President general of the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) Ancel Roget discounted rumours that the union was responsible for an early morning fire at a TTEC substation yesterday.
The fire started at the TTEC Savonetta substation around 7.30 am, knocking out electricity for industrial customers in the Point Lisas Industrial Estate and residential customers in Phoenix Park, Cedar Hill, Claxton Bay and surrounding areas.
As news of the fire spread on social media yesterday, many users highlighted statements made by Roget in a press conference on Thursday at the OWTU’s Paramount Building headquarters where he told reporters, “The Government is about to make a decision that would plunge TT into chaos and mayhem but the OWTU will be up and down this place. It would be greater than a 6.9 magnitude earthquake when we stamp our foot on the pavement.” Roget also gave an ultimatum to Government: reverse its decision to shut down the Petrotrin refinery and fire 1,700 employees or call a general election immediately.
In an interview with Newsday yesterday, Roget said the union had no hand in the fire.
“I discount that immediately, if that is being ascribed to the OWTU, I reject that out of hand immediately, don’t ascribe that to us. I don’t know who could come up with that but we don’t get involved in that (sabotage) let me put that out there immediately,” he said.
He said if the fire was an act of sabotage, such an act was to be condemned.
“I condemn it and I need to get a report on this but I can tell immediately that I reject out of hand any inference or aspersion directly or otherwise.”
He said his mention of chaos was to highlight the effects of shutting down the Petrotrin refinery and sending workers home.
“The result of their (government) actions is economic chaos in the country, if you take out the major balance wheel in the country, the economy will fall and then there will be chaos in the country, socially economically and industrial relations wise.
The point that I was making is that the black hole that they talk about, the economic problems that we will have will be far worse than that.”
Asked whether the OWTU had threatened any retaliation for Government’s decision to restructure Petrotrin, Roget replied, “We are the ones who are protecting all of our assets, we could never be doing that.”
Roget said as the recognised majority union for TTEC employees, the union members would be involved in the investigation to determine the cause of the fire.
“I have to talk to my people to get a full report, as the recognised majority union, we will be involved in the investigation to determine the cause and recommendations to prevent it from occurring again.”
In a release yesterday, communications manager at TTEC, Annabelle Brasnell said there was nothing to suggest that anything unusual had led to the fire.
Electricity was restored to residential customers around 11.30am and to industrial customers an hour later.