Flip-flopping on refinery

THE EDITOR: I had to pinch myself when I learned that Finance Minister Colm Imbert had conceded to attorney Wayne Sturge’s legal demand to convene a meeting of the JSC on Energy. I thought it was just a charade. Like Farmer Nappy, I thought, “Nah, dat cyah be right!” Then I thought: which process carries real power, a JSC controlled by the PNM or a court of law?

I was also convinced that Imbert and his cabinet cabal would find some way to avoid having to account to taxpayers for their astonishing decision to “shut down Petrotrin” and the even more amazing and truly perplexing logic of choosing to sell the Pointe-a-Pierre oil refinery to the OWTU’s PET Co for an “upfront payment of US$700 million,” “deferred” for as long as ten years.

True to form, Imbert convened a “secret” meeting during which his agenda was reportedly a discussion of his “gas master plan.” Forget the hullabaloo over the Petrotrin fiasco. That is “other business.”

Of course, Imbert and his oligarchs in cabinet operated in an eminently predictable fashion. My goodness, they even undertook to hold their JSC in secret.

Why should he wish to share with taxpayers who pay his salary, his allowances, and a lifelong tax-free pension all the details of how he and his inner cabinet colleagues are spending their tax contributions and treating with their assets, having “convinced” the undiscerning among us to support their bid for political control.

After all, their entire campaign was founded on fabrication and disinformation, which continue to today. They continue to distract from their incompetence.

Prime Minister Dr Rowley and his cabal are masters of political flip-flopping. A few months ago, they asserted, “The Government of TT is not shutting down Petrotrin.” A couple of weeks later, he did the opposite of what he assured taxpayers he was not going to do.

To support his “decision” he cited two “reports” and the advice of the Wilfred Espinet-led Petrotrin board. It turned out that neither of these reports advised the closing of the refinery and, surprisingly, Espinet himself reportedly publicly stated that he never advised its closing.

Consistent with this flip-flopping, Imbert drilled home to the taxpayer, in tandem with Rowley, that the refinery was a source of major financial haemorrhaging. Then he too flip-flopped when he asserted later on that the plant was vital for our GDP and should be restarted without delay.

Imbert can print his master plan on his party’s manifesto or cut and paste it into the PNM’s Vision 2030. I can read that in my quieter moments. What burns on the inside with urgency is for him to answer the few questions raised by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar on taxpayers’ behalf – and to do so publicly, openly and honestly.

If he is not guided by the conviction of his decisions then he should resign – and without a pension benefit.


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"Flip-flopping on refinery"

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