Skerrit says his government will import petroleum if Rubis leaves, and will not give in to ‘extortionist approaches’

A Rubis gas station

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit is assuring the public that if Rubis West Indies Limited Dominica is to leave our shores, his government will step in and import petroleum products into the country.

The company distributes petroleum and aviation fuels, LPG and lubricants at several service stations throughout the country.

Earlier this month, Dominica News Online (DNO) received and published a copy of a letter sent to members of staff dated August 16, 2021, informing them of the company’s decision to temporarily withdraw its services, pointing to a loss of earnings for nearly five years.

Effective September 16, 2021, employees will be laid off for three months as Rubis, which has a network of nine service stations in Dominica, suspend their sale of fuel and await word from the Government which could affect the company’s future on the island.

When questioned on the status of negotiations between his government and Rubis during a live interview on DBS Friday morning, Skerrit revealed that the company had written to the Minister of Trade, Ian Douglas, some months back, and copied him in the letter, but he responded to the company himself and expressed his disapproval.

“I wrote back to them and said to them, look, this is a sovereign nation, you don’t speak to our people of Dominica that way and I instructed that they withdraw this letter to which they did,” he informed the nation.

According to the Prime Minister, who is also Minister for Finance, the petroleum company has been asking for a price increase, but he argues that given the price build-up mechanism that determines the final price at the pump as well as the wholesale price, his government is not paying the company less than what they pay for the gasolene, as they allege in the letter.

“Now, the question which Dominicans must ask themselves is, we have Rubis, we have NP, we have West Indies oil, we have Petro Caribe; the only company that is behaving in the way that they are behaving, is Rubis,” Skerrit stated.

He continued, “What they want is an increase to offset what they claim to be a loss or less profit. So it’s not that we pay them less than what they pay for the gas. Because when you look at the price build-up, you have a lot of variables that determine the final price and when we did the maths in terms of what Rubis is asking, they are asking for  $1.76 more per gallon on the price of petrol.”

The prime minister disclosed that “out of good faith” the government has offered an increase in the in-transit fee as well and an additional offer of 0.23 cents while awaiting the audited statement from the company.

“I have said to them, look, give us 12 months, this is a difficult period for everybody. I don’t think anywhere in the world, including Dominica, we can pay more for petroleum products, it’s already 13 dollars. Let’s work with this 23  cents plus the increase we gave you on the in-transit loss and then within 12 months, we can continue negotiations and see if we can give you more…but it appears that Rubis wants all of this done at one time and it is not going to happen,” he maintained.

Skerrit speculated that the various letters sent out by the company may have been political pressure on his government, but such will not happen.

“You’re not going to force the government’s hand and believe that you can use all sorts of extortionist approaches to get to the government,” the prime minister cautioned. “And if Rubis goes, then I am saying to the people of Dominica that  the government of Dominica, the treasury will import petroleum products.”

He called on the management of the company to accept his government’s proposal and take it “step by step” as this should not be a case where the company wins but the people of Dominica are impacted in the process.

He questioned if those who are calling for the government to budge on negotiations with the company, would be willing to accept the $1.76 price increase.

The Prime Minister stressed that his duty and obligation are to ensure that the Dominican people are protected while putting into place policies and systems to ensure that an investor who invests money in Dominica can make a profit and can survive.

He suggested that the company reduce non-essential expenses to save money and not go through with the decision which will impact staff while waiting on his government for at least the next 12 months.

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37 Comments

  1. Isaac Baptiste
    September 3, 2021

    Reduce govt tax on fuel. Pass the reduction to the importers and retailers. The price at the pump will not increase. Importers, retailers and consumers are the ones enjoying the reduction. Jobs are saved. This is the simple solution a caring GOVT would and should embrace

  2. Richie
    August 31, 2021

    What I don’t understand is this. Why are everyone saying that Skerrit is rich, Skerrit has plenty money, etc. But how could the prime minister of Dominica be “rich” on his yearly income? His salary is not that big! This is what puzzles me. Dominica pm is filthy rich?? On that small Dominica income? Are the people of Dominica lying on the pm??

  3. Concerned
    August 31, 2021

    Fuel prices have doubled in the US since the election, a MUCH larger increase than this.

    • Economist
      September 1, 2021

      I guess we should also assume Dominicans are getting paid the same salary as in the US? SMH

  4. If we knew better
    August 31, 2021

    “I wrote back to them and said to them, look, this is a sovereign nation, you don’t speak to our people of Dominica that way and I instructed that they withdraw this letter to which they did,” he informed the nation.

