THE Trinidad and Tobago Taxi Drivers’ Network is the latest organization to call on the government to reverse its decision to further cut the fuel subsidy.
The impact of this decision should take effect on Tuesday with an increase in fuel prices at the pump.
Speaking at a press conference at the Vistabella Community Center yesterday, President Adrian Acosta said the government’s decision was very selfish.
“This will not just affect taxi drivers, it will affect all citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, whether traveling, buying items at the grocery store or in a store,” Acosta said.
Noting that whenever the government cuts the fuel subsidy, it is automatically passed on to the traveling public and also to consumers one way or another, Acosta added, “Today we are here to say that we are not going to accept until the end of the day.
“We are now coming out of a period where we have been very busy for more than two and a half years. We have suffered because of this pandemic and we believe that now that the government is looking to reduce the fuel subsidy even more, it will affect us more. »
Pointing out that some members had to give up their vehicles because they simply couldn’t make their monthly loan payments when the government introduced the 50% capacity, Acosta said, “For two years now, we have been suffering of this government. because of the measures they have put in place for taxi drivers.
He said the network said that if the government had taken the opportunity to cut the fuel subsidy further, it would have encountered some kind of action from taxi drivers. “So we take the opportunity today to call on all of our members, we take this opportunity today to call on the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago to come out on Tuesday and stand with us, to show the government that we are all being negatively affected by this upwelling.
“We tell the citizens of the country that the Minister of Finance said three times that he lifted the gas once, he lifted the gas twice, he lifted the gas three times and no one rioted . But we have to tell him today that we are not rioting, but we are going to take a stand and tell the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago not to hit the road on Tuesday to show the government that you are very disappointed by them that they withdraw this fuel subsidy.
Acosta said the call to stay off the road on Tuesday is not just for taxi, maxi-taxi, truck and backhoe drivers, but for everyone, whether it’s the labor movement, government employees – teachers, police, soldiers, firefighters – they’re calling on everyone to show up because it’s going to hit everyone in their pocket.
“Once you drive a vehicle in this country, it’s going to hit you in your pocket.”
He noted that taxi drivers use high-maintenance vehicles and that everything, including parts and oil, has increased over the past two years.
Holding their hands
“Things have gone up in the grocery store and we have to live like everyone else in this country.”
When asked if taxi drivers plan to increase their fares, Acosta said: “At this time, as the Trinidad and Tobago Taxi Drivers Network, we are calling on our members to hold their hands on the fare increase at this point. on time. Let’s go out and take a stand and let the government know that this decision they are about to make is going to hurt our pockets a lot. Let’s take a stand for the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.
Asked about the potential impact of people answering the call and taking time off on Tuesday, Acosta replied: “When the government removes the rest of the fuel subsidy, it will be for the rest of the year and it will be for the rest of your life, so one more day that the citizens of this country decide to stay at home, I don’t see it affecting anyone.
We’ve been home for two years now, so if it’s that the citizens of this country decide to take one more day off to let the government know they’re disappointed with that decision, I don’t see how it’s going affect this country right now. It will further affect the citizens of this country if the government continues to go down this path by removing the fuel subsidy.
“We have a way out, but we are taking this position because we understand the traveling public is under tremendous pressure at the moment.”
Expressing his confidence in the government hearing their appeal and withdrawing its statement on cutting the fuel subsidy, he said the basis of their appeal is that the country is now emerging from a period where many people have lost their jobs, and where many could not pay their rent.
“There are still a lot of people who haven’t gotten their jobs back and are out of work, so we think it’s a criminal act at this point for the government to go the route of cutting the fuel subsidy. “, said Acosta.