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Sunday 18 November 2018
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Espinet chairs Heritage, Petrotrin

Petrotrin chairman 
Wilfred Espinet.
Petrotrin chairman Wilfred Espinet.

Petrotrin has apparently not just transferred its assets to newly incorporated entity Heritage Petroleum Company Ltd, but also its executives.

Documents that have been widely circulated on social media suggest that Petrotrin’s chairman, Wilfred Espinet and his deputy, Reynold Ajodhasingh are also the chairman and director of Heritage. The documents, Newsday was told, “appear to be authentic.”

The company’s address is listed as 5th Floor, Newtown Centre, No 30-36 Maraval Road, the same as law firm Johnson, Camacho and Singh—which was also the firm that filed the request to reserve the name of the company.

According to the documents, Heritage Petroleum was incorporated on October 5 by Espinet. The company is declared as not being a public company (that is, its shares are not listed on the local stock exchange). The minimum number of directors will be two and the maximum, seven. The company is also expected to have 800 employees and its business is listed as oil and gas exploration and production.

It is unclear whether Heritage’s sister company, Paria Fuel Trading Company, has the same directorship structure, but according to the Companies Registry, the address and date of incorporation are the same.

Both companies have also been advertising for executive management positions, with recruitment conducted by HRC Associates, described on its website as “leading executive recruitment & management consulting firms in the Caribbean.”

Neither Energy Minister Franklin Khan nor Espinet answered Newsday's calls.

Opposition activist and former government minister Devant Maharaj, who was among the first to share the documents publicly, said this development is another example of the current administration's's governance of the country by secrecy. "We've seen it manifested in the procurement of the Galleons Passage, Sandals Tobago and now Petrotrin. It will have a significant economic impact yet the country still does not know all the facts involved," he said. Petrotrin had scheduled a media briefing last week for its plans to restructure the company, but it was cancelled after the Industrial Court granted an injunction to the majority union, the Oilfield Workers' Trade Union, blocking the distribution of termination letters by the company to its employees. A few days later, that injunction was stayed on appeal. A hearing to determine the ultimate outcome is scheduled for today.

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