UNIPET wants to obtain its own license to import fuel.
Since the state-owned Paria Fuel Trading Company Limited has ceased to supply the privately-owed company with fuel, UNIPET has raised a number of concerns including the impact to the company’s 600 employees now that UNIPET’s 24 filling stations have closed.
Chief Executive Officer of Unipet Dexter Riley said, “A solution to this dilemma can be for Unipet to have a licence from the minister to import fuel for the public good in times when Paria cannot intentionally or unintentionally supply.”
Riley believes that preferential treatment is given to National Petroleum (NP) who supplies the country with 70% of its fuel while Unipet supplies the company with 30%. He said the shutdown would see long lines at NP’s gas station as they struggle to deal with the demand for fuel.
Riley said he had previously sought to obtain a bunkering license but was told by the Ministry of Energy that they were not issuing licenses. Yet, he says, NP has a licence.
In light of Paria’s treatment, UNIPET has decided to take the company to court. Both parties were scheduled to meet today but the matter was rescheduled.
UNIPET submitted an affidavit challenging Paria’s decision, and the matter was expected to be opened in the Port of Spain High Court late Friday. But it was postponed because of what was said to have been a court decision to switch judges for the conduct of the case.
A second judge, a female, was said to have been assigned to the case, and arrangements were said to be in place for hearing this morning. But what has been described as other administrative adjustments caused another postponement of the matter.