THE EDITOR: Ancel Roget has me confused. His utterances seem – like those of the present Prime Minister and his Finance Minister – to change subtly over time. Loop news reported on October 17, 2018, in its interview with Roget, that the OWTU planned to propose a “lease to own” proposal to the Prime Minister.
Roget clearly stated that the OWTU’s plan was “not to own the company but to enter into a lease arrangement with an option to own at the end of the lease.” He further added that there would be “many options for the public and public institutions to take part in the plan.” That report made mention of Van Dyke of Sunstone Equity, who is quoted as stating that “the plan entails a capital lease where the refinery will eventually be owned by the corporation that would be installed to oversee operations.”
Surprisingly Roget, in his response to statements made by Dr Moonilal, as reported in the Express (October 18, 2019), insisted that his petroleum company had no present dealings with Sunstone Equity and that they had parted ways since November 2018. The petroleum company is reported to have been incorporated in December 2018. Roget appeared in a photo in an Express article by Leah Sorias (October 17, 2018) alongside Van Dyke of Sunstone and Shaid Khan, VP of MAK England.
Another article on the website of Petroleumworld.com (September 24, 2019) stated that the present government “agreed to sell” its Pointe-a-Pierre refinery “to a company partly owned by the oil workers union.” This information, the article reported, came from Finance Minister Colm Imbert, while the union asserted that company was a “special purpose vehicle” created by the OWTU “to acquire the refinery in a bid to reopen it.” The union informed that news outlet that “the new company’s shareholders would include Suriname-based private equity firm Sunstone Energy and UK independent MAK England.” The report added that “neither company has responded to a request for comment or confirmation.”
May I then ask – what is the OWTU’s relationship with these two entities? What does Roget mean when he refers to the company as a “special purpose vehicle?” What does Van Dyke mean when he stated that “the plan entails a capital lease where the refinery will eventually be owned by the corporation that would be installed to oversee operations?” What corporation is this? Finally, if the OWTU can agree to this type of “investment” involving foreign entities, why did it reject Persad-Bissessar’s consideration in 2012 (Stabroek News, January 21, 2012) of an offer by an Indian company – Reliance Industries Ltd – which expressed interest in partnering with Petrotrin? Reliance at the time was willing to invest US$1 billion in Petrotrin.