OILFIELD Workers Trade Union (OWTU) president general Ancel Roget, moments before proceeding into a meeting with the Petrotrin’s Board yesterday, insisted the union would not accept appointment of a president from the so-called “one percent” (TT’s economic elite).
The position of president officially became vacant yesterday following the resignation of Fitzroy Harewood on November 30. Speaking to reporters at Petrotrin’s Beaumont Hill compound in Pointe-a-Pierre, Roget said the union submitted its own proposal for the restructuring of the state-owned oil company.
“We had a very important meeting with the Board of Directors three weeks ago where we presented a comprehensive proposal for the restructuring of Petrotrin,” Roget said, adding, “A proposal that takes into account Petrotrin, if it is restructured in that manner, it would become the most viable and profitable entity throughout its history.”
He said the union’s plan involves Petrotrin’s separation into four distinct entities - Trinmar; land operations; refining and marketing and the Augustus Long Hospital. He said the hospital, like the company was leaderless and requires some $220 million to operate on a yearly basis.
“But what we are seeing here is they have begun the restructuring without even responding to the union’s proposal which they had committed to responding. Although we have not proposed a president we are hearing about some president being drawn from the one percent,” Roget said.
“It is as though the persons who comprise the board and its chairman, they are attempting to set up the country and the union by placing Petrotrin into private hands.”
“There is no leadership in the company and therefore what they are doing as a natural consequence of their action is shutting the company’s operations down and when they do that, they will make their case eventually to put it into private hands. This we are not prepared to accept.”
From March 1, Petrotrin will be splitting into two distinct business units- one focusing on upstream production and the other on downstream activities. This was announced at a Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Energy Affairs by director Nigel Edwards.