Van Dyke slams Moonilal’s ‘fake news’

CEO of Sun­stone Eq­ui­ty John Van Dyke yes­ter­day slammed Op­po­si­tion MP Dr Roodal Mooni­lal for spread­ing fake news ‘like US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’ and be­ing a ‘pet­ty politi­cian’ as the coun­try ap­proach­es the De­cem­ber 2 lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tion.

Van Dyke was re­spond­ing yes­ter­day to Mooni­lal who in his bud­get con­tri­bu­tion on Tues­day called on the Oil­field Work­ers Trade UNion (OW­TU) pres­i­dent An­cel Ro­get, Move­ment for So­cial Jus­tice head David Ab­du­lah and him to an­swer whether for­mer Peo­ple’s Na­tion­al Move­ment can­di­date Vidya De­ok­iesingh was in­volved in set­ting up a meet­ing at the premis­es of A&V Drilling with re­spect to Petrotrin re­fin­ery sale.

But Van Dyke fired back, stat­ing that Mooni­lal was on­ly cre­at­ing mis­chief and his al­le­ga­tions were to­tal non­sense.

“I don’t know where he comes up with these fan­ta­sy sto­ries...grant­ed the fact that it is an elec­tion com­ing up. He is prob­a­bly fol­low­ing Mr Trump’s lead in putting fake news out there. It’s ut­ter non­sense.”

He de­scribed Mooni­lal’s rant as a storm in a teacup and base­less.

Van Dyke said he has no time with “pet­ty politi­cians” when asked if would sue Mooni­lal for slan­der­ing his name and mak­ing false al­le­ga­tions.

“Let him look in the mir­ror and if he can sleep with him­self, then that is fine. I don’t have time for this. We have way too many projects on the go right now.”

At no time, Van Dyke said he met or in­ter­act­ed with De­ok­iesingh.

“I don’t know who he is. Sor­ry! The on­ly peo­ple who I have dealt with while I was in Trinidad were the OW­TU, its mem­bers and my staff that we hired.”

Van Dyke said he does not get in­volved in pol­i­tics or po­lit­i­cal par­ties.

Mooni­lal spoke about pho­tographs that sur­faced on so­cial me­dia with Ro­get, Ab­dul­lah and Van Dyke sign­ing an en­gage­ment con­tract.

He in­sist­ed the pho­tographs were tak­en at OW­TU’s head­quar­ters, San Fer­nan­do, last year by an OW­TU mem­ber and not De­ok­iesingh.

Last Oc­to­ber Sun­Stone was re­tained by the OW­TU as an in­vest­ment bank to find fi­nanc­ing for the re­fin­ery and to put for­ward the sale of the project.

“Oth­er than that I have not been in­volved in the deal. We tried to bring it to a con­clu­sion un­for­tu­nate­ly at the time the OW­TU did not have a writ­ten op­tion from the Gov­ern­ment nor from the cur­rent board of Petrotrin.”

He said Sun­Stone could not pro­ceed any fur­ther.

“The project got stalled in re­spect to the re­la­tion­ship be­tween us and the OW­TU. I ba­si­cal­ly said call me when you get that. And that is where we left it off. Right now we are mov­ing on with all the stuff we are do­ing. If I get a phone call from them I would be very hap­py.”

The last con­ver­sa­tion Van Dyke held with the OW­TU was ten months ago.

Van Dyke said Sun­Stone in their en­gage­ment put for­ward “ three op­tions” (in­ter­na­tion­al clients) who were in­ter­est­ed in the re­fin­ery which he re­fused to name.

Those clients were in­ter­na­tion­al oil com­pa­nies.

He said three coun­tries ex­pressed an in­ter­est­ed in the re­fin­ery’s pur­chase- Suri­nam, Guyana and Bar­ba­dos.

“I just thought if the four sov­er­eign na­tions ( T&T in­clud­ed) were joint ven­ture part­ners with the OW­TU as a mi­nor­i­ty own­er, it would cause a win-win for all par­ties in­volved. It would be sad to see that Petrotrin (re­fin­ery) would be­long to the his­to­ry books. It is a vi­able busi­ness.”

How­ev­er, he said it turned out to be “po­lit­i­cal­ly sen­si­tive. Prob­a­bly it was more of a pipe dream on our side. I will tell you this. I be­lieve Petrotrin is a very valu­able as­set and strate­gi­cal­ly they are in a very good place with the ma­jor oil finds in Guyana which is up­wards of nine mil­lion bar­rels of oil a day.”

Van Dyke said the pro­pos­al put for­ward by Pa­tri­ot­ic En­er­gies and Tech­nolo­gies Com­pa­ny Ltd- a com­pa­ny whol­ly owned by the OW­TU of up­front cash of US$700 mil­lion for the re­fin­ery Sun­Stone was not privy to.

“But I can tell you it would not be a dif­fi­cult deal to put to­geth­er on that ba­sis.”

In his es­ti­ma­tion, Van Dyke said Petrotrin is worth over $2 bil­lion.

As of now, Van Dyke could not say which com­pa­nies were now in­ter­est­ed in the re­fin­ery.

He knew the com­pa­nies that had ex­pressed an in­ter­est last Oc­to­ber.

“But as far as I know none of those par­ties are present­ly in­volved in this lat­est pro­pos­al.”

Van Dyke said OW­TU agreed to pay Sun­Stone ex­pens­es to put the pro­pos­al to­geth­er.

“We charged them US$150,000 on a three-month con­sult­ing con­tract and we were to be re­ward­ed a two per cent if we were suc­cess­ful in rais­ing at that par­tic­u­lar time $1 bil­lion to do the deal.”

He said the OW­TU ac­cept­ed their terms and they worked two months on the project “un­til we came to the re­al­i­ty of them not be­ing able to get a writ­ten op­tion which they had al­ways said they would get.”

Sun­Stone, Van Dyke said was on­ly paid US$50,000 by OW­TU.

“We are still owed US$100,000.”

He hopes the project comes to a con­clu­sion and they be paid even­tu­al­ly.



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