Be more circumspect and less reckless in statements about the economy and the energy sector.
This is the advice Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine had for Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley yesterday in Parliament.
For the third time in as many days, Ramnarine slammed Rowley for his “reckless” comments on last month’s oil spills which, according to Ramnarine, were “deliberately designed to damage the national economy at this sensitive time”.
He urged Rowley to be circumspect and judicious since the country was at a “delicate point” where it was attracting direct foreign investment at higher levels as a result of this Government’s policy.
Rowley and People’s National Movement members protested as Ramnarine read a statement to the House.
In that statement, Ramnarine reiterated that Rowley did not have the moral authority to pontificate on the Government’s actions and policy at State-owned Petrotrin in the context of the oil spills.
“The issue here is a continuation of the trend where the Leader of the Opposition receives information and, without seeking other views, without pausing, he runs with it recklessly, heedless to the consequence of the country,” he said.
Ramnarine said it was similar to what happened with “emailgate” and also to Rowley’s accusation that the Attorney General made racial statements in New York when the Attorney General hadn’t visited New York in years.
He said Rowley was developing a reputation for peddling misinformation without checking the facts.
Ramnarine said Rowley was a member of the Patrick Manning Cabinet from 2002 to 2009, when there was mismanagement at Petrotrin.
He cited the gas-to-liquids project which cost Petrotrin $3 billion; the gasoline optimisation programme, where costs escalated from US$350 to US$1.5 billion; the failed headquarters project, which cost $170 million.
Ramnarine said as a result of the PNM policies, Petrotrin’s debt rose from $3.3 billion in 2002 to $12.4 billion by 2010.