Minister of Finance Gaston Browne announced a reduction in fuel prices at the pump, on Saturday, July 16, and some residents are viewing the drop as another pre-election gimmick.
Browne says the $17.50 per gallon price of gasoline will go down by 93 cents, while the $17.25 per gallon cost of diesel will be reduced by 46 cents.
The changes are to take effect tomorrow, Tuesday, July 19.
Browne claims he was advised by the West Indies Oil Company Limited (WIOC), last Friday, July 15, that the next shipment of fuel will likely facilitate these reductions.
He says that his administration’s policy is to transfer any savings in fuel prices to the people of Antigua and Barbuda.
However, a resident points out that when oil was at an all-time low internationally, the Browne Administration held onto the considerable savings and did not pass them on to consumers.
According to him, therefore, this declaration must be a joke, because this Government is fooling no one.
Another man opines that the hike in fuel costs, weeks ago, was an election strategy that was designed to please the people when prices were brought back down.
He accuses the Prime Minister of playing mind games, and says he hopes residents will see through these tricks and vote him out of office.
The local prices of fuel were increased by 26% in March to $15.50 and $15.70 per gallon for gas and diesel, respectively.
Then there was a reduction on April 22, when prices went down to $15.15 per gallon for gasoline and $ $15.23 for diesel.
Prices again increased on June 13, when gasoline climbed to $17.50 and diesel to $17.25 per gallon.
Prices on the international market dropped to below US$100 per barrel several weeks ago, and the United Progressive Party has been calling for reductions here to mirror that drop.
The Party noted that fuel hikes in Antigua and Barbuda were swift when world prices rose, but the Government has been slow to reduce those prices locally since the cost dropped.
Many residents, meanwhile, are scoffing at the new less-than-a-dollar reductions and asking why prices cannot be lowered significantly more.