UNC Senator Wade Mark holds up a box of panadol during his press conference at the Office of the Opposition leader on Charles Street, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.

No break for you.

This was the message Opposition Senator Wade Mark sent to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday as the Opposition United National Congress (UNC) held its weekly press conference.

Yesterday’s press conference was aimed at addressing “The PNM’s (People National Movement’s) destruction of the energy sector.”

Mark’s statement yesterday was in response to a “Just give me a break!” quip made by Rowley on Saturday as media questioned him about Oropouche East Member of Parliament Dr Roodal Moonilal’s call for the imposition of a moratorium on ministers buying luxury cars.

Mark said Rowley has too many questions to answer to be given a break.

“You will be held to account for the financial losses of the National Gas Company. You will be held to account for the investment of close to US$300 million in Train One with no returns and with no possibility in sight of Train One coming back on stream. Yes Mr Prime Minister you will not be given any break by the people as you seek to impose more pain, more suffering, more hardship, more brutality, as you seek to impose new prices for gasoline whether it is premium, super, or diesel,” Mark said.

Mark also called for Rowley to answer how RH Gas Energy Ltd was granted a fuel bunkering licence.

“And there will be no break for you Mr Prime Minister as it relates to this decision in April 2019, to grant a bunkering and marketing license to a company called RH Gas Energy Limited. You will have to account to this country as to the rationale and the reasons behind giving a fly by night company formed in June 2018, some six months before the closure, the shutdown of Petrotrin, how this company was granted within less than one year a bunkering and marketing license,” Mark said.

In an interview with the Business Guardian in May, Senior Counsel Gilbert Peterson, one of RH Gas Energy Ltd’s directors, said that everything was done above board and that there was no favouritism in the award of the licence.

Peterson laughed at the suggestion that there was any connection between the closure of Petrotrin and the formation of RH Gas Energy Ltd.

“Sorry for the laugh but what RH Gas is doing has nothing to do with Petrotrin,” Peterson said then.

Peterson said while RH Gas had been registered for some time, it only managed to actually get some business secured in January this year.

Mark also blamed the Government for the $2.1 billion loss reported by the National Gas Company (NGC) saying it was due to poor negotiations in Texas.

He said that the NGC could only afford US43.10 per MMBtu, but government put US$3.50 on the table.

In response, Energy Minister Stuart Young said: “I never watch anything that the UNC has. Wade Mark is not someone that has any knowledge whatsoever of the energy sector and isn’t someone to be taken seriously.

“As has been stated numerous times before, including by me, in the Senate last week in response to Wade Mark, the gas prices that were negotiated, and agreed to by the NGC in 2017, were subsequently re-negotiated due to further market changes. So as usual, the UNC who decimated the energy sector between 2010-2015 are attempting to mislead the population,” Young said.

“The Government and NGC are currently negotiating future gas projects, not past Gas Sales Contracts. The UNC failed to negotiate any future gas production and contracts which is a main factor that led to NGC losses and claims against the NGC. Had the UNC negotiated future gas and gas prices for NGC the country’s energy sector would have been in a better place post-September 2015. Everything the UNC did in energy sector in 2010 to 2015 had a negative effect on Trinidad and Tobago especially with respect to the revenue earned for T&T,” he said.