MP Haynes to gov’t: Address the issues, stop scapegoating COVID-19 for the destruction of our Energy Sector
Haynes asserted, “When operations were first halted in March 2020, employees were hopeful that they would be able to return to work. Now, their hopes have been dashed. This decision will see more than 60 families cast onto the breadline amidst a particularly difficult economic period. Moreover, at a national level, this is a matter of serious concern to the stability of Trinidad and Tobago’s energy sector.”
Methanex has described its operation in Trinidad and Tobago as “an important production hub in the company’s global network”. It comprises two large methanol plants at the Point Lisas Industrial Estate in Trinidad with a combined production capacity of over 2.5 million metric tonnes per year. It is also important to note that Methanex is a significant contributor to our country’s foreign exchange due to the Corporation’s global methanol sales.
With Trinidad and Tobago nationals accounting for 99% of its employee base, Methanex is a major employer of both skilled and unskilled workers at the Point Lisas Industrial Estate. In light of this, MP Haynes asserts, “The idling of yet another downstream petrochemical plant at Point Lisas is a source of huge concern to all of us, especially at this worrying time.”
“We must carefully examine the reasons behind this decision. What is most unsettling is that Methanex has stated that the impetus of this decision is the inability to reach a successful agreement with the government, via the National Gas Co. of Trinidad and Tobago (NGC), for a workable arrangement to supply natural gas to its facility,” Haynes added.
Haynes also underscored that the United National Congres has repeatedly expressed concerns at the short-sighted and juvenile manner in which the government continues to treat with critical energy negotiations, the very bread and butter of our nation’s economy.
“The Government’s continued bungling of our nation’s energy assets has resulted in the destruction of the Pointe-a-Pierre Oil refinery. It would now appear that the Point Lisas Industrial Estate is on the brink of collapsing.” Haynes said.
The dire state of affairs at Point Lisas predates the Covid-19 pandemic. According to news reports as far back as 2017, at least 30 per cent of plants located at Pt. Lisas have either been closed or idled. As of yet, no clear policy has been put forward by the Rowley-led administration to remedy this crisis.
“Once again I am calling on the Minister of Energy. Stop burying your head in the sand and convene crisis talks with all stakeholders immediately to find or innovate a solution to this urgent issue. Citizens’ lives are hanging in the balance. The new normal we now live in requires us to devise new and innovative ideas that match the urgency of our situation,” said Haynes
The MP for Tabaquite maintains that, should the government fail to save Pt. Lisas, the results would be catastrophic, “If Point Lisas collapses, not only would it signal the destruction of the energy sector but indeed, the destruction of our entire economy.”
Ms. Anita Haynes
Member of Parliament