    Skerrit, they are not speaking to the people of Dominica, they are speaking to you, the Minister of Finance. You are the one setting the tax rates that ensure the government makes more on petrol than the merchants. So stop acting like all this is not your fault.

    People, i have said it before, the cost of living is going to be risen exponentially. Tie all you waist. Find work for all you to do, because not only will the shelves have less items, but there will be less employment available and things will cost more. All you see what COVID doing the world? ok. Dont say i didnt tell you.

    As far as RUBIS goes, i support them on that movement. Too long have we allowed this government to do what they want. They want to act like private sector, let CBI buy gas for us it…

  5. The Crow
    August 31, 2021

    I’ve realized that the government is in a “do it, I get castigated”, “don’t do it, I get castigated” situation. Meaning, allow the price hike, they will be blamed, import fuel, they will be blamed. What do Dominicans want? Sigh!

  6. Jonathan Y St Jean
    August 31, 2021

    The company wrote to the minister of trade and copied to Skerritt. Yet more proof that we live in a dictatorship, a one man kind of place, we haven’t heard from the minister of trade but from Skerritt. Remember he told the bus drivers that ” no one will hold a gun to his head” then he was calling for Hambag to come talk to him. This guy is just a loud mouth who has been allowed to think that he’s all powerful. Why can’t the minister of trade say exactly what Skerritt said? Is it that the minister is a reprobate and doesn’t know nor understand the issue? Even then he has a permanent secretary and other staff in the ministry of trade who can elucidate on the matter. Skerritt needs to just shut up a bit and let those ministers getting paid by taxpayers do their jobs and if they can’t then reduce the size of the government ministers and party larkeys warming seats in the bloated government.

  7. Da Girl
    August 31, 2021

    So I’m here reading and thinking ok well Skerro looking out for my pocket cause $13.00 is a lottt of money to pay for fuel already. If they approve that increase you telling me that I will be paying close to $15 a gallon 8-O 8-O . So me with myself checking well ya I on Skerro side on this.

    But to my surprise I’m reading comments which chastising Skerro for fighting to keep fuel prices low and about CBI money and 64,000 palace. I not getting none of that good time but bonjay I happy to keep my $1.76 in my pocket eh oye. So I will support Skerro on this. NO increase. Things already hard enough as it is. If Skerro approve that increase is more blows again…you just cannot please people. Once people don’t like you, you can bring down Jesus Christ, you wrong sooo… No increase please and thank you.

    • RandyX
      September 5, 2021

      Don’t just look at your pocket. Look at the bigger picture and you’ll find the answers. Of course Skerrit supporters only concerned about their own pocket. To hell with the country…

  8. Tt
    August 31, 2021

    And let guess, you’ll sell at a loss to keep your supporters happy? Sounds like what failed state of Venezuela did. Difference is they have huge reserves. You have no idea how to run a business and have absolutely no idea how to run a country. The reason you’re still in power is simply because those who see your rubbish have all fled the island, leaving you to lead the blind and gullible. Quite simply. Government has no business being in the gas station business.

  9. August 31, 2021

    Again my people I have reiterated this over and over. No matter how a liar talks the truth, he/she still cannot be believed. Why? We all know the answer. King Liar ‘s statements sounds like a bull. He pretends to be so macho as if he is going into a boxing ring. He has demonstrated this attitude so many times on many Dominicans e.g. man like Letang who just bow down and say, ” Oh the meeting was good” et. etc. This liar has no respect and as for shame, that’s not part of him at all. He is literally running Rubis so as to open his gas stations on other peoples’ names. He and others (to numerous to mention) are notorious frauds. cheats and scams.

  10. Ibo France
    August 30, 2021

    If Rubis shuts down, more of the working poor will join the growing line of the unemployed. Does Roobin’ Hood care? Not one iota.

    He and his not too bright wife pocket approximately $90 ooo each month from the treasury . Dominicans outside his Cabal could go and suck salt.

    It truly baffles me as to how an unintelligent, uncaring, unthinking narcissist like this guy could be chosen to take up the position of Prime Minister after the death of his predecessor.

    What were his colleagues thinking? All those Cabinet members that voted for him should be dragged before a court of law and be charged with treason.

