Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 2nd 2013 Contents A44
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt June 2, 2013
ST VINCENT---Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gon-
salves says implementing a fast ferry service in
the southern Caribbean is a risk the private sector
must take, with government assistance.
"This is not as easy as some people think. It is
a lot of money which is involved. In fact, the reason
why you haven t had it, despite all sort of efforts,
is because it is a difficult proposition," Gonsalves
said at the 43rd special meeting of the Council for
Trade and Economic Development (COTED) that
ended here late on Wednesday.
But Gonsalves, who has lead responsibility for
transportation in the Caribbean Community (Cari-
com), said that regional governments can help pri-
vate investors by offering them various conces-
"These are easy things for us to do. We do that
in St Vincent and the Grenadines," he said, adding
that ferries registered and operating here are import-
ed tax-free, pay no tax on their earning, and there
is not value-added tax on the service.
He said that when a ferry operator imports a
vessel, they are only required to pay a four per cent
Customs Service charge.
"So when (businesspeople) talk about a fast ferry
service,...I say by all means, register the vessel in
St Vincent and you get all these concessions and
we can work out with all the other countries to
get these concessions. And we can provide the port
facilities," he said, adding "and I use this platform
to invite investors who want to get involved to do
it".He, however, said that people discussing a fast
ferry service often want governments to fund at
least a six-month trial run. He said only Trinidad
and Tobago among Caricom countries has such
resources. "So, it really is going to be up to them
whether they are going to fund it," he said, adding
that a six-month trial will cost about five million
US dollars. (Caribbean360)
CARACAS---With shortages of everything from
staple food items to toilet paper raising a stink
in Venezuela, the government may soon find itself
facing the wrath of God---or His representatives
on Earth---as supplies of Communion wine and
wafers dwindle with no apparent salvation in
The Catholic Church says it is running out of
wine to celebrate mass because of nationwide short-
ages of basic supplies, with the scarcity of some
products forcing the country s only wine maker to
stop selling to the Church.
"(Our supplier) Bodegas Pomar have told us that
they can no longer make wine because they re
facing difficulties," Church spokesman Monsignor
Lucker told BBC News.
Monsignor Lucker added that they had enough
supplies for just two more months, and he did not
know if the Church could afford wines from abroad.
The problem didn t end there, moreover, with
the spokesman indicating that Communion wafers
were also in jeopardy.
"The makers of consecrated bread have told us
that they ll have to raise prices because they can t
find enough flour. Wheat is not grown here; it all
comes from abroad," he explained.
Paradoxically, the country with the largest proven
oil reserves in the world endures a level of shortages
unimaginable in far poorer Caribbean countries.
Venezuela relies heavily on imports, but currency
controls have restricted its ability to pay for foreign
goods---just one reason for the shortages.
Economists also blame Venezuela s shortages on
price controls, initiated by the late President Hugo
Chavez, to make goods affordable to the poorest
people in society.
Minister holds up a
communion as mass
is celebrated at a
Catholic church in
officials say food
causing a lack of
to celebrate mass:
altar wine as well as
wheat to produce
The spinoff has nevertheless led to coun-
try-wide shortages of staple items, with
Venezuela s "scarcity index" currently at
21 per cent, which means that out of 100
basic products, 21 aren t available in stores,
BBC News noted.
Supplies of milk, sugar, cooking oil, but-
ter, flour, and corn flour are among the
many staples affected, as is a range of per-
sonal hygiene products, leaving the belea-
guered Venezuelan people to make do and
often go without. (Caribbean360)
Toilet paper stink gives way
to mass mess in Venezuela
'Fast ferry service needs
private sector investment'
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