FORMER trade minister Vasant Bharath asked the status of a previous agreement between company and trade union to review Petrotrin’s operations, responding to Tuesday’s news of the impending closure of the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery.
He said the critical question is what has become of the Memorandum of Agreement signed in April 2018 between Petrotrin and the OWTU to establish a working committee of both parties to work for 18 months to discuss company structures, work processes, and manpower needs for Petrotrin to become competitive and ensure its survival, sustainability and profitability.
Bharath expected 2,000 employees and their families to be affected by the closure, plus many others in ancillary businesses, putting several thousand people on the breadline and causing “severe hardship and social and economic dislocation.”
He said, “This flagship venture has become a national financial albatross and the symbol of wretched governance of successive PNM regimes.” He blamed the collapse of the Petrotrin refinery on systemic poor governance, also seen at other loss-making State enterprises.
“It is ironic that this is taking place while Trinidad and Tobago is celebrating national ‘independence.’”