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JGRA concerned by recent attacks

Brian Bonitto

Friday, January 11, 2013    

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THE Jamaica Gasolene Retailers Association (JGRA) says it is deeply disturbed by the recent spate of attacks on its members.

"In the last two-and-a-half months, two Total service station operators have been shot... one fatally. Miraculously, the person in the first incident survived," said Derrick Thompson, JGRA president. "We are very concerned."

Thompson says he does not think the two shootings are related. However, the police are still investigating both cases.

According to reports, Melvin Chung was shot and killed outside his business establishment on East Street in downtown Kingston on Saturday. Police theorise that robbery may have been the motive.

A .38 revolver and a 9mm Browning were also stolen by the assailants.

Chung, 52, operated several service stations across the Corporate Area. The police have taken a man into custody.

"We have asked for a meeting with Police Commissioner of Police Owen Ellington, who has agreed. A date is yet to be set though," said Thompson, who took over the JGRA reins from Trevor Heaven in September 2012.

Thompson said while the membership is still in shock at the tragedy, they are "holding up".

In recent times, service stations have been finding it increasingly difficult to conduct business. A few have even closed their doors permanently.

Some of the factors cited were: demands of some marketing companies that set unrealistic performance targets "leading to undue pressure on already strained dealerships that inevitably buckle under the effort to meet these targets"; handling losses and shrinkage, due to temperature changes; reduced gross income (low margins and reduced throughput), increased bank and credit card charges, and high operational costs.

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