    The man is eminent!y unqualified to even sweep the office floor of the Prime Minister. He has absolutely no self awareness nor love for his suffering fellow countrymen and women.

    Dominica is complete!y saturated with all sort of negative issues due to the folly of one imbecile.

  11. Truth
    August 30, 2021

    I’m sure this was not how he said what he said to the company.

  12. zandoli
    August 30, 2021

    The government cannot meet its obligations to pay housing and tuition for students studying in the US, but they can find money to import petroleum products? What happens when another hurricane strikes Dominica? Is he going to use the hurricane as an excuse for a fuel shortage?
    It is never a good idea for the government to try to run the public and the private sector at the same time. This is not an Eastern Block communist country.
    Cuba has central planning of the economy. How well are they doing?

  13. Roseau River
    August 30, 2021

    If/when Rubis leaves our shores how soon is the government planning to begin importing fuel to D/A? We heard the same tune when Ross left D/A…there is another school in the works to take their place… Up to now we still waiting

  14. Alleyne
    August 30, 2021

    I am totally disappointed with all the media house. Something like that hit the air and not one of them went to rubis. Maybe they don’t want to step on the prime minister foot

    • VereTere
      September 1, 2021

      That’s the underlying problem we face in Dominica but not only with the media. Too many people are hiding in the bushes. I always say that on the journey of life we don’t get to choose if we get hurt but for sure we have a say in who hurts us. That is true for all the citizens of Dominica.

  15. Gwadada
    August 30, 2021

    Leave the company alone. We can pay a little more to keep them afloat. Cut down on fast food and put your money elsewhere.

  16. Flyingroach
    August 30, 2021

    Stop bullying them. We the citizens can pay a little extra. All u have to do is cut back on the kfc and put your money elsewhere. Not like I use petroleum though lol

    • Don't care
      August 31, 2021

      Who feels it knows it! You don’t, so hush!

  17. Goldy JB
    August 30, 2021

    Skerrit we know the truth about what a gwan, pay Rubis the money you owe them before you cause more unemployment in Dominica with your dohtish, lying ways. Rubis is behaving differently from the others because is they you owing.

  18. %
    August 30, 2021

    According to Skerrit “” If Rubis leaves, his government will import petroleum””” This is a very arrogant statement made by liar Skerrit. Skerrit what about the unemployment that will be created? Do you care? After all you and your entire family can most likrly bathe with bootled water for several years, but what about those that won’t be able to feed themselves as a result of the accompanying unemployment? Should they come picki crumbs from under your table?? This statement is insensitive and heartless… and can only come from someone who is full of himself…Arrest the pending unemployment by negotiation Skerrit.

  19. smh
    August 30, 2021

    Not going to force the government’s hand? When have we heard this before? Oh, a few months ago with the bus drivers. Days after saying so you were at the table with the bus drivers negotiating. Ehbeh ook bowdell! Is this rhetoric to appease your supporters or is this how this situation will be played out? Time will tell!

  20. RandyX
    August 30, 2021

    Ok, that’s why uncle went to Venezuela the other day when other Dominicans were praying and fasting. The is though, this time around Maduro will want payment in advance for the goods. I’m sure he doesn’t want to write of another US$100million again. I doubt he could afford it. But the question still remains, what happened to the money? I’m sure it was siphoned off at PetroCaribe Dominica. I’m sure Skerrit, Austrie and Denise Charles knew more…

    • If we knew better
      August 31, 2021

      Amen. Not to mention the Chavez US$10 million for the Kalinago. That is an additional 27 million for the first people of Dominica they cannot account for. They say they build the resource center that just watching those people and not being used. Maybe is the chief and the parl rep alone that have the key for there but it starting to need a maintenance. the rest of the 10 million US they say oh they use it after hurricane Maria. End of story. no accountability.

  21. smh
    August 30, 2021

    Not going to force the government’s hand? When have we heard this before? Oh, a few months ago with the bus drivers. Days after saying so you were at the table with the bus drivers negotiating. Look bowdell! Is this rhetoric to appease your supporters or is this how this situation will be played out? Time will tell!

  22. dissident
    August 30, 2021

    I’m sure that is not how Skerrit talks when he doing passport sales!
    Skerrit seems to like dat word….. extortion.
    Interesting choice of words!
    Dat kind of language appears similar to the way Ross was treated.
    We still waiting for de replacement for Ross!
    Skerrit is a total failure!

