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Tuesday 12 November 2019
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Abdulah, OWTU: Moonilal’s allegations false

Political Leader of the Movement for Social Justice David Abdullah, PHOTO BY VASHTI SINGH
Political Leader of the Movement for Social Justice David Abdullah, PHOTO BY VASHTI SINGH

MSJ political leader David Abdulah has described allegations by Oropouche MP Dr Roodal Moonilal about the OWTU’s acquisition of the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery as “absolutely false and misleading.”

The union has branded them a fake bombshell.The union said the allegations are part of the Opposition UNC’s strategy of “promoting and protecting their political and economic agenda.”The union is scheduled to hold a media conference at its San Fernando headquarters on October 17, when president general Ancel Roget will address the issue.During Tuesday’s budget debate in Parliament, Moonilal said he had found a paper trail showing foul play in the acquisition of the Petrotrin refinery by OWTU’s holding company Patriotic Energies and Technologies Co Ltd. He claimed Sunstone Equity of Suriname was a major player in the scheme and produced photographs of a document signing, saying one of the people in the photos resembled Abdulah.But in an interview, Abdulah said Moonilal is trying to add one and one and one and get 50 by suggesting a “deal” had taken place between Sunstone, the union and AV oil over the refinery purchase.“The fact of the matter is, I was simply requested to sign as a witness, at the request of the union, to witness an agreement being signed on by two parties – the OWTU on one hand and Sunstone on the other hand – with respect to the union contracting Sunstone to provide certain services. So I was there to bear witness to the signing of that agreement and that took place at the headquarters of the OWTU.”Questions about whether the signing took place at a contractor's house were "just very misleading," he said. "But it is also trying to implicate and impute all kinds of things which are false, absolutely false.”Abdulah, a former OWTU general secretary, said there is “absolutely no connection” between the union and AV Oil, and recalled a media conference last year during which Roget said there were “questionable arrangements” between Petrotrin and one of its lease operators.“And that would have predated the statement by Mrs Persad-Bissessar, the issue of fake oil, so the union had nothing to do with AV Oil whatsoever and has been very opposed over the years, way back to the 1980s, to farm-out and lease out arrangements.“So there is absolutely no connection there between AV Oil and Mr Deokiesingh, who was suspended by Petrotrin in October, prior to the announcement to close Petrotrin on August 28, 2018.”He said of Moonilal, “He gives a false assumption and he puts into the minds of the public things that are absolutely untrue and unfounded.”Abdulah then took a swipe at the Opposition party, saying Moonilal is “probably very concerned” about the “traction” the MSJ is getting ahead of the December 2 local government elections.On its Facebook page, the OWTU described Moonilal’s bombshell as “fake,” saying there was no money transfer and that it was no secret the union was “working with Sunstone when we were still discussing a lease for the refinery.“Sunstone has nothing to do with our current bid," it said. “The OWTU categorically and outrightly condemns the lies, fabrication of information and blatant mischief instigated by the UNC, and views the misinformation presented in the Parliament by the MP for Oropouche East as a means of promoting and protecting their political and economic agenda.”

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