Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s telephone call to A & V Oil and Gas Limited boss, Hanif Baksh, regarding the fake oil scandal at Petrotrin has been cited by UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar as evidence of possible misconduct in public office as Rowley had not called either the Minister of Energy Franklin Khan or Petrotrin chairman Wilfred Espinet regarding the scandal.
A& V Oil and Gas Limited, a lease operator at the Catskill field, was identified by a Petrotrin Internal Audit Report as having inflated its oil production figures.
The issue, which was initially raised by Persad-Bissessar, at a national congress meeting on September 10, was once again her main focus at the party’s Monday Night Forum at the Union Presbyterian Primary School, Claxton Bay on Monday night.
Addressing a large crowd of supporters which spilled out of the school’s main auditorium and unto the adjoining yard, and which cheered gleefully at her every word, Persad-Bissessar pointed out that Rowley had identified Baksh as his “Best Friend Forever or BFF.”
“The Prime Minister did not call his Minister of Energy. He did not call his new Chair and Board of Petrotrin, nor did he call the President of Petrotrin. He called his BFF!! His bestie and what did he expect his friend to say? Did he expect his friend to say, ‘oh god, Keithos they ketch me’?” she said.
“But of greater concern here is what did the Prime Minister say to his BFF, and on top of that he said it was appropriate. Not so Mr. Prime Minister,” she added. “This phone call to his buddy raises some serious questions and the question arises as to whether the PM may be guilty of misconduct and misbehaviour in public office.”
“The question arises as to whether the PM may be guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice,” she continued.
And regarding A & V Oil and Gas Limited, Persad-Bissessar cited a photograph in the September 13 edition of Newsday which showed equipment at the company’s Penal compound and wondered whether the equipment may belong to Petrotrin.
“The colours of Petrotrin is red and black and I am asking - do these 9 or 10 pieces of equipment belong to Petrotrin and if so, what are they doing at the A&V compound,” she said, adding, “Where has the drilling equipment from the Tabaquite field gone to.”
Persad-Bissessar also condemned the recent violent attacks on media personnel by A & V Oil and Gas Limited officials and wondered whether the “perpetrators felt emboldened because they have a friend in high office.”
And in condemning the police raid at the television studio offices of Ian Alleyne, she said the nation was witnessing “Gestapo” tactics being employed by the government.