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Petrotrin Refinery

GAIL ALEXANDER

The bid by Patriotic for Petrotrin’s Guaracara refinery appears headed for the dustbin and the upcoming 2021 Budget will release an attack on workers, says UNC MP Roodal Moonilal.

He was commenting on statements by Government officials at yesterday’s 2021 Budget Forum.

On Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s statement on the status of the Patriotic bid for the refinery and the indication that if it wasn’t completed by end of October other options will be sought, Moonilal said, “The announcement that Patriotic was the preferred bidder for the refinery was September 20, 2019. One year later no progress and it seems Patriotic’s bid is heading for the dustbin.”

He added, “It will cost about $US800 million to restart the refinery, inclusive of crude oil purchases. Where is that money coming from in the absence of a successful bidder?

“If the Patriotic bid fails, how long will it take to re-tender and get a new player involved? The refinery is now down for almost two years. If you have a car and you don’t start it for two years, what happens to it?”

He said thousands of jobs were lost on the basis of a bad decision.

“There was no need to close the refinery. In 2015 and 2016 it was performing well. It was PNM mismanagement that led it into decline after they forced out the leadership of the company.

Ex-Petrotrin workers soon have to see about their own medical expenses, as the two-year Sagicor plan is about to expire in a few weeks. Rowley fooled Roget and now that they don’t need him they will dump him.”

Moonilal also predicted a frontal attack on workers in the state sector in the upcoming Budget. He suggested that from the PM’s speech “it appears that TTEC, WASA and the Port could be on the chopping block, in addition to increases in water rates and electricity charges.”