust that a smooth
transition is planned. The best way
to create this trust is to start imple-
menting traffic solutions immediate-
ly.Is T&T ready to make a break
with fuel subsidies?
Finance Minister Colm Imbert has
put it on the agenda. I urge him to
make use of present low energy
prices to abandon the fuel subsidy
on gasoline within this government
Minister Imbert says that a mass
transit solution will cost between
$10-$15 billion. The fuel subsidy can
pay for that within 10-11 years.
Mass transit can only work when
commuters have an economic incen-
tive to use it. It cannot coexist with
There is no time like now. At
present oil prices, premium gasoline
will be cheaper if the market price
is charged. Super and diesel will go
up to somewhere between $4 and
$5.Some will be hurt by even a $1
per day increase in the cost of liv-
ing. When oil prices were high their
taxpayer s dollars fuelled the vehicles
of the middle class and the down-
the-islands boats of the wealthy.
Fuel smugglers became instant mil-
lionaires. A system of targeted wel-
fare will benefit them. Maybe a
travel card that can also be used in
maxi taxis or increased spending on
social services, health and education.
That is what the poorest need.
Fuel subsidies increase inequality
and do not make the poor richer.
Invest in people, not fuel tanks.
Remove bats from
the vermin list
MARC DE VERTEUIL
A Ford F 150 pick up truck photographed in Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela.
PHOTO: FORD PICK-UP
Links Archive November 1st 2015 November 3rd 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page