US says St. Kitts and Nevis Citizens helping Iranians evade sanctions

“Both parties (Rubis and the JGRA) agreed, in the meantime, that the status quo governing the business relationships between Rubis and its dealers would remain unchanged,” a release by the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy & Mining said yesterday.

The JGRA, in its compromise, agreed to suspend protest action pending the outcome of Government’s intervention in the matter, while Rubis agreed to withdraw the imposition of the new terms imposed on its dealers, which were scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2015.

The JGRA said in a release yesterday that, following meetings with the minister and Rubis, Paulwell agreed to act as mediator in the matter and he is to meet again with Rubis on January 9, 2015 to continue mediation.

All current arrangements with Rubis and its dealers are to remain unchanged during mediation, the release said.

“I’m pleased that there is a cessation on the part of Rubis to implement new contractual terms,” Paulwell told the Jamaica Observer after the meeting. “The agreement is that those that are already abiding by the new terms will continue, and those that have not signed on to it their situation has been preserved, so they will continue [as is],” the minister said.

He added: “We are going to be doing some other work in the period up to the 9th of January when I will again meet back with Rubis. During that time, I expect to get a detailed submission from the member council for Rubis dealers on the issues.”

The main issues of contention include:

* the full implementation of a new electronic payment system;

* revision of the franchise fees; and

* the application of a prepayment policy.

On Monday, members of the JGRA, demonstrated outside Rubis’ Rockfort headquarters in East Kingston in an effort to get the company to roll back the policies that gas retailers said will hurt franchise owners financially.

The placard-bearing demonstrators lined the both sides of the road, airing their grouse about the policies which they described as “unfair and unreasonable”. They had threatened to further protest action until Rubis decided to roll back the new policies.

Rubis dealers complained Monday that, in addition to an increase in franchise fees, they were being asked to make payments in US dollars, while fuel would have to be paid upfront payment in cash before petrol delivery, which they said would eliminate the credit system.

Retail manager for Rubis Raymond Samuels, in a release after the demonstration, dismissed claims that dealers are asked to pay franchise fees in US currency. He said that franchise fees were often indexed in US dollars, but that dealers were never required to pay in US dollars. “All franchise fees are invoiced and paid in Jamaican dollars,” the release said.

At the same time, Samuels said that the granting of credit to dealers would be considered on assessment.

JGRA President Leonard Green said Monday that the changes would negatively affect the dealers.

“The (Rubis) dealers will obviously not be able to survive under these terms. Our role is to protect Jamaican entrepreneurs and keep them in business and to protect the workers. Quite a lot of them are being exposed. In the event that their businesses fail, the workers are also exposed,” Green said, adding that trade unions which represent gas station employees were on board with the JGRA on the matter.

A Corporate Area Rubis dealer, who gave his name only as Robert, said that the company was already getting credit from the Jamaican Government, through Petrojam, which he said should be extended to franchise dealers. The majority of gas stations dealers, he said, are over 65, and purchasing petrol for cash would make it difficult for them to remain in business.

 




US says St. Kitts and Nevis Citizens helping Iranians evade sanctions

Amongst the persons accused, said the US Government, are citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis. It did not name these nationals.

But the US also added that those accused of helping Iran convert various currencies into hundreds of millions of US dollars also include Iranians and citizens of Afghanistan.

This latest release brings back into focus the much publicized Citizenship by Investment Programme of St. Kitts and Nevis, especially the hotly debated and controversial SIDF option offered by the government. Recent months have featured much discussion across political party lines about actions by the Canadian Government, which dropped St. Kitts and Nevis from its short list of countries whose citizens were not required to obtain visas to enter that country.

There was also an advisory issued earlier in the year by an agency of the US Government warning its business sector about dealings with persons who are nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis and especially those whose place of origin could not be verified.

Both the US and Canada had indicated that some persons holding St. Kitts and Nevis passports were believed to be involved in terrorism or to be supporting terrorist organizations. Both Canada and the US also have bans on Iranians entering their countries. St. Kitts and Nevis however, has had Iranians participating it its CBI Programme though the Government in Basseterre has now also banned Iranians from their programme.

Though some in the opposition in St. Kitts and Nevis have sought to make a connection with the programme and the recent announcement by the US, the Americans did not specify the place of origin or birth of those St. Kitts and Nevis citizens said to be involved.

The speculations are rife however that they are economic citizens who became nations through the CBI Programme.

 

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