We in the Opposition are calling on the Prime Minister and the Minister of Energy to resolve the deep concerns raised by the operators within the Point Lisas Industrial Estate regarding the supply of gas to such operators and the wider national industry.
I take very seriously the assertions by the chief executive officers of five operators in the Estate that the National Gas Company (NGC), as the supplier of gas to the Estate, may be subject to a conflict of interest with respect to how it supposedly routes gas supplies to the operations on the Estate.
Should the NGC be in such a conflict of interest, and should gas supplies to other operators not be available in the required quantities to sustain profitability for these operators, then there are dire, utterly tragic consequences for the many workers employed with these operators. I note media reports that some thirty thousand (30,000) workers stand to be put in the breadline if these operators can no longer operate at consistent and profitable margins.
It is in the interest of the industrial and economic footing of the country that Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley and Minister of Energy Franklin Khan intervene expeditiously to rectify any present or imminent issues regarding gas supply to the operators on the Estate.
Any failure on the part of the Prime Minister and Minister Khan to sustain gas supply to the Estate would have great consequences for the economy of Couva. Not only is there the risk of thirty thousand workers being put on the breadline, but there would be debilitating impact on food vendors, retailers, taxi drivers, street vendors and other businesses in proximity to the Estate and the Couva business district.
This looming crisis on the estate is preceded by never before seen industrial closures under this Government. In the past six years under Prime Minister Rowley, we have seen the closure of a number of plants on the industrial estate, namely; Arcleor Mittal (644 workers), Centrin Trinidad Steel Limited (200 workers), Industrial Plant Services Limited (100 workers), Tube City IMS (457 workers), Yara (50 permanent and 200 contractual workers), Methanol Holdings (100 workers), Stork (150 workers), Methanex Titan (60 workers) and Nutrient Plant (50 workers).
The energy sector has been severely curtailed and even destabilized by conflict after conflict under Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley. From the appointment of a junior executive as Minister of Energy, to the A&V drilling fiasco centered around a close friend of the Prime Minister, from the closure of Petrotrin and the termination of five thousand workers to the ongoing debacle regarding Patriotic Energies and Technologies Limited and the awarding of the former Petrotrin refinery, Prime Minister Dr. Rowley and Minister Franklin Khan have stolen the patrimony of this country, and have strangled and killed the energy sector, once the goose which laid the nation’s golden eggs.
Given the Prime Minister’s message for the new year, in which he expressed that “The worst is behind us”, it would be a tragedy of the highest order to see thirty thousand more workers from these five operators join the breadline alongside the over one hundred thousand workers who have already lost their livelihoods under the Rowley-led PNM Administration.
While the Prime Minister is ‘palancing’ with state resources in Tobago, the state of affairs in the Trinidadian economy is being woefully neglected.
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR COUVA SOUTH AND SHADOW RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE MINISTRY OF LABOUR.