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Saturday 19 October 2019
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Letters to the Editor

Listen up, OWTU

THE EDITOR: OWTU, Beware! In TT there are certain people whose stock in trade is manipulation through deception. Thus, the very ones who pretended to be your very best friends when Petrotrin was closed down because it suited their purpose, are now using proxies in every department to try and sabotage your impending ownership of the refinery.

You will hear people challenging you to not be beholden to the government. This so that you can go out of your way to prove otherwise. Another manipulation. However, that is 'small thing' compared to what is to come.

Good sirs/madams, the time may come when you will indeed own this very valuable asset. Then the eyes of many will light up, and it will no longer be simply about trying to get you to advance a political agenda but to fool a naive new owner into surrendering what you own into nefarious hands behind the scenes.

I have heard you speak about ensuring that the people of TT benefit from Petrotrin and that the company remains in the possession of locals. Nice sentiment. Such was the sentiment expressed at the transition of the old USSR into a capitalist economy. Now Russia has become a country of oligarchs, with huge wealth concentrated in the hands of a few. How did this happen? Simple. Large and valuable assets of the state were grossly undervalued and given out to citizens in the form of shares. Those shares were over time sold by the poor to those with money so that the poor could afford to eat and enjoy other consumables. And voilà! The oligarchs now owned the assets of Russia for a song.

Though we bawl and scream and lie about it, many people have money in TT. The day you put out a share offer for Petrotrin, it will be snapped up. However, the poor will not be able to afford it, and whatever you put into their hands they will sell to the well-off.

How do you guard against being deceived and manipulated into giving away Petrotrin to those with money? First of all, do not undervalue its shares for any reason, noble or ignoble, ever. Let those with the money pay full price as investors. You need the money and your wise and honest use of it is what will really benefit your asset and by extension the country long term.

Second to that, if you want to aid the poor or your workers, create a trust which holds a block of shares that can be managed and administered by a competent committee or entity. Income from said trust can create a fund – Patriotic Fund – that can be paid in dividends to those you seek to serve.

JOANNE K JOSEPH

San Fernando

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