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OWTU president-general Ancel Roget address members of the media during a press conference at the OWTU’s headquarters at Paramount Building, San Fernando, recently.

A day after Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley gave a mandate for a recommissioned Evaluation Committee to review all proposals for the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery, director of Patriotic Energies and Technologies Ancel Roget remains confident that his company will overcome all challenges.

In an exclusive interview with Guardian Media, Roget said he welcomed the timely intervention of the Prime Minister in responding to the request for a review of Patriotic’s latest proposal submitted on October 29.

“Patriotic wishes to thank the Prime Minister for responding to our request for a proper evaluation to be done on our proposal. Our latest proposal properly addresses all three issues raised by the Honourable Minister of Finance Franklin Khan in his press conference including finance,” Roget said.

He added, “We stand ready to provide any form of clarification to the Evaluation Committee should that clarification becomes necessary in their evaluation.”

Roget also said he was heartened by the outpouring of support Patriotic has received from the public.

“Patriotic wants to thank all of the citizens of TT who supported us throughout the acquisition process because it provides hope for the future of the country and also provides jobs in the context of an economy where jobs are desperately needed,” he said.

Asked whether the negotiating committee which comprises officials from T&T Holdings Limited had contacted Patriotic to discuss the latest proposal, Roget said no.

He explained that Patriotic was looking forward to the conclusion of the negotiations.

“Ours is an attempt to get around the problem, or a challenge or a stumbling block which that has recognized during the process and we feel confident with a collaborative approach with the government and company we can overcome that challenge and close this acquisition process,” Roget said.

Asked if November 30 was ample time for the Committee to evaluable all proposals, Roget said, “We don’t want to speculate on that. Let the Committee begin its work and the Committee will determine the correct time frame should that become necessary,” he said.

He noted, “With the clarity and completeness of our proposal, we don’t think it will require too much. We look forward to a positive outcome going forward.”

On Monday Khan said on the instruction of the Prime Minister, the Evaluation Committee appointed by the Cabinet was recommissioned to evaluate the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the use of the Guaracara Pointe-a-Pierre refinery.

He said the Committee is required to examine the latest position of the negotiating parties as they stood at the established deadline of October 31.”

Energy Chamber supports privatisation

Meanwhile, the T&T Energy Chamber said it fully supports the privatisation of the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery.

In a statement, the Chamber said it has been monitoring the recent announcements from both the Government and from the OWTU with respect to the proposal from Patriotic Energies and Technologies Ltd and the decision to re-establish the Evaluation Committee to review the latest proposal.

The Chamber said it hopes that “all stakeholders will move expeditiously to find a solution to complete the sale of the assets to a private-sector entity so they will be able to generate value for TT.”

The Energy Chamber also said it stands ready to work with all stakeholders, as the country determines the best strategy on the privatization of these assets, in the context of the energy transition and the aftermath of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

It noted that the closure of the refinery meant the loss of many jobs and economic opportunities, especially in fence-line communities.

“Returning the assets of the refinery to productive operations will generate jobs, economic activity and taxes. This must be an objective shared by all stakeholders,” the Chamber added.