Keith Rowley’s upcoming scheduled meetings with global energy companies are nothing more than attempts for him to save face after being humiliated and outmanoeuvred by them in negotiations. He foolishly attempted to negotiate agreements without the advice of our trained technocrats and now our energy security is at risk due to his incompetence.
These meetings are not geared towards expanding our relationship and operations with these companies but are rather geared towards reclaiming lost ground and trying to regain favour with these firms, as a result of his government’s incompetence.
Instead of engaging these Foreign Multi-National Companies which have been with us for many years through proper diplomacy, economic incentives as well as statesmanship, his administration engaged in bullying tactics and even personally attacked the qualifications of the top management of one company.
Given the arrogant and irresponsible treatment by the Rowley led administration toward these energy companies in the past four years, Prime Minister Rowley would have little if any negotiating power. Outmanoeuvred, out-negotiated and humiliated, the Prime Minister is likely to agree to deals which may not be in the best interest of our country in order for him to save face.
It is clear that the Prime Minister, already burdened with the pressure of hiding that he has crashed the energy sector, would look to pull a public relations gimmick as he did with the Dragon Gas Deal and Houston Energy agreements. The citizens, however, remember that the dragon deal is yet to materialize, and the Houston agreement has resulted in a less than favourable outcome for NGC’s profitability.
Time and time again this Rowley government has shown that statesmanship is not within their purview. It is clear that under Keith Rowley, Trinidad and Tobago has lost its status and respect on the world stage. While the former People’s Partnership administration was able to attract significant levels of Foreign Direct Investment, strengthen foreign partnerships and the gain the respect of foreign leaders due to vision and leadership, the Rowley administration is incapable of even keeping the investments that we currently hold.
Rowley’s failures on the diplomatic front contrast with successes by his predecessors. Former Prime Minister Patrick Manning championed the CHOGM and Summit of the Americas meetings in TT attended by scores of world leaders.
During the People’s Partnership administration, the President of China Xi Jinping visited TT in May 2013, his very first trip to the western hemisphere, immediately after his appointment. This laid the groundwork for expanded economic relations between the two countries. This was immediately followed by a visit from vice president Joe Biden. Abe Shinzo of Japan and Raul Castro of Cuba also paid state visits to our country. We had state visits with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, UK Prime Minister David Cameron and meetings with US President Barrack Obama among others. Under this government, we have fallen in international standing to the point where our Prime Minister has to trek to the offices of foreign energy companies cap in hand.
During the People’s Partnership’s time in office we treated diplomatically with our foreign energy partners in an attempt to ensure Trinidad and Tobago remained a key focal point for their future investment. It would be wise to understand that there are other options available to them and we must compete to stay relevant in this sector.
That is why we offered incentives to increase exploration and investment especially of the east coast of Trinidad and Tobago. We are of the view that there are large Gas fields off the east coast of Tobago and thus incentivized exploration, and we expect in the near future these gas fields east of Tobago containing trillions of cubic feet of gas will be available for production.
Keith Rowley and Stuart Young must stop humiliating themselves in the faces of our energy partners or else the country will pay a hefty price for their incompetence. We caution the Prime Minister that his incompetent meddling in energy affairs will put these gas finds at risk to the detriment of us all.