The Opposition says Government needs to explain to the country what its plans for the Petrotrin refinery are in the wake of its rejection of the final proposal from Patriotic Energies and Technologies Co Ltd for the refinery.
Despite the rejection of the Patriotic bid, Energy Minister Franklin Khan assured Government is committed to restarting the refinery with private capital injection during a virtual press conference on Saturday. Khan said the Government would consider all options and inform the country in “shortest possible time” of its next move regarding the refinery.
But during a press conference yesterday, United National Congress PRO Anita Haynes said the population continues to be treated with “scorn and disdain” by the People’s National Movement administration.
“The Government needs to tell us what their plan is going forward. We cannot be told this is not happening and we don’t know what happens next.
“This is a time-sensitive issue. We are talking about the bread and butter of our country. The Government needs to tell us what their action plan is,” Haynes said, adding the PNM has rapidly decimated the country’s energy sector.
Opposition Senator Wade Mark said the mere fact no decision has been taken to finalise arrangements between the parties tells that something is “afoot and amiss.” He said such a complex exercise is very costly, adding Government’s real intention in rejecting the OWTU offer is to perhaps dismantle the bargaining body.
“The OWTU has said this exercise has cost his union tens of millions of dollars, so if this thing continues what is going to happen to the OWTU? Is the union going to become bankrupt? It is cause for worry,” Mark said.
On the issue of Petrotrin’s assets, he said it must also be made clear who or what entity will have priority, including the fixed and floating and cleaning assets of Trinidad Petroleum Holdings and its subsidiaries.
Mark claimed to have a debenture which allegedly showed all the fixed and floating assets were tied up with the creditors.
“It is very important for us to understand whether we are going through a ‘pappyshow.’ If the assets have already been tied up what are you selling? Can you sell some assets that you do not own or you do not control?” Mark asked.
“I also want to know if the OWTU and their Patriotic Energies and Technologies Co Ltd did not do a due diligence.”
During a press conference yesterday, OWTU president-general Ancel Roget said he wanted to engage in further discussions with Government on their proposal.
In October 2018, Government restructured Petrotrin into subsidiaries, including Heritage Petroleum, Paria Fuel Trading, Guaracara Refining and Petrotrin Heritage.