Leader of the Opposition Kamla Persad-Bissessar is calling on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to account to the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago on how the successor companies of Petrotrin have fared in the months following its closure.
Given that Petrotrin’s operations were a central part of the social and economic fabric of several communities in the South West peninsula, the shutdown of the company seven months ago has resulted in the devastation of many communities.
It is unacceptable that the Prime Minister has chosen to report on Thursday 27th June to his PNM supporters on this national issue. We call on Rowley to tell the country when the audited financials of Petrotrin for its 2018 financial year, which ended nine months ago, will be released. Is the Government’s reluctance to release these accounts an indication that they have something to hide? There has been speculation that the company actually recorded a profit in 2018.
The Prime Minister should also state what is the current production at Trinmar, which is a major part of the Point Fortin community. There has been no drilling in Trinmar in over three years. As a result, the production levels of this valuable national asset have plummeted under the watch of Dr. Rowley, Stuart Young and Franklin Khan. This collapse in production in the producing assets of what was Petrotrin (now Heritage Petroleum) is a matter that is glossed over by this PNM Government who is more concerned with Shell.
Dr Rowley should also give some clarity about the mothballing of Atlantic’s Train 1, in light of BPTT’s announcement in May 2019, which indicated that there was no gas for Train 1 and as a result, it may have to be mothballed come 2020. If Train 1 is mothballed there will be consequences for Point Fortin including job losses and loss of economic activity.
Despite the Prime Minister’s recent travels to the Hague, London and Houston, it seems likely that natural gas production will fall in 2020 compared to 2019. This comes with significant consequences for Point Fortin’s main employer, Atlantic.
Regarding the successors to Petrotrin, it is hoped that the Prime Minister will give the country the facts about the performance of these companies. Given the massive loss in oil production, the closure of the refinery, the loss of thousands of jobs, the closure of contractors and the general economic depression in south Trinidad, it is clear that in his haste to close Petrotrin, Dr Rowley has caused the greatest economic debacle in the history of Trinidad and Tobago.