THE Petrotrin board is reviewing a proposal by the Oilfield Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) to have the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery leased to them as a joint venture. This after a three-hour meeting yesterday between the OWTU and the Petrotrin board led by chairman Wilfred Espinet.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the union’s alternative proposal in light of the impending closure of the state-owned refinery. Espinet, in a media release, later said: “We received the union’s alternative proposal including the suggestion of leasing the refinery to the OWTU and as such, a number of questions were raised. We need some more time to analyse their proposal in more detail.” Both parties have agreed to meet next Thursday.
Speaking after the meeting, OWTU president general Ancel Roget said the union’s proposal was founded on the principle that Petrotrin’s assets belongs to the citizens and any type of arrangement the union would enter into or end up with, must have firm consideration from all stakeholders. “We insist that the board, the Prime Minister and government do not have to put the burden on TT by sending workers home, closing down Petrotrin and offering for cheap sale, the country’s assets. We made an entire presentation and were able to answer all their questions,” Roget said.
Roget said the union will now hold discussions with its “business partners” who have already expressed interest in a joint venture.
“We are able to go to our business partners. We can have them come forward with expressions of interest in the refinery. Our position is to have the refinery operate at its optimum,” Roget said.
Roget said the impending closure does not only affect Petrotrin workers but the country. It is about, he said, the country losing its economic independence, losing the opportunity to produce its own fuel for its own economy.
Given that the union answered all questions posed to them by the board yesterday, Roget said the ball is now in the court of the prime minister, the Petrotrin board and government to return with a response favourable to the union.