Like TTT, the country’s energy assets are not Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s personal property and he cannot evade accountability and transparency, especially when Atlantic Train 1 is heading for a “trainwreck.”
So said Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday.
“I remind Rowley that he is a public servant and not the supreme dictator of Trinidad and Tobago,” she said via a news release on Rowley’s statements at the post-Cabinet media briefing in Tobago on Thursday.
Persad-Bissessar said, “Like Venezuelan dictator Maduro, Keith Rowley wants power with no responsibility or accountability. The ongoing debacles at Atlantic LNG, Petrotrin and the Point Lisas Industrial Estate will have a devastating effect on the lives of all citizens.
“When confronted with difficult questions, members of this Government become cantankerous and evasive. When Rowley was asked this week about the Government’s position on the ongoing saga over Atlantic LNG’s Train one, he immediately deemed the issue off-limits to probing questions from reporters.
“Similarly, he has avoided any accountability regarding the appeal of the AV drilling matter. In one breath, Rowley says, ‘allegations of dictatorship and Government restrictions are rejected’. In another breath on the same day, he calls for restrictions on transparency by saying ‘One cannot conduct these negotiations, such sensitive and far-reaching negotiations. You cannot conduct it on the front page of the newspaper, otherwise you will disadvantage the population.’’
Persad-Bissessar said Rowley’s “incompetence and secrecy” have resulted in the devastation of T&T’s once vibrant energy sector.
“Atlantic Train 1 is heading for a train wreck. Rowley has spent $250M of taxpayer dollars on the turnaround of Train 1 to extend its operational life, although he was told by BPTT that they had no gas for Train 1 and NGC had no offtake contracts for LNG. As far back as 2019, instead of working on a solution, the Government downplayed this issue as elections were approaching.”
Accusing Rowley of being an “aspiring dictator,” she said he was “disturbingly following the blueprint of his friend Maduro in destroying the energy sector.” “Similarities between what happened in Venezuela and what’s occurring here currently should be of concern to all,’” she said.