LLUIDAS VALE: Graham softens tone, not interested in gas station

Hugh Graham is now indicating that he has no interest in retaining the gas station business he recently lost in Lluidas Vale, adding that the loss will not affect his reputation as a businessman or a politician.

Earlier this month, Graham vowed to fight what he described as the illegal take-over of the Petcom gas station in Lluidas Vale, St Catherine. Petcom openly took over the facility on January 4, claiming that Graham owed it just over $7.3 million for rent, fuel, and lubricants.

Graham, in an interview with The Beacon this week, suggested that he has no time to operate a gas station that isn’t raking in big bucks, adding that he merely leased the one in Lluidas Vale for a friend.

“I was the de facto owner; I owned it on paper, but I am not the operator. I got the gas station for a friend of mine; it wasn’t mine,” said the businessman who also owns Paramount Trading, which sells chemical products and services.

He added: “If you look at the kind of business that I am involved in, gas station can’t be part of that; my time is too valuable for that. I run a publicly traded company. When we make low profits, we make $60 million – and that’s low profit…”

Asked if the failure of the gas station will affect his reputation as a businessman, Graham answered: “I don’t think people pay attention. I am 30 years in business and I am delivering for my [Paramount Trading] shareholders for the last six years. They are not going to judge you on that [gas station misfortune]; they are going to judge you on whether you are making profits for them and you keep growing the business.”

Hugh Graham

Graham, who is the Councillor for Lluidas Vale Division and the incoming candidate for the People’s National Party in St Catherine North West, also does not foresee a political fallout.

“No sah; I don’t think so,” he said when asked if he thinks there will be any political fallout from the gas station debacle.

Graham added: “Life is about what you have done; life is about your investment. You will rise and you will fall, but people are not going to judge you by your falls; people are going to judge you by your character… If you ask me about the gas station – if I would do it for another friend, of course I would do it in a heartbeat because I am so blessed that I need to bless other people with my blessing.”

Gas station wasn’t making profit

Meanwhile, Graham, when Petcom took over the gas station on January 4, said the operation was not making profit.

“I think, for me, the gas station brings some life to the area as opposed to having it locked down for the period of time that it was [locked down before I leased it],” he told The Beacon. “I have not been paying much attention [to the gas station business] and the manager of the store really been managing it. That is the gravamen of this thing. If I were more involved, then things wouldn’t have gotten to where it is. But there is a manager in the store that should take care of the store.”

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