Fuel smuggling remains one of the most troublesome areas for the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA). And its sister agency in this fight, the Guyana Energy Authority (GEA), appears to be of little to no help.
This was revealed by GRA’s Commissioner General, Godfrey Statia.
During an interview with the Guyana Standard, Statia lamented the fact that the revenue authority is not getting the physical support it needs to impede acts of smuggling.
He said, “Fuel smuggling is rampant in Guyana. You would be amazed to know the people who are involved. But we are not getting the help we need from GEA. Just about two nights ago, a vessel called the Morning star was unloading 500 000 gallons of unmarked fuel in the Berbice river. My officers called me and alerted me to it. When I tried to get people from GEA it was difficult. I tried to get people from coast guard and they were reluctant to go.”
The tax chief added, “Now my officers had to go and risk their lives during this exercise. I am now forced to see how we can source the necessary things to fight fuel smuggling because we are virtually fighting this thing alone. And it is not fair to us. I am tired of it.”
Statia said that when the unmarked fuel was seized and he began the process to collect the fines, that is when GEA wanted to be present in the operation and cash in.
The Commissioner General added, “Yes, their Minister (David Patterson) wrote mine (Winston Jordan) to see how they could work together to cut in on the fines we are going to collect. That is when they want to step in. But I am not for it.”
Statia said that he is currently in discussions with Finance Minister, Winston Jordan to work out how this matter should be best addressed.