DESPITE pleas made last year about low profit margins at the pumps, the owner of one service station in El Socorro says “very low regulated fuel margins,” were affecting the ability of station owners to employ full and competent security systems, “to respond to the increasingly threatening environment.”

 

This was according to Narendra Maharaj, UNIPET Dealer at the N Maharaj Service Station in El Socorro.

Last week Tuesday one of his employees was assaulted by two men when he told one of them to stop smoking while his friend's vehicle was parked in the station.

 

Two men have since been detained and are now before the courts.

 

According to Maharaj in a statement to the Express: “Gas station owners make very low margins so on every one hundred dollars of super gas sold the service station owner makes a gross revenue margin of $3.95 which is required to fund wages, bank charges and security.”

 

He added that the security cost for an average sized gas station can be an average of $50,000 a month.

“Even small stations handle significant amounts of cash per month and this high cash situation puts added pressure on the need to have security,” he said.

 

He said that as a result service station owners have to organise cash pickup services from security firms to ensure that these funds are safely deposited while at the same time having to provide security to protect their employees and customers.

 

He said that added to their bills were the installation of, “expensive bullet proof enclosures and technical cash transit systems to protect ourselves,” as he explained that gas station owners were at risk of being kidnapped or being extorted which requires them to take personal security measures.

 

Stations are being robbed:

 

Maharaj described that in the past few months, “we have had many stations being broken into multiple times by determined bandits. The very low revenue margins means that ninety six per cent of the money that the stations are required to secure are funds that are owed to other parties mainly Petrotrin and the Government and if a station is robbed then that owner becomes liable for these huge sums.”

He said that one robbery can put a dealer out of business.

 

Violent customers:

 

“The recent unfortunate incident at a gas station in El Socorro highlights this challenge as the CSR is asked to enforce good safety procedures and is met with violence by a belligerent customer so security is needed to protect these workers from ill intentioned/irate customers,” said Maharaj.

 

He added that the reality is that the current margins makes the cost of maintaining adequate security provisions as a necessary financial burden for gas station owners so improved revenue margins are not only required to improve the stock of service stations but to keep up with increasing requirements for more sophisticated security measures.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico's governor on Wednesday announced a historic restructuring of a portion of the U.S. territory's $73 billion debt through courts after negotiations with bondholders failed. The announcement marks the biggest bankruptcy-type process ever for the U.S. municipal bond market.

Gov. Ricardo Rossello said that a federal control board overseeing the island's finances agreed with his request late Tuesday to put certain debts before a court.

"We're going to protect our people," he said hours after the U.S. territory was hit with multiple lawsuits from creditors seeking to recuperate the millions of dollars they invested in bonds issued by Puerto Rico's government, which has declared several defaults amid a 10-year recession.

Rossello said one of the lawsuits sought to claim all revenues generated by the island's Treasury Department for bondholders.

"I'm not going to allow that to happen," he said.

Rossello said the debts of certain agencies will be restructured in court, while others will be resolved through ongoing negotiations with bondholders. He said he did not yet have details on the breakdown of those debts. The island's Electric Power Authority has some $9 billion of debt, the Aqueducts and Sewer Authority has roughly $5 billion of debt and the Highways and Transportation Authority has around $7 billion of debt.

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NASSAU, Bahamas, May 3, CMC – The Bahamas government has signed an agreement with Carnival Cruise Lines for the construction of a multi-million dollar cruise port and destination in Eastern Grand Bahama that Prime Minister Perry Christie said would stir economic activities in the country.

“Carnival has agreed to engage Bahamians in every aspect of construction and development of the new cruise port, valued at US$100 million dollars, with added emphasis on Bahamian participation in the supply and sales of products and services, including retail, entertainment, art & craft, food production, sports and fitness,” Christie told the ceremony.

He said the new cruise port initiative in East Grand Bahama will deliver a cruise port in the traditional sense, but more than that, “its Shore Project will create a new ‘destination’ with a distinctive flavour and characteristics that offer the broadest Bahamian entrepreneurial and employment opportunities, representing another phase in the development of Grand Bahama, as a viable tourist centre”.

He said in addition, Carnival has also agreed to provide employment to qualified Bahamians as crew members on board the corporation’s cruise ships, with positions commensurate to their qualifications and certifications.

Christie said that Carnival currently commands 60 per cent of the global cruise industry of 24 million passengers of which 12 million originate from the United States and Canada.

“Not only is passenger growth on the rise, the industry is diversifying – moving from mere distribution to development of new destinations to retain strong market share and industry capture.

“In 2017 international cruise lines offered cruise ports on a total of seven (7) private islands and The Bahamas, as an archipelago, is ideally suited and positioned to capture the lion’s share of this business and capitalize on its economic benefits.”

Christie said that the new cruise port development will encompass multiple projects inclusive of construction of the channel, docks, water taxi and work boat piers, berthing platforms, seawalls and turning basin to accommodate two super post Panamex Ships.

He said the expansive Shore Project will comprise a 20-bed hotel, an 18-hole miniature golf course, restaurants, food and beverage pavilions, shops, nightclubs, amphitheatre, aquatic and other recreational and sporting facilities as well as pedestrian and cycling trails. There will also be interactive amenities, such as stingray and dolphin encounters, animal exhibitions and petting zoo.

“The projected impact of Carnival’s cruise port on employment cannot be overstated. Bahamian entrepreneurs operating at the new port will need to draw on wide range of local vendors such as sub-contractors, architects, landscapers, tradesmen, technicians, security, marine specialists, retail workers and other service specialists.

“We are nearing completion on a number of other initiatives that will bring stability and economic certainty to the lives of Grand Bahama’s residents and will enable its current and potential investors to view Grand Bahama with confidence,” Christie added.

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NEW YORK (AP) -- Facebook says it will hire another 3,000 people to review videos and posts of crime and other questionable content following murders shown live on its site.

That's on top of the 4,500 people Facebook already has for such reviews.

The announcement comes from CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a Facebook post Wednesday.

Facebook has been criticized recently for not doing enough to prevent videos - such as a murder in Cleveland and a killing of a baby in Thailand - from spreading on its service.

Videos and posts that glorify violence are against Facebook's rules. But in most cases they're only reviewed and possibly removed if users report them.

News reports and posts that condemn violence are allowed. This makes for a tricky balancing act for the company.

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greece struck a deal with rescue creditors Tuesday toward getting the bailout cash it needs to avoid another brush with bankruptcy this summer, though it leaves long-suffering Greeks facing years more austerity.

Following months of tough negotiations, the Greek government agreed to make another round of pension cuts in 2019 and commit to new tax increases after the current bailout program ends next year.

In return, creditors will resume loan payouts, and start talks on how to ease the country's debt burden, which stands at nearly 180 percent of the country's annual GDP.

The need for an imminent release of bailout funds was becoming increasingly important - Greece is expected to require some 7 billion euros ($7.6 billion) to cope with a summer spike in debt repayments.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' left-wing government is set to approve the new cuts in parliament by mid-May, in time for finance ministers from the 19 countries that use the euro currency to unfreeze the money at a meeting on May 22. At that meeting, discussions over how to ease Greece's debt repayments will commence - a key milestone for Tsipras.

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