    • Ibo France
      August 31, 2021

      This guy is not only a colossal failure, he’s dangerous and destructive. Look at all the things he has destroyed thus far.

      Here’s just 2% of them:- agriculture, a grow processing, service industries, national security, electoral system, judicial system, public service, genuine democracy, middle class, integrity, parliament, healthcare (lack of essential equipment & personnel), infrastructure, the entire economy, people’s saving accounts, public library, college/tertiary education and this is only 2% of the damage this man has done.

      Mr. Surfeit is an existential threat to Dominica. The United Nations (UN) might just have to intervene and take over Dominica as the country will soon be designated a FAILaED STATE if Mr. Skerrit continues to illicitly occupy the Office of Prime Minister.

  23. Shim
    August 30, 2021

    He saying if those who are asking for the government to budge on negotiations are willing to accept the $1.76 price increase..why he cannot absorb it himself? With all our CBI money tucked away secretly where a select few can enjoy it? He has the gall to give Rubis advice” reduce non essential expenses to save money,”. A man that has the treasury paying him $64,000.00 a month for living in his own house and still have the treasury paying over a million dollars for building a wall around his house. In no position to talk to Rubis this way. Satan cannot correct sin. Take the beam from your eyes before you attempt to remove the tiny spec from another’s eye.

    • We the People
      August 31, 2021

      And don’t forget – a man that insists on giving all party croonies jobs especially in the public service (Government Printer and Accountant General to name a few).

      And giving all Tom, Dick and Harry duty free vehicles.

  24. Bwa-Banday
    August 30, 2021

    Now this is what I call horse manure!
    How can you owe someone all this money and when asked for it you are literally threatening to shut down their business and have government start ordering fuel? This Dictator is out of control and needs to be reigned in by the people. The Dictator is using the debt owed as a position of strength without considering those who will lost their jobs. This is not a credit card company that you can actually do that.

    Already we dont have jobs and that is what you doing? No man enough is enough. I suspect you want Rubis to leave, have a cabalist buy the assets and start operating under a different name for the interest of others. When is this man going to STOP running jobs away for selfish gains? Up to today we still waiting for Russ replacement. Looks like until we Dcans have some peamah – bonda ma-jack burst and squeezed into our tou-bonda we will let that Dictator do as he likes. Time will surely tell :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

  25. Ibo France
    August 30, 2021

    Robin’ Hood has an eggshell ego which is easily bruised. Every business owner and Dominican should be buried t before him or else. Just do as he says. Don’t you dare to question anything he says. He is the only perfect being on earth.

    Is government good at managing anything? What a pending disaster if he is to follow through with his vain threat of taking control of the local fuel industry.

    How did this supremely pugnacious idiot become prime minister? Monumental and grave mistake!

    For Dominica under a new dispensation to recover from this man’s greed and senselessness, it will take a milennium.

    Dominicans, the man has a trashy mentality. What do people do with trash? Kick it out!

  26. Outside Looking in
    August 30, 2021

    13ec per gallon sound like a lot. Particularly when you look at gas in the USA selling at around 9ec per gallon.

    BUT how much of this 13ec is import duty, Road tax, environment tax and what ever other creative charge that the goverment adds on? How much does Rubis actually get for a gallon?

    • AllDonkey
      August 30, 2021

      Fuel cost $4.398 US (11.86 XCD) per gallon in California, and $3.10 US (8.04 XCD) in Phoenix, Unlike the USA Dominica dont have a pipeline and so will need to to import by tanker then truck to the stations that cost in addition to tax levies will make it seem unreasonable.

      Capitalism should be allowed to take it due course, and people will decide to purchase elsewhere if they so choose to, the government of a democratic country normally would not get involved in such matters.

      Extortion is the practice of obtaining something Money or Wealth through force or intimidation.

  27. Freestyle
    August 30, 2021

    Roosevelt ‘Maduro’ Skerrit, imperial leader of Dominichina, figures out a way he can increase his personal coffers – by becoming a petroleum importer. I guess passport sales have inevitably hit the rocks and his financial ship ‘The Corruption’ is slowly sinking.

    • Waiting For Airport
      August 30, 2021

      I suspect is dat dat happening dere… bankrupt Rubis, then take the business for himself. That is a PM all you have D A dere wi. Alas

    • Annoyed
      August 30, 2021

      Who talks like this…my god

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