Today’s news that the Rowley government rejected Patriotic Energies Limited’s bid for the Petrotrin refinery should come as no surprise. Just as the Prime Minister lied when he said the refinery would not be shut down, days before doing just that, the PNM never intended to honour the pledge they made to sell the refinery to its former workers.
Today’s press conference with Minister of Finance Colm Imbert and Minister of Energy Franklyn Khan only raises more questions than answers. If Patriotic Energies had no set means of financing, on what basis did the Government award them the refinery in the first place? Why was Minister Imbert so confident in October of 2019 that the refinery would be reopened in 12 months? It is clear now that all these promises by the Government pre-election to place the refinery in the hands of the citizens were just baseless election gimmicks.
Had the Rowley PNM been serious about addressing our citizens’ socio-economic well-being and energy sector, these Petrotrin issues would have been dealt with in a timely manner months before the 2020 General election not only to ensure the reopening of the refinery but to curb issues of forex shortages and unemployment. However, they chose to put politics above people by allowing this to become yet another failed promise.
Their incompetence and insolence have even worsened the state of the refinery leaving it idle for so long. Given that the Petrotrin refinery has been shut for almost three years now, and with ever-increasing costs to restart it, who will now want to purchase this asset?
We must also ask the question of whether or not the government will allow the Maduro regime the opportunity to purchase the refinery?
For the past two years, the PNM has blatantly lied giving false hope to the thousands of ex Petrotrin workers now on the breadline that the refinery would be open. The people of Trinidad and Tobago must never forget this great betrayal by the PNM. The PNM kept promising the restarting of the refinery in the hands of the ex-workers, but since 2018 to date, they have given nothing but excuses, keeping the OWTU and the Ex-workers in a constant state of uncertainty.
The destruction of Petrotrin, along with the crisis unfolding at the Pt. Lisas Industrial Estate due to Keith Rowley’s bad gas negotiations mean our energy sector is in complete meltdown. The ramifications of this are catastrophic.
As the largest earner of foreign exchange, the collapse of our energy sector will affect every citizen. It means our current FOREX crisis will only get worse. Retailers have already warned that a food crisis is looming due to the inability of many to access FOREX.
Keith Rowley must immediately resign for this unforgivable display of negligence and incompetence which has placed Trinidad and Tobago in grave jeopardy.