Nov 18, 2008 News
Following the lowering of gasoline prices at the Chicoramas Fuel Station at Non Pareil, East Coast, Demerara, the owner of the gas station, Christopher Satyanand, said that yesterday at approximately 11:00 hours four men, armed with shotguns, entered the gas station and forcibly readjusted the prices on his gas pumps.
This comes after the gas station was visited by officials from the Guyana Oil Company (GUYOIL) on Wednesday last. They reportedly told Satyanand that if he did not raise his price in keeping with that of GUYOIL, they would remove his two remaining pumps.
The gas company had previously removed two of Satyanand’s four gas pumps after GUYOIL claimed that he had not reached the volume of sales necessary to have four pumps.
“They say they are going to shut me down if I don’t change back the price to $171 per litre, because it’s gonna cause a political uproar in the country. I told them that I cannot do that, because it’s gonna be false advertisement on my behalf; and the people want to save a dollar, so we’ve got to help them save that dollar,” Satyanand explained.
Satyanand had lowered the price of gasoline at his gas station last week to $772 per gallon, some five dollars less than GUYOIL. When he did this, he explained that although he was cutting his own profit margin, he was doing so in order to reach the small man’s pocket.
Satyanand explained that the armed men simply walked into the gas station and forcibly changed the prices displayed on his gasoline pumps. He added that they also changed the pass codes on the gas pumps so that he could not change the prices back after they had left.
“When these guys (GUYOIL staffers) just barged into my gas station, with guns, they made me feel just like a criminal. It’s like I am some kinda thief,” explained Satyanand. He added that he was just happy that there were not many customers on the premises at the time, as the incident could have seriously defamed and blemished his character.
In response to the forcible reduction of his gasoline prices, Satyanand has said that he plans to start making a quick average when customers purchase gasoline, and give them some additional gas in lieu of the forcibly raised gasoline prices instituted by GUYOIL.
“If they (customers) come in for $2,000 gas, then I’ll put in $2200 or something like that,” explained Satyanand. He added that the forced increase also throws his plans for a “gasoline happy hour” into chaos, as the calculations involved would be too time consuming, since drivers and commuters all have schedules to keep.
The management of GUYOIL could not be reached for a comment yesterday. The management staff was apparently engaged at a meeting.
Under Satyanand’s management, the Chicoramas Fuel Station had planned to further lower the price of gasoline from $772 per gallon to $771per gallon between the hours of 5:30am and 8:00am and from 16:00 hours to 18:00 hours daily. This was planned to come into effect some time this week, but due to recent events, Satyanand has said that this will no longer be possible. Customers had enjoyed the reduction in fuel price at the Chicoramas Fuel Station, and had applauded Satyanand for doing so. They have said that the Government should not discourage owners from dropping prices if they want to.
When they heard of yesterday’s happenings, the customers were outraged. “It makes no sense, if he (Satyanand) is buying the gas from them (GUYOIL) at their price. How is it any of their (GUYOIL) concern at what price he sells it back at? If he wants, he should be able to give it away. He bought it, after all,” one customer said. “If he wants to make a loss, then let him. It’s his money.”
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