Guyana’s biggest fishing company, Pritipaul Singh Investments (PSI), is insisting that the decision by the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) over the weekend to seal two vessels with fuel was a mistake.
Officials of the company, which has operations at McDoom and Providence, East Bank Demerara, made it clear yesterday that it has concession agreements with the Government of Guyana, through the trawler association for fuel.
The fuel is for use on the trawlers and the generators of the two fishing complexes.
Over the weekend, GRA officials, as part of a crackdown on illegal fuel, visited the McDoom facilities where after inspections, sealing two fuel boats.
Yesterday, PSI insisted that sealing of the boats does not mean that the fuel was illegal. Rather, it was sealed pending checks.
According to Deputy Managing Director, Vishnu Panday, the company, which has to comply with international standards, has been strict with its commitment, ensuring that fees on fuel, as required by Government, are paid.
In fact, the company tendered several receipts, issued by the Guyana Energy Agency, which shows that for the year, almost $9M in charges were paid.
In addition, whenever fuel comes, GRA is notified via what is known as a C-28 reporting form.
According to the fuel agreement signed between the Government of Guyana and Guyana Association of Trawlers Owners and Seafood Processors (GATOSP), for the year, 2017 and 2018, the fuel concession arrangements for fisheries date back since April 2005.
The agreement allows for trawlers to purchase fuel and use it and also for specific vessels to transport it to Guyana.
The agreement made it clear that the fuel is to be used for power generators in the fishing business and the production of ice.
The agreement made it clear, also, that the fuel cannot be sold.
The agreement also allows for fisheries and trawlers that are authorized to be granted three months to submit documentation.
PSI officials yesterday said that despite this clause, the boats were nevertheless sealed.
The fishing companies and trawlers are mandated under the agreement to submit to Government quarterly projections of the quantity of fuel to be used.
The agreement said that all vessels other than authorized imported vessels are strictly prohibited from storing in excess of 10,000 gallon of diesel on board.
According to officials, the company has a huge demand for fuel monthly, up to 600,000 gallons.
Any lapse in shipment can affect production and lead to losses.
The company, with 2,000 employees, and $6B in purchases of supplies and services from local companies annually, can ill-afford such negative publicity.
In fact, they said, the US market which is strict, could be in jeopardy now.
PSI operates up to 60 trawlers and is said to be the largest fisheries in the Caribbean and Latin America.
The company has markets not only in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean, but major ones in Europe and North America.
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