PRESIDENT general of the Oilfields Workers' Trade Union (OWTU) Ancel Roget has accused the Government of trying to hoodwink the population into believing the increase in the price of premium gas would only impact a small segment of the population.
Roget predicted that the price hike will cause an increase in expenses for the motoring and travelling public.
Speaking at the OWTU post-budget breakfast forum in San Fernando yesterday, Roget said, "The Prime Minister was ill advised into telling the nation yesterday that a very insignificant number of persons will be impacted by the increase in the price for premium unleaded gasoline."
He said, "The fact is that the person who sits behind the wheels of a Mazda 3, who sits behind the wheels of a Tiida, who sits behind the wheel of a Lancer, a Mazda ... notice I did not call Audi, BMW or Mercedes Benz, but most of those vehicles which were encouraged to go environmentally friendly and use premium unleaded will be faced with an increase in price of fuel this morning. So don't get caught up that it is only for the BMW, Benz and Audi drivers."
Minister of Finance Larry Howai announced in his budget presentation that the price of premium gas will increase from $4 to $5.75 a litre.
Roget said the removal of Value Added Tax on basic food items was also an attempt to fool the nation.
And he cautioned ministers on attacking the OWTU.
"We join arms with the honourable Basdeo Panday when we say nobody will attack the OWTU and go unscathed. We caution the Attorney General and all the flag- waving ministers who waved the flags when he commented on the OWTU (at the People's Partnership pre-budget rally at Mid-Centre Mall, Chaguanas, last Saturday). Those who seek to destroy the OWTU will only end up destroying themselves," he said.
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan had accused the trade union of joining the People's National Movement (PNM).
Roget also said, "The issue of Section 34 is not going away until we see the backs of Jack Warner and the Attorney General.
"The position we have taken is one of principle that says if something is wrong and someone is speaking out against it ... and if that someone is one we were against in general ... it does not mean we will remain silent and not speak out against it. Our strategy was not to join with the PNM, but come together on one particular issue of principle to deal with those who are corrupt in the Government of Trinidad and Tobago."