While the Opposition believes Government’s termination of Wilfred Espinet as chairman of Trinidad Petroleum and all its attendant boards is long overdue, the new appointees with their lack of experience still leave much to be considered.
“(Espinet) has destroyed the country with regards to shutting down Petrotrin and putting 5,000 people on the breadline,” UNC deputy political leader David Lee told Newsday in a phone call.
Government today announced Espinet would no longer be involved with any of the boards he had taken charge of during the transitional period following the closure of Petrotrin last November. Michael Quamina, an attorney who has represented the Prime Minister in personal matters, is the new chairman of Trinidad Petroleum Holdings Ltd and Heritage Petroleum Co Ltd. Newman George, husband of Speaker Brigid Annisette-George, is the new chairman of Paria Fuel Trading Co and Guaracara Refining Co Ltd.
“What we now see is a set of new players who have no experience in the energy industry and this doesn’t auger well to send any confidence in the sector,” Lee said.
Former Port Authority chairman, Christine Sahadeo, was also named as a board member. Lee noted the close personal relationships of the new appointees to the Government.
“What is the Government doing? They are further destabilising the sector.”
Asked where he thought the sector was heading, he said the country was treading treacherous waters of uncertainty and people had no confidence the government would be able to get them out of it.
Energy is the country’s biggest revenue earner and putting people with little to no experience to head boards like these give no confidence to the future of energy in TT, he said.
“When you are putting people with no experience, what are you telling citizens? It’s a plasters for new sores coming on. They will not last.”
He noted Government has also not convened the parliamentary committee on energy since February 2018 and so, these senior officials in state energy companies could not be called before to answer to the public.
“Before they destroy the energy sector more, we say they must call elections now.”