Local September 10, 2019 | 3:16 pm

HAITI: Despite the arrival of more than 258 thousand barrels; fuel crisis continues

Port-au-Prince, Sep 10 (Prensa Latina) A week after the arrival of more than 258 thousand barrels of fuel, the crisis in Haiti continues today and the long lines in the pumps.

Although unlike previous weeks, the stations sell fuel, demand has increased in most cities with the restart of the school year, and activities in public and private institutions, which were paused by the summer stage.

With this increase, the irregular sale of fuel in the parallel market also grows, often with “astronomical” prices, Johnson Louis, a motorcycle driver who works as a taxi in the capital, told Prensa Latina.

“I had to raise the price of the tours because the gallon of gasoline almost reaches one thousand gourdes (about 11 dollars) and that people do not understand,” he lamented.

Since the end of August the new fuel crisis began, the price of its irregular sale doubled and even tripled, which in turn raised the costs of basic services such as transportation, which is in the hands of the private sector.

Amidst the tense situation, complaints from citizens also proliferate, accusing those responsible for suppliers of retaining the products and then selling them on the black market.

Recently, the prosecutor of this capital, Paul Eronce Villard, recalled that speculation and the black market are punishable by law, and indicated that clandestine storage or refusal to sell outside the forms prescribed by legal provisions are punishable.

Violators can face prison sentences of six months to three years and fines between 500 and one thousand gourdes (between five and 10 dollars), the lawyer reiterated.

However, David Turnier, president of the National Association of Distributors of Petroleum Products, criticized that the gas stations become “scapegoats,” and accused of holding fuel for subsequent resale.

“I think the government and importers should sit down and explain to the public exactly what is going on,” Turnier told Le Nouvelliste newspaper and regretted that gas stations do not receive the amount of fuel they require to supply the population.